Henry and Melvin Drafted

Melvin in Navy uniform at the farm

Melvin in his Navy uniform

There are a lot of under currents hinted at in this letter. Grace was only ten when war was declared after Pearl Harbor. After reading Jim and Lucy’s letters about the war, this experience seems almost indifferent.

Fanny must have had an incredibly difficult time when, soon after losing her husband, her two sons were drafted and left for the military. The oldest daughter had just left for school in Fargo. Now she was alone on the farm with one young daughter. What a challenge! This gives me a clue as to why my grandmother was such a tough old gal who could handle anything. She had lived through the hard times.

This letter seems short, but the stories between the lines are harrowing.

Grandpa Guy Havelick


Grace writes:

We made the trip to Nebraska in 1941 not the summer of ’40 as I said yesterday. Esther graduated from Hi School in ’41 and turned down a job in Steele so she could go on the trip. She went to school in Fargo in the fall.

War was declared on Dec 7, 1941. I don’t know how soon but I know that Henry + Melvin both got drafted and had to go for induction physicals at the same time so Mom had to take care of all the cattle + everything alone. Luckily …

Henry didn’t have to go ’cause of his one leg is shorter from having it broken when he was younger. Mel went into the Navy + was gone a couple of years I guess. Don’t remember how long.

Sugar and gas were both rationed. We had stamps to turn in for so many pounds of sugar and guess gas was stamps too.

I continued school + life went on so I didn’t notice too much difference.

Grace Letter 011