On special occasions, Veterans & Memorial Day, I reread this letter from a young soldier, my father, Aaron Levine to his dear wife. On the verge of being deployed to Europe during World War II, he wrote this 1944 note. He writes my pregnant mother who came to NYC to see him off, but missed him. My father didn’t see his son until he was one year old. Aaron Levine passed away at age 84 and worked on community projects even on his death bed. Literary, practical, loving, and compulsively methodical, here is his WW II good-bye letter …
Well, dear, it looks as if after all we will not get to see each other. It is a tough break – yea, a miserable one – but although this is T.S. in the extreme– we’ll just have to take it – and I think we both can. After all, we have a great future ahead of us – and that is worth going through anything for. Besides – it is the Passover and Easter Season and what with all the birds and flowers and new hats and purple spring lipsticks – you can’t help smiling. There! See how good our morale is!
Get yourself a new hat, dear – chic and startling– and send me (I could kick myself) a picture of you in it. I am making a War Bond allotment every month. Funds will be sent to you at Brookline [home of Aaron’s parents in Massachusetts] and the folks will deposit them. We are co-owners so you can use them if you ever have to. Thus my pay is chopped as follows:
Base pay per month – $115.20:
Government allotment- 22.00
Special allotment- 50.00
War Bond allotment- 12.50
Total- $ 92.70 (Balance: $ 22.50)
Thus you’ll get $ 100 per month (sent to Brookline) plus $12.50 per month in War Bonds – that is, a $50 War bond every 3 months ($200 per year). I’’ll increase if I can as soon as know what my expenses will be.
Have you heard anything as to your passport? Wait a little while longer and then, if you think advisable contact Goodman et al [lawyers]. Also, if you ever need anything of any sort, from advice to money, don’t hesitate to ask the Army Emergency Relief and the Red Cross.
You will handle details of payment for tickets, etc. Write home for savings bank money to be put into checking account. Suggest you leave about $ 60 in savings as a retaining balance. Do you have enough money and is there anything at all which you need?
See the doctor again before you leave. The Army Emergency Relief here does not believe you will have any passport trouble, if that means anything. Don’t worry if there is a delay – I think it will result in success. You have to get a new passport, but that should be only a technicality.
Forgive me if I’m a Pollyanna. We had a Passover Seder last night. I hope you had one also at the Burros’ or Schulman’s. It was big and noisy but also friendly and cordial – not like at home, by far, but still it had all the ingredients.
Darling, I miss you terribly. I feel guilty that I had built you up to the prospect of our seeing each other. That was my mistake and our disappointment. Oy – as they say you know where!
Write me voluminously at the address on the face of this letter. I shall write you every day, honey. This is not a ‘farewell” letter, but just so as to get our situation a little clearer. Use v-mail, I think it is faster.
Will write you again today or tomorrow.
All my love, dear,
To read more of my father’s WW II letters and how the war shaped his family’s life, Click on THE LIBERATOR’S DAUGHTER