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.

 

 

 

 

 

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.

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

  1. Cindy Brazell says:

    Really enjoyed this! I felt as though I was in Richards Texas!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much, Cindy! I’m so glad you enjoyed Richards in those war years…so many emotions for people then. Well, I guess we have so many emotions going on everywhere today, too. Thanks again for reading!!

      Like

  2. Dianne Heiser says:

    I have really enjoyed reading your Letters from your father, Sheila. I wish I had some like that. However, my dad was too old to go to war, and he was an employee of Dow Chemical Company, and the government left him alone because of working in the chemical plant! Dianne

    Sent from Mail for Windows 10

    Liked by 1 person

    • I remember your dad – as I recall, he didn’t go to church with your mom – or am I wrong about that…I’m so glad you liked the letters, you know the major characters so that makes it really special that you followed along…thanks again…say hello to James for me…

      Like

  3. Your family and friends were all very lucky that everyone came home! Phew.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Heather Hartt says:

    Thank you for sharing this journey! What an incredible experience it has been!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Luanne says:

    Wonderful finale! What an admirable generation in many ways. I was in Arkansas and wonder if I’ve missed posts.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Wayside Artist says:

    Dearest Sheila, I had to take a brief break from reading this set of posts, as it stirred up so many emotions about my own parents, but my father in particular. I’m teary eyed now as much for your family as for mine. Their WWII stories, from the homefront as well as the war zones, are indelibly etched into the person I’ve become. Forgive me for not commenting on them all. My heart is with you…our memories bittersweet.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dearest Ann, it amazes me that our families could have been so different and yet so very much alike. Surely your father and mine will meet in some distant place and finally be able to share their true war stories, the stories they were never able to share with any of us when they returned from the horrible tragedies that define war for all peoples.
      I have a second set of wonderful letters from my father to me when I was in college and beyond, but the memories stirred up in me were, alas, also too painful to continue right now.
      Thank you as always for your kind words, but more importantly, for your kind spirit.

      Liked by 1 person

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