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Byron Armbruster World War II Papers: Transcripts - MS 984

Byron ArmbrusterĀ Correspondence to Eloise Higgins from an Englishwoman, 1944 - 1945

November 6, 1944

"Brewery Tavern"
19, Caversham Road,
Reading Berks.
England.

6th November, 1944
Dear Miss. Higgins,

Quite sometime ago Byron asked me to write to you and over the past week-end, he gave me your address and I promised him I would write and make my self known to you. I know you have heard about me, as Byron was Best Man at my wedding on September 27th when I married a friend of his, Arthur Ulrich from Rolling Prairie, Indiana. I'm sure he has told you about the wedding and will be sending along a photo of my husband and I, when we receive them from the Photographers.

I've heard so much about you Eloise, and I know Byron is longing to return to Napoleon, Ohio, to be married to you. He told me he had sent you a silk parachute for your wedding gown, which I know will look very beautiful. He misses you very much and I do so hope the war will end soon so that he may return for the very happy occasion to take place.

My family and friends who know Byron, think he is a grand person. I first met him at a party given by the Battalion in a Club House near to Headquarters. This was in March when Arthur introduced me to Byron and we have known him since then. He has also made friends with some people living in the country near here, a Flight-Lieutenant Ellis and his wife. I think Mrs. Ellis has also written to you. Byron introduced them to us last week and we spent the evening together.

I hope, after the war is over, I shall come to America and I should very much like to meet you personally. Of course, Arthur & I cannot decide definitely yet as to what we shall do after the war. It is not worth while planning anything while the war is still on, as circumstances alter so quickly, we feel we cannot decide where we shall eventually settle down until it is all over. If I do decide to settle down in America, then I shall certainly visit you.

Now I expect you would like to know something about me. I am twenty years old, 5ft. 4 ins and weigh 125 lbs. I am a Short-hand Typist for Messrs. Allied Suppliers Ltd. I am very fond of swimming, rowing, tennis and walking. Byron tells me you love swimming. I also hear that you are a good cook and Byron is anxiously waiting to return to you, to enjoy some of your Steamed Pudding.

In the past I have taken quite an interest in Dramatics and I belonged to the Dramatic Section of the Social Club attached to my Firm. I have acted in a number of plays and I also joined the Berkshire Operatic Society before the war and took part in Arthur Sullivan's "Rose of Persia" which was performed at our Palace Theatre in Reading, once nightly, for a week, and I can tell you I thoroughly enjoyed myself at every performance. Of course, the war brought an end to the Operatic Society as all the young me were called up and it was impossible to carry on.

Each day I ride a bicycle to the office as it takes me about 10 minutes to get into the country, where my Firm have taken over a house by the River Thames. It is a very pleasant spot, just outside Reading. I have a wonderful view from my office window of the garden around. This house was taken over by my Firm when they evacuated from London at the beginning of the war.

My family consists of my father who is a Licensee and the owner of a Public House; he has had an operation in hospital during the past month and is now at home resting, so my mother is very busy looking after the business for my father as well as the housework. I have one brother who is eighteen years old and is waiting to be called up for the Army. At the moment he is training to be an Architect and has been taking a course at the University of Reading for the past two years. We live in one of the main streets of Reading. Our house is situated on a corner and has twenty rooms in it. Reading is quite a large town with a population of over 97,000 and is in easy reach of the countryside. For the past five years we have had to walk about our streets in complete darkness, but a new order issued recently by our Government, has lifted the Black-Out to Dim-Out and now we need not black-out our windows in the evening but only draw the curtains across and a few lights are now lit in the streets. The children born in this country during the first year of war had never seen a light in the streets until this autumn.

Perhaps you would like to know what I wore for my wedding. My gown was made of crushed chiffon velvet with lace veil and headdress of orange blossom. I had white satin shoes, court style, on which my Mother placed the two diamond stones which she had on her shoes when she was married and I also wore her wedding stockings of white silk which were thirty years old. My bouquet was of red roses and carnations and pink roses and carnations, white heather and green fern, which fell in front of my gown. The photograph which Byron will be sending you was taken on coming out of the church and you will be able to see just what all of us looked like on that very happy day.

You know I get quite a thrill corresponding with my husband's relations and I also write to Yvonne Bernth in New Orleans, Fred Bernth's wife, no doubt you have heard of him as Byron and Fred worked together. The distance is so far and when I receive answers from America, I get quite excited.

I do hope you will write me, as I should very much like to hear from you, and I hope we shall continue to correspond with each other for a long time.

Sincerely,
Joan

January 14, 1945

Brewery Tavern
19. Caversham Rd
Reading. Berks.
England

14th Jan. 1945
Dear Eloise,

I've heard from Byron that you have received my first letter and I'm hoping to hear from you soon.

Enclosed is my wedding photo, which Byron asked me to send you. I hope it reaches you safely.

I trust you are keeping well. I'm in good health, my father is gradually getting stronger after his operation, but I have mother ill in bed, so I'm kept very busy all day and every day.

Now Arthur has gone to France, I'm feeling very lonely, but I hear from him regularly several times in a week, which helps me to face this separation until the time we meet again.

I hope you had a good Christmas. I'm afraid I had a very quiet time here, but next Christmas I'm hoping will be a merrier and happier one.

I must wish you a happy and Prosperous New Year and I pray the war will end during it, so that we can settle down to a normal and peaceful life.

I'm looking forward to hearing from you. Do write when you have time.

Sincerely,
Joan

MS 984 - Byron Armbruster Papers | List of Transcripts
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