San Antonio after the War

The August 1945 letters ended abruptly when the Japanese surrender was announced, and while I don’t know how long it took for Walt’s group to wrap up and return to the states, it must have required some time, including travel. Maybe on hearing the news, Ruth started packing and planning to return to San Antonio to meet Walt. I don’t know when they finally met up, but we know that they remained in San Antonio until at least the end of 1946, as their first child was born there in November.

During their stay, I have evidence that they tried to enjoy postwar life. There are three photos in souvenir folders, at least one of them taken by Truesdell Night Club Photography. It is the only dated photo, dated April 13, 1946. The tables and chairs in that photo differ from the other two, which are marked as from Club Sevenoaks.

Here’s a closer look at the photos. This is the one from April:

These two are undated, but seem to be from two different outings, as evidenced by Ruth’s hairstyles:

More Wedding Day Photos

Walt’s cousin Elizabeth found some photos among her mother’s possessions after her death in 1999 and sent them on to Ruth. Her mother was the Aunt Ruth Walt lived with when he was in Ohio. The photos show Walt and Ruth in other wedding day poses in San Antonio.

December 1942 Letters Transcribed ✅

There are only 11 letters for December 1942, even though Walt says in the last one that he will write “more tomorrow.” I don’t know what might have happened to stop the writing or to stop Ruth from saving any further December letters. Maybe Walt did continue to write, but Ruth was already on her way to Texas, even though he had told her not to come. Maybe she turned up on his Texas doorstep the next day. I don’t know what happened to stop the letters, except that this happened:

December 24, 1942: Walt and Ruth at the San Antonio River Walk

Walt and Ruth were married as long planned on Christmas Eve 1942 in San Antonio. I guess Ruth’s dress is blue, as we heard in one letter, and she sports the shorter war haircut that Walt wasn’t sure about. You can see Walt’s new Officer’s cap with the black band he hopes to remove after flight training, and his shorter haircut doesn’t seem as bad as he had described.

That does it not only for December, but for 1942. There are no letters for 1943—I’ll speculate about that later—so the next round will be from 1944.

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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.