Letters from the War: Anniversaries

My father died 25 years ago today. It’s Father’s Day. All my life my birthday flirted with Father’s Day, landing on the same day every few years. And then he left the earth the day after my 43rd birthday. I have been tied to him in life and in death.

Living  on the property and in the house he loved, I am reminded every day of his lifetime of creativity. I love the letters he wrote home from the War in which he tells his new wife the latest thing he has built to make work at the weather station and life in the barracks (or the chalet or the tent) better. And then his unit would move, leaving his creations behind for whomever occupied the space next, and he would start over. When living and working space was fixed up, he made a leather pouch to hold photos from home, a plexiglass frame for his glamor photo of his love (his pin-up girl), and other things found scraps of this and that sparked in his creative mind.

And he dreamed. Dreamed of her, dreamed of mountains, dreamed of the family they would have, dreamed of all they would do when he got home—which would still be almost a year hence when he wrote this letter, even though the war was over. But he didn’t know that.

Here’s a letter excerpt from 75 years ago today. Happy Father’s Day, Daddy. I miss you every single day.


June 21, 1945
Ansbach, Germany

Stellajoe darling —

We arrived here Monday, June 18, on rather short notice. It had been rumored for more than a week that we were headed up here. But we knew nothing about it until Thursday, a pilot brought in a note from the operations officer saying we should be ready to move by air on Monday. We loaded the planes and came to Germany in the afternoon. Lock, stock, and barrel, including Chick with her five two-week-old pups!

There is a lot of fixing to do in the station. We have to have the teletype right in the room with us, and the noise is very distracting. So I’ve been building a double-walled wooden box to go over it to kill the noise. Then we will need several “special” tables constructed for drawing maps, filing clearances, map storage, etc.

These nice June days I long so to see you. One morning back at Creil when I got up at 5 o’clock, I thought so hard of you, you must have sensed it in your sleep. It was nearly clear, with just a few white clouds. The air was so clean and invigorating that it seemed to impart zest to your every thought and action. The countryside was perfectly still, except for the sounds that belong there – like birds singing and insects humming. Why, I don’t know, but I conjured up a dream of you and I riding out along some mountain ridge on horseback, leaving just at dawn and stopping with the first appearance of the sun to cook a big breakfast of bacon and eggs. Dreams like that are what I practically live on. The widest variety of dreams you can imagine.

All my love, George


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George and his pal Chick.
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In some  weather station in Europe. (George seated)

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The last photo of me with my daddy.
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With his love on that mountain.

7 thoughts on “Letters from the War: Anniversaries

  1. Thank you Gretchen!
    Love this history!
    Your dad ( and family) were an important part of our first years in Centralia and good friends!

    Like

  2. Thank you Gretchen!
    Love this history!
    Your dad ( and family) were an important part of our first years in Centralia and good friends!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’d give anything for stacks of letters written by my parents and/or grandparents. You come from such creative roots ! (And clever, too: The widest variety of dreams you can imagine …) I can guess he would be so proud of the ways you have continued to care for the homestead in both word and deed. Tradition and legacy are such powerful things. Extra blessings on you both today ♡

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Gretchen- I remember so well the day we found out about your dad’s passing. We were camping with my mom and dad in the White Mountains, and the kids were having a Fathers Day “parade” waving flags as they marched around the campsite. A sheriff’s car drove up and spoke to my mom and dad, giving them the news. I’m still not sure how the sheriff knew where to find us.
    Mom and Dad were devastated, but we continued our camping trip as planned. I think your dad would have approved.
    Thanks for your post.

    Like

    1. Oh my goodness, Karen. I did not know that story (I don’t think). That’s crazy! And yes, he would definitely have approved. I can’t comprehend that it’s been 25 years. 💜 to you on this day as you miss your father.

      Like

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