May 19, 1943. A couple of letters from home. One is from Anna and one is from Stanley who is home on furlough. This is the first letter that Anna writes while Stanley is home. She writes, “We are the same and so is Stanley. It seems funny to include him in our letter because we have already become accustomed to being alone and a new member in the family seems different and as Stanley says he felt like a stranger. When he came he just plunked his stuff in the middle of the floor and stood with his cap an on talked and didn’t even sit down so I said to him, ‘Take off your cap and stay a while.’ We were prepared for only a two day furlough but we were very pleasantly surprised when he told us he was going to stay all week.”
When Stanley got home he was a little worse for wear given the cross county journey by train and arriving at the house at quarter to five in the morning. Anna writes that he had “a film of soot” and “a little beard on his face.” After a hot bath, Stanley was in bed by 6. It sure beat Army accommodations as Anna relates “Stanley said that our bed at home was leisure compared to the bumpy one that he has to sleep on at camp.” After three and a half hours Anna went to wake him for Mass. “He jumped up and his eyes opened wide and bulged out but you could tell that they were blank and he couldn’t see anything. They were bloodshot too from lack of sleep and rest. I said to him ‘Wake up. Do you want to go to Mass?’ Still he didn’t know where he was and said, ‘My mother woke me up already.’ Poor Stanley, I felt sorry for him. He was so tired.”
Even so, she writes, “It seems good to have the little corporal home again and we are wishing that he didn’t have to go back. Now we will look forward to seeing you.”
The weather is getting warmer and everything is coming into bloom. Anna reports, “All the flowers on the yard are big and the trees have pretty big leaves on them… Our cherry tree, and plum and apple trees and all the little trees that you might remember have flowers on them. They all look so nice after a whole winter of frost and snow and cold.” They have even managed to plant some tomatoes, celery and other vegetables in the garden.
Anna reacts to the news of the WAACs moving in on Dad’s base at Smoky Hill. Like many at the time, she finds it hard to accept a role for women in the military. She comments that “the WAAC is a lot of hooey. War is meant to be dealt with by men and women were meant to be home and take care of the home and babies and never mind being in the army.”
Anna responds to the question that Dad rose in an earlier letter concerning the amount of insurance coverage he should buy. Anna tells Dad that it is really his decision but that $10,000 in coverage “is not absolutely necessary” unless “the put the pressure on” and “there is no other way out but to take it.”
In Stanley’s letter he says that he spent some time helping out getting a few things out of the cellar and doing a bit of work in the garden. He writes that “the day is nice and warm” and also reports that the trees are starting to blossom. Perhaps the best news he has, especially after his first day home, was that he slept until quarter to twelve.
He is getting to spend some time with his niece, Theresa-Marie. He tells the following story about his singing to the baby:
Stanley writes that the night before he went to church for May devotion. After the services he went with the choir to their rehearsal and then after rehearsal they “went to the Boulevard Cafeteria and had a cup of coffee and pastry and gossiped all evening there until about twelve.” He finally got home at about 12:30.
He passes along the news that mama is feeling better after having some teeth pulled “and that she does not complain of stiffness in the side of her face like she used to complain before.” He also relays that their father “is doing okay and is in good health.” Stanley also mentions that he is using the opportunity of the trip home to unload a few things that he has been carrying around from base to base, including his camera and a few books. He says that if the camera was “one of those folding types” it would not be “in the way”.
He mentions that before leaving for furlough he was on the firing range to practice with a few different rifles; the 22, the Thompson submachine gun and the Springfield 30-30 with which he shot four bulls eyes. He also comments on news from the front that “It was sure good to hear about the dams being bombed… The constant bombing 24 hours a day will sure leave Germany…a mass of wreckage. They may be getting weaker and weaker right now but still you can’t count on that. The Germans are always up to something. The next few months will tell everything. The war can’t last much longer with all the damage being done to the enemy.”
Stanley expects to start his travel back “Sunday morning at 12:40 AM and the train should arrive at Ephrata Wednesday at 9:50 PM.” He wraps up his letter with the thought that “We all think of you here at home and hope that you may have the opportunity of getting home soon also. Your turn will yet come so don’t worry too much but keep your eyes and ears open… I do hope this war ends soon so we may both spend our lives together here.” He signs off (with a little help from the baby) with the following: