Monday, May 16, 2016

49) Jack sends Betty money to buy Christmas presents.-- Oct. 11, 1944

APO 920 = Base H, Biak, Dutch New Guinea- Schouten Islands
Mokmer Airstrip

Oct. 11th, 44, 11:45 PM, “Pretty dark out”

This will have to be a short letter but I know you will understand the reason. I am really very busy here lately. I missed lunch today. You know that I’m busy when I miss a meal. I hope that in a week or so things will settle down and I can really write some long letters. Dearest you know that it is really hard for me to go many days with out mail from you. I got one letter (on that funny stationery) today. It was mailed Oct. 2nd. I really am held together by those letters you write. I wouldn’t last long if I didn’t get them. You seem to understand so many things. Have you been thinking about just what you want to do after I get back for good? Do you think we will be able to be happy together? I really do hope we can. I have really some wonderful plans and ideas I would like to tell you about but most of them will have to wait. Never could put it over on paper.

Sure am glad you get around to see the family so often. Guess you will really rate with them by the time I get back there. As if you don’t right now. Boy they think your tops and “I ain’t just kidding.” Remember though that I am the guy that really loves you. Don’t ya think so maybe?

Darling you have probably been thinking & wondering about the enclosed Money Order. Here’s what I want you to do. See that every body (that is Mom, Pop, DeeDee & My Grandmother) all get some Xmas present with my name on it. Let it be a surprise. Also get that cute little devil of a sister of yours something from me. If you have any cash left have a big bunch of flowers sent to mom on Xmas day. I know I can depend on you to pick out nice things. You might have to shop around some to find out just what each one can use. Get something nice for Pop, maybe a tie from A.l.Warner.

Well that is about all for this time. Don’t worry about my letters. I will write as often as I can get time. And if things get any worse I’ll take time off from sleeping to write. Rather write to you than sleep or eat.

Please excuse or forgive the short letter.

I remain yours till the very end of time.

Good night sweet,

Notes - Jack's Christmas List:
  1. "Mom"---Avery Merriman Riley, Jack's mother was 43 years old at this time.  She helped run the Louisville Loan Company, which had been started by her father, Clarence Merriman. She also helped manage various properties that had been owned by Clarence Merriman.  When Clarence died, just after Jack began his WWII service, these businesses were left in the hands of Avery, her sister Lillian and their mother Maude Sargent Merriman.
  2. "Pop"---Jack W. Riley, Sr., Jack's father was 49 years old at this time.  He and Avery lived at 127 Bonner Avenue during the war years.  I am unsure what his occupation was at this time.  Most of his life he was a salesman (furniture, bourbon, cars, etc.).
  3. "DeeDee"---Lillian Merriman was Jack's beloved aunt, the younger and only siblings of Avery.  At this time Lillian was divorced from her husband Robert G. Pitz, owner of the Pitz Foundry in New York (Link to info about Pitz Foundry).  Lillian and Robert Pitz had one son, "Bob" who was a few years younger then Jack.  I don't know where she was living at this time but perhaps in Louisville.
  4. "My Grandmother"---Maude Sargent Merriman, Jack's maternal grandmother was a 70 year old widow at this time.  She was born in Beallsville, PA and raised by her aunt and uncle in Pittsburgh until her marriage to Clarence Merriman in 1900, at which time they moved to Louisville, KY.  In 1944 she was still helping to run The Louisville Loan Company, with her daughters, Avery and Lillian.

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