Letters & Papers from the Trunk in the Hall: Air Mail Letter; Feb. 6, 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 In Luxembourg
- Greensboro, GA. Feb. 6, 1945
- Route 3
My Dearest Mom, Dad & Sis,
Will drop you a few lines today to let you hear from your only son, at the time he is getting along OK and prays to stay so. Just about all the snow is gone now, but it is still cool, guess it is getting warm over there too.
Guess Sis is still going to school and making good. Hope so anyway and Dad I hope he is getting along fine.
Mom, we are just fixing to go to a movie. I hope so. I will close for this time hoping to get a letter from you today. Haven’t received the mail as yet.
Your Loving Son,
- From: Pfc. Edgar L. McKinley
- Co. B 2nd Inf. APO 5
- C/O P.M. NY, NY
Many letters mentioned the “want” of receiving mail from family. That was probably what weighed on their minds and kept them going – the news from home. I guess it let their minds wander for a few moments on home-life and not what a hell hole it was there. Maybe, if only, when they laid their head down at night, it allowed them to think of family as they drifted off to hopefully a good nights sleep.
He mentioned the snow was almost gone, being a Georgia boy he wasn’t used to living in a snow environment, much less having to fight through snow battlefields and dealing with the cold.
I wish he had mentioned the name of the movie he was going to – it so peeked my interest. Did they show current movies to the boys? What type of set-up did they have to show movies during the war in a field setting? I began searching the most popular movies of 1944 and came across House of Frankenstein (1944), but then Hollywood Canteen (1944) caught my eye. I watched this recently and fell in love with it instantly – actually I’ve become hooked on the old classics of the 40’s. If you’ve never seen it, I highly recommend. I saved it on my DVR and often while working on my blog posts, I’ll listen to it. There are over 50 plus actors and actresses who star and have cameo’s – and I still haven’t found them all in the many times I’ve watched it. I must be napping!
Unfortunately my father (Harold “Clayton” Bryan) never talked about his days in the Navy. If only the want of family history and writing had been with me at an earlier age, what treasured conversations I could have had with daddy. He served on the USS Washburn and the USS Blue Ridge; it was on the latter that he witnessed the first atomic blasts at Bikini Atoll. I can only wish about that conversation with my father on what he witnessed. Click Here. to read what I discovered on his witness of Bikini Atoll. Maybe I will recreate that wishful conversation in a post!
Most likely this was the last letter Leroy wrote home – it possibly arrived after his death. The enemy sniper took his life, in that wooded forest, outside Metz, Germany on Feb. 19, 1945.
To read more in the trunk: Letters and Papers from The Trunk in the Hall
For more history on V-Mail, click WWII: The History of V-Mail
© 2016 Jeanne Bryan Insalaco