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Crazy About Berry Picking

Posted by on April 25, 2016

July 24 and 29, 1944: Anna writes two letters to her brothers, Anthony who is at Topeka Army Air Base and Stanley who is at Deenthorpe, England.

Anna recaps the weekend, the highlight of which was a picnic at Helderberg Mountain where they grilled pork chops, and picked some red raspberries to bring home. Little Terry seems to have had a reaction to an insect bite and her left eye looked like “a slit” but by the morning it was “better but the eye looks more normal.”

Anna and Eddie got out the drive-in once more to see a few movies.  They saw Give Out, Sisters which starred the Andrews Sisters, and Shadow of a Doubt which starred Joseph Cotton. She writes that Shadow of a Doubt was “…a drama, a very sober and deep one that was based on a murder story and was very good.” Of Joseph Cotton, Anna writes, he is “…the kind of man I like, tall slim and handsome.” She writes that she mentioned that to Eddie and asked …why don’t he get that way.” She reports that “Eddie had to laugh,” and that he said, “…that he is tall but he hasn’t the other qualities…”

Screen grab of Joseph Cotton from the trailer for 1943 film Shadow of a Doubt which was directed by Alfred Hitchcock.

Screen grab of Joseph Cotton from the trailer for the 1943 film Shadow of a Doubt which was directed by Alfred Hitchcock.

Of course, no letter from home would be complete without something about Little Terry’s antics. Anna writes that she was “getting ready to go out on the Avenue” when Terry, “…comes to me and says ‘Baby going out mommy?’ What could I do when she said that? Anyway, you have an idea that she talks nowadays from what she said and it is practically a sentence. Anyway, we went out on the Avenue… Baby Terry came back with two picture books which I bought for her. Gee you should have seen how excited she got at the toy counter and she kept on running back and forth and looking at this and at that only she can’t quite reach the counter to look at the things on it. …anyway, when we came home granddaddy and Terry had a good time looking at all the colored animals and chickens and she was telling daddy all about it.”

Anna writes that on Wednesday night they were walking back “down Central Avenue” from the park when “…two bombs shot off and we all got scared but then people started to run and I remembered that it was a blackout. I didn’t recognize it because it sounds different when you are at home. Anyway, we started to run too and the baby was so delighted that she squealed with delight and she thought that it was so nice that we were running so fast. We got home just as the streetlights were going off…” She continues that after they put Terry to bed, “Eddie and I went out on the stairs and waited for it to end and it lasted only ten minutes.”

As far as news about friends from home, Joe Miller is home for eight days. Anna and Eddie visited with him and his wife, Mary. Joe says that “…when he’ll go back he will go for combat duty in the South Pacific” and that “…now the war will end quicker because he will be in it and he says that when he comes back he will be a hero and have medals pinned [all] over him.”

Eddie Falkowski is also home on furlough. “Eddie flew a plane all the way from his base to the Troy Airport… Before he came home he flew over the farm waving to them and swooping low and they could see him in the plane. He was supposed to go to combat after his last visit home and now he shows up again and this time he is gone for sure so they tell me.”

On a more sobering note, Ann relays news about a soldier, “…that lives around the corner from us on Lexington Avenue…” who was home on furlough and committed suicide because he “…had some trouble with his wife…I think she didn’t want him and that made him do it.” Anna mentions that she was talking to the upstairs neighbor who was speaking with the soldier’s mother “the day before and she was glad that her son was coming home and her happiness didn’t last long.”

In other news:

  • Regina Wilk, who is back in Albany while her husband is deployed overseas, has had a baby boy.
  • Josek Serwanski, who is home on furlough, was in a car accident on Broadway and fractured his skull. He is in serious condition.

Before closing Anna addresses Stanley, thanking him for keeping up the letter writing and noting, “Stanley, you told us that you found blackberry bushes over there. Well, we will send mama over to you so she can help you pick them. She is crazy about berry picking.”

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