Saturday, August 20, 2011

The Last Letter Home

Aug 20, 1953
[West Germany] 
Dear Mom, Dad and all, 
It been so long since I wrote that I suppose you think I am on my way home. Not quite. One of my buddies that gets out Oct 14 leaves the 29th of this month. I get out the 28th of Oct so I figure I will leave Sept. 12th. I should be out by the first of Oct.[1] 
Marylou and family must have had a bad trip. I would like to go to Kansas some day.[2]
As far as I know now I will work at the same place. If I can get in the warehouse. I don't want my old job back. [3]
I haven't hardly turned my hand for a week. I tore the clutch out of my jeep and they sent it to Ord. for a new one. It should be back any day now. 
I went swimming the other day and cut my big toe and hit my head on a log under water. I guess I had better stay in camp. I go to the shows quite a bit over here. I haven't seen a 3D movie yet. [4] 
Has Jr. ever decided about buying a new Mercury yet? [5] 
I guess I will have to sign off for now.* 

Love, V. 

P.S. can't think of much to write but can tell all about it when I get home
[1] This was his last letter home and so concludes this series, "Letters Home." There is an epilogue: a letter from the German girl he met in Germany arrived in 1955 at the address he gave her before he left. I have no idea whether she is still living and so I hesitate to publish it here. The gist of the letter was essentially "why don't you write me?"  Her letter arrived a month before my parents got married in 1955.

[2] His oldest sister's husband had taken up a ministry in Kansas. He did in fact visit her. One of my first memories was a family trip to visit her and her family who had since moved from Kansas to Council Bluffs, Iowa. Thus, his long ago written words became a real life memory for me which I still carry in my head. And now I'm putting that memory back in words just to affirm that he kept that promise.

[3] He worked in Madison upon his return but took an apprenticeship as a printer in his hometown of Richland Center, Wisconsin.  That led to another job as a journeyman printer in the town of Monroe, Wisconsin, where my brother and I were born. Shortly after I was born, he took a job at Madison Newspapers, Inc. and we moved to Middleton, Wisconsin, where I grew up.

[4] The "golden era" of 3D movies was 1952-55: link

[5] He eventually did buy a used 1952 Mercury: here he is behind the wheel in an undated photograph, probably taken in late 1954 or early 1955 by my grandfather: