September 23, 1943

September 23, 1943

Dearest Darling Sweetheart:-

Caption by Willis: Waiting to pass review on graduation at Harvard. I’m not in this picture.

Exams are all over, notebooks all turned in and what a good feeling. All we have tomorrow morning from 8 till 12 noon is time for review and the privilege to check up on things we are not yet sure about. In the afternoon, we will practice for our review (marching) which is to be held Saturday morning at 10 o’clock and immediately following is graduation.

I didn’t get a letter from you today and I surely missed not having a letter to read from the Dearest person in all the world to me.

Many of the fellows have received their orders but as yet I haven’t. They will probably be coming soon now.

Tonight, a group of us are going down to the Officer’s Club in Boston for our dinner. It will be our last opportunity to be together, so we want to do it.

They are waiting for me now, so I will have to close for now, but remember each hour and moment finds me loving and cherishing you more.

With all of My Love because you are God’s girl,

Willis

Psalm 46

Col 3:1-4

September 22, 1943

September 22, 1943

Dearest Darling:-

I’ve just finished reading your sweet letter describing your activities last Sunday. I’m so glad to know that you are learning to love working at North Shore, and as time goes on I’m sure you will even enjoy it more.

We’ve really had a busy day today – two exams, several lectures. It has been raining all day. We drilled in the mud and rain and we were really good and wet when we came in.

I’m so glad you volunteered to try and win five for Christ this coming year. Always remember Dear that I’m your prayer partner forever. It is a sure thing if I do my job as a Chaplain, I’m going to need God’s help, which of course can and will be mine if I’m obedient to the Father’s Will.

Yes, Mr. Lindeman is a mighty fine man. He has always been one of my best friends at North Shore. (written on the side: Give him my greetings)

That sounds good, that is your taking the Junior B.Y. It will take work but it will give you invaluable experience and will open many doors for applying what you learn at the Seminary. It seems to be a natural to me. However, I will pray about it.

By the way Dear, did they give you an envelope to fill every Sunday for me? These pledges on the new church are to be paid up by the end of two years, is that right? I’m not sure how much we should give. But what do you think? Expenses are so high here around Cambridge that I haven’t been able to get an idea how much it is going to cost me to live per month, but I’ll be as saving as I can. I think we ought to be able to give a pretty good gift after things have righted themselves.By the way, how much are you pledging each Sunday or quarter?

World war II description of the operation of Graves Registration.

In our “Graves Registration” exam this morning I’ll be sadly disappointed if I get under 95. And I think I got along all right in “Military Law.”

I blew myself last night, I went out and bought rump steak for supper. It surely tasted good. It was the first steak I’ve had since being in Boston.

Tomorrow morning we have our last examination which happens to be “Practical Duties.” Saturday morning at 10:30 A.M. we are to have our graduation exercises.

I will close for now and study for tomorrow’s exam but remember sweetheart, your precious love and devotion grip my heart and life more all the time. God be praised for such a sweetheart, who grows sweeter because she is serving the King of Glory.

With All of My love to you Dear,

Willis

Psalm 91-121

Phil 1:3

September 21, 1943

September 21, 1943

 Dearest Sweetheart:-

Your letter was so precious today describing the meeting in Des Plaines. It is wonderful to be working for the Lord, especially when one has a companion who is as whole heartedly interested in the work as you are. Dear, my prayer is this that this experience of being apart and working as hard as we can will only make us more efficient as we serve a church again, if it be God’s Will. I want to come back to you as greater servant of the Lord and a far better husband. I want to be worthy of having a wife like you who unreservedly gives her all to Christ.

I wanted to write more to you last night but conditions made it impossible, but none the less, between paragraphs in my studying I thought of you Dear.

Well, we had another exam in “Military Sanitation and First Aid”  today which completes the course. I’ll be sadly disappointed if I get below 90 in this because there was only one little part of one question I wasn’t sure about. We have two more exams tomorrow, one is in “Military Law” and the other is “the Burial of the Dead in Combat Areas”, or “Graves Registration.”

Willis’ foot locker. It is now with his youngest son John, in Vermont.

I thought maybe I would get my orders today concerning the place where I’ll be sent, but I did not. I’ll probably be finding out pretty soon. As soon as I do I’ll let you know. By the way, that makes me think you better not send anymore letters to me here at Harvard after this coming Thursday the 23rd. Thanks for sending the trunk, or rather “foot locker.” It arrived safely today.

By your description of the Quaker meeting it must have been very impressive and inspirational. I’ve found out in my brief experience in the Army, and even in the midst of Chaplins, it is entirely up to you to be eager to hear the Lord’s voice. Weren’t “The Secret Place” and “My Utmost for His Highest”  good today?

Concerning the insurance on our furniture and the insurance on my books, drop them both. I believe under the present circumstances that would be best.

Thank the Chief for fixing that fine name holder on the foot locker. It’s really O.K. and shows time spent on it.

I was interested in learning of Maurice Jackson’s experience of knowing Rev. Calas. Right from the first, I was afraid he was that kind of man even though I had nothing to indicate that fact. Mrs. Herbert wrote me a letter which I got yesterday, as well as Sarah Coyne, and they didn’t seem to be too well pleased with his coming.

I hate to bother you and the Chief so much but I’m wondering if you, or preferably the Chief because of his ability in such things, would go to the Stebkins Hardware on Van Buren and buy me 3 packages of “sex-to-Blade” razor blades and also a Boy Scout knife (preferably), but if not, a knife that has a can opener on it because I’ll probably need it.

Well Darling, I would like to go on telling you how I love you and praise God for you but I must eat and prepare for tomorrow’s exams. Darling, I love you for the ages of the ages.

In Christ’s all inclusive Love & Power,

Willis

Psalm 91

Col 3:1-4

Phil 1:3

September 20, 1943

September 20, 1943

 Dearest Sweetheart:-

Willis and Sarah on their wedding day, June 30, 1942.

I’ve just finished reading your very sweet letters and enjoyed them so much. Dear, we have an exam in the morning, also some extra work. If I have a little time before bedtime I’ll write more but remember I love you more than ever.

With All my Love,

Willis

Col 3:1-4

September 19, 1943

September 19, 1943

 Dearest Sweetheart:-

I just finished reading your letter of yesterday again. It was so sweet and I could just hear Dear Dr. Steinsen say what you said in the letter about that Methodist Evangelist. When I read it, I just had to laugh right out loud because you described it so well. I know you will love him in History.

Wayne Soliday and Willis at the Riley’s house.

I didn’t write to you last night because as soon as classes were over yesterday afternoon, Katherine and Elizabeth Riley met us here at school and we were at their home again last night for a good home cooked meal. We had enough for at least four. When I say “we,” I mean Wayne Soliday. We thought we had ought to do something for the Riley’s who had been so kind to us, so we bought a picture of Sallman’s head of Christ and gave it to them last night. We got home about eleven o’clock and I was so tired I went right to bed and decided I would write you a long letter today. By the way, a week ago Saturday the Riley’s took some pictures and had a set developed for both Wayne and I and I’m sending them onto you now. I wrote on the back of each one so you will know who’s who and what’s what.

I stayed in bed this morning until 7:30 and then got up and had breakfast. I didn’t go to church but Wayne and I are going to Tremont Temple tonight. The reason I didn’t go was we have a message due tomorrow in one of our courses on “the Work of the Chaplains,” supposedly to be given to a group of officers. I worked on it from around 10 A.M. until 2:45 P.M. If I’m ever called on to give such a message I plan on using this one. I went out, had a little to eat and came right back to my room and now here I am writing to my dearest possession because you belong to Christ and I belong to Him and we belong to each other. How I praise the Lord for you Dear, it’s because you’re so constant, kind, true, and wholly dependable. I’m so happy that I can trust you. You make me think of Hebrews  13:8 because I can trust your promises, although they’ve been made before, they keep. If anything, they’re becoming surer because separation and time are only welding us closer together as one.  Thus far I have learned I love you more all the time. It has taught me this much, one needs not always have your lover around to have your love grow. And you know, I’ve been thinking that’s one of the reasons Christ went home to be with our Heavenly Father. He wanted us to love Him more by being separated. When we are in God’s Will separation can even be sweet, isn’t that true Dear? Don’t misunderstand Lover, if I could just hold you now in my arms I’d be so very happy and thankful, and only our God would know the joy that would surge through my heart if only I could press you to my breast. What I mean is, I believe God has some other way. And by his grace “I want to be God’s man in God’s place.”

Darling, I don’t know for sure where I’ll be going as yet, but I expect to hear soon, perhaps around the first of the week. We finish here next Saturday Sept 25th at noon. All those who have their orders will leave as soon as they can make connections. If I have my orders, I will leave here next Saturday afternoon. We have five more examinations this week. The only reason I was able to tell you my grade in Map reading was because the hour following the exam we went over the examination questions. We never know what our grades are. The teachers never know our final grade, or the school either, because different teachers teach different courses. The only way you could find out would be to go to the Chief of Chaplains office in Washington D.C. and ask to see your grades at the Chaplain School. ( I mean the grades you received at the Chaplain.)

I’m so glad that you are going with the Larsons to the Sunday School Advance in Des Plaines.  Dear, be sure to give my love to all of my friends and tell them I often think of them.

Also, be assured Darling that I’m praying for Mom. She surely needs to trust the Lord more. Doctor’s or anybody else won’t be able to help her very much until she helps herself by not hating everything so. She makes herself so miserable by being so bitter.

Well Sweetheart, I’m a little weary and would like to relax just a few minutes before leaving for Tremont Temple, so remember I love you more than ever because your God’s little girl and mine.

Forever and ever yours in His Matchless Love,

Willis

Psalm 39-40

Col 3:1-4

September 17, 1943

September 17, 1943

 Dearest Sweetheart:-

Thanks for your sweet letter today. It was surely so good to read it. It helped to fill that lonesome place in my heart.

My rabbi roommate’s name is “Gunther Plaut” from Chicago, Illinois. Our official name is Chaplain and we are supposed to be called that at all times.

The chaplains from the 1943 group at Harvard 1943. Willis is the first on the left in the front row.

Yes, the family who invited us out to dinner are very nice. Their name is “Riley” and they have invited my friend and I to dinner again tomorrow night.

Since being here at Chaplain School I’ve been able to make some very fine friends, one is “Alrik Blomquist” from Arthur, Iowa; also “Wayne Soliday” from Pennsylvania; Charles Tibbs, a fine negro from Philadelphia, Penna.; Robert Petrie from Vermont. These boys are all Baptists but I have some other fine friends, for instance, Bob Young a Nazarene, Frank Griffin and Grover Gordon who are of the Disciples Church, and Bob Montgomery and Robert Will, fine Southern Methodists who really love the Lord and believe the Word.

Well, the map reading exam is over and I got 90 which is pretty good for me.  I wanted to get a higher grade but I do know it pretty well anyhow. The two mistakes I made was on misinterpreting the question.

The Baptist dinner was very nice last night and I enjoyed it a lot. However, it was rather long.

I’m so glad you like Northern and I hope you will be able to stay at the school eventually, for then I’m sure you’ll enjoy it even more.

Well Dear, I have a lot of typing to do and as soon as I eat I want to get at it. I will try and write you a longer letter over the weekend. Remember, I love you more all the time. May God Bless you as each day you grow more into His will.

With All of My love,

Willis

Psalm 37:23

Col 3:1-4

P.S. I must have the “foot locker” by next Friday morning, so here’s hoping you get it off in time.

September 16, 1943

September 16, 1943

 Dearest Sweetheart:

I’ve just finished reading the very lovely letter you wrote me Monday. It was so wonderfully expressed and truly describes how I feel about you. I only wish I had more time to write to you concerning my feelings but I must not take time from my study. I want to keep up on my work. If you once get behind on your work it’s very hard to catch up. And thus far I’ve been able to keep up.

Written in Willis’ hand: Wayne Soliday and Willis September 11, 1943

I’m so glad you like the pictures.  The reason I got the smiling one was because I thought you would like it.

I got a long letter from Mrs. Schu and she told me all the news and what Hohn had done.  I’m not at all surprised at him doing this.

I’m sorry to hear that the Chief didn’t pass the state Board Exam of Indiana, but after all God knows best.

We have our long marches in the country out around Boston and Cambridge. We have marched almost to Concord and Lexington on a couple of occasions. Tonight at 9:10 P.M. we are going out on a map reading problem of location finding. We are going for a long march dropping three of us out at different intervals until the whole platoon is scattered. Then we will open our sealed orders and seek to find a place designated only as (X). We use a compass and what experience we’ve had in map reading. It looks rather bad now because it looks like rain is going to set in for the night. I imagine we’ll get back about midnight. Tomorrow afternoon we have our examination in map reading. I have a lot of reviewing to do on it so I’ll have to close, get something to eat and study until time to start on our night march. Sweetheart, I love you more than ever before because you become a sweeter servant of the Lord each and everyday.

With all my Love & Life in Christ,

Willis

Psalm 35:36

P.S. Please send the “foot locker” immediately for I’ll need it as soon as I get my new orders.

September 15, 1943

September 15, 1943

 Dearest Sweetheart:

I’ve just finished reading the very sweet letter you wrote me this last Sunday. I’m so happy that you had such a nice time at North Shore. Be sure to give all my old friends my love and best wishes and when I get a chance I will try to write them a note at the church.

Well, two more of our examinations are over and I believe I passed them all right, at least I hope so. Our Map reading examination comes up this Friday afternoon.

Photo taken by Willis Reed with Caption on back: The Old Powder house used during the Revolutionary War.

By the way, I also got a letter from Sharon Barrett. She is surely a sweet girl and I believe will develop into a fine Christian young lady. Letha also wrote me a very nice letter telling me how much she loves you and also thanking me for sending the money. I surely think a lot of Stanley and Letha. They are real Christians because their sole purpose is to do the will of the Lord. Every school day I think about you at Northern and wonder how my Darling wife is getting along.

I never fully appreciated Mark Twain’s saying about the weather in New England until just lately. (You know what I mean don’t you? The story goes that Mark Twain came to Boston and was complaining of the heat when a man said to him, “Wait a minute.”) I will illustrate thusly: this morning at 5 A.M.  it was really coming down, at 8 A.M. it was very foggy, at 11 A.M. it was very chill, in fact cold, at 1 P.M. it was warm, at 1:30 cold, remaining quite cold until 3:30 P.M. it turned warm again and now at 6 P.M. it is still very warm.

Well Darling, we have our Northern Baptist Banquet tonight and I’m due there in exactly fifteen minutes for a meeting. We have quite a walk so I’ll say so long for now but remember I love you more all the time.

With all of my love and life,

Willis

Psalm 33-34

Col 3:1-4

September 14, 1943

September 14, 1943

 Dearest Sweetheart:.

Your letter was so very sweet today and it meant more to me than I can tell you. Darling, it means so very much to have a wife and companion like you who one can really count on. The cases I have experienced thus far of companions in the Army who are not being fair really is distressing. You continually give me inspiration to do more for our Wonderful Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. It’s those who don’t have Christ in their hearts and lives who are unstable and as James says, “tossed about like a wave on the sea.” I’m so glad you were able to get “My Utmost For His Highest.” I’ve read every one of them since I’ve been here. It is surely hard to have any kind of regular devotions because of all the interruptions that continually come my way because my roommates have no respect for quietness. (Handwritten on the side: I mean the majority have no devotions, therefore they care not how it may affect. Of course the Catholics have their altars and say their masses early each morning.) I don’t like to complain but I’ve been interrupted in the writing of this letter already five times. Darling, you can count on me to read “My Utmost For His Highest” with you everyday. I’ll do it some time even though there may be a great amount of static.

One of Willis’ friends from Chaplain’s School. Wayne Soliday – of Pennsylvania.

I wanted to write you more last night but didn’t get a chance to because of so much work. Tonight I have a lot of reviewing to do, for tomorrow we are going to have two examinations and I want to keep up on my notes and not get behind.

By the way, my Catholic roommate came in Sunday night dead drunk and what a mess you never saw in all your life. Two of his buddies helped him upstairs and signed the registry for him. I could go into detail but will refrain from doing such. The only thing I will say however is this, that he kept the three of us awake most of the night. The Catholics are not the only ones – others too, but they lead in this field by quite a margin. You talk to some of them about loose living and they’ll laugh in your face. The main thing is, go through the ritual. Be faithful in this and you can go out and live like the world. I cannot understand it because as I read God’s Word it tells us to be separate from the rest of the world by the fact that our lives produce different fruit.

Well Darling, in closing I want to tell you I surely love the watch you picked out for me. Everyone thinks it’s a beauty. I surely hope you didn’t run yourself short on funds to get it. And then I’m so glad to have my old picture of you. I carry it in the Bible, from Olga and Kittie, in my shirt pocket so every now and then I look at it. I must go eat and study but remember I too love you more every passing day and hour. Blessed be the name of the Lord for such a Darling Wife.

With All of My Life and Love,

Willis

Psalm 31-32

Phil 1:3

I used the typewriter because I could do it faster. O.K.

September 13, 1943

September 13, 1943

Dearest Sweetheart:-

 

Old Photo of Willis’ mother – Mildred.

What a day – three letters from my Darling including my old favorite picture. And a package with a new wrist watch. Thanks a lot. Of course, that doesn’t describe  how happy I am over your acquisition of the watch. It’s absolutely perfect dear. Now I have something with me all the time that reminds me of my Darling. And then your finding of a “foot locker” was grand. You don’t know how much I appreciate your doing this for me.

Well, I know that I’ve passed three courses so far because I have the return work & papers. This week is exceedingly heavy. We are going to have four examinations, besides a stepped up schedule, and a dinner for all Northern Baptist Chaplains Wednesday evening.

Dear, I will have to close for now and get something to eat for I’ve a lot to do after supper. And if I can get a little time before lights have to be out I’ll write.

I’m so happy you’re liking Northern.

God bless you Dear,

With all of my Love,

Willis

Psalm 27-28-29-30

Thanks for your lovely gift. It means more than I can tell you. It can tick the minutes away as fast as possible so I can soon be with you again Dear.