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.

 

 

 

 

 

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.

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

  1. One very lucky chap to make it through quite so many hours and bombing missions! We salute him.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Annie, thank you for the salute…somehow that made me weep. Also, I’m listening to Go Rest High on that Mountain by Vince Gill at the very moment I read your comment. Thank you so very much for following this journey with me.

      Like

  2. Luanne says:

    Wow, what service! Good looking young people, too.

    Liked by 1 person

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