Prelude: Here is another letter from Young Hank to Mrs. Frank Fairfield. In Hornell, NY. It was written on November 22, 1943 from “Some where in Italy.” As soldiers during WWII were very careful in their letters not to give away their exact location, in case the letter were to fall into enemy hands.
How is the world treating you this fine morning? It’s really nice here. The sun is shinning very nicely and the sky is nice and clear. It seems nice too, after having so much rain. The weather hasn’t gotten too bad yet. The nights are quiet cool but the days are nice. In the last letter I received from my mother she wrote you had snow. They say it doesn’t snow much here. I’ll let you know about that later.
How is everything at the garage these days? I suppose Mr. Fairfield is still working too hard. Here’s hoping business is good and your both in perfect health.
Things are about the same over here. We had a few days rest but now we’re back in action. I had the opportunity to climb a mountain yesterday that overlooked a valley and some smaller hills. It was very beautiful and it reminded me of the fine tower up in Canada. I sure hope I can go there again.
I’m feeling fine and getting along very good. I’m a pretty lucky soldier and being lucky, I somehow got the good breaks. Here’s hoping I continue to get them.
Ever since I started this letter I wanted to thank you for the wonderful box you sent me but I can’t seem to find the words to express myself. It came last night after I went to bed or laid down, I should say. It’s really swell and I don’t know how to thank you. I can only assure you that it is greatly appreciated and I hope that some day I can repay you for being so swell to me.
Just as I started this sheet we had an air raid, or I should say enemy planes flying over. We fired a few shots but they were after something else and they kept on going. It’s all in a days work.
I have to close now and get some work done. Tell Mr. Fairfield and all the boys I said hello.
P.S. Thanks again for everything.
This is another pleasant letter from “Young Hank,” though now he is signing the letter as just “Hank.” I think war can make a young man grow up fast. The letter is so very calm and nice, of course until we get to the part where he tells us there’s an air raid happening as he started to write on the second sheet of paper in this letter. My heart stops and he tells us they fired a few shots and the planes continued on. It surpasses all the pleasantries and smacks us with the reality of where this boy is, in the middle of a war. It’s a real life look into the life of a soldier during WWII. A soldier that was from a little town in Western New York State, he was someone’s son.
It was years before I was born… I have no idea what living during a world war was like, but Young Hank and his mother and Mr. and Mrs. Fairfield… they knew.