January 23, 1944

January 23, 1944

Dearest Darling Lover:-

After I returned from my services this morning I found your beautiful letter awaiting me. Each letter makes me love you more my Dear, if there were ever a girl, or rather wife, who is a heaven sent gift of God, you are that one. I shall never be able to thank Our Heavenly Father enough, for such wonderful love as I have in you My Dear.

We had a very good turn out for services today, considering the fact that over half of the men were on pass and the rest were very busy preparing for moves in the not too far distant future. Many of the men expressed regret that I was going to be their Chaplain no longer. I still don’t know where I’m going to go but I did hate to leave the men, for I had really begin to become attached to the old faithful’s who were always out for services.

Stained glass of the Last Supper at Forest Lawn Cemetery. Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz/Pasadena Star-News)

After dinner Warrant Officer Garner, Captain Baker and I went to Forest Lawn Cemetery, being so close we wanted to be able to see it. The stained glass window of “The Last Supper” is surely a beautiful work. The churches also are very nice. We were unable to see everything because it started to pour rain and we had to leave.

This evening I spoke to the Young People’s B.Y.F’s at Long Beach, they all met to-gether for they said they wanted to hear me all together on this, my last occasion. They said a lot of nice things before introducing me and many people told me good-bye. The treated me like I was the Assistant Pastor who was leaving the church. I spoke on “Dare to be Different.”

After Church, Mr. And Mrs. Holly had me over for something to eat. They send their love to you.

Well, we are expecting news of our move tomorrow or Tuesday so we will really be on the go now. It is so late I must close for now and remember, tonight you are dearer than ever before. God Bless you my Dear.

Forever yours, and yours alone,

In Christ’s Love,

Willis

XOXOXOXOXO

Col 3:3 May it be true of our lives together my Dear.

January 22, 1944

January 22, 1944

My Dearest Darling Wife:-

Well, I know tonight how you feel when you don’t hear from me Lover. I turned onto your heart wave and, as always, you were telling me sweet things that warmed my lonely heart. It is surely a wonderful blessing and assurance to have the assurance I have of your love and devotion. Many times I just sit here at my desk and look at the snapshot of you taken by Teacher. I am surely grateful to Our Heavenly Father for such a wonderful wife as you are to me.

Today, as many of the last few days, has been hectic. We know not how to pack or get ready. We are expecting definite orders Monday or Tuesday.

The 367th Search Light are all moved into Battalion Headquarters. I went out to their drill ground and I had quite a good talk to Colonel Hall. I made arrangements to have services there tomorrow morning at 10 A.M. It has been difficult to plan anything definitely because many of our batteries are being moved here in the Brigade. If possible, I’m going to have three services tomorrow. And by the way, tomorrow they are taking my Jeep away. Evidently, we are going to an area where we will be closer together. It may be a training area because before we go over we will have to pick up some more battalions. As it is, we are being detached from our old battalions.

Tomorrow I’m planning on speaking on “Good Looks”. Scripture Hebrews 12:1-3, noting this part of the second verse, “Looking unto Jesus.” These points:

1. Look Backward.

This do in remembrance of me – Luke 22:19

2. Look Forwards: –

Reaching unto the things before – Phil 3:14

Colonel Smith and Willis Reed with their mascot, Sgt. Scrappy.

3. Look Downward:-

Let him that thinketh he standeth take heed.” – I Cor. 10:12

4. Look Upward:-

I will lift up mine eyes – Psalm 121:1

5. Look Within:-

Let a man examine himself – I Cor. 11:28

6. Look About:

Lift up your eyes and look on the fields – John 4:35

7. Look to Jesus:-

Behold the Lamb of God.

Enclosed also find two pictures, one taken at the Christmas service and also one of our bulldog Scrappy. He is our Mascot.

It was another grand day, just like June in Chicago. Dear, it is growing late but before I close this letter I want to let you know I love you more now than I ever did. You are a wonderful wife and I do praise God for such a devoted wife. God Bless you tomorrow Dear, I’ll be praying for you and I’ll be banking on your prayer.

Yours now and forever in

Christ’s All-sufficient Love,

Willis

XOXOXOXOXO

Col 3:3

Wasn’t “Abundant Living” good for today and of course “My Utmost”?

January 21, 1944

January 21, 1944

Dearest Darling:-

I received the sweet letter you wrote last Monday night. I’m so glad you finally got my letter. I know what you mean when you say you feel very lonesome when you don’t hear. Words cannot describe how wonderful it is to hear from you Dear.

Downtown pier. Long Beach California. 1940s.

Today has also been a hectic day, this uncertainty for making plans for our move is indeed very difficult. This morning I went to Long Beach to do some things I wanted to do before leaving here. While there, I happened to see a copy of “My Utmost for His Highest” and bought it. I wrapped it up and mailed it to Maurice and Edith from us. I’m sure they will enjoy it. It makes me so happy that they are so good to you. Anybody who is good to you is indeed very near to my heart because my Dear you are the dearest of all things to me, now and forever. I love you very very much, I only wish words could describe what I feel in my heart. As you know, our love can really only be experienced by feeling.

I saw Mr. And Mrs. Hansen for a few minutes and they asked me to send their love and best wishes to you. This afternoon I went to Fort McArthur.

Early this evening I marked all my things with my initials and number. This is a regulation for all Army men when being moved.

You told about John Charles Thomas singing “Warming”, that is beautiful and it is one of my favorite songs. Won’t it be wonderful when it comes true? That day can come none too soon to please me.

You sure did a lot of work Monday, I can see you accomplished a whole lot.

No! Forget the income tax return, you keep it there and if I need it I’ll send for it.

No! Dear, keep the Metropolitan Life insurance policy on a semi-annual basis. I agree with you, I think it is a good idea to keep it the same.

It seems poor Ellen is kept on the go moving from place to place. I don’t see how she could be at all happy.

It surely surprises me to hear that Marlese is no longer engaged to Bill Stacks.

So, the Chief has a new robe. I’ll bet he looks good in it. By the way, be sure and give the folks my love and best wishes.

Don’t worry about me Dear, I have plenty of money unless something unforeseen happens, and we are soon to have a pay day.

So, Frank is still in this country. I suppose he will soon be on his way over.

Well my Dear, it is late and I’m very tired so I’ll close for now.

I am always and forever yours

In Christ’s Great Love,

Willis

XOXOXOXOXO

Col 3:3

“My Utmost” was surely good for Jan. 20 and today.

January 20, 1944

Willis didn’t write on the 20th, but rose early to write this letter on the 21st.

January 21, 1944

Dearest Darling Sweetheart:-

I received your grand letter yesterday morning, that is the one you wrote Sunday evening. Sweetheart, you are so good to me. Each time I read your letters I love you more, that is if it’s possible.

Yesterday was a hectic day, that’s the reason I went to bed and decided I would get up earlier and write you this morning.

I tried to make arrangements for services for this coming Sunday and it is really a job because every battery under us is in such an upset condition that it is difficult to make our plans.

After dinner I went down to the Ferrying Command to get my hair cut and to buy several articles at the P.X. They happened to have a large C54 (largest airplane, that is land plane in the world) there so I was invited to go aboard. You should see it, it is so large it would seem that it would be impossible to fly it.

I keep forgetting to tell you that Helen sent me a lovely scarf for a present, it will really be grand if we are transferred to a colder climate.

Postcard from Earl Carroll’s theater. 1944

Last night all the officers of our group Headquarters had a big blow out drinking party at Earl Carroll’s, a night club in Hollywood. I’m the only officer who didn’t go with them. They have been making fun of me and calling me narrow, etc.  I imagine they will have more to say this morning. Campbell went along with them and has been telling how much he was going to drink for the last few days. Seats and cover charge was $5.50 and eats and drinks extra, all were planning on spending 10 or 11 dollars. That is surely not my idea of a good time.

I’m so glad there were so many young people out for B.Y. Please tell them for me that I’m glad for that and will be praying that they fill the room.

Dear, why don’t you see if you can become a teacher of a regular class in the Junior Department, for I realize it is hard having a different group each week. Being regular as you are, you should have a regular class and then you can and will mold your lessons for the children’s particular needs.

Well my Dear, I will have to close for now because I have a whole lot to do today.

Darling, I love you more now than ever I did before.

Yours now and forever in

Christ’s Precious Love,

Willis

XOXOXOXOXO

P.S. The officers pulled in at 2 A.M. this morning, you would have thought they were going to wreck our barracks.

January 19, 1944

January 19, 1944

Dearest Darling:-

Your letter was beautiful today and how happy it made me to hear from you. Your letters are always an inspiration and benediction to my soul. After I read each one I feel a great surge of thanksgiving throughout my whole being for such a devoted and beloved wife.

We had a meeting of all the Chaplains of this Brigade in Los Angeles today. The Chief of Chaplains of the Western Defense Command was present.

The women’s group had a luncheon for us at a Lutheran Church. There were around 150 present. They had a Dr. Hoyer of the Department of Anthropology at the University of California speak. I mean he read it – dry and long and I know over the heads of most of the people. After that we had our picture taken together as a group of Chaplains. I was surely disgusted with the Chaplains, all but 3 of us out of the 11 smoked right in the church while we were having our luncheon.

Immediately following this we were taken as a group to see a preview of a movie at Columbia Studios. It was titled, “None Shall Escape”, dealing with the trial of those who caused the war. I realize part of it is true but it is also a good propaganda picture.

“None Shall Escape” reminds me of this, “The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is Eternal life.”

They were going to have a dinner in some movie executives home in Hollywood but I had promised to speak at the Prayer meeting at the 1st Baptist in Long Beach so I came back here at about 6 o’clock. I led prayer meeting at Long Beach. Had a very nice time. Saw the Holly’s and they send their love to you. Lover, I’m very tired and will close for now because I want to be rested for in the morning. I love you more than ever my Dear.

Yours now and forever in Christ’s Love,

Willis

XOXOXOXOXO

Col. 3:3

If you are interested in watching the movie that Willis mentions (None Shall Escape), I’ve included it here: http://achaplainatwar.org/none-shall-escape-1944/

January 18, 1944

January 18, 1944

Dearest Darling Sweetheart:-

I received your letter that was written on Friday evening. Your description of Prayer Day sounded very good and from all indications the Holy Spirit had His way. As you said, I hope it will continue to influence the life of the whole school.

Yesterday, I made out an allotment (Class E) for you for $175 a month. That will begin next month, “February.” I’m supposed to be paid this month and I’ll mail you a check as soon as possible for this month.

This morning I took a young man up to Brigade in Los Angeles to see the Judge Advocate, his wife who lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota is suing for a divorce. Some other man involved from all indications. The soldier says he loves her and he cannot understand why she should do this, he naturally feels very bad. The Judge Advocate interviewed him, (the Judge Advocate is a Major) and this is what he told the soldier in brief. “I’ve been married and divorced once and married again and wish this, my second wife would give me a divorce. So why don’t you sign the papers and let your wife have her divorce.” Isn’t that some advice for a man to give a soldier in such trouble? The Major just brushed the soldier aside, seemed he didn’t want to be bothered. One of those men whose rank has made him big headed and domineering. This afternoon I had the soldier go see a lawyer here in Long Beach to check up on Minnesota law on divorce. I wish I had time to tell you all my Dear, but it would take pages and I’m very tired.

Fort MacArthur Military Hospital. San Pedro, California. 1943.

This afternoon we went to Fort McArthur Hospital and called on the men in the hospital, we only have 15 there at the present time. I gave them each a “Secret Place”.

Darling, you are a wonderful wife and a great inspiration to me. The things you confessed to me, those same things I can and will confess to you. You know I will pray for you and I will count on your prayer for me. Isn’t that a wonderful covenant  you and I have between Christ and each other?

I am so glad the Intermediates had such a good time, I wish I could have been there for I do love those young people. You said there were five adults present, who were they?

It is surely trying around here, everybody is up in the air. We know when we are going but not where, so we don’t know whether to pack for overseas or a movement to some other place in this country. By the way, it’s a question what’s going to happen to me because Colonel Smith of the 507th says if they move out of here he wants me with him and Colonel Reis of the 220th and the 643rd says he want me and is going to do all he can to get me. Colonel Reis’ outfit is saying here in Long Beach and Santa Monica. As you can se, I’m on the spot and don’t know whether to pack my things or not. I won’t know definitely till we receive our moving orders from Washington, D.C.  And by the way, Colonel Hall of the 367th Searchlight battalion wants me. So here I am in between. I’m leaving it in God’s hands, several have asked me what I want to do and what outfit I would rather be in, but I haven’t expressed myself because I’m sure what happens will be according to God’s will.

Well My Dear, I will close for now because I’m so very tired. May God Bless you my Dearest.

Yours Now and Forever

In Christ’s Redeeming Love,

Willis

XOXOXOXOXO

Col 3:3 – through Christ Dear.

Phil 1:3 – Forever

January 17, 1944

January 17, 1944

Dearest Darling Sweetheart:-

This was indeed an extra glad day for me because I received two beautiful letters from you, the ones you wrote last Wednesday evening and last Thursday evening. So you have been broadcasting, well I knew it because I always kept thinking of you. My eyes are often closed to have a television view of you my Lover.

Mounted anti-aircraft gun. California, 1944.

I got a card from Nettie today. Charlie’s mother died unexpectedly New Year’s Eve at five o’clock. She was a wonderful woman and I’m sure they will miss her a lot. Charlie is supposed to report at Harvard February 8. Nettie is going to go and keep house for Charlie’s father for a while and they are going to store their furniture there. Their last Sunday at Storm Lake will be Sunday, January 30th, the day we are supposed to leave here.

Sweetheart, it was just five months ago today that I started for Harvard. Well thank the Lord it is just that much less time that we will have to be apart.

You are surely a wonderful Sweetheart to me. Darling, if there were ever a person who made me want to be my best for Christ, that person is you. And under God, I will do my utmost to prove my love for you by my life and work.

I’m sorry to hear that Kearny continues to show his ignorance.

Sweetheart, Mr. Taylor also spoke while I was at Northern and I think he is very good. He presents the alcohol problem very well.

I’m glad you had such a nice time at Marian’s. Yes Dear, we will look forward to the day when we can have our own family.

With Peter Joshua, your prayer day must have been outstanding and a real soul refueling.

Darling, it is very very late and I have a some washing to do before I go to bed so I will close for now.

God bless you my Dearest.

In Christ’s love,

Willis

xoxoxoxoxo

Col 3:3

January 16, 1944

Willis didn’t write a letter on the 16th, but got up to write early on the 17th.  He wrote another letter later in the day that will be posted tomorrow. 

January 17, 1944

Dearest Darling:-

I missed not hearing from you yesterday. I was so very tired last night that I went to bed after coming home from Holly’s after church, they had a little lunch for me. I decided to get up a little earlier this morning in order to write you this letter this morning.

Some of the men at the base who attended Willis’ services.

In three services yesterday I had 154 men at services which is indeed almost twice the amount I ever had before. Practically every man came to the service I held at Laguna Beach. The commanding officer and the next in command also came to the service. It was a beautiful drive along the ocean, I wish you could have been along. The day was perfect.

By the way, all furloughs as of 4:30 P.M. Saturday were halted. As you remember, according to our old plans I was to leave here tomorrow, it seems that I got away just in time. Praise the Lord! I’m so glad I got to see you.

We are supposed to receive some very important news in a day or two and as soon as we do I’ll let you know. It looks like I’m going to have a lot to do in the next few days so my time will be entirely taken up. General Hardaway is supposed to inspect our positions sometime this week. The preparation to move always involves a lot of work. I must close for now my Darling but please remember I love you more this morning than ever before. Thank you for being so precious and sweet.

Yours and only yours for the ages of the ages,

Your husband forever in Christ’s love,

Willis

xox0x0x0x

Col 3:1-4

January 15, 1944

January 15, 1944

Dearest Sweetheart:-

I was looking through a paper this morning and noted an article in the movie section, which I decided to read. I never do read this junk but I did in this case. Divorce is glorified in the sanctity of marriage is mocked. Over 80,000,000 of our population are movie mad, no wonder divorce is on the increase.

To read some of our daily and Sunday papers you would think the only patriotic and worthwhile people in this country are the movie stars. I’m sure your reaction will be the same as mine.

Well, I must close for now my Dear for I have a lot to do. I love you so very much, Lover.

In Him I am ever yours,

With all of my Love and life,

Willis

xxxxx

The title of the article is “Three girls and Raft – George.”


January 15, 1944

Dearest Darling Sweetheart:-

This afternoon I got the letter you wrote Tuesday evening and it was so very beautiful Dear that I couldn’t keep from shedding tears. You expressed just what I felt in my heart. I wasn’t able to write you on the train because they wouldn’t stop long enough to let you get off. My two letters to you so far since returning were not very good I know, but I’ve been so tired and there has been so much to do that I haven’t been able to catch up on all the sleep I lost coming out here. In those two nights I didn’t get a total of 1 1/2 hours of sleep. I was so tired this afternoon that I finally went over to my bed and slept for about an hour.

As our train sped west, I assure you I did a lot of thinking and praising God for you and your wonderful love. Even the wheels of our train seem to hum the prayer and praise that was in my heart for you my Dear. Physically we were being carried a part, but in someway I cannot adequately express, I thought you very near to me. When the lights were turned out in our car I would look out into the night, the moon had baptized everything with it’s light, and I could see the snow capped mountains holding fluffy white clouds on their shoulders, and what a joy swept through my whole being when an assurance swept across my lonesome heart that we are one now and forever because of the redemption we have in the creator of all the wonderful sites that was slipping by our speeding train.

Colonel Smith (on left) with another officer – possibly the Catholic Chaplain Campbell.

Early this morning Colonel Smith asked me to go with him on an inspection tour of the maneuvers of one of our batteries at Laguna Beach, which is about 45 miles from Headquarters. Major Hamman and Major Brown also went along. It was surely beautiful traveling along the ocean on the Pacific coast highway. The tide was just coming in and it was beautiful seeing the breakers. I talked to the commanding officer and I made arrangements to have services there tomorrow at 1 o’clock. It will keep us on the go but it will be a real opportunity to have the group together.

For some reason or other I haven’t received my communion set from the Convention, so I sent a telegram to Dr. G. Pitt Beers about it yesterday. He sent a telegram back today and upon investigation he found it was sent to me on November 22. I went to the Express office and they have never received it. They are going to try and trace it but I am going to wire again as Dr. Beers said to and suppose they will send another, for it may take a long time to trace the other one down.

It was really very cool here last night but today was another lovely spring like day. The snow capped mountains were surely beautiful to behold.

I stopped by and talked to Holly’s yesterday and they asked me to send their love to you. It just seems like I’ve known them all my life and they treat me so very wonderful. Everything is so completely changed since Christ and you came into my life. Even disappointments are beautiful. Thank you for being such a wonderful wife my Dear. Words were never made with an idea to tell a wife like you are to me how much you really mean. All you can do is feel, as you know our spirits witness unto each other.

Having been with you for these last two weeks is like a heavenly dream. Oh what joy it will be my dear when we will never have to be separated again. God has and is truly good to us.

Well, I must close for now because I want to do some studying and work on my sermon for tomorrow. I love you with all my heart, Sweetheart and remember I am only yours forever.

In Christ’s all sufficient love,

Your husband for Eternity,

Willis

xxxxx

Col 3:1-4

Your letter is so lovely I’m going to read it again-God bless you my Dear.

January 14, 1944

January 14, 1944

Dearest Darling Sweetheart:-

This day finds me loving you more than ever-I shall never be able to thank God enough for your love and devotion. As I sit here thinking of how wonderful it was to be with you, I realized all anew how good you and Christ have been to give yourself to me.

The picture of Sarah Coyne, Sarah Reed and Doris Herbert that Willis mentions. Taken in December 1943.

Today has been a very busy day. This morning I read all my mail-planned Sunday services and this afternoon I went to the hospital at Fort McArthur. You know, there were four letters from you when I returned so I’m opening one each day so it’s not so hard not hearing from you. That poem you wrote me on Christmas day was wonderful, and by the way, the picture of you in the road is wonderful. And also the one of you, Sarah Coyne and Doris Herbert.

Is nice and warm here. Both yesterday and today have been just like a nice June day. My work seems so much easier now having been refueled by being with you. Darling, all I can think of is this, I am a man most privileged of God by having such a wonderful wife.

I was reading an article in the paper this evening and found this editorial which I am enclosing for you and the folks to read it. I think it is very good, also find enclosed a good cartoon.

Colonel Smith has been on a furlough for a week and is due back tomorrow. We have no more news, it looks now like we will be here at least another month. I have no idea what is going to happen, but we do know for sure that there are going to be some changes.

Well Darling, it is late and I am so tired. God bless you and remember I love you more all the time my Dear.

Forever yours in Christ’s love,

Willis

Thank you for being such a sweet wife Darling.

I wrote Paul and Genevieve a letter also this evening.