Friday Correspondence: Holidays Away from Home

With the holidays fast approaching, my mind turns toward the families who are missing deployed loved ones.  Toward the deployed who are missing loved ones back home.
These days we’re fortunate to have such things as Skype and e-mail to better keep in touch, but even so, there are service members who remain unattainable.  Due to the nature of a mission, or perhaps for being encapsulated in a submarine deep below, sometimes communication is once again slow in nature.
Image and excerpt courtesy of
PVT. Philip White, who was in France during Christmas of 1945, often wrote to his young daughter, Jackalyn.  With Christmas Day being no exception, I can only begin to imagine how badly the distance between Philip and his family must have felt during such cold and dire days.

Dear Jackie,

I sure would have liked to been there and seen your face when you saw your new doll this morning.  I hope the one Daddy sent got there on time.  If not I know you will enjoy it just as much when it does finally come.  I also hope it has real hair and is just what you like.  When daddy does get home, he will let you pick out one, to your liking.

I hope Santa treated your pretty good this year. I heard him say that maybe he would get you a pair of skis. you must be careful of these skis and not get in the road. Daddy didn’t go down to the Red Cross for the Christmas Tree. The boys have just brought to Kids up here to see a movie. They are real cute and clean. I now that I had gone.
N.Y – N.Y.
Wed. morning
I didn’t get this finished last night so will close and mail now. We aren’t leaving until 5:00 P.M. Most of the boys are pulling out at 10:00 A.M. I think that you will be able to find Heidelburg on the maps because it is a good size city. A Nazi stronghold and the home of Heidelberg University. I have written this once before but this once may get them first
All my Love
Reading PVT. White’s letter*, the affection for his family pours through every word, and I find myself hoping and praying that he had a safe homecoming.  While I read no suggestion of when he came home, his letters do indicate that he survived the war, as the last of the lot is dated in 1946 (official end date of WWII is September 2, 1945).
Indeed, I find nothing wrong in allowing myself the image of Jackalyn enveloped in a long-overdue hug from her father, as the entire family gathers around Philip at his homecoming.
*A portion of PVT. White’s letter has been excerpted from this post, but can be found in its entirety at the letter’s website.