Hello Ray

Hello Ray

Prelude: Here is a short, second postcard I have from Private Harold Sisson a soldier in training in Illinois in 1942. The letter is written to a Raymond Sisson, in Almond, NY.



Hello Ray,                                                                                Sat. p.m.

Just passing the time away, until I go to school tonight.  Schedules is changed so I have to go to school on Sat. night, have Sun. night off. Received a letter from Luela today.  We actually got paid yesterday. Got $53 after deductions were taken out.

Been warm and rainy here the past few days.  Have been sleeping pretty good this week. Getting used to it.

As usual,



COMMENTARY: Harold seems like a typical soldier in training to me. He’s just letting his hometown folks know what is going on. I wonder if his pay of $53.00 was for a week or two weeks or more? 1942 was only a year into the war for America and Harold was getting some kind of special training before being deployed. The life of an American soldier in 1942.

Hello there 2

Hello There 2

Prelude: Here is another letter in my series of letters from Young Hank. Young Hank is a soldier from Hornell, NY who was stationed in Italy during World War II.  This letter was written on April 23, 1944 to Mr. & Mrs. Frank Fairfield, in Hornell, NY.




Some where in Italy                                                    April 23, 1944

Hello there,

I received a swell letter from you last night. Thanks a million. You sure have been swell to me.  I’m sorry I can’t write more often, but I’m lucky to get all my mail answered as it is, I’m sure you understand.

Everything here is fine. I’m feeling swell and getting along fine with the world. The boys are all fine, they ask me to say hello for them.

Yesterday I had to haul mules they’re about, if not the meanest things in the world. They want to do everything but what you want them to. The countryside for miles and miles around us is covered with ashes from the volcano. In some places we went yesterday it was between two to four inches deep. That’s a long way from the volcano too. I guess as it gets nearer to the volcano it gets deeper.

The weather has been fairly nice lately. It rains once in a while but that’s to be expected.

For a while there, I didn’t think it would ever quit.

I see you have a lot of jobs to do now. If you asked me you always did do a lot of work.

I’m sorry that Lew had such a time of it. Here’s hoping he’s alright now. Lew was always swell to me. I cleaned cars for him for four years and he never said anything mean to me. He never bawled me out for anything and heaven knows I had them coming. He’s a swell guy to work for and to know.

We just had supper and we had cherry pie and ice cream. That’s not half bad. Do you think? Of course, that does not happen very often but it’s darn nice when it does. We do have pie a lot though.

You spoke about the fire tower up in Canada, I sure would like to walk up to it about now.

Lu and I had such a swell time up there.  I guess a lot of people didn’t think much of us going up there like we did, but with Lu’s folks and mine thought it was alright. And right now.  I have some swell memories and believe me I can use them.

How is Mr. Fairfiled feeling now?  Good I hope. Tell him I said hello and that everything is going along swell. The boys are all fine and are still getting into trouble. You know boys.

I guess maybe I had better close and write to Harold Graham. You remember him, he used to drive for lightning express.

Good luck and take care of yourselves. By the way, how is Frances these days. Tell her I said hello.

As Ever

Little Hank


These letters from little Hank are so polite and he writes just like I would imagine a guy from the 1940’s would write.  I wonder if he is in Sicily near Mt. Etna. It was and still is an active volcano. Little Hank always seems to say that him and the boys are fine. I guess that is what you say to loved ones when you’re in the middle of a war. I don’t know. What do you think?


Hello Mom

Hello Mom


Prelude: Here is a post card written in 1942 from a man named Harold Sisson who is in Illinois. It’s to his mother who is in Almond, NY.  It’s written on a USO postcard and it seems that Harold is in the military.



Hello mom,

There ‘aint much to write about, but I will drop you a card, here from the y. Took another physical on Friday, I don’t know what for, but I suppose it’s to find out what fixin-up we need. I hope they get around to fix my teeth. One of them is going to need pulling pretty soon. We are having a very cold spell now. Hit a low of 20 F last nite, but we didn’t mind at all with all of our warm clothing. Was issued a winter caps last nite, to keep our ears warm. Took some pictures yesterday with movie camera. It was a nice sunshiny day but very cold. Qualified myself for a blue pass by having marks in the highest 10% of the class for the last 2 weeks. This pass allows us off the field, anytime, on off duty hours. Got a card from Amy Housser the other day. Just a letter from H. Chapman today. They put on a show for us called “Chicago” here at the y last nite. It was very good.

As Usual,




An interesting letter from Herold. What’s weird is he says he’s at the y. Is he talking about the YMCA? He talks about physicals, and classes and being off duty, which makes me believe he is in some kind of military training. So, I looked up military locations in Illinois and only found the regular military bases and one program called the V-12 program where military classes were held at a university (IIT).  Anyway, wherever Herold is he seems to be doing okay. He got a blue pass and is in the top 10% of his class. His mom must have been proud, but he could have signed the letter a little more lovingly than “As Usual.”  Just another glimpse into the lives of people living during WWII. What do you think?




Dear Esther and Frank

Dear Esther and Frank

Prelude: This letter was written on July 23, 1944 by a Lt. G.H. Morrison who was stationed somewhere in New Guinea to Esther and Frank Fairfield of Hornell, NY. Esther and Frank are the parents of Miss Francis Fairfield whom I’ve posted several letters that were written to her from Bob Flannery.


Dear Esther and Frank:                                   Somewhere in New Guinea

23 July, 1944

Boy, was I glad to hear from you.  It was a very pleasant surprise.  It’s good to hear from people from home, who are your friends, and who, you know won’t let you down in this crisis.  I say that, Esther, because, you see, Lucile has let me down.  I had a letter from her recently in which she gave me the “brush-off” as we call it in the Army.  Of course, I’m not the only one, but I did not hardly expect it of her.  Just a silly girl who couldn’t take it, and had to have her fun.  It was pretty tough to take, and really staggered me, but— if that is the way she feels, it is the only thing to do.  She gave as a reason that I was too old, and that she knew she was going to do it before I left for the Army.  Now, I know why she was so anxious for me to stay in.  You see, I could have gotten out, but am damn glad I didn’t now.  I wouldn’t miss the finish of these “yellow bellies” for anything.  At least I have one distinction—- I’ll bet I’m the first one in Hornell, to be kicked out of house and home.

This is a pretty rugged life down here, Esther, but I seem to be holding up a little better than average, even though I am so damned old.  The heat, dust and mud and the everlasting insects are the worsts.  The bugs are bugs as we know them in Hornell—-they are twice or three times as large, and when they hit you, it feels like a P-38.

So, Frank, you are still the fisherman? You should be down here, as we make it very simple.  Just pull the pin in a hand grenade and lob it in.  Saves a lot of time and they taste damned good, after bully-beef.  (Don’t mind the mistakes, as I am working on a bottle of rum, I bought off a ship for ten pounds ($32.28). I have to do something to drown my troubles. Wish I had a case.

So, they finally got Tony.  He should make good, as they need mechanics badly. Maybe he will come over, or rather down in this Theater.  Let me know from time to time what his APO is and if it is here in New Guinea, I will know where and will look him up.  I have seen several of Hornellians, Eddie Shearer’s boy, Joe’s brother-in-law, Geo DeGroat, Rowley Gams, and others.

I have been working like the devil lately.  I suppose ‘Cile has told you I am doing the same thing I did in Hornell, only of course on a larger scale, and I mean larger, definitely!  I don’t think anyone can imagine what we get rid of here in one day.  All I can say is that it would supply Hornell for a period of five years.

Well, Esther and Frank, I don’t know what will become of my business, but if I still have it when this mess is over, I will probably see you at the same old stand.  If I don’t have anything left, but a suit of clothes, maybe I will be back anyway, asking for a job.

Everything tonight, is covered with a fine volcanic dust.  I don’t know where it is coming from, but I hope it is Tokio.  How do you like the looks of the war news?  We have landed on Guam, according to the latest reports, and our little newspaper, “Guniea Gold”.  Did ‘Cile ever show it to you?  It certainly is a complete little paper.  The Russians are going great guns, and they are doing all right in Europe.  Who knows, maybe this will be over, before we suspect.  Anything can happen in Europe.  I remember the last war. It ended overnight and no one suspected it.  Golly, I must be getting old, this is my second one.  Maybe ‘Cile is right, after all.  More power to the 4-F or the DDD, (Damned Draft Dodger).  I was planning on a victorious home-coming after victory, but I suppose it will be a very quiet entrance, with my tail between by legs. Of course, there is a possibility I can’t overlook—- We are still in contact with the Japs, and I may never come home at all.  That would certainly simplify matters, wouldn’t it?

Give my best to Maxine, all the Andersons, and anyone else you can think of.  Damn—- this $32.28 dollar rum is surely working.  We mix it with grapefruit juice and believe it or not, ice.  The Japs were good enough to leave some of the plants still standing when they took off.  You see there were some very nice little villages here, before they landed.

I have plenty to tell you, if I ever see you again, but I can’t in a letter.  I don’t know whether ‘Cile told you or not, probably not, as she must be pretty busy with her social and business life, but I was down south for about five weeks doing some special work. I didn’t see much of Australia, but what I did see, looked pretty good.  Might even be a good place to spend the rest of my life in.  They are about 25 years behind in all things, and an opportunity to make some money is there.  I did get a lot of Australian beer.  It’s pretty good, but about twice as strong as ours and doesn’t taste as good. We are to be issued good old American beer here on the 1st of August.  One case of “stubbies” per month.  I could drink that at one setting at the Big Elms.  Wish I was there to bring you some more nice cool drinks in this hot weather you are having.  You know of course, this is our winter, and it was real cool in the mainland.  Of course, here it never gets cool.  Too near the Equator.

Well folks, guess I have bored you long enough, and I still have to write to Dooly, So good night for now, and God bless you all. I’ll be seein’ you—-I Hope.


As Always,



Well, this was quite the lengthy letter. Geo is emerged in WWII in the South Pacific and Rum seems to be his medicine of choice. Letters from soldiers involved in WWII are always interesting because the writers have to try to tell what is going on with them without revealing what is going on with the war. “Loose lips, sink ships” was the motto of the day and as we read this letter from Geo, we can almost hear the stress hidden behind the comedic remarks of his letter. I’m guessing alcohol dulled the pain of his everyday terrors. Letters like this should make us remember that WWII was fought on the backs of everyday men and women who just wanted to be home.