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All the Young Men are Away

Posted by on July 27, 2014

May 25 & 28, 1943. Two letters from Anna to Dad and Stanley. She opens the letter of the 25th, “Today Theresa-Marie is seven months old. Please excuse me for putting that first but it is important when the baby is another month old.” Anna also reports that “I think the baby will get a few teeth because she has a fever and is restless and refuses to sleep practically the whole day”.

She asks if Stanley had made it back to Ephrata safely and if he took a sleeper car. She also thanks Dad for having sent so many letters in the past week.

She tells Dad that Stanley left after his furlough on Saturday night at 9:30. She notes that “we looked forward to that week when Stanley was going to come home and when he did we were so happy. I figured a whole week would be a long time but we were all fooled – it just flew by and we are all alone again and if it weren’t for the baby it would be pretty dull.”

She comments, “I am kind of glad that he went away in the evening because overnight it would be easier to forget a little. When you boys went away in the morning we just couldn’t forget the emptiness all day long and for many days to come.” Anna also relays that they took the baby with them to the train station to see Stanley off. She reports that the baby was not afraid of the noise and “liked the big red lights…on the back of the train. She was looking around with such big eyes that I was laughing and crying at the same time.” She also comments that there were a lot of soldiers and sailors on the train and that when they were by the train with the baby they “sure had an audience.”

Joe Miller left for the Navy at 1:00 the 25th. Apparently all of the new recruits were bussed out of town from in front of the post office. Anna reports that Joe’s wife Mary was too upset to see her husband off and that “Mary cried all night.”  Anna also writes, “Poor Joe felt very bad and so did I when he went away. He was just an acquaintance but I felt sorry for him too. He came over to say good-bye to us and when he was going away he had tears in his eyes but I kissed him and wished him luck also because he also wants to come home alive like everyone else.”  Elsewhere in the letter Anna notes, “All the young men are away and the streets are quiet and quite empty now.”

In other hometown news:

  • The gas ban is back on and Eddie can’t go fishing because nobody wants to “take any chances” doing any unnecessary driving. Rumors are that “they will be even stricter than before.”
  • The Johnsons across the street have planted a victory garden (complete with two scarecrows) in the vacant lot next to their house. Anna doesn’t think the scarecrows will chase any of the “rough kids” away.
  • The upcoming Sunday is Decoration Day, but it will be celebrated on Monday. Decoration Day was the precursor to Memorial Day and was celebrated on May 30th of each year.

Well that’s about it, or as Anna writes, “things are getting monotonous on the Eastern front”.

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