Vintage Style

Love Letters are from the 40s era of vintage style

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.

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Writer Scores Victory Scrapbook 1943

Posted by on Jan 3, 2016 in 1940s Life, All Blog Posts, Bowdoin College, High School Years, Historical Portland, Media, Photo, Portland Maine, Vintage Style, WW2, WWII Letter | 0 comments

Writer Scores Victory Scrapbook 1943

I remember as a child my father coaching me to catch the ball. “Keep your eye on the ball,” he’d always say. I was fortunate to spend several days with my mother over Christmas. I was organizing her front closet and delved into another old trunk. I found a scrapbook. I’d seen it before. We all have. It needs care and preservation so I brought it home to look at. I’m sure glad I did.

My dad made it. It commemorates his sports life at Deering High and Bowdoin College during 1942-1943. It’s ironic because I’m the one person in my immediate family that didn’t become a jock. Not for lack of talent. In high school I excelled in ballet and modern dance. I was also an equestrian in high school. But I preferred the pleasure of riding my horse to the hassle of competitions. I won a ribbon here and there in sports, one for swimming, a couple with my horse. But I never followed baseball or football. And I went to an all girls high school so that put a damper on things…I wanted to be a cheerleader. But not for all-girl volleyball.

My two older brother’s were basketball jocks in high school. My cousin Pete Ladd (on Arline’s side, her sister Ruth’s son) pitched for the Milwakee Brewers in the 1982 World Series. Nothing is more thrilling than watching your cousin pitch on TV.

So here I am, a non-sportsperson writing about my dad’s sports life in high school and college. Thank goodness Dad made this extraordinary catalogue of newspaper clippings from important games and turning points during the war.

Newspaper clipping 1942

Densmore Celebrates Birthday Beats Blue in a Post Stadium Tilt.

How much help can a writer expect? It’s amazing to think that in those days being a high school sports star would get you regular press coverage in the local news. My parents were both featured in the local Portland newspaper at various times including Arline with the headline “The Deering Girls had a Hoop Season”. I never realized she was that serious a player.  It’s super to see my dad like a Titan god killing the competition in a “hurling duel”. Dad in a duel! He truly is a star.

And then it’s incredible to look at his selected clippings from that most historical year at Bowdoin including watching each athlete leave, alone or in groups, called away to service. There’s a clipping of Mrs Roosevelt from the speech she gave at Bowdoin. Eleanor declared that the war would make you a better citizen.

Newspaper Clipping 1942

Densmore Best in Hurling Duel

Eleanor Roosevelt Speaks to 1200 at Bowdoin College

Eleanor Roosevelt Speaks to 1200 at Bowdoin College

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Note from Albert Einstein for Pearl Harbor Day

Posted by on Dec 7, 2015 in 1940s Life, All Blog Posts, Mail and The U.S. Post Office, Vintage Style, WW2, WW2 Letters | 0 comments

Today is Pearl Harbor Day 2015. If Pearl Harbor Day were Christmas I’d ask Santa for this letter. The letter is an item listed on E-Bay, buy it now price $3,900. The letter is by Albert Einstein. It’s dated April 22, 1947.

Albert Einstein Letter

Albert Einstein Letter

As I read Einstein’s ideas on materialism and energy, I hear absolute reality. I hear, strangely enough, an echo of Mary Baker Eddy’s ideas about materialism. This letter states our idea of materialism is “outmoded” and “narrow”. I hear in this letter the idea of spiritual harmony, sacred truth and understanding. I picture Einstein at study in the Christian Science reading room. This much we know, he went there and spent some time.

Not long after the end of World War II, Albert Einstein founded the Emergency Committee of Atomic Scientists. He and co-founder, scientist Leό Szilάrd, toured our country to educate the public on the peaceful uses of nuclear energy. Ironically, an earlier letter signed by Einstein—warning President Roosevelt of the dangers of a possible German atomic bomb—is credited with starting the U.S. drive to establish the Manhattan Project that built the first atomic bomb.

Albert Einstein

Albert Einstein

Here’s what the letter says. Stand now in the footstep of a great thinker who seems to be saying that the ability to exercise reason is the only hope of man:

“……through the release of atomic energy, our generation has brought into the world the most revolutionary force since prehistoric man’s discovery of fire. This basic power of the universe cannot be fitted into the outmoded concept of narrow materialism. For there is no secret, and there is no defense; there is no possibility of control except through the aroused understanding and insistence of the peoples of the world.

We scientists recognize our inescapable responsibility to carry to our fellow citizens an understanding of the simple facts of atomic energy and their implications for society. In this lie our only security and our only hope – we believe that an informed citizenry will act for life and not for death.

We need $1,000,000 for this great educational task. Sustained by faith in man’s ability to control his destiny through the exercise of reason, we have pledged all our strength and our knowledge to this work. I do not hesitate to call upon you to help…Faithfully yours.”

 

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Love Letters 69th Wedding Anniversary

Posted by on Jul 28, 2015 in 1940s Life, All Blog Posts, Historical Portland, Photo, Vintage Style, WW2 | 0 comments

Sixty-nine years ago on July 27th Morris married Arline in a Congregational Church in Portland Maine. My dad died in 1999. Arline now lives in a condo in a large “hotel style” three hundred unit building inside Rossmoor, a huge gated retirement community in Walnut Creek, California.

Morris and Arline c.1946 Wedding Day

Morris and Arline c.1946 Wedding Day

Arline moved in four months ago from a townhouse.  I’ve been staying with her in a challenging process of introducing new household help, not easy. Arline doesn’t want any helpers, not any I choose anyway.

Today day started out rough. But I left for a few hours and it turned peaceful. I found a twenty dollar bill on the side walk. I fell asleep with my dog in the park. I’m just giving back to God my hope that this will all work out somehow so she can remain in her own beautiful condo.

In the evening, while snacking on an obscenly chocolate muffin- causing me to scold her for skipping dinner – Arline told me about a man that had plopped down next to her downstairs while she was sitting on a bench. It happened at about 5PM. “He told me his whole life story,” she said. Arline was amazed. She kept bringing it up.

Arline kept asking me questions to identify the timing. Maybe she correlated the man with something about her wedding day. I was so self absorbed I forgot it was her anniversary though she mentioned it two days ago. “He just kept talking and talking. He talked about WW2 and all about his life, and telling me everything about himself.” This is the first day anything like this has happened in years. It occurs to me now that Morris was sometimes like that – sometimes he’d just talk and talk but on a particular topic or theme.

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Father’s WW2 Love Letter from Subic Bay

Posted by on Jun 21, 2015 in 1940s Life, All Blog Posts, Mail and The U.S. Post Office, Navy, South Pacific, Vintage Style, WW2, WW2 Letters, WW2 Love Letter, WWII Letter | 0 comments

It’s Father’s Day today, Summer Solstice of 2015. In October 1945 Mose writes Arline from his ship. WW2 Love Letter below. He’s anchored in Subic Bay. This is fun because I can google and see where he was. Mose is censor for his boat’s mail. Many envelopes from this period bear a navy censor stamp with his initials MAD. It’s probably not urgent to keep secret where he is now, which he otherwise carefully instructed Arline about on the eve of his disembarcation from San Fransisco. He mentions a milestone, one year ago he graduated naval school. In  six months he’ll be a lieutenant. I read the letter. I walk my dog. I send love to Mose across time and space.

WW2 Love Letter from Subic  Bay

WW2 Love Letter from Subic Bay

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Bowdoin College Moonlit Pines 1943

Posted by on Feb 16, 2015 in 1940s Life, All Blog Posts, Bowdoin College, Holiday, Vintage Style, WW2 Letters, WW2 Love Letter, WWII Letter | 0 comments

It’s 1943. The WWII draft is on. For all he knows it may be his last Valentines season. Seventy years ago Morris finds exceptional beauty in a winter night at Bowdoin College. Moonlit pines weighted with snow glisten like Christmas Trees. He writes Arline a Love Letter a few days post Valentines day, “I have never seen Bowdoin as beautiful…”

WWII Letter excerpt

Bowdoin College Winter Night 1943

 

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