Dear Charlie

The following is the transcript of a letter that Mike found while looking through some old photos. It was written from my Dad to my oldest brother Charles. Dad was stationed in Naples, Italy at the time, shortly after Germany had surrendered. Chuck was probably about a year old at the time.

Dear Charlie,
Wonder if you miss your Daddy? I suppose not, because your Mom won’t let you. She’s really and truly a prize among women. You know why I’m writing to you instead of just adding a bit of a note for you onto your Mom’s letter? It’s because Mom told me you were sick from the whooping cough shot the doctor gave you and my right arm is sore from the shot I got this morning, so I guess we’re birds of a feather – at least in this little aspect. I can’t imagine how the doctor gave you a shot. It’s a wonder the needle didn’t go // completely thru your little arm. I bet inside your little heart it seemed as if it had. Your dad is writing with his right hand now.

[note: I hadn’t realized it while reading the letter, but Dad’s handwriting DID change at the “//” mark above. His penmanship – cursive, is still very legible and neat – with either hand! He explains why he had to stop, but he doesn’t explain WHY he changed hands.] because at the // mark he had to stop writing and go out for a nice long (but not so long) walk.

We visited a little lake that reminded me very very much of our dream home in Michigan. Not because it even looked like it but I guess just because it was water and had that color that Paw Paw lake had when I saw it last with your Mom. Gee, Charlie, if God grants, your Mom and I will sure have something for you kids (and us too) out there. Nice things that your Mom and I shared with other kids because we weren’t lucky enough to have them exclusively in our families. We really enjoyed these special privileges, perhaps more than the others that had access to them continually.

[Note; I remember both Dad and Mom telling me of trips to the country that they enjoyed because of the kindness of aunts and uncles in their respective families. Trips that their own parents could not afford to provide.]

So sometimes if your pa gets a little sour on the idea of carting your friends out to our place you can politely remind him of what he just wrote, and I hope it will soften him up a little. Honestly, son, I’ll try hard to be as good a pop as your grand-fathers were to Mom & I. I hope the Easter bunny is good to you because I’m sure you have been // a good boy. Your Mom says you are. Of course, she may be a little preducided SP? (maybe I can ask the censor to correct my spelling too)

[Note: Dad wrote this toward the end of WWII from an Army base in Italy. The Army censor DID correct it and inked in “prejudiced” under Dad’s misspelling! And note the change in writing style at the “//” mark. He evidently changed back to his left hand again.]

I had another stop as of the // mark again for evening chow, for a visit to the PX and the chapel. I remembered you at the chapel and do hope you’ll remember your Daddy in your evening prayer. Did you learn that prayer that Grandma is trying to teach you? Learn it and live by it. You’ll find it pays. Well I’ll close for now and dash off a little letter to your Mom. God bless you, Son. Love, Dad

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