This first letter is written over several days—and is 30 pages long—because Ruth is waiting to learn Walt’s mailing address. I looked at breaking it up into shorter pieces, but that didn’t make sense in the long run, so here it is in one page. I have included the envelope images here that the first bundle of letters came in; they won’t appear with the other letters from the bundle.
The first page is dated 13 January 1942 in the heading, but then Ruth begins the letter with an 11 January date. so I’ve chosen that earlier date as the beginning of the letter.
A transcript follows the letter images.
Jan. 13, 1942.
I’m going to start my letter now & mail it when I know your address.
Sun., Jan. 11, 1942.
I went to church this morning. I’m afraid I didn’t take it as well this morning as I did yesterday. I was O.K. until I went in the balcony. But I’ll go every sunday until it doesn’t bother me at all.
Rev. Beach didn’t announce about your joining our church today. We had the smallest crowd today since Rev. Beach came here. He said we will probably have a better crowd
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next Sunday & he will announce it then. As I walked away from Rev. Beach this morning, he called, “Ruth, look here, isn’t this wonderful.” (a cute little girl about 3 was standing beside him) I don’t get it. Do you?
Remember Judge Gessner? He is very ill—in the hospital. He is delirious now.
I did some more work on my pillow-cases today.
That’s about all for today except—Space for mental telepathy [Above dotted lines: Three little words]: [ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ ]
Mon., Jan. 12, 1942.
Kaufman came in early this morning (I got in earlier, but I don’t know how) He asked me how I was the first thing. Boy! can I lie!
Tsk! Tsk! Nothing ever happens any more & don’t think I’m wrong by the length of this letter. You know me—they call me “Paragraph.”
I just hear today that they have taken Judge Gessner to John Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. He has a brain tumor. I guess there’s not much they can do for that. Huh?
Hey, sweets (whoops! there I go getting mushy, better cut that out) would you like me to tell you
about what is happening to Li’l Abner? Well, I’ll tell you now &
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if you don’t want me to continue, you can tell me when you answer this letter. O.K.?—O.K.
Li’l Abner has just heard of another Cherry Blossom. He investigates. This one is a female & also has heart-shaped ears. But it’s the wrong Cherry Blossom, Gulp! (oh, by the way, it was a dog). I once said I thought this Cherry Blossom might have something to do with Japan. Now I have another theory. I don’t know why, but its seems to me that I once read that Mammy Yokum’s maiden name was Pansy Blossom. Could Cherry Blossom be related in
some way? Well, we’ll have to wait & see.
I worked some more on my pillow cases. Honey, I’m still saving nickels & everyone is yours—(for that furlough they better give you this summer.)
Mental telepathy—[Above dotted lines: Three little words]
[ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ ]
Tues., Jan. 13, 1942.
I got your letter today, darling, & it made me very happy—as happy as I could be without you.
I Is my hand tired! I figured if I didn’t start ou writing now, I’d never
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get finished with my first letter to you.
Ab Daisy Mae is still being wooed by Mistah Wolf, by special permission of Available Jones. Mistah Wolf is getting no where with her & he’s used all his lines. “But a Wolf never gives up.”
I called your Aunt Ruth, as you asked me to. She said she got a letter from you today too, & that you had passed the physics exam & expected to get your uniform today.
Do you Have you pal-ed (spelling?) around with any one of the fellows in particular yet?
I forgot to tell you before. Saturday afternoon, I made our gun. We have the boat, plane, & gun on the piano. I’ll have to put some shellac on them now.
Howard Cooke (ruby’s b. f.) is here. Just spending a quiet evening in the parlor.
Honey, I’d like to write on & on, but it’s practically impossible for me to use my right hand much longer & I’m not so hot at writing with my left hand. So.—Mental telepathy [Above dotted lines: Three little words] [ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _]
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Wed., Jan. 14, 1942.
I got your second letter today. So you’re lonely, huh? So am I, sweetheart, but cheer up. Just think! It would be twice as bad if
we you didn’t love ea know that I loved you & missed you [arrow pointing above line] too. That’s how I console myself & you remember that too. Then, maybe that days won’t seem so long. I have something to say, but can’t seem to find the right words. Did you ever find that the words to a song or poem expressed your feelings better than your own words could? Well, one of my favorite songs says exactly what I want to say to you. The song is—”When Day is
Done.” Do you know the words? They are:—
“When Day is done & shadows
fold fall, I think you,
I sit alone & think of all the joys we knew,
That yearning returning, to hold you in my arms,
I know, love, won’t go, love,
Without you night has lost its charms
When Day is Done & grass is wet with twilight’s dew,
My lonely heart is sinking with the sun.
Of course, I miss your tender kiss the whole day through,
But I miss you most of all when Day is Done.”
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Hey, what’s the matter with me? I forgot—you said to just think that you are by my side. I will, Walt. I’ll try to never forget that again. I promise.
I knew I should have started this letter sooner. I keep thinking of things I forgot to tell you.
a one of those silly dreams again Sunday night. Her it is:—
You had taken me down home (Franklin). You went out somewhere & I was reading to Paul. (This’ll kill you)—Rats Reagle (I don’t how you spell his name) He sat down beside me, put his arms around me, & whispered that
he loved me. You came in then & I got up & told you. You said “Come on, Rats, I’ll take you home now.” After that I woke up. Some dream, huh?
Well, Judge Gessner died today. Twila was over Mon. night. We were talking about him & she said that she was just thinking how we used to laugh at him falling asleep in church & all this time he probably couldn’t help it. Everyone in our church, not to mention the rest of the city, will miss him. By the way, his son is in
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The U. S. Cavalry.
You probably won’t believe this, but Ruby was just informed today that she is going to graduate. She is bubbling over with joy. I’m glad she made it.
Well, dearest, I think I’ll work on my pillow cases. If I think of anything else, I’ll write it after while.
I hope you soon give me an address so I can mail this.
[ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _]
Thurs., Jan. 15, 1942.
I didn’t write any more last night ’cause I was too tired.
I’m so glad you called. It certainly was wonderful
to hear your voice. I’ll bet you wondered why I didn’t say more. I was so surprised that I just couldn’t think of a thing to say. I never before realized how short 3 minutes is. If you call again, we’ll have to talk about twice as fast as usual, huh?
After you called last night, I called your Aunt Ruth & told her. She asked me if you had written to your mother yet. I said I forgot to ask you, but imagined you had, as you said you had a lot of spare time.
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What did you have to do today? Peel spuds? I think you would look stunning in an apron. At least you do in a turban. I hope I get a letter from you tomorrow. When I get one, it makes the day just a little brighter. Of course, if I don’t get one, I won’t be mad at you. Nope, I don’t think you could do anything to make me really mad at you. So you see, you can’t geet rid of me very easily. Ha! Ha!
Gee, this has been the dullest day. Nothing new at all. Huh. No wonder they call me “Paragraph.” I’ve covered all this paper
today & yet nothing really happened at all.
I listened to The Adventures of the Thin Man last night. It was pretty good.
Know what, darling? I haven’t played the piano for ages & I’m still not in the mood. When you come back, maybe I won’t know how to play anymore. I guess I will, huh?
Ruby is getting ready to go ice skating with Howard. She got her graduation dress today. It is white wool.
Daddy started back to
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work today. Of course, he doesn’t know how long it will last, because bricklaying is rather slack in winter.
Mother & Daddy went to the A&P. I didn’t go with them. I don’t suppose you will, but if I went out, you’d probably call me.
Mother & I have been coming home for lunch all this week. It
sure saves money, which I sure can use. I’m going to take Ruby to the show Saturday afternoon. I don’t know which one yet.
The Newport Theater is opening tomorrow night.
There will be no admission, but they will ask for a contribution to the American Red Cross—not less than 25¢. The building is very modernistic. You know where it is—right near the Gob Shop on Midlothian. They have some sort of a device for the hard-of-hearing. If you are hard-of-hearing, you tell the usher & he gives you an instrument to plug in at your seat. The seats are fixed so that they go up when you stand up & it isn’t so hard to get out
of to the aisle. The manager is the
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same guy who used to run the Ohio Theater—my old hang-out. I guess it’s going to be pretty nice. I’ll have to go out there some time.
I’m practically finished with my pillow-cases. All but the leaves & stems & that won’t take long.
Well, honeybunch, I’m rather tired, so—
[ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _]
Fri., Jan 16, 1942.
On the bus this morning, [above line: (9:30 A.M.)] I saw a new “trans-quiz”. I’ll tell you before I forget. The following phrases each mean something in the army, if you rearrange the letters:—[all numbers in circles] 1 Trip Eva. 2 O No Cell. 3 Old Sire. 4 Tree Swag. 5 Are Glen. 6 A Pit Can.
(9:00 P. M.) Can you get the answers. If you get stuck on any of them & they keep you awake at night, let me know & I will tell you the answer.
Do you realize, sweetheart, that I haven’t got a letter from you since Wed? Of course, you do & there’s probably a good reason, but a letter sure would help make life brighter. So, I hope you write as soon as you can.
Ruby did a very dumb thing last night. Mother and I raised “cain” about it. She had a date with Howard. They went ice skating. When
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they got home & just as he was walking ruby to the door, a car came down the street & the guy in it hollered “Ruby”, stopped, & jumped out. Ruby (the little dumbbell) turns to Howard, says good-night, & goes out to the car. She said she didn’t know what she should have done. Besides that she likes Howard & doesn’t care anything about this other guy. She had a date with Howard tonight. He came, but Ruby said his boyfriend told her that he didn’t like it very well. I don’t know why but Ruby is always doing dumb things like that. Whatta girl.
I’m telling you, some day I’m going to lose my temper. Mr. Kaufman went to Judge Gessner’s funeral today. While he was gone, a guy came in to see him. I told the guy he’d be back at 3 o’clock & he said he’d be back. Mr. Bair pops up & sayd he didn’t think Kaufman would be back before 4:00 & told the guy to come back tomorrow morning. Well, when Kaufman came back (at 2:45), he says was anyone in. I told him about this
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guy being in & that he’d be back tomorrow morning. Bair then told him that the guy was going to come back this afternoon, but he thought Kaufman would be gone longer & advised him to come back in the morning. Kaufman says, “Was Ruth here?” & Bair said yes. So he comes out to me & starts giving me hallelujah because he wanted to see him today & didn’t want him to come down early tomorrow. I was burning inside, but I just sat there & looked at him & said nothing. Sometimes I think it would be better if I
were quick-tempered, but I never have stuck up for myself, except at home.
Well, I can’t think of more to say except that I miss you. My hand is practically paralized. So, [— ———— ———]
Good-night my love.
Sat., Jan. 17, 1942.
Well, darling, today was pay day. I didn’t get my check cashed yet, as I have $6 left from last week. Gosh, it isn’t hard to save money if I really try.
I took Ruby to lunch & to the show today. We saw
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“How Green Was My Valley.” It was pretty good.
People People who read the book, say a lot of the story was omitted. I guess the censors were to blame for that. I might read the book if I can get it at the library.
Ruby got here pictures today. There are 2 different poses. I think both of them are swell. Mother said tonight that she wanted the one large tinted one, (serious pose) & one of the small ones, (smiling). Ruby said all right and that she would give me one, too, because she said I might get married & want to have a picture of her. So, I guess I get a picture of her.
Ruby’s girl friend that is married (you know—lives up at the corner) was down a while ago. (Ruby has a date with Howard). I said something about Mildred to her & she said she sees Mildred with Paul quite often. I guess Mildred just can’t make up her mind. I think she has given the ring back to him about six times. Good thing I’m not so fickle, huh?
Well, I finished my pillow cases. I won’t have anything to do tomorrow. Monday I think I’ll go
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to the library and try to get a couple books to read. I’ve got to have something to do in the evenings besides writing letters. Of course, I don’t mean I’m going to stop writing every night, but it doesn’t take all night to write a letter.
Now we have another idea. Mother wants to get one of those what-not shelves that you put up in the corner, & put our boat, plane, & gun on it. The flag too, I guess. What do you think of the idea?
I guess I’ll soon be able to send this letter. It’s a good thing, cause
if it gets much bigger, it won’t fit in an envelope & I’ll have to mail it to you in installments. You’ll probably have to take a day off to read it all. Oh that’s right, you read pretty fast. So I guess you can read it in one night.
Ho! Hum! It is about 10:30 & I’m going to church in the morning, so I guess I’ll turn in now. (— ———— ———]
Good night, sweetheart
Mon., Jan. 19, 1942.
I didn’t write yesterday for
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two reasons. The reason I didn’t write in the afternoon, was because I read all day. I read the book length story in the paper. The name of it was, “There Goes Lona Henry”. It was a swell story. In fact, I was so impressed by it, that at the end I cried a little. (The heroine died in the end.) If you want to hear more, tell me.
Last night mother & I went to the Newport Theater. We didn’t get home until about 25 to 1. I was so tired when we got home that I just couldn’t write.
Your Aunt Ruth called me yesterday. She said she got a
lett card from
you. Elizabeth also said “hello” to me. Your aunt Ruth said Aunt Dorothy was over Thursday & she said she hadn’t seen anyone in your family except Earl, who said you had enlisted. She
thinks said your mother is out on a case.
Dorothy Erskine also called me. She talked for about half an hour, as usual. Said she would come down to see me one of these days. To tell the truth, I’d be glad to have anyone come to see
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me, as it is rather lonesome.
I went to church yesterday morning & Rev. Beach gave me the book “On Guard” to send to you, which I will do as soon as I have your address.
Today, nothing happened. Oh, that is, except, I got your five cards. I suppose you have arrived at your destination by now & will be expecting an address most anytime now.
I guess its a good thing I waited until today to write about yesterday, because I can’t think of a thing that happened today outside of the
So, since I haven’t any more to say, I’ll quit “chewing the rag.”
[— ———— —]
Good night, honey.
Just got your address. I have lots more to say, but I’ll write again tonight.
[— ———— —]
You te amo [with some sort of accent marks above the words]
In other words—
I love you.
from me to you