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The Empty House

Posted by on January 2, 2016

March 10 and 13, 1944: Anna writes two letters to Dad. One letter is to both brothers while the other is just to Dad. Anna has already received a few letters from Dad now that he is back in Topeka after his furlough. Things around home in Albany are settling down after Dad’s visit and the house is beginning to get quiet once more. There is a sense of understanding about a few incidents that took place while Dad was home. The family continues to take pride in Dad’s and his brother’s “stripes” and relatives have noticed some changes too.

Anna notes how mama was relieved to see the letters coming from Dad from camp. As Anna puts it, “She always worries so much and…when he was going away she worried day and night.” As far as Dad “feeling bad about the way he acted when he was home…Mama understands and she don’t worry about it any more as long as she knew that he was so nerved up.” Addressing Dad directly, Anna writes that mama knows “that it was merely a nervous reaction.”  

Immediately after Dad left to go back to Topeka from his furlough, there was a certain pall about the house. In Anna’s words, “…when Anthony left and I saw the car drive away and disappear and baby Terry looked at me and then at the empty house I felt sorry for her and started to bawl…she must have understood because she cuddled up to me and then she would look into my face and see the tears and touch them with her fingers till she made me laugh and I felt somewhat better. When the folks came back home again everything was dead and everybody walked around like a wet fly.”  

Easter is on its way and Anna is looking forward to buying baby Terry “a new coat and hat and shoes…” as well as a new spring coat, hat and dress for herself.  There is also a bit of a struggle getting her father to buy a new suit this year. “…daddy said that he would buy a new one for Easter…but now he says he won’t. I knew that would happen it always does because most men will make plans for buying clothes but unless someone drags them down by the ears they won’t go and buy them. …I just can’t figure out men and I suppose the same goes for the way men think about women.”

In the letter that is written specifically to Dad, Anna passes along advice from their father “to keep right on working and advancing yourself in the Army and don’t be a slacker… He said for you to go to the OCS and become an officer…” Anna makes her own suggestion to “also let your conduct be good so that you can keep those stripes because a lot of people have seen you in them…” On behalf of mama Anna writes that Dad should “keep up the good work…and …not to lie when you write home and say you are Okay when really you are sick, have a cold or something. Really, she worries so much. Just having a cold don’t make you a dead man.”

Anna also passes along that “Eddie’s folks couldn’t get over how different you look now – the way they put it was ‘Taki wysoki i zdatny i ladny’ – in other words tall, dark and handsome. I told them look whose brother he was and that all the Murawskis are nice looking.”

As far as the baby’s latest antics, “Toys don’t seem to interest her much anymore as do all the things in the house. For example she will go into daddy’s bedroom and get into the sewing machine drawers and play havoc with them.  Any time it gets quiet around here and you don’t hear Terenia anywhere around just go and look for her and there she is up to her ears in something that she isn’t supposed to be.”

Anna also relays to Dad that “Baby Terry sends you her regards and love and many is the time she sands by this typewriter and types with her both hands letters to you and Stanley but the only thing lacking is the typing paper. She probably sends hers by mental tylepathy. I hope that is how the word is spelled but anyway even if it isn’t you understand what I mean.”

Anna signs off with her traditional “So long, Good Luck, and God Bless You.”

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