Thursday, January 22, 2015


I have a few letters that my Dad had written over the years, especially a big group done while he was on a cruise around South America that he wrote to my Mom, which I hope to transcribe and edit at some point, but herewith is a short missive he sent to his Uncle John A. Hartpence in New Jersey. Uncle John had raised Dad's mother and my Dad was very close to him. In 1954 Dad was a new sailor, stationed at Jacksonville Naval Air Base, just before he entered Naval Prep School and then Annapolis. It is interesting to see his mindset as a nineteen or so kid. The letter was sent on 2 July 1954, as he was considering what to do for the upcoming holiday. [I cleaned up his spelling mistakes and made some editorial noted below.]

Dear Uncle John:

First I'd like to wish you a Happy Birthday and I'm sorry that I can't be home tomorrow to put it in words as I originally had expected to be.

I am going to go to Daytona Beach tonite to spend the weekend and see what holiday celebrations they may have down there. As I understand it they are supposed to have quite a time there and here's hoping they do.

I got a letter from my girlfriend [1] the other day and it was written in St. Huberts. [2] She said that they are having a plague of those large black flies in such great numbers that the women can't even hang out their clothes to dry for fear that they will be covered with black marks, and that they will bit the living daylights out of a person.

As I said in my letter to you and Deeah [5] the other day it is still terrifically hot down here and I sure will be happy to get back home.

I understand from Feenie [6] that you had quite a nice birthday party for Johnny [3] at the Stacy Trent [4] last Sunday.

Well by this time next week I should be on route and I should be home sometime Friday nite.

Again I'll say Happy Birthday and good luck to you and Deeah until I see you next week.

Love, Jim

[1: don't know who, but well before he met my Mom]
[2: Most likely St. Huberts in the Keene Valley of New York.]
[3: Dad's little brother John.]
[4: The Stacy Trent was a well known and posh hotel in Trenton, torn down in 1967.]

PS: [5] Dad's aunt, Hannah Lydia Longmore Hartpence
[6] Aunt Feenie, Lydia Josephine Sigley

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