Envelope: Jan/Feb 1944: Page from the New Yorker. Front: list of plays playing at the time, with checks next to the ones Gina has seen. Next to the Cherry Orchard: This was superb- I liked the way they did it! Needed the laughs and they didn’t detract from the drama. A note wraps around the border: I would like to see “Voice of the Turtle,” “Oklahoma” together. They’re the best on today. But you’ve gotta get tickets 3 months in advance. However we can always try the commodore. Sometimes get last minute seats. If I only knew which month. Maybe I could get em now.
Mrs. G. A. Getmenian
919 Columbia St. So. Pasadena, Calif.
J. Murray Ens. USNR
c/o Fleet P.O.
919 Columbia St.
So. Pasadena Calif.
Jan. 17 1944
We were very happy to receive your letter of Dec. 25 which reached to me Jan. 11. We are very glad to know that you enjoyed your Christmas being with us and so did we enjoy very much to have you with us. We looked to see you in new years day with your sister but even though I left the door unlocked hoping you may arrive in the night but I suppose you were not able to come. We missed you very much and we hoped that you had a happy day that day and will have a very happy year. Virginia wrote a letter saying how much she missed you at Christmas but when she knew that you spent the day with us she felt better. I had a birthday card with a sweet note written on it and I also received a birthday card from Bessie. They had big gatherings also at Christmas time. I suppose she is writing to you.
I had a nice card from Whiting’s from Camp Roberts must be they are around there yet.
I think you remember that Connie was sent to Chicago at Christmas time to go to Ford Custer in Battle Creek. After he spent Christmas with Virginia and Diran (Dee) he decided to get engaged with Dee’s sister Doris with whom he was corresponding since Virginia’s wedding when she was grides maid with your Virginia. But as he does not know where he will be sent he does not think that it is wise to be married just now. I hope it will not be very long. He is very very happy for it and so are we. So in very short time I will have a new daughter-in-law as well as to have my new great grandchild. Thanks to our Heavenly Father for all his blessings and I hope that it will not be long before you boys will come home so that we can enjoy our life.
Today Sarkis Devirian (Eunices brother) came over with Roxy and baby. He was home for weekend. He is stationed in San Diego just now. I received a letter from Watson few days ago. He is in Wichita Falls Texas. He has passed his basic Training with flying color and are waiting for shipping order very shortly. I heard from Marian last week. She is missing here and is hoping that she can come back again. They all are well and we all are well here hoping that you are keeping well also. Come whenever you can have a chance. We are sorry we did not have the opportunity to meet you sister. Hope she will be able to surprise us someday. Grandpa was glad to hear from you and is keeping up praying for your safe return home.
Mrs. William Enos Soul
Mrs. Frederick Turnbull
February 6, 1944
I was delighted to receive your nice letter. Uncle Fred and I think of you often, and are very much interested in news of you. We think that acquiring Virginia was a very sound thing for you to do. I have had some very nice communication from her, and am convinced that she is indeed a great addition to the family! As for the addition coming in April, I am as thrilled as can be. It is simply wonderful! Polly is extremely interestedin all this, especially now that she is a mother. She is very anxious to meet Virginia, and often says what fun it will be when you can all get to-gether. Polly has always been very fond of you and Peg, and is always asking for news of you both. I suggested to her that she write to you, but she said, “I wrote to Jack once and he never answered, so I guess he isn’t very interested in my life.” I told her not to be so stuffy, that of course you would enjoy hearing from her, especially now. She and uncle Fred seem to be unduly sensitive about that sort of things, and always need to be reassured that people think well of the,. I think Polly and Virginia wil lnejoy each other in the future, so we must plan a real reunion after this blasted war is over. I don’t know if you know anything about Polly’s set-up, but it really is ideal. She married Bill Soule (that makes another Harvard man in the family) and they have an attractive farm in Yarmouth, Maine. Our old tom-boy Polly, has turned into a wonderful wife and mother. Their house is old and quite charming, and their land includes some really nice shore frontage. They also acquired two cottages, which make nice guest houses (fine for you and Virginia, some day) and a large barn. They raise sheep, and beautiful Springer spaniels, besides super children. There (sic) daughter Margaret is two and a half years old now. She is an unusually attractive child, very blond and brimming over with personality. Your cousin Jim Knowles is completely sold on her. In April Polly expects another, they hope for a boy this time. Uncle Fred is amused to learn that if It is a girl it will be named Jean (after Polly) he says he never thought he would have to take on another Jean and Margaret in his lifetime.
I was so glad to hear that you and Peg could get to-gether over the holidays. How cruel that you couldn’t see Virginia. I have a darling picture of Peg in her uniform, and agree with you that she looks stunning. By the way, all the other nephews send frequent photographs of themselves, and as for you----- not one photograph taken later than 1928! This is a disgusting situation, will you please try and see that I get one of you. I wish I had one of Virginia too. By the way, I am terrifically amused, and also very proud, to think that I am going to be a great aunt. I am a very proud and devoted aunt, and have always thought that the nicest thing that ever happened to me was acquiring you all. Most aunts are also mothers, so naturally don’t get a kick out of their nephews and nieces as I do. You all mean a great deal to me. I find I boast about you all quite a bit.
Yes Portland has it’s (sic) gay side now, but I am generally too weary to participate. I have countless volunteer jobs, and have worked myself down to 110 pounds. Jim Knowles is glad, for he says I was getting too fat, so perhaps it is just as well. I managed to do a bit of skiing last month and that was fun, I love it. We have had no help since last June, so housework also occupies a good deal of my time.
Did we ever tell you that Olcott Payson joined the Air Force, and was killed? The accident occurred while he was driving a car, nothing to do with his being in the service. You may recall his wild driving, so it is not hard to imagine how it happened. Never the less, we miss him very much.
Patty Webster is still floating around, very melancholy due to an unsatisfactory love affair. The boys name is O’Hara, and the family seem to be disagreeable because it isn’t Smith. Her father is an awful snob. Johnny Knowles thinks quite highly of her, but he is of course too young. Never the less he asked her to school dances etc. Patty thinks he is pretty cute and says, “Oh if he were only older. Jimmy is almost through his course at Chapel Hill, and I believe it headed in your direction.
Fred is still very active in the Coast Guard. You should see him in his uniform. Bobby Eckfeldt is in England, and Jerry in California. I suppose you know that Suzanne Eckfeldt is engaged. Her fiancée is the brother of a friend of mine. She is at Bennington, and he at Harvard, I understand he is 4F due to some leg injury.
You will hardly know Bramhall Field when next you see it, all our trees have grown so that we are beginning to be hidden from the road. In fact we can hardly see Webster’s house at all now. We have a nice dock to swim from, things are really quite different from the year you were here. There are five houses on the field, and I think there were only three when you last saw it. The Langmaids who live in the little white house before you get to ours, and moving next month. It will be the first time that any of us “original settlers” have left, and we think it rather sad. They have two children since you left, so you can see that they have outgrown that little house. Did we have our property fenced in when you were here, I don’t believe so. Now we have a split-rail fence around our land.
Some of my pet ships are out your way now. I became very fond of some which were moored at my front door. Summer vefore last we used to be invited aboard for Sunday dinner, and it was always a great thrill for me. One of our favorite Navy Men was Admiral Oscar Badger, he was a frequent visitor here, and we all liked his wife and daughters very much.
Do excuse this screwy letter, but I have whipped it off on the typewriter more quickly than I can think, so pardon the mistakes. Please see that I get a photograph of yourself. I have pleaded with your family for one, but nothing yet has happened. I thought it more likely that they could send me one thank you, for I doubt if you can find a photographic salon around your part of the country. There must be some way for your family to have a copy made for me of the ones they have. I know your aunt Jean has one, and that makes me frightfully jealous.
Well darling, I certainly am looking forward to the day when you and Virginia and John Jr. come to visit us. There certainly will be a celebration.
With loads and loads of love from your devoted aunt,
Lt. (j.g) J. H. Murray
c/o Fleet P.O.,
San Francisco, California
P.O. Box 754
July 13 -44
It was a grand surprise, finding your letter in my mailbox this A.M. And here I am, answering pronto, to express my joy, and also, because it seems more like a visit, to add some back chat immediately.
I’m sure Margaret Elizabeth is a good looking gal–I’d like to see her myself, and hope it will not be too many moons in the future before all three Murrays reach this coast. There will be beer on the ice waiting, and anything else you may want except cigarettes. We are being gradually in cut in popular brands!
Carmel remains much the same, only more so– including people. Finding living quarters is now the work of a sleuth, homes or rooms, being passed on from friend to friend…
Just by chance I managed to find new quarters rather close in town– across the street from the Ribera Hotel. It is a strangely built group of simple apartments, each with private patio, called Mayfair House. My gasoline quota was not enough to cover trips into town (only) from the Point where I formerly lived. Now I can walk everywhere with ease, at the same time finding my battery running down frequently from lack of use!
No gardening for me this year due to lack of space, though I have two tomatoe plants sporting with fnociso (SP) + geraniums. I doubt they will mature, for the good old Peninsula zero ceiling has been constantly in evidence since January it seems.
A letter came in from Morris yesterday and it’s the first time he has ever complained of lack of sleep. He is on anti (SP) aircraft only two nights a week (all night) and then has to be in his office, naturally, every day. This has been going on for months, but what has been getting him down are the fritz Robots. He says they come sailing over at about five hundred or six hundred feet, making a noise like a tin Lizzy on high, then they hesitate + start down. One counts to about ten before the big noise, and as he remarked, it wasn’t too healthy to be near at that time. The continental invasion filled our papers for a day or so but the splendid Pacific work could never be subdued.
John, who was at the Gleasons the night you and Virginia were there, is out on the job again– but recently:
I’m enclosing a clipping from The Monterey Herald which amused me and thought it might give you a smile.
Would you like anything to read—detective stories or what? Let me know– I can present your request when mailing (SP).
Best of luck always and love to you
120 East 8th St.,
Los Angeles, Calif
Lt. (j.g.) J H Murray
VC37 Fleet Post Office
120 East Eighth Street Tucker 5803
Los Angeles 14
July 14, 1944
Grace and I were delighted to hear from you yesterday. Your letter was dated May 18th, and it does seem that two months is too long for a letter to take, by air mail, from any place on this planet. Soon, with rockets, telephotos and such, two months will be too long to hear from any place in the solar system. That is, unless censors, space priorities, and other forms of red tape intervene: these being infinitely more effective impediments than even astronomical distance.
So much has happened in the Western Pacific since May 18th! One is likely to think of the surge of power westward in visual terms: like an arrow implanted on a map. Then one thinks of the men at the front, on ships and islands, as the much-quoted “spear-head of the attack”. And then I say, “Spear-head, hell! A torpedo-bomber pilot is one of the few molecules dancing around at the foremost tip of the spear-head.” And it all becomes as incomprehensible as atoms and molecules themselves are; except that I go on to say, “Well, Lord, at least we know one of the molecules, and know also that it’s a good one, and dependable. We want it to do its stuff, all right, and know it will. But it sort of belongs to us; and we want, and expect, it back. Amen.”
At home we are very much the same as when you last saw us. Grandpa still carries on, although slightly more feebly perhaps. Mother (Grandma to you, small fry) is as much as ever the hovering angel to him, and home-base to us all.
I cut the boys’ hair on Sunday, and think the ridges and valleys are becoming a little less perceptible and the feather-edge better. But we don’t take any pictures of them with newly cut hair, lest some day they confront me with them and aggrievedly ask “Did you do that to us?”
Picnics are a weekly event during the summer. We hobble the youngest, and let the others run. We usually have some other friends with children as guests, which makes it more of a party. Since you and Virginia would qualify now, we shall invite you at the first opportunity. Our favorite games are duck-on-a-rock and pom-pom-pullaway, at which I would expect you to do very well.
It has been mentioned from time to time that Virginia might come out to stay for a while in case you get to this coast. We hope so. All the accounts and comments we have had of the new princess have been so apparently prejudiced and one-sided that we shall simply have to see for ourselves.
The Plymouth perks only a little less well than ever, the quality of our gas having been reduced appreciably; but it is becoming desirable, indeed quite imperative, that you come back and use it for a while so that it will get a new polish job. No commercial job could last as well as the one Virginia did, so I intend to give all my polish business to her.
With all good wishes,
John H Peasley
Lieutenant John H Peasley Jr.
Naval Air Station
Lt (jg) John H. Murray
Torpedo Squadron 37
c/o Fleet Post Office
San Francisco, CA
NAS Ottumwa, Ia.
August 17, 1944
I’m foregoing my customary drink before dinner in order to write to you. I hope you appreciate my efforts and read this through to the bitter end.
They’ve made me the communication officer at this here corn field naval establishment. I’m in charge of the post office, a teletype and telegraph office, a coding board, a telegraph exchange and all radio gear. I’m struggling thru the El. A. Portal Manual, the 9th ND instruction for teletype, telephone and telegraph communications and have checked out a RM3c manual. (I should have you here to give me the lowdown on radio.) Meanwhile my department runs itself very well without much supervision from me. I have a civilian girl with 6-years experience running the telephone, a Sp(M)l c in charge of the P.O. who was a civilian postal clerk for 12 yrs, two good waves running the teletype and telegraph office and best luck of all a warrant officer who really knows radio as my number one assistant.
This is a fine little station (about the size of Los Alamitos). Discipline and military courtesy is very informal. There are one or two good liberty sports in Pttumuwa but most the bachelor boys head off for Des Moines, Chicago, or Kansas City for their 48 hr. liberties. The instructors here have the softest touch I’ve seen yet in the navy. They fly on the average of 1 ½ hours daily and are free to leave the station when not on the flight schedule. Most of them are AV-(T)s and are a little older rank for rank than fleet aviators. Several hundred officer flight students are being transferred here from the fleet. They rank up to Lt. Cln. And are about ½ US N’s. The flight instructors have been doing a lot of worrying about how to handle these boys. During working hours they are to be treated like cadets but after working hours they have the privileges of their rank. I can see some sparks coming.
I’ve been getting home almost every weekend to see Bethie. She has been healthier than I’ve ever seen her before. The Doc says she may have to have a caesarian and is going to take an exray next week to find out for sure. I hope not, because even with modern surgery that’s still a dangerous operation and we can’t reisk having more than one or two that way. Your little Peggy should be quite a bouncing
Next page missing.
Oct. 5- 1944
It was very nice to find, among the batch of letter which arrived from you all at one time, one for me. You are thanking us for our care of your little family. I’m afraid the shoe is on the other food- and we are the ones who are enjoying what should rightfully be your pleasure. That little girl of yours is so adorable. In true grandmotherly fashion I think all the best traits of disposition on both sides of the family are concentrated in her- she’s so good. We show her your picture- and she seems to know it’s someone very special- she smiles so delightedly at you. Gina tries to get her to say Daddy- but that’s a little beyond her yet.
Today is Gina’s at college- and at this moment I’m waiting for her to awaken from her morning nap- so I can dress and wheel her to my neighbors for lunch. You see- taking care of her doesn’t cramp my style at all- I just take her along and she behaves like a little lady.
Yesterday we had quite some excitement over the newspaper account of your bringing down the Jap bomber- last June. It was just reported in the paper this past week. Of course we’re all very proud of you- but most of all we are grateful for your safety. I pray daily for your safe return to your family. I know there is such happiness in store for you and Gina- in being together with your darling baby. I pray the time is not far off when you will be permanently united. In the meantime we all hope you will soon come on leave.
Dick is still struggling in advanced training- with a B 25 at the moment. They were supposed to finish the course the middle of Nov. but he writes today that 5 weeks has been added to the time. We hope he’ll be here for Xmas and wish you could be too to make it all perfect.
Peter is back teaching at Stephens and is apparently doing well and recieving (sic) some recognition in his field of English. We had a letter from him today in which he asks of you so I shall send him one of the news clippings.
You have undoubtedly heard of your familie’s (sic) plan to move to Calif. Aren’t you surprised? I wonder if we’ll all settle there someday.
Harold was here on a 3 day buying trip not long ago- said they all were anxious to have news of you. They all rather expect you to drop in on them any day.
Things in Riverdale are much the same- except for the absence of most young people. Mrs. Jelliffe (?) read us a most interesting letter from Cameron the other day. She’s in France with Red Cross- a doughnut girl I believe. Another Name is also there with the R.C. It seems such a short time ago that you were all going to parties at the Wares (?) and at the Tennis Club. You’ll be doing those things again- only as the young married set.
We are politically minded here- and very much interested in the present campaign local as well as Presidential Candidates. Two of our neighbors are running for office- Lowell Brown for State Senate + Roderick Stephens for Congress. We are trying to help elect them.
Much love Jack dear- and blessings on you,
(Included with the letter is a newspaper clipping from the October 12, 1944 Bronxville Reporter)
60 Summit Ave
LT (jg) J H Murray
VT 37 % Fleet P.O.
San Francisco, Calf.
I have recieved (sic) you letter and I enjoyed it very much. I guess you are having some time out there on the Pacific. You must be pretty proud after shooting down that Jap bomber and getting a citation from Admiral Nimitz himself. I guess you’ve heard about me being in the civil Air Patrol, and I am quite proud of being a member of an auxiliary of the A.A.F. I read your questions on the theory of flight and I understood ‘lift” and the air speed of an airplane, but I didn’t quite get the other three questions. I sure hope if you could take me up in a Harvard Advanced train or on a T.B.S it will be a great experience to me. I am having a pretty great time at the present, especially in the C.A.P. At the moment we are being taught to drill and we are having our first classes in CAR (Civil Air Regulations) and engines. Then I will go on to navigation (elementary_ and theory of flight. Well, I hope to hear from you soon.
Handrawn CAP emblem
PS: Who are you for? Dewey or Roosevelt
Samuel Murray Letter
Samuel W. Murray
60 Summit Avenue
Nov 24, 1944
A note to wish you well today and to let you know we think of you and miss you very much. Virginia tells us that you seem very sure of being home on leave for Christmas. That is wonderful and we all lash forward so much to seeing you then.
Our plans are shaping up now. We have sold the house to a young artist. He should be very happy here. Certainly, Mother and I have been very crazy about it.
As you expect to be home, we have postponed leaving until after Christmas. I am planning to have the movers come in the day after Christmas and hope to be on our way by the 27th. Until then, however, we will be here and plan to celebrate Christmas in this house.
If you should be home anytime before Christmas, I know mother wants you and Virginia and, of course, Mimi to move into the studio—if you want to. We have plenty of room and will love to have you all. Only wish Peg could be here with us.
I still hope to drive West. If I do, we should reach Los Angeles about January 10th. From then we are on the town- as we have nothing at all in the way of house in night. Will probably stay at a hotel in L.A. for a few weeks and then move into a boarding house until we find something. We rather have Altadena in mind as a place to look for a house in.
We are looking upon this move somewhat as a great adventure. I hope it proves to be a pleasant one. As I am still working for a New York Company, I am not cutting all ties with the hometown. Will probably have to come East two or three time a year for business.
I’m sorry you don’t like the West. Peg is crazy about it and says she never wants to come East again. Rather hope you may be stationed in the West for a while and that we can see something of you and your family before returning to sear duty. What chance?
Virginia and Mimi plan to spend Sunday with us. Look forward to their visit very much.
I would so much appreciate advise as to your plans, with dates, if you have any. We certainly do not want to miss seeing you. But with our plans fixed now, we will have to make yours and ours meet where we can. So be sure to let us know as soon as you know.
Our Los Angeles off is:-
Celanese Plastics Corp
819 Sautee Street
Los Angeles. 14, California
Inquire there as to our whereabouts if you don’t get in till 1945.
Karl Kenyon Letters
On Hotel De Anza (Calexico, California) Stationary
Dec. 13, 1944
By now I suppose you are well situated with diaper juice and in other tender ways may lay claim to being an experience father.
The saga of Pearl et al almost fell into the wrong hands. However, by employing a few slight of hand tricks I saved the day, so I’m still the fine unspoiled lad who soiled forth a year ago.
After you left Alameda, I proceeded to indulge in one more evening of entertainment. Then stayed one more night to tope off. That was the night before about 10 of us remaining shoved off & we started to toper off rather abruptly with a couple of quarts up in the Donahoe-Shies apt. Earnie (sp) Hill was gently poured into the street about seen down & wound his way gracefully off into the blue. I hope he made it. Black became a little eunder the weather, so I went over to the plane with him. Then I ended up at my Prof. friends’ house up at Mills College. I was still flooting (sp?) a little & ended up by staying there all night.
Next day I caught the NATS plane for L.A. & as chance would have it I got the same plane as the then bleary eyed Catholic brothers: they were on their way to give Hollywood a fresh injection of their saturated personalities. I spent that night in Ling Beach & the following in L.A. where I saw my uncle– rather an uninteresting interim.
I’ve pretty well done up the relatives & now find myself on a hunting trip with the old man. We’ve just gotten down here, so I can’t give you a bag list. The old man is quite a fine old fellow when gotten away from home.
As you no doubt expected I haven’t the heart to pull up stakes & rush about the country. Christmas comes at just the wrong time & although my mother didn’t voice any objections when I told her what I’d like to do, she used the more subtle sad eyed method before which I am helpless.
Please give Virginia and that little bundle of sweetness my best. I wish I could have seen them both. In the meantime, don’t let them forget all about you since your only the father & drop me a line when you can.
Envelope is old and worn, but what I can make out:
VF37 c/o FPO SF Calif
Lt (jg) Jack H. Murray
c/o Paul Donchian
3900 Greystone Ave
Riverdale, New York
Dec. 22, 1944
Dear John & Virginia,
Your card of the Mural really sends me. This modern art always seem to keep a few jumps on me. By now you must have gotten my first letter.
I spent a week scouting the hunting grounds-- & bars—with the old man. We covered a strip of land– both sides of the border– from San Diego over a little bey and Yuma, Arizona.
We got along fine for a change, had a good time & shot enough ducks & quail to satisfy us. Age has either mellowed the old man or me since we didn’t argue and fight as of old.
The Christmas spirit is whirling all about me here but as yet I’m keeping clear of it all. I really did want to get back there and if Christmas hadn’t come just a little past the middle of my leave I think I would have made it. As it was I mentioned leaving & then didn’t have the heart to carry through.
I’m driving my car up to Seattle and will start a couple of days early so as to get situated & so I wont have to break my neck hurrying to get there.
I wish you were going to be back & I hope you get something good there. Be sure & give me the dope as soon as you find out what you are going to do.
I will now let go with the first “Merry Christmas & Happy New Year” that I have offered this year. Wish I could see the offspring. Was she afraid of that big man who had been out killing Japs?
Seasons Greetings, etc.
PS: really wish I could do something about all those females waiting so hungrily back there