06 August 2010

Contemporaneous Thoughts on Hiroshima

My parents did not serve in the military in World War II, but their siblings did. My mother's twin sisters, Abbie and Anne were in the Waves and Wacs, and Billy was in the Navy. My father worked in munitions stateside and my mother had two small children. Here's a little snippet in time...

This is my Uncle Billy, William Humphrey Barnes (1920-1992), and his mother, my grandmother, Vernetta Gertrude (Jones) Barnes (1892-1962). I don't know when it was taken, but I think Billy looks about 17 or so: definitely before World War II. He was Vernetta's only son.

This is a letter in the Barnes Family Papers, passed down to me by my mother. It was written by Vernetta to Billy.

[page one]
Sunday, Aug. 12, [1945]
Dear Billy, Isn’t the news wonder-
ful? It won’t be long before Japan
gives in – and how thank-
ful I , and millions of us, will
be. I keep wondering where you
are. in Pearl Harbor, I guess.
Just now I am waiting for
the official news of peace – the
radio is on practically all
the time ––
Maybe I sounded a
little soft over the Atomic
Bomb, but I can’t see waging
wars on innocent children,
altho heaven knows they
would [on us, interlined] quickly enough.
Anyway the news of Peace
will be wonderful, and I

[page two]
can rest easier over you.
Louise says Ed is being dis-
charged. Abbie thinks she
will be released soon – I only
hope she completes her course
first. Anne will be in for
quite a long time even
after Peace. How long do
you think it will be before
you get thru? I hope it
will be soon. The State of
Mass is giving each returning
veteran $100 – the federal
gov’t more.
Abbie was going to come
home last night but called

[page three]
up in tears from New York
to say she missed her train –
no more last night. Its
hard to tell who felt the
sadder Abbie or me.
I’ll write again, maybe
tomorrow – –– (if its V. J.) I’ll
be sure to.
Did you get the books
and magazines?
Love to my dear boy
my brave boy. Oh I’ll
be so glad to know
you won’t be in danger.
God bless you
Mother

Georgianne "Anne" (1924-1994) Barnes and Billy Barnes, shortly after the war, I think. 



Anne, Louise Bethia (Barnes) Sullivan (1915-1997) and Billy
Dec 1944


The note is self explanatory. 

This photo and the one above were scanned by Abbie and her husband Kenneth, and put onto a CD which was distributed several years ago. My sister gave me a copy at the recent family reunion, and I'm loving it!

3 comments:

nalexmanz said...

northamerPolly, your grandmother's letter brought tears to my eyes. My father and mother corresponded during the war, but sadly, no letter survive. You have a treasure!

Polly FitzGerald Kimmitt said...

I do treasure old letters! It's like hearing them speak. And to have the photos as well brings them even more alive!

Ginger Smith said...

Polly, yes, to have both the letter and the pictures I'm sure is such a treasure. Thanks so much for sharing! I did not know anyone from the WWII, so this was new and interesting to me. I especially like the pictures of Annie in Basic Training and the "Waves."