Media

WW2 Love Letter 75 years past D Day

Posted by on Jun 6, 2019 in 1940s Life, All Blog Posts, Bowdoin College, LOVE LETTER, Media, Navy, Poetry, WW2, WW2 Letters, WW2 Love Letter, WWII Letter | 0 comments

I wrote that I’d write. That plan didn’t turn out as well as D Day did. The good news is we still live in Brunswick, Maine and Robert Peter Tristram Coffin is still my favorite poet. And, Arline will be adding another clocked year here in just a couple weeks.

To honor the 75th Anniversary of D Day I’ve chosen to publish a complete letter my father penned to Arline from Bates, just a couple days after D Day, on June 9th, 1944. He was in Lewiston, Maine. She was in Portland. The distance between them was a world war.

If you read it you’ll see that his heart was just as sunk as ever. Against the back drop of the successful invasion in Europe, bringing hope and excitement abroad, Mose would none the less not be free. If he hadn’t enlisted in the navy he would have been drafted. He had no choice. At this date in his navy career Mose was enrolled at Midshipmen’s School at Bates. Next would be the Naval Academy at Notre Dame, then off to fight.

Being still a Bowdoin student, but enlisted in the navy and at Bates College, the arch rival of Bowdoin, was a time of emptiness and sad feelings. Old and best friends were leaving for the war. New friends at Bates were transient, many from out of town, out of state, there for just for a training period. So much disruption was crazy. But Mose did find some interesting things to say and some humor.

The Armed Forces had the Bowdoin boys play on the Bates athletic teams and wear the Bates uniform. Mose did this and had to play against Bowdoin. We have official photos of him donning the Bowdoin team uniform and Bates.

Arline helped me make peace with all this saying that the boys liked to play games and baseball, it was definitely an enjoyable sport for them, and good thing for them to do at this time regardless of the uniform they wore. They had fun. I’m sure she’s right, though Mose does mention some mixed feelings about it in another letter.

Screen Shot 2019-06-05 at 11.42.55 PMScreen Shot 2019-06-05 at 11.43.19 PM

 

Read More

Love Letters in the South Pacific – A Boatload of WW2 Army Nurses

Posted by on Feb 14, 2018 in 1940s Life, All Blog Posts, Holiday, Media, Navy, Photo, South Pacific, Vintage Style, WW2 | 0 comments

Happy Love Letters Valentine’s Day America!
If a picture’s worth a 1000 words
This love’s for you. It will endure.

Morris took quite a few snapshots when he was deployed in the South Pacific during WW2.
I recently got into his photo scrapbook. Quite a few amazing pics. Here’s a peek.

Photo ofMorris Densmore and crew S. Pacific WW2

Morris Densmore and crew S. Pacific WW2

Some things must never change. WW2 pin up art is one of them.

Insignia of LCT 753

Insignia of LCT 753 & friend

Nurses looking like Rosie the Riveter arrive as a boat load.

Photo of load of army nurses South Pacific WW2

Your load of army nurses finally arrives!

God bless America! Will post more soon.

Love,

Martha D.

 

 

 

 

Read More

Martha’s Merry Maine Christmas 2017

Posted by on Dec 24, 2017 in All Blog Posts, Bowdoin College, Holiday, LOVE LETTER, Media, Vintage Style | 0 comments

Merry Christmas and Happy Holiday Season!

Merry Christmas 2017!

Merry Christmas 2017!

America is having a come back. So are some Densmores. In September of 2017 I moved my mother back to Maine. We rented a farmhouse in Pemaquid a couple months. During that time we bought a house in Brunswick near Bowdoin. Our new house borders a 300 acre working organic farm. We look out upon a great expanse of land, beautiful pasture and crops.

One afternoon in the fall of 2017 I was driving Arline on a back highway here. It was Saturday. The Brunswick escrow had just closed. I was driving Arline back to our rented farmhouse.  It would be our last weekend there in the Hope Woods. I turned on the radio and flicked it to an AM station.

There’s a radio station here in Maine called The Memories Station. 1960s songs were playing.  Watching farms go by, many with American flags, frame by frame the purity echoed. So here I am in an Americana paradise. Classic like a Palm Springs cocktail in the 1950s. Like a Las Vegas travel ad in the 1960s. Like a TV Christmas special in the 1970s. Time never left this place. It’s never left. Back roads and farms and quaint old houses. She’s here breathing. Oh America, why did it take so long? Like an old love letter.

I’d just been contemplating Love Story’s slogan that love means never having to say your sorry. The theme of “Love Story” sung by Andy Williams started playing. The second song after I turned on the station. Then came “For All we Know” by Karen Carpenter.

Read More

Love Letters goes to Maine, USA

Posted by on Sep 1, 2017 in All Blog Posts, Media, Photo | 0 comments

The last couple years I’ve nursed my mother, Arline, to fully recover her well being. We moved a few times. This included Arline going in and out of an assisted living place. She also had a short stay in a memory care facility. Lot’s of drama and decline in these places. Every senior who needs a nurse deserves a nurse. Lucky Arline.

I pulled Arline out of two places. Even the best are problematic. After dealing with a slimy back stabbing corporate mentality that works to drug seniors, I made a decision to rent a house for my mother and to hire and train private caregivers myself. She’s not on any medications other than CBD medical cannabis to help with relaxation and sleep. She lives a fairly normal life and that makes all the difference.

By pulling mom out of managed care and caring for her myself with good help, I got her life and mental health back. It’s not often a nurse gets this much satisfaction. Even so much health here we’re getting ready to fly to Love Letters, USA – Maine.

Today Arline’s usual charm with gentlemen got her ordained as a Junior Officer of the Santa Barbara CHP.  She’s got the sticker to prove it too.

Arline charms the Santa Barbara CHP

Arline charms Santa Barbara CHP photo by Mike Halford

Arline gets a send off from Santa Barbara fireman

Arline gets a send off from Santa Barbara fireman photo by Mike Halford

Read More

Calisthenics at Bowdoin College in WW2

Posted by on Jun 12, 2016 in 1940s Life, All Blog Posts, Bowdoin College, Media, Navy, WW2 | 0 comments

When college coaches were sent to war, new athletic managers were recruited.

Newspaper Article on Bowdoin WW2

As teams coaches were sent to war, new athletic managers were recruited from slim pickings

In 1943 Bowdoin College boys were required to take rigorous calisthenics 5 hours a week.  It was normal for boys just out of high school to be weak in reading and writing. Ordinarily the college would greatly focus on upgrading writing and math skills, english, foreign language, history, debate, American literature and the classics.  But in 1943 best efforts at Bowdoin were strained by the war. Bowdoin’s tradition of liberal arts, Christian morality and preparing the intellect for a common good created great thinker leaders of democracy.

Young men like Mose were already heavily burdened with extra classes plus training for sports. Morris played baseball, football, tack, and basketball. Even though Mose wasn’t yet enlisted in the navy the cause of the war subjected Bowdoin fellows to a new curriculum that included extra physical ed classes to ready them for war.

Sportsmen aged 18-21 instantly dissolved from Bowdoin’s varsity teams. Freshmen like Mose were added on the fly. Mose loved to play ball. He must have still managed to have a good time.

Morris’s freshman year at Bowdoin in 1942-1943 was a critical time in American history. The college had to comply with the Army-Navy requirement to get the boys fit for war. No part of campus life remained untouched by war. This film shows an idea about the mentality of bootcamp style military calisthenics.

Read More

Love is a Star Spangled Banner

Posted by on Apr 24, 2016 in All Blog Posts, Media, Poetry, Vintage Style | 0 comments

Love is a Star Spangled Banner

 

Francis Scott Key was an American poet and lawyer who wrote the Star Spangled Banner. Check out videos below.

Francis-Scott Key 1948, 3 Cent Stamp

Francis-Scott Key 1948 Three Cent Stamp

My father’s love was like a high flying flag. So often these days I wonder what he’d have to say about things like our money system (he was a prominent banker) and the current presidential election. Would he vote for Donald Trump? The internet was just getting started when Morris passed away in 1999. The internet is what makes a Trump possible.

WW2 Flag from Mose's Ship

WW2 Flag from Mose’s Ship

The flag from Morris’s battleship is framed and in my brother’s home office.

I lived near my parents most of my adult years up to the point where Mose passed away in 1999. In my teens and twenties I had few concerns about world happenings or the stability of America. In my rather elite all-girl’s high school, Marlborough, the emphasis in the 1970s was as much about pop psychology as any significance of comparative religion, the history of the modern West, the Founding Fathers and American values in American history.
I learned to take great notes at Marlborough, but on the whole, my parent’s high school education and opportunities were superior to mine. That is until the war came.

I remember reading “Working Girls” in high school, a book to enlighten about the daily struggles of prostitutes. I read Malcolm X too for a social studies elective.  The most interesting science I found was beneath the surface of the school. It was the bond of brotherly institutions built by men like Walt Disney whose granddaughter was in my class. Notable, when a group of girls got caught shoplifting at Disneyland in my 8th grade, all of the offenders were expelled at the end of the year. That is except for one girl. One of the shoplifters wasn’t punished at all. She remained in my class and we graduated together. I always admired her beautiful long blond hair, short skirts and Mercedes coupe.

I have a fuller context for my liberal arts high school education now from this journey through my father’s love letters.

How I’d love to hear Morris’s thoughts today about our country. No doubt if he were alive today I’d find him where he so often was on a weekend afternoon, in front of a TV ball game and not wanting to be disturbed until the game was over. Our relational approaches were long standing habits, mine even more distanced than his. Like a flag flying high, I always knew in my heart that I was fully blessed with one man’s protection and love. But the battles of evil and ignorance were mine to fight alone in a tall New England tradition of purification through trial and error.

Below is short history lesson and a song I dedicate to my dad and to all Americans.

Read More