October 26 & 28, 1943. Anna writes two letters to the boys from home. On the 26th she is celebrating her 24th birthday and the baby’s first, and on the 28th she marks the fourth anniversary of her marriage to Eddie. She also notes that the upcoming Monday (Nov. 1st) is mama’s birthday. As is often the case on birthdays and anniversaries, there is a fair amount of reminiscing in these letters sprinkled in with the news from home. Anna also takes the occasion of the baby’s first birthday to comment on the changes she has seen over the past year.
Anna wastes no time getting to the point of things in her letter of the 26th beginning, “We are the same as before only Terry is a year old and I am AHEM getting old 24. I used to love to be 18 or 19 but when it starts going toward the 30 year side I don’t like that. We didn’t do much only went bowling with Billy and Mary to the Playdium. …Poor Terry wanted to come with us when she saw that we had our coats on and were going out and we felt like a couple of sneak thieves going out and leaving her home on her birthday. I felt sick practically and it took the heart out of me and I wasn’t interested in much. Today I am not going out and I am with the baby and I feel better because I am not deserting her.”
Anna tells Dad that they received a money order that he sent home as well as the birthday card that he sent for Anna and the baby. “It was very pretty. Yesterday daddy and Terry were playing and daddy noticed the card standing on mama’s dresser …he showed it to Terry and immediately she picked it up and held it in her tiny hands and was looking it over and talking in her language.”
Anna runs down the list of birthday presents. As you might expect, even though they share a birthday, the baby made out better than her mother. Anna got $10 from Eddie, two green bedroom lamps from Billy, a fringed white kerchief from Rita and Gene and a promise from Eddie’s folks that they will have something for her at their house when they come to visit on Sunday. They baby got $5 from Eddie, a partitioned plate from Billy and Mary that has a compartment in the bottom that you can fill with hot water to keep it warm, a little dress from Mary Miller (Joe Miller’s wife), and a dress from Rita and Gene. Eddie’s mom still expects to get a playpen for the baby, even though they are “as scarce as hen’s teeth”.
Anna updates her brothers on the baby’s progress. “Terry walks good now. She is still afraid to go by herself but all you had to do is take her by one hand and she walks with you like an old veteran, I’m almost ready to go for a hike with her she is so good.” Terry has also becomes a little more complacent when left alone, up to a point. “She doesn’t mind being tucked into her snuggle-ducky” and when she wakes in the morning or from a nap “will lay there for about an hour without making any noise and then if no one comes she starts to whimper and then if that does not bring any results she starts to cry but by that time someone takes care of her.”
Anna continues, “Now when I think back to the time Terry was born it doesn’t seem possible that only a year ago she was so weak and so helpless because now she is so full of vim and pep. …by the time we have snow she will be big enough to walk by herself and I told daddy that when snow falls I will shovel the walks with Terry and daddy said good that he wont have to do it by himself.”
As the 28th comes around Anna notes, “Today is my fourth anniversary of wedded life… Eddie says that he is the happiest man on this earth to have such a wonderful big and little shrimpy. Well, I am also glad that I have a pretty good hunk of a man for a husband and a lively shrimpy too.”
As with many of Anna’s other letters, the topic soon turns to the baby; her daily antics and her walking around the house. It looks like the baby is making a transition to solid foods too. “Today when we were eating supper well she kept on watching us so Eddie gave her some fried frankfurters and boy did she go after them. He held the hot dog to her mouth and she kept on biting and chewing with her four little teeth. I gave her a frankfurter roll with butter on it and she ate the whole thing biting off little pieces. She also eats apples now. …she bites on it till she makes a hole and starts to eat it… At least she found out what her teeth are for.”
Anna mentions that mama’s birthday is coming up on November 1st and that she has arranged for a Mass to be offered for her. Anna suggests the same to her brothers. “…if you can and when you receive this letter…offer up a Mass for mama and Holy Communion if you can and tell her about it in your next letter home and she will be just as glad as if she received a big present from you.”
In other news:
- On October 26th they had a daytime air alert drill at 2:30 in the afternoon.
- Eddie went hunting and came home with a rabbit and four pigeons.
- The days are overcast and all the leaves have fallen form the trees.
Anna provides another tableau of life in the house on Orange Avenue and transitions into how they have been managing with the meat shortage. “…the baby is sleeping and it is 9:00 PM. Eddie is down in the cellar skinning the rabbit ant the pigeons. I am writing this letter…and mama is cleaning the chickens which Eddie brings home every week from a guy who works with him and has a whole flock of chickens. The chickens do help a lot in the meat shortage. It is kind of hard to buy chickens in the store…and we are lucky to have this guy Larry bring them for us. Now we have a lot of chicken soup and we just love it and even the baby likes it.”
Anna closes with “Jeepers, I would like to write more news to you boys but I am at a loss for words. Very many things do not happen in our neighborhoods I guess I will close this letter for now…”