First Anniversary–1944

Marfa, Texas, was so crowded during WWII that Doris and Warren Neal lived in a room in a church. Some people were even living in the Marfa hospital.

So they decided it would be better if Doris returned home for the birth of their first baby, and they could spend a few weeks with her mother’s help. The couple rode the train back to Iowa in March, 1944, with the baby due in late May.

The Neals spent their first anniversary apart, but Warren sent Doris a darling locket to commemorate the day–May 16, 1944.

locket (3)

One day Doris wrote Warren that they’d just had a perfect day out on the Minburn farm where her folks lived. She and her mother (Leora) had done the wash so she and “Bruce,” as they’d dubbed the baby, had lots of healthy sunshine while hanging clothes out on the line. That afternoon, they’d walked up the hill to watch her dad (Clabe) plowing. As mother and daughter returned to the house through the timber, they picked wildflowers for a bouquet.

The battery to Wilsons’ radio had quit, “and that’s bad with the D-Day near and the fighting in the S. Pacific going good,” Doris wrote her husband. She’d been writing “Neal” on the baby’s clothes to take to the hospital, since new mothers in those days stayed ten days before going home.

Doris and her mother helped Clabe get a couple of sows penned, as they were due to farrow or give birth any day. The sows didn’t want to give up their weed patches for a hog house with clean straw, Doris wrote, but with “a little maneuvering and persuasion,” they finally did.

“Isn’t that interesting?” she wrote. “Fourteen sows have little pigs, two cows have calves (so far), and two cats have kittens. Guess maybe I’ll be next.”

It wasn’t long before she had a baby of her own.





    • Families being separated during WWII left wonderful details like that. Mom destroyed all their letters before they were married, but let me have the ones afterwards.

    • My son is here with his iPhone and took a picture of what’s inside. I can’t attach it here, but go back to the story and it’s there! (She cropped their faces from a wedding picture.)

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.