First Edition Memoirs

A letter from 1943

I love working with primary sources, holding history in my hands. Here’s a letter written to a client’s father by the father’s younger brother when both had left Kentucky, barely out of high school, to serve in World War II. Tragically, the brother, Paul, was killed in action only weeks after writing this letter, when his plane was shot down over the Adriatic. But he lives on in family memory and in letters like this, where his wit, energy, and affection shine through almost eighty years on.

July 28, 1943

Dear Sam,

Just received your address from mom what in the hell are you doing in the armored Division. The women aren’t so hot unless you get to a big town but I’ve been to a few of them, the cities I’m talking of. What are you doing now of course I can’t say much about myself. I’m about as black as a negro now and am still getting darker.

I guess our family has it’s quota of suckers. I get stuck on a ring and then By God you swear up and down you will never buy one until you get hitched and hell the first thing I know you have stuck you neck out.

Boy I met a cute gal when I was home she lives up in Price Hill. I got a letter from her today boy I’m going to get acquainted with her when I get back. I get a letter from the “Blond” almost every day I hear quite often from mom too.

Well Jack is a big dog now he has a car God only knows how long he will keep it in one piece. Boy Elva is tickled to death Ralph is coming home as soon as he gets out of the hospital. Boy I’m glad, she sure has been through a lot.

Listen don’t write anymore of that damned v-mail I couldn’t even read your return address on it and I get the regular mail about as quick it takes about 13 days from Cin. How do you like New York or have you been around much yet? Oh yeah when you get plenty of dough you can deposit that $50 in the bank in my name. (ha!) You should have known better than to have bet with me you didn’t have a chance of beating me. Oh well live and learn I always say. (ha! ha!)

I’ve got to close and run up to see if any cigaretts came in. I’m about out. Listen the next chance you get drink a beer for me we can’t get the damned stuff. Write soon