Wednesday, December 31, 2014

A 70-Year Memory: Homefront at the End of the Year

While my dad was in Europe, his mother at home kept her own silent vigil. The pages of her diary said very little. She was clearly just trying to maintain whatever semblance of normal she could have. Once in a while a comment would be made about getting gas ration stamps, but overall she cooked, cleaned, visited friends, sat alone as her husband worked on the railroad, her daughter lived 140 miles away and her oldest son passed through weekly.

One amazing bit of information is how often she got letters from my dad, who she usually referred to as "Buddy." I wish I had all those letters. They would certainly add something to what I've been reading and writing about the 10th Armored 70 years ago. I am sure he didn't say anything that would give anything away. All letters were censored, of course. But they might give the same bits and pieces I get from grandma. Like this one note in her diary on December 29, 1944:

Had a letter from Buddy and he sent me a dime for good luck
Beyond Dad thinking of her like that, there's not much else until later at the end of the war when he sent postcards which I still have. But that's a few months off.

Dad, Grandma 6/1944
The last entry in the diary summed up her roller coaster of a year. It had been a year when her youngest and oldest children, the two boys, both got married and her younger son went to war at age 38. She said nothing about the Battle of the Bulge anywhere in these last days of the year. She simply put a few words down, saying volumes of fear and hope:
12/31 – This is the last day in 1944. Gee, I hope 1945 will be better

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