In the past I shared 3 love letters that my grandpa wrote to my Grandma Charlotte when they were courting back in 1936. My grandma was 17 at the time and my grandpa was 23. She was still attending high school and he was a school teacher in a one-room school house. If you haven’t had the chance to read those letters; you can do so here:
There’s History in Those Love Letters
There’s History in Those Love Letter Part II
There’s History in Those Love Letters Part III
Soon after he wrote those letters they got married. The letter I am sharing today is a letter written in 1943; 7 years into their marriage and with 2 of their 4 children being born (Janet and Judy). By this time my grandpa had quit his job as a school teacher and since work was somewhat scarce in the rural area of Wisconsin that they lived, he had taken a short-term job in Omaha, Nebraska helping to build their airport. He went with his brother, Denver. I guess in a way it is not a true love letter but by all accounts it shows that my grandpa was still very much in love with my grandma. There is also some important history in this letter. I thought about omitting a part where my grandpa made a comment about African-Americans. Although his comment wasn’t intended to be racist and merely indicated that rural Wisconsin did not have a lot of African Americans at the time; he used a term that is no longer acceptable. After some consideration I decided it was important to include it and to show how far we have come as a country.
May 31, 1943
Dearest Charlotte, Judy and Janet,
Denver is writing to Marie so I thought I would write to you too. I have just began to get rested up so I feel like writing.
Well I went to work today. I worked in the shop with Denver, helped on the trucks, took care of the gas pumping and fixed tires and things like that. I sure was a greasy mess when I got done work. I don’t know what I will get to do yet. Swanson isn’t here; he is in Minneapolis. I am staying in a room with Denver and a fellow by the name of Ed Jacques. He is a big fat fellow.
We eat at a restaurant downtown. It sure cost a lot to eat. It is awful crowded in our room. Denver and I may get a room to ourselves right away. One fellow from Arkansas thinks he may go to Asnaha (?) and stay.
Right beside the place we work is a bomber plant. They say they make eight planes a day there. They are taking off and landing all the time. They also try out their guns there.
There is only about two weeks of work unless something else turns up. I will let you know if there is. Some say there is an airport going in at La Crosse. I would rather go up there then. It wouldn’t be so far to take the kids.
I sure miss you and the kids. I sure hope your are well. If the kids get sick be sure and let me know as soon as you can.
Tell Janet there sure is a lot of negroes down here. I looked downtown for something to send home but I couldn’t find anything but I will look again tomorrow night. Maybe I can find something.
Did you go to the Cherser’s Memorial Day? I wished I hadn’t come down here when I did. If I had waited until now I would have known it would be a short job. The company put the bid on a lot of work but did not get it. Unless they can sub contract, the job will be very short.
Well honey, I guess that is about all I know. Take good care of yourself and the kids and give them a big smacker for me.
Are the berries ripe? I sure would like to have a big dish full with a little sugar and cream.
Write soon and tell me something.
Denver just asked me if I was getting homesick and I told him I wasn’t, but I really wish I was going to crawl into that old bed of ours instead of this bunk in the cabin.
When you get this newspaper read you’ll probably need a pair of specks. So I will quit.
With All My Love,
Do you look like your grandmother?
I’m surprised it was hard to find work during the war. I thought there were plenty of jobs at the time. I am also surprised your grandfather wasn’t drafted. Maybe, it was because he was married with children.
Yes, I definitely think there is some similarities between my grandma and I. As for my grandpa not being drafted; that’s a good question. I’m not familiar with what the guidelines were. At this point he would have been 30 years old and maybe with having children that played a role too. The area where my grandparents lived was all farm country so there was no industry nearby. I guess there was plenty of jobs if he was willing to travel.
Yes, I always think of people working in factories which would be in the cities, so that makes sense.
So sweet – I love those letters and the history and memories they conjure!
Thank you Kate! It’s amazing how those few words can really transport you right back to that time.
PS – I nominated you for an award http://didthatjusthappenblog.wordpress.com/2013/07/30/super-sweet-blog-award/
You are so lucky to have letters like these!
I do feel really lucky to have these!
It sure is a love letter in the truest form I think. He wishes he was home but can’t be he wants to be close to his family and he ended with all his love. You don’t get much better than that.
You are absolutely right Liz! The fact that it is written down too makes it that much more endearing!
Thanks Melissa, I love this series of letters that you are sharing. They really conjure up images of what life was like back then. So much more warmth compared to our emails and FB updates.
Thank you! You are right! So much is lost emotionally with the little snippets people are limited to writing due to lack of time now!
Dear do you look like your grandmother or what ? These letters are super interesting, yes, you certainly can tell the difference in times……..
Yes, I think I do resemble my grandma! I thought it was so interesting that airports were just going up at this time. People from that generation really saw the progress of America happening!
I love that Dad was a letter writer !! Wish he had written all the family history he knew and all the great stories he had to tell. He was absolutely amazing and an amazing story teller !! I sure miss him !!
That would have been wonderful if he would have written the family history down!
Such a great post and what sweet treasures those letters are! Thanks for sharing. It makes me think that my husband and I should start writing to each other again so that our grandchildren can have them.
Thank you! That would be a wonderful gift for your grandchildren. I know that I sure enjoy seeing these little snippets of where I came from and what life was like back then!
I love this and Melissa you are a very lucky lady to have these with you! 🙂
Thank you Ingrid! I do feel very lucky to have these!
amazing that you have these! history preserved! 🙂
Yes, it truly is amazing that they have remained with our family all of this time!
wow, a virtual snapshot taken of time and emotion. what a wonderful artifact )
Thank you Beth! They truly are artifacts in their own right at least for my family!
What a sweet letter! Cool to know that your grandpa hung out in my neck of the woods for a while and helped build good ol’ Eppley Airport!
I didn’t know what the airport’s name was! I am assuming the bomber plant is no longer there! What did they put in it’s place? I wish he would have taken pictures while he was there! It would have been pretty neat to see!
Eppley Airfield is the name of the Omaha Airport. There is a local municipal airport in Plattsmouth that is still in operation. Plattsmouth is about 30 miles south of Omaha.
I always thought of your Grandpa as a sweetie! And I do think this is a love letter, a love letter for those times. Simply written but with so many nuances, no?
You are so right Lidia! You have to figure they were in their 7th year of marriage with 2 kids….the mushy days were over but the love and sincerity was still there!
That is some truly amazing history you have there.
Thank you! My family really enjoyed discovering them and getting that glimpse into the past!
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How special you have these important bits of history to share. It’s a gift. I enjoyed it very much.