A letter from a father to a son, April 1943

Posted by Doc
Jan 31 2009

The following is the end of a letter that my grandfather wrote to my father in April of 1943.  My father was 19, it was early in his service in the US Army, and I suspect it was the first time he was away from home for any extended period.

I debated whether to share this or not. Not because it reveals anything of any concern about my family, but because in many ways it’s such an intimate exchange between these two men. It brings tears to my eye, and opens a window into a relationship of which I knew little.

Just for context, my father died in 2007 at the age of 82. For much of his life, we had a wonderful relationship, and for some parts it wasn’t so good.  Nothing remarkable in that.

What’s remarkable is that I never knew about this collection of letters – there are many of them – that my grandfather, who died when I was 14 and whom I didn’t know at all well, wrote to my father several times each week. My grandfather was around 50 at the time of these letters.

I’m transcribing them all, a bit at a time, and have tried to preserve my grandfather’s punctuation/style.

I hope you enjoy this.

When you finally get out of quarantine, and go to Augusta, on your first holiday, please inquire, which suitable place I may stay during my visit to Augusta and bear in mind, that when I do come, I wish to contact, the different officers I had mentioned & written to you, that are members of my college fraternity.

Perhaps at this point, it may appear to you that I am stressing these relationships as an important factor for you. While you are going through your basic training in the Engineers Battalion – Be assured, that in the half century that I have lived – I have come to the realization that we must learn to graciously and humbly receive the generous offers of our friends, in what capacity they are willing to serve – I think that Shakespeare in one of his plays – said – It is more gracious at times to receive than to give – and if these men, can in some small measure, recognize your fine qualities of character, your gentleness of nature, your warmth of heart – your simplicity of heart and soul – and recognize honestly – and you in turn to receive this recognition – will you not then serve your country in a greater capacity.

Do not, my dear son, for one moment underestimate the sweetness of human touch – the inestimable value of interesting friendships – the beauty of moral principles – all these factors go to make for decency in living.

If my words will in some small measures, reveal to you, my love for you – and in that love convey hope for you with every new day – I will be satisfied – I will be at peace with you.

Your Dad.

2 Responses

  1. […] About « A letter from a father to a son, April 1943 […]

  2. AnnaHopn says:

    Hi there,
    You need more rest i think


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