Wednesday, October 03, 2007

World War II Valentines

Originally broadcast in 2002. It's part of the soundportraits collection by the master of this media, David Isay. The description:
A short piece based on Valentine audio messages to family members from marines from Milwaukee, Wisconsin serving in the Pacific during World War II. The archival recordings were drawn from recordings held by the Library of Congress. They are complemented by recent interview segments with some of the marines. This program was part of NPR's Weekend Edition Sunday's American Talkers series.
I matched the audio up with the extensive incredible digital gallery of "The War." I concentrated on images from the tag "homefront." A bonus for this audio is the available transcript. Only a portion here:
CORRESPONDENT: And now we're going to hear from two twins. They were both on Guadalcanal. They're on their second tour of duty. They've been here nine months and just came back from the first marine operation at Pellyloo. How long were you on Guadalcanal the first time you came over?

BROTHER: Well, from October 4, 1942, until the sixteenth of February.

CORRESPONDENT: Say, maybe I better tell them what your names are: Melvin G. Simmons, Corporal, and Orville J. Simmons, another corporal. Their mother is Mrs. Anna M. Simmons and they live at 2683 South KK Avenue, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Did you fellas just have a feeling for the marine division or did you ask for it when you came over?

BROTHER: We asked for the fifth marines.

CORRESPONDENT: You asked for the fifth marines and you've asked to be together?

BROTHER: That's correct.

CORRESPONDENT: And when they write to you, do they write to both of you or do both of you get separate letters?

BROTHER: We get separate letters that start out "Dear Twins" or "Dear Boys."

CORRESPONDENT: I see. Do you hear enough from everyone at home?


CORRESPONDENT: Who don't you hear enough from?

BROTHER: Well, my girl better get hot back there. I'd like to hear more from her.

CORRESPONDENT: What's her name?

BROTHER: Anne Fambrizio.

CORRESPONDENT: Anne Fambrizio. And where does she live?

BROTHER: 2516 South Graham Ave.

CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Anne! Better get on the ball back there because a couple of good-looking boys here, and when they're coming back you know they'll have a lot of stars on their bars and you'll be mighty proud to see 'em. So make with a pen and pencil, and the paper. They'd like to hear from you! And now these twins have written a poem and they're going to read it together. So go ahead.


My Mother, nights are long since we went away,

We dream about you all through the day.

My mother, dear mother, your sonny misses you.

Miss your eyes, your hair, the touch of your hand,

Just want to know if you understand.

Though we be miles apart,

You are always in our heart.

My mother, dear mother.

CORRESPONDENT: Thank you very much. That was Melvin and Orville Simmons from 2683 South KK Avenue in Milwaukee. And the next person we are going to hear from is Private First Class Porter M. Baldridge. He lives at 1318 West Columbia Street, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and his valentine is addressed to his wife, Bernice. Is that right?


CORRESPONDENT: How long has it been since you've seen Bernice?

BALDRIDGE: Well, it's been about pretty near eighteen months since I've seen her.

CORRESPONDENT: Eighteen months? And is there anyone else in your family you'd like to say hello to?

BALDRIDGE: Oh, I would like to say hello to my son. I haven't seen him since he was born. He was born just shortly before I left for overseas. He's about 16 months old now

CORRESPONDENT: Sixteen months old and you haven't seen him. Have you gotten any pictures of him?

BALDRIDGE: Oh, yes. I have several pictures of him.

CORRESPONDENT: What does he look like?

BALDRIDGE: Well, he's built about like I am: long from the shoulders down to the hips, and then pretty short from there on.

CORRESPONDENT: Gee, he'll make a good marine some day, won't he?

BALDRIDGE: I hope not!

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