I suppose my childhood was lonesome, too. I've promised that my own children will never feel alone.
But there's a funny thing about promises. It's easier to keep them before you make them.
P.S. I'll write as SOON as this baby makes his or her appearance. I promise!
April 1, 1943
V-mail from Marguerite Vincenzo to Pfc. Salvatore Vincenzo
(Got your letter yesterday. How's that for a turnaround?)
Husband of mine,
Happy April Fool's Day! (Though I don't feel much like foolin'.) Remember the time I hid all of your underwear in the freezer?
sure got me back. I'm fairly certain Mrs. K. is still not recovered from the sight of my brassieres hanging from the fence posts.
I did give her that boy's name from your squad. I can't imagine being so far away with no one to write to. Mrs. K. grumbled a bit, but snatched the address up so quickly I will now pay even less attention to her rheumatism complaints. When it comes to the war effort, it seems that woman has nothing but time. She's got at least a dozen soldiers on her V-mail list, and manages to post her letters twice a week. God knows what she tells them. Still, something is better than nothing, even if that something concerns the fine points of making wienerschnitzel or crocheting a dickey.
And about that other stuff. I'd be a fool to expect hearts and flowers all the time. Please continue to write about what you are really seeing, without worrying about what might be upsetting to me. If I'm in this war, too, then I should be upset. You know I'm not the type to think collecting bacon grease and scrap metal will keep anyone from dying. How about you give me the words so you don't have to hold them in? It's the least I can do.
If I sound like a broken record, so be ittake care of yourself. Irene says you should keep your feet dry. She came across some articles about trench foot, but given her filing skills they could have been from the last war. And, no, I won't set her up with Roland. He's half her height and twice her width. Come up with someone better.
P.S. You'll probably need a magnifying glass to read this letter, but I can get twenty-two lines on these things if I shrink my hand¬writing to Lilliputian proportions. I believe I've developed a permanent squint.
Excerpted from I'll Be Seeing You by Suzanne Hayes and Loretta Nyhan. Copyright © 2013 by Suzanne Hayes and Loretta Nyhan. Excerpted by permission of Mira. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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No Man's Land
by Simon Tolkien
Inspired by the experiences of his grandfather, J. R. R. Tolkien, during World War I.
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