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Mama Just Isn’t the Same Now

Posted by on August 15, 2015

November 9th and 12th 1943. Two letters from Anna. The word has hit home that Stanley has been shipped overseas, the baby finally gets the playpen that Eddie’s parents were hoping to buy for her, there is a new tenant in the house on Second Street and they took the baby with them to visit friends who own a farm. On top of all of that, Anna has a question for her brother about his old boss that is now back in the office.

Anna tells Dad that now that Stanley has gone overseas, she is writing to him on V-Mail paper.  She laments that because of the size of the form “…you can’t write much to him on it. Maybe in the future I will write to him on plain paper and take a chance on his receiving it.” Anna mentions that letters sent to their cousin Eddie Morawski, who was fighting in the Pacific Theater, “for some reason or another weren’t always forward to him.” For that reason, Anna hopes that the letters written on regular stationery make it to Stanley.

While Anna is worried about standard correspondence getting to Stanley now that he is overseas, mama is worried about much more. Anna writes, “Poor mama, she just isn’t the same now. Things were bad enough when he was still here, but when we received the notice from the embarkation point the bottom just dropped out of mam’s life and she just isn’t the same. Don’t mention it home in your next letter that I wrote that because she wouldn’t want…to know that I wrote that to you just like you don’t want her to know certain things which you keep under your hat.”

Mama has given herself enough to worry about, but when there is bad news in the paper she seems to worry even more. As Anna writes, “Jeepers, this week a ship was sunk and poor mama almost went nuts. I had to read the paper over and reassure her that he wasn’t on that one. Every time something happens she seems to die a thousand deaths…  Everything happens just when Stanley is riding the waves… Sometimes a fear grips me but I don’t say anything but keep it to myself.” With over 1500 merchant marine ships and over 700 US Navy ships sunk during WWII, there is little wonder that the family was concerned about Stanley’s overseas deployment.

On a brighter side, the baby got a belated birthday gift from Eddie’s parents “a baby pen and Terry loves it… She has a terrific time in it and walks all around it and plays with the beads on one side of the pen. She even picked up the mattress off the floor part of it and looked [to see] what was underneath it. I almost got into the pen myself because Terry looked so happy and satisfied…”

Anna writes that the past Sunday they went “down to the farm” and “took Terry with us and all the supplies that go with her…” Anna writes that the baby enjoyed the trip and tells of a few incidents. “When Mary would tell us some joke…we would laugh out loud and Terry would join us with her laughing. That would make us laugh all the more.” Thay also have a St. Bernard by the name of Pal on the farm. “…Pal was afraid of Terry and stayed under the table and watched her… Terry wasn’t afraid of him until…he crawled from under the table and the two of them stood looking at each other eye to eye and then he started to follow her and she started to yell.” Later on things calmed down. “We took Terry… outside in the carriage and she fell asleep… Every once in a while he [Pal] would…put his big nose …on the carriage cover and smell into the carriage. He tried to figure out what the heck we were wheeling…”

Anna is already thinking about Christmas and has asks Dad if he can get a furlough to come home then. She makes her case, “…you are a Sergeant and I was hoping that would entitle you to some better privileges… Unless you should be sent overseas do you suppose you could come home? The house is empty now and for Christmas it will be worse and I know mama would feel much better if at least one of you were home. I told mama not to bother with the Oplatek because you should remember what happened last year at Christmas Eve when we sat down to eat supper. Besides, you are entitled to two furloughs a year and you had one so far any maybe you could have the other one at Christmas.

In other news:

  • A neighbor across the street who is a policeman with three kids was classified 1-A for the draft, meaning the he is qualified for unrestricted service. As Anna notes, “It looks like the promise for drafting fathers is made good.”
  • The basement of the house on Second Street has been rented to a young fellow who just entered the Army. His wife and two children will be moving in. Anna writes, “His name is Niedoroszczyk but he calls himself Nodoroski for short and he seems to be a nice fellow.”

Anna has a question for Dad that she addresses as a handwritten note at the bottom of the letter. As you may recall from Dad’s last letter home, his old boss is coming back and he and the rest of the enlisted men in the office are not too happy about it. As a matter of fact, they were never too crazy about the guy before. Anna asks him to clarify one thing concerning something he wrote about his old boss. She asks, “What do you mean by brown-nosing?”

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