Friday, May 21, 2010

A Letter Home

In August 1945, my dear aunt Abby Rachel was five years old, living in Brooklyn on Clinton Street with my infant mother and her parents, Eva and Max. In France, Uncle Harold waited for those official orders that would bring him home again. I believe that the waiting was, for him, not without its ambivalence, for the War had been something of an adventure for that Brooklyn boy, showing him the wider world, a new language, another culture.

But wait he did, for what other choice was there, really? The war had ended, the terrible monster vanquished, and his family wanted him home, so homeward he would eventually travel, not war-weary like many, but rather enlivened, and alive in all the true meaning of that word.

With nothing much to do in the army camp (save, apparently, nap, chat, and eat ice cream), he wrote a letter, now a family treasure, to his niece Abby:








(Abby Rachel Pollack, 1940-2001; Harold Pollack, 1916-2004. May their memory forever be a blessing...)



...and please do take a look at the other wonderful entries for Sepia Saturday...

35 comments:

xl said...

What a wonderful letter to a little girl!

Those were such good "problems" he described for the soldiers to have. They were all so close to being re-deployed to fight in the Japan invasion. It would have been horrific.

My father was already in the Pacific theater when the end came.

MJ said...

Life before email.

Oh Hai, XL!

Brian Miller said...

what a cool letter...love all the little doodles...very nice family treasure...

mago said...

He lived longer ...

Poetikat said...

Ah, Leah! Such a sweet post! Those drawings are charming and you can tell, every stroke was fashioned witwh Abby in mind—with love in his heart! (You made my day with this!)

Kat

Hunter said...

Great letter! Loved the illustrations.

I take it from the "on line" vernacular that he was from the Northeast. My wife says that too, and it always sounds different to my Southern ear.

kylie said...

a beautiful snippet of family life, beautifully told

i can imagine my brother doing something like this...

three cheers for special uncles :)

savannah said...

what a joy to see, sugar! y'all are most fortunate to have such sweet links to the past and your family. xooxxo

Baino said...

Definitely a family treasure and so beautifully portrayed. Really must pull my finger out and get into this one. I never had an uncle. Feeling a little deprived.

Crystal Mary said...

Gosh you write well, I almost felt like I was there. And such a sweet man your Uncle Harold. A lovely story and wonderful letter to treasure. So glad it got kept.
Bless you.

The Unbearable Banishment said...

How old was Uncle Harold when he wrote that?

Clinton Street is so beautiful. I use to dream about living there.

Ronda Laveen said...

And it was written on Red Cross stationary. Cool. His sketches are priceless. I loved how he made all the body postures of the stick men different as they stood in line.

Very fun post.

Vicki Lane said...

Love seeing the actual letter!

Scarlet Blue said...

Next time I'm at my parents house I will have a rummage for some sepia and some family treasure.
Sx

Martin H. said...

Such a tenderly written letter from uncle to niece. I love the advice, "..don't squeeze pussycats.."

Alan Burnett said...

Just about perfect. The letter, the photograph, the description. The letter just cries out to reach a wider audience : it is such a document of its time. And, at long last, it has.

Princess said...

Lovely Leah, another wonderful family remembering. i think I would have liked your Uncle H...

Barry said...

A charming an poignant post. I can understand why the letter has remained a family treasure.

California Girl said...

Terrific memento. Seems like another time. I have love letters written to my father during WWII from his first wife about whom we did not learn until my mother died 12 years ago.

I found it poignant he kept them and their contents are equally sad.

willow said...

What a treasure!! I love the charming illustrations and the story about waiting an hour for a cup full of ice cream. Thanks for sharing this with us, Leah. It was such a treat!

nick said...

What a splendid letter. I wish my aunts or uncles had sent me lovely letters like that, with such clever drawings. It's rather a shame the golden age of letter-writing seems to be behind us, scuppered by email.

John Hayes said...

That really is a treasure! I love the line "and don't squeeze pussy cats"

Meri said...

A tender and artistic piece of family history, created because an uncle loved his little niece. And like John, I was stopped by the admonition against squeezing pussy cats. There's a story there, for sure!

just bob said...

cool

Barbara and Nancy said...

I loved the story and the letter and especially the drawings. I can see why Uncle Harold loved Abby. She's such a cute little girl, brimming with personality.

Valia Lind said...

Oh thats just so sweet! theres just something about letters! I actually just stumbled on your blog while looking for followers for mine. Im a first time author trying to promote my book! If you get a chance please take a look at my blog www.wordsareinnermusic.blogspot.com Have a good day!

Ponita in Real Life said...

What lovely family mementos, Leah! You seem to have so many.... what treasures they all are! Thank you for sharing with us.

Mrsupole said...

Such a wonderful family history you have. That was so sweet of him to take the time to write such a sweet letter to her. They were blessed to have each other. Thank you for sharing this with us.

God bless.

Madame DeFarge said...

Wonderful letter and I love these insights into your family's history. It's such a privilege.

mapstew said...

Magic! :¬)

xxx

Nancy said...

Can you imagine how thrilled 5-y-o Abby must have been to recieve a letter from her uncle?! Years ago, it was always a thrill for little ones to receive mail. And then, to open the envelope and find drawings that she could "read" herself! Wonderful uncle! Wonderful post!

serendipity woman said...

Ohhhhh..that was beautiful..
what a treasure, indeed.
I think it's wonderful when we have things like that, a tangible link to the past..
blessings,
glenda

lettuce said...

wonderful post - the letters and the photo are treasures.

how lovely

Nana Jo said...

Leah, this post really touched me; its whimsy, its love for a delightful little girl, its connection to history. Thank you for sharing such a precious piece of your family lore.

muralimanohar said...

That is SO cool. My mom is the black sheep of the family, and my dad is psycho, so I have very little knowledge of my family histories. It would be something special to know my family the way you know yours.