Friday, December 17, 2010

Christmas Past

In a week it will be Christmas 2010.

Sometimes it helps to put things into perspective.  Many of us have been hustling around trying to get everything completed before that day.  I remember years ago shopping til I dropped (literally) at the various malls and toy stores to ensure that beneath the tree my family put up was filled with packages.  The best time I think is when the kids are small and still believe in Santa Claus.  The part I loved the best was to shop inside a toy store bringing out the child in me that I'm sure still exists to this day.

For the past several months I have been putting together a project that is comprised of letters written by my parents throughout the years of World War II.  These are letters filled with both hope and despair, and a lot of frustration.  War pretty much not only causes so much mental and physical pain in the lives of families, it can present an everlasting effect on those families.  The more I read my parents' letters the more I now understand what they must have gone through and why their thinking was different from mine and especially from those who aren't torn from their families for weeks, months, years at a time.

Here I will share three letters written around Christmas 1943 that I think show pretty much the state of affair that our country was in in respect to those who were called to duty to serve our country.  The first two are from my mom to my dad, and the third is from my dad to my mom.   I now only wish they were still here so that I could sit down and talk to them more on what they went through during those most difficult years when our country's very existence was at stake.

Sure gifts under the tree are great but spending it with loved ones is probably the best gift that anyone can enjoy at this time of year.

Mrs. Louis Visone
453 Albany Avenue
Hartford, CT

Pvt. Louis Visone
Co A 13 Btn 4 Regt.
Fort Meade, MD  31342377
December 14, 1943
Dear Lou,
Is anything wrong?  Are you all right.  I’m half out of my mind with worry for I haven’t heard from you since you went back.  I am so worried and am in such a nervous state that I asked Mamie to go to the Red Cross for me to find out what happened to you for I am so worried and I haven’t been able to sleep or eat.  Lou, why don’t you write and why don’t you let me know where you are?  I’ve been waiting for you to write but I could stand it anymore so I am writing to the last place you were and please let me know for I won’t be able to rest until you do.  So Lou if you can write to me for I’ll be waiting to hear from you.  Until I hear from you I remain your loving wife.   Betty
453 Albany Avenue
Hartford, CT 
December 23, 1943

Pvt. Louis Visone
Co A Casual Bn
A.C.E. R.D. #1
Fort Meade, Md
Dear Lou,
Did you receive the check I sent for you to sign?  I want you to send it right away because it does not belong to me for I have borrowed all of it for the past few months and the party I borrowed it from needs it very badly now.  I thought I could pay a little at a time from my Gov. check but found it impossible and I had to cash the bonds all I had in the world and now I am left with nothing to fall back on.
So Lou sign it as soon as possible so that I can give it to the party I borrowed it from.  I certainly could use a little of it myself for the Gov. check does not last through the month. 
I feel bad because I can’t send you anything for Christmas except all my love.  And I don’t want you to feel bad either for in our position right now it is impossible.
After all I won’t want anything for I am spending a quiet day at home for as you know I can’t stand noise and excitement.  I am hoping you are well, that is all I want.  Things are the same.  I’ve been kept in with a cold.  How are you Lou?  I miss your letters for that is all I look forward to and now that I only get one a week makes me more miserable and when I do get one it doesn’t say much and I have a feeling you are keeping something from me.
How is your ear Lou?  Does it still bother you?  It’s pretty awful when you are sick and can’t have anything done for it.  I hope it doesn’t get any worse for I worry about it, for I know how you have always had trouble with it, when you were at home.
Well Lou, I haven’t much more to say except I’m wishing you a Merry Christmas and hope the New Year will be a better one for us. I’m hoping we won’t have to go through this much longer.  Well Lou, bye for now.  I can’t write much more for my eyes are kind of heavy tonight and I have one of my headaches.  So until I hear from you I remain your loving wife, Betty. 
PS  I will remind you again about the check.  I do hope you got it and it isn’t lost for if it is I don’t know how I’ll pay it back.  Lou, I had a woman visitor yesterday and I believe is from the Selective Board.  So I believe that things are going to change for me as she saw the condition I am in and how it is impossible for me to work and support myself.
I’ve also heard from Miller and am sorry to hear that he is ill with the flu.  But he has done what he promised and now all we can do is wait and I hope before long we will hear some good news instead of all the bad news I’ve been getting and all the bad luck I’ve been having.
So Lou, behave yourself and have a nice Christmas.  Did you receive the package Rose put it up for you for I have no money until I get my next month’s check.  I hope you enjoy it and I’ll say bye for now.
Pvt Louis
Co A Casual Bn
A C F Repl Depot #1
Fort George Meade, MD

Mrs. Betty
453 Albany Avenue
Hartford, CT  Zone 5
December 25, 1943
Dear Honey,
I do hope that you had enjoyed your xmas very much.  We all were given xmas presents by our company commander.  In a way I tried to enjoy myself, but I always kept thinking of you, wondering if you were enjoying yourself or not.
Just think, the same time last year I was home and very happy about it too.  But I hope that I don’t spend another one in the army or the guard house. 
I sent you the money by Western Union so that you would have it before xmas.  I had my mailman do it for me which I think it was swell of him to go to all the bother.  I had thought that it would cost about $5 which I didn’t care either but it only cost $2.39 which wasn’t bad at all.
I sent it out Friday noon and you should have gotten it that same day, so let me know how long it did take and also if you got it in the first place because sometimes Western Union does make mistakes.
I have the receipt in case it doesn’t get to you.  I still didn’t get the package, but it if does come I may not be here.
We just got mail call but I dill didn’t get any from you, why I don’t know.
Why it is that I only got one letter from you since I’ve been here I don’t know but it’s probably the mail is too slow. 
So honey, I’ll sign off now and hope to hear from you soon,
Love Lou.

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