Folder 11: Edna Minker, March - July, 1943

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Edna and Ralph L. "Lee' Minker, Jr.

Note: Edna Minker became Ralph Minker, Sr.’s secretary at the Ferris School in June 1943 after his secretary left to join the WAVES. She most often wrote her son from the school office, consequently nearly all of her letters are typed.  She wrote her son at least twice a week throughout the two and a half years he was away, the collection contains 265 letters from Edna Minker.


Date:  Tuesday evening, March 2, [1943] - Wednesday [March 3, 1943] - view letter
Writer: Edna Minker  
Recipient: Lee Minker
Place: Wilmington, Delaware
The anxiety over their son’s absence and time in the military begins as Edna seeks news of his
welfare and progress. While she tries not to add to his worries, her motherly concern emerges
from time to time in her letters throughout the war. The letter relays a story about civilians in
Miami who had complained about the troops and the military commander’s response. Lee’s first
letter arrived Tuesday evening, expressed their delight at hearing his news. Reports of friends
who are in the service. Wants to know if air mail is faster.
Note: ’43 date and underlining added by Lee Minker at a later date.

 

Date:  Saturday morning, [March 6, 1943] - view letter
Writer: Edna Minker  
Recipient: Lee Minker
Place: Wilmington, Delaware
Offers encouragement during this first week of adjustment to army life. Wants him to report the
swelling in his leg. Sending enough cookies for the 7 boys in the room. Her love for Lee is
wrapped up in the closing paragraph.

 

Date:  Monday morning, [March 8,1943] - view letter
Writer: Edna Minker  
Recipient: Lee Minker
Place: Wilmington, Delaware
He sounded blue in the last letter, anxious to hear how he is. Lee had reported a problem with his
leg in letter of March 3. Reports of various people in the service and Dickinson College.
Grandmother Minker happy to get his letter.

 

Date:  Saturday morning, March 13, 1943 - view letter
Writer: Edna Minker  
Recipient: Lee Minker
Place: Wilmington, Delaware
Surprised to find snow after several days of early spring. Extensive report on the Civilian Pilot
Training program at Dickinson College. News of the family.

 

Date:  Tuesday morning, [March 16, 1943] - view letter
Writer: Edna Minker  
Recipient: Lee Minker
Place: Wilmington, Delaware
Air mail is working, haven’t received pictures or laundry bag. Asks about KP duty and church
services. Offers encouragement after all the reorganization.
Names: Kirk Kearns, Allen Cavender [Wilmington boys in the service]
Note: Letter is dated March 16 as she reports filing his taxes; in 1943 taxes were due in March.

 

Date:  Sunday, [March 21, 1943] - view letter
Writer: Edna Minker  
Recipient: Lee Minker
Place: Wilmington, Delaware
Lee has sent the first photos home, Edna finds them a fun connection to her son. Sends
addresses he had asked for, reports on activities of each member of the family. She is hoping for
theatre tickets to see Ethel Barrymore in a play for their 20th wedding anniversary later in March.

 

Date:  Monday morning, [March 22, 1943] - view letter
Writer: Edna Minker  
Recipient: Lee Minker
Place: Wilmington, Delaware
The impact of rationing: gas tank is empty, no hot water for laundry. Discusses fraternity
business [Theta Chi at Dickinson]. Waiting for his laundry.
Names: Bob Cassel

 

Date:  Wednesday, March 24, 1943 - view letter
Writer: Edna Minker  
Recipient: Lee Minker
Place: Wilmington, Delaware
Anxiety over not hearing from Lee and a report from a friend’s family that he was ill. [Lee was in
the infirmary for over a week with an undiagnosed illness.] Daddy got orchestra seats for The
Corn is Green
for their anniversary celebration.
Names: Miss Lamb leaves for China to do Red Cross work.

 

Date:  Friday, March 26, 1943 - view letter
Writer: Edna Minker  
Recipient: Lee Minker
Place: Wilmington, Delaware
Still worrying over not hearing from Lee, asks that he send a wire. Tells him about a good report
on Lee from a Prof. Thompson at Dickinson. Expresses concern and support, and how special he
is to them.

 

Date:  Saturday afternoon, April 3, 1943 - view letter
Writer: Edna Minker  
Recipient: Lee Minker
Place: Wilmington, Delaware
Lee called on Friday evening to let them know he was moving out west to Morningside College,
Iowa. [In fact, they were sent to U. of Nebraska at Lincoln after a brief stop in Iowa.] Edna is
thrilled that they were able to speak with him on the phone. Their family friend, Dr. Elizabeth
Miller, believes his mysterious illness was due to an allergic reaction to the shots given by the
Army. Reports on letters received and family activities.

 

Date:  Thursday, April 8, 1943 - view letter
Writer: Edna Minker  
Recipient: Lee Minker
Place: Wilmington, Delaware
Comments on four-day trip he had thinking he was at Morningside [College]. Comments on the
staff at the [Ferris] School, especially one person with a drinking problem. Ralph Sr. had to appear
in court with some difficult juvenile problems.
Names: Warren Grier

 

Date:  Friday morning, [April 9, 1943], on reverse 11:30 Friday night - view letter
Writer: Edna Minker  
Recipient: Lee Minker
Place: Wilmington, Delaware
They received the post card to Bernice and a returned letter from Sioux City. Hopes he is settling
in to new quarters. Handwritten note on reverse referring to a phone call from Lee that they
missed while at the Dickinson dinner.

 

Date:  Wednesday, April 14, [1943] - view letter
Writer: Edna Minker  
Recipient: Lee Minker
Place: Wilmington, Delaware
Pleased with the letter they received from Lincoln. Talks to him about the schedule and his
studies. Asks about the food, has sent him a box with items he requested, sent him $10.

 

Date:  Sunday afternoon, April 18, 1943 - view letter
Writer: Edna Minker  
Recipient: Lee Minker
Place: Wilmington, Delaware
Made applesauce cookies. Arthur Stille is the first casualty from [Ferris] school, wounded in
North Africa.
Names: Steve Povlik, Arthur Stille

 

Date:  Thursday, April 22, 1943 - view letter
Writer: Edna Minker  
Recipient: Lee Minker
Place: Wilmington, Delaware
Edna is busy housecleaning. She is nostalgic for last year when there was no war, remembering
that they drove him and a friend back to Dickinson [College] after the Easter break. Ralph Sr. is
speaking at Hanover church, wonders about his Easter services. With some disgust, reports on
the politics of appointments to the OPA. Responds to his question about the garden.
Names: Philip Todd [ Army Air Corps, killed, Jan 24, 1943] Jay Bright [Dickinson College]

 

Date:  Monday morning, [April 26, 1943] - view letter
Writer: Edna Minker  
Recipient: Lee Minker
Place: Wilmington, Delaware
Letter to Bernice was a nice Easter present; Edna especially misses her son on holidays.
Responds to his report of scarlet fever outbreak in Lincoln. Hopes the swimming instructors help
him to learn. Tells him not to send flowers for her birthday [May 10] as they are expensive. The
entire family shares each letter.

 

Date:  Thursday, April 29, 1943 - view letter
Writer: Edna Minker  
Recipient: Lee Minker
Place: Wilmington, Delaware
Asks about the Easter package they sent him. Report on the weather and the garden. The war
has taken its toll on high school life, with fewer good times for the seniors. Shirley’s senior prom
will be quite informal. She is concerned because Shirley has no plans. His letter has relieved her
anxiety about the scarlet fever outbreak.

 

Date:  Wednesday morning, [May 5, 1943] - view letter
Writer: Edna Minker  
Recipient: Lee Minker
Place: Wilmington, Delaware
Bishop Leonard [Methodist Church] killed in a plane crash in Iceland. Report on church
conferences. Blackout announced while they were at the movies. Mailed his box of requested
items.

 

Date:  Saturday, May 8, 1943 - view letter
Writer: Edna Minker  
Recipient: Lee Minker
Place: Wilmington, Delaware
Gardening was a shared interest, a way for Lee and his mother to connect; she reports on the
tulips and asks his advice. Celebrating Mother’s Day and her birthday [May 10] . Reports on
social and work activities and a comment about the war news from Africa.

 

Date:  [Monday], May 10, 1943 - view letter
Writer: Edna Minker  
Recipient: Lee Minker
Place: Wilmington, Delaware
Thanks him for her birthday gift. Report of family activities and the Blue Rocks.

 

Date:  Friday, May 14, 1943 - view letter
Writer: Edna Minker  
Recipient: Lee Minker
Place: Wilmington, Delaware
Edna is comforted by the phone call on Tuesday.  Daddy is taking Governor to Blue Rocks opening game.  Went to Elkton, MD to assist with aftermath of explosion [at Triumph Co.] which killed more than twenty girls from WVA.
Names: Governor [Walter W. Bacon]

 

Date:  [Monday], May 17, 1943 - view letter
Writer: Edna Minker  
Recipient: Lee Minker
Place: Wilmington, Delaware
Bernice is using the typewriter, enjoying his letters.  Closing week of school.  Chapel service, there are 118 boys they know in the service.  Talks about family friends who came to visit.  Mailed him a large envelope of clippings, Shirely is graduating from high school.  Cousin Margaret has finished nursing training.

 

Date:  Friday, May 21, 1943 - view letter
Writer: Edna Minker  
Recipient: Lee Minker
Place: Wilmington, Delaware
Got his letter and pictures. There is a ban on unnecessary driving so Ralph Sr. is not going to
commencement at Dickinson. Howell Wilkins is working at the [Ferris] School. Army engineers
are talking about taking over the grounds of the school. Gives him information about her work in
the garden.
Names: Howell Wilkins

 

Date:  Sunday afternoon, [May 23, 1943] - view letter
Writer: Edna Minker  
Recipient: Lee Minker
Place: Wilmington, Delaware
Pleased that he is making such a good record, supposes he has had the thrill of his first flight.
When shopping in Philadelphia Edna and Shirley bumped in Leland Incho, who expects to leave
soon for the service. Ongoing report of others going into the service. Received an invitation to a
graduation May 31.
Names: Leland Incho [reported as prisoner of war in early 1945], Ben Tisdale

 

Date:  Wednesday afternon, [May 26, 1943] - view letter
Writer: Edna Minker  
Recipient: Lee Minker
Place: Wilmington, Delaware
Asks what he would like for his birthday. Friends of his stopped in to see her. Police were
stopping all cars last night, drivers had their coupons taken from them because there is no
legitimate excuse for driving. Asks how he felt after his first flight. Mentions the death of David
Reese [May 24, 1943].

 

Date:  Sunday, May 30, 1943 - view letter
Writer: Edna Minker  
Recipient: Lee Minker
Place: Wilmington, Delaware
Compliments Lee on the letter he sent to Shirley describing his first flight, Ralph Sr. shared it with
the governor and others. Love and good luck in your flying.

 

In mid-June, Lee Minker left Lincoln, NE for the classification center at Santa Ana, CA. He
turned 19 on June 16. There is a gap in letters when Lee transitions to a new base.

Date:  Monday, June 14, 1943 - view letter
Writer: Edna Minker  
Recipient: Lee Minker
Place: Wilmington, DelawareEdna tells Lee that his mother is now a “working lady” as daddy’s secretary left to join the WAVES, so she is going to fill in even though his sisters don’t like it. Connects him to home by
describing the weather, all the goings-on at church and with his sisters. Sent him a box of cookies
for his birthday. Hope next year he can celebrate at home. [Lee was at home briefly for his 20th
birthday in 1944, shortly before departing for combat.]

 

Date:  Monday, June 21, 1943 - view letter
Writer: Edna Minker  
Recipient: Lee Minker
Place: Wilmington, Delaware
All of the family waited for a phone call from him, received snapshots of him with the plane.
Thinks she will like working as his dad’s secretary. Report from Howell Wilkins that the fraternity
houses [Dickinson College] are nearly all vacant. Writes to assure him about the worries he
expressed over classification school knowing that his heart is set on being a pilot.
Names: Irving Bodycott, Howell Wilkins [Dickinson College]

 

Date:  Monday, morning June 28, 1943 - view letter
Writer: Edna Minker  
Recipient: Lee Minker
Place: Wilmington, Delaware
Had been hoping to get a call until his letters came. Wilmington had a blackout and an air raid
test; Ralph Sr. is the civil defense warden so had to participate. Edna’s conflict over his training,
learning to fly – and to kill --and the war surfaces. She prays for him every day. Saw Julia[Taylor]
in church. The Blue Rocks are slipping in the standings.

 

Date:  Wednesday, June 30, 1943 - view letter
Writer: Edna Minker  
Recipient: Lee Minker
Place: Wilmington, Delaware
Ralph Sr. left for NY, staff is off so she is responsible for the school. Describes family activities.
Discouraged because Shirley isn’t showing interest in anything, so they are uncertain about her
future. His suitcase has arrived. Three African American boys got away so things are hectic.

 

Date:  Tuesday, July 6, 1943 - view letter
Writer: Edna Minker  
Recipient: Lee Minker
Place: Wilmington, Delaware
Shirley is going to work at the airport. Family activities, saw Julia [Taylor], said good-bye to a
friend leaving for the service. Has to do monthly report for the board.
Names: Francis McEnery

 

Date:  Thursday, July 8, [1943] - view letter
Writer: Edna Minker  
Recipient: Lee Minker
Place: Wilmington, Delaware
Anxious to hear about the 2 weeks of tests. Shirley happy with her job and the money she is
earning. Report on several friends and activities at [Grace] church.

 

Date:  Friday, July 9, 1943 - view letter
Writer: Edna Minker  
Recipient: Lee Minker
Place: Wilmington, Delaware
Happy with the news that Lee was classified as a pilot because he wanted it so much. Teases him
about the early schedule as he was difficult to get up in time for school. Both his sisters are now
working.

 

Date:  Monday, July 12, [1943] - view letter
Writer: Edna Minker  
Recipient: Lee Minker
Place: Wilmington, Delaware
Haven’t heard from him. Tried to get him a scrapbook, but none to be had. The church is
dedicating a plaque to the boys and girls in service. Knows he may be too busy to write.

 

Date:  [Wednesday], July 14, 1943 - view letter
Writer: Edna Minker  
Recipient: Lee Minker
Place: Wilmington, Delaware
Note included with an envelope of clippings. Shirley would like to take a course as a medical
secretary so they will look for a school.

 

Date:  [Friday], July 16, 1943 - view letter
Writer: Edna Minker  
Recipient: Lee Minker
Place: Wilmington, Delaware
Wonders about the climate in California. Report of social activities, no longer has time to bake.
Anxiously awaiting his pictures, asks questions about pay and insurance policy.

 

Date:  Tuesday morning, [July 20,?1943] - view letter
Writer: Edna Minker  
Recipient: Lee Minker
Place: Wilmington, Delaware
Ralph Sr gave blood at the Red Cross.  Difficult to get the rationing coupons they need for oil at the [Ferris] school.  They can't get anyone to direct sports at the school so he is playing ball with the boys.  Asks about California.

 

Date:  Wednesday morning, [July 22,?1943] - view letter
Writer: Edna Minker  
Recipient: Lee Minker
Place: Wilmington, Delaware
Glad to receive his letter. Thieves stole gas coupons from the Wilmington Ration Board office.
Names: Bill Virgin [Dickinson]

 

Date:  Monday, July 26, [1943] - view letter
Writer: Edna Minker  
Recipient: Lee Minker
Place: Wilmington, Delaware
Responds to the news from his letter at Santa Ana. Expresses hope that they will soon be
celebrating the downfall of Hitler with news from Italy and a possible separate peace. Planted
poppy seeds in his section of the garden which are coming up. Thinking of him as he completes
tests, especially handling a machine gun.

 

Date:  Wednesday afternoon, [July 28, 1943] - view letter
Writer: Edna Minker  
Recipient: Lee Minker
Place: Wilmington, Delaware
Very busy at Ferris School. News of Reed Geralds. Death of Mr. Porter, painter at Ferris. Saw
Stage Door Canteen with grandmother and Shirley. Tonight is final program at Vacation Bible
School, Bernice is teaching.

 

Date:  Friday morning, [July 30, 1943] - view letter
Writer: Edna Minker  
Recipient: Lee Minker
Place: Wilmington, Delaware
The Blue Rocks are having an up and down season. Now that people know she is working at the
[Ferris] school, she gets calls at home. Bernice finished up vacation Bible school. They are
sending pictures of family and the dog, Ginger.

 

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