Letters & Papers from the Trunk in the Hall:
Air Mail Letter; Jan. 13, 1945
The “Trunk in the Hall” held the letters and papers my grandparents saved – and they saved everything from cancelled 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 smoke house – 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; mama still calls herself today a frugal person!
The “Trunk in the Hall” will be an Heirloom post in the future.
Air Mail Letter
- To: Mr. & Mrs. Edgar T. McKinley January 11, 1945
- Greensboro, GA. Somewhere in Luxembourg
- Route 3
My Dearest Mother, Dad & Sis,
Will write you to-nite as we sit here talking about the time we use to have at home and what wonderful Mom & Dad’s we had and what they did for us. Mother and Dad, I will be a changed and different fellow, I will be when I get back home.
Mother, I sent a check to you about the first of January for $44.00, as I think or $40.00, one of the two. Well anyway, you can write and let me know when you receive it.
Father, I would like for you to use the money that you get from me, for any purpose you need it for as much as you like and you can repay when ever you like or never. I won’t mind, and get sister all the things she really needs. Well mom, I wrote that wife and told, or at least, asked her if she would visit you sometimes.
I sometimes wonder how things are going on the farm since I left, the same old way I suppose, guess you still have plenty, cows, hogs and plenty of plowing to do, well now is one time I would enjoy plowing and I really mean it. There would be no grumbling or growling out of me – none.
Some day I will come back to, and want to get married, settle down and have a nice little place of my own with my wife, and Mother and Dad to stay there with me and I mean be together. Not me roaming around all the time and I also want to see a lot of Sis.
Sister, guess she is still going to school, having a good time. Suppose she received the bracelet I sent, it’s just a souvenir from over, not too nice but guess she will like it.
I never hear from Aunt Marie, Aunt Annie, what is wrong, don’t they write, they always did. Maybe the mail just held up someplace. Hoping to hear from them soon. Yes I guess J. W. & Uncle Walter are going to make millions now at their new jobs, but it’ll play out soon. That’s usually the way, but maybe not this time. Well mom, will close for this time, hoping to hear from you soon.
Your Loving son,
- From: Pfc. Edgar L. McKinley
- Co. B 2nd Inf. APO 5
- A.S.N. 34829817 (Army Serial No.)
- C/O P.M. NY, NY
I wonder why he used Air Mail and not V-Mail, as he knew this letter would take much longer to arrive, but he seemed to have much to say, and those V-Mail sheets were limited in space. Mama often told me how her brother had to help with the plowing and always grumbled about it – it seems that weighed on his mind now and had him wishing to be back in that field plowing again. It seemed to be a night of thinking of home for the boys – probably a lot of letters went out that night from. He probably knew what lay ahead in the days to come, and what he actually knew, could never be written in those letters.
Mama told me she never saw or heard about the bracelet he mentioned in the letter. When the letters arrived, her mother first opened and read – sometimes they were read aloud, sometimes silent, but she hoarded them dearly. She read, reread, and then put them in the trunk in the hall. Mama often found her reading the letters over and over and always putting them back in the trunk; she was emotionally attached to those few letters. Maybe the bracelet never even arrived in that envelope? The letter had been censored, so it may have been removed; could have been a trace to his whereabouts as he mentioned it was of a souvenir type? Maybe my grandmother held it dearly to her and kept it – no one knows now, and it no longer matters. Lee Roy seemed to have been her favorite, there was definitely a strong mother-son bond; she changed even more when he left for the Army, becoming very reclusive; retreating into another world. When the Western Union telegram came of his death, it was the final straw, her mind could take no more.
To Read more: Letters and Papers from The Trunk in the Hall
For history on V-Mail: WWII: The History of V-Mail
© 2016 Jeanne Bryan Insalaco