December 8 and 13, 1943. A pair of letters from the family back home in Albany. The 8th is a Holy Day of Obligation (The Feast of the Immaculate Conception). Anna and Eddie are up early and go to 5:30 Mass. With Christmas coming up, there is discussion about the different priests in the parish and plenty of preparations to be done. They continue to cook their way through the pig that Eddie got from his farmer friend and Mama makes some homemade sauerkraut. Of course, there is more news about the baby and her latest antics and Eddie had been busy doing some Christmas shopping for the baby. Finally, Anna reports on all the local service people she has seen the past Sunday in church.
Anna writes that they made a traditional Polish delicacy. “Mama made…three big dishes of galareta…and boy we ate galartea until it almost came out of our ears. It was a long time since we had it and I wish that we could send you some because you used to love it. Well, the next time you get your furlough, remind us and we can buy the [pigs] feet in the store because they are ration free now, and no points are required to buy them – ain’t that good.”
Anna even mentions how her husband Eddie was involved in the process. “…you should see how Eddie was worried about the galareta when mama was boiling it. He kept on looking into the pot and he was asking me how much of it we would have. That was the first time he ever worried about food. Evidently he missed it too.” Anna writes that “Mama has made some sauerkraut herself because you can’t buy any in cans and it is just as bad to buy it fresh by pounds. We are expecting to eat it soon…”
Anna shares her observations about how the priests at the church handle confession differently. “…Rev. Micek is so quiet in the confessional box and he doesn’t broadcast your sins like Fr. Batkiewicz used to do. One would yell at the people from the pulpit and the other in the confessional box. …I didn’t go to the young priest to confession yet and in the future as long as he don’t broadcast everything you tell him I might just as well go to our church.”
As the 13th rolls around, Anna acknowledges that they received the money order that Dad sent for them to buy gifts in lieu of him shopping and shipping presents “…for which we thank you very much but as you know you didn’t have to do that…” She also writes that she sent two V-Mails to their brother Stanley. “…I have so much to say and the V-Mail paper doesn’t give you much space to write it on.”
While on the subject of sending letters to Stanley she says she read in one of Stanley’s letters that Dad sent home “where he says that he keeps on re-reading the letters which he receives. It makes me feel awful funny and poor mama had tears in her eyes. I know just how he feels so far away from home… Crying never does much good – it’s what you do that counts and when I read that part of Stanley’s letter I knew that I was doing the best possible and that he would have more letters to read in the future from us and that he will know we didn’t forget him. I feel sorry for the poor fellows who just don’t ever get any mail.”
Preparations for Christmas continue as Eddie does some toy shopping and gets some “cute little gadgets” for the baby. “One is something on wheels and a string attached that she can pull around…and it makes a noise…. Another is a cat which stands upright when you push him along he claps his two front paws together and makes a noise. …I know that she will love them.” Eddie also bought a rag doll for the baby.
Eddie took Anna shopping for a new dress, too. They “went to a lot of stores downtown but finally ended up on the Avenue… Eddie picked it out and he likes it on me very much so we bought it. He paid fifteen bucks for it like nothing. When I go myself I look at the prices on the tags. …I guess when a guy thinks a lot of his wife he just don’t skimp. I do appreciate it and I wouldn’t trade him for a newer or better model.”
The baby continues to delight the family. “Today mama was playing with her and she taught her how to send us kisses. She puts her little palm to her mouth and takes it away and smiles so hard when you do it back to her. Mama let her look out through the frontroom window and told her to send the children outside kisses and she did. She had to stand up on her tip toe[s] to see out but she likes it.”
The baby’s language skills continue to improve in a very important way. “Baby Terry knows how to say Cookie. When she wants one she comes around and pulls us by the skirts and says “Kaka Kaka” which she means as cookie. She certainly makes herself understood…”
Before signing off, Anna writes that there were a lot of servicemen in church the past Sunday. She gives a rundown and we get a pretty good feeling that young people from all of Albany’s families were called to serve. “First Frankie Raszkowski, that younger Baranski who was in school with Stanley. Zylka who is in the Navy and married to the Frodyma girl. Joseph Kowalski who was in Africa and his younger brother who is in the Navy, Ziggy Danielczyk the one whose sister was in Stanley’s grade. Anna Baldowski and Judith Witkowska who is in the Wacs and Winnowski who is a Sergeant. Oh yes, Reginka was there also with her Wilk…”