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Everything Happens to Us

Posted by on April 17, 2017

July 7, 1945. Both Stanley and Anna write letters to Dad. For purposes of storytelling, I’ll be blending the two. Anna begins that “We are the same and everything is the same. I am still home and still no sign of the little guy…Terry is out in the yard in the sunshine…and I am watching her and writing you a brief note as well. Everybody is worrying about me because I am still home and the doctor says I am holding up his vacation but so what. He can have a better time later when he gets paid.”

Anna goes on to lament that even though she is happy to have her brother home, she might have to “spend useless days in the hospital” before and after the baby comes. She hopes the baby comes before Stanley’s thirty days are up so he can be the godfather, but “at the rate things are going now it don’t look like the baby wants to be born – shucks, I don’t blame him not wanting to come into this world of war and black markets and ration points.”

She writes that Stanley is out running a few errands, specifically, “…to get Eddie’s six packs of cigarettes, the ones he is entitled to [every] week. He also got Eddie’s 30 gallons extra of gasoline and all his allotment of all kinds off ration points” In Stanley’s letter he further specifies that he bought some “things I could  not have over in England,”  t-shirts, which “are as scarce on the market as hens teeth” and “a pair of moccasins that will come in very handy.”

Stanley also writes of stopping in to a liquor store to buy a few bottles of wine. While there, the owner gave him a bottle of Four Roses Whiskey in an act of what we would nowadays call “paying it forward”. As Stanley tells it, “He has a son in the engineers in France and I figure he knows how it is when his son would come home… When I went to the liquor store I asked him if everything was rationed in the liquor business and he said no. I said that’s funny, everything I about touch is. So I asked him what ever happened to the good liquor like Four Roses, Calverts and Wilson. He said would you like a bottle of Four Roses and I said you bet. Of course no one was in the store. He said seeing you are a GI, I have some in the back. …So far the people have been pretty good to me here in Albany.”

A wartime advertisement for Four Roses Whiskey.

Stanley goes on to note how things have changed and what has stayed the same around the house. “Mom is the same old mom and still has her own ways and characteristics… Pop is the same pop he was but his hair is much more whiter and he seems to have gained a bit of weight. Ed hasn’t changed a bit. Anne has changed as she is fat right now and you know what I mean. As yet you are not an uncle but you probably will be in the not too distant future.”

When he is home, Stanley manages to get some time in with his niece, as Anna writes, “Baby Terry still calls Stanley Uncle Anthony. I guess Stanley and Anthony sound so much alike to her…Stanley sure gets a kick out of Terry and the things she does and says.” From Stanley’s perspective, “Terry sure has grown a lot since the last time I saw her. She was only seven months old…She can now speak English and Polish She is pretty smart in her own little way.”

Stanley goes on to write more about Terry. “She is always full of mischief… Just today it got…quiet in the house and mom said to me to see where Terry is so I went to the front room and she was not there. So I heard a faint thump down the front stairs… By the time I was half way down the hall stairs, she opened the door and when I yelled she must have got scared and slammed the door and sat down and was laughing to beat the band.”  

He goes on to tell of another incident, “The other day she insisted on kicking me in the shins. Anne told her to go to Uncle Stanley and kiss him and hug him and tell him you are sorry and you did not mean to do it. So she runs over to me and gives me a big hug and started to kiss me and told me she was so very sorry. What a kid.”

Before wrapping up his letter, Stanley assesses the current situation regarding his and his brother’s circumstances. “I figured that by the time I came home that you will still be here in the states and that I would have taken a trip to see you but it seems as if everything happens to us. We always seem to get separated just like that. Well, brother, I’ll probably see you yet either over there or here in the states. I hope that by the time I get ready to go over again that the war is over.”

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