Monday, November 11, 2013

Veteran's Day 2013. Grandpa's letter's from Italy 1944 and 1945

It's Veteran's Day, and as a change of pace, I'm dedicating a piece to my Grandparents Tom and Edith Luce.  Grandpa served in the 10th Mountain Division in WWII in Northern Italy in 1944 and 1945.  He left my Grandma home with my Mom aged 4, Uncle Joe 1 and Uncle Roy on the way.  He felt it was his duty to serve and my Grandma went to work at a factory, Rosie the Riveter style.

People often compliment me on being a good dad and a good husband.  I come from a long line of people who had good strong marriages and raised me right.  Grandpa by the way was an amazing athlete, played baseball and football and was drafted by the Cincinnati Reds as a pitcher. He also was an sharp shooter and could hit a golf ball a country mile. Grandma, all 5 foot 2 of Irish fury kept my Grandpa 6 foot 4 and country strong in check.  He called her Babe, Honey and Squirt. I  honestly can't remember what she called him, but she gave him the stink eye like nobody's business.  They were made for each other.

Here's a picture in the late 60's

Any way while he was away at war, Grandpa wrote a letter every day.  I picked out two to share.   This willmake the blog a little long, but it's an amazing read.  At the end of the piece I'll add photos of the originals. These are the folks that helped make me who I am.  I added emphasis in places I thought were funny or touching.

Letter 1:
                                                                                                     Somewhere in Italy
                                                                                                      November 30, 1944

Dear Babe,

  Well Honey here I am again, I'm a little late to nite but I guess it is better late than never.  Boy I never saw such writing conditions as these, there I go crabbing right off the bat. Well Honey another day and no mail aint that hell, boy I ought to go all night when I start getting them again, hadn't I hon? How have you been feeling Sweetheart, sure hope you are okay.

  Doggone it do you know what, we worked all day making a little stove and then some blokes went and burned their tent down, so all we had to do was go and tear it down again, aint that hell? And we were just figuring on keeping nice and warm to nite, if you ever saw some mad boys, you should have saw us. Dam Hon it sure is hard to find anything to write about if I would just get a letter maybe I would have some questions to answer you see honey. I know that you can still ask questions cant you?

  How are my two or three younguns getting along, God I'd to know for sure which it is for sure.  But I suppose someday I'll know all about it , won't I.  Well Hon, here it is the last of November already, the old time is moving along pretty fast at that. It can't go fast to suit me if it will bring me back home faster, thats all I care about is getting back where I belong. Sounds like I'm trying to write a song, don't it. How are all the folks back home hope all of them are okay, is Edith ( grandpa's sister), still getting around a little, it sure would be swell if she would get going again wouldn't it Babe, I suppose that the folks have their place fixed up pretty good by now haven't they. I'll bet they are glad of that.

  How is the old man doing is he still griping about everything in general, him and I are going to have a date with a barrel of beer when I get home, and you are going to be right with me, how will that be Babe, you are never going to get out of my sight again as long as I live, if I can help it and I don't me maybe. Say Hon I know we've got some birthdays in December but Im damned if I can remember who they are, can you help me out.

  You know days and dates just seem hard to remember over here, we can't hardly remember what day it is, I guess it dont make much difference anyhow, theres only one day I want to see roll around anyhow.  Well Honey it is getting late and my eyes are getting sorta tired, it isnt too easy to see by these damned lights so I guess I'll have to close for this time. So for this  time I'll have to say Goodnite and God Bless you and the little ones I love  you all very much.

                                                                              Your Loving Husband
  Bye till tomorrow Sweetheart, I can't put down any X's anymore cause the think we might be talking in code, aint that the nuts

                                                                                  Bye Now

Letter 2

                                                                                              May 28, 1944

Dearest Babe,

       Well Darling the dam thing is almost over around here, aint that something to shout about but they are doing plenty of that aren't they.

       Seems as the boys birthday was a busy one wasn't it. How are my three little ones, growing like weeds I'll bet. did I ever tell you that I love you Squirt, well I do, so there.

       Now I don't know how to tell you this, but I'm in the field hospital, sleeping on nice white sheets with a pillow and everything, its the life of Reilly Babe, Ha! Ha! I'd just as soon not told you about it, but I'm afraid The War Department would, and then you would be worried.

I had a little fragment in my leg, and they took it out, it is only a scratch and I'll be back with the outfit in a few days, so don't worry about it will you Darling. I'm going to gave to close for now so I'll write tomorrow. Good Bye and God Bless you all.

                                                                                             Your loving husband Tom.

Here's the copies of the letters:

What Grandpa didn't write in the second letter is that his buddy was cleaning his M1 and there was a round in the chamber.  The gun went off and killed his buddy and the round ended up in Grandpa's leg.  He was awarded the Purple Heart.

I never had the chance to have a date with Grandpa and a barrel of beer, but I'd like to think he and Grandma are enjoying one somewhere.  Here's to them and here's to all the Veterans, today and every day.

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