Thursday, December 22, 2011

Before ’46 Rolls Around

Oh, the many small celebrations of life that keep slipping by, even when big brother is away in the Navy!

“The Kid,” as Frank Stevens usually calls his younger brother when he isn’t calling him “Chip,” is actually Gerald Anthony Stevens, the youngest child born to William and Agnes Tully Stevens. Gerry was only eleven years of age when his next-oldest brother left home for the Navy Training Center at Great Lakes early in 1942. With a birthday occurring late in the year, so not quite fifteen at the time of this letter from Frank to their older brother Ed and his wife, Gerry must have just graduated from grade school—yet another special occasion Frank is not able to attend.

            Glad the kid graduated ok. I can imagine he was excited, as I know I sure was, felt sort of like the first dance—at least it did to me. Got any idea of what high-school folks are going to send him to? 

The signant ring you give the kid sounds ok but of course I like diamonds, you know me champagne appetite and a beer pocket. I’d like to have seen Ma presiding at a fun fest for the club gala at the new shack, there’s just one

thing I know for sure about that crowd and that is that they won’t be holding any more baby showers for the members. Check on that Miss Blue! All kidding aside they are a swell bunch and I’ve still got a blanket coming. I could really go for one of those old time parties that mom knows how to throw ninety percent of those and ten percent of one of my type really turn into something big. Check with Father Davidson on that. The way you describe it the new house must really be nice hope I see it before ’46 rolls around.

Frank seems to feel much more freedom to be, well, frank in his letters to his brother and his wife. He brings up one sore spot in the family—something that I’ve yet to figure out, as only with the receipt of this stack of papers from last August’s trip to Chicago have I even encountered the names of this next-mentioned couple. Often referred to as if part of the family, the wife is not someone I can find in any of the usual genealogical research places. And yet, much later in a letter home to Agnes, this woman refers to her as “Mom.” Since the elder Stevens family took in students as boarders from time to time, I wonder if this was her link to the Stevens family—or perhaps the family took in whatever that decade’s equivalent of foster children might have been.

Though the young woman is well thought of by family, for whatever reason, her husband, Lee, is more coolly received. Whatever he has been up to during these war years meets with downright disapproval from the uncharacteristically outspoken Frank. Though Frank doesn’t say so, the war has evidently taken a lot out of him. Even so, this and more comments (which I’ve removed) were meant only as sibling-to-sibling confidences; perhaps their mom has reason to see things vastly different than do the brothers.

            So Lee is finally being caught up with. If he has any doubts as to what branch of the army he is going into I can clarify them for him. All uncle Sam needs are Infantrymen and his next address is going to be fort footblister somewhere USA. Yea verily I say unto you quote You can fool some of the people some of the time but where does it get you? In the end???????? End of quote. T. S. That boy has been spoofing the draft board too Damn Long, not that I like to see homes broken up or anything like that but this chile has been getting parts off of old fords thrown at his POSTERIOR just about long enough to want everybody else I know out here for company Period. …(This is all on the QT Mutz lets keep peace in the family if possible) Friday the thirteenth is a hell of a day to start in the service.

There are kinder words for other members of the family. Although Frank was very close to his brother Ed, he also seems to have quite a warm spot for his older brother Bill as well. Though I don’t know what financial or health strains the couple are under at this time, Frank fervently but realistically hopes the best for them.

            Mom told me that Bill and Max are expecting again. Can’t see it myself but if the doc says its ok well, I guess she’ll be all-right. Do know that she isn’t strong enough to undergo much of a siege, poor kid she hasn’t had much fun—has she? I feel sorry for both Bill and Max, if I ever saw two people any more in love than those two I can’t remember. They really have had some tough breaks. I’m afraid it will be just a little more than Bill can take if anything happens to her. All we can do is leave it up to the man upstairs, he usually straightens things out in his own way.


  1. You have eloquently taken old letters and documents and turned them into a wonderful story. Beautifully written, Jacqi. Thanks much for sharing!

  2. I agree with Susan. :)

    Mmm.. and how circumspect too - with the mystery guy that seems to be avoiding the draft...


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