WWII Wednesday - From Helen

Monday, September 27th, 1943
11:30 p.m.

Dearest Harry,

Somehow darling, I’m not a bit sleepy tonight.  It just seems as though I’m waiting for you to come home.  It doesn’t seem possible that’s all.

I’ve thought about you every minute of the day wondering what was “going on now”.  The day ran very smoothly for me, and Edith was very nice, and understanding.  She told me I wasn’t getting paid for the week, but I  immediately assured her that it was worth many, many weeks pay to be with you.

I went in in a little early as I could talk things over a bit, and I told her about our visit with Elmer – and that we want late Saturday evening.  It was O.K.

They have hired a new girl – name Mrs. Clara Egley.  She is gray haired, about 40-45 years of age and seems to be a hard worker and very organized.  They also have a girl or rather woman hired to take Alicejane’s place when she leaves in November.  They took up a collection for her wedding gift today, $1.00.  Kinda steep, I thought, but I cheerfully paid.  Irene had been out all week too, with the flu.

Honey, what do you think about keeping up that policy which you took out at the store – the one I have too.  Hardly know what to do.  Let me know.

I had lunch tonight with Betty and she said she could come home with me tonight.  She met Harvey Diehl (Jerry ‘s Howard’s Jerry) uptown and he kept her waiting, so it was 10:00 before she even came home to mothers.  Well, we piled in the car and Harvey followed us.  He was in Howards car.

I put her in the garage and all.  You know, I only did that once with you.  Harvey was home on a three day pass, and shouldn’t have been more than 50 miles from home.

Smitty was here with Wilma I wasn’t alone when Betty went with Harvey to get train information.  She is home now – it is 15 till 12 and Harvey leaves at 2:30 AM.

By the way, Honey, I saw that girl at Wolf & Dr notion counter and she still talks like she’s coming in to see me.  I do wish, I believe that I could swing the Howard and Jerry deal.  Maybe, who knows.

Sure wish you were here to let me cuddle up to you – not that it’s cold in here, not that, just that I always have liked to cuddle up to you, before our evening “nap”.

Before I forget it dear, can you save my letters – and others of interest, so that I can keep them for you?  When you get a few, you can send them home. Will always have them then.

I washed some hose, put up my hair, and washed myself before I started this letter.

Don’t forget anything you’ve done today so you can tell me.  Your picture in the News-Sentinel was pretty good.  I’ll send you one.  Well, Darling, I have better close for now.  I Love You

As ever, Helen

(the letter continues)

Dearest Harry,

Here I am again at 12:30 – such late hours!  I never.  Tonight I went to Adeline’s for supper.  Her birthday supper.  We had a roast beef and all the trimmings and a Bon Ton cake.  A butterscotch one, and Norma wanted a second piece.  Mrs. Meyer told her that it was not available.  And she said, “But I like that icing.”  It did seem exceptionally good.

Sorority meeting was over to Joan’s tonight.  Not many girls were there, but we did have a nice time.  Her lunch was cake with a whipped cream and pineapple sauce on it.  It was real good, but actually too rich for my blood – believe it or not.  I couldn’t eat it all.  I held rotten cards all night, but managed somehow to win second prize.  It was a deck of cards, which we need so badly.  Maybe someday we can use another deck though.  I drove to Adeline’s all by myself too.  Then we came home tonight and she is here on the bed with me writing a letter to her one and only too.

I’m planning to have the tires checked tomorrow.  I think I’ll maybe call him about 7:30 and see if he’ll come over here to do it.  I hope so, it will save a lot of trouble.

I’ll pause here a moment for the pause that refreshes – that is, I love you honey, very much, and already I’m looking forward to the day when I can tell you in person.

When I got home tonight, every glass in the house was on the cabinet in the kitchen.  I then proceeded to look at the whiskey bottle and sure enough, it’s about half gone.  I tell ya sweetie, I’m kinda regusted (sp) with her.  I rather have in my mind that Howard and Jerry might come in.  I’m hoping I had to go downstairs for the ink, and there was Wilma and Smitty, laying on the davenport, him smoking and his feet on the afghan.  Wilma was about $50.00 short at the bank today.  Should I just tell her, or what?  I didn’t want to bother you nor worry about you as it is nothing to worry about, but I did want to tell you about it.  That other girl moved in today.  I haven’t seen her yet though.

Tomorrow night is the show – Dream of a Clown.  Mother is going with me.  I think it will be real good.  I hope so.  Betty wanted to see “This is the Army” tonight. She had a wonderful letter from Francis today, and he brought up the matter of finances to her.  He said he knew she would love him even if he didn’t have a dime but that he didn’t want to deny her a single thing.  He certainly seems like a sensible kid and I believe he will be a hearty addition to the family, don’t you?  If he’s anything at all like you, dear, Betty need never worry.  You are the most wonderful husband anyone could wish for.

Walter Close leaves Friday morning at 2:30 am for the Navy.  Caralyn wasn’t at the meeting but we heard.  Eileen Aughinbaugh Werling was telling us that she had heard scandal about why Lorene went out to California – and it wasn’t nice, but she didn’t say what it was.

Elmer gets his furlough – October 14 to October 29.  Isn’t that swell?  We may take them out to dinner, what?  I think it is wonderful that he is getting to come.  I told Adeline that they were welcome to use the car anytime just as long as they furnish their gas, ha ha.

We got another card from Lilias and Lenard.  Lt. Oser again.  Adeline just told me that Elmer wrote he believed he had gotten the worst end of the guard business.  He has to get up at 3:00 am but he said it was worth it to be off that Monday.

Was your haircut short enough?  You know Grandma was having difficulty.  That they were talking about Sunday.  Well, she had to pay him.  The exact terms of the agreement I’ll have to tell you tomorrow.

Well, darling, it is now 1:30, so I think I’ll close for this time.

I love you very much, and always will.

xxxx Love, Helen

My notes:  The notes from Helen, in the beginning, don't make much sense.  Remember this is a  couple who are finishing conversations that took place face to face, before Harry left.  Also, we're just learning the different names of the people who appear often in the letters.  

Another reason her letters might seem "off" is that women were encouraged to write to their husbands and sweethearts about ANYTHING that will remind them of the home they are fighting for.  In future letters I find Helen provides endless snippets of her life, even the boring parts.  Who she ran into at the post office, the selection of produce at the market, a detailed list of what was served at dinner.

I think the fact that couples wrote to each other, literally, years is amazing.  Mushy sentiments are written in each letter, but then - what is left?  The history of their lives, living in slow motion.  Until the boys return home.  

Memorial Day Blessing to all those who served, are currently serving or paid the ultimate sacrifice for the freedom I have to live, worship and express myself as I wish.  Take a moment to honor these heroes.  Think of them often.  And never disregard the freedoms we enjoy.