Carolyn Porter | France
Learn more about the book "Marcel's Letters" and the font P22 Marcel Script, which is based on the handwriting of conscripted WWII laborer Marcel Heuzé
Carolyn Porter, Marcel Heuzé, Marcel's Letters, Handwritten Letters, World War II, P22 Marcel, Typography, Love Story, Reunion, Daimler, Berlin, Marienfelde, STO, Forced Labor, Service du Travail Obligatoire, WWII
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In Praise of Colophons

In Praise of Colophons

 

Just when I think I’m finished reading my book,
I turn the last page and find that the lettering
of this softened paperback was first cut
by a monk in 1739, just off the Northern coast
of France. How delightful, this production
by the sea——no talking, only the small splashes
of wave against rock, a plover’s squawk,
the metal plink of each letter into the carriage.

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“Nowhere in France”: Letter written by Emery Porter March 24, 1918

This letter was written and mailed by my grandfather, J. Emery Porter, to his sister, Lois Bayley. Forty or so of Emery’s WWI letters to Lois have survived (read more about these letters here). On the back of the envelope (shown above), he included a return address: “Pvt. Emery Porter, 646 Aero Squadron, American Expeditionary Forces, via New York.” I never met my grandfather, but I heard he was a life-long French speaker and unabashed Francophile, primarily due to the experiences he had while stationed in France.

 

“Nowhere in France”
March 24, 1918

Dear Sister,

I was the happy recipient of your letter today. It is the second I have received from home folks. I received one from Mother two weeks ago this morning but nothing since. Evidently you have written others which I may yet receive. This one was dated March 2nd or 3rd. Emily K. has written six but I have received two so far so you can judge why I don’t respond often.

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“My father was friends with Marcel Heuzé”

Our conversation began with this astonishing claim: “My father was friends with Marcel Heuzé.”
(Cue the sound of a needle scratching across a record.)

Let me back up. Two weeks ago, I picked up my office phone to hear a 90-year-old woman with a crisp French accent state her name — Nelly Trocmé Hewett — followed by the astonishing claim her father had been friends with Marcel.READ MORE

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December 26, 1944: Somewhere in France

12/26/44
Somewhere in France

My Dearest Wife:

Well Christmas is here an gone. It didn’t even seem like Christmas just like another day. Christmas Eve we didn’t get in till about six. After we ate I washed and shaved. Was [illegible due to paper damage] to a little party they were having over in his Co. Then we were going to go to midnight services. READ MORE

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October 13, 1944: “…I do love & miss you & pray that we will be together soon…”

October 13, 1944
France

Darling Marie,

I’m enclosing a few lines to let you know that I’m still in the best of health & also pray to hear the same from you, my [loved] one. Today I’m going to answer a few of your letters dated Sept. 19th, 20th & 26th. Before I start, I want you to know it is really cold out here where I am & I understand it is also cold back home. Oh well, I guess there isn’t anything I could do about it.

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“A card to you from not too gay Paree…”

February 15, 1945

My dear young men:

A card to you from not too gay Paree. But it is a beautiful city filled with beautiful women, beautiful buildings, beautiful stores, everything beautiful, no Frenchmen, and a lot of G.I. soldiers. I wish you both could be here to enjoy it. I wish I could enjoy it, too, but I am too busy with my work. Some other day, maybe 

— Dad

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