Friday, July 06, 2007

Returned to Sender---Sixty-Two Years Ago

This is a photo I took of a stack of letters that were returned to my father that were written to his younger brother Alvin during World War II. Across the front of them is handwritten deceased.

I just finished reading these letters as well as others written by both my father and an uncle I never met. There were also some notes from my grandmother to her son. What an up close and personal history lesson! I am keenly aware of the sacrifice famlies made for freedom around the world before I was ever born.

The last letter included both a letter from my dad and my grandmother, dated April 9, 1945. Here is a quote from my dad's letter:

"Dad just came with the news that you were wounded in action, slightly. I sure
will pray hard for you.... I hope the war is over in a few days, and you don't
have to see anymore action. Take good care of yourself, and stick with the

Here is a quote from my dear grandmother:

"...Dad called me after he got the telegram saying you were slightly wounded
the 28 of March.... I do hope you are not in pain tonight. It is very hard to not
know, but not as hard as it is for you to be in this awful battle. ...if there
was any way I could be with you I would. With much love, Mama."

My grandmother said she had saved a poem to send Alvin before she new he was injured. She enclosed it with her letter. This is the poem she sent:


I will not doubt, though all my ships at sea

Come drifting home with broken masts and sails:

I shall believe the hand which never fails,

From seeming evil worketh good for me;

And though I weep because those sails are battered,

Still will I cry, while my best hopes lie shattered,

"I trust in Thee"

I will not doubt, though all my prayers return

Unanswered from the still, white realm above;

I shall believe it is an all-wise love

Which has refused those things for which I yearn;

And though at time I can not keep from grieving,

Yet the pure ardor of my fixed believing

Undimmed shall burn.

----Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Her son died before he read her letter or these words. How little did my grandmother know she would indeed grieve and yet continue believing in an all-wise love.

I am overwhelmed with emotion at this glimpse into the past.


lwlehmer said...

How sad, Marlene. But it's also a rare glimpse into your family's past through the eyes of family members who were there. Thank you for sharing. -- Larry Lehmer,

smilnsigh said...

What treasures you have there!!!!


Images By Barbara Ann 2 said...

Thanks for your visit to my Blog. I haven't published a post for awhile. I have also missed checking out the various Blogs. I to have been going through photos, letters from Dad when he was in the service. I find it amazing to sift through a time when I was a child - looking back through time. So many treasures and memories. I am so glad Mom held on to these bits and pieces of the past. Barbara Ann

Kerri said...

Those letters are a treasure of family history. How sad for your father and his family.
Freedom comes at a high price and I thank God for those who have fought to preserve it for us, and those who are still doing so now. Brave souls, all of them.
Thanks for sharing a little of those letters and that beautiful poem.

Alice said...

Your posting stirred up so many emotions - SADNESS at the loss of young lives, PRIDE in the determination of service men and women to do their duty, DESPAIR that governments, etc. can't find better ways solve problems, HUNGER to know more about early family history, JOY at the love shared within a family, THANKFULNESS that you have shared this little insight into your family, and even DETERMINATION to return to my story writing.

Thank you so much, Marlene.