WW2 Love Letter

320 WWII Love Letter blog with photos of letters

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

 

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Scent of a WW2 Love Letter

Posted by on Jan 28, 2016 in 1940s Life, All Blog Posts, Mail and The U.S. Post Office, Navy, South Pacific, WW2, WW2 Letters, WW2 Love Letter, WWII Letter | 0 comments

Arline sent Morris scented letters during WW2. The collection is stored in a new cedar chest, smaller than the hope chest. I had the box made just for the letters. The hope chest always smelled so good when I would peek into it as a child. The new chest’s cedar scent is fresh, holy, pungent.

Cedar Chest for WW2 Love Letters

Cedar Chest for WW2 Love Letters

Arline as a teen had little money for things like perfume. I asked her a few years ago what perfume she wore. She didn’t remember much about perfume or her make-up. In her photos she doesn’t look made up at all. But Morris mentions her lipstick. She probably did use scented powder in the letters. How wonderful for any person serving overseas to get a scented letter. “Half way around the world” Mose wrote back.

Scented WW2 Love Letter

Scented WW2 Love Letter

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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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Mother’s Day Love Letter

Posted by on May 8, 2015 in 1920s and 1930s, All Blog Posts, Holiday, WW2 Love Letter | 0 comments

In memory of a day when people wrote each other letters, I wrote to my mother on Mother’s day and read her this letter.

Dear Mother Arline,

A favorite memory was that time in the 1970s when I was twelve. You gave me the book “The Prophet” by Kahlil Gibran (1883-1931).

The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran

The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran

I still have it. I was just reading a passage. When you gave me the book it was one of those pivotal moments. I still wonder the reason you chose to give me this particular sacred book. I remember you handing it to me.

Mom, I’m grateful you supported my spiritual quest in my early teenage years. Kahlil Gibran had a benefactress, Mary Elizabeth Haskell. That they were lovers in spirit.

Mary Elizabeth Haskell Kahlil Gibran's Benefactress

Mary Elizabeth Haskell
Kahlil Gibran’s Benefactress

Mary was ten years his senior and a school headmistress. She later married another man but continued to support Kahlil financially. When Gibran died at age 48 he willed the contents of his studio to Mary. There in his artist studio Mary discovered her letters to Kahlil spanning twenty-three years. She recognized their historical value and decided to save them. Excerpts of the over six hundred letters were published in “Beloved Prophet” in 1972.  I’ve got them on order.

The Prophet writes that Love injures us in all its ways so that we may find the secrets of our own heart, and in that knowledge become a fragment of Life’s Heart. He must be talking about Divine Oneness at a point in time where God was moving out of fashion in favor of homogenized spirituality.

Martha the Prophetess writes: Love is all. Love is all good.  All good does not injure. It’s only humble human failings, not Love, that thresh, sift, grind and knead us as the prophet accused Love. It’s solely man’s inhumanity to man, the tyrant of a finite reality. Mortal love is at best a transitory reflection of Truth. Pain and sadness have no part in Love’s dance. True Love is Life’s unbreakable covenant, Love. True Love is Holy only.   

Mom, I love you today and everyday.

Loving You,

Martha

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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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Sailor who Never Went to Sea

Posted by on Feb 1, 2015 in 1940s Life, All Blog Posts, Bowdoin College, Mail and The U.S. Post Office, Media, WW2, WW2 Letters, WW2 Love Letter, WWII Letter | 0 comments

Today is February 1st, 2015. I pull a WW2 love letter, the first one that matches the date, but 1943. Today lends itself to the fine the art of avoiding writing by reading sentimental old love letters.  This is how one writer spent her Super Bowl Sunday. Morris would be at the T.V. if he were here. But he’s now seventy-two years ago, the Morris who is at Bowdoin College in winter. His good friend has just been drafted, got a notice and is leaving. Morris is returning from the movie Casablanca and finds a sailor lying out in cold Maine snow:

Excerpt WW2 Love Letter

Sailor who Never Went to Sea. Image of WW2 Letter

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