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 …

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Grandpa’s Birthday

Charlie & Alice Heath

Charlie & Alice Heath

There’s quite a difference between my family and Judy’s. Lucy’s family lived close enough to each other that visits were not unheard of. My mother’s family lived several states apart so rarely visited.

Another difference was the depth of religious influence on the families. My family went to church as required, but this was different!

Lucy writes:

Mother would gather us all together and announce “Grandpa’s coming!” Now he was 6’4″ tall, wore a black suit with a white stiff collar, and was about as handsome as a man could be. He was also “terribly” religious. We had to hide all the playing cards (a sin) and all the music that wasn’t hymns, and he called my mother “Daughter.” Now every night before going to bed we had to get down on our knees on the floor, by a chair, and he would pray and pray and pray. Well Pat, Loly and I would all be at the same chair, and could not be quiet for very long, so would giggle. Grandpa cleared his throat – we’d stop. I thought it strange his (2nd) wife called him “Reverend Heath.”

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