Friday Night Heirlooms: Letters & Papers from the Trunk in the Hall: V-Mail Letter; Dec. 3, 1944

Friday Night Heirlooms: Letters & Papers from the “Trunk in the Hall”: V-Mail Letter;  Dec. 3, 1944 

The “Trunk in the Hall” held the letters and papers my grandparents saved – and they saved everything from canceled checks, postcards telling of the next VFW meeting, receipts and family letters. My mother reminds me, of in those days, people didn’t throw things away like today. My grandmother unraveled burlap sacks and reused the string, the muslin tobacco bags were saved and sewed together for quilt backs, old clothes were ripped apart and re-used; the list could go on and on.When I think back now of how granddaddy’s farm looked, I can see various items laying around. There was always a pile of scrap metal pieces behind the smokehouse – I guess that was his work-pile when he needed to repair something. My grandfather, like many others during those years, were very conservative people; my mama still calls herself today a frugal person!

While I do have many of those letters and papers they saved in the trunk – there are many others, that unfortunately ended in the landfill. That would partly be my fault when I began stamp collecting in the 1960’s; after removing the stamps from many of those envelopes, mama discarded the envelopes. My grandparents kept every bill they received and paid. Mama remembers even finding an envelope with a check that her father never cashed; it was for a cow purchased – the man had died so her father didn’t cash the check.


McKinley Leroy VMail Letters_0001 (644x800)

This is the earliest V-Mail I found from Private Edgar Leroy McKinley, my grandparent’s only son. He was sent overseas during WWII – drafted out of high school.

V-Mail Address:

  • Pfc. Edgar L. McKinley
  • Co. B., 2nd Inf. APO 5
  • C/0 PM New York, N.Y.

V-Mail Address To:

  • Mr. & Mrs. Edgar T. McKinley
  • Greensboro, Georgia
  • Rt. 3


My Dearest Mother, Dad & Sis                                                         December 3, 1944

Will write you a few lines today to let you hear from me. I am OK and doing fine. Guess all of you are getting along fine, hope so. Say, tell all those people of mine to write some to me, it’s been quite a while since I read any mail at all. Well, Mother there’s not much to write when you are over – it’s  just not like home. Well so long “Mom.”

Your Loving Son,


Lee Roy

Leroy in Belgium

Leroy – somewhere on base in Belgium


This was the earliest letter I found from Leroy to his parents. In all the letters he signed his name as Lee Roy; I found several different spellings of his first name used on documents, from “Lee Roy” to “Leroy” and even just”Lee.” He always used his middle name so as not to be confused with his father’s first name of also Edgar.

I don’t believe he had been overseas for very long, first landing in Belgium. I have one photo of him in uniform and marked on back as Belgium. That was probably the safe place they all landed. I hope to write for his military records at some point.

Transcribing these letters was not all done without the use of a magnifier glass. In researching the history of V-Mail, I was surprised to discover that they even sold a V-Reader, specifically for reading the letters. I found the history quite interesting on V-Mail and wrote a previous blog post to share its history – WWII: The History of V-Mail.

P.S. – The “Trunk in the Hall” will be an Heirloom post in the future.

© 2016 Jeanne Bryan Insalaco



About Jeanne Bryan Insalaco

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2 Responses to Friday Night Heirlooms: Letters & Papers from the Trunk in the Hall: V-Mail Letter; Dec. 3, 1944

  1. Becci says:

    As both a former stamp collector (translation: destroyer of postcards once the stamp corners were cut off) and a current postcard/story collector – I too am ashamed of my destructive past! Although the featured v-mail is a brief memo back home, there’s so much behind those words. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

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