1943—Flight Training, No Letters

December 1942 ended abruptly with a letter promising more. We know Walt was in San Antonio to begin flight training, and we know that he and Ruth married on Christmas Eve. Everything else is speculation until 1944, when the letters start up again.

I can only conclude that there were no letters for 1943 because Ruth stayed with Walt until he was deployed overseas, even though he had done his best to talk her out of staying or working in Texas. The letters in 1944-45 are addressed to Ruth in Youngstown, Ohio on Evergreen Avenue, not the Breaden Street where she lived with her parents in most of the 1942 letters. Did her parents move? Was she living alone in a house or apartment? Was she working again? Maybe some snippets of information will give us a few details about 1943.

Or did Walt go to California or someplace else for flight training as some men did, and did Ruth accompany him?

My daughter discovered in a box of stuff that she had Walt’s identification card, issued in October 1943, so I’ll be making a little trip her way to see what else she might have. Here’s a photo of the card, which does not list an address or location:

I’m going to pick through my photos and documents again for any evidence of where the flight training took place and any other bits related to 1943 before I begin those war letters from 1944.


Missing Pieces

Wedding: December 24, 1942
Wedding: December 24, 1942

You know what happens when you’re dealing with an overwhelming amount of material–you just dive in and get started until you can see some kind of pattern emerge or feel ready to impose one. That’s what I’ve done several times in this project. Recently, after scanning all the Korea letters, and with about half the WWII letters left to scan, it seemed possible to put the remaining ones in chronological order and get an idea of what remains.

Why was it a surprise to see that there are no letters from 1943? The 1942 letters are full of references to getting married, with lots of angst about whether it would be possible or if war would interfere. Marriage did prevail–and I knew it–but it never occurred to me that there would be such a huge and decisive gap in the letters. They pick back up in September 1944 and continue to the end of the war in August 1945, but what happened in that first year of marriage? I may never find out, but I can piece together that they must have lived in San Antonio, with my mother returning to Ohio some time in 1944 before the writing begins again, so perhaps they had more than a year together in the interim.

Logic also tells me that my mother returned to San Antonio after the war, perhaps in 1945, because my brother was born there in late 1946.

I guess you always miss what isn’t there and I’ll be wondering what happened in that year, but it won’t be the last missing piece. There are no letters between 1945 and 1951 and I really wish I knew what those years were like.