Folder 25: Bernice Minker, January - August, 1945

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


Date: Monday  January 1, 1945 - view letter
Writer: Bernice Minker
Recipient: Lee Minker
Place: Wilmington, Delaware
Bernice describes a New Year's party full of soldiers and sailors from the previous year's class at A.I. du Pont.  She describes all of her Christmas presents, including the hat she bought with the money Lee sent.  Asks that he request stuff in his letters so they could send him "eats."  They are urging people to write on V-Mail.

 

Date: Monday  January 8, 1945 - view letter
Writer: Bernice Minker
Recipient: Lee Minker
Place: Wilmington, Delaware
Bernice and friends had a "super" fun skaing party.  A captain from the 15th Air Corps came for dinner, he had served in both Africa and Italy and was stationed in England.  She is excited to see the Air Force movie Winged Victory.  The puppy, Pilot, has developed a habit of killing chickens, they haven't told Ralph Sr.  Lee's last letter was dated Dec. 9.
Names: Arthur Avery, Jim Buchanan

 

Date: February 3, 1945 - view letter
Writer: Bernice Minker
Recipient: Lee Minker
Place: Wilmington, Delaware
Bernice reviews her mid-terms exams, which she passed.  Tells Lee that their mother has written letters to his crew.  The Junior Chamber of Commerce is presenting a show to build a recreation hall for the noncoms at the Air Base.  Want to knit Lee some socks but khaki wool is not available.
Names: Kenneth Mould

 

Date: February 12, 1945 - view letter
Writer: Bernice Minker
Recipient: Lee Minker
Place: Wilmington, Delaware
Her friend Walt [From] is now coaching the basketball team at Ferris.  She caused a commotion at church by wearing a pair of silver earrings Walt gave her.  The young people's choir sang at a interdenominational and interracial service where they had a fine time.

 

Date: February 26, 1945 - view V-Mail
Writer: Bernice Minker
Recipient: Lee Minker
Place: Wilmington, Delaware
Bernice reports on the ongoing struggle to find a way to get mail to him in a timely way.  Is quite busy with her operetta and difficult homework.  Mother is still trying to find 6-20 film.  They heard General MacArthur on the radio from Manila.  Taking the clippings Lee sent to school so the German teacher can translate them.
Names: Meredith Ballard

 

Date: March 1, 1945 - view letter
Writer: Bernice Minker
Recipient: Lee Minker
Place: Wilmington, Delaware
A friend had a baby, Bernice can't imagine being a mother.  Her chemistry experiment blew up.  She is unsure of what she wants to study, but does want to go away to school.  Lee's trombone teacher, Mr. Knowles, is being drafted, despite being about 40 years old, married with children.
Names: Mr. Knowles

 

Date: March 26, 1945 - view V-Mail
Writer: Bernice Minker
Recipient: Lee Minker
Place: Wilmington, Delaware
Bernice is going on spring break.  She tells him that the performance of The Pirates of Penzance went across very well even though she is sick and doctoring her voice.  Received a package from Lee with letter and other items.  More reports of singing with the choir.

 

Date: April 9, 1944 [date is an error, actual date is 1945] - view V-Mail
Writer: Bernice Minker
Recipient: Lee Minker
Place: Wilmington, Delaware
Spent all week taking Co-op Exams, then Saturday taking College Entrance Exams. Shirley was elected maid-of-honor to the May Queen at college. She is in the midst of working on the senior yearbook. No jelly beans were available at Easter this year. 

 

Date: April 20, 1945 - view letter
Writer: Bernice Minker
Recipient: Lee Minker
Place: Wilmington, Delaware
The family is anxious, no letter from Lee for a month; asks him to write, their parents are worried. [He was on leave in England.] She has only one more month of high school left.  Pilot, their puppy, is becoming a big dog, more so than his mother.

 

Date: May 8, 1945 - view letter
Writer: Bernice Minker
Recipient: Lee Minker
Place: Wilmington, Delaware
Reports on tumors of the end of the war in Europe.  Doubts there will be much celebrating as there is still a lot to finish in the Pacific Theatre.  A friend's younger brother was killed on Iwo Jima.
Names: Otsie Durnan, Bob Durnan [killed in action on Iwo Jima, March 10, 1945.]

 

Date: May 21, 1945 - view letter
Writer: Bernice Minker
Recipient: Lee Minker
Place: Wilmington, Delaware
Bernice is struggling with finals at school. They left the grandmothers at home when they went to church as Olaf Larsen [Lee’s radio man] was expected to call.  Shirley graduates next week, asks that he send her a card.   

 

Date: Wednesday, May 23, [1945] - view letter
Writer: Bernice Minker
Recipient: Lee Minker
Place: Wilmington, Delaware
Answering his letter of May 8.  Plans for Shirley's graduation.  Walt has been accepted by Lee's alma mater [Dickinson College], plans to join the Navy in July. Bernice and Shirley have both tried out for principal parts with the Brandywiners.  

 

Date: June 1, 1945 - view letter
Writer: Bernice Minker
Recipient: Lee Minker
Place: Wilmington, Delaware
Received the news of his promotion [to captain], wants him to rush home for her graduation on June 13. Bernice was accepted to Centenary Jr. College in Hackettstown, N.J.; a relief because all the schools are filled. Wanted a topaz bracelet for a graduation gift, but they are nonexistent since the war.  Bernice and Shirley are learning to drive, she will need to get a permit, as it is the law now.   

 

Date: Sunday, June 2, 1945 - view letter
Writer: Bernice Minker
Recipient: Lee Minker
Place: Wilmington, Delaware
Ralph Sr. went to Dickinson for graduation and his 25th class reunion.  Both sisters had their hair ala the Ingrid Bergman style. Eager to see the photographs from the negatives Lee sent.

 

Date: Monday, June 9, 1945 - view letter
Writer: Bernice Minker
Recipient: Lee Minker
Place: Wilmington, Delaware
School is ending next week, holding a seat for Lee for the commencement.  Bernice is in rehearsal for the newest play with the Brandywiners.  She anticipates a girls party at the beach where there will be no adult chaperones.  The letter continues to next Sunday, she reports on family activities.

 

Date: July 2, 1945 - view letter
Writer: Bernice Minker
Recipient: Lee Minker
Place: Wilmington, Delaware
Bernice received her brother's gift of a book of Wordsworth poems.

 

Date: July 9, 1945 - view letter
Writer: Bernice Minker
Recipient: Lee Minker
Place: Wilmington, Delaware
The Brandywiners’ show is progressing slowly.  Bernice is searching for a job, but summer jobs are hard to find. As the war is winding down, life on the homefront is becoming a bit more normal.  A friend and her soldier husband have arrived home; like Lee, Meredith wants only to sleep, have milk and ice cream. Bernice and Shirley bought Julia [Taylor] a jewel case for her birthday. George Wolf, a friend of Shirley’s, came for the weekend, she thinks they will be seeing a lot of him. 

 

Date: July 13, 1945 - view letter
Writer: Bernice Minker
Recipient: Lee Minker
Place: Wilmington, Delaware
Bernice attended the wedding of one of Shirley's friends from college.  She saw Charles Gibson, who had been in the Army in Germany and France has returned home, and is readjusting to civilian life.  Has not been able to locate a paying job so is doing volunteer work for the AWVS and selling bonds on Saturday morning. Julia liked her present.
Names: Charles Gibson [home afer 3 years in the Army.]

 

Date: Thursday, [August 16, 1945] - view letter
Writer: Bernice Minker
Recipient: Lee Minker
Place: Wilmington, Delaware
Bernice shares the family’s deep disappointment when Lee’s letter came saying he was delayed again, the paper had reported the 709th  [Lee’s squadron] landed in Boston yesterday.  The rest of the letter is a description of the wild celebration in Wilmington that the war was over!  She is getting ready for college, is excited to get started.

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