Monday, May 28, 2012

Happy Memorial Day, from my Uncle Coy

During World War II, my Uncle Coy was stationed at Victory Field in Vernon, Texas.  You can go here for a lovingly created website dedicated to the memory of the place, which was closed immediately after the Allied victory in 1945.

Uncle Coy probably had some patches like these on his uniform:

Yes, lots of cartoon characters were pressed into the war effort.  (This raises a disturbing question about today's military and cartoons....Would they really want Sponge Bob Squarepants on their planes?) 

Sorry for the digression. 

For the last few years, I've had an old postcard above my desk, one that Uncle Coy wrote to my father during the war.  Uncle Coy would've been about 20 and my father was 13. 

Writing letters and postcards is almost a lost art.  We now email, instant message, Facebook, Tweet, and text.  The Aggie won't even take phone calls most of the time.  If you can't text her, give up.  She ain't talking. 

Here's the postcard.

That's a Curtis P-40 Tomahawk, according to the ultra-light print below the landing gear. 

Those of a certain age might remember the rules of letter writing.  There was 1) the salutation, 2) the opening stuff where you hope that everyone is doing well, 3) the main content, 4) the sign-off, and 5) your signature.  I haven't studied this in thirty-five years, but I think I'm close....

Men had their own rules, and I think Uncle Coy's letter is a perfect example. 
Back in the day, when men had to write a letter or postcard from the road, the battlefield, or a vacation they used this form to fill up the white space: 

1) Salutation
2) An observation about the weather
3) An observation about sports
4) An observation about hunting or fishing
5) A joke about something inappropriate - bonus points if animals were involved
6) Something about the quality and quantity of the food
7) The sign-off
8) The signature. 

What you see below is a masterpiece of the form, and I'm proud to own it.  I've got the transcription below the photocopy, just in case you can't read it.  

To: Donald Patterson, Rose Bud Arkansas,
From (Postmark): Vernon, Texas, Victory Field, July 14, 1943

1) Dear Folks,
2) Looks like we might get some rain
3) We sure have some good ball games
4) Boy that must have been some fishing trip
5) Donald, did my little heifer ever catch yours (ha)
6) I have watermelon about twice a week
7) Love,
8) Coy

I defy anyone now alive to write a postcard that covers all the bases with so few words. 

Happy Memorial Day, in honor of my father, his three brothers, and my father-in-law.  All five were in the U.S. military.  Uncle I.G. survived a kamikaze attack on his battleship.  Denny, my father-in-law, survived the Tet Offensive in Viet Nam. 
This is their day.  Hope it's a good one for you, and if you know someone stationed overseas, send them a postcard. 

1 comment:

CenTexTim said...

Very cool. Thanks to Uncle Coy, the other members of your family, and everyone else who has served, is serving, or will serve.