While my grandfather was busy in Norfolk, Virginia, acclimating himself to Navy life, my grandmother was at home in Kentland, pregnant with her fourth child. In 1940, Gladys had been pregnant with her third child, Michael. This is a child that you will not hear mentioned in any of the letters between my grandparents. Michael only lived for a few days. I don’t know what was wrong with Michael, only that he couldn’t survive. I haven’t gotten around to ordering his death certificate to see if it has any more illuminating details. My uncles John and Mark were 10 and 8 years old, respectively, in 1940. My uncle John once told my father that he remembered how horrible that time was for the family.
Both my grandparents were worried about my grandmother’s pregnancy this time around. They had lived through the tragedy of Michael’s birth and death in 1940. They were worried that this pregnancy would end as tragically as the last. Fortunately for me, it did end happily. In May 1942, my grandparents were not blessed with foresight. I can only imagine how frustrating it was for my grandfather to be so far away from his wife during her pregnancy.
How you folks do talk about 4 of you coming down. In the first place – gasoline. I might be able to get an X card¹ and in the second place where would 4 people sleep when I’ve been trying to think up some way to get a place for you to sleep Just one. I thought I might get you a place at this Hotel I wrote you about but I find today it is full. It’s just a problem which I can’t figure out. I know the boys would get a kick out of seeing the place around here but how. They are better off at home much as I’d like to see them and you. It would be very uncomfortable to sleep in a car or under the sky.
Got my laundry back today-4 shirts-2 underware-6 pr. of socks and 2 hank. $1.45. Now you see why I wear shirts so long at one time. I’m going to send out a K. suit but don’t know where to send it.
(page 2) I’m sorry about the bill to Mrs. Dennis². I remember her paying that. Check the Massengillᶟ bill. That $25.00 is right but I thought I had paid them about ½ and then you had the return. I may not have paid the ½ but I thought I did. I believe I bought the stuff on the day I was examined and he was there once since and I gave him a check that day.
The magnolias are in full bloom and they are quite pretty. It is a big white blossom about 3 inches long and as big around as a banana and is a white bloom, then it opens into a large flower.
We were discussing the room + rent condition and the above that I wrote is secured.
Dr. Lentz is out playing golf but I just got home-he works at a different place than I and he gets off earlier or they don’t check so closely.
We will just have to wait and see about the rent etc for a few days or weeks yet. I guess I’d better write to Clay City⁴ again
- An X card was a type of rationing card for gasoline and automobiles. They were very hard to come by and were usually reserved for police, fireman, civil defense workers & various VIPs. There was a scandal when 200 Congressman were issued X cards.
- Mrs. Dennis: The only Mrs. Dennis in Newton County, Indiana was Maria Dennis. On the 1940 census, she was an 81 year old female, born in 1859 in Illinois. She was living with the family of one of her grandchildren, Ira Miller.
- Massengill: The S. E. Massengill company was a pharmaceutical company formed in 1898.
- Clay City: Clay City is where Roscoe’s parents lived.
©2012, copyrighted & written by Deborah Sweeney