Dear John,

I still don’t know whether you receive these letters or not; however, writing them gives me some degree of comfort. If you have not been informed by him, your brother is going to be a father. It’s a shame that he will likely be away during the birth of his own child. How sad!

Your mother is doing well, it seems. She has been spotted walking through town on occasion. I think she is getting better. I cannot tell whether you truly are still alive, but I do hope so dearly. Nobody has heard from Tony either, still. I pray for you both.

I miss you dearly. I fear I have forgotten your face.

Sincerely,

Laura Stevens

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Dear John,

[c.c.]

Everyone misses you dearly. I’m sure you are unable to write at this time due to your imprisonment. Hopefully, that is the only reason. Your brother is a medic in Europe as far as I’ve heard. A medic! You boys always have been the helping types, and now he’s a medic in the war. I guess he didn’t want to kill anyone. He chose to heal instead. What a family. I’ve spent some time every week keeping your sister company. She needs the support of a sisterly figure, I think, with you and Brian gone, and now your mother being so ill. I’m dreadfully sorry to hear that news. She’s always been a wonderful lady. I’m sure she’ll pull through, and so will you.

I find myself sitting under the tree. You know the one, where I wrote one of my first letters to you. Where we spent long summer days sitting in its shade just talking. I’ve been thinking about how much [“I”? appears scratched out] we all miss you. You’ll make it back to us soon, I just know it.

Sincerely,

Laura Stevens

P.S. I found this poem and I thought you might like to read it while you’re trapped there.

I WONDER by my troth, what thou and I
Did, till we loved ? were we not wean’d till then ?
But suck’d on country pleasures, childishly ?
Or snorted we in the Seven Sleepers’ den ?
‘Twas so ; but this, all pleasures fancies be ;
If ever any beauty I did see,
Which I desired, and got, ’twas but a dream of thee.

And now good-morrow to our waking souls,
Which watch not one another out of fear ;
For love all love of other sights controls,
And makes one little room an everywhere.
Let sea-discoverers to new worlds have gone ;
Let maps to other, worlds on worlds have shown ;
Let us possess one world ; each hath one, and is one.

My face in thine eye, thine in mine appears,
And true plain hearts do in the faces rest ;
Where can we find two better hemispheres
Without sharp north, without declining west ?
Whatever dies, was not mix’d equally ;
If our two loves be one, or thou and I
Love so alike that none can slacken, none can die.

[Many of the remaining letters are carbon copies. It is possible that someone had them copied before sending them in case they were never received. The poem, “The Good-Morrow” by John Donne, must have had some sort of significance between Laura and my grandfather.]

 

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Dear John,

[c.c.]

I hope this letter finds you well, though I know nobody has heard from you in a long time. It feels like it’s been years, but it’s only been a few months since your last letter. Sorry you haven’t had the time to write. You must be very busy there in Hongkong. As much as I would like to keep it from happening until you come home, I’ve been growing even faster the last little while. I’m 5’ 6” already and I think it will keep going. One day I might burst through the bed sheets and just keep growing until I can’t fit in my bedroom anymore. It’s been very lonely here without you and Brian around. Laura keeps me company sometimes, but I still have Betty and Shirley from school. Theres nothing to do during the day when they are off with their families. Daddy is doing just fine as far as I know. I know he is planning on writing to you pretty soon (Or maybe he already did!) I miss you and Brian very much and I told him not to go to war but he didn’t listen. I’m very angry with him, and he will know it when he gets his letter.

I have something awful to tell you and I’m sorry it has to come from me and in a letter. But our mother is not doing so well. She has been very sad since you left and it only got worse after Brian left. She’s getting sick. I don’t know what it is, but I can say for sure that it is not a cold or flu. She has no fever. She just can’t seem to get around anymore. She’s like an old maid, but such a pretty young lady as mommy is I don’t understand it. I have nobody to talk to about this which is why I’m writing to you about it. I’m sure daddy will write you and explain it all. I wish I could ask him about it but I’m afraid he knows something he’s not telling me. It’s been very quiet the last while here in town. I heard your friend Tony is missing. Are you going to look for him? I miss you.

Yours Truly,

Hayley Cox

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Dear John,

Nobody has heard from you in a while but we are sure you are doing fine. Still, everyone is praying for you. It’s been quite some time since we’ve seen each other, and I need to say my sister and I both miss you.  Your brother has gone to war in Europe and I am hopeful that things will change for the better soon. There has been so much activity since I last wrote you; I don’t even know where to begin! Jim Morrie was chopping wood the other day and missing his swing nearly took off his right leg. You may be shocked to hear that Sandra has gotten married, to a very nice young man from Winnipeg. I think he left Winnipeg when he heard of the war. That coward! Mrs. Castle finally received news that Anthony is missing in action. Poor old girl. Everyone’s been trying to support her the last few months, and praying for Anthony’s soul at Church. Father Winters is sure there is a place reserved for brave soldiers who fight for their country. Hayley has grown so much over the summer. I really don’t think you would even recognize her. She’s becoming quite the pretty young thing. I swear all the young boys in her school won’t leave her alone! She’s got them hovering about all day. Poor girl can’t get much piece* these days with inquiries about you and the boys harassing her. She doesn’t know what to do about it without you and Brian around. Please write if you get the chance.

Sincerely,

Laura Stevens

*It seems odd to me that Laura would misspell the word “peace”; as her previous letters have been written with such care. Perhaps she was not fully “there” while writing this one.

[This letter, as well as the last one is a carbon copy. It is doubtful that my grandfather actually received it or the one from Brian.]

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A Promise

I’ve been terribly busy with my studies as of late; but I will try to transcribe at least one letter every 2 days from now on.

-Ed

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John:

[NOTE: This letter contains strong opinion and offensive language/situation; however, I feel it is necessary to not skip this letter as it depicts the emotional termoil experienced by my grandfather’s brother. It is also the first letter hitherto sent by Brian.]

Dear brother, I am enlisting. I’m sure you’ve heard by now that Angelica and I are married. We have gone to her father’s farm near Calgary to visit her parents. He had a Japanese man working on his farm named Ken Tanaka. The Jap asked me about my family and I beat that son of a bitch to the dirt. George had to pull me off him. I will be glad when the Jap is interned. It was at that moment when I decided that even if I have to swim across the Pacific Ocean, kill ever Jap in Hong Kong and carry you out of that camp myself, I will. I am going to war, my brother. See you soon!

Your Dear Brother,

Brian Cox

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Dear John,

How are you? I haven’t heard from you. You must be very busy fighting the war. We missed you this Christmas and Easter is coming soon so I hope you will be home by then. I really wish you were here. It has been really lonely since Brian went off to visit Angie’s family in Alberta. He will be back in a couple weeks but this is the first time you have both been away for a long time. Mommy and daddy haven’t said much about you lately except that you are doing well and still in Honkong. I have improved my reading and writing skills very much since you have gone. I read all of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland without any help! I still like the way you read it more though. I kept imagining it with those funny voices you make. I think I’ve grown a few inches since you left as well. Daddy says if I keep growing at this rate I will be taller than you by the time you return! Then I can carry you on my shoulders. Wouldn’t that be funny.  I miss you very much. Take care!

Yours truly,

Hayley Cox

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