From Edna Minker to Ralph L. “Lee” Minker, Jr.

Folder 11: Edna Minker, March – July, 1943

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.

Abstract

Date:  Tuesday evening, March 2, [1943] – Wednesday [March 3, 1943]

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]

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]

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

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]

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]

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]

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

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

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

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

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

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]

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

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

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]

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

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]

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

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

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

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

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

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]

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]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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]

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

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]

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

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

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]

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]

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]

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]

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]

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.

Folder 12: Edna Minker, August – December, 1943

Edna’s 19 year-old son, Ralph L. Minker, Jr., known as “Lee,” is at Santa Ana Army Air Force
Base in California going through classification and pre-flight training.

Abstract

 

Date: Monday, August 2, [1943]

Writer: Edna Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

Reports of friends in the service. Looking for a college for Shirley that offers a medical secretary course. The health service field will certainly expand when the war is over. Notes how conditions have changed in the field of education.

 

Date:  Saturday, August 7, [1943]

Writer: Edna Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

Edna works at keeping her son connected with home by regularly sending clippings of sports events and friends. Report of friend from Cochituate [MA] who is in the service and came to visit.

 

Date: [Monday], August 9, 1943

Writer: Edna Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

Responds to the letter Lee wrote while in the elevator during the air pressure test. She tries to understand this new job of pilot; comments on article describing the nerve-racking pilot’s work. Has sent back Shirley’s application to Boston University. There is a ban on pleasure driving. She has extra work to do for the school’s board meeting. A brief tease … “don’t fly too high.”

 

Date:  Wednesday morning, [August 11, 1943]

Writer: Edna Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware Brief note responding to the letter he sent about his visit to the Hollywood Canteen and dancing with movie star Hedy Lamarr.

 

Date:  Monday, August 16, 1943

Writer: Edna Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware Report on the garden, meeting Reed Gerald and his new wife for dinner at the duPont Hotel. Ralph. Sr. thinks the war has unsettled the situation and that Shirley should not go away to college, so Boston is “up in the air.”

 

Date:  Thursday evening, [August 19, 1943]

Writer: Edna Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

Handwritten letter from the beach and a weekend vacation. The guestbook at the house shows they were there in 1937, remembers that he got locked in the bathroom. Discusses “One World” (1943 best seller written by Wendell Wilkie) which Lee had read. She is reading other books about world peace, even as her son is training for war.

 

Date: [Tuesday], August 24, 1943

Writer: Edna Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

Report of their delightful trip to Rehoboth Beach. Disappointed – no letter from Lee, reports of home and an early morning air –raid test.

 

Date: [Wednesday], August 25, 1943

Writer: Edna Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

They received pictures from Lee, Edna struggles with seeing the new maturity in her son. Ever the mother, she is supportive of Lee passing tests for flying, then corrects his spelling.

 

Date: [Saturday], August 28, 1943

Writer: Edna Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

Rain is badly needed, farmers will be losing crops. She is at work at the school as everyone else is off on other duties.

 

At the end of August, 1943 Lee Minker moved on to Basic Flight Training in the bi-wing Stearman at Thunderbird Field II outside of Phoenix, AZ.

 

Date: [Friday], September 3, 1943

Writer: Edna Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

The formal picture of Lee in his uniform arrived, she is thrilled and keeps it on her desk. Shirley is going for an interview for Williamsport-Dickinson Jr. College for the medical secretarial course. Shirley was accepted at Boston University. One of the staff at the [Ferris] School was called into the service, leaving them short-handed again. Reports of the grandmothers, movies. Word this morning about the invasion of Italy, Edna struggles to understand why Italy continues to align with Germany.

 

Date:  September 7, 1943 (Tuesday)

Writer: Edna Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

Full report on the garden and summer heat. Cannot find gym shoes that he asked for. The box arrived with the letters and film. Responds to question about the family lab, Ginger. Both Shirley and Bernice have spotted boys off the grounds of the Ferris School.

 

Date: [Friday], September 10, 1943

Writer: Edna Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

Shirley sang beautifully at a district women’s meeting. Rally for the third war loan drive and parade. Asks Lee what news he hears, Italy has surrendered. Shirley is using his room to get ready for college.

 

Date:  Tuesday, September 14, [1943]

Writer: Edna Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

Feels she has neglected Lee by being busy all day. Reports on the death of Richard du Pont in a glider plane. Recognizes they were “too jubilant” last week as the Germans continue the fight in Italy. Asks for a time that he might put a call through before Shirley leaves.

 

Date: [Thursday], September 16, 1943

Writer: Edna Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

The film Thunderbirds is going to be shown at the school, it will give them some idea of what he is doing. Bill Hyde washed out because of eye trouble. Almost finished with Shirley’s preparation for college. Bernice will be lonely and is unhappy with A.I. duPont high school.

Name: Bill Hyde [Dickinson]

 

Date: [Wednesday], September 22, 1943

Writer: Edna Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

Lee was able to get a phone call through much to their joy, daddy and Shirley were disappointed. Ralph Sr. is on the Delaware Council of State Executives which is planning problems of state institutions and post-war programs. Praying for him as he made his solo yesterday.

 

Date: [Friday], September 24, 1943

Writer: Edna Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

Had to get rid of the Packard, describes the gas rationing, the school had a new Studebaker which they will use as there are no new cars until after the war.

 

Date:  Saturday morning, [September 25, 1943]

Writer: Edna Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

Compliments Lee on his letter to Ralph Sr., enclosing clippings on the Blue Rocks. Again, lines of support as he reports being tense about flying. They looked at a plane which was on display at Wanamaker’s, wonders how he will be able to handle it.

 

Date: [Tuesday], September 28, 1943

Writer: Edna Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

Congratulations to Lee on his successful first solo flight. Description of the trip to take Shirley to college in Williamsport. Saw many new air cadets on campus. Bernice is going to take voice lessons. She made a double dose of applesauce cakes and shipped them.

 

Date:  [Thursday], September 30, 1943

Writer: Edna Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

First letter from Shirley, there was an air raid siren drill at school. Air-raid signal came in Wilmington as unidentified planes had been spotted, sky full of searchlights. [As a civil defense warden, Ralph Minker Sr. received the signal.]

 

Date:  [Saturday], October 2, 1943

Writer: Edna Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

Report of life at the school, his interesting letter and a letter from Shirley. Encourages him to write his sister during the first few weeks of adjusting to college. People in town asking for him.

 

Date:  Tuesday, October 5, [1943]

Writer: Edna Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

Waiting for Lee’s box of cactus to arrive, checks on the box of cookies she sent. Reports from college from Shirley. Reports on weather and friends.

 

Date: [Friday], October 8, 1943

Writer: Edna Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

Edna has sent him accounts of the World Series. Bernice has started voice lessons. Talks about his flying training and hope he won’t be too tired to do his best. Received a war bond in the mail.

 

Date:  Monday, October 11, 1943

Writer: Edna Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

Tries to understand the receipts he sent, as soldiers were charged for food. Shirley called home and is positive about school. Sending him clippings, reports of people from home.

 

Date: [Wednesday], October 13, 1943

Writer: Edna Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

Final clippings from the World Series. A musical at church. Reports from several boys from Ferris School who are in the service.

Names: Julia [Taylor]

 

Date: Friday, October 15; Saturday, October 16 1943; Monday morning, [Oct. 18], [1943]

Writer: Edna Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

Letter was written over a four day period. The cactus Lee sent from Arizona finally arrived.

Shirley wrote and enclosed his last letter to her. Enjoyed his letter with the drawings. [See Lee’s letter of October 3, 1943.]  News of his sisters and the World Series. Surprised Shirley at college, daddy splurged on lobster tail dinner. Came home, went to the concert at church [Grace Methodist, Wilmington, DE].

 

Date: Tuesday, October 19, [1943]

Writer: Edna Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

Edna encourages her son as his last letter found him down in the dumps. She reminds him that there are times when you want to quit, you “have to keep going.” Reports of other boys in the service. Will give grandmother Minker one of the cactus he sent.

 

Date: [Tuesday], October 26, 1943]

Writer: Edna Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

Ration books will be issued today, good for two years. She sees rationing as a way to support the war and bringing it to an end. Sent a box of cookies and caramels. A Chinese soldier was in church yesterday along with other servicemen. Asks him questions about the movie Thunderbirds. Julia [Taylor] leaving for Oberlin.

Names: Julia [Taylor] Ross Pillsbury, Ed Laird, Tom Wills

 

Lee Minker is now in Preliminary Flight Training in Pecos, Texas

 

Date: [Monday], November 1, 1943

Writer: Edna Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

Slight anxiety, they haven’t heard from him, wondering if he has moved to another base or working hard on 50 hour army check. Shirley had a good report card, will not be home for Thanksgiving. Only 80 boys left at Dickinson, most are pre-med or ministerial. Reports that there is not enough food at several colleges. Halloween parties at Ferris School.

Names: Howell Wilkins [Dickinson]

 

Date: [Wednesday], November 10, 1943

Writer: Edna Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

Received a large card {missing from collection] that he was in Pecos, TX. She misses Lee terribly and worries when she does not hear from him. A box with letters and class book from Thunderbird [in the collection] arrived. Concerned about Shirley traveling alone on the train. Asks what he needs for Christmas. As always, expresses her love.

 

Date: [Monday], November 15, 1943

Writer: Edna Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

Comments on Lee’s busy schedule. Had a talk with Mr. Yingst. Government is urging colleges to plan a month’s Christmas vacation to reduce number of students traveling around Christmas and New Year’s Day. Asks he write daddy for his Nov. 22 birthday. She will take care of his Christmas shopping. Hopes to find ingredients to make fruit cake.

Names: Mr. Yingst [A.I. du Pont high school football coach]

 

Date: Thursday, November 18, [1943]

Writer: Edna Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

Mailed a box to him for Thanksgiving. Mentions movies, watching Bataan took a lot out of her.
Report of plans for the family holiday, weddings, and a friend killed in action. Prays they will be
together next Thanksgiving.

Names: Roy Wilson, Ruth Collins, Clyde Taggart, Senator Bridges

 

Date: [Tuesday], November 23, 1943

Writer: Edna Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

On stationery from the Hotel Pennsylvania as the family went along with Ralph Sr. who attended a meeting in New York City. Gives Lee the details of the trip to the city. Had a combination family Thanksgiving dinner with members of the Minker family. Shirley called, getting high marks in chemistry. Reacts to Lee’s report that his wisdom teeth are being pulled. Reports on other events that connect him to everything familiar: his girlfriend Julia, the Theta Chi fraternity, and the [Ferris] School.

 

Date: Friday, November 26, 1943

Writer: Edna Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

Thanksgiving was not much of a celebration with both Lee and Shirley away. Keeps sending him notices of weddings from his crowd, is concerned about the future for these young families when they are thrown back into civilian life. Short letter as she has a lot of work piled up in the office.

 

Date: Tuesday, November 30, 1943

Writer: Edna Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

Received his letter of Nov. 26. Report that the mail sent overseas for Christmas has been distributed, will be a letdown then for the troops. She baked 3 fruitcakes. Very pleased with how well Shirley is doing in school. Have not had a blackout all month, one a month is scheduled. Hopeful at the news that he will be home in March. Received his army insurance policy for $10,000.

 

Date: Undated

Writer: Edna Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

Sending Lee information about a ministerial contact in El Paso. Still has mimeographing to do for the [Ferris] school newspaper.

 

Date: [Thursday], December 2, 1943

Writer: Edna Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

Christmas trees will cost twice what that did last year. Trying to get equipment for basketball for the [Ferris] School, impossible to find basketballs and gym shoes. Enclosing clippings about the Blue Rocks and Phillies.

 

Date: [Tuesday], December 7, 1943

Writer: Edna Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

Shirley’s birthday, Pearl Harbor Day, Delaware Day! Recalls Shirley’s birth. Sending him a box for Christmas, tells him not to open it early so that he can have something for Christmas Day. Describes plans for Christmas and activities at the [Ferris] School.

 

Date: [Friday], December 10, 1943

Writer: Edna Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

Sending his Christmas box, present from his sisters is not ready yet. Received the money he sent to buy Christmas gifts. Played bridge with friends. Showing a movie at the school. Teases with news about football star Creighty Miller.

Names: Julia [Taylor], Creighty Miller [Wilmington boy who was a Notre Dame football star in 1943]

 

Date: [Monday], December 13, 1943 and Tuesday

Writer: Edna Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

Sent the words to the poem “High Flight” by John Magee. Reminder Christmas box says “Do not open.” Daddy has been sick with the cold, running the office, getting ready for Christmas has kept her busy. Making an evening dress for Bernice for a dance on Dec. 23. Sending a copy of The Dickinsonian.

 

Date: Friday, December 17, 1943

Writer: Edna Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

Visit from a young black man who used to work at the house, now in the air force. Will miss the Messiah, daddy is still sick. Asks about his flying. Selected a present for Julia [Taylor]. Trying to figure out a time for him to place a call. Her concern for his health shows in several comments.

A friend from their early days in Mass. sent Lee $10. Feels honored to be asked to speak at the meeting of the Woman’s Society for black women. Does not want to serve again as president of the Wilmington district as she is working in the office. Reminds him of their love.

 

Date: Wednesday, December 29, 1943

Writer: Edna Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

[Lee was able to call at 1 a.m. on Dec. 28.] Happy just to hear his voice on the phone. Report of a happy day in New York; effort to go to Radio City failed, saw Sonja Henie show and had dinner at fancy Swedish restaurant. Describes their Christmas activities, not the same without him at home.

 

Date: [Friday], December 31, 1943

Writer: Edna Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

Opening is full of yearning for her son. Pleased with the pictures he sent and that he is looking well. Details of family life. A family member died, one of the sons was wounded on the Solomon Islands. Prays that New Year’s next year the world will be celebrating peace.

Names: Gus Minker

Folder 13: Edna Minker, January – July, 1944

Abstract

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

 

Date:  [Tuesday], January 4, 1944

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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]

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

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

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

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

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

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]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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]

Writer: Edna Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

Asks for measurements for clothes.

 

Date:  [Tuesday], April 4, 1944

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

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

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]

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

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]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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]

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]

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

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]

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]

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

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

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

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

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

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]

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

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

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.

Folder 14: Edna Minker, August – December, 1944

Abstract

During this period Lee Minker finished operational training with his crew in Gulfport MS. He flew to England in October to be stationed as one of the replacement crews for the 447th Bomb Group. 

 

Date:  [Friday], August 4, 1944

Writer: Edna Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

Update of summer activities: first performance of Brandywiners for the sisters, family members travels. Luncheon for the United War Fund.  Trip to Elkton explosive plant for Women’s Society of Christian Service to assist with leisure activities for workers.

Names: Mrs. Lammot du Pont Copeland

 

Date: [Wednesday], August 9, 1944

Writer: Edna Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

Various young men, friends of Shirley’s are coming to Wilmington. Report on Ginger’s puppies noting that with rationing old shoes to chew on are not available. Watermelons are at an outrageous price of $1.50 or more.

 

Date:  [Tuesday], August 15, 1944

Writer: Edna Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

Detailed report of a one-day trip to NYC in the heat including Radio City and the Rockettes.  Edna’s longing for her son is expressed as they attend family events without him.  Comments about recruiting for the war. Bernice may get a scholarship to Tower Hill [School].  Enclosing clippings including one about an RAF ace pilot.

Names: [Dominic Salvatore] Gentile

 

Date:  [Thursday], August 17, 1944

Writer: Edna Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

Long hot spell, complaints make her think of him in Gulfport.  Wishing he were there to enjoy the fruits of summer with them. Discussion of Shirley’s future and voice training. Hoping to go to the beach after Labor Day.  More news of local boys, Tom Twilley wounded in the invasion.

Names: Tom Twilley

 

Date: [Monday], August 21, 1944

Writer: Edna Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

Anxious they had not heard from him, letter came for Bernice.  Report on party Bernice held using one of the cottages at the [Ferris] school.  One of the boys ran away, they may have to go to Maine to get him.  Asks Lee about his possible shift to a B-29 as the war in Europe is now progressing for the Allies.

 

Date: [Friday], August 25, 1944

Writer: Edna Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

Shirley’s voice teacher wants her to stay in Wilmington this winter rather than return to college. Recognizes that the war news has been exaggerated, wonders if it is going to impact his training. Invites him to bring home any members of the crew. Daddy and Bernice want to keep one of the puppies.  Long dry spell has damaged the garden, asks his advice.

 

Date:  August 28, 1944

Writer: Edna Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

Problems with money orders he has sent; death of Mr. Gassaway’s son in training plane crash; snapshots of puppies. News of Dick Rhoades and Johnny Curlett.  News of his sisters.

 

Date: [Friday], September 1, 1944

Writer: Edna Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

Shirley has decided to return to Williamsport to finish her two year course. Report on Lee’s finances and taxes.  Daddy will not go with them to the beach.  The Red Cross was to conduct life- saving training at the [Ferris] School, cancelled due to infantile paralysis [outbreak in summer of 1944.

Names: [George] Hering

 

Date:  Wednesday, September 6, [1944]

Writer: Edna Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Rehoboth Beach, Delaware

Wishing Lee was with them at the beach. Asks if he knows anything about the future; wonders how Germany can hold on. Reports on the family and another friend who has left to serve.

Names: Bill Boykin

 

Date:  Saturday, [September 9, 1944]

Writer: Edna Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Rehoboth Beach, Delaware

Brings the family vacation alive for her son describing people, the dinner menu, and their sunburns. Edna’s anxiety emerges as the time grows close for Lee to leave for overseas. Regrets he was not able to finish college at Dickinson and prays he will be able to re-enter soon.

 

Date: [Wednesday], September 13, 1944

Writer: Edna Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

Lee is expecting a change of address on Sept. 22. Wishing he could have enjoyed the vacation with them. News of Shirley and activities of the Ferris School.

Names: Ben Johns

 

Date: [Monday], September 18, 1944

Writer: Edna Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

A storm did considerable damage to the cottage they stayed in at Rehoboth. His sisters are getting ready for school.  Have convinced Ralph Sr. not to make the hectic trip to Savannah [where Lee was stationed]. Lee told them he will be leaving from Hunter Field [Georgia]. Christmas boxes for overseas have to be shipped by Oct. 15, will they have a new address by then?

Names: [George] Herings, Justin Kyser, Jimmy Goldey

 

Date: [Wednesday], September 20, 1944

Writer: Edna Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

Bernice is going to Tower Hill [high school], Edna describes her classes and hopes she will buckle down to her studies.   The pup that they kept is getting into mischief.  For the first time they cannot get butter and are eating margarine, but feels this is not important.  Covers her worry for Lee with expressions of support and love.

 

Date:  Saturday morning, [September ?, 1944]

Writer: Edna Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

Excited to have talked with her son last night, Ralph Sr. was not home. Reassuring him with faith that there is a presence other than his own as he prepared to leave Gulfport to go overseas.

 

There is a two-week gap in letters as Lt. Lee Minker transfers from Gulfport to debarkation at Hunter Field, Georgia.

 

Date: Monday, October 2, 1944

Writer: Edna Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

[Note:  the addition of the date of 9/29 in the first sentence was made by Lee Minker in the 1990s] Responds to news of Lee’s delayed departure due to loss of co-pilot.  His father is conducting a funeral service for a pilot who was killed in an accident.  Shirley’ s activities at Williamsport, Bernice is not comfortable socially at the new school but is studying harder.  Edna will be busy with the new United Fund Drive.  More announcements of weddings, friends going overseas or wounded returning. News of Dickinson[College], fraternities are now closed.  Consoles Lee about the loss of his co-pilot, hopeful for the new man [Gordon Dodge].

Names: Howell Wilkins [Dickinson]

 

Date: [Tuesday], October 3, 1944

Writer: Edna Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

The puppy was named Pilot and is growing to be part of the family.  Edna and Ralph Sr. activities.

 

2nd Lieutenant Ralph “Lee” Minker departed Hunter Field, GA on Wednesday, October 4, 1944.  With his crew they flew a B-17 to Wales, flying up the east coast of the U.S. and over Wilmington on their way to England.  They arrived at Rattlesden Army Air Force Base, England on October 13, 1944 as a replacement crew for the 447th bomb group.

 

Date: Saturday, October 7, [1944]

Writer: Edna Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

This letter is full of excitement, love and longing as Lee flew low and dipped over the fields of the Ferris School on his way to Bangor, ME. Details of family and friends.  Edna expresses her dissatisfaction with her son having to be engaged in war.

Names: Professor Russell Thompson [Dickinson College]

 

Date:  [Tuesday], October 10, 1944

Writer: Edna Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

First V-Mail, asks if typing can be read. Talks about his girlfriend, Julia [Taylor] and his savings account.  Reports that Wendell Wilkie died.

 

Date:  [Wednesday], October 11, 1944

Writer: Edna Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

Short reports on everything at home: the World Series, Bernice’s studies, the United War Fund Campaign. Hoping to hear from him.

Names: Francis McEnery [in France]

 

Date: [Friday], October 13, 1944

Writer: Edna Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

Ralph Sr. is in NYC, the Ferry Command goes to Paris daily in 20 hours. Report of United War Fund, and next War Bond drive.  Asks which air force he is in so they can follow his operations.

 

Date:  [Saturday], October 14, 1944

Writer: Edna Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

Having difficulty printing in the small space of the V-Mail.  News of his sister’s activities.

 

Date: [Tuesday], October 17, 1944

Writer: Edna Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

News of the Ferris School.  Saw Julia [Taylor] in church.  No letters from Lee.

 

Date: Thursday, October 19, 1944

Writer: Edna Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

Relieved to have received his cable on Tuesday that he arrived, waiting for first letter. Asks about his crew replacements of co-pilot and a gunner. Reports of three friends with sons in the service.  Discusses the war in Europe and the Pacific.  Tells him the sports news, Shirley’s activities, and asks if he has  named his plane.

Names: Howell Wilkins

 

Date:  [Friday], October 20, 1944

Writer: Edna Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

Describes the damage from the [Category 4 Cuba-Florida] hurricane that swept up the east coast.  Cheered by the report of MacArthur landing in the Philippines. Unprecedented numbers have registered to vote in the election.  She is in a quandary as to who to vote for. More reports of friends with a son overseas, eager to learn more about where he is.

 

Date:  [Wednesday], October 25, 1944

Writer: Edna Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

Shirley received good marks, concerned about Bernice’s grades. News of the garden, wonders what weather he is enjoying.

 

Date:  [Thursday], October 26, 1944

Writer: Edna Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

Sent pictures of the pup, Pilot. Heartened by the news of the sinking of the Japanese Fleet [Battle of Leyte Gulf]. Spoke with Julia [Taylor]. Having difficulty finding staff for the [Ferris] school.  Anxious to hear from him.

 

Date:  Saturday, October 28, [1944]

Writer: Edna Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

Received his V-Mail with change of address.  The President [Roosevelt] was in town, as was [boxer] Joe Lewis. She is alone in the office continually interrupted with problems.

 

Date:  Monday, October 30, 1944

Writer: Edna Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

She is concerned about Ben Johns who had dated Shirley, now going into the Merchant Marines. The pup Pilot is getting a dog house. Edna observes the beautiful fall weather and stoically comments on the beauty that is being destroyed.

Names: Drs. Edgar and Elizabeth Miller, Ben Johns

 

Date:  [Friday], November 3, 1944

Writer: Edna Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

The polls are giving Roosevelt only a few points over Dewey. The United War Fund Drive went over the goal.  Edna recognizes all the agencies that took part and the growing need for social welfare.  Still no letters from Lee, they are reading about air raids over Holland and Germany and wondering if he is involved.  The closing lines are full of love and support.

 

Date:  Monday morning, November 6, [1944]

Writer: Edna Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

Lee’s bank account has grown to $1000. An evening with friends leads to an argument about capitalism.

 

Date:  Thursday, November 9, 1944

Writer: Edna Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

Results of the presidential and local elections. Prescient thought about Roosevelt’s health and Truman as president. Report in the paper about several airmen that included Lt. Ralph Minker, but still no letters from him.  Visit from a serviceman. Daddy preparing for next war bond drive.

Names: Adkins, Robert Hocker, S. Bancroft Parkway [Army Air Forces], Ed Wojszewski

 

Date:  November 11, 1944

Writer: Edna Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

Edna is heartfelt in letting Lee know that his first letter arrived. Two minutes of silence on Armistice Day to recognize losses of WWI and now those fighting again.  Wally Wroten, first boy from Grace Church to die.

Names: Sgt. Wallace Wroten [Killed in action, Oct. 24, 1944]

 

Date: [Tuesday], November 14, 1944

Writer: Edna Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

News of the weather, the family, sports scores and bond drives.  Sinking of the Tirpitz with news of local servicemen.

Names: 2nd Lt. Hugh Figgett, Jr., Wm Tapie

 

Date:  [Friday], November 17, 1944

Writer: Edna Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

Had a card that Julia [Taylor] had heard from him on the 14th. Edna describes a Methodist Church project to raise funds for overseas relief and rebuilding.  Sends addresses of family/friends who are overseas.  News of a new offensive in Europe, hopeful war would be over by Christmas.

 

Date:  [Monday], November 20, 1944

Writer: Edna Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

Excited to receive 2nd letter from Lee. Interested to know that Lee named his plane Blue Hen Chick. Will send information for the crew about significance of the name. Sports and family news.  Will be baking for Thanksgiving, Ralph Sr. birthday [Nov. 22, 1897] and Bernice’s birthday [Nov. 24, 1928].

 

Date:  Wednesday, November 22, 1944

Writer: Edna Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

Sun is shining for her, 3 letters from Lee.  Describes plans for Thanksgiving, thinking of him.  Cannot sent pictures of the pup due to shortage of film.  Thankful that Lee is well, praises him.

Names: Alfred H. Carey, Jr. [Army]

 

Date: Saturday, November 25, 1944

Writer: Edna Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

Received his escapee photo, hopes he doesn’t have to use it.  [See scrapbook p. 36.]  Edna writes a lovely description of Thanksgiving Day to connect him with home. Received four letters from him this week, but not in order.

 

Date: [Monday], November 27, 1944

Writer: Edna Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

Enclosing front page of the paper with write-up of both Ralph Sr. and Ralph Jr.  State archives would like a photo of the plane. His check arrived for the growing savings account, sports news.

 

Date: [Thursday], November 30, 1944

Writer: Edna Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

Recalling that last year at this time they thought the war would be over by this time. Churchill warns war may last through the summer. High rate of venereal disease reported in Wilmington.  No letters for a week, knows he will write when he can.  Deposited his checks, there is a limit of $200 a month for deposits so she bought bonds.

 

Date: [Saturday], December 2, 1944

Writer: Edna Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

Uncle Marion got tickets for the Army-Navy game. Includes a quote from MacArthur from the book she bought Ralph Sr. The Army is going to purchase all the chickens raised in Delaware.  Another boy from Ferris went on pass and did not return.

 

Date: Monday, December 4, 1944

Writer: Edna Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

Received his letter written November 8 [commenting on the election]. Comments on his cousin, Marion Jr. News of the [Grace] church, social life, soldiers in church.

Names: Randy Clark, Ross Pillsborough

 

Date: Tuesday, December 5, 1944

Writer: Edna Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

Enjoyed Lee’s description of visit to London. Reports on shake-up in the State Dept. reflecting their continuing interest in the future and the economy. Bernice is to attend the launching of a ship in the Philadelphia Navy Yard.  Asks about his rank.

 

Date: [Thursday], December 7, 1944

Writer: Edna Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

Remembering Pearl Harbor on the 3rd anniversary, Shirley turns 19.  Edna’s awareness of world politics is reflected in concern about future role of Russia.  Bond rally and other social activities.

 

Date: Saturday, December 9, 1944

Writer: Edna Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

Compares time V-Mail and air mail takes to get to them. Plans for Christmas trip to NYC, thinks he may be home on furlough by the spring.

 

Date: [Monday], December 11, 1944

Writer: Edna Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

The family’s political mindfulness is reflected as Edna sends Lee the NY Times Overseas Weekly.  The church [Grace Methodist] remembers those in service every week.

Names: Mason Roberson, U.S. Navy

 

Date: [Wednesday], December 13, 1944

Writer: Edna Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

Edna is pleased she found the perfect gift for his girlfriend [Julia Taylor]. Describes the details of the death of Wallie Wroten [from Grace Church] who was awarded the Silver Star. Report of Bernice’s experience at Tower Hill H.S. and a play put on at Ferris School.

Names: Wallie Wroten

 

Date: [Friday], December 15, 1944

Writer: Edna Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

When Edna went to Philadelphia by train, she sat with a Marine; trains are full of soldiers going home for Christmas. Bernice is the first girl to sing in a Ferris School show. Bought daddy a Christmas present from him, have their packages arrived?

 

Date: [Monday], December 18, 1944

Writer: Edna Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

Christmas is not the same for Edna with Lee away and thousands fighting.  Attending the Messiah at church[Grace Methodist] is another occasion to miss her son.

Names: Clifford Diver, Richard Ackart, Army Medical Corps.

 

Date:[Thursday], December 21, 1944

Writer: Edna Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

News of all the Christmas events, Shirley is home, she is making a gown for Bernice for a dance. They are going to the Met[Metropolitan Opera] to hear Rigoletto.  The family is not complete for Edna, each family event brings a wish for Lee to be with them. News of the German offensive

[Battle of the Bulge] has them worried he will have to go out on a mission on Christmas but there is a news blackout.

Names: Lawrence Tibbet

 

Date: [Monday], December 25, 1944

Writer: Edna Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

This is the most poignant and moving letter in the collection as Edna’s heartfelt description of their Christmas is combined with imagining Lee’s day and the promise of peace in the new year.

 

Date: [Wednesday], December 27, 1944

Writer: Edna Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

Lee had sent Christmas greetings to many friends in Wilmington, all called Edna.  A mother’s pride recognizes his hard work at now being a 1st Lt. and commander of a six-plane group. Reports on more difficulties of staffing at the [Ferris] school and the hearings on the Family Court  Bill which they are trying to pass.

 

Date: [Friday], December 29, 1944

Writer: Edna Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

Edna is now filing his letters in the special box Ralph Sr. gave her for Christmas.  Letter continues on January 2, 1945. Brings Lee into home life with description of holiday visits including a sailor who stayed with them. Paper reported that 1600 bombers were over the continent on New Year’s Day [Lee was among them, his 15th mission]. The FBI arrested 2 men who were landed by sub on a Maine beach in November. Ralph Sr. is working on the passage of the Family Court Bill.  Wonders how his Christmas was.  Their pride in Lee’s accomplishments is mixed with the hope that the war will soon be over.

Names: Mason Robertson

Folder 15: Edna Minker, January – April, 1945

Abstract

Lee Minker was promoted to 1st lieutenant in early January. With the crew of his B-17 named Blue Hen Chick, he flew missions 13 missions in January providing tactical support during the Battle of the Bulge. Consequently he wrote few letters home.  

Date: Tuesday, January 9, 1945

Writer: Edna Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

Much to their surprise, Lee’s picture appeared in the morning paper. Edna has an ongoing struggle with pride in his accomplishments and frustration that his talent is being used for war. She updates him on events at the [Ferris] School and friends who have been sent overseas. Asks what the air medal means.

 

Date: Saturday, January 13, 1945

Writer: Edna Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

Edna is elected president of Peninsula Conference of a women’s group but fears she will not have the time to devote to it. Going to the inauguration of Gov. Bacon. Documentary movie Memphis Belle will be shown at the school. Hoping for a long letter from him.

Names: Billie Jim Tawes [POW in Germany/], Governor Walter W. Bacon

 

Date: [Monday], January 15, 1945

Writer: Edna Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

Writes about his tax return, although servicemen can delay filing. An article in the NY Times about the “lost generation” inspires to think about the future and the role Lee will play in the future of the country.

Names: Ben Johns

 

Date: [Wednesday], January 17, 1945

Writer: Edna Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

Delivery of mail from overseas is uneven. Report on a snow storm. Asks what he meant by “stand down.”

 

Date: [Friday], January 19, 1945

Writer: Edna Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

Everyone in the family has received a letter from Lee. Remembering good times when he went sledding. Apologies for complaining about not hearing from him, recognizing the pressure he is under.

 

Date: [Monday], January 22, 1945

Writer: Edna Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

The family is so relieved and appreciative to have received his cablegram letting them know he is OK. Bernice and a friend spotted a boy from the school who was escaping, they gave chase and she fell out of the car. The movie Winged Victory increases Edna’s admiration for what her son has been through in training and now in combat. Asks about his crew.

 

Date: [Thursday], January 25, 1945

Writer: Edna Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

Edna tries to understand what her son is experiencing, comments on flying through icy clouds. Family news of grandmothers, church meetings, Shirley and Bernice each will be graduating. She wrote letters to parents or wives of crew members.

 

Date: [Monday], January 29, 1945

Writer: Edna Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Atlantic City, New Jersey

Report of weather, Shirley’s weekend at home, grandmothers. Edna comments on the situation in Europe with the Russians advancing and hopes Germany will collapse soon.

 

Date:[Tuesday], January 30, 1945

Writer: Edna Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Atlantic City, New Jersey

A quick note from her trip to Atlantic City. Would like the whole family to visit there together.

 

Date: [Thursday], February 1, 1945

Writer: Edna Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

Received a letter from the mother of Lee’s navigator, Wesley Pitts. Problems with runaways at [Ferris] School. Included a prayer/hymn written for boys away.

Names: Dr. William Stidger, Boston University [School of Theology], Wesley Pitts

 

Date: Monday, February 5, 1945

Writer: Edna Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

Edna is heartened by the progress of the war in Germany and troops in Manila. Looking forward to Lee coming home as his tour must be nearly complete. More letters from family of the crew. Impact of the war on the homefront: limited travel, coal shortage. Recognizes he is taking part in the final offensive against Germany.

Names: Justin Kaiser

 

Date: [Wednesday], February 7, 1945

Writer: Edna Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

Edna is proud but doesn’t understand the military awards; the newspaper reported that Lee has added an Oak Leaf Cluster to the Air Medal. Commentary on Catholic priest reaction to giving high school students information about venereal disease. Recommends a movie to see in London.

 

Date: Friday, February 9, 1945

Writer: Edna Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

Shirley sent home his letter of Jan. 21. News of Ralph Sr., Shirley, Bernice, Grandmother Minker. Their puppy, Pilot, is quite wild and destructive.

 

Date: [Monday], February 12, 1945

Writer: Edna Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

Received clippings from him on his trip to London. Uncertain news about basketball and baseball due to limits on travel. Ralph Sr. going to draft board to help send off 300 men. Shortage of help at the [Ferris] School continues.

 

Date: [Wednesday], February 14, 1945

Writer: Edna Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

Sent clippings about boys who were in his high school class. Looking ahead to the future, Edna comments on the Crimean Conference. Frustration with politics that are preventing passage of the Family Court Bill. Signed Your Valentine.

 

Date: Friday, February 16, 1945

Writer: Edna Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

Received a letter from wife of radio operator, Olaf Larsen. Did not want to upset him with report of friend who was missing in action, now a German POW. Charming anecdote about boys at

[Ferris School] being taught to dance. Edna’s belief in the role of a higher power is conveyed in a quote as women gather for a World Day of Prayer.

Names: [Corrine] Larsen, Leland Inscho [prisoner of war]

 

Date: [Monday], February 19, 1945

Writer: Edna Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

Electricity is rationed, no lights or signs. No baseball this summer. Discussion of local politics. Gives her son unconditional support for what he is doing, praying for the crew.

Names: David Lake [U.S. Army]

 

Date: [Wednesday], February 21, 1945

Writer: Edna Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

Celebrating their wedding anniversary [March 31, 1923], wishing that Shirley and Lee could be there as it is also Easter. She is typing up the article from the paper about the Blue Hen Chick to send to the crew members’ families.

Names: Jack Harayda, Franics McEnery [boys from Ferris School in the service], David Lake, Billie Jim Tawes

 

Date: [Wednesday], February 26, 1945

Writer: Edna Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

Puzzled over the uneven delivery of mail from overseas, doesn’t think airmail stamps make any difference. The school showed Combat America, a film about the B-17. Responds to Lee’s tales of a trip to London and plays he has seen. Shirley is at home. Neighbors have a nephew named McCall [in the Lee’s bomb group] who is a POW. Still cannot get film. Received a letter from mother of ball turret gunner, Max Shepherd.

Names: [Keith W.] McCall, [co-pilot in the 447th BG shot down Oct. 6 1944], Max Shepherd

 

On February 27, 1945, the crew of the Blue Hen Chick flew their 35th mission, completing their tour of duty and qualifying for membership in the Lucky Bastards Club. 1st Lt. Ralph L. Minker signed on for a second tour and was on leave for several weeks.

 

Date: [Friday], February 28, 1945

Writer: Edna Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

Still looking for film, wants a picture of his plane, named the Blue Hen Chick. Reports on the school and sports events.

 

Date: [Friday], March 2, 1945

Writer: Edna Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

Lee sent propaganda leaflets home [see scrapbook p. 46], Bernice took them to school for translation. Plans for the future include building veterans hospital and a General Motors plant.

Names: Rabbi Tavel, Col. Irving Carpenter [chaplain]

 

Date: [Saturday], March 10, 1945

Writer: Edna Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

Disappointment in Lee’s news that he signed on for a second tour while still supporting his decision. Asks about a new crew. Pleased he met up with an old friend in London. Her heart reaches out to him as the war is coming to a close.

Names: Bob Cassel, Jack Warren, Tom Warren

 

Date: [Monday], March 12, 1945

Writer: Edna Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

Shirley starred in a show on campus, Bernice had a great time seeing her. Article in the paper that 200 boys from Ferris were in the service. Reaches out to her son in sharing their love of gardening with notes from home.

 

Date: [Wednesday], March 14, 1945

Writer: Edna Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

Edna prepared his taxes, contains report of his pay. Finally found film, sent to him on March 13. Asks if he has a new assignment.

 

Date: March 16, 1945

Writer: Edna Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

Relieved that she has completed taxes; discusses Lee’s taxes. Uncle Marion and family will come this weekend; Bernice’s schedule. Difficulties about sending him packages. Asks whether he has seen Chaplain Irving Carpenter.

 

Date: [Friday], March 18, 1945

Writer: Edna Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

With Lee’s most recent letter and a promised visit from Chaplain Carpenter, Edna begins to be reassured that her son is returning to normal. Edna keeps up with the political issues affecting the [Ferris] school in discussion of the Family Court Bill. Encourages him to worship during the Lenten season.

Names: Howell Finn, [Col. Irving’] Carpenter, Dr. Prettyman

 

Date: [Wednesday], March 21, 1945

Writer: Edna Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

Wishes he were home to hear his sister sing a lead role. She is pleased with the good news in the Pacific. Reports of members of the family.

Names: Dr. Prettyman [Dickinson College president]

 

Date: [Friday], March 23, 1945

Writer: Edna Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

Bernice did a wonderful job singing. Talks about Easter vacations for Shirley and Bernice. Haven’t anyone on the staff who can coach basketball for the boys.

 

Date: [Monday], March 26, 1945

Writer: Edna Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

Received a package of letters from Lee. Report on the garden. Looking for the end of the war in April as there are reports that Germany is disintegrating. The Family Court Bill may be defeated again. Wishing he was going to be with them on Easter Sunday. Plaintive hope that he will be next to here on Easter, 1946.

Names: Meredith Ballard

 

Date: [Thursday], March 29, 1945

Writer: Edna Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

Describes spring at home for her son, she contrasts the beauty with the destruction going on elsewhere. President of Dickinson is still in a coma. Did not get a letter from him last week. [Lee was on leave in England.]

Names: Dr. Prettyman

 

Date: Monday, April 2, 1945

Writer: Edna Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

Edna brings the family Easter celebration to Lee with detailed description and longing that he was not part of it. Shirley’s plans for after her medical course. Comments on Lee’s letter of March 19 in which he describes a “typical mission.”  Celebrated their 22nd wedding anniversary on Saturday. Shirley and Bernice are each graduating, will he be home for the celebrations?

Names: Lt. Layton, Jimmie Cooper

 

Date: [Wednesday], April 4, 1945

Writer: Edna Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

Family problems with some cousins causes Edna to comment on the pain of ingratitude from children. Wonders if he is still flying.

Names: Dr. Stidger [friend from Concord, MA]

 

Date: [Friday], April 6, 1945

Writer: Edna Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

She is preparing Lee’s room for his return. Russia denounced the [1941 Neutrality] Pact with Japan, a sign of shortening the war in the Pacific. Family Court Bill still has not passed.

 

Date:[Monday], April 9, 1945

Writer: Edna Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

Have not heard from Lee since March 19. Shirley is in the May Queen court at school. Describes the Dickinson dinner. She knows the war will soon be over, but not fast enough with a son in the service.

 

Date: [Thursday], April 12, 1945

Writer: Edna Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

Edna is depressed when she has not heard from, wishing he could call as Shirley can. The Family Court Bill did not pass as each party is looking for their own gain rather than the bigger picture. More of the ongoing description of the garden and what is in bloom, a love of gardening shared with her son. Bernice is busy with senior class activities.

 

Date: [Wednesday], April 18, 1945

Writer: Edna Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

News of President Roosevelt’s death, prayers for Truman. The Family Court Bill was finally passed. Going to Raleigh, NC to pick up a boy from [Ferris] School. Shirley’s graduation activities, trying to decide on a school for Bernice. Still no word from him since March 19.

 

Date: [Monday], April 23, 1945

Writer: Edna Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

Gives Lee a detailed description of the trip to NC Stayed overnight in Richmond with a minister as the hotels are full on the weekends with servicemen and their families. Received an envelope from him with money order but no letter. Thinks he has earned 5 oak leaf clusters.

 

Date: [Wednesday], April 25, 1945

Writer: Edna Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

Historic day – opening of the San Francisco Conference, Edna recognizes the need for international cooperation to sustain peace.  She is fearful for the current generation of German youth with reports of atrocities.  Sports news.

 

Date: [Friday], April 27, 1945

Writer: Edna Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

Shirley is bringing six girls’ home for the weekend. Reports on the San Francisco Conference. Daddy busy with the next war bond drive. Did he get his Easter box?

 

Date: Monday, April 30, 1945

Writer: Edna Minker

Recipient: Lee Minker

Place: Wilmington, Delaware

Their effort to beautify the grounds. Relief at finally receiving a cablegram from Lee, rumors of peace, expecting news any hour. Four boys left the grounds. Ralph Sr. is stressed with the lack of personnel and problems of the boys. Hoping he will be home for his sisters’ commencements.

Names: Dick Rhoades [headed for the Pacific]

Folder 16: Edna Minker, May – October, 1945

Abstract

 

Date: [Tuesday], May 1, 1945

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

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

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

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

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

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

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]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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]

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

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]

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

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

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 (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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 be missing seeing her brother as he may not be home before then.

 

Date: Monday, August 20, 1945

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

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

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]

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.