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What You Need is a Baby

Posted by on June 29, 2014

May 7, 1943. A letter from Anna to her brothers. Although the date on the letter is May 7, it is likely it was written between the 7th and 11th as we already have a letter from the 7th and the next one is dated the 11th and it is very rare for Anna to go more than 2-3 days between letters. At this point, Anna has been writing to Anthony and Stanley simultaneously by sending an original of the letter to one of them and a carbon copy to the other. Those of us of a certain age who remember typewriters know what a carbon copy is, you younger folks can click here to see what Wikipedia has to say about carbon copies.

Anna reports that both she and the baby have a cold, “her nose is blocked…and she really has no appetite to eat.”  As was common in the day, the change in the weather is blamed, “we have had extra hot weather and then suddenly it rains and a cold wind comes and [it] gets cool. Everybody seems to be getting colds.”

Anna relays that she has been doing her work around the house as usual (washing, ironing, cleaning, taking care of the baby, etc.), but “I don’t feel too tired, only a little fatigued.” She goes on to make an interesting observation and gives some insight into some of the medical wisdom of the time. “I feel better nowadays after the baby came. When I used to go to Dr. Hayes so much he said to me, ‘You do too much worrying and you aren’t half as sick as you think and you haven’t any of the sicknesses that you think you have. What you need is a baby and the sooner the better but I didn’t tell Eddie that, ever.’ …it wasn’t long after that, that Theresa-Marie happened to come along.”

Anna writes that they went to visit Eddie’s folks the day before and that the baby “wasn’t afraid of nobody”. She elaborates, “There was almost a fight between Rita and Ed’s mother because Rita thought that she was cheated because her mother was holding and playing with the baby too long.” In the afternoon “we stayed home in the back yard with Theresa Marie where it was so nice and sunny and cool. It was even better than the park.” She goes on to say that now that the trees have grown in the back yard the seats are in the shade. She also mentions something that was probably common at the time but I could not imagine any parent doing now. “Baby loves to go out in the yard too. Sometimes we put her out in her carriage and cover her up with a cheese cloth net and leave her out there.” Anna also writes, “When I am working mama takes her out and carries her around showing her the trees and flowers. She likes the red flowers and the honeysuckle bush.”

She spends a few more paragraphs writing about the baby. Theresa-Marie got some new dresses; one from mama “white from thin material with little pale blue flowers on it”, and one from Anna “a white one with little red apples and grape leaves on it”. The baby also has a “pretty pink bed jacket which is hand made of satin”. Anna continues, “When mama and I take the baby out with us, mama usually looks at the [other] babies…and says that our baby is the nicest one with the prettiest face. Could be.”

She signs off wishing “Good Luck and God bless you.”

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