A friend sent me an old letter that she thought I would enjoy. It was sent in June of 1944 to a World War pilot from his father, a banker in a nearby state. I thoroughly enjoyed the letter and wish to share part of it with you.
"We were delighted to have a letter from you today noon, dated June 4th, two days before the great push. We are anxious to have one dated since that time and know that we will in a few days. We are all happy that the battle goes as it does and are very grateful for what you boys are doing. What a job it is. No bunch of people could do the things you are doing in a better way. It makes my chest all puff out to know that I am the daddy of an American soldier. I was all stuck up about it anyway, even before you put on short pants.
"You wouldn't know (name of the town) today and for the next two or three weeks. People are so busy you can hardly get across the street. Everyone is hurrying to get as much of their work done as quickly as they can, to save as much of this good wheat crop as possible before another rain. It's the first fair crop of grain we have had in about three years and they don't have much help and most folks are women and kids all working almost day and night in the fields. The elevators are short handed and are running day and night to keep the grain trucks moving.
"We at the bank are so busy in proportion as the farmers and won't have much relief all summer as will have some of the bunch out on vacations besides the extra work we have anyway. Our bank is in excellent condition and deposits are increasing every day. I think that before this week is over our total deposits will reach one and a quarter million, which is by far more than all the banks ever did have here in the old days.
"We had examiners last week and they said they could find no losses to ask me to charge off which is the first time that has ever happened since I have been in the banking business 21 years. It is needless to say that I am very happy about that.
"I took the examiners out to the city lake two evenings after supper to fish a little. Neither of them had ever caught a bass and I was very anxious for them to snag one. Sure enough the senior examiner had the good luck to get one and you should have seen him getting to the bank with him. He had on my rubber boots and was out in the water quite a ways and I though he was going to wreck the whole outfit. I ran around where he stood on the bank with his fish and he was so excited that he could hardly get this breath. The fish was a rather small one 2 1/2 lbs, but he was a fighter. He came out of that water and stood on his tail and shook his head two or three times, trying to get loose from that plug but he had him hooked safe."
I will stop here even though there is a far more to the letter and to the story. The soldier was an Army Air Corps pilot who flew a B-17 bomber, supporting the D-Day invasion. Five months later his plane was shot down over Germany while on a bombing run to knock an oil refinery. There were no survivors.
Kay Hively writes a weekly column for the Daily News.