Saturday, January 9, 2010

Familial Ties That Bind

A letter received from home prompted my father to send a second letter back home within a week.  Here he responds to news about the birth of a nephew (my cousin).  He avoids the topic at first, but then reacts with a mixture of mild derision and scolding:
January 9, 1952
Fort Knox, KY

Dear Mom, Dad and all,
I got your letter yesterday and couldn’t answer it that night because we was out on the tank range from 8:00 tue. morning till 8:00 that night. It takes about an hour to drive out. We went on a hike today and will be going out to drive again in about two hours. We won’t be back until midnight.
I am sending the income tax statement they gave us today. I suppose you will have to add it into my ’51 earnings. I hope I don’t have to pay any extra money. I shouldn’t have to.  It’s going to be a bad night because it’s raining now. I got all kinds of clothes so we don’t get to wet.
Sure was surprised to hear A__ had her baby.  J__’s tied down now. Ha! Ha! I don’t care for the name either.[1]  
I got my fatigues so now you can patch those ones in my trunk. I am going to use them instead of new ones they gave us. We have to turn them in at the end of training. That way I can bring a good pair home. I already got them put away. Send them next week if you can.  We have to turn in a lot of our clothes and get new ones. Wish I had an old field jacket so I could do the same thing.
11:00 Tues night

We just got back and I am going to get ready to go to bed. The mud out there was about 2 ft. deep.  We have been using 150 gallons of gas a day and about 5 gallons of oil. Part of the time we had to drive without lights. I will sign off for now. 

P.S. It didn’t rain but it is getting colder.

[1] "A" is his sister-in law and the wife of his older brother "J" who was then serving in combat in Korea. I think he's expressing his version of disapproval because J and A had been married just 3 months when their first child was born.  Premarital sex was still highly taboo in the 1950's, even more so if a child resulted. I mean, the innocence of Beach Boy's "Wouldn't It Be Nice" was still in place 15 years later.  I don't know the detailed circumstances of my aunt and uncle's marriage, i.e., whether it was delayed to so close to the birth of their first child because of his active deployment to Korea. But I do know that they eventually had 3 more children and that they both remain alive, well, and happily married 58 years later!

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