Monday, November 7, 2011

Funny, Yet Worried, From Far Away

Still nine months away from his twenty-first birthday yet only one week shy of his third anniversary with the Navy, Frank Stevens is once again writing home with that cheery, endearing style. However, this note to his folks, William and Agnes Tully Stevens, shows signs of concern. Perhaps it was a hospitalization in Chicago for his father’s heart issues that Frank referred to in his letter dated February 11, 1945:

I’m so happy that Dad is home and on the mend, really had me worried and of course I still am for that matter.

After a brief mention of some other family concerns about which Agnes must have written, the old, familiar Frank brushes all seriousness aside. He teases his dad about contacting Frank’s girlfriend, Jeanne, who must have sent Will flowers and get-well wishes during his hospitalization.

I’m glad that Dad liked the flowers and Jeanne said he was so nice when he called her up so Pop don’t you make a practice of calling up my girl. And Mom you keep your eyes on the Auld Wan [or] he will be out jitterbugging at some third rate dance hall.

Though the tone is light, I suspect that, deep down, Frank was wishing he could have been closer to home during his father’s health scare. At that point, I’m not really sure where Frank was. The envelope containing this letter showed a return address in San Francisco—not any east coast address more likely to be coupled with orders assigning him to the Atlantic fleet. Perhaps this letter’s origin falls somewhere in the gaps indicated in Frank’s father’s terse notes jotted down over a phone call. Wherever Frank was at the time of this letter, it most certainly wasn’t in the Atlantic.


  1. You certainly do a great job remembering those that came before - I like the photos and actual documentation that accompany your story,

    Preserve Your Family History

  2. :) I got to smile at that "don't you be messing with MY girl!!" and telling his mom to keep an eye on her hubby...

    I sure Frank was truly frustrated to be separated from home when his family was hurtin'.


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