Chapter XX - Eddie Says Goodbye AWOL
Eddie was now attending Niagara University in Niagara, New York. He came home for a weekend and told us enthusiastically about his courses and the friends he had made, but all this didn't last very long. The high command dismantled all special training in order to have manpower for the final push of the war.
Eddie belonged to the ninth army. He was given a few days leave and then shipped to Camp Carson in Colorado. He liked Colorado very much, but that did not last long either. From there he went to Fort Shelby in Mississippi. His letters from Mississippi were very discouraging because he simply did not like it there.
Then Eddie sent a letter that arrived like a thunderbolt. He said it was the last letter he was going to write because he had been alerted and was going to be shipped overseas. The very same night he appeared home and said, "I have gone AWOL to come to see you and I can only stay a few hours. I'll have to report before dawn."
I asked, "How did you manage that?"
He answered, "The guards kind of closed their eyes and let us go but we must report back before dawn. It is a secret but I will tell you I am at Camp Shanks in New York."
He left after he made us promise to write faithfully. All we had was a post office number and we knew that his letters and ours would be censored. My daughter Helen started to write to him the same day he left, because she wanted him to have letters the minute he arrived overseas. I, too, wrote many letters and so did his brothers and sisters.
We finally began to receive his letters. He told us about his voyage on the Queen Elizabeth and that he was well and we were not to worry about him. Also, he wanted news of his brother Tony. We kept writing. Helen kept writing every single day but he was not receiving our mail. We kept writing and he kept complaining about getting no letters. We had no way to tell him he was continuously in our thoughts. He started accusing us of abandoning him because we did not care for him or love him. These letters would tear me apart but we were helpless. We had no other way to tell him how much we loved him and that he was not forgotten.
Finally a letter arrived from him full of apologies. He had received that morning a landslide of mail. Twenty-three letters in all had arrived, and, after that, he received some letters every day! When Eddie came home he brought a full suitcase of the letters we had written to him.
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