Letter to Wilfred R. Franson
U.S. Army Air Force
Charleston Army Air Field, South Carolina
26 March 1944

Correspondence from
Vera Howe Franson
March 1944


1505 South Broadway
Urbana, Illinois
26 March 1944

Dear Bill —

Five letters from you today! You have no idea what a relief it was to open the mailbox and find them there. I really was worried. I'll probably be ready to call the cops every time you're not home in time for dinner.

Did you send for that questionnaire from Franklin? It came today. I was going to fill it out right away, but then decided to think it over for a while. Some of the questions are quite thought-provoking. How do you feel about folding wings? They don't appeal to me much. Or roadable. I'll let you know what I decide.

Received a Hollywood postcard from your mother today. She said Don was home on leave.

When we were home [at her parents' home in Milwaukee], the neighbors must have looked you over. Mother said, "Margaret B. thinks Bill cute, but to tell you the Swedes have an awful temper."

How about it, Bill? Perhaps I'd better watch my step, and tread softly. — Yes? [Generally Swedes maintain a wonderful calm unless provoked.]

Francis (my brother-in-law) [Francis Coffey, currently an Army surgeon] has been reclassified as fit for foreign service. He's the one at Valley Forge Gen. Hospital. Several of his classmates are casualties. When he ships, Jean [Vera's younger sister, Jean Howe Coffey] will go home to Milwaukee, with the children.

Have you ever seen "The Connecting Link"? It's a little paper published by Link. One of my students showed it to me today. I'd like to send it on to you, but he wants it back.

Ann Sheridan had better be careful with all that exercise. At the rate she's going, she'll be all worn out before she goes across.

Bill, is it always raining in Charleston? The weather is lousy here, too. But I remember one special day when we didn't mind the rain.

That clipping I sent you a bout WTS [War Training Service] students getting [pilots' licenses] was clipped from the last issue of the Civil Aeronautics Journal, published by the CAA. It's official. They certainly ought to know about it at the airport. The fair state of Illinois has a property tax on airplanes.

I told you about Vi Perrault losing her money, didn't I? She advertised, and the finder called her up, so she got it back. The rare part of it is that the newspaper published the wrong telephone number, and the woman who found the money had to go to a lot of trouble to locate Vi..

Bill, what should I do about the cedar chest? It's for blankets, linens, towels, dishes, etc. — that is, the stuff we will need in the apartment, but not in the room. I'm going to have it crated and sent to Charleston. But where shall I send it? We don't want it in the room. And we don't want an apartment till I get a job. Shall I leave it here in storage until we want to send for it? — Or what?

It's 8:30, and I'm going to bed. This letter sounds awfully disjointed. Does three weeks seem terribly long? Bill, am I an awful disappointment to you? Darling — maybe I can make things up to you — this separation. All this lost time. I'll really try.

          Your ever-loving wife,


Notes by RWF:

Wilfred R. Franson and Vera Howe Franson met at the beginning of 1944 in an airplane hangar at Chanute Field in Rantoul, Illinois; and married 25 February 1944 at Champaign-Urbana, Illinois. Among other common interests, both had been hobbyist small-plane pilots before World War II, and each had been a member of a small club which owned a plane: Bill in Oregon, and Vera in Wisconsin.

At the time of this letter, Bill is a U.S. Army Air Force instructor in celestial navigation for pilots, recently reassigned to Charleston, South Carolina. Vera is a civilian instructor in celestial navigation for Army pilots in the ground school at Chanute Field.

Bill has only a rented room in Charleston, versus the current apartment Vera still has in Urbana. Since she doesn't want to commit them to an apartment in Charleston until she can secure a job there, this letter shows Vera's ongoing concern with how to manage the transition of furniture and other household goods.

The cedar chest was given to Vera by her parents in the 1930s. It is especially useful for keeping woolen clothes and blankets safe from moths. I still use it.

Bill's younger brother, Donald L. Franson, also was in the Army. Their parents Robert Franson and Edith Rose Franson, along with Don, had moved from Chicago to Los Angeles in 1940. They lived on an acre on Roscoe Boulevard in Canoga Park where the San Fernando Valley streets gave way to fields. They kept geese, ducks, and chickens.

© 2013 Robert Wilfred Franson

Chanute Field - Wikipedia

War Training Service
at National Museum of the US Air Force

More by Vera Howe Franson

Wikipedia articles on Link Trainer
Celestial navigation
United States Army Air Forces (USAAF)


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