31 January 2013

When Bernie (Sonny) met Norma: Courtship Letters, 4

When my father died in 2002 and my mother began her precipitous decline (dying eight months later) my brother and I began the arduous task of cleaning out the house. In my mother's dresser drawer I found a packet of twelve envelopes containing letters my father had sent her during their courtship. The letters are sweet and humorous, completely reminiscent of my father's personality. They are a wonderful chronicle of the beginning of their enduring love-affair.
In honor of what would be my parents 66th anniversary on February 9th, I will be posting a letter each day along with an annotated transcription adding additional insights and explication.

Between the 10 July 1945 letter and this 3 August 1945 letter, Sonny was reassigned from Chanute Field to Langley Field, Virginia. As noted in this letter, he took some leave in Brooklyn and visited with Norma Wilson. Notice the salutation where he is finally able to use the L word.

                                               Friday August 3, 1945

Dear Norm,

    I was sorry to say so long Tuesday night and after I saw you Wednesday I was left with a feeling that I find it hard to describe. All the way down here I kept thinking of you and I still can't get you out of my mind.

    I spent years convincing myself that I was the world's number one woman hater but all those years have gone for naught. I must be getting soft in the cranium, think of my reputation. What is my trouble Mr. Anthony? [1] Is it her long black hair, those big eyes or that tilting eyebrow. Maybe it's the combination of many things. If this were the older days I would have you arrested for witchcraft. Is it possible that a thing like that can happen to a guy like me in a short span of seven days. Perhaps time will help me in my dilemma, then again who wants help.

    I arrived here two o'clock in the morning and went right to the good old sack. All the fellows I came down with have now been assigned to a permanent outfit. Once again I am among strangers but I'll get acquainted shortly. It has happened to me many times before. Nobody has called for me and I certainly won't volunteer my services. I hope they forget about me.

    I have returned a bitter soldier with only one aim. That is to get out of this army. I spoke of South Africa, Argentina, and Pearl Harbor but all I want to do is get back to B'klyn and stay there.

    It hasn't been so long that I've seen you but how are you? What are you doing besides working? Did you finally catch up on your lost sleep? How's Rosolina? (Is that right?) [2] How do you look? How are your folks?

    The weather here is beautiful but very hot. How is it at home? I hope the sun finally came out.

    See if you can find a snapshot of yourself and send it to me. That is if you want to.

    I can't think anything else, right now, so I'll sign off. Write as soon as you can and be good. Say hello to everyone for me.

1. This is a reference to a radio program called the Goodwill Hour with John J. Anthony who dispensed marital advice. The stock phrase was, "Mr. Anthony, I have a problem!" 
2. "Rosolina" was likely Rosella Mass Siskind (1922-2003), my mother Norma's friend since childhood. Rosella and her family moved to 28 Colin Place (across the street from the Wilsons) sometime between 1925 and 1930. By the 1940 Census, Rosella's father, Nathaniel Mass, had died and Rosella and her mother Elizabeth and two brothers lived about a block and a half from Colin Place on 1970 East 1st Street, Brooklyn, New York. Rosella married Erwin Siskind (1817-1997). Interestingly, in the 1970s while I was attending Wellington C. Mepham High School in Bellmore, New York, Rosella started teaching there. I believe she taught math. I never took a class with Mrs. Siskind. 

Other posts in this series:
When Bernie (Sonny) met Norma: Courtship Letters, 1
When Bernie (Sonny) met Norma: Courtship Letters, 2
When Bernie (Sonny) met Norma: Courtship Letters, 3
When Bernie (Sonny) met Norma: Courtship Letters, 5 
When Bernie (Sonny) met Norma: Courtship Letters, 6
When Bernie (Sonny) met Norma: Courtship Letters, 7 
When Bernie (Sonny) met Norma: Courtship Letters, 8 
When Bernie (Sonny) met Norma: Courtship Letters, 9 
When Bernie (Sonny) met Norma: Courtship Letters, 10 
When Bernie (Sonny) met Norma: Courtship Letters, 11
When Bernie (Sonny) met Norma: Courtship Letters, 12
When Bernie (Sonny) met Norma: 66th Wedding Anniversary 

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