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Once Upon A Time…

…there was a young Prince Charming who had come to escort the fair maiden to the ball.  But alas, she was not at home, and instead the prince was introduced to the fair maiden’s cousin…and they lived happily ever after.  Well, not really.  Oh, he was definately charming, and he did actually arrive at her house to go out on a date with one girl, and he ended up going out with another (the cousin) but there’s also the whole story of how he tracked mud in across the kitchen floor that she was on her knees scrubbing when he arrived….and something about a man who had a business scraping “road-kill” off the highway (yeah I still haven’t quite got that one figured out either)…but before they knew it, these two teenagers had a fondness for one another – At a time when the world was at war and futures were uncertain, love was blooming.**
Fort Benjamin Harrison

Indianapolis, Ind

My Dearest
            Well darling I hope this finds you feeling better than I do.  Although I do feel better than I did when that damn bus pulled out of Peru.  I just came back from a little place they call the recreation Center and was laying here on my bed listening to a kid play his guitar and sing, when I suddenly came to the conclusion that I was neglecting a person that is very dear to me.  And one that I love more than she will ever know.  And honey I do mean you.  I bought me a watch strap dear.  There is a fellow here in my barracks from Marion his name is Charles Howell.  Well my dear it is after 4:00 & mail call is at 4:30 so I recon I had better quit for this time.Not that I expect any mail but it is an order and honey your little 4F boy friend is in the army now as far as rules are concerned although I haven’t been sworn in as yet.
            Well darling here it is Sat. eve. And I am all learned up and ready to go but my uncle that I am staying with is very strict and he wont let me go out tonite.  I was sleeping this afternoon and they came and told me I had a letter.  I sure was glad for awhile till I found out you was so close and yet so far then I felt like crying and I still do.
            Honey I made it a point to find out for sure if I didn’t have an address and I have.  I will either write or call you and let you know when you can see me and my sweet I sure hope it is soon.
            Well sweetheart I don’t know much more to say so will close and maybe this will go out tonight.  
First, Last, & Always If I win
This part is filled with Love & stuff to my future I hope.
 Good night My Dearest.
     This is the first of many letters that was written to his sweetheart while he was in the Army, apparently the very first. Just a few weeks prior, the beaches of Normandy were successfully invaded by allied forces on June 6th, and I can only imagine how many young men were now anxious to enlist and join in the fight.
     Fort Benjamin Harrison was a U.S. Army post located in suburban Lawrence, Indiana, northeast of Indianapolis, named for the 23rd United States President, Benjamin Harrison.
     His mention of the young man in the barracks from Marion would have rang familiar to his love, as she was living in nearby Converse.   His reference to himself as a “little 4F boyfriend” had me confused, so I looked it up and apparently “4-f” was a draft classification meaning the registrant was found not qualified for service in the Armed Forces.  Considering that he had written this letter from the base, and he went on to serve in World War II, I can only assume this was his attempt at humor given his state of mind this first day “on the job”, and that he was not really classified officially as a 4-f.
     “If I win” – his sweetheart had not yet committed to him fully, in fact, she had another beau on the horizon.  But make no mistake, he didn’t give up easily!