Sunday, December 11, 2022

October 16, 1944: Cheap Gifts and In-Laws


Letter from Opa to Grandmother, October 16, 1944.


October 16, 1944


This is the day. Just one month ago did it happen, and in some respects it seems as though a decade had passed since our wedding day. Be it to the fact that I had been looking forward to our marriage for such a long time, or be it because we practically had been married long before that time, mentally, spiritually, and almost physically, the state of being married seems to be a perfectly natural one as though I had been used to it for a long, long time.

In other respects, of course, the time which we actually lived together was cruelly brief, and it will be quite a long time before we can make up for it. Let's always keep in mind that we are so much more fortunate than those millions of people who are separated by thousands of miles of ocean water or even by death.  Naturally, the fact that there are so many who face much worse than we should not improve our lot, but it makes us feel ashamed when we have pity for ourselves.

Today, we started our basic. Mostly lectures in the forenoon; about uniforms, military courtesy, first aid, and the Articles of War. In the afternoon, we had extended drill and calesthenics. My muscles have become awfully stiff, and I am glad to have this chance to get limbered up a little. Here is one thing you will like: they started today feeding us vitamin tablets. Tonight, after retreat, we were shown two training films: one on war bonds, and the other on the negro soldiers. There were fairly good pictures, but naturally I was anxious to get away in order to see your folks. I am at the Service Club now, they haven't come yet, might get here any time now, though.

Honey, the locket I am sending you is a very cheap one, but the only one I could find that was in my price range. I don't know what it is made of, but if it starts corroding, use nail polish on it. I'll try to get a better one soon.

Won't it be a surprise if you came with your folks tonight? I know, though, that this is impossible.

Good night, darling; I'll talk to your folks tonight.


Opa celebrates his one month anniversary (I know, not really a thing) with... his in-laws. They were not at the wedding, and I'm not even sure if they are all-in on Grandmother's choice to marry. I think Grandmother is in grad-school and that is why she can't also visit, but I was sad with Opa that she won't be there. 

When Opa wrote that basic started today, my first reaction was STARTED?! But I suppose he's just been living on base until his class of recruits is up for basic training. I don't really understand it, but as a military brat I do know one thing: military timing is... different. 

I watched part of the military films Opa referred to- and they are surprisingly not awful. I get the same feeling after watching or reading a lot of these PSA type films and articles: why haven't we made more progress by now? This is a deeper question that I'll explore in a different context, but I wanted to at least raise the question here.

I also giggled a little at the cheap locket that needs nail polish to shine it. Bless it. Opa was always giving Grandmother gifts, some perhaps a little nicer than others!

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