Editor’s Note: Sandboxx News presents a World War II series by Kaitlin Oster on the power of hope, letters, and love in seeing us through the terrors and agony of war. You can read the other installments here and listen to Kaitlin’s radio interview about the series here, or visit her website here.
July 25, 1938
Received your letter, about time. Don’t faint when you see the postage on this letter but I’m here at last, Lake Ronkonkoma. If I weren’t sure of going till Saturday night. Lil Bretz and Schulman, Jeanne, Evelyn, Lil’s sister-in-law, Irene, and myself are here. Boy! Am I happy now except for –
Well, I’m glad to hear you are all well, anyhow. I guess I still miss you, alright! Alright! I do. My! But you write nice letters. You’ll have to write more
letters often. Hmmm! Annamae delivered your message. Thanks a lot. I was rather disappointed at not going out to your place. But this was the only week the girls could go out. As for being lonesome, I guess I am. Now, I get some satisfaction with the others as they’re away from their honeys also, but not as long as I have been away from you.
Annamae told me of the terrible storms you had out there. My goodness, if I was there I’d be six feet under today. (Boy! I bet you’re sorry I wasn’t there.) So far, we’ve had swell weather here. Perhaps we will be out to your place this coming Sunday – I hope so. Gosh! I’ll forget what you look like (God forbid, not that). How could I ever forget that face? Ahem! Well, Honey, hoping you’ll write soon as I’m anxious to hear from you again, I’ll close.
swoon! xxxxx Love with kisses
P.S. Ha, answer as soon as you can so I can have the pleasure of reading (ahem!) your letter while at the lake.
In Seaford, Harold was eager to have Loretta as his girlfriend, his steady girl, and the summer of 1938 seemed like the perfect time to act. He found himself sitting outside by a fire, his twin brother and best friend Arthur close by, thinking about just how swell everything felt at that moment. The water was calm that day, and even though it was the end of August the setting sun felt just as hot as it had been in July. It was the summer that would never end.
“Do ya think we’ll always have summers like this, Ha?” Artie leaned far back into his seat and stretched his legs out in front of him by the fire. “You think we’ll always be able to feel so free?”
“I’d say so, Otz.” Harold took a sip of his beer. He leaned over the side of his chair to grab another piece of wood to throw onto the fire. “Someday.”
“You and Loretta Reilly are getting pretty serious,” Artie said with a smirk. He shook his beer can at Harold, spilling a little on the grass.
“Sounds like it’s your beer talking. But yes, I love that girl. Truly. She speaks her mind, she’s courageous, and those legs!” Harold exhaled, enamored.
“Don’t make me jealous now or I’ll start to impersonate you,” said Artie doing a melodramatic impression of a boy in love.
“You won’t want to impersonate me when I’m in the Army, saving lives, and you’ll be on a boat somewhere.”
“You’re right,” Artie agreed, “I’d rather be on a boat than in the mud somewhere.”
“I’m thinking planes, actually.” Harold looked up at the sky. Empty except for the stars.
“Yeah. Big engines, and the freedom of it all.”
“That does sound nice. Me, free on the water and you, free in the skies.” Artie was solemn for a moment, which was something rare for him. He looked into the bonfire and finished the last of his beer.
“Well,” Harold began, “we’ve got a long day of not doing anything tomorrow. I’m off to bed. You put the fire out, would ya?” Harold dumped the remainder of his beer out next to his chair and took the empty bottle with him to the cottage.
He was made aware of the sunburn on his shoulders as it held him in a tight embrace with the creeping chill of a summer night. He thought of Loretta, and how school was about to start for her again. She was going to be 16 in a couple of weeks. He planned to make her his girl and celebrate somewhere nicer than the dozens of movie dates and ice cream shop visits. He’d saved some money up working in the sewers of Manhattan just for the occasion. Harold then thought of Arthur outside, warming himself by the fire. He thought about how they knew they were both destined to be military men, and although it would be an excellent journey, they would be the farthest apart they’d ever been.