Saturday, March 3, 2018

An Alabama Family in World War II, Part 36

by Glenn N. Holliman

News from the Home Front, as Summer turns to Autumn, 1943

Bishop Holliman's destroyer left the Battle of Sicily and the Mediterranean and arrived in New York City in the late summer of 1943.  Brothers Melton and Ralph were in the Army - Melton as a medic in training at Ft. Bradley, Texas and Ralph, a clerk assigned to Reno, Nevada.

Their Mother, Pearl Caine Holliman sent Melton a newsy letter proclaiming that Ed Fortenberry, the Irondale, Alabama grocer, was ready to adopt Melton and Ida's new vivacious daughter, Patsy, if ever they wanted to give her away!  "She seems to win everyone's heart wherever she goes."

 Left, Ulyss and Pearl Caine Holliman in Irondale with their grand daughter, Patsy (Patti), daughter of Melton and Ida Hughes Holliman.  

Pearl wrote "We had a bond rally in Irondale last night and us women had to go door to door to sell bonds." A week later she wrote Melton, of which I publish a part of the letter (see below).  This is my grandmother's own handwriting.

In the 4th line, she writes that Motie, Ralph's young wife, has returned from visiting him and now has a job in Birmingham, but if Ralph stays long in Reno, she is going to join him.

In the 8th line Pearl refers to Vena Holliman Daly's pregnancy, one in which she often had been sick.  The child, Bob, will be born safely in October 1943 and was named after his father, Robert William Daly, Sr.

Right, Vena, Ulyss, Pearl and Mary, daughter of Robert and Vena Holliman Daly in 1942.

In the 11th line, Bishop has been reassigned from the USS Butler to the USS Barker, but goes for more radio direction training in Maine before shipping out again into the North Atlantic.

His Mother is worried he will be sent back to Italy, where 'they are having some slauter (sic) over there.'  Here Pearl writes, as she did in most letters, of her deep Christian faith, a faith that through prayer all her boys would come home safely from the war.

Toward the end of this letter, Pearl expressed her concern that her sister, Vista Caine (1898-1986), had a new boy friend (Vista smoked, drank, was twice divorced and generally enjoyed life).  Pearl's strict religious beliefs and Vista's life style created stress between the two sisters throughout their lives.  Their Mother, Lula Hocutt Caine (1861-1957) had a more live and let live approach to life!         
Above, Fred Gumpp, Vista, Bishop and Gerry Holliman in 1974 at Vista's home in Indiana.  She married that 'rich man', Fred, and settled down to 40 years of marriage!

Next post, more letters from the home front in Alabama!

No comments:

Post a Comment