An exceptional relationship between mother and son, and the words between the lines that told how love and lives were shaped by the war. A great manuscript for the devoted reader. A true reflection, best I can type it into words for viewing.  -Deb Barker

Jan 12 1943

Ottumwa Sep 17 1943

Ottumwa Sep 19 1943

Agency Oct 8 1943

Oct 17 1943





Tues Morn          Feb 23/43

Dear Son:-

Here come the old Ball & Chain again, hear it rattle? Boy, but I bet you wish you could rid yourself of it.

I am all in, nearly down sick. I didnít eat all day yesterday and worked like the Devil. I washed from 10 till 6, bathed Bobby & cleaned windows. This place is a disgrace to humanity. I have so much to do that I am nearly crazy.

I got a few hours sleep last nite & now I must dig in today. It is cold & cloudy today.  Yesterday was beautiful & the blue birds were singing, but my heart was dead within me.

I hope you write better from now on than you have been doing. You know what I think about a Church, religion or people that comes before ones own family & home. To Hell with them. Duty & Love that is honest & true belongs at home first. Otherwise it is all a lie & a farce.

I suppose those people down there who are lolly gagging over you is taking all your spare time & that from home. And I think Clay is taking your love & thatís of home & your old Mother  away too. What else can I think when you are neglecting me as you are. I just wonder if you even intend to come home at all.

You are certainly going to have to prove yourself.

Well I donít know what to write to you as nothing from home seems to interest you any more, not even me, enough to write regular.

I am just about to the end of it all. Iím sick of these kids, but I have to put up with it to meet expenses, but Iíve got two good guns here & I am keeping them handy for the time when I have stood all of this that I can and donít say that I havenít warned you plenty.

I cannot stand to be away from you much longer and if something isnít done about it, I am going to take matters in my own hands. I notice that wives can always be along, but I guess it is a case of mothers not being wanted anymore.

Well the old Hag will stop now for I am about done for to begin with today and I have got to do the work and do it alone. So Good bye, Iím sorry but I hope something happens soon to end it all.


Wed. Morning  

Feb. 24 -43


Dear Son:-


I got your letter and 2 quickies yesterday, the ones which you wrote when you were eating breakfast of hot cakes. It sure is nice that you are having good eats and plenty of them. I would like to be in that land again too. I donít suppose I could cook again to suit you if you came home. I would have to learn to cook southern style.


Sure glad you are enjoying the meetings and I know the young people will enjoy a letter from you and if you write them nice interesting letter like you used to write me you know they will enjoy it. I know Mrs. Bittner will enjoy it as she said Sunday night that you wrote such an interesting letter to her.


Yes, I hate it that I havenít a job and I will have to do something I suppose if it is nothing more than ask Arrilla Barilla for one of some kind. I will have to eat and keep the home running as long as I can and thenówell that is all that I can say.


Hold on to the money you have because I am a no good piece of furniture just being here at home and no money coming in to pay for things which will come along from time to time. Everything is clear so far but that wonít go on forever. I see that women of my age are not wanted in the public as long as there are these pretty little split tails all painted up and dresses to their knees to have around. I suppose all that is left for me is to go out and clean houses or hook some old stag that is on the loose. If you think it is a pleasant outlook for me, just step into my place and you will soon know.


If you think that school is the thing for you, I suppose you will take it no matter what it does to me and as I said before, I donít count any longer and donít tell me that it is self pity, because if I was given an opportunity to do something I wouldnít holler at all and I am sure you know that. Betty made a suggestion that I close the house when you come home and go back with you for awhile. She said I certainly couldnít go on like this. She knows how I donít eat or sleep any since I havenít my work and things look like they do. I told her I would like to do that but that I was not the one to decide that you may have your opinions on that matter too. Well I guess it doesnít make any difference anyway. I have asked God to keep you in the states and if he donít I will know that he has turned his face from me for sure and then what is the use of anything after that? It is easy to say that it is one of those ďgoodĒ tests but the next thing is to come through it.


I want you to have your leave and come home and something will have to be decided then and settled for all time because I canít go on like this or Mt. Pleasant or some other place is going to have me on their list. These kids are bringing in the money this month to pay the lights and fuel, but it is driving me nuts with all this baby stuff around until you canít get through the bathroom and much less use it when you need it. I have to go  to the cellar most of the time as the baby is always having something done to it in there and the back bedroom looks like a rag pile all over it. She never closes a dresser drawer or hangs or picks up a thing that she has a place to throw it down on and it just nearly drives me nuts. I have to get Jackís supper if the poor kid gets any before eight or nine at night. Just because she donít feel well she donít manage a thing. She left the clothing hang on the line until last night when it started to rain and when I told her it was raining she brought it in. I just let it hang there for two days.

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I am giving them a hint to leave because I canít stand to go to work if I do get a job and then have to come home and clean the house and get the supper too. He gets mad at her and he made her mad the other evening about doing nothing and being so slow. Well these dam fool boys gets hot in the pants and have to have something to sleep with and they sure pay for it a plenty before it is over. Well so much for that. I am so nervous that I canít do anything. And she calmly walks away and leaves me the kid to take care of when she knows I never slept a wink all Sunday night, never ate all day Monday and last night I never got to sleep until one oíclock. Monday I washed from eight in the morning until six in the evening, so you can see what a shape I am in.


Well I guess you donít want to hear about this stuff and say to yourself, that is your problem you got into it and you can get out of it, so I will stop.


I have to go get my ration book today for canned good, etc. I donít need it now but maybe I will have to use it for future use. I wanted to get the floor cleaned in the dining room yesterday when it was mild but I had that kid to take care of while she went for her ration book and then she winded up, up town before she came home and Jack was home by that time she was, so half of my day was ruined yesterday and half will be today when I have to go up there and wait.


It rained yesterday evening and then turned into snow and snowed until the ground was white and it is cold again today. I wish you could see the chairs, table and rugs, maybe you would like and appreciate them but just as it is I donít give a darn for them. I donít even care to put them down or anything. They are too beautiful for me to be using. I should have gotten some old cheaper thing for myself. Maybe you will be able some day to get some good out of them.


Well Mes. McDaniels and Mrs. Ritner can say all they want to about me being a good soldier but what they donít know donít hurt them. I donít go to the church spilling my guts to everyone as to how I feel and what is on my mind or is crushing the very life out of me, because I would only be criticized as well as made fun of.  I know these church  people all too well and it is not much that I want to have to do with any of them. I have seen my mother suffer for years because of just such christians and I am not putting my foot in with any of them.


Well, I donít know any news either only a dirty house and bawling brat so I might as well close. I know you donít care to get these letters so maybe it would be better if I didnít write but just send you funny post cards.  Tonight is Jackís night off so I suppose they will be going to a show and I will be stuck with the kid even though I wanted to go to church this evening. I guess it donít make any difference anyhow so I will close and go out now and get breakfast as she donít get up until 10 or 11 and only then because the kid cries.


Tell me what you think about me coming down with you for awhile in March or April after I get the insurance money for if you are still on this detail I can get away for a little while, but if you donít want me to think about it just say so and I will stay away. Hang on to your money, donít let the church people tell you that the Lord needs it too as they always do when they think someone has a cent. You will need it too and as long as I have to be a burden to you with the home some of it may be needed here. I hope this donít go on much longer.


Eat lots of cakes and enjoy yourself as you can and I will be looking for a letter soon and maybe you will be coming before long too.  Love, Me

Thurs Morning   Feb 25/43

Dear son.

Will write a few lines before the mail man comes & the kid wakes up. It is so cold & yet clear this morning. I cleaned the living room walls & ceiling yesterday or nearly got them done. Betty went to town again & left the kid with me & she bawled & I had to stop my work & tend her. I had to go ahead with the supper as usual & I didnít get my work finished.

They went to a show last nite & I was afraid to use the typewriter to write for fear I would wake her. I am going to try to get something done today. I never got to sleep until after one this morning. My nervs are all shot & I have such a bad cough & after I go to bed I just sweat until I can hardly stand it.

I was up at six & fixed the furnace. I have to do it. I am going to get rid of them as fast as I can. I hope before you get home or I will be in the nut house. I am about ready for a nervous breakdown.

I cleaned the furnace out yesterday & it was ever full. I hope some coal comes today as I am nearly out. I am only getting a ton at $5.75. Helen Bensmueler got a long distance call from Bernnie. As he is in N.Y. ready to sail. She took a long shot & left immediately & went there arrived yesterday & registered where he told her to & when she arrived he was then to meet the train. He is ďgoing outĒ any minute from N.Y.

I hear that little brat howling in there now so I suppose it wonít be long until I xxx have in here making a fuss so that I canít write.

I got your letter yesterday & note what you say about your leave and all. You must come home & then maybe things will be better. I hope you have a chance to wire me before you leave or when you make train changes, so that Bobby & I can be at the depot or would you rather have us at home to open the door & have the house all ready to welcome you? Just as you say, but for Heavens sake come or it is going to be too bad. I think I will either go back with you are come a littler later when you are in Miss. Maybe you can drive back home. Well something will have to be done or I am going to crack up before long.

Well the kid is raising the roof, so I will have to close. I am so such of this that I am ready to do anything rash. I know now why kids are not wanted in apartments, etc.,  Iíll take Bobby for mine.

The living room is beautiful with the sun pouring in it now. The red birds and the blue birds have been singing on nice warm days. I suppose you have gotten your little package by now. I got it for Valentine day but didnít get it off to you in time. Hope you like it. I am going to try to go to church Fri nite. I that with them her that I would get a chance to go oftener but no such luck. I am the one who gets to stay home and it is the case of the old woman again.

Well when they go out, no one comes in again if I have to set the house on fire first or starve to death in it. If you and I canít have it together, no one else is going to tread over Motherís & Our house.

I got a card from Vernon in camp, her wants me to send him his Divorce papers so that he can complete his allotment papers. His add is Pvt Vernon J Loring A S M 376-9160 A-12-AFRTC  Fort Knox, Ky. So heís in Kentucky down south too. Now I have to get that off.

Well the boom is on now. The darned kid fell out of bed so here is where I will have to stop as you canít hear your head rattles. She is screaming & crying. Well they will have to leave when the month is up. Iíve told them I am closing the house & going back with you to get rid of them if nothing else.

Well so long for now, I try to write soon. As ever,  Mother, PS nice salary for Roland Bush, but what does his mother realize out ov all her years of sacrifice to give him the education to get this salary? Nothing. Not even thanks & he takes a D_ Wife who will get the fruits of all the poor old mammies labor & wearing of old clothes to start him out.