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A Vintage Christmas Card from My Dad in 1944

December 25, 2017

 

A Vintage Christmas Card from my Dad in 1944

 

by Alice Jane-Marie Massa

 

 

Two decades ago, having lost my Dad on December 1 and my first Leader Dog, Keller, on December 15, we were looking at Christmas of 1997 through tear-filled eyes.  Despite the tremendous losses, I thought that we should still mark Christmas in some way–a quiet way, not a cheery manner.  Still at our Indiana home, I told my sister that we should put up at least the four-foot, white tree so that my young nephews could “have” Christmas.  Thus, instead of the six-foot, green  tree with multi-colored lights and ornaments, we placed upon my mother’s desk the white tree.  At a store in Clinton, Indiana, I purchased a box of gold ornaments and a package of small gold bows for decorating the white tree.  The angel which I already had to top the tree was bedecked in gold.  So, our Christmas tree of 1997 was decorated with only gold and illuminated with gold fairy lights.  That tree not only celebrated the Nativity, but also honored the memory of my tremendously beloved and respected dad who, when we last saw him, was surrounded by a gold aura.  This beautiful gold tree also honored the memory of my golden retriever, Keller, who had given me so much mobility, independence, and love.  The hardest Christmas of my life remains as a golden memory of 1997.

 

Perhaps, the hardest Christmas of my dad’s life was in 1944, when my father was in Europe as part of the 638th Tank Destroyer Battalion, during World War II.  (His brothers Charlie and Johnny were also serving in Europe; before the end of World War II, their youngest brother Jules served in Germany.)  On November 20, 1944, my dad wrote the following note to accompany a beautiful Christmas card which he mailed to my mother, whom he had married on December 4, 1942.  As I think of and pray for all who are away from home and serving our country this holiday season, I share with you the words which my dad wrote seventy-three years ago.

 

* * *

 

November 20, 1944

 

Dearest wife,

 

How are you feeling, honey?  I don’t have much time to write.  Honey, don’t expect over one or two letters a month from now on.  Honey, I hope you have a very Merry Christmas.  Wish I were there with you.

 

Love,

your husband, Jimmy

 

* * *

 

The colorful greeting card of  almost five-by-seven inches has “A Merry Xmas” printed at the bottom of the card and is decorated with holly and ivy.  The remainder of the card is divided into four sections:  flags of the United States and France alternate to form the borders of the sections.  Each of the four panels features famous landmarks of Paris, France, along with people with American flags and bicycles displaying flags of the USA.  In one of the panels, a US flag adorns the harness of a horse that is drawing a carriage.  Another picture highlights a dog running after a woman who is hurrying to meet two American soldiers who are in a Jeep.

 

On this Christmas night of 2017,

may God bless all US military who are serving away from home,

as well as their families,

Alice and Leader Dog Willow

 

Best wishes for a most Merry Christmas week to all of my WORDWALK readers!

 

December 25, 2017, Monday

 

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4 Comments
  1. mfanyo permalink

    Dear Alice,
    Thank you for sharing a family treasure at this special time of year. I’m so thankful to have these loving and optimistic words that our dear dad wrote for our mother, the love of his life. The postcard itself highlighting scenes from Paris brings back to me the memory of Dad’s voice talking about the elation and gratefulness of the French people for the American soldiers who brought about the liberation of Paris. Our dad and his brothers participated in a significant event in world history and, thankfully, returned to the US safe and sound!
    Best Wishes to you and Willow for a Happy New Year filled with peace and joy!
    Love, Mary

    • Wintry Greetings from Wisconsin!  Mary–Many heartfelt thanks for making a beautiful addition to my blog post about the 1944 Christmas card from our extraordinary dad.  To think of all the emotions Mother must have felt when she received this card and note from Dad!

          As I mentioned the date of our parents’ marriage on December 4, 1942, I must add here best wishes to you and Ric on this day of your 42nd wedding anniversary.  Forty-two years ago, the snowscaped Beck Chapel on the campus of Indiana University was the prettiest of winter scenes for your December 27 wedding.

      Best wishes for a happy and healthy 2018!  Alice and Willow

  2. Alice, once again you captured such an incredible moment from your family’s history. If nothing else, this Christmas card will continue to present a snapshot from your family’s past. Such a treasure can’t help but to continue presenting itself as a gift, year after year. Another great post my dear, and Happy New Year to you and Willow Girl. dp

    Sent from my Windows 10 Creators machine

    ________________________________

    • Wintry Greetings from Milwaukee!  Deon–Thanks for your wonderful comment.  The 1944 Christmas postcard is such a treasure for my family and me!

          I hope that you are not snowed in.

      Best wishes for a happy and healthy 2018!  Alice and Willow

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