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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About Sheila Morris

Sheila Morris is an essayist with humorist tendencies who periodically indulges her desires to write outside her genre by trying to write fiction and poetry. In December, 2017, the University of South Carolina Press published her collection of first-person accounts of the people primarily responsible for the development of LGBTQ organizations in South Carolina. Southern Perspectives on the Queer Movement: Committed to Home will resonate with everyone interested in LGBTQ history in the South during the tumultuous times from the AIDS pandemic to marriage equality. She has published four nonfiction books including two memoirs, an essay compilation and a group of her favorite blogs from I'll Call It Like I See It. Her first book, Deep in the Heart: A Memoir of Love and Longing received a Golden Crown Literary Society Award in 2008. Her writings have been included in various anthologies - most recently the 2017 Saints and Sinners Literary Magazine. She is a displaced Texan living in South Carolina with her wife Teresa Williams and their dogs Spike and Charly. Her Texas roots are never too far from her thoughts.
This entry was posted in Humor, Lesbian Literary, Life, Personal, photography, politics, racism, Reflections, Slice of Life, The Way Life Is and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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

  1. Luanne says:

    What if Glenn and Murray were together in the Air corps in England??? Murray was in the 353rd Fighter Group.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thom Hickey says:

    A wonderful series. Thom

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I love this series so much and I get so excited when I see a new post. You’re doing an excellent job telling this story.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I really appreciate your kind words, plgcm. I believe this story is the same for hundreds of thousands of people during WWII. I really hadn’t planned to write it, but I have these amazing letters and pictures that tell the story for me. But, as Pretty would tell you, I have been consumed by them and that era with its triumphs and tragedies. Pretty asked me how many letters I have, and I told her WAY too many…:)

      Liked by 1 person

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