Hello there (2)

Version 2

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.



Hello there,

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.

As Ever,


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.

Hello there


Prelude: We’re taking a break from the letters to Miss Frances Fairfield, but I promise to get back to them soon. We are however staying in the Fairfield family. This letter was written October 11, 1943 from Young Hank and addressed to Mr. & Mrs. Frank Fairfield of 194 Seneca Street, Hornell, NY. Young Hank is in the military and may be writing from somewhere in Europe but his return address is written as NY, NY, Where much of the military mail was filtered through the Army Postal Service during the war. Just a reminder, I try not to correct spelling or other errors in these letters… I want them to be authentic.



Hello there,

I received your V mail of Sept. 22. Thanks a million. I also received your letter from Canada. I sure would have liked to have been there with you. Lilah and myself had a swell time while we were there. Dad and mother want us to go up again so they can go with us.

At one time I figured I would like to visit Europe and see what was over here but I have changed my mind. If I ever do any traveling after this war is over it will be in North America.

I suppose you have lots of work for the shop. By the way, what does Mr. Fairfield think of the new cars when they come out? I suppose they will be a great deal different than the last. I hope it won’t be too long until there out. What do the people back home think of the war and when it will be over?

Just had a little interruption, you know how it is these days. I’m feeling swell and getting along fine to. I have been very lucky and hope I keep on being lucky. The food situation is good and they keep us supplied with cigarettes. It’s very seldom the fellows don’t have smokes. I think the O.M. does a swell job on that point.

Thanks loads for the swell compliment you paid me in you last letter. I haven’t heard about flags being put on the Honor roll, but if they are doing that now it will sure make it look nice. It’s sure good to know that you have friends back home that think enough of you to do things like that. Thanks again.

All the boys said to say hello. We really have a good bunch of fellows in our outfit. We get along good and have our share of good times.

How is everything at the Big Elms these days? I wish the next time you see cliff and the rest, that you would tell them all I said hello. I wish I could write to more but you know how it is these days.

I hope this finds you all well and getting along good. Tell Mr. Fairfield I said hello and take good care of himself, you do the same.

As Ever

Young Hank


These military letters from young soldiers during World War II always get to me. I imagine what they were going through, fighting and longing to be back here in America. Young Hank is writing this lovely letter and asking common questions about what is going on back home… Then he asks…”What do the people back home think of the war and when it will be over?” Boom! He gets to the heart of the matter and it gets to me!… A question all the soldiers fighting overseas must wonder about, and a question they still ask today when they are over there risking their lives for their country… It makes you think.

I also I love Young Hanks speech and his use of  words and phrases like, “Swell” and “A good bunch of fellows.” Young Hank seems to be writing more to Mrs. Fairfield than to Mr., I believe she was the one sending him letters. I wonder if Young Hank worked for the Fairfield’s, or if they were neighbors or just friends of the family. Regardless, Young Hank seems like a really nice guy and his letter seemed hopeful considering he was in the middle of a war. What do you think?



Here are a couple of links about October of WW II:








Dear Fran (2)


Prelude: The letters to Miss Frances Fairfield continue… Here is another letter from Bern of Wellsville, NY. It was written on July 7, 1935. This letter is from the first batch of letters I purchased from a lovely antique store in Belfast, NY called 41 Main Antiques & Collectibles. I recently re-visited the store and found another batch of letters addressed to Miss Frances Fairfield. This second batch includes six more letters from Bern to Frances, as well as several more letters from Bob to Frances. I purchased the first batch of letters not knowing what order or how many there were. Knowing this now and having purchased more letters I’m asking that you think of these out of order letters to Frances as if they were a movie or a soap opera where Frances is having flash-backs of her past and the men that were courting her, before her life got complicated.



Dear Fran,

I hope that this letter I am about to write will not bust up our friendship as you promised, but here it goes. Watt Gardner and Wynne Healy have busted up and Wynne and I happen to be hitting it off pretty good. I’ve tried to hang on and be a sport and not bust up our friendship, but to be square, I’ve decided to tell you.

I hope you haven’t liked me too much Fran, as I know how I would feel if the reverse had happened to me.

Fran, I know you like Bud quite a bit and he you, I think. Give him a chance to prove he is a swell fellow and I don’t think you’ll regret it.

Can we still be friends and correspond with each other? I’d like to and I know Wynn won’t care.

Fran would it make any difference if I ask for my pin? I’d like to have it as I promised Wynne she might wear it. I noticed you never did so, I hope it won’t make a difference.

I want to tell you Fran, that I’ve enjoyed every moment I have spent with you and I think you a swell kid. Someday I hope to pay you back for all the swell times you’ve shown me.

If at any time you ever want any thing, let me know and I’ll be glad to help you out. Hope I may see you often. Wish you all kinds of luck and best wishes.

I’d rather you wouldn’t say anything to your family, as they may not understand the ways of us “Modern Children.” Well Fran, I guess I better sign off and I hope you’ll answer and correspond frequently with me.

For my sake, “Stay as sweet as you are.” Again, best wishes and happiness with Bud, I hope.




COMMENTARY: As I mentioned above I have 6 more letters from Bern to Fran. Five of them are before this letter was written and one is written after this letter. Bern tries to let Fran down easy, but I think he kind of blew it when he asked for his pin back. I think that pretty much crosses a bridge. I also think it’s interesting that he wants to continue to correspond with Fran, and that Wynne won’t mind. He must feel some sense of guilt because he does not want her to tell her parents. I wonder what Fran is really feeling and if she even cared that much about Bern. Then there’s Bud… We heard of him, in a letter I posted a while ago from Walt Shine to Fran. I have seen no letters from Bud to Fran, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t any.

Viewing these letters gives us bits and pieces of Fran’s life, but because we don’t know what she wrote to them, we are left to imagine her feelings and reactions. Fran was living in the world of the middle 1930’s and though the times dictated much, it seems that she was a women doing her best to live and survive.

Dear Fran (1)


Prelude: Here is another letter to Miss Frances Fairfield of Hornell, NY. This one is going back a few years before everything with Bob. It is from someone named Bern, which I believe is short for Bernie. The letter is postmarked from Wellsville, NY and is on an envelope that has a pre-printed name and address of Fred Short, Dykes Street, Wellsville, NY. but it also has a handwritten address on the back of the envelope of 126 Dyke Street, Wellsville, NY.


Dear Fran:

I just received your letter and decided to answer right back. Pardon the envelope and writing paper, but it’s the best I could do for just this time. Of course, I had to hurry and answer right back.

Yes, we got a ride home about 11 the other night with a lady by the name of Miss Dean, a Hornell girl who is a Dietrician at the hospital. I hope that is the way you spell the name of a person who is in charge of diets.

You kids were swell singing. Honest I thought you were very good. I laughed when I seen you chewing your gum about 50 miles an hour. You looked awful nervous. This isn’t a slam. It was just the way you acted as if you were scared stiff. Do you get that way? Does it make you nervous before a crowd?

I really have changed my mind about How’y. He acts like a swell guy. I wish you luck Fran, honest I do.

Hope you are a graduate next year if you wish it so. I don’t want to graduate. I’m having too much fun. Gosh, will it be lonesome after I get out.

Forget about thanking us. We had a swell time and didn’t even notice that you forgot it! Wish I could have many more as pleasant Sundays.

Fran, I really don’t want my pin back if you want it. I’d rather you have it than anyone I know, but that Sunday that you said How’y had it made me feel funny. So, I keep harping on it and I don’t mean what I say. I promise that I won’t say anymore about it. It’s entirely up to you weather you want it or not.

Hope you can come down some time this week.

Well I guess I better sign off and see if I can get this to the mailman before he gets back down the street.

Loads of Love,



I originally thought this letter was from a girlfriend of Fran’s, but now that I have re-read this one and another one I have from Bern to Fran, I don’t think that it is, I think Bern is a guy. It seems that Fran wrote him a letter first, but he sure wanted to get it answered back fast. It sounds to me like they might be in high school. It’s all a little confusing and had I known or believed that Bern was I man, I would have posted his letters sooner. So that Fran’s suitors would be in date order, but it’s too late now. I will post Bern’s other letter next week and you will see who Bern is to Fran.


There is no 126 Dyke Street, Hornell, NY on Google maps. There’s not even a Dyke street listed.

Dearest Fran (2)


Here is another letter from Bob in Rochester to Fran in Hornell. It’s written in January of 1940. The address on the envelope is the same as Bob’s previous letters to Fran but the letter is addressed to Mrs. Robert Flannery. I’m pretty sure Bob and Fran are married, but Fran is still at her Hornell address and Bob is in Rochester.



Dearest Fran,                                                                         Monday Night

Just thought I’d drop a line in hopes that when you get this you’ll be tempted to answer it as you did last week….Kind of silly calling you up tonight like I did, but I was a-missin you as usual and thought that I’d like to do something about it… I intend to put in some paper, in fact, I had intended to give you some of it last night but forgot it… I don’t know now, if I’ll be able to get home this weekend or not. I’d like to but I feel as though I should stay over here and look around here again. What do you think about it?

The weather here is still very cold and it has snowed here all day. I haven’t gone down to get Al’s camera yet but I intend to do so tomorrow or the day after. Did Clyde come up yet? I don’t think that you father and mother are any too anxious to have him do you?

There has been a brief intermission while I cleaned the type on this typewriter, which accounts for the benzol that is spattered about and there still isn’t any difference is there?

I wish that you’d come over some night and we could look for a place together, will you? Honestly Fran, I’d like very much to have you and Bobby over here… can’t you try and get over some night or would you think it better to call up another agent?

I hope that you sell the car for what you want to get for it. It will seem kind of strange without one after all these years won’t it?

Well I must get it and take a bath and go to bed. Please answer this Fran, when you get it as I look forward very much to getting your letters.

You know when you think about it Fran, we’re a couple of screwballs don’t you think? Me mostly. I don’t think that we should even consider giving it up. I do wish that you’d forget that idea and start to think of our getting along together and doing all you can to help the idea a long and I’ll do likewise, cause I do love you honey and couldn’t bear the idea of not having you. Please answer when you can and let me know how and when I can see you again.

So long,

Your loving Husband


(Hand written on the letter)

I know that this letter sounds like something out of a primer but give me a chance, they’ll get better.





Wow-sa! So it looks like Bob and Fran got married, possibly had a baby whom they named “Bobby” and are living in separate towns. I don’t currently have any more letters from Bob to Fran, so I can’t be sure. I do feel there is much more to this story. So, I’m going to go back to the antique store where I bought these letters to see if there are any more letters from Bob to Fran. Bob seems to really be trying to get them together and to get Fran to move to Rochester to live with him. I’m very curious to see how this relationship turned out and if I do find more letters I will post them soon.  I do have two more letters from 1935 that are written to Fran from a girlfriend and I have several letters written to Fran’s parents from someone in the military, possibly Fran’s brother that I will also eventually post. I guess we can learn that life in the late 1930’s and 1940’s was complicated and this is before WWII started.