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Don’t Fence Me In

Posted by on November 24, 2016

January 15 and 19, 1945. Anna writes two letters to her brothers to keep them abreast of news from the home front in Albany, NY. She is still getting used to typing 1945 on the letters and the weather in Albany is typical for the winter with “another snow storm…a foot of snow…that dry fine snow”. Later in the week another storm hit that added another eight inches or so “…together… a snowfall of twenty inches.”

Among the notable news from the neighborhood is “that dear old St. Josephs’ Academy burned down.” Their father came home with the news that “…only the walls were left and the children were out in their dresses freezing. He said the fire started from the stage.” Anna comments that “it was a very old school and almost anything could have started a fire in it.”

In other news, “Mr. Winnowski was buried from our church. He was the father of Cecilia…” who went to school with Dad and Stanley. His son owned Ted’s Meat Market where the family was regular shoppers. Anna further details that “Terry was asking daddy about where babcia went…daddy told her that she went to Mr. Winnowski’s funeral in church and then they would take him to the cemetery and bury him in the ground and in the spring he would kick the daisies up so they would grow. Well Terry was going around the house all day telling me that Mr. Winnowski was kicking up the daisies and when her daddy came home she even told him.”

As you might guess, the phrase “kicking up the daisies” is not the only thing Terry picked up. As Anna tells it, “Have you boys heard the popular song ‘Don’t Fence Me In”? Well Terry has heard it many times over the radio so she too knows how to sing it. She knows the tune and keeps on humming it to herself and then she finishes with the line Don’t Fence Me In.”

Another friend of the family was reassigned to overseas duties. “…last week on the 15th of January, Johnny Moran left for the Pacific Coast and then for the Pacific islands. I know I told you about him…Mrs. Moran is heartbroken. I don’t blame her…”

Finally, Anna closes with a “poem which Eddie acquired someplace and it is cute I think but it has two meanings to it and if you are good boys you will take it the good way.” Below is the poem as it appears in Anna’s letter of January 15, 1945.


I leave you with Don’t Fence Me In as performed by Roy Rogers in the 1944 film Hollywood Canteen. Feel free to hum and sing along.

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