April letter to a brother

On the same day he wrote the previous letter, Lester received a letter from his younger brother Wallace. He started a reply that very evening, but finished it a few days later. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

In this April letter, he again mentioned his uniform, apparently in answer to a question from his brother. This may be a good time to share images of a couple of Lester’s uniforms.

Woolen uniform for cold weather. Note all the buttons.
Woolen uniform for cold weather. Note all the buttons.
The back side.
The back side.

They had been carefully stored since 1942, turned inside out and kept in a box. I imagine my grandmother had stored them in her attic. After she was gone, they came to my father (Wallace in this letter.) After he was gone, they came to me. They’ve been through a flood or two, a move or two, and remain remarkably intact.

In preparing them for a photo, I felt awed by the fact that nobody had worn this clothing for over seventy years. I tried to imagine the pain Lester’s mother and father (my grandparents), his sister and his brothers must have felt when his clothing was shipped home without Lester in them.


April 1, 1942

Dear Wallace

I received your letter today after I had written to the folks so I will answer yours now while I have some time to spare.  You are welcome to all the clothes.  No, I don’t usually buy Our Navy because it costs a quarter but there are usually a few copies around the dormitory.  I got a Ford paper today which I will try to send to you.  I would be glad to get a copy of the Booster.

Yes, I was vaccinated for small pox the same way as you were except they didn’t take time to stick me fifteen times, about four or five, I think.  I got shot about a dozen times including Schick tests & none of them made my arm sore.  I was quite fortunate because it made some of the boys quite sick.

Yes, we have a radio.  It is a table model which sits on the shelf.  It is on continuously from 0530 to 2130 (9:30 PM).

Yes, I have two stripes on my cuff now but I haven’t started to draw second class pay yet.  I hope I will draw it this week.  We should get paid the last of this week.

Tuesday evening—April 7th.

Sturdy cotton. Ideal for summer wear.
Sturdy cotton. Ideal for summer wear.

Well, I didn’t have any news to tell you & not much time to write either so will try to finish this today.  We got paid yesterday afternoon & I drew my second class pay & also some back pay.  Twenty-four bucks.   I should get about sixteen each payday now & more if that new law is passed.  I managed to save some of it all along since I don’t take so many liberties & don’t usually spend much when I do go out.

The back side.
The back side.

I am sending you the Ford news & have numbered some of the pictures.  Number one is the large tool & die plant which we pass every day on returning from school in the morning.  Number two is where we attend classes.  We are on the floor with the first row of windows.  We enter at the door marked X.  The busses bring us to the walk at the front of the picture.  The white ridge just above. . . .


(The rest of this letter is missing. I have to wonder what else he told his younger brother.)OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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