Feb, 1945 - Somewhere in France

Hello Darling,
I finally have access to my duffel bag and have some of my stationery. I am writing this by candlelight so please excuse any scribbling and missing words.

We have had sleeping bags issued to us. They are really warm and comfortable to sleep in. We are allowed a stul helmet full of coal per day per tent. So you see, we don't waste any fire during the day.

We were told that we might not receive any mail for a month. That is going to be tough going, but guess I can and may have to put up with worse things than that before I see you again. Just keep on writing. When I do get them I'll have a mess of them. I'll write as much and as often as I can. So don't worry if you don't get letters too regularly. I know everything will turn out okay and we will be together again before very long.

The rain is beating down on the tent right now. It has a nice peaceful patter but it promises to be the cause of lots of mud tomorrow. French mud is in a class of its own.

We are eating out of our own mess hall now. Food is getting much better. We had ham, pineapple, rice, salad and tea. Really tasted good. I have a few candy bars left. They will probably disappear fast.

There isn't much more I can tell you except that I love you and always will. You are my inspiration, my life, my everything. I'll love you always and mean to do everything in my power to make you happy. It was a happy and lucky day when I married you. You have been a perfect wife and I have no regrets in marrying you. You have made me divinely happy. So until tomorrow night . . . Devotedly, Harry

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Happy Valentines Day to all!!!!

Busy, busy, busy . . .

A fun jam packed day today. Now I'm relaxing with a coffee and getting ready to dive in again. Lots of jobs in the design mode finally getting moved into the printed proof mode. This is always a fun but time-consuming day. It's fun because I finally get to print the proofs on the fancy paper and hope they look exactly as I envisioned them. It can be time-consuming because one thing usually leads to another and I start pulling out all kinds of paper and random ribbon that I think might add to a design.

And then I have to do a mini photo shoot so I can remember when the heck I mailed. By the time a bride looks them over and shares them with her family and friends, a couple months can easily pass. I don't know about you but I tend to forget the little details and I hate thinking, "oh crap, did I print that on shimmer paper or linen."

I won't share any of the photos of the proofs from today (that's cheating) but I'll show you what the top of my table looks like right now.

Lots of fun colors for a beach wedding (I'm so jealous.)

Oh well, moving on . . . Let's see what Harry and Helen have to say today. I should have started with the very first letter but that box was behind the other boxes and I was a little too lazy to dig it out. Today I took the extra two minutes and pulled out the box with the starting letter.
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September 27, 1943
Ft. Bening,
Harrison, Indiana

Dearest Helen,
Well, today I am a soldier. We arrived here about 11:30. Waited for awhile. Then some Capt. MD looked down our throats and then short arm inspection. (I told you so). I am writing this in a hurry. Hope you can read some (Note: this letter was very sloppy. I thought "great, I paid $40 for three boxes of paper that I can't even read". But Harry ended up having nice penmanship)

We now are assigned to beds and barracks. We have practiced making beds. The army doesn't use the same method you do. Yours is easier (Note: Harry has a dry wit, I've noticed)

I doubt very much anything can be arranged for Sunday. Will let you know later. They told us that we wouldn't be here for more than 5 or 6 days. We don't know for sure. So mail a few letters.

We had roast beef, boiled potatoes, tomatos, carrots and onions for dinner. Tea to drink. Was pretty good (Note: Harry often reports his meals to Helen, which actually ends up being pretty interesting to me)

Well Honey, I have to sign off now. So I'll close by telling you I love you very, very much.

Love, Harry

P.S. We have tests, shots and get uniforms tomorrow. Busy day.
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Okay, so that wasn't the most romantic letter in the world but by the time 1946 rolls around Harry digs deeper into the depths of his heart and it's very touching. I'm looking for a great one for Valentines Day.

Happy Groundhog Day & Happy Birthday to Matt

Weekend Recap
I kicked off the weekend with lunch on Friday with my friend
Kellie Keck who is an established makeup artist. www.pearlsandablackdress.com
We had lunch at the
Alpha Cafe in downtown Wapakoneta. www.alpha-cafe.biz Nothing like a full menu of bar food to get the weekend going. It was good food and good company. It's not exactly "fine dining" but it's relaxing, spacious and they have a beautiful bar which was one of three built in 1893. According to their website, one perished in a fire, one survives out in Arizona and the third resides in our little neck of the woods.

On Saturday Adam and I braved the drifted road of State Route 274 to make it to Columbus for his brother Matts birthday party. After the party we headed to Easton to watch Grand Torino. This was Adams movie choice as he is a great Clint Eastwood fan. He loves all of Clints movies (with the odvious exception of "The Bridges of Madion County" which I adore). I went along half grudgingly. After all, I still haven't seen "Bridal Wars" or "Paul Blart Mall Cop". I was pleasantly surprised and immediately absorbed into the movie. It's a great movie to watch in a crowded theater. While it's obviously not billed as a comedy, it's funny in a way you don't expect and having the crowd around you makes it more enjoyable.

We got home late so after church on Sunday I pretty much crashed on the sofa and watched bad tv to unwind after a busy week and weekend.

This week proves to be equally as busy. I get to meet a new bride every day this week and then on the weekend I have two bridal shows. (yay - cake!) Saturday I will be at the Bridal Expo in Greenville. www.greenvilleweddingexpo.synthasite.com Sunday is the WCSM Show in St. Henry. www.wcsmradio.com/index.php?page=bridal-show-2

And now a word from our
war lovers Harry and Helen. The words in red are the ones Helen circled to remind herself to mail Harry the needed supplies.
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March 16, 1945
Somewhere in Germany

Hello Darling,
Once again I am writing to you under trying conditions. Our German generator has refused to cooperate any longer. The foolish motor runs but no juice is produced. Maybe our boys will be able to fix it up. Right now I am using kerosence lights of doubtful and ancient lineage. So pardon any more errors than my usual quota.

My pen just ran dry and I had to run next door to beg some ink. Hope I have some on the way now. Also some 127 film. I need some badly.

I'd like very much to have my hands on a German pistol. So far I haven't been successful. Don't worry I don't take any changes to get one. They are really nice jobs.

Today was a beautiful day again but it's now trying to rain. April showers and all that stuff.

I boiled out some socks tonight. They were really rank.

Some of these guys around here give me a pain. They are batting their gums about some of the most silly and nonsenical things. Really browns me off at times. Some of them are so dammed stubborn but they won't let any one express an opinion. So I just sit and let them bat their brains out. I think what I please. That policy never gets me into trouble. Only occassionally do I blow my top. Helps the nervous system.

I'm enclosing a propaganda leaflet the Germans are throwing at us. they must think we are all crazy. The average G.I. will pick them up, read some, laugh like hell and throw them away. I think this one quite amusing. No doubt the family will get a bang out of it. I can see Mom & Pop E. laughing. Surely the Germans don't believe we are that crazy. (Note: I wish, but there wasn't any leaflet to be found in the collection)

If I ever get the chance to Paris or Brussells you shall have your Chanel #5. Money here is useless. There are rumors that we are trying to see a movie tomorrow. Probably be one we saw back in the states two years ago.

Well Honey, the space is getting short and my eyes tired from all the dim light. However if it were pitch dark I could still write that I love you and always will. It is the realization that with each passing day brings us one day nearer to victory and consquently home. I've had lots of experiences over here but I'd trade them all for a glance at you and the sound of your voice. So honey, I'll do the next best thing. I'll go to bed and dream of you.

Eternally and Ardently, Harry

Romance in War Times - A look back at WWII

Okay, I'm a sucker for romance, vintage items, random history and reading. Many years ago, in one of my antiquing jaunts I came across three boxes of love letters written during WWII.
It was a no brainer -
I had to have these letters.
They provided me with many months of entertainment.

It's been awhile since I've poured over the words of these young lovers from Fort Wayne, Indiana. In honor of the weeks leading up to Valentines day and for romance across the globe I will share some of these gems. The following is a letter from Helen (warming up the home fire in Indiana) to Harry her husband, experiencing military life at Ft. Miles, Delaware. This letter was written exactly 63 years ago.
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January 29, 1946
My darling,
First of all thanks for the two wonderful letters and the lovely package your sent me. The hankies are lovely dear and needless to say, I'll enjoy the Hersheys and chewing gum. The large hankie was especially nice, I liked it best. Daddy was pleased with his razor and said "much obliged". If you can get anymore gum, better do so as it isn't available here. Also some film.

Tonight I had to work - left there at just 10:00. We're taking inventory. It's been a headache for sure. Makes me sorta tired. Irene doesn't have to even work. It gripes me in a way. Oh well. (note: Helen works at a jewelry store and is highly resentful of most of her fellow workers, a point she mentions often)

Jim and Margaret were in to see me today. They are swell kids. There were happy about your discharge news too. Wilma was also in and she had the good news that her "Ray" was supposed to land today. She was expecting a phone call soon. She hasn't seen him for 17 months and she's tickled pink.

Adelines plant is going out on strike again. I believe around Feb. 7, so she'll have some spare time again. Asked her what she was hearing from Elmer - same old thing, "nothing". Soon I shall stop asking.

I love you very much Harry. Just think, it won't be long until I can tell you that personally. I'm wondering now if you'll have patience with me in my ignorance on cooking and keeping house since I'm so out of practice. I want to make you happy and shall try my best to make you more than glad that you married me. You are everything to me and have always been a wonderful husband and sweetheart.

Good night darling. Love me always? Devotedly, Helen
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Maybe you should consider taking a moment to write an old fashioned love letter to your sweetheart. On real paper. Okay, at least send a text message.