My father, Jake, was a part of the 133rd Infantry which during this time was involved with the capture of Montaquilla and the clearing of the hill mass between that town and Fillignano in Italy. Throughout the period of the assault, the American troops fought in constant rain, mud, wind and cold with absolutely no specialized winter equipment. Every man in the Division lived in sodden clothing with no waterproof boots, his feet so cold and wet, that trench foot was a disease almost impossible to avoid. The offensive was halted for a short time and resumed in late November.
This is the seventh letter sent from my father to my mother during his service in World War II: French North Africa March 22, 1943 Darling wife, I received two of your letters written the 19th and 20th of February containing the sad news of the death of Jane. Naturally it came as a quite a shock but the Lord's ways are not our ways and I feel that she is now in a much happier home than this earth can afford. I only hope and pray that the Lord will let us keep Jean and that she will make up for the loss of Janice and Jane. I received about ten letters yesterday.
In the early part of August 1942 orders were received to move a combat team from Ireland to eventually depart to North Africa. The mission was to seize the port of Algiers and to insure that it was kept open for the supply of an Allied army which, moving rapidly eastward, was to occupy Tunisia, taking Rommel's Afrika Corps in the rear. Meanwhile, a second American Combat Team and a British Brigade seized important airfields south of Algiers. Here's another letter home from my father: February 5, 1943 Darling wife, I received the sad news yesterday that one of our children was taken away.
I would like to add a comment before you read the next letter from my father. On Oct. 31, 1942, my mom gave birth to triplet girls. They did not know they were having triplets until she delivered. My father was notified of the birth through a telegram sent on Nov. 13, 1942, and he was just as surprised as everyone else. His only glimpse of his new little girls was a picture of the three babies in the old Morris Hospital nursery. During this time, there was an influenza epidemic in this area.
Here's part three of "Praying for a safe return," a series of letters my father wrote to my mother during World War II: September 3, 1942 Camp Kilmer NJ Dear Sweetheart, Well Hon, I guess we'll be pulling out of here pretty soon. We had our pictures and finger prints taken and I guess we are about ready to go now. A furlough is completely out of the question. The only way to get home and that isn't for sure is in case of an emergency. I never expected to go across so quick.
Last week, I reprinted a letter my father sent to my mother during World War II. Here's another letter: June 16, 1942 Fort Sill , Oklahoma Dear Mrs, I got your letter and package today. Thanks for the candy and oranges. I got some lunch now. We don't get lunch, only what we get ourselves. I should have enough underwear and socks now. I'm kinda short on towels and handkerchiefs though. I should be able to take a few pictures now too. I had one roll of film. I borrowed a camera and bought a few rolls of film but only filled one roll.
Last year at Christmas, each member of my family received a special gift. When we were sorting through our parents' stuff before their auction, we ran across a box of letters my dad had sent to mom when he was in the service. My sister took the letters and gave us each a book that included a typed copy of each letter. It is a priceless gift. As I started reading the book, I couldn't help but think that a lot of it would be worth sharing with my readers. I did this last year in the Hancock paper and had so many wonderful comments that I decided to run them this winter in the Morris paper.
It really bothers me when people who are not trained in weather predicting tend to let everyone know their predictions.
Christmas means many things to different people. For some it's joy, fun and giving. Others find Christmas to be stressful and busy. Some even think of Christmas with regret and unhappy memories. While there may be some unhappy memories of Christmases past for everyone, I like to concentrate on the fun times: the music, decorating, shopping, songs, stories, parties and family gatherings.
We are deep into the season and with it comes all the doubts that I often hear about this time of year. People are concerned that we are losing the "true" meaning of Christmas and forgetting what the season is all about. I have to agree in many ways, but I also have come to realize that sometimes those ideas are superficial.