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Luxembourg
3, February, 1945

Perfect little family,

Do you know there is a great big awkward guy over here who is indeed crazy about you?  Perhaps crazy in other ways too, but anyhow, I love you with all my heart.

How are you tonight?  Both of you, I mean.  I missed writing last night and the letter night before last wasn’t much of a letter.  Can you forgive me?

I just finished answering the letter I received from Dee about ten days ago.  I surely hope I get a chance to look him up.  It would surely make him feel good and it wouldn’t do me any harm.  If the occasion arises, I shall certainly grab it.

I received a couple of V-mail letters from you yesterday, dated the eleventh and thirteenth of January respectively.  They were swell.  Darling, you’re so heavenly and thoughtful.  How the Lord ever saw fit to bless me so abundantly, I shall never know.  I’m so proud of my beautiful wife and baby boy.

In one letter, you say he’s a perfect angel and in the next you say I should hear him now.  How I’d like to.  I doubt if I’d ever let him cry either without picking him up.  Be careful though.  He’ll soon be as bad as his old man.

I’m so glad he looks like the baby you wanted, though I’m sure no matter how he looked, even if as bad as me, you’d say the same.  I’m glad too that he enjoys eating and sleeping.  Caution him each day to take advantage of it.

In none of your letters so far have you mentioned knowing that I was over hear.  You should have heard, at least I hope so.  Never worry though.  I’m in good hands and the weather is really breaking up into spring, if only it lasts.

Here’s that kiss you asked me to knock you and, Honey, knock me one in return.  I love you so dearly, my sweetheart, more than words could ever express.  If only my gift of gab included serious expressive words to tell you I love you, I adore you, I worship everything about you.  You’re so fine, so pretty, so heavenly, so thoughtful.  I can never thank you enough for accepting me to be your husband.  When peace returns, I’ll try so hard to keep you happy and comfortable and make a home you will be proud of.  My love for you grows each day, if only my expression could show it.

Goodnight, my darling, sleep tonight.  Who knows, the Russians may be in Berlin by morning and the end of this phase of the war near.  At any rate, time will pass briskly and I shall be home bothering you again before you know it.

Your homesick old man, Dewain

Finally, Grandpa knows that he’s a dad.  I don’t know if anybody still has those in between letters.    My next Dewain-letter is dated 2/20 and we get to start our Zola-letters with a 2/18 letter.  I’m not going to try to match up the letters as received and answered – but I will post them by date.  So Grandma’s next!!!!  I can’t wait to hear her side.

Thanks for being patient in my getting these letters posted.  I hope to share some family history about some of our Rudd ancestors soon.  I received an email from a gentleman who’s been doing research on the Rudd family line, and he gave me quite a bit of information.  Grandma would be pleased, because I always think of her as the family historian.

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From 1st Lt. Dewain Silvester 0-1050923
BtrY.C. 778AAA AwBn(sP)
A.P.O. 403 c/o Postmaster
New York, New York

To: Mrs. Dewain Silvester
Box 11,
Parker, Idaho
U.S.A.

In France, 6, January, 1945

Precious little family?

Observe that there is still a question mark.  I hope and pray that you are well and happy.  You know how very  much I love you.  You’re such a wonderfully perfect wife.  I’m so proud.

I just took time out to listen to a German propaganda program in English.  They paint is just as well for their people as we do for ours.  Perhaps soon the truth can be known.  Most of the stations we can get are of German origin.  the Allied Expeditionary Forces program from the British Broadcasting Company is our old stand by with delightful music and news from home.

Forgive me, please, for getting off on such a subject.  More better I should tell you that the chow over here is excellent.  I’ve got to hand it to the supply boys.  We have certainly been taken care of.  The only thing we lack for happiness, outside of being home in peace, of course, is mail.  Now, don’t worry.  It’ll get here.  Soon.  I hope mine to you are spaced well enough to keep you from worrying.  I’ll say Goodnight, now.  There was a busy day behind and another ahead.  I love you with all my heart, my darling.

Dewain

Grandpa’s first letter of the new year, and he’s still wondering about his new baby, who’s two weeks old now.  It’s nice to hear he’s eating well, considering what he’s in the middle of doing (in the middle of things in the middle of winter doesn’t sound like anybody’s idea of a good time).

Our next letter from Grandpa comes in February, and then we start having Grandma’s letters back too.  I can’t wait to hear her side of the story.

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From 1st Lt. Dewain Silvester 0-1050923
BtrY.C. 778AAA AwBn(sP)
A.P.O. 655 c/o Postmaster
New York, New York

To: Mrs. Dewain Silvester
Box 11,
Parker, Idaho
U.S.A.

Luxembourg, 27 December 1944

My Darlings,

How are you tonight?  Do you know how many times a day I tell you I love you?  Must be in the dozens anyway.  You’re such a perfect, precious wife.  I hope and pray so hard that the baby is like you.

Are you pretty crowded?  Are t hings running smoothly?  Honey, knock me a kiss.  I love you.

Guess what!  Today I had a wonderful hot shower, washed my hair, and was even able to get my hair cut.  It’s really short, well not much shorter than when I was in the desert.  And all of this followed a belated but huge and delicious Christmas, turkey dinner with all the trimmings except the plum pudding.

Sweetheart, I must stop.  It’s getting late and I have been going pretty strong lately.  The boys are doing a swell job.  It makes me kind of proud at times.  Take good care of yourself and the baby.  Always be happy.  I love you so much.  Good night precious.

Your wandering husband, Dewain

I hope your Christmas joy was a great at Grandpa’s was this year.  Merry Christmas!  Enjoy your hot showers.

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Footprints in the E.T.O.

Footprints in the E.T.O.

Over Christmas, Dad let me see this map that was put together for a war reunion that Grandpa attended.  It highlighted where his unit has been and what they did.  I took lots of photographs, and was woefully aware of both my lack of excellent equipment (it’s a good little camera, but not amazing) and my lack of great skill with my camera.  I hope there are decent shots.  I’ve got them posted here so you can see where I tried to get better details with various flash and closeness settings.  Dad still has the original, so maybe we’ll get a better copy one of these days.

Here’s a link to a list of units involved in the Battle of the Bulge.  Grandpa’s group (778th A.A.A. Battalion was with the 76th Division – so you can scroll down and see it listed).  A.A. was anti-aircraft.  I’m not sure what the last A is for.  I suppose when all is said and done I will have expanded my WWII knowledge exponentially.  My last history class that would have covered this would have been sometime near about 20 years ago . . . sigh.

Ooh – here’s an excellent link that I’m just going to have to spend more time with.  It’s nearly bedtime, so it’ll have to wait.  This link is http://www.antiaircraft.org/778.htm which has the history of the 778th AAA Battalion.  I can’t believe I’m excited about military history!  The times – they’re a-changing!  I guess when it gets personal it makes all the difference.

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From 1st Lt. Dewain Silvester 0-1050923
BtrY.C.778AAAAwBn(sP)
A.P.O. 655 c/o Postmaster
New York, New York


To: Mrs. Dewain Silvester
Box 11,
Parker, Idaho
U.S.A.

Luxembourg, 26 December 1944

Precious Little Family,

This is letter number fifteen, I think.  Anyhow, darlings, please be well and happy right now and love me lots.  Was your Christmas nice?  Did it snow?  Did you get anything from your old man?  What did you get?  What did everyone get?  I was thinking of you so hard when you should have been eating Christmas dinner.  You could never imagine what I was doing.

As you see, your old man has been getting around a little.  No mail or word as yet.  It’s good I had too little time to worry.  Have you been getting a trickle of letters from me?  I surely hope so.  Darling, you ‘ll never know how terrifically much I love you.  You’re so doggone wonderful.

Have the folks been over recently?  How is everyone?  Are you kept pretty busy?  Be sure to take good care of yourself.  These letters must be a disappointment to you, sweetheart.  Can you forgive me.  As time permits, I will do better.  Never forget how terribly much you mean to me.

Yours, Dewain

There is so much unsaid in this short V-Mail.  I wonder where Grandpa was – in a tent or a Quonset hut, a proper building, or even outside somewhere.  It was winter, in the middle of the Battle of the Bulge, which I know little about in my dusty memory.  My dad (Happy Birthday – you’re born by now, even if Grandpa didn’t know it yet) gave me a book to read called “The Longest Winter” by Alex Kershaw.  It’s subtitled “The Battle of the Bulge and the Epic Story of World War II’s Most Decorated Platoon” (which isn’t Grandpa’s platoon – but they were out there, too).  I haven’t started it yet . . . but  hope to get some back story knowledge to supplement my letters here.

By December 26th, my Dad, baby Rick, was 4 days old . . . I wonder how grandma was feeling, and how much of Christmas dinner she was interested in, and how tired she was.  There’s so much left to imagination and my knowledge and personal experience.

Hope everybody had a warm and quiet Christmas, even as we remember Christmas 64 years ago.

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10:15 P.M. Tuesday
5, December, 1944

Hello Darling,

Are you happy tonight?  I hope you are.  I wish you had been with me tonight.  Excuse pencil, please, my pen went dry and I came away and forgot my ink.  Anyhow, the reason I missed you so much more tonight is that I went to a very funny show.  I can’t remember it’s exact name – it was The Ghost of Sir something or other with Charles Laughton, Robert  Young, and that cute little tiny gal actress.  I nearly died laughing.  The other feature was “The Gay Desperado” with Leo Carrillo, and Mischa Auer and some other guys.  I didn’t care for the last one much but we were kept entertained.  Lt. Toffenetto and I went together, and believe it or not, honey, your old man was flirted with tonight by a cute little usherette in the theatre.  Now don’t get ideas.  I did everything I could in a nice way to discourage it by telling her I was married, showing her my ring to prove it and even the pictures of you in my billfold.  Told her that I was going to be a pappa in about a week.  She flattered me by saying that I looked much younger than Toffy and he’s only twenty-two.  Had either Toffy or I been the long eared and pointed nose type we would have had ourselves a partner tonight.  But you know me – all I do is look and talk if I’m spoken to first and Toffy is the same.

The radio is playing a record of Bing singing Going My Way.  It’s beautiful and it reminds me so much of you, my sweetheart.

Zola, I love you so much.  I realize it more and more every day.  You’re the sweetest angel in the world and I’m so lucky to be your husband.

I hope this letter doesn’t depress or worry you.  While I was with Tommy I argued with him several times on to treat a wife.  Of course, he doesn’t do anything bad, but he persists that it’s better to keep a girl guessing a little on the what they don’t know won’t hurt them idea.  I can’t believe that.  It’s true that there are many girls who will take advantage of a man if he makes them absolutely sure of him, but if that

[. . . .page 5 is missing. . . .]

self.  You’ll be a glorious mother without even trying so don’t try to hard.  I need you well and happy more than anything else.  When I think of being a father I get a feeling like a stomach full of feathers.  It’s going to be so heavenly.  I’ll try so hard to be a good father.

I’ve got a great deal to do tomorrow so I must quit.  I’ll tell you tomorrow night as much as I can about the City I am in.  Don’t forget for a second how truly much you mean to me.  My heart and soul belong to you my darling, you are so very, very perfect.

Your adoring husband,

Dewain

The movie Grandpa referenced is “The Canterville Ghost” and the “tiny gal actress” is Margaret O’Brien.  It would be fun to have a 1944 night and watch the movies Grandpa watched and listen to the music he listened to.  I would love to have Grandma’s responses to these letters – especially this one about Grandpa’s experience with the usherette.

The next letter in the sequence is the very first one I typed – I’ll copy it into a new post and then my next letter is a  V-Mail from 12/26 in Luxembourg, the day after Christmas and 4 days after the baby’s birth (which we’re celebrating tomorrow!!!)

Happy Birthday Dad!  We love you!

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