Ferdie and I were not married when the second World War started. But we were in love; he gave me my engagement ring on one of his furloughs home.
The days he was in the Army were long and lonesome, but our letters helped. We planned our future home via our letters, knowing that someday we would live in it together. He drew the floor plans; I added details such as, “a white house with a blue roof.”
Many friends were getting sad news about their loved ones. I was concerned about Ferdie's safety too, of course, and prayed for him night and day.
He was wounded in the fighting in Germany. He was sent to France and then England for healing and therapy. Then back to the front. He was sent all over Europe trying to find his company, or one that could use him.
It was a frustrating time. He moved so often that he never had an address to send me so that I could keep writing to him. I wrote almost every day. He received some of them in bunches. The rest eventually found their way back to my parents' home months after we were married.
Heartbreaking letters went to some of my friends: "I don't love you any more," or "I'm not waiting for you." Never once in all those years of waiting and uncertainty did I doubt Ferdie's love and faithfulness. There would never be a "Dear Jane" letter for me.
The first year Ferdie was gone, I worked as assistant to the postmaster in the little town of Iliff, Colorado. There I learned the importance of letters to other people. When someone received a letter from their special serviceman or woman, it was opened immediately in the post office waiting room. Both good and bad news was shared with us; we kept up with what was happening to the young people in Uncle Sam's service who were from our community.
It was months after the War was over before Ferdie finally got home. I'd quit my job three months previously to stay home with Mother and Daddy and do some sewing for my hope chest.
Ferdie had decided he was not going to be a casualty of war nerves - mental or emotional. He didn't like to talk about the War; and he didn't - the really bad parts anyway. He sometimes told of interesting or humorous incidents. Neither did he want to meet and become friendly with any other ex-servicemen. "They're all crazy or liars," he said. Then he'd do or say something goofy to prove his point.
There were a few times, though, when he'd wake up at night and think he heard someone outside. He'd take the flashlight and go all around the house checking - remembering, I'm sure, what night noises had meant not too long before.
Mary Ann Kunselman
Back in 1955 a call went out from the editors of the then Capper’s Weekly asking for readers to send in articles on true pioneers. Hundreds of letters came pouring in from early settlers and their children, many now in their 80s and 90s, and from grandchildren of settlers, all with tales to tell. So many articles were received that a decision was made to create a book, and in 1956, the first My Folks title – My Folks Came in a Covered Wagon – hit the shelves. Nine other books have since been published in the My Folks series, all filled to the brim with true tales from Capper’s readers, and we are proud to make those stories available to our growing online community.