From Bernice Minker to Ralph L.”Lee” Minker, Jr.

Folder 23: Bernice Minker, March – December 1943

ABSTRACT

Bernice and Ralph L. “Lee’ Minker, Jr.

 

Date: Saturday, [March] 13, 1943

Writer: Bernice Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

Sisterly tease, she is feeling slighted because he wrote to Shirley and didn’t mention her letters. Mother splurged and got tickets to see Claudia at the Playhouse. The impact of rationing: mother used 20 coupons for a box of raisins, then the number dropped today to 8 coupons. Took pictures of [their dog] Ginger to send to him. Writes a “moron” joke to cheer him up.

Names: Dick Silver [Marines]

 

Date: [week of March 15, 1943]

Writer: Bernice Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

Comments on how nice their friends look in their [military] uniforms. High school boys and girls are being recruited for farm work, she jokes about working on a farm. Bernice has been writing limericks for every member of the senior class for the Echo, the A.I. duPont High School newspaper.

Names: Frannie MacAllister [Marine], Mr. Mexiger [Navy Air Corps], Allan Cavender’s sister [WAAC]

 

Date: March 18, 1943

Writer: Bernice Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

Went to a dress-up dinner at school with some interesting speakers. More reports of friends going overseas.

Names: Corporal Jarrett [teacher], Charles Gibson

 

Date: Saturday, [March] 27, 1943

Writer: Bernice Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

The sisterly affection is seen in the tease of the opening, a response to the photo he had sent with his GI haircut. Report on going to the movies. Mother and Dad’s 20th anniversary is coming up [March 31]. Shirley’s favorite teacher, Miss Lamb, has joined the Red Cross and will be sent to China. Adds a “moron” joke.

Names: Tony Fararar, Jack Schmidt, [Walt] Biddle, Miss Lamb [teacher]

 

Date: Sunday, [April 4, 1943]

Writer: Bernice Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

Sorry she missed his call home, went to a good movie, Keeper of the Flame. Describes their parents’ wedding anniversary and teasingly was shocked that they came home late. A “moron” joke. She is captain of the intramural team, they beat the senior girls.

 

Date: [April 9 or 10, 1943]

Writer: Bernice Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

Typed account of Lee’s phone call home. Tells of his trip to training at U. of Nebraska. Things he wants them to send him.

 

Date: Wednesday, [April 14, 1943]

Writer: Bernice Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

Got his card today [dated April 10]. Uncle of her friend [Walt From] received the Purple Heart. Saw a French movie with subtitles in school today. Makes a joke about Shirley as a singer in the family.

 

Date: Friday night, [April 23, 1943]

Writer: Bernice Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

Attended prayer communion last night, Dr. Johns [minister at Grace Methodist] had the first table for all the boys in service. A choir member cried, her brother had been wounded. They found Hershey’s chocolate bars downtown which are impossible to find. Bernice connects the home front in a new way, she tells her brother that the dog, Ginger, is thumping his tail, asking for him.

Names: Allan Cavender [Army], Ed Carey [Navy]

 

Date: [May 14, 1943]

Writer: Bernice Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

Waiting for Walt to bring her ice cream. Shirley went to the prom. Received report cards this afternoon. As usual her grades did not compare well with Shirley’s grades. Report on the Blue Rocks.

 

Date: [May 17, 1943]

Writer: Bernice Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

She has been busy working on the school newspaper, an issue with all the soldiers’ pictures in it. Compliments Lee on sending money to granny [Jones] to buy his mother a birthday present. Ginger had a bath and then rolled in a mud hole. Two “moron” jokes.

 

Date: July 8, 1943 & July 13, 1943

Writer: Bernice Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

Taught Bible school this morning, went to see the musical Coney Island last night. Miss Horner [who had been Dad’s secretary] stopped by, is being shipped out.

 

Date: [probably week of July 20, 1943]

Writer: Bernice Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

Taught a beginners class in Bible School this morning and then volunteered at the Delaware Hospital with the AWVS. Dad bought tickets for the circus. Lee had once asked for any good jokes, Bernice sends a corny “moron” joke.

Names: Irvin Bodycott

 

Date: July 27, 1943

Writer: Bernice Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

Bible School ended last night, children did a nice performance. She and Shirley are going to have their picture taken as an early Christmas present. Walt is going to go to Tower Hill, Bernice hates going back to A.I. [duPont]. Going to the hospital to volunteer. Taking pictures to send to him.

Names: Chas McRever, SeaBees

 

Date: August 4, 1943

Writer: Bernice Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

Family news. Jr. AWVS having a dance and carnival. Excited that Walt is taking her to see the Yankees play the Blue Rocks. Shirley has applied to Boston University. Bernice wishes she could get to California for his graduation. Teases her brother about being out there with movie stars. Proofs came for the pictures.

 

Date: Monday September 6, 1943

Writer: Bernice Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

Bernice and Shirley sent Lee a snapshot wallet 2 weeks ago, did he get it? Sent a package with lots of items on Saturday, wants to know when it arrives so they can determine how long shipping takes. She is in charge of recruiting for an AWVS march.

 

Date: Friday night, [September 10, 1943]

Writer: Bernice Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

She and Shirley marched in uniform in the 3rd War Loan parade. Has started school, gives Lee her schedule of classes. Sports are undecided. The homefront support for the war is seen in that 1,000 people marched in the parade, 15,000 watched.

Names: Peter Dunlop

 

Date: Monday night, [September 20, 1943]

Writer: Bernice Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

Terribly disappointed his phone call did not get through yesterday. Report on a friend in the service and his wife [Meredith and Jane Ballard]. Asks for an insignia [from Thunderbird Field] to put on her notebook.

 

Date: 7:00 Friday, [October 1, 1943]

Writer: Bernice Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

Bernice is behind on her school work as she missed school on Monday when they took Shirley to college in Williamsport. She and Walt are going dancing tonight. Thanks for the insignia he sent.

 

Date: Tuesday night, [October 19, 1943]

Writer: Bernice Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

Lively report of the family’s surprise visit to see Shirley at school in Williamsport. She has seen lots of their friends who are home on leave.

Names: Donald Kirby, Merchant Marines, Taylor Edler, Marines, Gordon [unknown last name] leave for the Air Corps, Carl Miller, Dick Dautel, Bill Smith [a William Irving Smith of Wilmington, DE died of wounds on August 8, 1944 and a William George Smith of Wilmington, DE was killed in action, September 12, 1944]

 

Date: Thursday night, [November 18, 1943]

Writer: Bernice Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

Report on a birthday shopping trip with her mother. Bernice sang in front of all the parents at school. Going to see For Whom the Bell Tolls.

 

Date: November 24, 1943

Writer: Bernice Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

Bernice shares her 16th birthday with her brother, frustrated that she has not grown any taller. Asks about his wisdom teeth being pulled. The whole family was there on for Ralph Sr.’s birthday dinner [Nov. 22]. The trip they took to NYC was quite wonderful! Pleads with Lee to let them know right away what he needs for Christmas.

 

Date: Sunday, [either December 5 or 12, 1943]

Writer: Bernice Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

Bernice is a varsity cheerleader and on the JV basketball team, taking two music lessons a week. Walt is taking her to the Tower Hill Christmas Ball. The Christmas rush makes it difficult to get presents to Lee on time.

 

Date: [mid December 1943]

Writer: Bernice Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

Weather is really cold. There was an air raid evacuation in school today, she had to go out to get the “Ag” students from the chicken house. Reports on sports at school.

 

Date: [December 21, 1943]

Writer: Bernice Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

She is sick again, but doesn’t want to be in bed for another Christmas. Ben was home from school [probably Ben Johns, son of Dr. Johns the minister at Grace Methodist Church]. Reminds Lee that they are thinking of him at Christmas and hopes he is not too lonesome. Love and kisses.

 

Date: Sunday, [December 26, 1943]

Writer: Bernice Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

Report on Christmas presents. Bernice has had laryngitis since the dance at Tower Hill. Bad weather kept everyone home today. Asks if he got their Christmas box.

Names: Buster Tisdale [Navy]

Folder 24: Bernice Minker, January – December, 1944

ABSTRACT

Bernice and Ralph L. “Lee’ Minker, Jr.

 

Date: Tuesday, January 4, 1944

Writer: Bernice Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

Shirley going back to school [at Williamsport] and Bernice is starting back to school in the new year. She writes about the sports season, they are not quite as good as last year. Jimmy Cooper is home on leave and went to her game.

Names: Jimmy Cooper

 

Date: 5:00 Saturday, [January 14, 1944]

Writer: Bernice Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

Writes her brother that everyone is asking about him. Her friend Walt [From] took wonderful pictures of their dog, Ginger. The first week back at school was full of tests, she is captain-elect of the tenth-grade intramural basketball team.

Names: John Clark [On leave/ at home], Harry Brown

 

Date: Thursday, [January 20, 1944]

Writer: Bernice Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

Bernice is concerned with the basketball team playing against Vocational [high school], as they have lost nearly every game. Their high school senior play will be Quality Street. Saw the play, Decision. Admiral Halsey makes an appearance in Wilmington, gives a speech, Walter [From] gets his autograph.

Names: Taylor Edler, Bill Baird (On leave/ at home) [J.M.] Barrie (Playwright), Admiral Halsey

 

Date: January 31, 1943 [1944]

Writer: Bernice Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

Bernice complains about falling ill, and not being prepared for tryouts for a local musical. She is pleased with the success of their football team. She received her report card, reports her grades to Lee.

Names: Zach Elliot, Bill Brooks, Ralph Jones (All soldiers on leave/at home0

Note: The original date of this letter is an error by the writer; Lee was not in the army in January, 1943.

 

Date: [February 2, 1944]

Writer: Bernice Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

Bernice is in bed, sick again. The war comes to high schools with a talk by two veterans of the famous Ploesti Raid [August 1, 1943]. Shirley called home, is tired from exams and dating her numerous boyfriends. A sisterly tease to not land upside down.

 

Date: 11:00, Saturday Morning, [February 26, 1944]

Writer: Bernice Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

Mother was mad because she had been sick and then stayed out quite late. Bernice is taking voice lessons with a Mr. Stanley in New York, who created a method of teaching vocals that she uses. She describes him in remarkable detail, calling him a typical “New York Jew”. Tried to see the movie Jane Eyre. She attended a conference at Temple [University], a “darn Republican senator” spoke about how much he hated the New Deal, she found him one-sided and was not impressed with the speaker. Several boys they know are home on leave, Johnny Curlett and Dick Gathwell.

Names: Johnny Curlett [killed in action Nov. 21, 1944], Dick Gathwell

 

Date: Tuesday night, [March 7, 1944]

Writer: Bernice Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

Bernice is excited that Lee will be home in a week. Teases her brother about being a second Louie [Lieutenant]. “Charlie Chaplin Night” night at school where they played three of his silent movies. She is under the weather due to a huge amount of snow and rain they got recently.

 

Date: [March 31, 1944]

Writer: Bernice Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

Bernice describes attending a mock Republican Convention at Temple [University]. She did the speech nominating Wilkie; writes about the conga lines and groups outshouting each other, an unforgettable experience. Several soldiers home on leave. The schools are doing x-rays to test for TB. Enclosing the pictures they took when he was home [March 14 – 21].

Names: Daley Damash, Gordon Lang

 

Date: Saturday, [April 8, 1944]

Writer: Bernice Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

Bernice talks about Easter, expecting nice weather. Shirley is home for the holiday, her clothes don’t fit because she has grown an inch. Writes a paragraph for Lee on their dog, Ginger. Bill Skimner was discharged.

Names: Charley Bossart, Bill Sharpley, Donald Shane, Navy, Bill Skimner

 

Date: May 4, 1944

Writer: Bernice Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

Bernice is getting ready to go to Williamsport to visit Shirley. She is singing at the Sunday school dinner, as well as the Wilmington Chorus making a debut at the high school, thought it was a great evening .

 

Date: [2nd week in May 1944]

Writer: Bernice Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

Bernice talk about a long and, in her opinion, unnecessary project she had to do for school concerning the school dances. She describes sneaking into the hospital to see their friend Jimmy Maxwell. Bernice commends the student council for “actually doing something” and holding a sporting event for other students.

 

Date: Wednesday, [May 17, 1944]

Writer: Bernice Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

Bernice keeps her brother up-to-date by telling him about the upcoming prom and how busy she is with so many different committees. Additionally, the Spring Festival is coming up, and one of the teachers is directing a musical called I am an American. Shirley is coming home for good on the twenty-eighth.

Names: Glade Brendle (On leave/at home)

 

Date: June 6, 1944

Writer: Bernice Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

The final days of school are fast approaching for Bernice, school was getting boring. She thought D-Day was anti-climactic after all the build-up, but recognizes this the beginning of the end. She has a terrible case of poison ivy and is worried as she is going to the Tower Hill prom Friday night. Shirley has applied for jobs.

 

Date: June 16, 1944, letter and 2 poems

Writer: Bernice Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

Bernice wishes her brother a happy 20th birthday. She is going to a dance with Walt which she notes had a very nice theme. Youth Sunday at church. She has been offered a scholarship to Tower Hill, which she attributes to one of her high school teachers. There is also a poem attached to her letter. Bernice wrote a poem for Lee titled “The Soldier’s Mom.” It describes their mother dusting in Lee’s room and her silent longing for him. She also wrote a poem for him in honor of his 20th birthday.

 

Date: Sunday, [June 25, 1944]

Writer: Bernice Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

She and Shirley enjoyed the beautiful weather by sunbathing. Saw Going my Way, which she recommend to her brother. She has been trying to keep the garden weeded. Hopes the puppies will be born on the 4th.

 

Date: July 13, 1944

Writer: Bernice Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

Ginger had 14 puppies, hopes that at least 3 survive. Carolyn announced her engagement. Granny [Jones] thinks it is a sin because the boy is Catholic and that Carolyn ought to wait until she is 30 to marry! She is quite emphatic about hoping to be engaged by age 20. She is working fulltime at Crosby’s [Department Store]. Brandywiners rehearsal 3 nights a week.

 

Date: Thursday, [July 20, 1944]

Writer: Bernice Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

Bernice is taking care of the switchboard for the AWVS. The pups are fine, eyes not open yet. A friend of the family from Chrisfield days has died.

Names: Gordon Betherds

 

Date: Thursday, [July] 26, 1944

Writer: Bernice Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

Working at the AWVS switchboard. Have been busy with Brandywiner rehearsals. Moved the box with the puppies, didn’t realize there was a hornets nest in the garage roof. She and Walt saw the film The Hairy Ape.

 

Date: August 23, 1944

Writer: Bernice Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

Bernice has won a scholarship to Tower Hill [High School]. Shirley is undecided about going back to school or studying music. The pups are growing and chewing on everyone’s shoes. Bernice, Shirley, and mother are all going to Ocean City soon. Mom has been working quite hard and needs a vacation.

 

Date: August 28, 1944

Writer: Bernice Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

Lee evidently asked her to date the letters as she teases him. Plans for going to Ocean City with friends for the weekend. Then she, Shirley and mom will go to Rehoboth. Report on movies and a tease about Nancy Tatnall who was asking for Lee.

 

Date: Monday, September 4, [1944]

Writer: Bernice Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

Bernice, Shirley, and mom went shopping in Philadelphia. Went to Atlantic City, then to Ocean City, had a super time. The pup they are keeping ate the cactus he sent.

 

Date: Tuesday, [September 19, 1944]

Writer: Bernice Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

Bernice is exhausted from taking so many tests the past two days. She is getting ready for school, is worried the teachers will not be as good as previous years. They have named the puppy they kept Pilot, he has been growing rapidly. Taylor Hollingsworth, Hys Simmons and Babe Rydings are friends recently home on leave.

Names: Taylor Hollingsworth, Hys Simmons, Babe Rydings

 

Date: Monday, [October 2, 1944]

Writer: Bernice Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

There’s a stomach bug going around, which Bernice has caught. She consoles Lee about the loss of his co-pilot. [Lee reported the loss of his co-pilot to illness in a letter dated September 29]. She went to see Hail the Conquering Hero. Mother is helping with the local war fund.

 

Date: October 7, 1944

Writer: Bernice Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

Bernice begins by stating this will probably be his first letter on V-Mail [He is now in combat in England]. She describes how happy they were to see Lee [when he flew over the house on his way to England], was so glad she happened to be at home. Professor Thompson was down for dinner.

Names: Professor [Russell I.] Thompson, [Professor of Education and Psychology, Dickinson College]

 

Date: Wednesday, October 11, [1944]

Writer: Bernice Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

Bernice complains about V-Mail and says she is switching back to air mail. There is a class dance at Tower Hill sponsored by the Athletic Association, and a football game. Raymond Harding is back from a German prison camp, he has lost 40 pounds.

Names: Raymond Harding

 

Date: October 19, 1944

Writer: Bernice Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

Bernice complains about being exhausted and achy in bed due to playing in the girl’s hockey game at Tower Hill, which they did win. She also talks about seeing South Street while visiting Philadelphia. She mentions her mother being very busy with Girl Scout Council, DE war fund and the Methodist Women’s Society.

 

Date: November 1, 1944

Writer: Bernice Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

Bernice talks about the academics in the family, with Shirley getting three As and a B, while Bernice has two Bs, a C, and a D. The Junior Chamber of Commerce sponsoring a number of lectures on current events, which she must attend for history class. The first presenter was Richard Harkness on the election in 1945.

Names: Richard Harkness

 

Date: Sunday, November 12, [1944]

Writer: Bernice Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

Bernice is thrilled that the family received their first letter from Lee since he left for England. She was injured playing hockey the previous week. She attended a Victory Dance at school; reading Hamlet for English but is not fond of it.

 

Date: Sunday, November 19, 1944

Writer: Bernice Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

Bernice is eager for Thanksgiving, they are having quite a crowd of family and Shirley’s friends from college. She talks about Christmas shopping. Shirley is on the Dean’s List. The family wants to Lee to have a semblance of Christmas, warns him not to peek into his Christmas packages.

 

Date: Thursday, December 7, 1944

Writer: Bernice Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

Bernice went to Philadelphia to watch the commissioning of a boat they (the AWVS) sponsored. She tells her brother that the puppy, Pilot, is getting older and more adventurous. She is putting in a call to Shirley as it is her birthday. She has come up in all her grades, except for chemistry.

 

Date: Thursday, December 25, 1944

Writer: Bernice Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

Bernice describes the preparations for Christmas and that their friend Fred from Plainfield visited. She and Shirley received their Christmas gift early, which was going to New York to see Rigoletto at the Metropolitan Opera House which she found to be phenomenal.

Folder 25: Bernice Minker, January – August 1945

ABSTRACT

Bernice and Ralph L. “Lee’ Minker, Jr.

 

Date: Monday January 1, 1945

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

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

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

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

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

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

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]

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

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

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

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]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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]

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.