Anatomy Of A Letter

The letter written during WWII  postmarked Alexandria, LA, May 16, 11:30 AM, 1945, written on a Tuesday afternoon, was recently handed to me by a friend.  There was no postage stamp since during WWII the post office allowed armed forces members to mail letters free and was marked as such by the sender. The friend had found it in some old  discarded papers.  He hated to throw it away he said and wanted me to have it. I was especially interested since the letter was addressed to a person I have heard about, a former teacher (c.1920/30) at the Hamer Grammar School I attended.   She was not one of my teachers but apparently had taught older members of the family.
Miss Kate McIntyre was grade teacher there and 13 years earlier had taught the 26 year old person, Pvt. James F. ________ ,  A.S.N _________ then stationed at Camp Claiborne, LA who sent her the letter along with two pictures. At that time “Miss Kate” was no longer a Hamer teacher but had been appointed postmistress at nearby Clio, SC and to whom the 3 page letter written on Camp Claiborne stationery was addressed. “Miss Kate, I don’t imagine you remember how I (Floyd) looked.  I was the little blond headed catcher on the baseball team the last year I was at Hamer School.  I’ll never forget those days.”
The well written letter, in ink and in the cursive style, was mostly about his army career and his hope for the future ( “… and not married yet.”)  While in the army only 9 months he stated he had traveled “all over the United States.” He was trained as an infantry rifleman and expected to be sent  to the Pacific but since he was a civilian railroad fireman/engineer he was instead shipped to a Railway Operating Battalion and expected to be shipped to Siberia to operate on a railroad there “. .. in the next 45 days.”  This was probably a rumor but “…the forms called for heavy clothing…”
The writer liked being stationed in California “…more beautiful than I can describe.”  He was impressed by the many parks, the wide streets, modern buildings and especially the capitol building; “… indescribable.”
I talked with a person who knew Miss Kate and was told that she also taught at the Oakland Grammar School (now Oakland United Methodist Church) and lived in a building across the road from the school provided by the county for unmarried teachers known as a teacherage.
And the rest of Floyd’s story is …?

Bill Lee, PO Box 128, Hamer, SC 29547

Print Friendly, PDF & Email