Today I’m introducing a new project for this blog. It’s actually an old project, because I had started it a long time ago with another blog but never finished it. But it’s something that’s very near and dear to my heart, and I want to see it through this time.
This is the love story of my grandparents, Harry and Ginny Powers, told through the letters he sent to her during and just before WWII. My mother has provided a proper introduction to this project…
If you are an adult that has lost both of your parents, you probably can identify with the process of managing the loss and grief. My dad passed away almost eight years ago, but we were blessed to keep Mom in our lives until February 15, 2016. Helping my siblings go through all of the belongings that were left behind was a monumental task, but one that ultimately has helped me work through my profound sense of loss.
Mom had a cedar “hope chest” that was full of their history. In addition, there were boxes containing family mementos too numerous to imagine. Trying to decide what to do with all of this stuff was simply overwhelming. One of the items that we uncovered was a scrapbook containing all of the letters that my dad wrote to my mom before they were married. They met when Mom was only 15 and Dad was 21, a year before he joined the U.S. Army Air Corps. Mom was careful to save all of his letters in their envelopes, and kept them in order of receipt in this scrapbook. There were very few letters written by Mom to Dad, with the exception of those that were returned after he was taken prisoner during WWII and remained a POW for 19 months.
I read every single one of those letters and put them in a huge binder to share with family. Jennifer has taken on the project of scanning all of those letters! This project helped me process my grief and also better understand my parents. My dad was an adult when they met, and my mom was a teenager still having teenage fun. My dad was a romantic and could not wait until he was home from the war and they could build their lives together. Despite the difference in their ages, their love was evident and likely helped my dad survive his confinement at Stalag 17B.
I hope this project will bring joy to those reading the letters from over 70 years ago!
~ Shirley Baldwin, daughter of Harry and Ginny
I plan to post a least a couple of these letters each week, and there are a lot of them, so be sure to check back often for the continuation of their love story. I hope you find as much joy in these letters, and in my grandparents’ love story, as I do.