Before the News Breaks: Part I

While Babu is in Chicopee wrestling with loss, Jake is in Alabama having no idea that he, too, has lost a friend. The letters Babu gets from him are a jarring juxtaposition to what she is facing at home. Was it a welcome distraction?

May 21, 1941,

Jakey wrote me another letter today and he really let me know how he feels.  Zosh, Nat and I walked down to the funeral parlor.  I didn’t expect to break down and cry when I saw Stretch but I did.  We stayed for a while and then drove to Palmer with Ed Koziol.  Zosh’s Eddie came in about 10:30.  He got a special permit to come down.  We stayed until 12.

May 15, 1941,

Dear Emily:

     I’m enclosing some pictures-I hope you enjoy them because I did.  If you get a chance you can show that camera bug in your office that picture of the flight line and ask him what he thinks of the cloud effect I got without using a filter.  Somebody who thinks he knows down here thought this is a very good picture.  

     Now that I got that over without getting tangled up in filters, speed settings, shutters and what not I’d like to say I got your letter and am glad to hear that my letters “perk” you up.  Sometimes I get pretty moody down here and when I think about how I feel like throwing up the whole works and coming home.  This usually happens about 24 minutes of six in the morning and by 6 A.M. I’m back to normal again.  I can’t describe the feeling I get when I see a letter from you on my table but it sure is a funny feeling.  The closest I can come is to say that it gives me a dizzy feeling in the head (now I’m getting mushy) No I’m not either it’s the truth and I’m doing my best to describe how I feel.  

Now for your questions:  I eat plenty (well as much as they give anyone else) because after a few minutes in the air you sure do get hungry.  By the way we fly on weekdays only – Saturday and Sunday is our vacation-that’s when I study most.

     The planes which we use and which are in all my pictures are Stearman biplanes P.T. 13’s.  They’re very good planes but are a lot heavier than the “cubs” on which the boys learned back home.  These boys that have had previous time have their advantage but they have their troubles just the same with this ship.  

I’m keeping some of the negatives down here as some of the boys want copies made but I’ll send them all to you, negatives and prints and I hope you’ll keep them for me and you and show them to my folks.

O, I almost forgot.  Is the moon beautiful?  It’s wonderful.  It’s big and very white-much bigger and whiter than back home or that’s the way it seems to me.

Next week will be a very blue week for some of the boys.  They are going to start washing-out the misfits and I hope they don’t include me.  Say a few prayers for me will you-or did I ask you this before?

Well I have to “taxi” over to my locker get my books and study ‘till 9:15-it’s 8:10 now.





P.S. Don’t forget the prayers.

I’m stepping away from the tragedy and I am going to enjoy the hell out of how cute this letter is. To hell with toxic masculinity – even in 1941! Woo Who! This girl makes him dizzy and he is not afraid to show those feelings.

But of course, what about these pictures he says he sent? I’ll admit, I have some from this previous post and I am unable to completely tell which were sent on what day.

This one I maybe have already shown but I believe it is one he references in this letter.

The clouds are pretty swell.

There are some, however, I can discern from belonging to one letter or another. This one tells us quite a bit of information, including when the picture was taken.

Do you remember his writing about the “purdy” pictures they took by the truck before he left? I found another two of that set that did not get filed properly with the others.


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