Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Letters were a huge part of life in the War years. Just imagine the thrill of tearing open that letter from your loved one stationed abroad, knowing he's okay, learning about his life and thoughts. For a soldier, one sweet letter from his girl would remind him why he's fighting, bring a glimmer of joy. No wonder they called it V-mail. Victory Mail.
Here's an excerpt from a letter (shown above) written from a husband to his wife and new baby. Very poetic language.
1 Nov 45
My Precious Darlings;
Yes, my Darling I see you now like a far away beacon which I must reach in order to survive - so total in my eyes and mind like blindness and insanity. When we are together again we will have fun - drink and laugh - see a beautiful movie and let it take us away completely - we will joke and laugh and enjoy ourselves proper; but our dreams will once again come true, I will live within you and you within me. Our love will be rapturous and serene and you will be so beautiful to me -beauty untouched by worldly things. Only you, my beloved, in all this whole magnificent world.
News hasn't reached me yet concerning discharge or shipment. Perhaps next week, pray god. I love you both so very much.
My Love and Kisses
Herb xxo Daddy xxo
Here's the link to a hundreds of war letters. Many are more down-to-earth than this one! (And be careful, some of the ads are questionable.)
Finally, don't forget our soldiers serving today need letters too.
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
O History! 1940s slang always makes me chuckle. Here's one. "Keep company." Know what it means??? Dating or going steady. "That G.I.'s keeping company with Betty." They also used to say, "Are you rationed?" Can you guess the meaning? A soldier might say it to a girl, asking if she was attached or taken. Sort of a 1940s pick-up line. Love how it hones in on a big thing going on at the time--rationing!
Monday, June 28, 2010
Family movie night might be the staple for our generation, but during the War years, radio was the big ticket! Imagine gathering in the living room sitting in front of the big wooden box and bonding over Abbot and Costello or Dick Tracy. Sounds like fun to me!
One of my favorites from this time is the classic Abbott and Costello's "Who's on First?" So funny! Click the link to watch a video version.
I love the old radio shows simply because they allow you to use your own imagination to visualize the scenario. Those comics, actors, writers, and producers were extremely clever.
Here's a link to an awesome Web site with lots of shows you can listen to. Do yourself a favor and instead of movie night, gather round the computer and listen to a few. Your family will love it! Radio Lovers.
Sunday, June 27, 2010
"These were very sad times--also thrilling! On the Base watching the airmen marching--tears emerged freely as well as a lump forming in the throat. These were OUR boys--eventually going to war! ... How many would return?" Quote from a memoir of the time. I'm constantly impressed with the courage and strength of those WWII folks--both those who went to war and those who stayed home. So much we can learn from them.
Thursday, June 24, 2010
"You call this a happy family? Why do we have to have all these kids?" This quote from It's a Wonderful Life cracks me up. We remember Jimmy Stewart for his movie roles, but did you know he was a decorated bomber pilot in WWII as well? He flew 20 combat missions, won 3 silver stars, and was ultimately promoted to Brigadier General! Who knew?
When he signed up, he was five pounds under the weight requirement, so he rushed home and ate everything fattening he could find, then went back and was allowed to sign up. It was just in time, because he almost missed the cut-off for flight school.
What I love even more is that on his missions Jimmy Stewart carried a copy of Psalm 91 given to him by his father. He said, "What a promise for an airman. I placed in His Hands the squadron I would be leading. And, as the psalmist promised, I felt myself borne up."
I found lots of cool old pictures of Jimmy Stewart on this site. Good info. too.
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
Newsflash! GOVERNMENT FREEZES ALL SALES OF COFFEE! Gasp! Can you imagine? This really happened in October of 1942. Coffee addicts were hoarding their grounds, so the gov put a stop to it! Then the rationing began--1 lb. per person every 5 weeks. Oh, it was a dark time.
So what was a person to do if they couldn't get their coffee? The Black Market! Yup, organized crime began counterfeiting ration books and coupons. I suppose folks REALLY needed their coffee (I can kinda sympathize!). Another option if you NEEDED coffee was the delicious re-brewing idea. Save those grinds, you could use them for tomorrow's java. (Bluck!) Also, those who were getting married or having birthdays could always request coffee coupons for their gifts.
Hmm...I'm off to Starbucks. All this coffee talk is making me thirsty.
Monday, June 21, 2010
"He's the bee's knees!" In the 1940s and earlier this (and even more bizarre phrases like it) meant "the best, most excellent." I've mostly seen these quirky terms squealed in old movies by silly girls about boys they think are cute--or bellowed by fellows: "Why, that girl's the cat's pajamas." Ha ha! I love it. Maybe we should revive these quaint old sayings. They're so much more clever than, "he's hot" or "you da man."
However, the other ones I found with the same meaning might not catch on today:
Can't imagine calling someone, the eel's ankle. Maybe I'll stick with the bee's knees.
See you tomorrow!
Saturday, June 19, 2010
In honor of our July 1 book release, I'm posting a World War II fact every day.
With Father’s Day tomorrow, I thought I’d talk about my dad, Jim Howard. He passed away back in 2002, receiving a veteran’s funeral for his service in WWII and the Korean War. My dad was in the Navy during WWII serving on a fuel supply ship. According to him, he was with the American fleet on the way to invade Japan when they got word that the War was over. He said there was lots of drinking and celebrating, as you can imagine. Dad wasn’t overly proud of his service, didn't talk about it much. But it was pretty awesome when the elderly soldier saluted his casket and handed my brother—also a veteran—the flag.
I sometimes think about how blessed my dad was to make it home safe from his tours of duty, so many dads didn’t. I imagine the kids who spent Father’s Days without their daddies. And how many are today?
Let’s remember those fathers who’ve sacrificed their lives for our freedom, and also the one’s serving in the hot desert while we barbecue and enjoy our families.
One way to remember our troops is to pray for them. I start by praying for those I know personally or who have relatives I know. Then I say a general prayer for all the troops. And, especially today, I'll pray for the families as well.
Another way to support the troops is to write to them. Here's a SUPER easy and free way. It literally takes less than two minutes. It's a Web site called, Let's Say Thanks
Friday, June 18, 2010
One last Rosie the Riveter tidbit. A famous picture of Rosie by Norman Rockwell appeared on the Saturday Evening Post. Big arms, rivet gun--her foot even rests on Hitler's Mein Kampf. After this, Rosie became popular as an icon, and more women worked in the factories. Over 40,000 B-17 bombers were built. The "Army at Home" (what they called the war workforce) really did their job!
Thursday, June 17, 2010
More about Rosie the Riveter. She's just so awesome I had to share more! Did you know Rosie the Riveter wasn't a real person? It all started with a song, "Rosie the Riveter." Listen to this and watch the video. It's short and has some great footage or those awesome Rosies building airplanes, tanks, and ships! More about how she became an icon tomorrow. Yea for Rosie the Riveter(and Rosalie Matthews in Love Finds You in Victory Heights, Washington!).
Oh, and if you have any Rosie stories--about grandmas or friends--PLEASE share!
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
To honor Tricia Goyer and my upcoming release (July 1!), each day I'm going to post a fun World War II fact.
Rosie the Riveter. What a woman! She left her normal, comfortable life to work in loud, dirty, smelly factories. Some built airplanes, others worked in shipyards, or even doing other "men's" jobs like being a plumber, welder, or even car parts deliverer. They worked long hours, but made good money, and were proud of their work.