Folder 13: Edna Minker, January - July, 1944

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

Lee Minker is in Advanced Flight School in Pecos, Texas from January 4, 1944 to March 12, 1944


Date:  [Tuesday], January 4, 1944 - view letter
Writer: Edna Minker  
Recipient: Lee Minker
Place: Wilmington, Delaware
The letter is a report on post-holiday activities: Shirley returning to college, everyone liked the pictures he sent, Bernice is now a cheerleader at A.I. [du Pont High School], did their Christmas boxes arrive?
Names: Uncle Marion [Minker], Drs. Edgar and Elizabeth Miller, Doris Maxwell’s parents, the [George] Herings. 

 

Date:  [Wednesday], January 5, 1944 - view letter
Writer: Edna Minker  
Recipient: Lee Minker
Place: Wilmington, Delaware
Received his letters with plans about graduation and uniform.  Asks if he can get a longer furlough than ten days. Shirley was hurt in gym class. Against her wishes she is the president of [women’s society] again as she doesn’t have time.  Pleased he is in the final days of training, asks questions about his letter. 
Names: Mason Robertson [sailor]

 

Date:  [Friday], January 7, 1944 - view letter
Writer: Edna Minker  
Recipient: Lee Minker
Place: Wilmington, Delaware
Received his letters with plans about graduation and uniform.  Asks if he can get a longer furlough than ten days. Shirley was hurt in gym class. Against her wishes she is the president of [women’s society] again as she doesn’t have time.  Pleased he is in the final days of training, asks questions about his letter. 
Names: Tony Bright [a Ferris School boy now in the army]

 

Date:  [Saturday], January 8, 1944 - view letter
Writer: Edna Minker  
Recipient: Lee Minker
Place: Wilmington, Delaware
Describes bad weather.  Edna comments on the president’s state of the nation message requesting more troops and the political discussion over compulsory peacetime service.  They are frantic for help at the school, reports on staff problems.  Working on a report for the governor.

 

Date:  [Wednesday], January 12, 1944 - view letter
Writer: Edna Minker  
Recipient: Lee Minker
Place: Wilmington, Delaware
Reminds Lee to write thank you notes for Christmas gifts. Relaxed by going to a concert with the Philadelphia Orchestra, Bernice critiqued the singer. Reports the serious car accident by A.I. [du Pont High School] students had after a sports event.

 

Date:  [Monday], January 17, 1944 - view letter
Writer: Edna Minker  
Recipient: Lee Minker
Place: Wilmington, Delaware
Edna describes a winter storm, Bernice is sledding as she draws of picture for Lee of life at home. Air raid test was called so Ralph Sr. [a civil defense warden] dashed to the control center.  Shortage of doctors, their friends Dr. Wagner and Dr. Edgar are busy. Julia wrote to thank her for doing Lee’s Christmas shopping for her.  Asks if he gets additional time for traveling when he is on leave.   Shirley has an active social life. 
Names: Julia [Taylor] Dr. Edgar [Miller], Dr. Wagner

 

Date:  [Thursday], January 20, 1944 - view letter
Writer: Edna Minker  
Recipient: Lee Minker
Place: Wilmington, Delaware
Went to see Madame Curie, daddy got tickets for a new show.  Shirley and Bernice’s activities.  Admiral Halsey spoke at the 4th War Loan Drive. Trying to figure his uniform request for “pink” pants, talked to some flyers.
Names: Admiral Halsey

 

Date:  [Monday], January 24, 1944 - view letter
Writer: Edna Minker  
Recipient: Lee Minker
Place: Wilmington, Delaware
Daddy broadcasts the Daily Devotions Hour. Saw a play Decisions about race prejudice in America. Reports sports scores and Ferris School activities.

 

Date:  Friday, January 28, 1944 - view letter
Writer: Edna Minker  
Recipient: Lee Minker
Place: Wilmington, Delaware
New army plan to curtail training. Discusses issues of who is to serve. Days are crowded, would like more programming for the boys [at Ferris School].  Asks about advanced flying training.

 

Date:  [Monday], January 31, 1944 - view letter
Writer: Edna Minker  
Recipient: Lee Minker
Place: Wilmington, Delaware
Plans for graduating and coming home.  Problems with the staff at the school. 

 

Date:  [Friday], February 4, 1944 - view letter
Writer: Edna Minker  
Recipient: Lee Minker
Place: Wilmington, Delaware
Problems getting phone calls through and getting film. Report of meeting General Irwin who had been at Bataan and Corregidor. Reports on Shirley and Bernice.  Teases Lee about being best man in a friend’s wedding.  Edna is pushing for Lee to get more time for the furlough.  She heard about a boy getting transition time for travel which extended his leave, asks Lee to look into it.
Names: General Irwin, [George] Hering

 

Date:  [Tuesday], February 8, 1944 - view letter
Writer: Edna Minker  
Recipient: Lee Minker
Place: Wilmington, Delaware
Bernice was able to find film.  Shirley is tired from studying and dating on weekends. The excitement over the furlough grows: Another reminder of the need to have travel time and plans for being at home. 
Names: Ross Pillsbury, Jim Broad

 

Date:  Wednesday, February 9, [1944] - view letter
Writer: Edna Minker  
Recipient: Lee Minker
Place: Wilmington, Delaware
Brief note on trains and planes as a way of getting home. 

 

Date:  [Friday], February 11, 1944 - view letter
Writer: Edna Minker  
Recipient: Lee Minker
Place: Wilmington, Delaware
Edna’s love shines through this letter as she thanks him for sending her a valentine.  Snowy weather, Bernice has another cold.  She is getting more excited each day looking forward to the furlough.

 

Date:  Monday, February 14, 1944 - view letter
Writer: Edna Minker  
Recipient: Lee Minker
Place: Wilmington, Delaware
Winter weather, more travel ideas, Shirley’s social life.  Musical events and news of friends.   Grandmother Minker and lemon meringue pie bring notes of Lee’s childhood. 

 

Date:  [Tuesday], February 15, 1944 - view letter
Writer: Edna and Ralph L. Minker, Sr.
Recipient: Lee Minker
Place: Wilmington, Delaware
Note from dad about finding a plane to travel home. His letter was late so she didn’t send roses to Julia. Lee will be able to get summer uniforms in Wilmington.  News that married men are now being called up including those with children.  Ben [Johns] will be home when he is on leave.

 

Date:  Thursday, February 17, 1944 - view letter
Writer: Edna Minker  
Recipient: Lee Minker
Place: Wilmington, Delaware
Got Julia [Taylor] chocolates as a belated Valentine gift. The family eagerness over his coming time at home is reflected in the continual suggestions about travel. Question about a boy who “washed” out of training.

 

Date:  [Monday], February 21, 1944 - view letter
Writer: Edna Minker  
Recipient: Lee Minker
Place: Wilmington, Delaware
Family is going to New York for a voice coach to hear Bernice.  Shirley calls home, she is homesick.  Report that fraternity houses at Dickinson [College] are a wreck. Saw her first Bombers game [basketball team]. News of various people who are away in the service. Bernice is to lead a discussion at a conference on post-war planning.
Names: Howell Wilkins

 

Date:  Wednesday, February 23, [1944] - view letter
Writer: Edna Minker  
Recipient: Lee Minker
Place: Wilmington, Delaware
Detailed report of the trip to NYC. Ralph Sr. is on a committee to oversee inductees at Fort Dix [New Jersey].  Edna is concerned that the draft is now taking married men with children. Hopes he does not have too much flying crammed into his last days. 

 

Date:  [Tuesday], February 29, 1944 - view letter
Writer: Edna Minker  
Recipient: Lee Minker
Place: Wilmington, Delaware
Lee had called home on Friday, discussion of difficulties with travel arrangements.  They are going to hear a speaker on keeping Palestine for the Jews, she is eager to hear him. Another engagement is announced.  Edna is anticipating when he will be home. 

 

Date:  Friday, March 3, 1944 - view letter
Writer: Edna Minker  
Recipient: Lee Minker
Place: Wilmington, Delaware
Edna is counting the days to her son’s return to Wilmington. She responds to his concerns about  possibly not graduating.   News of friends in the service. 
Name: Creighty Miller [football star] 

 

Date:  [Monday], March 6, 1944 - view letter
Writer: Edna Minker  
Recipient: Lee Minker
Place: Wilmington, Delaware
Another letter where Edna is counting the days to Lee’s return.  Bernice had surgery to cut a cord on her tongue which would impact her singing. She is trying to manage daddy’s schedule.  Encloses a check, admonishing him to watch his money traveling home. Will be thinking of him on Sunday when he graduates. 

 

Date:  [Wednesday], March 8, 1944 - view letter
Writer: Edna Minker  
Recipient: Lee Minker
Place: Wilmington, Delaware
A wonderfully supportive letter responding to his comments about the jitters, acknowledges how much alike they are. Plans for activities when he is home.  Shirley called, a boyfriend, Fred is due to leave for the service. They are not allowed to send a telegram of congratulations but will be thinking about him on Sunday.  

 

Lee Minker graduated from Flight School on March 12, 1944.  He arrived home on leave on approximately March 14, leaving again a week later for Transitional Flight Training in the B-17 in Roswell, NM. 

 

Date:  Wednesday, March 22, 1944 - view letter
Writer: Edna Minker  
Recipient: Lee Minker
Place: Wilmington, Delaware
The moving opening of this letter conveys all the emotions of mothers with a child in the service. The week went by so quickly, they are proud of him and miss him. [Lee had taken the train to Chicago.]  News of friends in the service.  She hopes he will be able to come back again soon. 

 

Date:  [Sunday], March 26, 1944 - view letter
Writer: Edna Minker  
Recipient: Lee Minker
Place: Wilmington, Delaware
Edna is wistful about last Sunday when Lee and Shirley were with her in church and the large family dinner.  Daddy went to the Bombers [basketball] game.  More reports on Wilmington boys in the service. Discussion of paper work for a savings account.  Mentions damage to the car.  Again writes of their love and support.  
Names: Emily Sanders

 

Lee Minker arrived in Roswell, New Mexico for training in the B-17 bomber on March 23, 1944.

Date:  [Thursday], March 30, 1944 - view letter
Writer: Edna Minker  
Recipient: Lee Minker
Place: Wilmington, Delaware
Relieved to received his letter from Roswell. News of a friend who is a POW who had been a gunner on a bomber.   Responds to his description of physical training and flying.  She wishes they were closer as he does cross-country training.  Shirley will arrive home next week.  No chocolates available in the store. Wonders about the impact of the B-17 training on him.  
Names: Ramon Harding – a prisoner of war.

 

Date:  Undated cablegram [circa April 1, 1944] - view cablegram
Writer: Edna Minker  
Recipient: Lee Minker
Place: Wilmington, Delaware
Asks for measurements for clothes.

 

Date:  [Tuesday], April 4, 1944 - view letter
Writer: Edna Minker  
Recipient: Lee Minker
Place: Wilmington, Delaware
Impact of rationing as Edna tries to find the kind of chocolates he likes to send for Easter.  They have a guest at home and Edna is running the office, always in the effort to make life easier for Ralph Minker, Sr.  Reports on his sisters, concert, weather, baseball.  Prays for the war to be over and her son to be safely beside her in church.

 

Date:  [Wednesday], April 5, 1944 - view letter
Writer: Edna Minker  
Recipient: Lee Minker
Place: Wilmington, Delaware
Snow just before the Easter holiday. The store lost his measurements, thus the wire. Will send clothes and other items in a few days.  Mr. Hamm [Ferris School staff] is trying to get five of the boys into the navy. Reports on the accidental bombing of a town in Switzerland.  [April 1, 1944 Schaffhausen] News that Wendell Wilke will not campaign for the presidential nomination, Dewey will run and Roosevelt will be re-elected. 

 

Date:  Monday, April 10, 1944 - view letter
Writer: Edna Minker  
Recipient: Lee Minker
Place: Wilmington, Delaware
Edna especially misses her son on holidays.  She wore a new coat with gardenias he sent and a pair of his wings.  Her poignant thanks for the flowers communicates a great deal about their relationship. Description of the Easter service and the music which included his sisters. [Lee evidently had an accident with the car while on leave.]  Discussion of his savings, the car accident, and investing for the future.  Saw Song of Bernadette.  Acknowledges the strain Lee feels in flying a fortress[the Boeing B-17].  Concerned he is not going to gain weight. 

 

Date:  Wednesday, April 12, [1944] - view letter
Writer: Edna Minker  
Recipient: Lee Minker
Place: Wilmington, Delaware
A newsy letter of the school’s former secretary, Miss Horner, church meetings, events at Ferris School.  Sending him subscription to the newspaper. 
Names: Miss Horner

 

Date:  [Saturday],  April 15, 1944 - view letter
Writer: Edna Minker  
Recipient: Lee Minker
Place: Wilmington, Delaware
Received his letter in 4 days.  Report of family, the garden, and activities at the [Ferris] school.

 

Date:  Thursday,  April 20, [1944] - view letter
Writer: Edna Minker  
Recipient: Lee Minker
Place: Wilmington, Delaware
Apologies for not writing as days are busy with conference of social workers.  Daddy is out every night of the week on business and civilian defense.   News of Shirley and Bernice.  Asks about his flying. 

 

Date:  Friday, April 21, 1944 - view letter
Writer: Edna Minker  
Recipient: Lee Minker
Place: Wilmington, Delaware
Lee’s report of the grueling work of flying the B-17 has Edna wondering at the pace and hoping he will be home again before the next change of bases.  Acknowledges how much help Grandmother Jones [her mother] is at home while she is working.  Describes Shirley’s desire for more voice training but wants her to have secretarial training.  Motherly advice to Lee about getting rest. 

 

Date:  [Tuesday], April 25, 1944 - view letter
Writer: Edna Minker  
Recipient: Lee Minker
Place: Wilmington, Delaware
Talk about D-Day has everyone anxious.  The documentary on the Memphis Belle by the war department is being shown this week; friends saw it. Sent a box of cookies, celebrated grandmother [Jones] birthday.  Edna then wonders about her future at age 73 with Lee’s children playing around her knee.  Her despair about the war continuing on connects with how much she is thinking of him.

 

Date:  [Thursday], April 27, 1944 - view letter
Writer: Edna Minker  
Recipient: Lee Minker
Place: Wilmington, Delaware
Presume he is busy getting flying hours in as they have not heard from him.   Edna’s interest in the future after the war is shown as they attended a talk on “The Six Pillars of Peace.”  News from the Ferris School and his sisters. 

 

Date:  Saturday, April 29  - view letter
Writer: Edna Minker  
Recipient: Lee Minker
Place: Wilmington, Delaware
Opened the letter he wrote to Bernice. Boys from the Ferris School went to the Marine Terminal to work unloading due to the shortage of help. Wishing Wilmington was on his cross-country training.  More reports of general shortage of help.  The clothing store is not able to get the shoes he needs. 

 

Date:  [Tuesday], May 2, 1944  - view letter
Writer: Edna Minker  
Recipient: Lee Minker
Place: Wilmington, Delaware
A 4-engine plane flew over the school, causing Edna to wish it were Lee coming home.  Edna describes the activities of the school and family, painting a picture that brings home to her son.

 

Date:  [Friday], May 5, 1944  - view letter
Writer: Edna Minker  
Recipient: Lee Minker
Place: Wilmington, Delaware
Responds to his letter of April 30 about getting a crew and asks if he will get another leave. Sending his [identification] bracelet which had to have links taken out.  Bernice has gone on her first train trip traveling by herself, to visit Shirley in Williamsport.  Their mutual love of gardening is shared when Edna describes the plants in bloom [at Ferris School].
Name: Bill Hyde

 

Date:  [Monday], May 8, 1944  - view letter
Writer: Edna Minker  
Recipient: Lee Minker
Place: Wilmington, Delaware
Edna and Ralph Sr. stopped in Carlisle [location of Dickinson College] on their way to pick up Bernice.  Edna is thinking about Lee who is training for combat rather than on the college campus.  News of her birthday and family visits.  She is busy as the staff at the [Ferris] School are out of the office.  

 

Date:  [Wednesday], May 10, 1944  - view letter
Writer: Edna Minker  
Recipient: Lee Minker
Place: Wilmington, Delaware
The governor will be at the dinner for the school’s spring festival.  She describes her birthday gifts and family news.  Disappointed they did not get to see the documentary film, Memphis Belle.  Wishing he could be with her in church on Mother’s Day as Bernice is singing.  

 

Date:  [Tuesday], May 16, 1944  - view letter
Writer: Edna Minker  
Recipient: Lee Minker
Place: Wilmington, Delaware
An early morning phone call from Lee, mixed message from Edna who is longing for a visit but says not to worry if he can’t get home.  Reports on Ralph Sr.’s speaking schedule and comments on the local politics and lack of cooperation. Provides a financial report of his savings. A new ruling on ministerial training will limit the Protestants in training for the church.  
Names: Frank Horner, Howell Wilkins

 

Date:  [Tuesday], May 23, 1944  - view letter
Writer: Edna Minker  
Recipient: Lee Minker
Place: Wilmington, Delaware
Reports of family acquaintances.  Grandmother Minker is going to have surgery.  Change in ruling about ministerial training.  Report on the state of the garden and the new rose bushes which are not showing signs of growth.  A line of support for Lee as he completes the demanding training in the B-17.  
Names: Howell Wilkins

 

Date:  Thursday, May 25, [1944]  - view letter
Writer: Edna Minker  
Recipient: Lee Minker
Place: Wilmington, Delaware
Grandmother Minker is fine after the operation. Both black and white boys from Ferris School  Glee Club have been invited to a concert.  Her work in the office is piling up. 

 

Date: Memorial Day, [Tuesday, May 30, 1944]  - view letter
Writer: Edna Minker  
Recipient: Lee Minker
Place: Wilmington, Delaware
Bernice marched in the Memorial Day Parade with the AWVS [American Women’s Voluntary Services] There were 7 runaways from the school  Saturday night. Went to Williamsport to pick Shirley up from college. Proud of Shirley who received several prizes.  She has conflicted feelings about being elected to the Council of Girl Scouts.   

 

Date: [Friday], June 2, 1944  - view letter
Writer: Edna Minker  
Recipient: Lee Minker
Place: Wilmington, Delaware
Edna is feeling frustrated, she can’t get everything done. Bernice is taking exams, Edna is concerned that she “does not work overtime.”  Frustration continues with the “madhouse” of proms, commencements, grandmother Minker at home with them.  Bounces back with statement of good health and “I can take it” similar to the encouragement she has given Lee.
Names: Ben Johns, Howell Wilkins

 

Date: Monday, June 5, [1944]  - view letter
Writer: Edna Minker  
Recipient: Lee Minker
Place: Wilmington, Delaware
Friend of Shirley’s is staying with them, describes the social activities. Shirley and Bernice are going to apply for work at All American Aviation.  Both Shirley and Bernice were accepted for the Brandywiners, will be doing weekly rehearsals. Asks how much he is flying. 
Names: Gladys Meyers, Emily Sanders

 

Date: Thursday,  June 8, [1944]  - view letter
Writer: Edna Minker  
Recipient: Lee Minker
Place: Wilmington, Delaware
The reports of D-day landing have her feeling apprehensive and she wonders what information they get.  Attended a bond rally, the board is at the school today.  Cheers Lee by describing what is blooming in the garden.  Sending him a box of food to remember his birthday, does not want to load him down as he is going overseas. Wonders if he could spend the day at home. Hopeful the war will not continue much longer. 

 

Date: [Friday],  June 9, 1944  - view letter
Writer: Edna Minker  
Recipient: Lee Minker
Place: Wilmington, Delaware
Short note that the box of goodies for his birthday was mailed.  Hard for Edna to be apart from her son on his birthday, [June 16]. 

 

Lt. Lee Minker apparently had a short leave in mid-June on his way to Tampa, Florida. There is no record of it other than Edna’s letter of June 28 and one on May 30, 1945 stating that he dropped in on them for his birthday [June 16].  

Date: [Wednesday],  June 28, 1944  - view letter
Writer: Edna Minker  
Recipient: Lee Minker
Place: Wilmington, Delaware
Family went to Blue Rocks game, Edna stayed home to relax.  She is delighted that Lee was home and then warns him about getting too much Florida sun. 

 

Date: Monday, July 3, 1944  - view letter
Writer: Edna Minker  
Recipient: Lee Minker
Place: Wilmington, Delaware
Responding to Lee’s first letter from Tampa where he is living in a tent.  Description of their day-to-day life at home: movies, the garden, grandmother. She is now district chairman for the next War Fund drive. 

 

Date: [Friday], July 7, 1944  - view letter
Writer: Edna Minker  
Recipient: Lee Minker
Place: Wilmington, Delaware
Lee is on his way to Gulfport, MS.  Edna will give a pair of his wings to Julia [Taylor] for her birthday. Report of boys home from the service. Waiting for the family dog, Ginger, to give birth. Surprised that ants got into the last box of food she sent.  Waiting eagerly for the next letter with news about the crew.
Note: 2nd paragraph of original is blurred.
Names: Julia Taylor, Billy Baird, Harry Connelly

 

Date: Monday, July 17, 1944  - view letter
Writer: Edna Minker  
Recipient: Lee Minker
Place: Wilmington, Delaware
Sent his box of clothing, report of a family wedding and a family member who is now a 2nd Lt in the Army Nurses Corps. Going to a concert, describes Negro soloists. Wishes he could go with them.  Later she reports on the concert, misses his being there with the family.  Asks that he write to a friend who lost her husband. 
Names: Todd Duncan, Ann Brown

 

Date: Saturday, July 22, [1944]  - view letter
Writer: Edna Minker  
Recipient: Lee Minker
Place: Wilmington, Delaware
Edna congratulates him on the solo flight with the crew.  The news of Germany [the attempted assassination of Hitler] leads her to be hopeful the war will be over by Christmas.  She is reluctant to be too optimistic. Report on Ginger’s puppies, she does not want to keep one of them as she is busy in the office.  Advises him to keep the moth flakes in the pocket of his clothes. 

 

Date: [Monday], July 24, 1944  - view letter
Writer: Edna Minker  
Recipient: Lee Minker
Place: Wilmington, Delaware
She is working in the office, made blackberry jelly, and is helping Bernice make a dress.  Report on their cold summer supper. Went to the Officer’s Club at Ft. du Pont, 2000 German prisoners are there, some serving as waiters. 

 

Date: [Monday], July 31, 1944  - view letter
Writer: Edna Minker  
Recipient: Lee Minker
Place: Wilmington, Delaware
His sisters are singing with the Brandywiners. Reacts to his news of flying training. Delaware reached its war bond quota.  Report on the puppies.

 
 
 

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