Sunday, August 28, 2011

Tonight I want you in my arms again, sweetheart

This music box and letter are in possession of Renee Manwaring. Renee writes, "A note Dad put inside the box says 'I bought this piano music box for Gene in 1944, Los Angeles, CA before we were married.' In this letter Mom expresses how much she is missing Dad after he had to return to his ship. I wonder if she felt the same way about their separation when she died and had to wait for Dad to join her."

Monday evening, Dec 18, 1944

My dearest Perry

Oh How I miss you tonite my darling.  I wish you were sitting here bside me listening to the Christmas programs and the beautiful music that is on the radio now.  It's so lovely. I received a beautiful Christmas card from your mother and father today.  I liked the verse so much.  Darling, I will send your gift from your sisters as soon as it comes.  (I hope it comes soon.)  Have you received the cookies yet?

There is a tenor on the radio just now singing - "Ah Sweet Mystery of Life" which makes me look up at the lovely little piano sitting on the shelf.  Perry I love it more than any thing that's ever been given me.  The little card inside I read over and over--I like that expression of love written there.

Saying goodbye to my sweeheart this morning was a harder thing to do than at any other time.  Oh how I hated to give you up darling even if it should be for a short time.  Perry, this past week-end was so perfect - like a very sweet dream and I didn't want it to end ever.

Ginnie and I went to the drugstore this evening and got our pictures - so am enclosing these for you.  If you don't want so many just keep what you would like darling and send the rest back to me.  (but remember these are for you.)  They surely bring back memories don't they?  Oh Perry I love you so - your wife is madly in love with you.

Today was a very busy day the office.  I sat at the order board all day taking calls as fast as I could.  By late afternoon, I had a headache from it all.  It was quite a hectic day.  I guess it will be from now till Christmas.  But someday I won't be working an an office all day for a living.  I'll be keeping house for my wonderful husband and helping to raise our children.  Perry is it all right if I dream about this?

This isn't a very long letter I know - but I am so tired tonite Perry.  I'll write more tomorrow.

I love you dearest.
Your own wife, Gene

P.S.  Tonite I want you in my arms again sweetheart.  My arms are so empty now.

Dec. 19, 1944

My Darling Wife,

Since I came back aboard, I have received all of the letters you had written, four in all I believe, and they were so very sweet. But then how could they be any different coming from such a sweet person. I also received the box of cookies and they were equally sweet, most delicious. Did you really make them alone or did you have some help? I hope all of your cooking will be of such a quality.

I guess by now you have noticed that I am writing on the stationery you bought me. I like it swell, how about you? I have such a thoughtful wife. She is always thinking of me. Sweetheart, why did you think that I didn't like the wallet? Guess I wasn't as enthusiastic in expressing my feelings as I should have been. My other wallet was so old and ragged, as you so easily observed, that I really needed a new one. Maybe you can find me a coin purse and send to me as I can't seem to buy one here.

You have probably noticed by now that I left my razor there. Looks like you are going to have to put up with a rather absent-minded husband. If you haven't already done so, would you please send it to me as I need it.

We did have such a good Christmas, even though it was a little premature, didn't we? I liked particularly what you said in one of your letters that you were the happiest when you were with me. Oh, Gene, you are the only person who can make me happy, and I will only be completely happy when I am with you always. Each time I see you I love you so much more. I am so thankful for the weekend we had together because we grew closer together, though it seemed impossible to be any closer, and now I know we love each other even more.

Goodnight for now my sweet wife. I think of you and pray for us always. I love you, Perry

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

I made some fudge squares for you.

Adams Ward, Los Angeles
December 9, 1944

Hello my lovely little wife,

Managed to get a pretty good sleep last night so I feel pretty "hep" today. In fact I've been feeling pretty good most of the time, except a little sleepy occasionally. I haven't got seasick as yet either so that should answer all your queries pertaining to my health. Too bad about your little sick spell, but since it was of short duration and you're okay now, I guess that's the main thing.

I'll have to admit that I got to feeling pretty blue until I received your letter last night. That also accounts for my feeling better today and no doubt contributed a great deal to my good rest last night. You see, your letters are really quite a tonic for me. I wonder if mine could produce an anyway similar effect upon you.

I found an amusing little bit of nonsense yesterday and am passing it along to you thinking you might get a little chuckle out of this foolish, but quite realistic, nonsense. It is called, "A typical sailor's marriage ceremony."

"Wilt thou Jack, have this woman as thy wedded wife, to live together insofar as the Bureau of Navigation will allow? Wilt thou love her, honor and keep her, take her to the movies and come home to her on the 6:30 bus?" "I will." "Wilt tough, Jane, have this sailor as thy wedded husband, bearing in mind liberty hours, boat schedules, watches, sudden orders, uncertain mail communications, and all other penalties of Navy life?" "I will." "I Jack, take thee, Jane, as my wedded wife from 6:30 pm until 6:30 am as far as permitted by the commanding officer, liberty subject to change without notice, for better or for worse, for earlier or for later, and I promise to send thee a weekly letter when on cruise." "I Jane, take thee, Jack, as my wedded husband subject to the whims of the officer-of-the-deck, changing residence whenever the ship moves, to have and to hold just as long as my allotment comes regularly, and therefore I give my troth."

Nonsensically yours, Perry

December 10, 1944

Hello Darling,

Well, tonight is Sunday night, officially at least. Quite some difference from those Sunday nights we used to spend when I would sit and hold you in my arms and talk or read to you and then we would go to church. Oh well, we will have some more of them.

You seemed worried that you wouldn't see me again for quite a while. I think I can safely assure you that I will see you before Christmas. Maybe we will even celebrate our Christmas early. I received another nice letter from my mother and dad. Also Hazel, Hope and June. I didn't receive a letter from my sweet little wife today though. All the others helped to partially compensate though. Your letters are really very sweet and, as you say, it is the next best thing, so do write as often as you can.

My eyes started bothering me again so I went to the doctor. He said come back in the morning, so maybe I'll get something done for them. Please do not worry though. It's nothing serious and they'll be all right. Guess I've been getting too much night life--and I can assure you it hasn't been from going on liberty either.

They are going to start a movie in here pretty quick. (I'm in the mess hall writing on a table) so I've got to close out. There isn't much "percentage" in me seeing it since I've seen it once. "Dragon Seed," do you remember when we saw it?

Goodbye for tonight and all my love, Perry

p.s. How do you like this one: "A hug is energy gone to waist."

"At the shop downtown at 7th and Flower St."

December 11, 1944
Monday at the office

My Darling Husband,

Here it is Monday already. I wanted to write you last night, but it was so late when I finished wrapping the cookies I made for you. Perry, I made some fudge squares for you. Then I made some icebox cookies and baked them last night when we came home from church. I think they turned out pretty good, and I hope they won't get broken up too much before you get them.

I've been thinking of you all day and can hardly wait to get home to get your letter so am taking this opportunity to write you. My darling, I hope you have been getting my letters by this time. Your letters seem to take 3 days to arrive. I wonder if they really come airmail. Guess they do, but your letter of the 6th was postmarked the 7th, and I received it the 9th. That was the letter you did not mail airmail. Your airmail letters do not come any faster it seems.  Oh, yes they do--I just checked your letter of the 5th. It was postmarked the 6th and I received it the 7th. I think that is faster. Please send them airmail, Perry. If you ever run out of stamps, I'll send you some, honey.

I was so overwhelmed (or is it overpowered) with lonesomeness for you by Saturday evening, Perry darling, that I broke down and wept some bitter tears (alone in the bedroom.) Then I prayed--I spoke to the Lord aloud--asking for strength. I asked the Lord if it could be possible that I might see my dear husband very soon, but that thought left me soon after (for it was making me feel badly that I could not see you.) So I thought only of being comforted. Well, Perry, I felt so much better after awhile. My prayer was answered. I can't exactly explain it, but I do feel more calm tho I miss you as much as ever, dear Perry.

I had better close for now, but I'll write you very soon again. I love you dear Perry. Your own wife, Gene

Saturday, August 20, 2011

"Tonight I Am Wondering Where You Are"

Gene with her two brothers, Richard and Pierce
December 8, 1944

My dearest husband Perry,

Tonight I am wondering where you are and what you have been doing. Please won't you come home. Dearest, if you are going to be down there for awhile, why can't I come down or you get some leave and come home. Oh, Perry, even if it could be a few hours. I'm sorry for going on like this. I know you must know your circumstances there better than I. I know you miss me as I miss you, Perry. But as long as you are in this country, I want to be with you if possible.

Tonight was another chorus practice so didn't get very far in making those cookies, but I promise you will get them by next week. [The rest of this letter is missing.]

December 8, 1944

My Dearest Gene,

I won't attempt to express how happy your letters made me tonight. I read and reread it just to make me feel nearer to you. I also received a letter from Clyde [Perry's best friend from high school.] plus the ones you sent me from Mother and Dad. It seems so long since I even received a letter from anybody. I'm hoping I'll get another one from my darling tomorrow.

It's quite late now so I won't have time to write you as much as I want to tonight. I hope I will be able to sometime tomorrow. Oh, my darling, I think of you constantly. No other thought ever takes precedence over you and I pray none ever will. Goodnight for now, sweetheart. I'll be dreaming of you. Your affectionate and loving husband, Perry

P.S. Guess I'll have to see Virginia and Aunt Rena some other time.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Kisses Tasted Very Good

December 6, 1944

Hello Darling,

Was very pleased to receive such a nice card from you today. Apparently you hadn't received my letter yet. It seems like I have been waiting a long time. I'm sure I'll get a letter from you tomorrow though. Hope you'll make them long and even if you don't think they will be interesting, I can assure you that no matter what you write about, I will feast upon every word. I haven't even seen a newspaper since I last saw you so you see that even that would be a topic of interest for me now. (Only to be used as a last resort though, huh?)

Got paid today so I have a more comfortable feeling now. There's not much I can spend money on, but somehow it always seems to add to my comfort whether I can use it or not. I'll be glad when I can get my immediate financial debts cleared away. I'll be expecting enough letters in the future to make up for the past delay. Incidentally, the kisses tasted very good. [Probably referring to XXX kisses on the card.]

Affectionately yours, Perry

Virginia Dart, Pierce, Perry & Gene
(No sure who the guy on the far left is)

December 7, 1944

My Dearest Perry,

I love you too! I've just gotten home from work and found two letters from you. The one of the 4th and the other the 5th. They were so sweet, my darling, they nearly break my heart. I do hope by this time you have received my Christmas card and my letter. (The mail service is not fast enough to suit me.)

I can tell from your letters that they have not given you any time off to go ashore. It seems you are just aboard ship waiting for something. (What would it be? Sailing orders?) Won't you get anymore shore leave? Perry, if you were to have even just one day off (if I could know ahead of time) you know I would want to--and would with your permission--come down there to be with you. I could stay with my Aunt Rena and cousins. They would love to have me and to see you too. I have heard twice from Virginia now. She asks about you each time.

Oh, my darling, you know I miss you. No matter what I do, I always think of you. I'm going to make you some cookies tomorrow. I hope you will get them before next week. Did you get Genevieve's candy? I hope so. It was so good.

I took your picture to be printed today and they tell me it will take five or six weeks before I get it, as it will be sent to Rochester, NY. Isn't that a long time? I am going to get a tiny glass frame for it and it will set on my dresser. I think its a beautiful little picture, Perry.

I got a letter from Emily [Gene's sister-in-law, Richard's wife] today too. She wants me to come to Illinois and visit. But of course I can't. It would cost so much, and besides, I would rather stay here on my job and be close to you. We also got a V-mail letter from Pierce. He is now in Holland. He says he likes it much better than France and Belgium. The people are cleaner too. He is living in a brick building and that is a warmer place.

Don't worry and fret yourself, sweetheart, about writing to Emily and Dick. I can write for the both of us. Dick and Pierce don't write often themselves because of their circumstances and everybody understands. Thank you, darling, for your sweet compliment about my writing, but you know it comes quite hard for me too. I too have to think out every thing I say. (Of course writing you is different, like talking to you.) And your penmanship is super. I never have any trouble reading it. (Just look how I scribble! ha, ha.)

I want to mail this to you tonight, dearest, so will close now. I love you Perry. Your own wife who longs for you, Gene

p.s. I'll write you again tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

"I Haven't Received Any Mail at All."

Adams LDS Chapel, Los Angeles
Thus far all the letters have been from Perry because he periodically has to report for duty on his ship docked in San Pedro. While he's away, Gene has been staying with her parents. Perry and Gene live from day to day with the uncertainty of not knowing when Perry will have to ship out.

December 4, 1944

My darling sweetheart,

I know I haven't had time to get a letter from you, but the desire to hear from you is nonetheless about as strong as though I hadn't seen you for ages. In fact, I haven't received ay mail at all. Sunday was just the same as any other day, or worse. Why am I starting out with such a gloomy letter when each letter I write I hope will supplement my presence and make you happy.

I've been reading the Era some more. I thought about your father when I was reading Joseph F Merrill's talk. I'll bet he would like it or at least I know he would agree with what he said. What have you been doing to keep you from getting lonesome? I do hope you do get lonesome at my absence, at least to some degree. I hope you won't misunderstand. It's just my vanity. I like to be missed. You will have to tell me what you have been doing because I am unable to. No need of censors for me. Nothing interesting happens that I could write about anyway.

At least I have it over on a lot of the fellows. I know I have someone very sweet and beautiful who is thinking about me and waiting for me. At least I have something to hope for--something so far removed from this kind of life. Must close now sweetheart. I'm badly in need of some rest. With the deepest of love. Your own, Perry

Saturday, August 13, 2011

"My Dear Wife"

Perry & Gene's Wedding Day
Perry and Gene Manwaring were married October 13, 1944 during World War II. The return address on Perry's letter reads: U.S.S. Kittson (APA 123), S.C.T.C. Terminal Island, San Pedro, California. The letter is addressed to: Mrs. Perry Manwaring, 2913 S. Flower St., Los Angeles 7, California.

October 19, 1944

My Dear Wife,

I can't be with you tonight, but my thought are with you just the same. And my thoughts find themselves taking form with pen and ink. Do you realize this is the first letter I have written to you as my wife? Does it seem strange? I hope it gives you a thrill as it does me.

I keep wondering what my wife is doing and how she is feeling tonight. I hope you are feeling all right and if you are not, I hope it is only because I can't be there with you. Do you know I have a little bit of good news to tell you. I will probably see you before this letter reaches you, but anyway, here it is. I am going to have this weekend off and also the next. The next time I have duty is next Wednesday and that is the night of your shower so you won't miss me so much.

You know the way just little things like that work out for us. I can't help but be convinced that even the other things we desire (bigger and better things) will work out similarly. It may come as a complete surprise even sooner than we think, even though the future now appears to be rather dark and obscure.

Well, you have a few of my thoughts for tonight. All my love my dearest. Perry

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

A Short Separation

"One Sunday before the wedding. On the roof with Virginia
(Gene's cousin,) and Perry."
The following are letters Perry wrote during a time when he had to go to San Diego for training and Gene was living with her parents in Los Angeles. They seem to have had a small disagreement that was apparently resolved because a week after the October 6th letter they are married.

October 4, 1944

My Darling Gene,

I begin this letter hardly knowing what to say and really feel quite incompetent in expressing my thoughts. Perhaps because I am unable to see you tonight is one of the reasons why I long so to see you, to be with you and talk with you. I suppose it is only natural though to wish the most for the things we can't have. Also, I know I didn't leave you as happy last night as I have done previously, consequently that has affected my happiness, as I can only be happy to the degree of your happiness.

Oh! believe me Gene all I do I try to do with the object in mind of our mutual happiness, and how what I do and what decisions I, or we, make will affect it. If you can believe me in this one thing, and I pray I might be able to remain true to such a trust, then we have gone a long way already in establishing our happiness. Gene, I ask you to answer this only in your own mind. By what other motive than the one just mentioned could have caused me to make the decision I did last night? If there could be any other, I wish you would tell me only that I might reassure you. With this accomplished there would be no room for doubt or distrust which could ever cause a barrier between us.

But Gene, I never want you to feel that I am imposing my will upon you. I hope that we will always be able to come together on our problems and with mature thinking think them out until we are both satisfied as to what is right, and not become hasty or unreasonable and say things which might hurt or for which we may regret later. In that way it would not be as though it were my decision or yours but ours. In that way everything we did would be as emanating not from me or you but from us. Is not that what it means "and they shall become one"?

Forgive me my darling if my bringing this up again has caused you any more sorrow, that has certainly not been my intentions. I love you and certainly would not try to do anything that might cause you sorrow, but only as it might add to our ultimate happiness. Must close now and go get prepared to leave for San Diego tomorrow. I will be thinking of you all the while. I love you dearest.

Fondly, Perry

"September 9, 1944, Sunday Eve
at Virginia's home."
Thursday night, 8:30, October 6, 1944

Hello My Sweetheart,

Only three days away from you and it really seems much longer. Can it be that I can be suffering from illusions in my reckoning of time? No, if my memory serves me correctly, though it wouldn't be too strange if it doesn't, I saw you last on the evening of the 3rd.

I guess I am at the semester of my fire fighting school. Anyway, today, or tonight, marks the half-way mark in my course. But wait--that makes it that I only have one more day to go doesn't it? Oh dear, dear, that's right--you see it seems that I have been away from you so long that it seems like months.

Today we saw a few movies and they seemed to sooth me right off to sleep, but most of the day was spent in the more practical method of putting out real fires. We really had quite a "hot time." It made my eyes kinda sore and if I don't get plenty of sleep tonight somebody is likely to mistake them far a blaze tomorrow and I don't want to be found on the wrong end of the nozzle.

I am certainly eager for the moment when I can see you again, my darling. I love you, Perry

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Perry Visits Parents in Roosevelt, Utah

September 16, 1944

My Darling Gene,

I just received your letter today and I was so glad to get it and so glad you decided to write even before you heard from me; otherwise, I would still be hoping. I have been worried, wondering if you would think I was negligent in thinking and writing to you because I didn't write until the second day rather than the first as I said I would.

My reason in waiting was because I wanted to tell them all about you which really took quite a while. Please forgive me, won't you? I hope you haven't been wondering and waiting. I arrived home last night about six o'clock, and of course once more the evening was spent telling my mother and father about what a wonderful girl I had met. I told them the whole story right from the first, hoping to keep them in suspense for the grand climax, but I think they surmised what the end was going to be like before I had gone very far.

Gene darling, I miss you so much. I feel as though part of me were missing. I want you with me all the time and earnestly pray that that time might not be too far distant. I expect to arrive back in Los Angeles on noon of Thursday the 21st. Will you meet me at the station? I surely hope you will.

It looks like I am home just in time to spend part of my vacation doing some real work. We expect to start threshing our grain any day now. Guess there's nothing like getting back into the groove again just as soon as I get back on the farm.

Most of the pictures you sent were pretty good except the one where I was half asleep. I knew I was sleepy, but I didn't realize I would fall asleep while posing in front of the camera.

Well, it really won't be long until I will be seeing you again sweetheart, and I can really hardly wait until then. You know I will be thinking of you all the time. All my love to you, "My lovely lady." I do love you so much. Perry

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Perry and Gene First Meet

In August 1944, Perry was serving in the US Navy stationed in San Pedro, and Gene was living in Los Angeles. One evening Perry had some leave time, so he decided to take the bus and check out a dance he'd heard about at the Adams Ward in LA. That's where he met my mother, Gene Fast. They danced and had a great time. The next day was Sunday, so Perry went to church and saw Gene again. By Monday, he was calling her for a date. A month later, they were engaged.

The first letters I'm going to post are from Perry when he took some leave time to take the train to Utah to visit his parents and sisters before shipping out again. The first letter is dated September 14, 1944 and is postmarked from Logan, Utah.

My Dear Gene,

Well, already I have failed in my promise to write you "just as soon as I arrived in Logan." I arrived here late Tuesday night and so I spent a good portion of yesterday just recuperating. No fooling. I have really been lazy. I feel quite ashamed of myself.

However, quite needless to say, you have still been the foremost in my thoughts and regardless of where I am and what I am doing the thought of you still remains second to no one or to anything.

The main theme of conversation around here has been you. Does that startle or frighten you? It shouldn't because I can quickly assure you that it has all been of a most complimentary nature. And already they talk as if they knew you personally and, of course, they approve of you, only they wish they could meet you and talk with you, as we all do.

Last night we went on a picnic and really had a swell time together. This mountain climate really seems to have stimulated my appetite because I ate like a--well, a true description might sound course and unrefined, so I will leave you to guess. After our picnic we went for a ride around the scenic parts of the town, up into the canyon and then walked around the temple grounds. Logan is really beautiful right at this time of the year. But Gene, the only thing that detracted from my complete appreciation of everything was because you weren't here to enjoy it with me. The temple rounds were so beautiful, and the flowers and shrubs were so gorgeous, and I kept thinking as we were walking around how complete it would be if only you were here to enjoy it with me. It seems that I can no longer enjoy things by myself, but you must be there to enjoy it with me.

I will be leaving for home tomorrow morning and if all goes according to plan I should arrive back in Los Angeles about noon of the 21st. I will let you know more definitely. I hope all is well with you and I am already looking forward to the time when I will see you again.

With all my love, Perry

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Remembering My Mother and Father

Not long ago, my brother, Dale, and I were talking about our mother and how much we miss her. These pictures were taken during World War II when my father was away serving our country in the US Navy. Both our parents have passed away, but they leave a beautiful love story told through the letters they wrote to each other during this difficult time when war forced them apart. I have these letters stored away in a box, but, while I'm still alive, I want to share them with my brothers and sisters and their children, as well as my children, and grandchildren.

Perry and Gene Manwaring, my parents, were married Friday, October 13, 1944 in Los Angeles, California. Dad always said Friday the 13th was his lucky day. It was on the roof of the Ione Apartments were Mom lived in Los Angeles that Dad proposed marriage and got Mom to promise to have six children.

Mom writes on the back of one picture, "February 10, 1945, 'Thinking of you." And on the back of the other picture, "Wish you could have been here to push me, Perry. Remember when you did?"

In the following posts, I'm going to share the letters my parents wrote to each other during World War II. After Dad died, I put these letters away, knowing they were special, but not feeling ready to read them just yet. Now I'm ready, and also ready to share them with all of you.