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~ Kathy M.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Another Chapter in Uncle John Hedrick's Life Story:

"The One Where He Gets a Thank-You Letter from President Truman"

Welcome to Little Nell, from over at "Hanging On My Word", for pitching in to take over Alan's job at Sepia Saturday for a while, as he is on vacation.  Without further ado, here is this week's prompt photo, and by chance I am on theme for this week:

First, let us put the kitty issue to rest. I have shown the photo below before, but it is one of my favorite pictures of my husband Cary when he was just a baby.  He did grow up and join the Air Force, but that is another story for another time.

Instead, today we are going back to learning more about my Great Uncle John Hedrick.  Uncle John is the one who married Aunt Signa, thereafter honeymooning in Reno and Salt Lake City.  Some of us will always remember the flat tire that they got on the way to Reno, and the postcards that never made it to the mailbox.  This story begins before all of that though.

First, he was born:

One, two, skip a few ... Uncle John had a steady gal and went into the Army Air Forces during World War II.  Let's just pretend that in this week's prompt picture Uncle John is the guy, and Aunt Signa is the girl, shall we?  It could have been them, except that they always had little poodles named Sugar and Sugar II.  I never noticed a cat when I went to visit them; but then again, I was admiring all of their telephones, dreaming of growing up to be a telephone operator so that I could someday have as many phones as they did (4 or 5), including the pink trimline Princess phone; my personal favorite.  Little did I know that I would later inherit a lot of their stuff, allowing me to publish their personal information on the internet.

Uncle John was stationed in Illinois and Texas, and then was sent to Brazil, where he served in communications until the war ended.  He looks just like my cousin Sally's boys, Alex and Zach.

Here is the beautiful gal that he left back home, Miss Signa Woods, the telephone operator:

Uncle John is a great writer and he corresponded with many people, including to his sister-in-law Flora Fletcher Hedrick and her two sons, his nephews Dan Hedrick and Lyle P. Hedrick.  Lyle later gathered all of the letters that went back and forth between them all.  He included his grandfather E.W. Fletcher's daily diary, and transcribed them into a manuscript that he named "The War Letters".  Lucky for us all, my Mom and Aunties gave me a copy of it. 

This is a letter that Uncle John sent to Flora when he was stationed in Natal, Brazil:

Finally, here you go ... the moment that you have been waiting for, Uncle John's thank you notes from the Commanding General of the Army Air Forces, Henry H. Arnold, and from President Harry S. Truman himself.  This is so cool, I couldn't believe that they were tucked within The Letsom Letters Collection:

So, there you are, my friends.  If you enjoyed this story, please visit my Sepia Saturday friends by "CLICKING HERE" to find other neat photos and stories.  To read more about my family and other stories featuring old photos, memories and more, please look for this picture of me and my dad on the left-hand sidebar and read whatever else catches your fancy.  Thanks so much for visiting!

~ Kathy M. 

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Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy ~ Kathy Matthews

At Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy, if you miss a day, you miss a lot!  All material on this post is copyrighted and not for use without my permission ...Please click here to go to my home page and see what is happening in Mayberry today.
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Little Nell said...

You get the prize for first on Mr Linky this week Kathy (and for testing my mettle as admin). That letter is like a short story ! It’s amazing that so much can happen to one person and that he’s willing to share it in a good-humoured way. I was interested in some of the turns of phrase, especially the use of the word ‘transportation’ back in 1944. It has crept into UK English fairly recently and is quite widespread now, though some of stalwarts insist on the word ‘transport’. BTW I think that photo of Cary is wonderful, no wonder it’s a favourite.

nutschell said...

Amazing that you've kept all these souvenirs from the past. Thanks for sharing it with us!

Arkansas Patti said...

You really are blessed to have such treasures. In most families, these things get lost.
Cool to have gotten a letter from Truman. As a child in Key West, I went to Truman Elementary on Truman Blvd. He was big in that little town for he had the Little White House there and every time he came to town for R&R, school was let out so we could line the streets amd wave flags as he went past. That made him OK in my book.

Grammy Goodwill said...

What an amazing letter. I can't imagine anyone taking that much time to write, but I guess that's how people communicated back then. (I must admit that I wrote my ex-husband daily letters when we were in college and separated.) You are so lucky to have such wonderful keepsakes.

Wendy said...

How funny you wanted to be an operator so you could have a pink Princess phone. Check the Goodwill stores -- I bet you'll find one and all your dreams will come true! Seriously, as everyone agrees, these are amazing letters.

Karen S. said...

Oh my goodness what amazing pieces in this treasure collection! A very talented and gracious uncle too! How coooool is that letter too! This is certainly a lesson in just what one can have within his precious but too short life that we have! Congrats on your prize from Little Nell too! Ha! Ha!

Bob Scotney said...

You family history continues to fascinate me. That letter home is a gem and the one from President Truman should be treasured for ever.
Does anyone every use an operator any more? It doesn't seem like it to me.

barbara and nancy said...

I loved your uncle's letter. It was so packed with stories.
And that letter from Truman. What a treasure.
My daughter went to Recife for carnival once and loved it.
I wonder if your uncle did too. But it sounds like he didn't have enough freedom to really enjoy himself.
A wonderful post.

Postcardy said...

Your Uncle's letter was amusing to read.

I didn't know they sent certificates of appreciation. I wonder what you had to do to get those.

Mike Brubaker said...

Another super tribute and funny story, and the cat and baby photo is swell too.

Dee said...

Love that cat and baby photo. What serendipity that you had one that was on theme...

Dee at Shakin' the Family Tree

Joy said...

I just love that the passes survive with the story in the letter. Unique.

Titania said...

I had to laugh about the telephones, they were the "in thing" in those days. I don't think you ever complain about being bored, you are such a busy lady. A wonderful, interesting story and post.

Kristin said...

Such a great letter and all the little tickets and things!

(Queenmothermamaw) Peggy said...

In 1944 I was 7 years old and had 2 uncles in the army and 1 in the Navy in Brazil. Loved the story.

Queen Bee said...

Kathy, you have so many wonderful family treasures - thanks for sharing them with us. Sounds like your aunt & uncle had a special relationship. It was interesting that they had so many phones in their house for two people. The pink princess phone was my favorite when I was growing up too. My grandmother had a princess phone and I always found a reason to make calls at her house when I was a kid. Enjoyed reading about your dream of becoming an operator. :)

Sharon said...

Your uncle was quite a writer. Very amusing. Thank you for sharing.

Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy said...

Thank you very much, everybody. This is one of my favorite ones. It is so neat to pull material from several sources now, to complete a better story.

Peggy, you are the first person that I have heard from yet that is familiar with family being in Brazil during the war too. Most of us didn't even know that the US was stationed there!



As my mom was a phone operator before her marriage, she always kept a few around the house as she never tired of talking on the phone. I am SO the opposite!!

It's great that his correspondence was kept. I like those things.
Good show!!

Tattered and Lost said...

It's a journal from another time of a man who I'd have never known about. You've enriched his memories and given us all a vicarious journey into the past. A little time traveling.

No Copying!


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