Monday, April 11, 2011

'46-'47 Bill's Grad

Beginning in February of 1947 I address my letters to Bruce at Student Headquarters Williams AFB Chandler AZ

I sent this poem to Bruce on February 14, 1947-    from Ladies Home Journal
Why should I love you so much, so much
Through the sun-spun day and the silken night?
Why should I love you, my love with such
abandoned and dear delight?
Your fingertips have God’s gold touch,
and your slightest sigh is a bugle call.
Why should I love you so much, so much,
When I shouldn’t ... any ...
at all? 
March 18, 1947 I send my letters from now on to
Corporal Stewart Sqdn A-1 Box 305 Keesler Field, Mississippi
March 22 I wrote: “Last Sunday Elayne and I talked about plowing during Easter vacation. Doesn’t it sound thrilling just to think about it!!! We have everything in hay now except that piece of pasture- a good 40 acres from the road just past where the house is, back to the fence line on Swanson’s side. Think the two of us could do at least 20 acres in about 5 days, as a couple of farmerettes to a former farmer? Can’t you joust smell that moist, warm, soft spring earth neatly cut and turned over row upon row --- You certainly haven’t forgotten.”
March 29 I learn that my summer date in ’45 Keith Johnson, has married Lois Gethen, from my sister’s class.
“Bought Jimmy ‘The Yearling’ to read over Easter. Jim is in an operetta at the Grade School- Tom Sawyer”
At school we practice for a centenary celebration of the School Sisters of Notre Dame. The production is staged at Messmer High School and those participating, that includes me, will wear the order’s habit. I did have a picture of me in garb. On Monday, May 6th we have a broadcast. Sr. Wananda dresses me and 8 others. She’s so excited.
Another reference: “Elayne and I tore down the wall next to the piano --- finally. Our eyes, nose, hair and lungs were coated with plaster dust but the worse job was cleaning up the wreckage.”
Bill is a true Chicago White Sox fan. Each afternoon baseball game Bill has his ear pinned to WGN radio and Bob Elson calling the plays, later Bob Brickhouse.
“We came home special just to attend brother Bill’s play. We ate dinner and all went down to the high school. It was such a cute play ... Johnson, Mo Scholl, what big boys and what deep voices. Even Peacock has grown quite tall. Your sister Mrs. Eggert came over to visit with us a while. She’s real nice. She seemed happy your brother, Fred, was home.”
“They are building a new newspaper building in Lake Geneva and Elayne applied for a summer job.”
April 5 Bill receives his Senior class picture proofs from Montgomery’s in Harvard.
Mother came to visit on Mother’s Day but Elayne was on retreat at the Cenacle. We went to visit her and then had a visit with Auntie Gladys , Uncle Joe, and Judy at their home on Washington Circle.
William John Bergin graduates from High School in ’47.
William John Bergin       [2nd row up,left of 'Class']

June 30, 1947  I write about Bill having his arm in a caste at St. Anthony’s Hospital in Rockford. “Bill feels pretty funky right now. They grafted a piece of bone from his right let onto his arm which gives him 2 sore spots. Poor guy. He was feeling so perky the last I saw him, Saturday. He visited and chit-chatted with everyone in the joint before [operation?] so he has plenty of consolers.”
Jim writes: “Bill is in the hospital at St. Anthony’s Rockford, a sever draught in Dixie Land resulting ini many Kentucky thoroughbreds without grasses and hay for the winter. Chet Marzahl baled for us almost daily with the excuse of making bales light so young Jimmy could more easily lift them wherever. Fact was that the strings were so loose that when lifting them, only the strings would come up for the 1st 6 or so making it all the harder. Eventually we went to Gaye Lange’s service with his John Deere wire bailer - much easier though heavier. This way he [Marzahl] also got more 10 cents per bale tallies.”
I had been so proud of my first aid college class in Home Nursing ’47. In July Henry has an accident: “This Tuesday I was home alone with Henry and Jim and Henry was hit in the head by a car or something attached to the [hay] fork in the barn. Jim ran to get bandages, antiseptics, and so forth and described it to me. I got out the first aid book to see if I could detect anything from symptoms. It was no help at all.Symptoms were described as face pale, or flushed, lips blue. Now how was I to know? That book seems to need a little going over. Anyway the poor guy pulled through. Lots of whites could take a lesson from him. Instead of cursing or getting mad at the fork, he prays. There are little things about ohoiom that make us like him far better than we would the ordinary hired man.”
 “You perhaps remember also the good-natured sarcasm about each of our shares of 180 acres. From the oldest to the youngest - each would inherit 40 acres with Elayne getting the 40 just mentioned above [considered the most desirable and so on down the ladder, until me - the youngest getting the slough. Bill seemed to have a propensity for sarcastic humor of this sort.”
One summer Saturday George invited me to meet his family and afterwards dine and dance at the Edgewater Beach Hotel. The arrangement was I would come in on the train and we’d meet under the clock at Marshall Field’s, State and Madison.

Well, in those days Chicago was on Daylight Savings Time and Hebron, 60 miles away, was on Central Standard Time. Neither of us figured this in when we made plans. He arrived at 3 DST, waited an hour and left. I arrived about 3 CST and waited an hour. He didn’t show. I was about to leave when I suppose he figured it out and did show up. It was one of Chicago’s very, utterly, most hot and humid day immaginable. Arriving at the hotel eventually helped a bit as the evening wore on and a little, very little breeze came off the lake. When the school year began Bob and George whould even drive up to Mount Mary. Elayne, of course, wasn’t here, but Bob was attracted to my friend, Muriel. George wrote to me frequently on his law firm stationary.
My mailbox number was 234. I’d wait outside our college post office each day when mail was sorted anxious to receive letters.
Sugar rationing comes to an end in June, 1947. Mother and I visited her Uncle Jim Kirby in Elgin --- quite chipper. You would have to see him to appreciate his talents and Irish humor.” I am talking Bruff, Ireland here. This is the eldest son, as the story is told, who was slated to become a priest. Didn’t want to. So one Sunday as the family walked home from Church, Jim kept right on walking, comes to America, eventually attending Law School, passing the Bar. He practiced many years in Elgin, IL. Eventually, his dad, my great grandfather joined the Trappist Monks in Dubuque, IA. Tale always sounded to me like misplaced vocations.
“On the rugged side I have only dragged over the corn field twice. I wouldn’t have been able to do that if Bill was here. Seems the men have progressed tremendously and make the women feel quite insignificant when it comes to machinery and such. I shall now consider it a privilege to do what was once a chore. Bill got home Thursday.”
July 1947 we began shipping milk to the Borden plant in Hebron.
July 1947 I begin addressing my letters to A/C Bruce Stewart  Class 48-B Sqdn. ST-1 UPO #1 Randolf Field Texas.

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