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Bringing life to my parent's love

$225 of $10k goal

Raised by 3 people in 27 days
Michael Mines  Ottawa, ON
I am hoping to realize a project that means everything to me and I urgently need your help with it.

 I live in Ottawa and my father was a member of the Manitoba Dragoons and was stationed in Holland. My mother was posted in Ottawa during WWII.

I have been blessed to have the complete war-time correspondence between them (as near as I can tell). It took me a long time to get up the courage to read those letters, and to be honest it was a revelation. It's like the people who wrote them, I never met. My father in particular - I knew him as guarded, angry and lonely. The man in those letters was none of those things. He was hopeful, funny and, at times, even poetic. And oh so loving.

 My mission is to take that legacy and publish it - share their story with the world. To do them justice. To bring to life the youthful, hopeful selves that the War took away.

I need your help with that.

 Here is one my father wrote to my mother – selected at random:

 

Sept 9/45

 

My Darling –

 Well, I’m back at camp thank goodness!! It’s really good to get back. Just got back to-day at 2 o’clock. We stayed in Cologne over night again. The officer let us have a vehicle so we went up to Bonn – about 12 miles from Cologne. There’s quite a few canteens there & the place isn’t all flattened. Got feeling good too!! The Limeys have a wet canteen there so went there and got brewed up!! That’s about all there is to do there – so we dood it!!

 Darling, I didn’t get a single letter from you when I got back. Got some from my mom, Uncle Joe & Snookie, but not from you. But I did get the books you sent me, darling. Thanks a million. I guess I’ll one up on you – I don’t have to ask you for the book “Kitty”, cause I read that 3 months ago – spent half the night reading it too! Oh she was quite the gal – some way to get to the top eh?!!

Well I have a bit of good news – not don’t count on it too much but it certainly looks promising. It’s about coming home. I think I may make Xmas after all. They say that all 110 point men will be leaving here the end of next month. Well, I’ve got a 100 so I should leave in Nov. – that’s providing they keep going the way they are. But darling, please don’t count on it cause you know the army. I sure hope to God it comes true though. I guess we’ll just have to keep our fingers crossed.

There’s another big gang going to drive more vehicles to another country next week. I have a hunch I’ll be on it too. I hope not, but I’m afraid I will. I hear it’s with Greece this time. Of all the places to go we get em all. At any rate I’m seeing the world. I even know what the people are like in Czechoslovakia!! It helps pass the time till I’m home with you again.

 Darling, don’t stop writing until you know definitely that I’m on my way, cause you can’t count on any thing in the army, you know that. So just cause I said there’s a slight chance I may make Xmas, don’t stop writing. I’ll let you know definitely when the time comes.

 Well my Darling, I guess I better close for now. Hope I get a letter from you soon. Always remember I love you, darling, with all my heart – for always.

 Regards to all –

All my love –

Your husband Fred

XXXXXX

 

I have approximately 200 letters in total. Some like that one – some far more emotionally charged. I have shed more tears than I can count reading them and feeling his isolation for the first time.

My dream is to do justice to this legacy – I don’t plan on simply reprinting those letters. I want to show where my father was when he wrote them – what sky he saw at night. What stars did he dream on. What was my mother’s world like. How very different was her world from his.

Please help me to do this.
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Update 6
Posted by Michael Mines
4 days ago
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I recently found these pictures of my father - taken in Holland.
My father in uniform
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Update 5
Posted by Michael Mines
6 days ago
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In late October, 1944 - my father received an anonymous typed letter telling him that my mother was having an affair with the Sargent Major of her outfit.

This was the one war story I was aware of growing up - true or otherwise my mother never got over the guilt of it, and my father never truly forgave her.

Here is a transcript of an "Air Mail" letter he sent to her - with the belief that it would reach her faster than all other forms of communication available to him at the time.

Oct. 31 – 1944

Dear Bea! –

I’m writing this letter just in case you don’t get the other one. But I hope you’re not running around with this Sargent Major from your outfit. But if you are be honest with me, darling, and tell me the truth. It’s pretty hard to take when you get news like that from some stranger. It’s up to you, darling, if you want it that way okay, but don’t look for me after this war’s over, cause you’ll never see me. I’ve never been with a woman since I left you & I figured you’d do the same. I hope to God that this letter I got that who ever wrote it dies a horrible death. I’d like the pleasure of killing him or her which ever the case is. But if it’s true well, it’s just as well, but it’s an awful hard knock to take.

I don’t know long this has been going on, but I hope it’s stopped very shortly.

Oh nuts – I better close for now. I can’t write anymore to-night. I know what it’s like to have a broken heart now.

Cherrio for now
Fred
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Update 4
Posted by Michael Mines
13 days ago
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I transcribed another letter - I can't imagine how isolated my father must have felt. As he put it - "no one could ever realize what it is like till they’ve been through it themselves".

Here is the letter and thanks for reading it -

Oct. 27/44

My Darling –

Sorry I haven’t written the last few days, but I haven’t had much time since I got this job of looking after the stores. I guess I could have got a spare minute to write a small note but I just couldn’t write. I’ve been in a pretty fed up condition lately – known as “War Weary”!! But seriously darling a guy gets fed up at times – same old thing day after day, it’s bound to get you down at times. It’s not so bad when we’re on the move all the time – when we don’t even get time to wash!! Time flies then & you don’t get time to sit around & think & get fed up. But when we’re in a static position like we are now it sure gets me down.

To top it all off the mail is coming terrible. I only get half your letters, and God knows what happens to the rest. I still haven’t gotten Sept. letters or the first part of Octobers. I hate to talk like this darling But I can’t help it. I try to keep it out of my letters but it keeps cropping up again. I was never so fed up with anything in my life, as I am this army. I guess I shouldn’t talk like that cause I’ve been very fortunate. I’m actually never bad at all compared to some poor devils. But this being away from you is enough for me – it’s enough torture in itself. This business of being in a foreign country isn’t cracked up to what it’s to be. What I wouldn’t give to bump into somebody I really know from home, somebody that really speaks the same language. They can have their French man, Belgian and the whole rest, just give me home!! I guess you think I’m taking crazy, darling, but no one could ever realize what it is like till they’ve been through it themselves. It’s different with you, cause at least once in a while you can get home to see your folks, but I can’t even do that. The only thing we can do I s go to a show, when there is one, and that’s only when we’re in our rests. Ah, I better shut up. I’m only making you feel bad. Bit I hope to God it’s over shortly.

I got a couple of letters from you the other day 208 and 209. You always seem to have tough luck on Friday the 13th eh? Never mind darling, we’ll be sharing your unlucky days together one of these days. That’s the only thing that keeps me young is you. I know one day sooner or later we’ll be together again & it sure cheers me up when I think of it. You’re all I’m living for, darling, nothing else matters, just you. If I didn’t have your love I wouldn’t want to live. I love you darling with all my heart and regardless how fed up I get at times, it could never change my love for you.

Just keep loving me, darling – never stop, cause without you I wouldn’t want to live.

Well darling, I better close for now, and go to bed and dream about you. I only do 2 things, and that’s go to bed early, and go to the show – some life, eh?

Give my regards to all darling.

Always remember I love you.

Hope to be with you soon.
All my love,
Your husband
Fred
XXXXXXXXXX

Please excuse the writing, darling, but I’m so cold I can hardly write.
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Update 3
Posted by Michael Mines
16 days ago
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I am slowly transcribing the letters - one at a time. It's a good thing that I learned to read their writing a long time ago - cursive is a bit of a lost art these days.

I found this picture of my mother - never saw her without glasses before.

The picture is her I assume during her lab training in Ottawa.

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$225 of $10k goal

Raised by 3 people in 27 days
Created February 27, 2017
RW
$75
Ron Weeks
6 days ago(Offline Donation)
TM
$100
Tina McArthur
18 days ago(Offline Donation)

I am looking forward to reading this.

$50
Anonymous
26 days ago
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