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It Almost Seems an Eternity

Posted by on July 15, 2016

September 12 and 15, 1944. Anna writes two letters to her brothers; Anthony, who is at Topeka Army Air Base and due home on furlough shortly, and Stanley, who is in England. The baby was sick for a few days but “she is feeling better. Also she is starting to eat better.” However, since the baby has gotten better Anna complains, “I am starting to feel like I am coning down with a cold. Nose and throat are feeling raw and it will probably turn out to be like Terry’s. Eddie says he is feeling that way too. Imagine catching a cold from a baby.”  

Eddie’s brother Billy is home on furlough, so the Lubinski brothers went fishing, coming home at about ten o’clock. The haul included “two pickerel…perches…and a whole flock of sun fish.” As Anna comments, “You can always count on the good old reliable sun fish because you always get them.”

Now that summer is over, it is canning time at the Murawski house. Anna details that, “Mama bought a whole bushel of pickles and she pickled them. Mama always makes them so good that they surpass the ones Eddie’s mother makes. Mama also canned many jars of tomatoes. I think that pickles and tomatoes are the only things that are of any good…when canned. Mama made some pickles in the crock so that we can eat them soon and when Anthony comes home he will be in time for them. I wish we could send you some Stanley, because I know you would like them…”

Anna notes that another Albany, NY winter is fast approaching, and “…the leaves are tuning yellow and some have already fallen and for some reason I don’t feel sorry to see the leaves fall. …The air feels fresh and is very relaxing and it makes you glad to be alive. Pretty soon it will be getting cold out and then snow again.”

Anna writes that she bought little Terry a winter outfit. “It consists of three pieces, coat, hat and leggings. It is light blue. …It cost $19.95. Maybe it is a steep price to pay for a child’s outfit but it was so cute and sweet that I couldn’t resist it. Now all we need is cold weather so she can wear it.”

As the 15th comes around, the family is expecting Dad home on furlough the next day. It seems that he will have just missed a major weather event. On the heels of an earthquake in upstate New York, “…a hurricane swept up the whole eastern coast of the United States and even touched New York City. …warning signs had been issued all over the radio to beware and all kind of rescue squads were ready if necessary. Although it missed our fair city of Albany, we too prepared…in case of need. We only got some hard rain and a little wind last night when the hurricane was howling around.” This event is often referred to as the Great Atlantic Hurricane. Being inland, Albany was spared, but the storm left a trail of devastation ranging from the Caribbean to Massachusetts.

In addition to its impact on the East Coast, the Great Atlantic Hurricane of 1944 was responsible for the sinking of the U. S.S. Warrington and the loss of 248 sailors on the ship. The storm hit the Warrington while it was a category 4 storm off the coast of Vero Beach Florida. While it may be a stretch to draw a coincidence, it so happens that after the War, Dad moved away from Albany, married, and raised myself and my three brothers in Warrington, PA, a suburb of Philadelphia, PA. To be clear, the ship was named for Lewis Warrington, who was a naval officer during the War of 1812 and a former Secretary of the Navy, while the town of Warrington, PA was founded in 1734 and named for the town of Warrington in Cheshire, England. I find it worth noting nonetheless.

As far as Dad’s furlough, Anna is looking forward to “a visit from such an important guest.” As she wraps up the letter she does so with a great deal of hope for better times and plans to move into the upstairs flat after the tenants vacate at the end of the month . “Well, the war is coming along pretty good and it can’t be too long when things will take a…turn for the best. How long it seems that everyone has been waiting for the war to end. It almost seems an eternity but other worse things have ended and so will this. The next time either of you boys come home we will be having our own place and you will be coming to visit us too… We saved that money for so long and now we will throw it away practically for all those things we will need and there will be plenty of them.”

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