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Scare Her if You Can

Posted by on September 7, 2015

December 26 and 29, 1943. A pair of letters from home. Dad gets debriefed on Christmas in Albany while the boys are away in the Army, including a rundown of some of the presents that everyone got. Anna fills Dad in on some of the hoops they have to jump through to send even the barest of necessities to their brother in England and she updates him on news about one of their cousins who has been fighting in the Southwest Pacific. As usual, Anna also updates her brother on the latest news about the baby including her efforts at potty training.

As far as celebrating Christmas, Anna writes, “Well, we didn’t have a Merry Christmas, but it was Okay as you would say. Mama and Daddy went to Midnight Mass and we went Christmas Day for 9:30 Mass. Our tree is in the bay window and it turned out very pretty. Eddie bought an additional set of lights so it makes five and the tree does look nice with more lights on it. The only trouble is that you can’t buy spare lights in the store.” Of course, whether lights for the tree are easy to come by or not does not matter to the baby, who “loves to look at it and when it is all lit up she…smiles so hard and keeps on looking at us with such pleasure.”

As far as presents, Eddie got all kinds of stuff from guys whose cars he works on including “a crate of oranges, and a bushel basket of vegetables and grapefruit. …a bottle of liquor…cigarettes and ties…” His boss gave him a $50.00 War Bond. Those closer to him gave him even more practical gifts like socks, gloves, shirts and a scarf. The baby got mostly clothes and toys and “a homely cloth doll…I thought she wouldn’t want for sure but that is the very one she carries continuously all day long around the house and she hugs and kisses no matter how dirty it is…”

Anna got some clothes (the dress from Eddie, a slip from mama, and a sweater from Mary) as well as a silver set from Eddie’s parents and a sachet from Rita and Gene. She describes the sachet as “…a purple ball with a faint odor of perfume on it and you put it in the dresser and it makes your clothes smell dainty. I call it the smelly ball.”

Mary (Joe Miller’s wife) and Stryja (Uncle) Bolek Morawski came over to visit on Christmas. Their uncle “…told us about [cousin] Eddie and from the description he gave us we know that he is in New Guinea where all the veteran Marine fighters from the Guadalcanal War Theater are fighting. I hope that he survives all that hell to come back home to his family. He lived through it once and you’d think that they would send him home to visit, but no, and he is in the jungles again. …Well, when he enlisted he asked for action and boy he certainly is getting it…”  

Anna writes that they “received Greetings from Stanley all the way from England. They came the day after Christmas but we welcome them anyway.” Anna mentions that in his latest letter, Stanley asked for socks, “…so mama bought him a half a dozen and we send them tomorrow and the guy at the Post Office said that they would send them as long as Stanley wanted them…and we have to have the letter with us to show them at the Post Office. …Mama also wanted to send underwear and what not but I told her that the guy said we could only send what he asked for and no other stuff. But you know mama, she always wants to do things her way…”

While Dad is fighting the “Battle of Topeka” Anna is fighting the “Battle of to pee-pee”; in other words “trying to train baby to do her business into the pot. Trying is the word that I can only say because I don’t have very good results. Before she started walking she was good but since she has been trotting around the house she doesn’t ask to go on the pottie. Well, now she gets a couple of slaps on her tiny behind when she wets her pants…and she knows that. Whenever she has dry pants and I feel them she doesn’t mind or say anything. But when they are wet and I just start to bend down to feel them she starts yelling ahead of time and that is how I know they are wet.”

At one point Anna tries another approach; the old running water trick. “I thought that if I flushed the water in the toilet she would get scared, but heck, she just stands and listens with a smile. She keeps on playing with the handle…and when I flush the toilet she jumps up and down. Scare her if you can. One time she went into the bathroom and wouldn’t come out so I shut the door and waited for her to cry. Shucks, I opened the door and there she was, all smiles.”

It seems that just as Anna is writing about baby Terry, her attention is diverted. “I have just been rudely interrupted by Terry. She had a very wet proposition in her pants… She must have had a gallon of water in her. I took care of her and the bed and she is again slumbering away peacefully. What a world and what a baby.”  

She wraps up her letter, “…so long, Good Luck and God Bless You.”

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