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The Jeweler is a Spy

Posted by on March 30, 2014

February 25, 1943. A letter from Anna to Dad. Theresa-Marie is four months old today. Anna apologizes that it has been a while since she last wrote (6 days) but she has been busy with chores around the house. The floors “haven’t been washed since the last time they were washed for Christmas and they were so black you couldn’t tell that they were blue. Now I can walk around like a peacock and glow with pride at the wonderful result.” She also says that another reason for the delay was “the nice four sunny and warm days that we had here since Saturday the 20th. With the weather being so nice she had the baby out in her carriage on each of the past five days. Anna makes up for being a few days late with a five page typed (single spaced) letter. So grab a beverage and settle in.

As much as “She loves to ride in the carriage…Theresa Marie hates to get dressed up when she goes out. When I put on her shoes she doesn’t mind and the dress she whimpers but when I pull the sweater over her head she gets mad…but the worst thing is the hat so we save that for the very last just when we are about to take her outside. When we put the hat on her she just starts to holler as hard as she can but then I lift her up and carry her out and then she stops and when I put her in the carriage and start wheeling her then she is in her glory.”

In other news, it looks like Williams the jeweler has been arrested on espionage charges, “the FBI caught him just a short time after Christmas in Florida just as he was getting ready to leave the good old U.S.A. He had been gone from Green Island (a small town near Albany) shortly before Christmas and no one heard of him until they found out the news. Eddie’s father said that it was true because he read it in the paper.”  Anna comments that “… he was such a good square guy and did things half price and always did a good job on the jewelry. He had a nice personality and everybody liked him except his wife with whom he could never get along. I heard that she was Polish.”

Apparently the warning signs were in plain sight all along. “Williams had a short wave radio set in his shop… It was standing right on the shelf like any other radio and I suppose it did not bring any suspicion.” Williams also “had 18 guns of all different makes. He belonged to the gun and rod club of Green Island…and every fellow in the club envied his collection of guns.” Anna and Eddie’s friend Joe Miller was always telling his wife Mary that “Williams had this and that and boy you should see him shoot straight and he never missed his target.”

In hindsight other details are becoming significant. Anna writes, “Do you remember when the submarine was in Albany …Williams came over…and suggested that we go see the submarine and when we got inside of it he was observing everything and touching everything. He asked questions of every sort and the guide told him everything. I noticed that he was the only one who was so interested but I thought nothing of it because most men are always interested in such things …besides he was such a nice fellow and who could suspect him?”

A photo of The Herring (SS-233) dated October 1943. It is likely that this is the type of submarine referred to in the above paragraph.

A photo of The Herring (SS-233) dated October 1943. It is likely that this is the type of submarine referred to in the above paragraph.

Anna’s husband was a mechanic and worked on Williams’ car. “Eddie said that he would always bring his car in to be fixed and it always had to be ready on time. Eddie asked him why he was so punctual all the time and he said he had business appointments that he had to take care of at a special time. Then he would disappear for a couple of weeks and his jewelry shop would be closed too. When he brought his car back to be checked up it always needed a lot of repairs as if it went through a lot of long driving and rough handling. He must have used it for his spying tours. Then when his wife got mad at him because he was associating with other women – they probably were spies too- she wouldn’t give him her car which was signed in her name. He went to Trojan Pontiac and bought a $900.00 car…for cash. Eddie thought nothing of that because the guy had a jewelry business and evidently made good money.” But according to their friend Mary Miller, “one time the FBI came to the shop and Williams’ wife was there. They were looking over all the things and through all the drawers in the place.” Well, that’s about it for the neighborhood spy, back to family news.

In reply to a few things in Dad’s earlier letters, Anna tells him to, ”sew on that one stripe that you have. Why shouldn’t everyone see that you’ve been promoted, and then when you get another stripe you can add that one. Don’t be silly.” She also acknowledges that the idea of giving Eddie’s comic books to the baby “is pretty good”.

She does say that Eddie is spending more time with the baby, “Now at night after supper he puts on pajamas and plays with her on the bed and she sure enjoys that.” Anna continues, “She loves to sit up now and she won’t lay anymore. We hold her on our lap, we pull her up against the table and she beats with her little hands on the table, It so funny and then she grabs for whatever is on the table.” But the baby is quite a night owl, “She is such a good baby and so cute and loveable but I’ll be darned she won’t go to sleep any earlier than 11:00 and sometimes later. I wish she would go to sleep about 10:00 every night so that we could go to bed earlier for a change.”

Apparently the neighbors are asking about the whereabouts of the Murawski brothers. “The Orange Street grapevine as you call them are starting to get inquisitive about you boys because baba LaFleur asked mama where you boys were because she hasn’t seen you in a long time. Mama said that you were in the army and didn’t say where you boys were.”

After five pages she finishes, “I have already run out of words.” So for now that looks like that’s it for the news from home. I can’t wait to see how Dad reacts to the news of Williams’ arrest.

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