I am hoping to realize a project that means everything to me and I urgently need your help with it.
I live in Ottawa and my father was a member of the Manitoba Dragoons and was stationed in Holland. My mother was posted in Ottawa during WWII.
I have been blessed to have the complete war-time correspondence between them (as near as I can tell). It took me a long time to get up the courage to read those letters, and to be honest it was a revelation. It's like the people who wrote them, I never met. My father in particular - I knew him as guarded, angry and lonely. The man in those letters was none of those things. He was hopeful, funny and, at times, even poetic. And oh so loving.
My mission is to take that legacy and publish it - share their story with the world. To do them justice. To bring to life the youthful, hopeful selves that the War took away.
I need your help with that.
Here is one my father wrote to my mother Ė selected at random:
My Darling Ė
Well, Iím back at camp thank goodness!! Itís really good to get back. Just got back to-day at 2 oíclock. We stayed in Cologne over night again. The officer let us have a vehicle so we went up to Bonn Ė about 12 miles from Cologne. Thereís quite a few canteens there & the place isnít all flattened. Got feeling good too!! The Limeys have a wet canteen there so went there and got brewed up!! Thatís about all there is to do there Ė so we dood it!!
Darling, I didnít get a single letter from you when I got back. Got some from my mom, Uncle Joe & Snookie, but not from you. But I did get the books you sent me, darling. Thanks a million. I guess Iíll one up on you Ė I donít have to ask you for the book ďKittyĒ, cause I read that 3 months ago Ė spent half the night reading it too! Oh she was quite the gal Ė some way to get to the top eh?!!
Well I have a bit of good news Ė not donít count on it too much but it certainly looks promising. Itís about coming home. I think I may make Xmas after all. They say that all 110 point men will be leaving here the end of next month. Well, Iíve got a 100 so I should leave in Nov. Ė thatís providing they keep going the way they are. But darling, please donít count on it cause you know the army. I sure hope to God it comes true though. I guess weíll just have to keep our fingers crossed.
Thereís another big gang going to drive more vehicles to another country next week. I have a hunch Iíll be on it too. I hope not, but Iím afraid I will. I hear itís with Greece this time. Of all the places to go we get em all. At any rate Iím seeing the world. I even know what the people are like in Czechoslovakia!! It helps pass the time till Iím home with you again.
Darling, donít stop writing until you know definitely that Iím on my way, cause you canít count on any thing in the army, you know that. So just cause I said thereís a slight chance I may make Xmas, donít stop writing. Iíll let you know definitely when the time comes.
Well my Darling, I guess I better close for now. Hope I get a letter from you soon. Always remember I love you, darling, with all my heart Ė for always.
Regards to all Ė
All my love Ė
Your husband Fred
I have approximately 200 letters in total. Some like that one Ė some far more emotionally charged. I have shed more tears than I can count reading them and feeling his isolation for the first time.
My dream is to do justice to this legacy Ė I donít plan on simply reprinting those letters. I want to show where my father was when he wrote them Ė what sky he saw at night. What stars did he dream on. What was my motherís world like. How very different was her world from his.
Please help me to do this.
I have set up a GoFundMe page to get things going. Any help you can offer would be so very appreciated. A percentage of the proceeds of the finished product will go to the Royal Canadian Legion, an organization very important to my father in his later years.
Please forward this to anyone who might be able to help.
My email is:
The GoFundMe link is:
Thank you for reading this.