A’ja and the Aces


Pretty and Number One Son landed safely in Las Vegas and from all social media accounts are having a grand time. Thanks to all of you who are concerned about Pretty’s whereabouts and our welfare at casita de Cardinal. We have a friend who has been staying with us for several weeks while she is in transition so Pretty left us in good hands while she goes gallivanting with Drew.

Tonight they are going to see Gamecock women’s basketball G.O.A.T. A’ja Wilson playing professionally in the Women’s National Basketball Association as she plays in her new home court at MGM Resorts Mandalay Bay Events Center with the Las Vegas Aces. A’ja was the Number One draft choice by the Aces, a new franchise that relocated from San Antonio this year, and has been having a terrific rookie year with the Aces.  Question: who’s surprised? Answer: not even one Gamecock fan.

Pretty and me in Dallas as A’ja led Gamecocks to

only NCAA Championship in basketball

in program history in 2017

And while Pretty, Number One Son Drew and a small group of Gamecock fans will be cheering our A’ja at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas tonight, Charly, Spike and I will be watching on the WNBA League Pass which is a lifesaver for A’ja groupies.

Wave to us from the game, Pretty…go A’ja and the Aces!

Stay tuned.

 

 

 

 

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the hideout – revisited


Alas, Pretty and Number One Son Drew are winging their way toward Las Vegas on this Friday the 13th. and all of us at Casita de Cardinal will be happy to know they have landed safely tonight. Charly, Spike and I were quite the forlorn threesome when Pretty and her suitcase rolled out of the house this morning. Luckily, I have had an epic Wimbledon Gentlemen’s Semifinal match that lasted over 6 hours to keep my mind occupied today, but tennis has not been a source of comfort for Charly and Spike, I’m afraid. Sigh. Oh, well, it is Friday the 13th.

In times like these, I often resort to pictures of previous places I have been that make me happy to revisit. One such place was on a trip Pretty and I took 9 years ago with two of our favorite friends, Linda and Beth, to a dude ranch called the Hideout in Shell, Wyoming. Yeehaw. We cowboy.

Beth (l.) gets credit for planning the adventures

Pretty embraced the concept…

Linda (l.) and a wannabe cowgirl Kristi the Kid from Scotland

another wannabe cowgirl (me) on the left with

real cowgirl Linda and guide Stewart on the trail

my horse the oversized Wapiti who was wonderful,

but oh, so very WIDE…ouch, my aching butt

this cowgirl needed lots of breaks

this cowgirl didn’t ever need a break

the views on the trail were almost as gorgeous as the smiles

BUT as fate would have it, I was happiest when I was playing Scrabble…

…and Wapiti was in the pasture having fun with the other horses

I hope all of my friends in cyberspace have a safe Friday the 13th., a great weekend and wonderful memories of your own Hideouts when you need them.

Stay tuned.

P.S. We miss you, Pretty.

 

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tennis anyone? you betcha


For tennis fans, when July rolls around, the sounds of tennis balls flying off rackets held by seasoned warriors or hopeful newcomers, tennis balls traveling through the air at record speeds or strategic spins, landing on immaculately prepared grass courts with awkward bounces that require extraordinary hand-eye coordination to even be struck by another racket held by an adversary across a 3-ft net –  for that first fortnight in July and for those fans, the air is filled with the electric sights and sounds of Wimbledon, The Championships at the All England Club, the 3rd of 4 annual Major tennis tournaments but arguably the most revered for its traditions and longevity.

The first week of the two-week tournament at Wimbledon for 2018 is a wrap, as we say in the entertainment industry. I have had my usual bleacher seats in front of a tv this week – the same seats I’ve had for the past 51 years since the color telecasts started. My television sets have changed through the years, but my love of the game has remained steadfast. And cheerio, the addition of the Tennis Channel with its 24-7 coverage of the sport year round has been an awesome addition for Pretty and me.

Pretty once told me many years ago when we were in the middle of a dispute about how much time she devoted to playing tennis (which took her away from me) that “I had tennis before you. I’ll have tennis after you.” That put everything in perspective, let me tell you. As it turns out, she now has tennis with me in the bleacher seats but still longs to be able to return to the courts one day.

Today is Sunday in the middle of The Championships at Wimbledon so the players who survived the first week are resting to prepare for Manic Monday tomorrow when both the women’s and men’s singles round of 16 will be played. The winners of these matches will move on to the quarterfinals, and two of them will win the finals at the end of this week.

The women’s draw has been full of shocking upsets in week one with only one of the top seeds, Karolina Pliskova, remaining. And then, of course, all eyes including mine will be on Serena Williams who won the most important title of all last year when she and her husband served up their daughter Olympia who is the cutest baby ever. Serena has moved on to the second week, and I will be following her progress as I have followed her for the past 20 years. That’s right…t-w-e-n-t-y years. Serena at the age of 35 won her 23rd. major title which set the record for most women’s singles titles in the Open era when she won the Australian Open in 2017.

As for the men in the second week, what can I say? Names that now define a Golden Age of tennis are chasing the Wimbledon title again. Roger Federer who at 37 apparently embodies the ageless body of Dorian Gray had he been a tennis player. The passionate Spaniard Rafael Nadal whose Vamos! inspires the enthusiasm of crowds like touchdowns in a Super Bowl. Winners of the past 6 tennis majors, Federer holds 8 Wimbledon singles titles and Nadal two. Novak Djokovic, another tennis titan,  is trying to reclaim his place among the greats but battling the most difficult opponent of all in recent years: himself. Two Americans, veteran big server John Isner, and unseeded unknown Mackenzie McDonald also will play on the big stage on Manic Monday.

And so sports fans, as The Red Man used to call his friends in cyberspace, Pretty and I will be on pins and needles starting at 7 am tomorrow as we cheer for our favorites from the bleacher seats at Casita de Cardinal. Time and tennis march on.

Stay tuned.

VAMOS!

(Nadal at the Olympics in 2016)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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a man of letters (11 – final) – Homecomings, Reunions and Mysteries in the summer of 1945


One by one the young men returned in late spring and early summer from the second world war to their families and new beginnings. Glenn Morris, our letter writer, and his brother Ray came home to the small rural town of Richards, Texas from England …Charlie and Marion Boring, Selma’s brothers and C.H. Boring, Selma’s first cousin returned from the Pacific seas…against the odds, they all came home safe and sound. Well, safe for sure. As for “sound” we will never know because discussions of the war were rare. Their experiences on the battlegrounds in the air and on the oceans remained their secrets for the rest of their lives.

Glenn at home with his father and mother

Glenn’s dog Scooter part of the welcoming committee

In August, 1945 a letter arrived from England addressed to Mrs. George P. Morris, Richards, Texas USA. The letter writer was E. Hughes from Doncaster, England. She had been the home away from home for the Morris brothers who were stationed in England during the war. From one mother across the Pond to another…

“Dear Mrs. Morris,

Many thanks for your letter. I was very pleased you appreciated my letter. I expect you have Ray home now. We do miss him but let’s thank God the whole war is over &  your boys won’t have to face that Pacific. I cheered hearing that any of the U.S. A. boys who stayed with me wouldn’t have to face that ordeal. Fancy Glenn being with you when my letter arrived. I could just imagine him saying that about the Yorkshire pudding

Yes, Mrs. Morris, my dear son arrived home safely & we’ve had a lovely 10 days with him. We had his coming home party last Saturday & what a party. Ray will tell you what a lively house this is.

Like you, dear, I didn’t know what to do when the telegram came saying he had landed in England. I laughed and cried together. So I know your feeling when that great big son of yours arrives. He’s a great guy. We’ve put his photo on the piano. I often talk to him.

Pleasure to hear you have 3 children. We only  have the 2 boys & my grandson who really is a beautiful child. I’ll send you some snaps when we can obtain some films for the camera. He’s so proud of his dear daddy. Ask Glynn to send me a picture of his wife. She sounds a jolly good sort of a girl. We get very few American boys here now. I see a few was here for J.V. Days; everybody went wild. Tell Ray the Market Tavern was crowded when we got in. You couldn’t get a seat anywhere. My son who works there was tired out…we was all dancing on the Market top.

Give Ray this message from Shelia, “She sends her regards to him & if she weren’t marrying Nash, he stood the second chance.” She’s a sweet person.

I’ll enclose you the recipe of Yorkshire Pudding. It’s really good with roast beef, mutton, or pork. We seldom have a dinner without it in England as it’s very tasty with onions cooked. Let’s hope you make a success of it. It needs a lot of beating up.

Well dear, space is short and time marches on. Give my love to my two boys from their Limey Mum. So I’ll say cheerio,

Sincerely yours,

E. Hughes

Regards from all the young at heart to Ray & Glynn”

Yes, the big family news was that when Glenn came home for furlough in May, 1945 he and Selma got married.  Not too long afterwards, Ray married a Texas woman named Mavis Williams who was the younger sister of his mother’s brother’s wife. He had luckily been the second choice of Shelia, his girlfriend in England.

Ray at home in Richards

Much to the dismay of their families, Glenn and Selma decided against a wedding at the First Baptist Church where they were members. Instead, they eloped.

Richards News in Grimes County Review

by Mrs. Cornelia Garvin

(June 06, 1945)

Mrs. Cornelia Garvin had this to say in her article:

“First Lieut. L. Morris and Miss Selma Boring surprised their friends Tuesday when they drove away Tuesday to Willis, returned and announced they were married. Glenn is at home on a thirty-day furlough, after completing his missions. The son of Mr. and Mrs. G. P. Morris, Selma the daughter of Mrs. Louise Boring, and just returned from college at Waco. Both these young people have a host of friends who wish them every happiness in their new voyage they have begun.”

Selma and Glenn in Richards

The Richards News also included this nugget:

“Mrs. J. V. Bech of Pass Christian, Miss., is here for a visit with her parents,  Mr. and Mrs. George Morris. “

Mrs. J. V. Bech is better known to all of you as Lucy, Glenn’s sister, who was married to Terrell when the boys left home. Terrell did also make it home from the war, but Lucy had married another Navy man known as Jay Bech at some point in the interim years. Terrell continued to visit the Morris family in Richards for many years, but he was never mentioned at family gatherings.

Lucy

Glenn and Selma honeymooned by train to Miami, Florida. That trip turned out to be not quite the Hollywood movie image of their dreams, but they survived it and began  a new life together after a war that had forever changed the two teenagers who were forced to grow up quickly. Thankfully, they both came from loving families that continued to support them in their married life.

Selma was 18 years old when she married Glenn who was 20 at the time. In eleven months they  would become parents of a baby girl they named Sheila – a name Glenn chose from his brother’s girlfriend in England – with the middle name Rae, a feminine version of his brother Ray’s name.

Scooter and Selma in 1945

My father’s letters continued after his marriage to my mother, and later on he wrote to me when I was in college in the 1960s. I will look forward to another series on those entertaining letters, but for now I will leave my family as they were at the end of World War II with all my friends in cyberspace.

Thank you all so very much for reading and for your comments. This journey has been a bittersweet one for me with a roller coaster of emotions. From letter to letter, I’ve had tearful moments interspersed with laughter as I imagined the characters I knew so very well. I hope you were able to see them with me and that you will be inspired to realize the mysteries you may also have tucked away in a box or drawer somewhere. Life is about new discoveries – ask questions you want to know before it’s too late. Open the unopened. Explore. Remember.

And stay tuned.

 

 

 

 

 

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a man of letters (10) – some of us are lucky


March, 1945 began as February had ended – with more missions to fly (Reuthingen and Bohlen) – but with an unexpected visit from a friend who had been with him in navigation school in Texas and an equally unexpected promotion. In a letter dated March 06th. he wrote the following:

“Dear Folks,

Today I got a letter from you, Mama, and a Valentine box of candy, of which both were appreciated same. I get about as many packages now as I do letters. Well, I have about 10 more missions to go. Really going to town. Tremendous amount of speed.

Art Montana just came over to see me. I had about a day and a half with him. He has 12 missions in. I told him I had more hours on oxygen than he’s got in his whole stay in the Air Corps. He’s looking good. He says I’m gaining weight. I do weigh about 10 stones now. That’s British for 140 pounds. A stone is equivalent to 14 pounds. I don’t think the scales are right. I know I’m not that heavy. Although my eyelids feel like they weigh tons sometimes. Not so good, huh?

Mort and Montana are at the same field. They don’t run around together much. Mort drinks quite a bit. Montana takes a drink occasionally, but not excessively.

I had good news in one way today, but it’ll mean a little more work for me. Oh, well. I guess I can stand anything for a while. Understand I’m not moaning. Silver looks better than gold anyway, doesn’t it?

Well, folks, I guess you’ve had it for tonight.

I love you, Glenn Lewis”

Glenn Lewis wanted to tell his parents about his promotion from second to first lieutenant on March 6th. His insignia changed from a gold bar to a silver one. He had mixed emotions about the change with good reason. The March targets continued at a relentless pace.

Gelsenkirchen, another industrial center for the Third Reich…Kassel again…Koesfeld…Hamelin, a town in lower Saxony, famous for its medieval tale of The Pied Piper of Hamelin. No fairy tales being told that day as the smoke rose from its ruins.

Zoesen…Molbes…Berlin again…Dorsten…Recklinghausen…each city and town a dot on a map that became worn with repeated markings. Every day brought more assignments and more waiting for orders to fly.

On April 1, 1945 the newly promoted 1st. Lieutenant Morris wrote the following letter to his girl back home, Selma, who was in the middle of her second semester at Baylor University in Waco:

“Dearest Darling,

Today, Easter Sunday, I went to church. I was very happy to make it. I thought I wouldn’t be able to. (I know, don’t end a sentence with a preposition.) Oh well, some of us are lucky.

I hope you had a nice service. I’ll enjoy a good church service when I get back.

I got your beautiful picture, and it doesn’t flatter you contrary to what you said. It is a lot like you, but there are a lot of things I see in you that can never be captured in a picture, if you know what I mean. There’s something about you that would make a good boy leave a good home. Even me.

I just listened to Jack Benny. How about that? You wouldn’t think I could but that’s combat for you.

Well, Love of my Life, until soon,

I love you,

Glenn”

Selma

1st. Lieutenant Glenn Morris

Finally, on April 07, 1945 the Flying Fortress flew its 35th. and last mission that targeted an air field in Wesendorf, a city in Lower Saxony. Lieutenant Glenn Morris and almost all of his crew had been lucky to survive a second world war which destroyed millions of people around the globe. D-Day was two months away in June, the atomic bombs in Japan would follow in August; but for these men of the Flying Fortress the war was effectively over.

On April 20, 1945 Lt. Morris wrote to his parents one final time from  Europe.

“Dear Kids,

It shouldn’t be too long now. Get the black-eyed peas and fried chicken ready.

I love you,

Glenn”

In a world before the internet with its instantaneous communications via social media, Skype, email, iPhones, iPads, and smart phones – in a world before smart tvs or any tvs for that matter, a young boy became a man while he penned letters to his family and girlfriend back home in a tiny southeast Texas town still divided into black and white by one Main Street with no traffic lights. From the flowery love letters to the letters characterized as much by what they didn’t say as what they did, the idealism of his youth underwent extraordinary trials by fire.

Stay tuned.

 

 

 

 

 

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a man of letters (9) – bombs away…and away…and away


February, 1945 brought new targets for the twenty-year-old Richards, Texas homeboy 2nd. Lieutenant Glenn Morris, navigator for a B-17 bomber called The Fortress in the  365th. bomber squadron of the Eighth Air Force stationed in England during WWII.

Ludwigshafen, a city on the Rhine opposite Mannheim, on February 1st…tons of bombs dropped on two chemical plants supplying vital chemicals to the German military efforts…two days later (February 03) The Fortress finally made it to Berlin, the capitol of Hitler’s Third Reich…six days later on the 9th. the mission was a smaller town called Lutzendorf…

Flying at altitudes of 20,000 feet for most bombing runs meant long hours of very cold temperatures in confined cramped spaces where the oxygen was “scarce,” to quote Glenn’s description of the experience during training exercises. Smoke from the fires below and the gunfire surrounding The Fortress during its missions made his eyes burn and breathing even more difficult. The sounds of machine guns reverberated in his sleep at night. The sights of cities burning beneath him seared into his memory forever. Death and destruction. The call of bombs away and away and away couldn’t be tuned out at night when he waited for sleep to come.

After the Lutzendorf mission, the crew had a break for several days. On February 12th, Lt. Morris wrote the following letter to his parents – it’s the only correspondence preserved from that month. He was so happy getting his letters from home – even his daddy wrote to his son. I would love to have that letter.

“Dear Folks,

Just a line to let you know I’m O.K. I’m doing better about the writing, am I not? I will write when I have time. You know I will, cause I’m supposed to.

I got my haircut today. I’m looking very sharp in my leather jacket. You didn’t know I had one, did you?

Yesterday I went to church. It was the first time I’ve been in England. It was the first time I’ve had a chance. I can remember when I seldom missed a Sunday. Do you remember, too?

I got 3 letters from you, Mama, and one from you, Daddy. The latest one was the 23rd. of January. I get your letters very quickly. Keep writing direct mail. I like them better. Well, kids, you’ve had it. I love you,

Glenn”

George Morris with his son Glenn in Richards, Texas

Lt. Glenn Morris the navigator

 list of missions flown by Lt. Morris

in his own handwriting on personal stationery

An even dozen bombing runs were made in February, 1945…Dresden, Bdadnnitz, Nuremberg (twice), Wittenberg, Hamburg (the second largest city in Germany where the new U-boats were under construction, but the mission failed due to cloud cover), Munich (the third largest city in Germany, located in Bavaria at the northern edge of the Alps near Austria, near Hitler’s infamous Eagle’s Nest where Nazi leaders gathered for strategic planning), Berlin again and Saist, a much smaller town.

Tail Gunner Pfc. Klepps killed in action

during mission in February, 1945

Twenty-three bombing runs completed by the end of February, and one member of the crew of The Fortress had gone home without his buddies.

(image from Wikipedia)

Stay tuned.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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a man of letters (8) – combat! January, 1945


Three days after Christmas in 1944,  2nd. Lt. Glenn Morris flew the first of his 35 bombing missions over Germany with his crew of The Fortress. Their first target was Siegburg, a town near Bonn in the North Rhine – Westphalia region. That night he wrote Selma another letter, but the mission clearly shook him. This letter’s tone introduced a note of uncertainty about their relationship that he hadn’t expressed in his previous ones.

(the only letter with blue markings)

censorship or Selma?

“Dearest Darling,

I’ve often wondered if you couldn’t guess just how much I miss you at different times. You know, sometimes you are the only thing that makes me want to be back there. I could go on forever telling you that I see you everywhere I go & etc., but you’d enjoy that too much.

In not so long a time I’ll be back with you. It already seems like ages to me. Do you ever sorta forget about me, unconsciously, I mean, just forget. That is one of the most horrible things I can think of. Well, enough of that.

Tonight some of the guys wanted me to play on the Field team, but I had a rather hard day so, for once, I refused a basketball game.

Well, Baby, I must go to sleep, for I am very tired, but not too tired to say goodnight to the one I love.

Yours forever,

Glenn”

Selma, the girl back home

On New Year’s Eve, their target was Kassel…then Magdeburg on New Year’s Day, 1945…next up was Modrath near Cologne on January 3rd…Cablenz on the 5th. – names of places he probably had a hard time spelling – much less pronouncing – but places he had to locate as the navigator for his crew of The Fortress.

He had a break for eight days and wrote to his parents at home in Richards, Texas on January 8, 1945. His older brother Ray was also in England with the 8th. Air Corps. Ray worked on the ground crew for airplane maintenance and loaded the bombs for the flyboys.

Glenn (l.) and Ray with their mother before the war

Ray

Ray (l.) and buddies on leave

“Dear Folks,

It shouldn’t be too long before I get a letter from you now. Klepps, the tail gunner, got 2 letters addressed to this APO, so if you’re not falling down on the job, I should be hearing from you very soon. I might say that I’ve missed those letters quite a bit. Tell Selma she’d better write every day or I’ll divorce her. That would be a low blow, wouldn’t it?

Now Mama, don’t get alarmed, but I have a slight cold again. It’s the first one I’ve had in a long time. I take sulfa diazine tablets every day. That probably explains it. Other than the slight cold, I am O.K. I know there’s no use to tell you not to worry about me cause you’ve been doing that so long it’s got to be habit. There’s no use in your quitting now. Ha.

I’m to see Ray once and for all next Sunday and Monday. Every 3 weeks we get 48 hour passes, and finally my turn is coming up. Here is part of our conversation.

“Glenn! Glenn! Is that you?”

“Yes, it’s me, Ray.”

“Well, where have you been? You little devil what happened to you? I’ve been worried about you. How many missions have you flown? Etc.”

He’s still the same old boy. Have you heard anything about Dick Merrill {a friend from Richards}? He’s probably a P.W. There’s a better than even chance he is.

A mobile PX came here the other day. I bought 15 pounds worth of stuff. That’s about $60. I bought another blouse that I’m gonna have made into a battle jacket. They are sharp.

Hoping to hear from you soon,

Your oldest son,

Glenn

Tell Lucy to write to me.”

Lucy

Lucy (r.) and friend Maureen

Glenn’s sister Lucy and Selma’s brother Charlie

(good friends – Richards was a very small town)

Charlie joined the Navy…

( along with Selma’s oldest brother Marion and cousin C.H.)

Selma’s mother and oldest brother Marion in Richards

Missions continued through January…Karlsruhe, a city near the French border where a large Jewish population had been deported to the Auschwitz concentration camp before the strike…then Paderborn… followed by Aschaffenberg in Bavaria…the largest target in January was Cologne which was a Military Area Command Headquarters for the German army and the fourth largest city in Germany…January ended with a second run over Coblenz.

On January 22, 1945 in the midst of these military activities, Glenn took time to write to Selma who was back at Baylor University in Waco after her Christmas break.

“Dearest Selma,

I’m sorry again that I haven’t written you within the last few minutes. Are you getting my letters? I suppose you are. Very dull, isn’t it? I could tell you a lot, Baby, but better not. Will you settle for something new like, ‘I love you’? I know you get tired of that. It is so trite, yet so true.

I got the scarf yesterday, and how did you know it was cold over here? It will really make old Ray’s eyes widen the next time I see him, which will be soon, I hope. He’s on pass now, I suppose. Funny thing, he can’t some to see me, but I can go to see him. He can, but he won’t. That girl in Doncaster takes up his time.

Very peaceful scene tonite. Three of us around the stove writing letters and the radio going full tilt. I never had it so good. Still there is something missing. You, no doubt.

Write to me often now, little girl. I love you,

Glenn”

Glenn

The air strikes came fast and furious for the airmen in January of 1945 while all of their families and friends back home fretted about their safety. How many would come home, they wondered…we’ll wait with them for now.

Stay tuned.

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a man of letters (7) – absence makes the heart…


Glenn at home in Richards, Texas before the war

Remember the slightly underweight 18-year-old rural Texas boy who enlisted in the Army Air Corps in June, 1943 and wrote to his parents that he had to do “what I feel is right for me” following his enlistment? Eighteen months later, this 20-year-old young man horsed around with his Air Force buddies at a base near London, England – waiting for their first combat assignment. Thanksgiving had come and gone; now Christmas loomed large in their minds. They would be an ocean away from home during the holidays in 1944.

Glenn (on shoulders) and his buddies

On December 19, 1944, 2nd. Lt. Glenn L. Morris wrote this letter to his girlfriend Selma who was finishing her first semester at Baylor University in Waco, Texas.

“Dearest Darling,

I promised myself that I’d write every day to you once I got overseas. Do I do that? Not quite. We do have a pretty heavy schedule right at the present. That should be over with fairly soon. Then I’ll try to write every 2 days anyway. It’s just twice as hard to write now since you can’t say anything that might endanger our security here. Oh well, I’ll have a lot to tell you when I get back. I probably won’t tell you much then, cause we’ll have more important things to talk about. Me & you, for example. Selma, do you want a ring. I mean, you told me all the time you didn’t, so I naturally believed you so sincerely that it made me quite unhappy, if you remember. Anyway, I wouldn’t give you one unless I was there in person.

There isn’t much entertainment for officers here. The food is good, I think. They don’t have much candy, however. That wasn’t so subtle, was it? If you can get any old beat up candy bars, ship them to your old daddy. Be a good baby cause I love you,

Glenn”

Meanwhile, back in Waco at Baylor University…

Selma made new friends

Glenn wrote another letter to Selma on December 22, 1944. He had marriage on his mind.

“Dearest Darling,

As the fog comes on little cats’ feet. (Where have I heard that before, oh yes ‘Fog’; Carl Sandberg). I’ve forgotten what romantic stuff I was about to give you. You’d be surprised at the sentimental thoughts I’ve been thinking anyway. By the way, will you marry me?

Last night Dan and I played basketball. We played two games and won both. Some sort of league. All I know is I can hardly walk I’m so sore. Honey, do you think I’m getting old. I’ve told you about my mustache, haven’t I? If I haven’t, it’s really sharp. Of course, it is a shade blonde. I think you would like it. Most of my public does.

Saw a show tonight, ‘Road to Frisco.’ It was pretty good. The title was ‘They Drive by Night’ when I saw it before.

Well, Baby, outa space again.

I love you,

Glenn”

On Christmas Eve, December 24, 1944 the Army Air Corps lieutenant wrote again to Selma.

“Dearest Darling,

As I think of all the Christmases past, my thoughts naturally are of you. You will always be associated with my pleasant memories. I have no memories other than good ones of you. In fact, I think of you as everything good. I’m not as good as you are, honey, in thousands of ways, but I do love you, if that makes up for any of my faults.

Would you like to know how I’m spending Xmas eve? Well, the whole crew got together a little while ago & played poker. I never played poker you know before getting into the Army. I think I’m weaker in many ways than I used to be. Well, we sent the boys (enlisted men) after some little pies they can buy at their club. They should be back shortly. We have a pretty good time together.

Darling, I’m anxiously awaiting your first letter. I’m sure you are writing and will never quit as I’ll never quit loving you.

Merry Xmas, Glenn”

Hm. Does absence make the heart grow fonder…or wander…

Selma and a boy named Tommy at Baylor

We’ll leave Glenn waiting for his first letter from Selma at Christmas with combat waiting for him just around the corner. His mother, father and sister Lucy celebrated Christmas in Texas, but both sons were worlds away so the mood was somber.

Glenn and Ray’s sister Lucy (far l. and far r.)

with their parents George and Betha

Stay tuned.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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a man of letters (6) – love letters, that is


While Glenn was in combat training in the Midwest, Selma was busy getting settled into her new life in Waco at Baylor University. Since her mother didn’t have a car and wouldn’t  even know how to drive one if she had it, Glenn’s parents volunteered to transport Selma and  her suitcases to college for the fall semester, 1944. Selma was seventeen years old at the time.

Glenn’s daddy loaded Selma’s suitcases…

…while both mothers hovered

Louise (Selma’s mother) in the middle and Betha (Glenn’s mother)

Selma and a friend check out local sandwich shop in Waco

Glenn sent this Western Union telegram to his parents on November 15, 1944. He had planned to return to Texas for his 20th. birthday on October 06 (and his mother’s birthday two weeks later) – but didn’t make it home.

“Am sorry couldn’t come home but only got four days. Don’t write to old address after Friday. Will write later. Love, Glenn”

The two months of combat training concluded in November of that year, and The Crew shipped out to join the 8th. Air Corps in England. They made a brief detour for more maneuvers in Iceland before reaching their European destination near London. This was Glenn’s last letter before crossing the Pond. He wrote to Selma at the last minute, November 28, 1944.

“Dearest Darling,

As the snow lingeringly falls upon our unattractive barracks, I pause for a moment in my menial tasks to give my love to the only one in my life. There are times when you can’t help but be a little disgusted with me, because I am so unthinking and negligent.

I am lucky to have someone waiting for me who is forgiving and understanding. I do appreciate it. That is one thing I have to look forward to, your waiting for me when I get back.

Well, a little of what I’m doing. I’m expecting to leave as soon as the weather clears. I’ll probably go to the European theater of action. I’ll probably even get to see Ray. That’s just my idea. But my ideas are generally pretty good.

We were to fly a mission today, but it started snowing this morning and hasn’t quit. We have to fly that mission before we leave. Oh well, the sooner, the quicker. I’ve already shipped my clothes over and part of them home.

We were lucky enough to get a ship. Only 1/2 of the crews got ships.

Dan insists I go with him to the PX. PX – PT what’s the difference?

Be good, Darling.

I love you,

Glenn”

The month of December was a long one for Glenn and The Crew who were now on a temporary layover in Iceland waiting for their first assignments. Glenn wrote letters to Selma who was finishing her first semester at Baylor. This one is dated December 07, 1944.

“Dearest Darling,

You’ve probably been thinking nasty things about me again, but I have a legitimate excuse this time. You won’t chastise me, will you? You’re a pretty good kid. I guess that’s why I love you. I know it’s not because you’re so pretty and sweet. Imagine your being sweet.

Of course, I’m sorry. You wanted to know where I am. I’m in Iceland. Beautiful place. You’d love it, I’m sure. This is only temporary, however. Lucky me…You wouldn’t believe it, I’m sure, but I saw a good show today, Mrs. Parkington.

Montana and Mort are no longer with me. Maybe they’ll get here soon. I miss them.

I expect to be able to see Ray soon. I’d sure like to see the old fat boy. You know, it’s been a long time. Then, it’s been a long time since I’ve seen you.

I’m sorry about Christmas, but you know how it is. I told Mama to get you something. All my love goes with whatever it is. Mama was laboring under the assumption that you wanted a ring. Set her straight, will you.

Be a good kid and write often. More than usual.

I love you,

Glenn”

“fat boy” Ray (l.) and Glenn in Richards before war

Four days later, on December 11th. he wrote from England.

“Dearest Darling,

I am in England now. Enough said. Or that’s all I can say anyway.  I think I like it here all right. The food’s o.k. I see a cinema every day. I hadn’t seen “Cobra Woman” until  today. It wasn’t so good. I suppose you’ve seen it.

I’ve seen several fellows I knew at Oklahoma A & M, Laredo, & San Marcos. Glad to see the old boys, renew acquaintances & what not.

I haven’t seen much of England yet but really intend to when I get away from here. Too bad you are not here to see it with me. Some day we’ll be together again, just you and me. Can you think of anything more wonderful? Sorry – I can’t either.

As I said in one of my previous letters, I’m sorry I can’t be there for Xmas. This will probably reach you about Xmas so here’s wishing you a Merry Xmas and sending all my love.

Glenn”

Waiting, waiting, waiting for that first assignment…

Meanwhile, Selma made new friends at Baylor.

Selma (l.) and girlfriends outside dorm

Selma (2nd from left) on campus

The Richards 2nd. Lt. was a long, long way from home like too many other soldiers were in the holiday season during World War II. He wrote four more letters to Selma in December including one on the 28th., a few days before his first bombing mission which was on New Year’s Eve over Germany in a city called Kassel where a subcamp of the Dachau concentration camp was located.

We’ll save those for next time. Thanks for staying tuned.

***********************************

Congratulations to the Charleston City Council for their apology on “Juneteenth” this week for the city’s participation in the institution of slavery. According to AP reporter Tom Foreman, Jr. the Council approved a resolution that is a “denouncement of slavery, a promise of tolerance in the future and a proposal for an office of racial reconciliation.” This is a positive step toward a healing process which I hope all cities will embrace. Bravo. I couldn’t be more pleased.

The AP report quotes Councilman Gregorie: “It was wrong to enslave people, to treat them as chattel and sell their children and break up their families. Sound familiar? It’s happening today, folks.”

Yes, sadly. Too sadly. People of good will must continue to press for a plan to reunite the families who have been severely damaged by those who have no regard for the worth of a human life or real respect for the “family values” they have campaigned on for years.

As for the Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen, I am trying to understand how you don’t know where infants and toddlers separated from their parents who are seeking asylum in our country are located. Seriously?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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a man of letters (5) – training for combat…and love


 

On February 02, 1944 nineteen-year-old Glenn sent a post card and letter from gunnery school in Laredo to his parents at home in Richards. The post card scene of the cotton field near Houston reflected a longing for the countryside of his boyhood in southeast Texas.

“Dear Mama and Daddy, boys in this gunnery school are really sharp. We start our classes tomorrow so I’ll be busy from now on. This is just like the G.I. Army. Rules and restrictions. I’d like to see something of Laredo while I’m here, but not much chance of that. I will say it doesn’t look at all like our piney woods of East Texas. West Texas has no trees and lots of dust and wind. I don’t like it much. I’ll write more, and often. I love you, Glenn         Daddy, you write” 

A letter dated February 10, 1944 soon arrived from his mother.

“Dearest Glenn,

We are very worried about you and Ray. You boys need to do better with your letters. You know you can do more than a little note every now and then…

Remember that you are as smart as the other boys in that school out there. You may not be the Tallest, but you have a Good Mind, so use it.

Mr. Wilcox came in the barbershop yesterday and asked your daddy about you. He and Esther are running the school on a shoestring these days with everybody all caught up in the War. Hard to get teachers. No money for books. I think your daddy gave him a free haircut and shave, but, of course, he wouldn’t tell me that.

We’re hoping that Lucy and Terrell can get here this weekend. That Terrell is so fine. He’ll be leaving soon, too. I don’t think they know yet where he’s going for training.

Take care, son, and stay Warm.

We love you dearly,

Mama and Daddy”

On April 18, 1944 Glenn wrote to his sister Lucy, confiding in her about his growing feelings for Selma. He had finished gunnery school and then transferred to the Navigation School in San Marcos, Texas.

“Dear Lucy,

I wish you would write me sometimes. I miss our talks. I know you have time now that Terrell has left for training, so you have no excuses. I even hear from Ray every so often, and he’s already in England.

I have definitely decided that Selma is the girl for me. Of course, I can’t tell Mama or Daddy yet. They would just pitch a fit. Can’t you just hear them?

Glenn, you’re way too young to be thinking seriously about settling down with just one person. For the rest of your life. No, absolutely not the right time for that.

Plus, they don’t think Selma comes from the best family situation. I’ve always admired Mrs. Boring for taking care of those four children after Mr. Boring died when they were all so young. I like all of her brothers, too. And, she’s not like the other girls I’ve dated. She’s so much more mature.

Well, I’ll get my wings in August this year, if I pass everything. I like San Marcos much better than Laredo. The Navigation School is much more interesting.

You have to make sure Mama and Daddy bring Selma to my graduation with them. I’m counting on you! Remember, this is our little secret.

Your brother,

Cadet Glenn L. Morris”

Lucy

He must have passed everything because on August 28, 1944 Cadet Glenn L. Morris, two months before his 20th. birthday, graduated from the Army Air Forces Navigation School at San Marcos Army Air Field, San Marcos, Texas. His parents, his sister Lucy and his girlfriend Selma Boring attended the graduation ceremony. Selma pinned his wings on the new Second Lieutenant’s uniform. It was a bittersweet occasion. Everyone knew he would be leaving soon for Europe and the dangerous war in the air.

The Army Air Forces Navigation School

San Marcos Army Air Field

San Marcos, Texas

of

the United States Army

announces the graduation of

Class 44 -11

on Monday morning, August the twenty-eighth

nineteen hundred and forty-four

at nine thirty o’clock

Post Theatre

handkerchief given to Glenn’s mother at graduation

Glenn and Selma also had other news to discuss when they saw each other that commencement day. Two months earlier (June 20, 1944) Selma wrote a brief note to Glenn.

“Dear Glenn, Guess what? My Uncle Clemmie, who is my father’s brother in Rosenberg, has offered to pay for me to go to college at Baylor Baptist in Waco this fall. So I am mailing my information to them to sign up for a dormitory room today. I never ever thought about going to Baylor. It might be fun.”

Seventeen-year-old Selma graduated from Richards High School in May of 1944 and was about to become a “college coed” at what was then known as Baylor Baptist College. She gave Glenn the news before he saw her at his graduation in San Marcos. I would like to have been a fly on the wall during their discussion of that recent development. I wonder if my dad was happy for her or worried about possible competition from Baylor boys…

college student Selma and her older brother Charlie

who had enlisted in the Navy

Following graduation Glenn was sent to Iowa to complete his combat training. A month after he graduated from Navigation School, he wrote this letter to his parents on September 27, 1944.

“Dear folks,

I might as well tell you right now not to expect too many letter from me cause I’m busy now, and that’s not the half of it. We fly every other day now, and soon we’ll fly every day. That may begin day after tomorrow. I’m really tired when I hit the sack. This morning I got up at 3 a.m. for a hi altitude bombing mission. We were to bomb from 20,000 ft. It sure is cold up there and oxygen is scarce. The mission was called off because of weather conditions. So the crew went down and played basketball. That is Floyd, Dan, Frank, Tommy and I did. We played another crew and stomped them. I guess I’d better give you the crew’s names. They’re the boys I’ll probably go over with. They’re a good bunch of fellows. I’m older than one boy on the crew – radio operator – Tommy.

The Crew

Dan Randolph – (1st Pilot) , New Jersey, Airplane Commander, 2nd. Lt., Frank Purvis – (Co-pilot) Pilot Lt. – Colorado, Morris, NAV – 2nd Lt. – Texas, Floyd Yates – Bombardier – F/O Brooklyn, Al White – Engineer – Cpl, Tommy Lang – Radio Operator – Cpl, Spencer – Upper gunner – Pfc,  Holley – Armorer – Gunner – Sgt, Richards – Sperry Ball Gunner – Pfc, Klepps – Tail Gunner – Pfc

That’s the boys, and they’re all o.k. We’re gonna take some pictures of the crew by the Fortress. That’s our plane’s name. They should be good.

I’ve about quit going anywhere now. I guess the new has worn off of being able to go somewhere any time you’re off. I went to the Post Theater tonight. I enjoyed myself. Well, folks, this isn’t very interesting so I’ll close.

I love you,

Glenn

Send those gloves, will you, Mama?”

combat training in Iowa in 1944

(Glenn third from right, kneeling)

Training days were grueling but had to be to give the young men their best opportunity for survival. Soon “The Crew” would ship out to England to join the 8th. Air Force.

Stay tuned.

 

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