Dear Frances (The early years)

Dear Frances (The early years)

Prelude: Here is another letter from Bern of Wellsville, NY to Miss Frances Fairfield of Hornell, NY. This one was written on April 28, 1935. Both Fran and Bern are in high school. I left all the spelling and grammar mistakes.



Dearest Frances,

I just couldn’t wait until tomorrow. So here I am writing today because I’ve been thinking about a lot of things.

Did you get home safe? I hope so. You’ll have to pardon the writing I you can’t read it because I’m trying to write it in my room so my sisters won’t be bothering me.

I couldn’t very well tell you last night what a swell week-end I had, in front of those fellows.  Really though, and no kidding, I had the swellest time with you that I ‘ve had in a long time. It was sweet of you to have anything to do with me on a blind date anyway. I shall not forget it for a long time. I wish I could see you more often, but again I don’t because you would get sick of seeing me all the time and I want to keep your friendship as long as I can.

All the fellows in town are razzing me today because of the swell looking girl I had last night. They wonder how come I rate. I wonder myself.

I was wishing Louie could get the car and we could go down to see you, but as yet he hasn’t showed up.  Anyway, you’re probably occupied with some lucky boyfriend.

Have you seen Ernie yet? It’s been a long time since I seen him last and I’m beginning to wonder what he looks like.

I would like to have introduced Les Dye, Bobby McCarthy and some of the other fellows in town.  I guess they didn’t see you or I wouldn’t have had a chance.

Pardon the splotch on the other page.  I just did it as I was writing up above.

I wish you were going to be at the Alfred Interscholastic Track Meet! I imagine I would be a lot better than I was if you were going to be there.

My address in case you would like to write is at the top of the letter and the name of the street is “Dyke.”  I thought you probably couldn’t read it.  I’m a lousy writer.

It has been the swellest week-end I have ever had in years. As long as I can remember anyway.

I guess I’m falling in love. I’m saying the same things over and over.  You (How are you?) Me (Just as good as you are!)

Say “Hello” to Clair for me.

Say, Sweets, may I have a picture of you. This isn’t very customary, but I would really like one to have.  Something to make me remember the swell times I had with you.  Of Course, if you’d rather I wouldn’t, it’s alright because I can shut my eyes and remember what you look like.  I couldn’t forget for a long time.

There isn’t much more to say except I wished we hadn’t gone to the show so I could have told you to your face what a lovely time I had.

Well, it’s to late now, but maybe I can the next time you come.  I hope it’s soon because I can’t wait until I see you again.

Promise you’ll write me and the next time I hope I’ll have more interesting things to say to you that you would like.

Lots of Love,  “Bern”

“Behave yourself?”  – Shakespeare  …. (That’s supposed to be a saying of Shakespeare.)



Well, Bern is definitely infatuated with Fran. I like how he couldn’t wait to write her and tell her how he had the swellest time. It’s also interesting to read the little hints of his 1935 machoism, like the fact that he couldn’t tell her how he felt in front of the other fellows, and how he wishes he could have introduced her to his other buddies, like she was a trophy or something. It’s all very interesting. What do you think?


Summer Postcards (1950’s & 60’s)

Post cards Local

Prelude: In celebration of warmer weather and vacations, here are some local postcards that were sent in 1961 and 1950. The first one is of the Syracuse Airport Inn. The second one is of Onondaga Lake Park. The third one is of Independence Hall and The Commodore Barry Monument.



Syracuse Airport Inn- To Mrs. Marie Miller of Niagara Falls, NY

It is so nice to get away even if only for just a day or two.  We do hope you are feeling better after your fall. Hope to see you later this week.

Best Wishes

Harriet & Ken


Onondaga Lake Park – Sulita Roe of Landor, NY

Dear Mrs. Roe,

Just a few lines to let you know we got home ok. I had a nice Mother’s Day. Coming home Monday. Mable says hello.



Independence Hall and Commodore Barry Monument – Grace Bruehl ..??

Dear Grace,

We arrived ok last week, weather wonderful. It is hot this week 94 today. We are not suffering. Atlantic City and Ocean City yesterday.

Lots of love




Two of these postcards are pictures in the Syracuse, NY area and one is in Philadelphia. Not real exciting stuff, but we take for granted how easy travel is now even compared to the 1950’s and 1960’s… It seems like people took more local vacations back then than they do today. What do you think?




Dear Fran (The Early Years, a brother)

Dear Fran (Early years, a Brother)

Prelude: Here is another letter written in 1935. It’s from “Bern” in Wellsville, NY to Miss Frances Fairfield. Both Bern and Fran are in Highschool. They are friends but Bern wants more. This letter was before some of the others that I’ve posted. It was written on November 4th1935. I transcribed it with his spelling mistakes and all!


Dear Fran,

Just a line to answer your last letter and to ask how Clair is. Hope he is oke by now. Don’t worry kid, he’ll be okay soon.

Suppose you think I acted rather funny last evening when they were taking the blood tests.  It looked as if I were rather “yellow,” but on my word of honor, I wasn’t. You see, I hate the smell of a hospital and I sick every time I get a wiff of one.  I’d been oke if it hadn’t been for that dam smell. If I were oke I’d have given my blood in a minute, but the Miss told me to scram before I fainted. I never fainted in my life, but I came awful close last night.  I stayed because I was going to let her take a test of me in case the rest failed. I probably wouldn’t have done much good, but I could have tried.

Didn’t you think it swell of Ed Brown to offer his services and he didn’t even know Clair.  That was the best deed anyone ever pulled I think. Boy Scout or what have you.  Here is what he said, “I knew he was a friend of Fran’s and you guys were friends of her, so I offered.”  He didn’t even know that he was your brother.  He deserves a note of thanks Fran, I hope you get a chance to thank him.

I enjoyed seeing you again although it wasn’t exactly as I thought it would be. I thought we would laugh and joke and think about things we used to do, but things didn’t exactly turn out that way.  I’m sorry that it couldn’t have been that way and Clair was home to enjoy the joking, but things will turn out oke and if you get a chance to see him, tell him I said that he’d better stop trying to walk across that bridge that he fell from a long time ago.  He’ll know what I mean and I’ll bet he’ll laugh-if he can.  Wait and see. We’ll so long, hope you have time to answer some time.

As Ever,




What an interesting letter, Fran’s brother ends up in the hospital and hurt enough to need blood donated. This is the first letter in my Fran series to ever mention she had a brother. It makes you wonder what happened to him.  I love the way Bern makes excuses for himself, to try to look better in front of Fran. He hates the smell of the hospital. Don’t we all! Anyway, this is a nice glimpse into 1935 and Bern uses all the fun language we recognize from those years. Swell, Yellow, Oke and “On my word of honor.” It’s so fun to read! What do you think?


Hello there (France)

Hello there (France)

Prelude: Here is another letter from Young Hank to Mrs. Fairfield of Hornell, NY.  Young Hank is stationed in Europe and has been somewhere in Italy for several months. He has now moved to somewhere in France. This letter was written on September 26, 1944, and there was no envelope.



Southern  XXXXX  France                                              September 26, 44


Hello there,

I received your letter the other day but have not had a chance to answer it.  It took me a long time to catch up with my mail so now I have a lot to answer.

Your letter found me feeling fine and getting along the best.  We hadn’t received any mail in over three weeks, so it was swell getting it when we did.  Mail is really a moral builder. You really don’t appreciate it until you don’t get any for a week or two.

One of the fellows just called my attention to the fact that I put Italy instead of France at the top of the letter.  I wrote Italy so long it got to be a habit.  Now it will be France.

There isn’t much I can say about this country so far. It is a lot cleaner I think.  The roads are better and the towns and cities are nicer, at least what I have seen of them have been.  I think the weather is more like it is at home too.

I see by your letter that Frank got sick and went to Canada fishing.  I don’t blame him a darn bit.  The wife and I are, or plan on going up there again someday.

So, they still have the horse traders convention? We used to go up there every year and have a heck of a good time.

The weather here is real good.  Yesterday and today were especially nice. It’s like those days at home when you feel like going for a walk in the country.  I think you know the kind I mean.

The boys are all fine and send their regards to you all. As I said before, there all a swell bunch of fellows.

There really isn’t much to write about just now. Here’s hoping this finds you all well and happy.  Tell Mr. Fairfield I said hello and wish him better luck on his next trip north.

As Ever,

Little Hank.



I love these letters from Young Hank. He seems like such a swell guy. He is always writing upbeat letters even though he is in the middle of a war. I sense that he is a little home sick as he talks about taking a walk in the country.  Most of the letters I have of his are all about nothing.  I think that if you read between the lines, you’ll find that there is a heart and a soul longing for the war to be over. What do you think?


Hello Everyone

Hello Everyone

Prelude: In honor of Memorial Day,  here is a letter from a military man, Corporal Don Roblie. It was written on September 17, 1945. The envelope is addressed to Mrs. Don Roblie of Sandusky, NY.  Corporal Roblie is somewhere overseas (The letter Via Air Mail) and based out of Camp Chaffee in Arkansas… I received this letter from an awesome antique store in Arcade, NY called Arcade Junction Vendor Co-op. Their motto is “A little bit of everything,” and they sure have a large selection to look at…

Please remember I try not to make spelling or grammar corrections and leave the letters as they were written, mistakes and all.



Hello Everyone,

Well guess it is about time I wrote again.  Expect you all wondering what going on down here. Well, I’m trying to also.

As you probably know, they are suppose to be releasing the 80 point men. As yet there hasn’t been much action on it.  A few men have been discharged from this post, one from the company.

Two of the boys of this camp go to reception stations tomorrow.  There are twenty more of us here in the company waiting to go.  But they seem plenty slow about getting us started.

I received your telegram saying Len had got home. That was good news. What is his time up? I should have my discharge before he goes back.

Want be able to get a furlough so will have to sweat out a discharge.

Did I tell you that I got a truck the day I arrived here?

Have been taking a PA system (Public Address) to the rifle ranges.  It’s a good job.  Set it up in the morning and take it down nights.  All we do is mount two speakers and the mike, the rest of it stays on the truck.  I fired one day. Made 160 out of possible 180.

Well, guess that about all for now.  Will you send $20 to me? Got paid since we got here, a $20 pay.  Still have my ration money comming.

Well, say good night for now.

As Always,


Len, are you married yet or are you going to wait until I get home?




It’s always interesting to read what a service man writes home about. Most of the letters are very vague because in WWII they had to be very careful in what they wrote in letters just in case the letter was intercepted by the enemy.  Don, seems like he’s ready to come home as I’m sure most of the soldiers were in September of 1945. Not long and the war will be over, Don. He does give us one clue as to where he is when he says “Going on down here.” I would guess that might mean the South Pacific rather than over in Europe, but it’s just a guess. What do you think?

Darling Franny

Darling Franny

Prelude:  Another (Early years) letter from Bern to Miss Frances Fairfield. This one was written on May 2, 1935.


Darling Franny,

May I call you “Franny?” I like it very much.  I received your letter this morning (thurs. P.M.) and was terribly glad to hear from you.  I really can’t tell you how much it was to hear from you.

Gosh! I’ve missed you so much. I never thought it would get me as much as it has.  I’ve been wondering and wondering when I’ll see you again.  I hope it’s soon because that won’t even be soon enough.

Don’t ever let the idea of “Wynne” bother you.  She’s a swell kid, but I really have nothing more than a friendly feeling towards her, because she has always lived so close by.

Gee! I wish you were going to be at the “Track Meet” tomorrow.  I’ll really miss you.

I suppose you wondered what had happened to the letter I sent you.  Did you notice it was torn? Well! I was fooling with Wynne and she tried to get it and she tore it.  At last I got it in a mailbox and sent it on its way.  She really didn’t mean to do it, but it happened and so it couldn’t be helped.  I never see her much anymore.  I guess I forgot about her after I met you.  I see Molly nearly every day and Tuesday she told me she got a letter from you, and I was wondering if I ever were going to hear from you, it seemed so long.

“Howie” Bennett would like to know if you know a girl by the name of Betty Kelly.  I don’t know why, but he did.  You can tell him the next time you see him.

Gee Sweets, I miss you an awful lot.  When I get home, I’ll look and see if I have a snapshot big enough, and good enough to give you.  I think all mine are small, but maybe I’ll have a bigger one later. Anyway, I’ll send at least one. That will be too much probably.

Say, pardon the red ink, the dirt and everything else. I’m trying to write on the study hall desk and I’m having a heck of a time.

Hope I see Ernie and Bannana tomorrow.  I wonder what they intend to do while at the meet. Let me know if you are coming soon. I can’t wait until I see you again.

It’s almost time for the bell to ring and so I’ll write the rest as soon as possible – probably last period.

Here I am back again, I’m going to write more dirt so hold on. Just imagine me writing as much as I am. Quite unusual, I assure you. I never used to write this much to anybody else I’ve ever wrote to.  I guess I’m in love.

Don’t ever worry about me letting you down because I’ve really fallen for the 1sttime, I guess.  My mother says I act like a crazy man the last few days because I was always accusing them of hiding your letter.  I expected it before today.

Thanks for the kind words. My home room teacher told me that it meant “I love you” is that right? I shall return the complement in French, Je vous aime! I hope you can read it.

Molly was telling me Sunday that she might be going down soon.  I expect to try to get there sooner.  I may come Sunday if it’s a nice day, but don’t hang around waiting for me, because I’ll find you if I come.

Do you have a phone? We had one until just a little while ago, but the fellows and girls were always calling Walt or I up and they did it all times of the night so that dad the phone taken out.

My grandfather’s name was Dennis. My uncle’s name is Tim. Now which one did your Mother & Father know? Dad remembered your dad if he was the “Fairfield” that was boss at one time either in the Clark-Norton shop, Kerr Turkino or Morre.  He didn’t tell me which.

Well! Sweets, there isn’t much more to say so I guess I better close.

Hoping to see you soon, I shall remember in my thought how nice you are. You really are the sweetest and finest girl I have met.

You probably think that I am writing a lot of silly nonsense. Maybe it sounds like it, but I mean everything I said. (Pardon the misspelled words. I just noticed some)

Again, pardon the red ink, because I always use it and the paper, because I couldn’t do any better here at school.

Please don’t forget the picture of yourself because I really want one awful bad.  Say “Hello” to Clair and give my regards to your family.

So, I close with what I hoped would be a swell letter, but what has become rather lengthy. “Stay as sweet as you are, for me.”

Je vous aime!



P.S. – Hoping won’t let me see you, but just the same. I’m hoping soon.



“Bern is in love, even in French, he’s in love! He’s using his study hall time to write to Fran and he’s not holding back. He’s fighting off Wynne, who tried to rip Fran’s letter out of his hand.  It’s all kind of comical and fun to read at the same time. I hope you enjoyed this letter as much as I did.

Dearest Fran (The early years) 2

Dearest Fran (The early years 2)

Prelude: We are still in a series of letters to Miss Frances Fairfield of Hornell, NY. These are (The early years when Fran was still in High school.) Again, this letter was written by someone named “Bern” from Wellsville, NY. The letter was written on June 11, 1935.


Dearest Fran,

Received your letter this morning and was awful glad to hear from you.  Hope you get this before Wednesday evening. As yet Louie says he thinks it will be impossible to get there.  He might change his mind. I hope so.  I don’t know whether I can get there or not.  We just learned that they intend to hold school over until Thursday afternoon at 3 and so I don’t imagine we’ll be able to get down until Friday.  I have an exam Friday afternoon and so I might not get there then.

What the heck is Freida’s relation? I know nearly everybody in Wellsville and maybe her relations aren’t exactly friends of mine. I hope they are.  Please come Fran and we can have a swell time together.  I hope Bud plays a sport and doesn’t do me dirt and run out on me.  Even if he does we’ll get somebody nice to date Freida.

You darn old devil, you know when you hit me from behind when we were playing ball.  Well! My back has been out of place ever since! You’d think I was an old man.

Fran sweets.  I want to ask something of you that I shouldn’t, but I just can’t help it. I want you to promise me that you will never date a Wellsville fellow as long as I am going with you, accept Louie or Bud. Will you do this for me? I know it isn’t just the thing to ask, but Fran, It’s because of the fact that every time I go to see a girl, everybody else follows me.  Then they bust in and bust me up and then after a little while they quit going with the girl and a friendship is lost just because of a couple of mugs who want to bust up a nice, good to get along with couple.  So, you see Fran, It’s because of these and other things, I ask you to do this for me, as it will mean a lot to me and I’ll know that our friendship will never be broken.

Betty Doty, a girl from Wellsville, is going to stay with “Bobby” Stevens this weekend.  I imagine it will spoil a good time for Louie and Mandy if they go.

Of course, if by any chance, you fall for a Wellsville fellow, don’t be afraid to let me know then.  Then is the time to drop out and we can still continue our friendship.

Have some work to do now, so I’ll close.  Hope to see you soon (Not soon enough).

(Don’t ever let on any more how I used to feel and you used to get sick of it.) ( I still feel the same, honest!)




COMMENTARY:  Well “Bern” is quite a character! My guess is that Fran once went out with him and it didn’t work out, now they are just friends. But “Bern” would like more of a relationship.  I don’t know why he puts his name in parenthesis, but he always does it. Ahhh… to be young and living in 1935… It’s interesting how he relates to her through his letters, asking her to not date others from his town, accept Louie and Bud of course. It’s all kind of funny and kind of weird too. What do you think?

Dearest Fran (The early years 1)

Dearest Fran (The Early Years 1)

Prelude: We continue in the series of letters I have from Bern in Wellsville to Miss Frances Fairfield of Hornell. All these letters are from 1935, when Fran was in Highschool. This one was written on May 23, 1935.



Dearest Fran,

Received your letter this morning and was very glad to hear from you. It seems like months in between the times I see you when it is only weeks. I wish I were closer still.  Bud and I may be up Saturday afternoon. That is if I don’t go to the Stueben County track meet with the coach. He asked me, but I’d rather be with you, but I’m making a pest of myself coming so often.

Ray went up last nite, and I missed him. Here’s how it was. I and Bud were in a track meet (good English) and I got home before he did. So, I started to call him up to see if he wanted to go. I couldn’t get him until almost a half an hour later.  Finally, after getting him and he couldn’t go. I started for home on the run to change my clothes. Just as I came out the front door, he went by and I hollered at him, but he didn’t see me so I missed him. Better luck next time I hope. So, I went to the show all by my lonesome.  I was talking to Mollie this afternoon and she said to ask you when you’re going to bring those things. I hope soon. Why not Friday evening or sooner.

Gee sweets, I miss you a lot.  Honest I do. Gee, I’m sorry the pictures turned out lousy. I bet you’re holding back on me on your pictures. Be a sport and decorate the mahogany. (hand)

Gee sweets, you never say anything anymore. You used to tell me if you liked me or not, but not anymore. Am I getting to be a pest? Gee sweets, if I am let me know, so I can quit bothering you. And another thing, I’m sorry if I sounded rude about your falling for Bud. I wouldn’t blame you, he’s a swell kid and I’m a punk. Don’t act right or anything accept get jealous as far as you’re concerned. Please accept my apology for being so rude.

Fran sweetest, promise you’ll tell me if you ever get sick of me.  Don’t make me hang around and make a fool of myself. I shall always love you no matter what happens.  So, as my sweetest friend at present, I want you to give me the sign when you get sick of me.

More love than ever before


P.S. Write soon– (no matter how soon, it won’t be soon enough!)

Ernie was here last nite and had a long talk with him.


COMMENTARY: Young love…Young, adolescent, insecure love! It’s so interesting to see how people related in the 1930’s. It’s really not much different than today. Oh, some of the words we use have changed, but the sentiment is the same. “Gee sweets,” is a favorite line of mine. Maybe I’ll start referring to my husband that way. What do you think?

Dearest Fran (The early years)

Dearest Fran, (Early years)

Prelude: Here is another letter to Frances Fairfield of Hornell, NY. This letter is from the early years when Frances was High School. It was written on May 6th1935 and is from a man named Bern who lives in Wellsville, NY.


Dearest Fran,

I just received your letter and was awfully glad to hear from you.  I just couldn’t wait until I got home at noon to see if your letter was there.

I imagine you are very angry with me because I didn’t come yesterday after I’d promised. (You probably didn’t want to see me anyway), But gee sweets, it rained all day and I really tried to have Louie get his car, but he couldn’t. So, there you are. As I told you.

I’m really afraid to see you to much for you’ll lose all interest in me. (What little interest there is)

I’m telling you the truth, sweet, when I say that I’ve never liked a girl in my whole life as much as I like you.  I’ve been around, know a lot of girls, but I still have to meet one, I’ll like better than I do you.  Expect me any time because I might be there by the time this letter is.  I never know when I’m going to get the chance of seeing you. I hope it’s soon.

My brother left school and he was “President of the Junior Class.” So, just now they moved up the Vice President to President and elected me the Vice President.  I really didn’t want it, but I wouldn’t refuse after they elected me. So, here I am.

That means I get a couple of points towards my 20-point letter. I got 17 now.  It’s the highest award in school.

Dearest, did you get home ok? I hope you’re not angry and I want to apologize for the things I said in front of you up at Claytons. That’s the trouble with me, always saying something at the wrong time.

I hope you can read this. I am really very sorry and I promise.  I’ll make it up to you some way, sometime soon.  Anyway, no matter what happens, “I love you.”

I just took 3 pictures (negatives) up to Dean’s Drug store to have developed.  One is of myself in my track suit and the others in everyday clothes.  I’ll give you the 2 best. (If you would care to have them).

Time to sign off. The bell will ring in a minute and off to school periods again.

Hoping to see you soon. (Not soon enough). I shall remember how lovely you are in the meantime.

Oceans of love and a kiss on

Every Ware


“a X and many of them”



Well! Bern seems to be enamored with Miss Frances. This letter drips with adolescent emotions and insecurities. Of course, Bern doesn’t fail to mention his “Vice President” status. This letter is before the start of World War II and there seems to be a hint of social class snobbery in the way Bern writes to Fran. I also detect a little bit of an ego as he tells her how’s he’s never liked a girl in his whole life as much as her….and then he has some pictures of himself to give her. It made me laugh. Anyway, it’s interesting to see what people wrote in 1935. What do you think?


Hello there (Italy 1943)

Hello There (Italy 1943)

Prelude: Here is another letter from Young Hank to Frank & Esther Fairfield of Hornell. The letter says it was written on November 7, 1943, but the envelope is post-dated December 12, 1944… I’m going with the date on the letter and thinking that it was put in the envelope on a later date. (Just a reminder, I leave spelling mistakes and such intact.)



Hello there,

I received your letter today and was really glad to get it. It’s nice hearing from you.  Thanks’ loads for writing.

I can see what you mean by a wide difference in opinion at home there. I would like to hear them some time.  We feel the same way about this war. If it would end tomorrow, it would be ok by us to.

I’m sorry to hear that you lost your dog. That’s the trouble when you get a nice do you miss him when you loose him.

Don’t mind the spots on this sheet.  I’m writing by candle light and the candle tipped over. I don’t have the ambition to write it over, so I’ll leave it messed up.

How is everything with you these days? I hope good. I’m getting so I want to see Hornell pretty bad, but I guess it will have to wait.  Some day if things turn out right I’ll see it though.  I really miss it.  You don’t realize how much home means to a fellow until he gets away from it for a while.  That’s one thing you can say this war is making us appreciate what we had.

You ask if there is anyone in in my outfit from home. There was one but mom sent me a clipping that he had been missing in action since September 11th. You may have known him, he was Salvatore Ladato. He was in a company and I didn’t get to see him very often. He was the only one though.

You ask how we live over here. It all depends on where we are.  When were on the front and not in direct view of the enemy we sleep in pup tents.  Of course, there are some times it can’t be done. You know we spend some time in fox holes to.  That’s only natural saving that this is war.  It’s not as bad as some people think?  When were on the front we eat C and K rations. C rations come in cans and K’s in cardboard boxes. You have probably seen them both in magazines. The Kitchens we used when your back in rest. It’s pretty hard to explain by writing. We make out alright though.

Things are going along good for me.  I can’t kick a bit. Of course, I’ll be glad to get home and start a home and family.

That’s about all for now.  Tell Mr. Fairfield I said hello and not to get too many deer. I guess that’s all over now though. Good luck and take good care of yourselves. Thanks again for writing.

As Ever,



I sigh every time I read one of these letters from Young Hank. He just seems so nice, and normal and he says things exactly how I would think someone in his situation and in the 1940’s would say them. The war was taking its toll on everyone and Young Hank was in the middle of it. This letter is earlier than some of the others I have from him and later than some of the others too. He does not know that the war will end in 1945 and he doesn’t know he will be there two more years and eventually be sent to Germany… He is in the middle and missing home. I’m sad for him and proud of him too. He is always so positive. I can’t help be wonder if he made it back ok. I hope he did, because I really like Young Hank. I hope you do too!