2022: L… A to Z April Challenge: Time Traveling… Letters & Papers from the “Trunk in the Hall”

YooHoo… I’m super excited to be back with everyone in the “7th” April A to Z Challenge… and my theme is “Time-Traveling” through my blog – “Everyone Has a Family Story to Tell“. If you have stumbled upon this post and wondering about the challenge… The Blogging A to Z April Challenge is one month of every-day blogging through the alphabet. 26 days, 26 letters, 26 posts! Daily blogging is Monday through Saturday… leaving Sunday to rest, read other blogs, and prepare for the following week! From the first day in 2016 when I happened upon this challenge… it still has me just as excited… and always eager to begin! Who doesn’t love a good time travel of events… so where would you travel to?

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

First Posted on March 15, 2016 

Grab a coffee… as you follow me down the rabbit hole… Hippity Hop!

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… 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. What I wouldn’t give to rummage through grandmamma’s basket of “saves”… if only I could time travel back! When I close my eyes and think of how granddaddy’s farm looked in my youth, I can visualize various items laying around such as the pile of scrap metal pieces behind the smokehouse; that was his work-pile when repairs were needed. My grandfather, like many others during those years, were very conservative people; my mama today still calls herself a frugal person!

While I do have many of those letters and papers they saved in the trunk… most unfortunately ended in the landfill. That would partly be my fault, as when I began stamp collecting in the 1960’s, I begged for the stamps off those many envelopes; mama later discarded the rest in the trash. The “rest” had been the true salvage… now lost is the written family history from those trashed letters! My grandparents even kept every bill they received and paid. Mama even remembered finding an envelope with a check that her father never cashed; it was for a cow purchased… the man had died so her father never cashed the check.


McKinley Leroy VMail Letters_0001 (644x800)

V-Mail from Private Edgar Leroy McKinley, my grandparent’s only son… mama’s only sibling… and my uncle. 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

Leroys… 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… also Edgar.

He hadn’t arrived 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.


Previous Years A to Z April Challenges…

2016: A to Z Southern Foods and Memories… they said write what you know… and being a girl born in the South… well this was what I knew.
2017: A to Z Conversations with Mama… it was a somewhat easy one for me to write as I’d journaled our conversations for years… I researched favorite topics to write.
2018: A to Z All About Nancy Drew… this one has been my favorite topic so far, and I don’t know if I’ll ever come up with another one to equal it
2019: A to Z Italian Famiglia Foods and Memories… I felt it was time to finally write the favorites of my husbands family foods.
2020: A to Z Family Stories… writing the stories of my husband’s family.
2021: A to Z of Mama in Photos... blogging on my mother through photos and memories.

To read more 2022: A to Z… click HERE.

© 2022, copyright Jeanne Bryan Insalaco; all rights reserved


About Jeanne Bryan Insalaco

My blog is at: https://everyonehasafamilystorytotell.wordpress.com/
This entry was posted in 2022: A to Z April Challenge... Time Traveling, Daily Writings and funnies..., Family Stories and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to 2022: L… A to Z April Challenge: Time Traveling… Letters & Papers from the “Trunk in the Hall”

  1. I didn’t know about V mail so just read your post about it as well. What an amazing piece of technology. It would have employed a lot of people, what with reading and filming and so on. They are certainly treasured items.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m a memory keeper and love looking through old memorabilia like this. I’ve kept letters letters from over the years and it’s always fun to re-read them. Weekends In Maine

    Liked by 1 person

  3. dyannedillon says:

    Letters sent between my parents from when my dad was in Korea were kept in our basement, and I suspect they were destroyed in one of several floods over the years (rain, burst pipe, burst SEWER pipe, to name a few).

    Liked by 1 person

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