Robert F. Winne before he went into the army
(This post is written by Lise Winne, Robert F. Winne's daughter)
There are many letters that my father wrote home during World War II. However there is only one that exists from his mother, Miriam, during that time. The following is her letter to her son (Robert). Some of the names of his friends who stayed behind in the USA and what they were doing have been edited out (with the exception of Charlie Meinhold, a close friend, also deceased, who my father went to Farm and Wilderness Camp with the first summer that it opened). Names of people who are still living I have referred to by initials to protect their privacy.
Last night I wrote you a long letter and then tore it up. Frankly, I am so frantic with worrying about you I can’t write coherently. Your last letter to us was dated Nov. 28 and with the mails so slow from the European area I can well understand why we have not heard since. Of course we did get your cable and flowers which meant so much to us. But now the terrible news of the big German offensive has thrown me into a panic. The paper states that the 75th Division is with the First Army fighting in Belgium against terrible odds, blizzards, eighteen inches of snow, etc, etc. You can well understand how I feel as I do; mothers are made that way, you know. This waiting and wondering is awful so if I really let myself go this letter will not make very cheerful reading.
Your watch came this week and you surely did a good job packing it. What a shame it had to act up when you are out of this country. I should say the main spring was broken and that will happen to the best watch made. A took it into Mr. Ring and I will send it back to you as soon as I can.
A left for school today. It has not been a very exciting holiday for her, but it has been a vacation and she has seemed very contented just being home ... The girls have had a lot of hen parties and (A's friend) has written that she has not had any dates either in Atlanta. (a boy interested in A) was here for a week but A does not consider him a date. (a boy in interested in A) —boy has not changed a bit so I hope the army will do something for him. He expects to go in Jan 10 ...
We have been snowed in again – this time the fourth big storm and they have all been paralyzing. Even the trains could not get thru Buffalo this week, to say nothing of buses and cars. It seems as tho your father has been home more this last month than in months – simply because he could not get out of town. You simply can’t imagine the amount snow we have – I never saw anything like it in my sixty years on earth. You see I am no longer forty – this war is getting me down. I guess we can take the snow and sub-zero weather tho when you boys must fight in the worst kind of weather.
Charlie Meinhold came to see us when he was home for Christmas. The lucky guy is at the U. of Maryland and seems to like his work in dentistry very much.
(A friend who was a fellow musician) is back at the Eastman School taking the public school music course.
We had a very quiet New Year’s eve and it suited me fine as I can’t say we feel much in the mode for celebrating ... We had a nice supper at midnight and wished for a better 1945 with you and (friend serving in the Pacific) safely home by another New Year’s eve.
A spent most of New Year’s eve and most of the next day in bed – too much candy and stuff. (a boy interested in A) sat with her awhile which must have been exciting but she did not miss any parties and she didn’t feel too bad.
I am glad the holidays are over but I shall miss A.
(a friend in military training in Texas) wrote his mother the first gloomy letter this week. The weather has been as bad in Texas. He is afraid their training will be prolonged for another month. Of course, his mother is tickled to death that he will be in training that much longer.
Did I tell you that (a friend) was killed in a plane accident at Westover field? He was first commissioned and looked so well in his new uniform, had lost a lot of weight too. He had only been at Westover field a few days after being home on leave, when he was killed.
I do hope we get some word from you but I suppose that is too much to expect. Just communicate with us in any way you can whenever you can. I keep writing and probably by June you will get all my letters at once.
How I do hope we hear from you soon!