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Christmas Won’t Be Christmas Until You Are Here

Posted by on October 16, 2017

December 8 and 9, 1945. Stanley manages to write two letters in as many days. They are both rather short with details about life around the house and news about friends and neighbors who are home from the service.

Saturday the eighth was a holy day of obligation, so Stanley went to church with pop and Anna. Upon their return, little Terry told them that the next time everyone would be staying home and that she would be going to church by herself. It seems that Terry’s desires to be a part of the family’s worship manifests in many different ways. Stanley writes about one episode when “mom was praying in her bedroom and Terry came into her bedroom. Terry got up on the chair and started to murmur as if she was praying and looking around on mom’s dresser to see if anything was laying around loose so she can grab it. Her praying did not last long since she started to pull things around so mom threw her into the kitchen.”

It seems that Terry has also become rather mechanically inclined. As Stanley found out one day, “At noon I was sitting in the parlor downstairs and it was twelve on my watch. The big clock Anne has in the parlor struck twelve. Instead of it ringing twelve times it only rang two times. I told Anne about that and she told me that she caught Terry messing around with the clock the other day or so. When it was two it rang four times. The thing is out of line by two hours. Terry sure can get into a lot of mischief.”

Stanley’s thoughts eventually turn to news about their friends, as he writes, “I saw in the paper yesterday morning where T/5 Joseph Hagen was discharged from the Army. In this morning’s paper I see that Pfc George Michna of Third Street was also discharged. Also Casimer Dobiel was discharged from the Army.” He also mentions that he saw Anna Baldowski in church. Apparently she is still in the service as she was wearing her uniform. Finally he writes that he got a phone call from Bill Burns, his “buddy from Troy” who is out of the Army and “working somewhere in Albany.”

Reflecting on his own situation, Stanley writes, “About two or three days ago [I] received my second mustering out pay check of $100.00. It took a little over a month to get it. I still have one more to come sometime the end of this month.”

Eventually his thoughts turn to his brother and the fact that they will be separated for one more Christmas. “Sure hope that you come home in the near future. Christmas won’t be Christmas until you are here. In 1942 you were home for Christmas and I was in the Army. This year I will be home for Christmas and you are in the Army. I do hope they send all the fellows home faster.”

Being that Stanley works at the train station, He gets to see an occasional train load of soldiers heading home through Albany. He tells of one such occurrence. “The other day I saw a troop train of GI’s who were headed to Ft. Devens Mass to get discharged. They had just come from Japan and Okinawa and other Pacific Islands. They wore the Liberation of Philippines ribbon. Yesterday afternoon I saw another train heading for Massachusetts for discharge. One train had a couple of flat wheels. The train broke down a couple of times… They said they were on the train for a couple of days. Most of the cars they traveled in were coaches and mind you they were the oldest looking coaches I ever did see.”

The Liberation of Philippines ribbon.

Before signing off, Stanley writes that work and everything is catching up with him. “I am somewhat tired this afternoon. After finishing this letter I think I will take a nap like Terry does. I sure wish I was her size and did not have to worry about working and would have no troubles on my mind. Those little kids sure have the life of O’Reilly, with not a care in the world.”

As he signs off he writes, “God bless you brother and keep you safe and sound and bring you back to the states and home in the near future. When you do come brother, you and I will have to celebrate for a while. I’m holding down all celebrations till you get back home safely.”

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