Wednesday, September 29, 2010

More History - A Love Affair And A Wartime Wedding

The popcorn wagon emails and searches through old photo albums (see yesterday's post) inspired another exchange between my sister and me. This one began because my sister wanted photos, dates and any other information about our parents' wedding. They didn't get along well at all during our childhoods, so their wedding was not discussed. At their deaths, my sister and I split up their photo albums, so we separately began searching through them. It turned out that I had the pertinent information and pictures. It began with my discovery of the official wedding portrait:

I learned that the wedding had been at my grandmother's home in McMinnville Oregon on August 24th. But I could find no records of what the year was. I know that my father was already married and in the Marines in 1945, so the wedding was sometime before that. Here's a photo of the happy couple with, I presume, their Best Man and Maid Of Honor. It's in color (sort of) because my mother had taken up the hobby of colorizing photos by hand. As I remember, this involved hand applying tints with a brush:

Well, this was a fun and enlightening journey into my own family history, and it almost ended there. Then I noticed an old envelope pasted to the inside cover of the photo album. It was addressed to my mother from the Navy's Air Mail Center:

And inside that envelope was this wrinkled, mud splattered envelope. I noticed that air mail letter service cost only 6 cents in 1945:

Inside the second envelope was this typewritten note from the Navy:

The letter inside was a bit difficult to read, but demonstrated a love affair which my sister and I were never privileged to see. I'll show each page and provide a transcription:.

Page 1:
September 8, 1945
Saturday

My Darling Peggy:

Hello honey, today I have a few free moments so I will start my letter.

Our boats came in last night and everyone is busy unloading. This will really be a crowded place when all the men get up here. As yet I haven't seen Otto or any of my boys. We have to unload as fast as possible because MAG-24 is going to load for
Page 2:
China. The are sending most of the marines out of here into China. I don't think that we will. We hear we are going to Hawaii in 2 months to decommission. PBJ's are to (sic) costly to operate for patrol duty. If we do that I might be home in January or February. Don't count on it though.

This Jap money is invasion money they used in the Philippines. I found a bunch of it. I thought you might want to see a bunch of it.

Page 3:
Darling, I am so lonesome for you. Each night I think and think about everything we have done and plan to do. I am sure tired of this life. It is OK for a single fellow but not for me. I just want to be with the one I love and thats (sic) with you. In a year I should be a civilian. If I was home now we could start buying me clothes. You are allowed to wear them in the states when not on duty:

Page 4:
We have a little monkey in our tent we sure like. He doesn't like me any more though. We got him drunk on beer and it really was a picnic.

Some of this money is duplicated so you can split up with my folks.

I love you.
Bill

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