Last year I shared a letter my mother wrote home to Detroit on December 17, 1944. This year I am going to share a long Christmas letter my father wrote home on Christmas day of the same year. Because it is three pages long I am going to break it up into three posts. This is the first.
1944 was my parents 2nd Christmas together. My father, Albert, had taken a year off from the ministry to take classes in film making at UCLA. He planned to use it in his church work. My mother, Doris, was working as a social worker. The “Junior Doctor” mentioned in the letter was his brother, Louis, who had recently joined their father as a doctor at Cleage Clinic on the west side of Detroit. Barbara is his sister and the Graham’s are my mother’s parents.
“MERRY CHRISTMAS ‘N’ THAT…”
It’s Christmas afternoon…that’s what folks out here tell us…but it’s really June..the sun is shining and its warm and folks are out without their coats trying to play like it’s Christmas (full of Christmas cheer, howsoever…the liquid variety)
We ate supper at the Restaurant last night…”The Faun”, everything was quite festive…with Christmas carols… and folks being “elite”… Doris wanted to telephone you-all COLLECT to say Merry Christmas … Suggested that we put through a person to person call to the Junior Doctor (knowing that he would refuse to accept a collect call … and thus you-all would guess that we said Merry Christmas without anybody payin’ anything Smart little wife I got ain’t it. But we didn’t…the war effort ‘n’ that, you know. On the way home we saw a woman stealing a Christmas tree from a stand which had closed thinking that all the trees had been sold that anybody wanted (I guess). She was back in the dark picking over the trees big as life … getting a good one with a solid stand … she looked sort of scared but determined … Last we saw of her she was truckin’ on down the street with the biggest and best one on the lot under her arm.
We got up LATE … about twelve or so… and ate like hogs… DORIS is now engaged in “repairing” one of our “electric plates”… in the middle of the floor barefooted…she and it ((the electric plate) are now sitting in the middle of the front room floor… she has the plate hooked in to prove that it works… she works just like Louis… mess, mess, mess everywhere. She can start on the Radio now… The Christmas carols seem to have burned it out… this morning it refused to play… just smoked when we turned it on … she says a condenser… and only by the hardest can I disuade her from “fixing” it too. (She is now lecturing on how fortunate I am to have a wife who is both smart and beautiful and can fix things about the house.)
We received the presents ($10 from Barbara, $10 from Daddy & Mama, and $50 from Louis) THANKS! Sorry we couldn’t give you-all anything but love. We received a package from the Grahams… shirt tie, hankerchiefs, and CIGARETTES for me…
To be continued.