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It Can Happen to Our Family Too

Posted by on May 22, 2016

July 31 and August 4, 1944: Anna writes two letters from the home front in Albany, NY to her brothers.  Anna begins the letter hoping that Dad will get another furlough since it has been six months since his last one. She also expresses hopes that since Stanley’s “year will be up over there we will begin to look forward to seeing you and maybe if we pray hard enough the Lord will answer our prayers and you will be shipped back to the states to ease our mind.”

Anna writes about a trip that they took to “Louis Gorski’s camp on Saratoga Lake” where “it was nice and sunny out but quite windy on the lake.”  At the camp they had “…two little boats just big enough for a child to sit in it and it had a sail on it so that the wind would blow it along and we put Terry in it and dragged her through the water with a rope and she enjoyed it…”  

Mr Gorski, who Anna mentions is an undertaker, is doing pretty well – at least judging by the house at the camp. As Anna describes it, “…it has five bedrooms upstairs… Downstairs they have a front and back porch a parlor and dining room and bath with sink and toilet and the bathroom is done in tiles. The kitchen has a Frigidaire…and it is just like a regular house not like a camp.” Anna also details that the property “also includes a two car garage and attached to the garage are two rooms used…to change when you go swimming.”

Little Terry continues to amuse. Anna writes that they bought her a training seat for the potty that “has little ducks painted on it and Terry likes them.” Terry has taken to putting “all her dolls on it to make ‘PP’. It looks so comical when she puts the doll on and tells her to make ‘SH SH’.”

Terry has an addition to her collection as Eddie bought her “…a black bear with a white stomach and his name is ‘Blackie’.”  Anna goes on, “I thought that Terry wouldn’t like him but…she did…and takes him to bed too. He is so soft, maybe that’s why she likes him.”

Eddie also bought her a carriage for her dolls. “It is navy blue and made out of wood and even the wheels are made out of wood. The carriage sounds like a mack truck when she rides it over the floor on account of the wooden wheels. She puts her family into it and wheels them around.” Anna reflects on all that they have provided for their child and jokes, “…Terry is having more than we ever had when we were kids but one thing she hasn’t is a brother or sister and one of these days she will ask for one and maybe then we will buy one.”  

The letter of August 4 is on a more somber note as Anna relays the news that “…our cousin Josephine Weiss, or should I say Mrs. Henry Duncan is a widow and no longer a Mrs. Her husband was wounded in France during the invasion and died in the hospital on July 9, 1944. …I know Josephine must be heartbroken but what woman wouldn’t be if she loved her husband. They have my deepest regrets and sympathies. When it strikes so near home then it has a much bigger effect on us. Before it was just other soldiers dying but now it can happen to our side of the family too.”

Their aunt (Josephine’s mother) came over to break the news to Anna and the family. Anna continues on the topic, writing that Josephine’s mother told her that “…he wrote a letter to them when he was in the hospital and he wrote specifically…to take care of Josephine his darling and sweetheart. He must have known that he was going. However they have no details on the cause of death and probably will never find out. They don’t give you much information during wartime but make it straight and to the point. Poor Josephine…time helps to forget but sometimes it takes years…”  

For the record, Henry A Duncan is buried in the Normandy American Cemetery in Colleville-sur-Mer, France along with 9,386 other fallen American Soldiers. The record of his burial can be found here.

In other news about another cousin, Eddie Morawski (who as you recall was just married) is in the hospital in St. Albans, Long Island. When he was home for the wedding he had “a big bump the size of an apple on his wrist and he said that when he got back to the hospital they would take care of it. It was a piece of shrapnel which they took out.” Anna expects that because of the injury, cousin Eddie “…will never be shipped to active duty again…”


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