**Amidst the letters I most recently came across a "change of address" card for our soldier. Not from the U.S. Postal Service, but actually the War Department - and it was "to advise you that my correct address is now":
Co.C, 22nd BN, 6th Regt.
Ft George G. Meade, Maryland
This is where his most recent letter to his bride had come from, so no surprise there. But what confuses me is that for days... weeks even, our soldier's family continued to write to him at a military address in New York city. Of course, being that it was the wrong address - these letters all have the mailing addressed crossed off, and they're stamped and initialed and dated "Return to Writer", "Missing", and "No Record". Some of them dated over a month past the original postmark! Could you imagine? During a war - when stories abound of loved ones overseas who have come up missing, and your letters are being returned looking like how I described.
I have to believe that phone calls were hopefully exchanged between our soldier and his family, so that fears were soon put to rest. But there weren't cell phones, nor was there unlimited long distance 70 years ago. He either had the coins to make the call or he would've had to call collect.
On a side note - this letter mentions many family members by name within it. So for clarification:
Charlie & Ester - our soldier's brother and wife
Dad - our soldier's dad
Hannah - dad's "special friend"
Mom - our soldier's mom
Ezra - our soldier's stepdad
Mother - Her mom
Vaughn - Her stepfather
Bertha - Referred to as our soldier's aunt, so I believe this may be his Great Aunt Bertha, although I was not aware she ever left southern Ohio, let alone lived in Northwest Ohio near my great-grandfather.
Don - our soldier's brother
Homer Jr. - yet another brother of our soldier
Charlie (#2) - this is HER brother.
"Daddy" - This is a reference to Vaughn's brother, Roy. Although a confusing story, it's not as weird as the names may indicate. Her own father was killed when she was a toddler, and her mother met Roy Lane. I think they spent much time together, and the young toddler may have affectionately grew to call him "daddy", even though Roy and her mother did not marry, but rather Roy's brother Vaughn would eventually become her step-father. (Welcome to my crazy, dysfunctional family loyal readers. Don't worry, there will not be a quiz on family members at the completion of this.)
February 19, 1945
My Dearest Darling Husband,
Don't be alarmed Dear, I just took a spell to write and just went until my fingers gave out and I wanted to tell you how I've been doing. I miss you so much even more than ever and gosh honey how much I do love you. I guess you are wondering why I've not written and wondering where I've been putting myself up at since I last saw you. Well honey I just came home yesterday and of course I didn't get your letter till then. I guess it came Friday. I was going to come home Saturday on the bus, but Charlie & Ester (our soldier's brother & wife) said if I'd wait till Sunday they would bring me home, so I did.
Boy honey you just don't know how I feel about you being so far away. Sure wish I knew where you were. but I know you can't tell me. I sent your mother her Valentine this morning and sent her your address. I will write Dad a letter this afternoon and send him your address cause I promised him I would. Yes honey I went to see him while I was in Ft. Wayne. Boy did we ever have a bad trip home. After we left you Friday nite we went back to the room and got our suit cases and took that train at 3:10 and never got home until Monday morning about 6:30. We got on a local train and it stopped at every cross road I do believe. So when we got to Pittsburg we layed over, 8 hours in order to get a good train. Well anyway when we got to Ft. Wayne we were about give out. But Dearest I really didn't mind at all cause we got to see you and that is all that mattered to me. I was so glad to see you that few hours. I only wish it could be so we could be together all the time.
We went to Bryan on Wednesday nite. But when we got there no one was at home at Hannahs so we went over to Bertha's. Then we (your mom, Ezra, and I) went up to Arts and after we were there awhile Hannah and Dad came in so then we went around to that place where you carried me out on account of my ankle, remember which place I mean? Well I only drank 2 beers and quit cause I didn't want anymore. But every one else was really feeling what they drank except Hannah and she was all right I guess. Well anyway when we got ready to leave that place a fellow by the name of Joe S----(illegible) was standing outside just drunker than heck and Ezra started talking to him or rather they all were talking when Ezra says "Jesus Christ" in a pretty loud tone of voice when a cop came from across the street and said "none of that talk" well Ezra says "I only said Jesus Christ" so the copper takes him by the nape of the neck and locks him up for the night. And here we are, your mom and I, not knowing what to do. Hannah had company at her house so we couldn't go down there. Well after about a couple hrs had passed in which we were trying to find out what happened to Ezra and we did find out he was locked up for the night, your mom and I got a room at the Elder Hotel, and Ezra got let out about 2:30 the next afternoon for $16.20. So after so long a time we finally got back to Ft. Wayne. I laughed till I almost cryed cause it was so funny to me. Although I know they didn't think it was.
Honey the room we had at the hotel reminded me of the one you said you and Don had that night. It was right at the corner of the hotel with a big front window, and a private bath and radio and everything. They said it was the only one they had. But mom was so sick she didn't know which end was up.
I did get to see Dad and I payed him the money. He is working in a dinning car as a waiter. He didn't like it very well cause we came to see you and didn't let him know anything about it. But I tryed to tell him I left in such a hurry I didn't even have time to think. But he and Hannah wants me to come and stay a few days with them before very long. So I promised them I would, and Darling I sure hope you won't mind, but they wouldn't keep still till I said I would and I was telling Ester about it and she said she would like to go with me, and then we could go over and see Homer Junior's kids as I've never saw them. Darling I know you probably won't have time to answer this right away in order for me to get an answer but Darling I do hope you won't mind. Then when I come back home I guess I'll try and get me a job and save all the money I can.
I sent our proofs in this morning so I'll have our pictures to pay for in a couple weeks. I had everyone I thought might want one a post card size made. Well I sent for 24 of them and 5 - 8x10's. One for your mom and Dad and one for Mother and one for ourselves. And your Aunt Bertha said she wanted an 8x10 and she would pay for it. So I told her I would have one made for her. And then of course I had 2 of each of myself made.
Honey it won't be long till your birthday and I wanted to get you an identification bracelet. Maybe I can find one. Mother wanted to you a watch but she says she can't find any. I guess you knew she was sick or did I tell you. She is sick in bed now. The Dr's told her to go to bed and stay there and believe me I'm going to see that she does cause there isn't a thing she has to get up for and as long as she is sick I'm not going to try to work cause I'll never have but one Mother and I do want to help her all I can. She is suppose to go to the hospital but hasn't done so. I guess the Dr. thinks now she has gallstones in her liver.
Well honey so far we haven't heard from Charlie. If only we could get one letter just to let us know he is allright. Of course that piece in the paper was really something. But there has been so much fighting going on there in Manila if that is where he is.
Well honey your mail was censored so you can write me and tell me how you have to do. Was I right or wrong? Vaughn just cam in and brought us some candy bars. He's home because Mother told him she wished he wouldn't go to work cause she wasn't feeling too well. So he took Daddy to Marion this morning and started home and I guess the same thing happened to the Chevrolet as did to your Dad's Ford the night we went skating.
Dearest I love you so very very much. I know here I have written you quite a few pages and haven't told you how deeply my love for you is. But dear you do know how much I love you. Darling the best we both can do is put our faith in God and pray for your quick and safe return home. Dearest I love you more than I could ever begin to prove to you.
All my love,
Your Darling Little Wife