Folder 16: Edna Minker, May - October, 1945

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


Date:  [Tuesday], May 1, 1945 - view V-Mail
Writer: Edna Minker  
Recipient: Lee Minker
Place: Wilmington, Delaware
Hopeful over the coming end of the war in Europe while worried over his fatigue from flying. Recognizes some men will be shipped directly to the Pacific. Praises him, hoping it will be over soon. Report on the family.
Names: William Ulrich [Lee saw him in London]

 

Date:  [Friday], May 4, 1945 - view V-Mail
Writer: Edna Minker  
Recipient: Lee Minker
Place: Wilmington, Delaware
Quite excited to get a call from Olaf Larsen [Lee’s radio operator] who was in NY  Sports news about the Blue Rocks. A postscript to the letter with war news. 
Names: Olaf Larsen [radio operator of the Blue Hen Chick.]

 

Date:  [Monday], May 7, 1945 - view letter
Writer: Edna Minker  
Recipient: Lee Minker
Place: Wilmington, Delaware
Victory in Europe at last!    Encloses a hymn by Dr. Stidger on the work ahead.  The most reflective letter in the collection as Edna struggles with what her son has had to do at such a young age and how the years are racing by, she is nearly 50.   She is deeply moved by the Mother’s Day card he sent. 
Names: Leland Inscho [POW], Bob Durham [killed in action]

 

Date:  [Thursday], May 10, 1945 - view V-Mail
Writer: Edna Minker  
Recipient: Lee Minker
Place: Wilmington, Delaware
Visit from a buddy who thought Lee would be home by now.  Going out to dinner for her 50th birthday. 
Names: Bob Casel

 

Date:  [Monday], May 14, 1945 - view letter
Writer: Edna Minker  
Recipient: Lee Minker
Place: Wilmington, Delaware
Looking for college for Bernice, surprised that so many girls are applying to junior college. Adding up his score [number of points to be eligible to come home].  Lee, Shirley, and Bernice are all away from home, her first Mother’s Day alone.  Should they send a box for his birthday? [June 16]

 

Date:  [Wednesday], May 16, 1945 - view letter
Writer: Edna Minker  
Recipient: Lee Minker
Place: Wilmington, Delaware
His sisters are trying out for solos with Brandywiners. Hoping Bernice is accepted at Centenary [junior college].  Planes are flying low overhead, her eagerness at his return is seen as she jumps up to see each of them. 

 

Date:  [Saturday], May 19, 1945 - view letter
Writer: Edna Minker  
Recipient: Lee Minker
Place: Wilmington, Delaware
Full day of meetings [a women’s Christian society] for Edna.  Various graduation activities.  Chaplain Carpenter was in Paris for VE Day.  Haven’t heard from Lee in 2 weeks. 

 

Date:  Monday morning,  May 20, [1945] - view letter
Writer: Edna Minker  
Recipient: Lee Minker
Place: Wilmington, Delaware
Graduation at Ferris school, wedding of a several friends.  Hoping to hear from Olaf [Larsen], still no letter from Lee. 
Names: Bill Johns, Ben Johns, Dr. Long [President of Dickinson College]

 

Date:  [Thursday], May 24, 1945 - view letter
Writer: Edna Minker  
Recipient: Lee Minker
Place: Wilmington, Delaware
Relief at hearing from him.  Wishing he was among the first returning from the 8th Air Force. Shirley busy with graduation activities. Going to dinner at the Young Men’s Hebrew Association.  Embarrassed by his questions about the garden as she hasn’t had the time; with him on hand to supervise they will do a new layout.  Wonders the lull in activity is hard for him.
Names: Walter From, Howell Wilkins

 

Date:  Saturday night,  May 26, 1945 - view letter
Writer: Edna Minker  
Recipient: Lee Minker
Place: Williamsport, Pennsylvania
The family is in Williamsport for Shirley’s graduation; she graduated magna cum laude and received several prizes.  Speaker is the minister from Methodist Church in Carlisle when Edna and Ralph Sr. were at Dickinson. Thankful for her children and praying they will all be together soon.

 

Date:  [Monday],  May 28, 1945 - view letter
Writer: Edna Minker  
Recipient: Lee Minker
Place: Wilmington, Delaware
Detailed description of the people and events at graduation. Was not complete because Lee was not there. Mrs. Inscho reports that Leland has been liberated from a German prison.  Olaf Larsen [Lee’s radioman] wrote that he cannot get away.  Report that 8th Air Force is going to Japan, many rumors about peace.  Bernice is accepted into Centenary Jr. College. Want to send him something special for his 21st birthday, but unsure of what he wants.  Can he tell them his plans?
Names: Leland Inscho [Wilmington], Olaf Larsen [crew of the Blue Hen Chick]

 

Date:  [Wednesday,  May 30], Memorial Day, 1945 - view letter
Writer: Edna Minker  
Recipient: Lee Minker
Place: Wilmington, Delaware
Another Memorial Day and still at war, waiting for the defeat of Japan. Sending him cookies for his birthday, would be happy if he dropped in on them as he did last year.  Sugar rationing has been cut again.  Ralph Sr. going to Carlisle for his 25th class reunion. 

 

Date:  [Thursday], May 31, 1945 - view V-mail
Writer: Edna Minker  
Recipient: Lee Minker
Place: Wilmington, Delaware
Received letter that he is now a captain and expects to be home for a 30 day leave next month.  Hopeful he could be stationed at New Castle Air Base [Delaware]. 

 

Date:  [Tuesday], June 5, 1945 - view V-Mail
Writer: Edna Minker  
Recipient: Lee Minker
Place: Wilmington, Delaware
Shirley is home, learning to drive.  Bernice is graduating next week, several local boys are home on leave. 
Names: Bobby Booker, Bernie Grier

 

Date:  [Friday], June 8, 1945 - view letter
Writer: Edna Minker  
Recipient: Lee Minker
Place: Wilmington, Delaware
Saw teachers from Lee’s high school who were asking about him, warns he will be mobbed when he gets home.  His girlfriend Julia [Taylor] and his sisters have parts in Brandywiner’s Iolanthe, so he simply must be home by July. 

 

Date:  [Monday], June 11, 1945 - view V-Mail
Writer: Edna Minker  
Recipient: Lee Minker
Place: Wilmington, Delaware
Edna is happy to receive his cable that he will be home by July 4. [He was not.] News of others arriving home. She is speaking at the W.S.C. S. tonight.  Has bought [concert] series tickets expecting him to be home. 
Names: Howard Rhoades, Wally Wroten [Killed in Action, Oct. 24, 1944]

 

Date:  [Thursday, June 14, 1945] - view V-Mail
Writer: Edna Minker  
Recipient: Lee Minker
Place: Wilmington, Delaware
Bernice graduated from high school, had a ticket for him but he did not arrive. She is saddened that Carol Cohen cannot get into any college because she is Jewish. The eagerness for Lee to be home is in every letter. 
Names: Carol Cohen

 

Date:  [Saturday], June 16, 1945 - view V-Mail
Writer: Edna Minker  
Recipient: Lee Minker
Place: Wilmington, Delaware
Lee’s 21st birthday elicits happy memories, great pride, sadness that he is in the Army. They are grateful that he has been spared. [She recognizes that other families are not as fortunate.] Ordering tickets for the Brandywiners  in July expecting him to be home. 

 

Date:  Undated [Tuesday, June 19, 1945] - view V-Mail
Writer: Edna Minker  
Recipient: Lee Minker
Place: Wilmington, Delaware
Lee sent negatives in his letter to Grandmother Jones, they are eager to see the plane and the crew. Staff [Ferris School] took the boys in town to see the circus. Listened to Eisenhower on the radio. 
Names: General Eisenhower

 

Date:  [Friday], June 22, 1945 - view letter
Writer: Edna Minker  
Recipient: Lee Minker
Place: Wilmington, Delaware
Going away for a week, but will be called immediately if he comes home.  Likes the pictures of the Blue Hen that he sent. Edna’s anticipation at Lee’s homecoming is growing, counting the days. 

 

Date:  [Monday], July 2, 1945 - view letter
Writer: Edna Minker  
Recipient: Lee Minker
Place: Wilmington, Delaware
Deeply disappointed that he was not home when she returned from trip to Ocean Grove, letter lets them know he will be delayed another month.  On the trip back all the trains are crowded with servicemen; feels civilians should not be using the trains.  Edna has kept up with the Blue Rocks, knowing her son cared about sports.  His sisters are practicing for the Brandywiners performance.  Sorry she did not write last week, thought he was on his way home. 
Names: Bill Ulrich, Julia [Taylor], Phil Karl, John Pollard, Walter [From]

 

Date:  [Wednesday], July 4, 1945 - view letter (one of the few handwritten letters from Edna)
Writer: Edna Minker  
Recipient: Lee Minker
Place: Wilmington, Delaware
With planes overhead, thought he might be home, disappointed once again. Another runaway from the [Ferris] school. Her frustration with waiting comes out in a tease that he will be the last man to leave England.  Went to a fine concert by an infantry band as part of the 7th War Loan drive. They missed him especially today, know it is hard on him as well. 

 

Date: Friday, July 6, 1945 - view letter
Writer: Edna Minker  
Recipient: Lee Minker
Place: Wilmington, Delaware
Discussion of George[Wolf], boyfriend of Shirley’s.  Edna’s concern about the future is contained in her comments about Churchill; he has done a grand job, but doubts he has the outlook for postwar problems. 

 

Date: Sunday, July 8, 1945 - view letter
Writer: Edna Minker  
Recipient: Lee Minker
Place: Wilmington, Delaware
Problems with the boys at the [Ferris] school keep Ralph Sr. home from church, have hired some new staff. Holding a ticket for Lee for his sisters’ performance in Iolanthe. Shirley is applying for jobs in the medical field. Expects to be home every day to greet him.  
Names: 2nd Lt. Jimmy Goldey, Clyde England  

 

Date: [Tuesday], July 10, 1945 - view letter
Writer: Edna Minker  
Recipient: Lee Minker
Place: Wilmington, Delaware
People are admiring the pictures he sent. His sisters selected Julia’s [Taylor] birthday present.  Jobs for girls are harder to get than before, Shirley is going to work at the Delaware Hospital.

 

Date: [Friday], July 13, 1945 - view letter
Writer: Edna Minker  
Recipient: Lee Minker
Place: Wilmington, Delaware
Edna sets aside the time for a “talk” with Lee as she has done before.  Heard an outdoor concert of Verdi’s Requiem, a plane flew overhead and she thought of him and that he was not by her side.  A boy at the [Ferris] school was critically hurt in a fight, they could not get a night watchman; concerned because Ralph Sr. is getting the criticism for it. Bernice has not found a job. 

 

Date: [Saturday], July 14, 1945 - view letter
Writer: Edna Minker  
Recipient: Lee Minker
Place: Wilmington, Delaware
Friend heard that the last plane of the 8th AF left England, called to see if Lee was home. Windstorm did severe damage to the campus at the [Ferris] school. Shirley uses the Packard for work which eats up gas. 
Names: Charles Gibson, Howell Wilkins

 

Date: [Monday], July 16, 1945 - view letter
Writer: Edna Minker  
Recipient: Lee Minker
Place: Wilmington, Delaware
Edna is teaching summer school in Dover for the WSCS so not writing as often. Shirley and Bernice were featured in the newspaper as a sister act in Iolanthe

 

Date: Friday night, July 20, 1945 - view letter
Writer: Edna Minker  
Recipient: Lee Minker
Place: Wilmington, Delaware
One of the crew called while she was in Dover, invited him for dinner. A tease that grandmother Minker is practicing making Lee’s favorite dinner rolls to be ready for him.  The paper listed officers of the 8th air force who arrived on the Queen Mary.

 

Date: [Monday], July 23, 1945 - view letter
Writer: Edna Minker  
Recipient: Lee Minker
Place: Williamsport, Pennsylvania
Disappointed that Gullio from Lee’s crew was not able to make it down for dinner.  [Note: this man was probably a member of the ground crew.]  Civil defense commanders are coming to the school for dinner.  Life has been abnormal for so long, she is not sure she will know how to act. 

 

Date: Thursday,  August 16, 1945 - view letter
Writer: Edna Minker  
Recipient: Lee Minker
Place: Wilmington, Delaware
Lee had told them not to write, so there are no letters in early August.  A troopship, [Benjamin R. Milam] arrived in Boston with members of the 709th Bomb Group, they though he would be among them.  The news has finally come that the war is over, there is wild jubilation downtown.  Edna only wants to have her son by her side in church.  While celebrating peace, Edna is quite aware of the work that lies ahead. Acknowledges how terrible the atomic bomb is, but accepts the necessity.  As the final days drag on, she is encouraging to Lee as he is frustrated with the waiting.  Thankful he will soon be back in college. 

 

Date: Saturday, August 18, 1945 - view letter
Writer: Edna Minker  
Recipient: Lee Minker
Place: Wilmington, Delaware
The girls and friends went to Rehoboth, people are driving more now but cannot get tires.  Blue Rocks are winning again.  Bernice leaves in four weeks for junior college, afraid she will missing seeing her brother as he may not be home before then. 

 

Date: Monday, August 20, 1945 - view letter
Writer: Edna Minker  
Recipient: Lee Minker
Place: Wilmington, Delaware
Scanning the paper for news of soldiers’ return. Every Sunday, he will be home next week.  Discusses staff issues at the various cottages.  Ralph Sr. preached a good sermon [end of the war].

 

Date: [Tuesday], August 21, 1945 - view letter
Writer: Edna Minker  
Recipient: Lee Minker
Place: Wilmington, Delaware
News that Shirley is going to marry George Wolf. [She did not marry Wolf, rather J. Newton Hunsburger.]  They were a bit surprised as she had not been dating George for very long.  They will not marry until George finishes school.  Mentions Ben and Fred [other boyfriends] who may be disappointed.   Edna is unsettled by the unexpected news. 

 

Date: Friday, August 24, 1945 - view letter
Writer: Edna Minker  
Recipient: Lee Minker
Place: Wilmington, Delaware
Getting Bernice ready for school. Expecting Lee’s arrival to be her third surprise of the week; the war came to an end, Shirley is engaged, surely her son will be home!

 

Captain Ralph L. “Lee” Minker, Jr. returned to the U.S. on the Queen Elizabeth, arriving in New York Harbor on Friday, August 31, 1945. It took him several days to get to Wilmington.  On October 8, 1945 the Minkers drove their son to Dickinson College to return to his studies.  By the end of his military service, Lee Minker spent a total of two years and seven months in the U.S. Army Air Corps. 

Date: Wednesday afternoon, [October 9, 1945]  - view letter
Writer: Edna Minker  
Recipient: Lee Minker
Place: Wilmington, Delaware
Arrived home after taking Lee to Dickinson [College] to resume his education. Talks about decorating his room, Ralph Sr. thinks veterans should have rooms separate from the rest of the students.  Expresses her utter relief that Lee is in college, not in combat.  Always – how proud they are of him. 

 

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