As part of the ongoing collection of images showing moments or items mentioned in the book, Marcel’s Letters: A Font and the Search for One Man’s Fate, here is the faux journal mentioned on page 29.READ MORE
This is the first letter I’ve found that was mailed from France to a French laborer in Germany. The letter was addressed to Serge Brodig, who was in a lager (a barrack) in Berlin. The postage stamps bear Petain’s profile.READ MORE
I had the honor of meeting Kay N. Sanders a couple of days ago at the Fox Cities Book Festival. She mentioned this poem, and I’m delighted she has allowed me to post it here. I hope you are touched by Kay’s reflection on her mother’s handwriting.
Stöckenerstrasse 351, Stube 43 [351 Stöckener Street, Room 43]
Hannover, July 18, 1944
To all of my very dear ones,
I’m sending these few lines to you this evening, Tuesday, to give you my news, which is still as good as possible. READ MORE
My parents are engaged in the slow process of cleaning out the home they’ve lived in the last 35 years. Recently, for example, they cleared papers out of an old secretary my grandmother used (my dad’s mother). READ MORE
My little adored Marie,
I see, my love, that you have received good news from Jeannot (Johnny). I’m happy about that, darling. READ MORE
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
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.
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
2850 Bellevue St.
Kansas City Mo.
I rec’d your nice letter so will try and answer it. Here’s goes for nothing and you’ll agree with me when you finish reading it. READ MORE
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
25 December 1943
A few more hours and our xmas will be over, (4 to be exact). Yours is all over already. In fact you and Mike are more than likely tucked away in bed by now because it is 2 o’clock in Eau Claire.READ MORE
24 December 1943
Dearest little Mother,
Just a short time ago we finished with morning (9 A.M.) sick call. I have had indications that today might be a very busy one so thought I’d better get off your daily letter early.
Tonight is Xmas eve and I can just see you hanging up a little pair of stockings by the chimney with care. What are you giving Mike for Xmas dear? Pretty hard to think of things for a little tyke like that isn’t it? Gosh I’d certainly like to be with you tonight. I will in spirit anyway, especially when I am in church tonight. I’ll say a prayer for the best little family in the world.READ MORE
Dec. 22, 1942
Received two letters of yours, today. One written the 23rd of November, the other a v-mail letter written the 31st of August, the new and the old.
Don’t you ever change the way you have been writing your sweet letters! I’ll admit they just about knock me off my feet, but it’s just what I want to hear. I wish I could put into words what I have in my heart and mind, but I am afraid I would make a mess of it. Perhaps you’ll remember some of [the] things I told you a long time ago. It all goes double, now.READ MORE
CP: Congratulations on the release of “Death of an Assassin: The True Story of the German Murderer Who Died Defending Robert E. Lee” (Sept 1. 2017, Kent State University Press). This fascinating story would have been entirely lost to time if you hadn’t put together these German and American puzzle pieces — congratulations! Tell us a bit about the mystery you solved:
AMA: Thank you, Carolyn! Actually, it was two mysteries, one on each continent.READ MORE
Vienna April 4, 1944
My very dear parents,
I come for a moment to give you some news from me which are very good for now. I am still in good health. I hope it is the same for you.