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The Room
Saturday, 8:35 P.M.

Hello my honey!

I’ll bet you’re a tired, hot little chicken tonight, after a big day of unloading.  I’ve thought about you all day on that hot old dessert.  I’d be so glad if you’d have cool weather for a while.  How was the trip down?  Did you get any rest?  How long did it take, and how are things going at camp by now?

I wish I knew what to do about our bags.  They arrived today and would have been delivered if I’d been home to pay for them when they stopped.  There isn’t room in this small room for them & I asked about just leaving them downstairs – but there’s just a hallway to the kitchen that everyone uses — so guess I’ll have to leave them at the express office until something turns up.  I want to send your clothes to the cleaners though & hang the rest of them up, but no room.

I was out before 9:30 this morning, making the rounds & checking on people.  I called on Mrs. Dobish who seems to be about the last straw again, but she knew no more than before.  Wish you’d come home & spread some of that Silvester personality around.  Oh well, I’ve been there enough that she won’t forget me, but she says there’s one girl ahead of me.  And if she’d see you she’d be impressed, I’m sure, because she’s awfully nice.

Tonight honey, I don’t know whether I’m coming or going.  I’ve been with Bette & Mil & Jackie since about 11:30.  We went out to the Camp Haan Officer’s Club for dinner & called at the Special Services Office AAATC just as everyone had gone out to lunch.  Someone told us they might be able to help.  Then we sat around the swimming pool until Jackie decided to go in.  There were a lot of people in & the water looked wonderful.

Then we came back to town & drove along streets & knocked on likely looking doors until this late afternoon.  We shopped for Bette a dress & Mil some clothes for “afterward.”  (Forgot to tell you I bought a cute cotton dress this morning.  Got mixed up with a sale & so weakened & got this for $3.95.  I really went in to buy a blouse — because I packed most of my clothes in my big suitcase.)

I had no trouble cashing a check on the Santa Maria bank for the dress so don’t you think we may as well leave it there for a little while.  Bette checked before she left & they said she could make deposits thru this bank here & do most everything.

We saw several of the other girls out at the swimming pool  Lee Neuenhaus, Ruth Starr & Harvath & Bernice Arthurs & Jimmie Arthurs — None of them have more than rooms except Mrs. Arthurs.

I’m really not too discouraged honey, because I’m sure something will turn up.  If not, we’ll just have to make the most of what we have.  It could be worse.

I’ll go to church in the morning and see if that helps at all.  It’ll seem so funny going without you.  I miss you so much and love you so terribly.  You’re such a kind, thoughtful husband in so many ways, and I love everything about you.

It’s only 9:00, but I’m tired, so night for now, darling.  Remember always that I love you & take care of yourself for me.  Always,

Zola

I love the little bits and details in these letters.  There are 5 more for this interlude, and then we’ll go back to baby Rick, Idaho and Europe and the “real” parts of the war.  And, if you’re feeling stuck in the middle of winter, enjoy the Southern California dessert sunshine.  (I know that most places are feeling pretty springy this week, but it is still winter.)

Since I finally started Grandma Zola’s letters, I’ve been reading through her binder.  There was a stack of letters with no dates, just time and place notes such as “The Room, Saturday, 8:35 p.m.”  Last week I read through those and realized that those letters all came from a similar place and time.  I was able to put them in order, as best as I could, from context clues in the letters.

We’re going back to the summer before Grandpa left for Europe, while he was still training in Southern California.  These are all letters from Grandma.  She knows she’s pregnant, and she’s trying to find a place for them to live.  I  enjoyed this break, so I’m going to post these next, probably several letters at a time.  I hope you enjoy them too.

Luxembourg,
21, February, 1945

Hey Darlings,

How are you tonight?  I’m early, you know, but I have a big day tomorrow and I’ve had a pretty good sized one today so I’m going to try to get to bed early.  It seems weeks since I got to bed before midnight.  My paperwork takes more time than it should.

I received no letters today, only a printed from the Fourth Ward enclosing a servicmans budget card and some interesting news.  I did so want a letter from my honey.  I love you, you know.

So many things have come up that almost forty-five minutes have passed since this letter began.

My darling, I’m so thankful and proud that I have the most precious wife in the world.  Did I ever tell you how beautiful you are.

You’re lovely, you will never change.  If only I could see you now.  What a feast my eyes would have.  How glad I am to you I took my vow to love, to cherish, to give you happiness.  Please always know, my darling, of wives you are the best.

Honey, knock me a kiss.  I’ll say goodnight, sweetheart.  Never forget how terribly much I love you.  You’ll always be my whole life.  Take care of yourself and Rick.  God bless and protect you each minute of each day.

Your loving old man, Dewain

I’ve been sick since Friday, so this little burst of sweetness from Grandpa was such a delightful comfort.  It was short – and I finished typing it before my mint tea cooled enough to drink.  I’m off to add honey to my tea.  I am so grateful for the great love my grandparents shared.  Around these parts it’s such a burst of sunshine on a cloudy day.

Luxembourg,
20, February, 1945

Adorable ones,

I love you, with all my heart I do.  And if you want to send that package with the label ‘ feed every three hours and rock in-between times,’ why, go right ahead.  I’ve got a couple of boys here in my headquarters section who I’d assign to look after him and I’m sure he’d be even more spoiled than he’s getting right now.

I received your letter written on the sixth of February today.  I can’t get over the consistent fast service.  I’d better beat on my head because the  next ones will probably take a month or six weeks to get here.  Anyhow, it’s swell while it lasts.

I did get the letters off to two of our sisters tonight before I received a call to take care of some unpleasant business.  If it hadn’t been for that, I’d have finished all four because I had time scheduled for it.

What’s this story about slipping water in on him in place of milk.  Let’s watch that.  After all, he’s kinda small to defend himself and doesn’t have his old man there to stand up for him and insist on milk.  Remember that Silvesters are born sleepy and hungry and both must be taken care of.

He better be enjoying his baths too, because I don’t.  Not that I wouldn’t if I had a chance, but anyhow, I’m not enjoying them now.

So Iven’s in Belgium?  Well, what do you know.  Everyone gets to Belgium when I leave.  What a life.  I guess I’m destined not to run into anyone I know.  Though I probably wouldn’t know Iven if I did run into him.

Hey, George, have you seen the fox lately?  Which way did he go?  What’s news?

Oh, incidentally, speaking of news, I received also today a Parker home newsletter.  It’s probably quite an item.  I hope sometime I have time to drop Uncle George a note.

My eyelids are about ready to drop.  I pride myself in being the last one to bed each night and the first one up each morning of this bunch of mine.  I seldom write to you until everyone is gone to bed except the guard and I’m usually washed and shaved before anyone else gets up in the morning.  Listen to him brag.  Really I have my selfish reasons.  In the first place I can’t concentrate to write to you until they’re all retired and in order to avoid the rush, I wash and shave early.

Say, what a gaffer I am.
One would naturally think that I’d got on a tram;
so I’ll quit this right now,
even forfeit my bow;
and get me some sleep while I can.

It gets worse each day.  I’m sorry. I love you anyway.

Yours, Dewain

I am sorry it has taken me so long to get back into the swing of things.  I’ve just kind of let these letters slide over the last couple of weeks.  But it feels so good to be back.  I feel so blessed for the connections that have been made, from people who knew Grandpa during the war, or the family history stories that I’ve received through these records.  And I know these experiences are a real part of Grandma and Grandpa’s lives – even though they didn’t talk about it much, and we didn’t know enough to ask more about it.

I’m sitting here, in my home on a rainy Tuesday morning . . . and can only imagine what life for either of them may have been like 64 years ago.  Nothing like my life, that’s for sure.  I’m glad they had friends and family supporting them through all of this.  One lesson I’m learning right now is that success comes from doing what’s asked when necessary, no matter how hard, or how weird, or how inexplicable the request may be, no matter how much it’s not something that we want to do right now . . . if we all only ever did what we wanted, we’d be like a world full of two-year olds . . . and that would be insane.

I am grateful for my family who have gone on before and for the lives they lived so that I am free to live my life.  I hope I can live to make them proud of me an my family.

I’m sorry – it’s been a while.  I promise we’re coming back to Dewain, Zola and baby Rick soon.  I apologize for the delay.

I do have this for you, scanned straight from my dad’s wall last week.

Dewain Silvester

Dewain Silvester

Parker, Idaho
February 18, 1945     7:55 P.M.

My beloved,

Here we are alone again tonight.  These evenings that I’m alone with you make such an ache inside of me — and yet I love them.  It seems so strange to be lonely with people around all the time — friends and family, too.  But with me, there’s only one person who can fill the need of that special sort of loneliness.  I could be alone with you forever and never grow tired.  I’d be happy with you any place, any time.  You’ve always filled every quality I’d ever dreamed or hoped for in a husband it would be possible to gain such joy and happiness.  And darling, you’ll make such a wonderful father.  You’ll be kind and understanding, and yet firm when it’s necessary.  You won’t leave the rearing & disciplin of our children to their mother as so many do.

I’ve sent cards to Esquire, Reader’s Digest & The Improvement Era.  Is there anyone else I should notify of your  new address.

I’m so anxious for you to receive the pictures I mailed yesterday.  Let me know as soon as you get them – and if they don’t, I’ll send more.  I’ve decided it’s easier to take snapshots of Rick that to try and get a photographer down her when he’s in a happy mood — until he’s a little older.  And I’m sure you’ll be able to determine just as much about him.  He’s so darn precious.  You couldn’t have given me anything more wonderful.  I’m counting on you being here for his first birthday at least.  That’s not too optimistic is it?

I’ve had quite a day today.  Dad and Myrtle went to Sunday School.  Mrs. Barnes came over to see Rick & I visited for quite awhile.  They’re living in Pocatello now & she’d some up to see Dallas (she’s expecting any day).  After noon, it was so sunny & nice, that I bundled Rick up and went over to Ruth’s.  We took the babies down to the store with us, and weighed Betty.  Rick went to sleep on the way down so I didn’t waken him to weigh him.  Betty weighs nearly fifteen pounds and is now five months old.  Lawrence went fishing — and then Helen stopped to take me to the show.  Ruth watched Rick so I went.  “Frenchman’s Creek” — with Joan Fontaine.  It was an adventure story, with pirates & all that.  Helen had just had a letter from Ivan saying their winter had turned into mud, so I can imagine your difficulties.

Darling, I can’t help but dream and pray that the day will be soon for your return.  The hour, the second, cannot come too quickly for me.  It’ll be such heaven to have my arms tight about you and feel you close, again.  You’ll always be the most important part of me.  the part that radiates life and joy & happiness.  I adore everything about you with all my heart and soul and always will.  There’s nothing could ever change that love, only to increase it.

Myrtle expects to teach this week and then quit.  I think Mrs. Harold Davenport is going to finish the year out for her.  Just think — Myrtle will be 43 when the baby is born.  His parents will be older than yours when  you were born.  It hardly seems possible it’s going to happen, but to watch her expanding waist line you can’t help be see it’s true.

Afton Remington is bringing his wife & new daughter home from the hospital this Wednesday.  I told you wrong on the name — It’s to be Katherine Jenetta, after her two grandmothers & to be called Kathie Jean.  Raymond Parker’s wife is expecting too, I hear tell.

Wilford is bringing a play to Parker tomorrow night.

Sweetheart, remember always, that you mean all the world to me — God be with you always, protect you, and return you safely home to–

Your love wife & son,

Zola & Rick

Hooray!  I’m up to Grandma’s letters now.  We get to hear more about what’s happening on the home front now.  We also get to hear about baby Rick.  I love the imagery of weighing the babies down at the store . . . if somebody did that today, there’d probably be some sort of action taken against them.  There’s a lot of news about family and friends and their babies.

Over the weekend, I heard from a 91-year-old gentleman, Ray Manuel, who trained, for a short time, with Lt. Dewain Silvester who was the platoon leader.  He also ran into Grandpa again at a reunion in Philadelphia.  He’s going to try to find pictures he has with Grandpa in them from that reunion.  I’m excited to make connections like this.   More to come soon.

Rudd Family History

Yesterday I received a very fun email from a very distant relative, “We are 9th cousins, once removed. My name is Walter Nieber.”  He’s been doing research on the Rudd family and found us while researching the Rudds.  He sent me quite a bit of information, which I have published on it’s own page (“Rudd Family” page at the top of the blog) on this site,  here.  I feel very blessed to have made this connection because it gives me more information than I had previously about this family line.

I hope you enjoy this information as much as I have.  There’s so much I don’t know about my ancestors.  I know that Grandma Zola did a lot of family history.  I think she’s still helping us do our own research.  However these connections were made, I’m very grateful.  Thank you, Walter.

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.

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.

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.