September 7 and 9, 1943. Two letters from home to Dad an Uncle Stanley. Now that the gas ban has been lifted, it seems that Eddie has been able to get out fishing more often. The past Sunday saw a trip to “the Cove” where the fishing was good “two big bullheads- a foot long… a pickerel 13 inches long and a few sunnies.” While on Labor Day “Eddie and his father went to Kinderhook and Eddie came home with two pickerel. One pickerel was probably about 14” long… Boy did they taste delicious… The meat was white and thick on the fish and only a few bones. They are the kind of fish that you enjoy eating.”
Anna also writes part of the letter directly to Stanley. Apparently he has been writing the folks back home that he will be sent overseas soon. Anna addresses the issue “Stan, I hate that phrase – if I go across. Jeepers, I am praying for you and you yourself pray harder in that intention that you won’t have to go. Mama is so worried about you boys… I told her not to worry but keep on praying and have faith in God. Look at Eddie Murawski he was on the Solomons during the biggest fighting and shooting and he survived and I know that you boys will also come home safely. But a mother is a mother and she will always worry about her kids until her dying day.”
Anna also mentions that they received Stanley’s additional $5,000 insurance policy which he took out in preparation of his deployment overseas. She writes about Mama’s reaction. “Mam said to me ‘Na co on tyle insurance nabral?’ (why did he take out so much insurance?) I said that if something happened to you she would get rich quick. I was only fooling but mama said “Ja niechce tego rich tylko zeby on przyszedl du domu jak najpredzej.’ (I’d rather not be rich if he could come home as soon as possible.) She don’t know that there is a possibility that you boys can get married and still she won’t have you.”
As usual with letters from home, a good amount of the letter is dedicated to getting the boys up to speed with the latest on their little cousin Theresa. She has been walking on her own for some time and “gets around for herself. Now we put her on mama’s bed and put chairs around the bed so that she don’t roll off the bed and she plays on it practically all day turning and rolling. …Terry knows how to get up on her knees and looks out over the tops of the chairs and twitters like a bird.”
Anna also makes mention that children’s toys for the baby are getting harder to find and that substitutions need to be made. She goes as far as to write “Mama bought her a corn cob pipe and she loves it. You can’t get many toys for children in stores that are any good… I understand that no more toys will be manufactured for the duration of the war… There are several things – wooden ones – that mama bought for her and she loves them” This is consistent with some articles that I’ve found online that make mention of supplies of metal, rubber and other materials being dedicated to the war effort leaving toy manufacturers to produce toys out of wood and heavy grade cardboard. In a like vein, some toy manufacturers converted their production lines to making items that were needed by the military.
Anna turns to the latest news and comments “The news that Italy surrenders unconditionally sure felt good. The news reporter on the radio repeated it over six times… but still the allies won’t get it so easily because the Germans hold the central and northern part of Italy and it is rumored that Hitler told his Nazis to fight to the last man.”
In local news, Anna reports “We had that rain storm on Labor Day and all those lower streets below Pearl Street were flooded with water from curb to curb. … We also had a train wreck this week outside of Syracuse, I think. The 20th Century train was the one which was wrecked. Many people were killed and many more were injured.” While I was unable to find any historical reports of a crash of the 20th Century Limited, I was able to find accounts of an August 30, 1943 train crash in Wayland, NY (about 98 miles southwest of Syracuse) which killed 28 and injured 110 people. This may have been the accident to which Anna was referring.