Monday, February 7, 2011

Letter 2, from Joyce

[no envelope]
Jan 31, 1949

Dear Sal, (ahem)
I received your letter and this time was glad to hear from you. I would of answered your letter sooner but I was busy doing things for the school (no I am not trying for an “A”) Vic was home for a few days probably you'll get a letter from him soon. I said “Hi” to Joan for you she really is a nice kid.

If you can come home, why don't you? Joe S. would be glad to see you I just hope you can come home for the Prom. But if you can't that's alright. I really wouldn't mind (like hell)

I just have to ask you this, its really bothering me, Have you heard from Chris? I just want to know thats all. There now I feel better.

I shouldn't of told you about the fire, I am sorry I scared you!! (ha ha)

Its snowing like heck out today I wish I didn't have to go to work, I hate going out in the snow. I just like to put a housecoat on and cuddle up in a chair and read a “funny book.”
I bet you make out like a bandit with all the girls down there. Come to think of it Sal, you really never told me “How madly in love you were with me” You couldn't tell a girl you loved her and mean it, so I wouldn't believe you anyway.

Lorraine got a letter from Phil (as usual) and he said he has to stay in Africa for 12 more months, Cripes! That poor kid you + Vic I think got the best deal.

The other night Vic brought his buddy over the house, What a creeper, first of all he has only kissed a girl 2 and has never taken anyone out. He does'nt indulge in “jokes” either. And you know how crazy I act, but for once I acted like a lady and he told Vic he fell in love with me. I wouldn't mind if he was huba [? illegible?]. The kids I try to make out with run, but I guess thats the way things go. About that picture you'll have to wait till I get a chance to take some (no I have'nt any on call I am not that much of a hater just letting you know so you won't insult me.) Oh! By the way that valuable “info” you have shove it. Yes I know thats not nice to
say, but I said it and I am glad.

While Vic was home we didn't have any fights is'nt that wonderful. He just said I don't act like 16 and I should act a little older because he says things to me that I don't understand but I told him I'd learn gradually ← (is that how its spelled) I wonder how the heck old he wants me to act. Do you like the way I act? Truthfully now do you.

Boy! This letter is certainly longer than usual, I guess its the weather. I better shut up and let you say a few words, so until I hear from you

Your Ever Loving

This letter hints at a few things. First: Joan. We'll hear from her later. Secondly, Joyce's curiosity about Chris shows that her claim in Letter #1 to have "forgotten about him" was not entirely true. Thirdly, there is trouble in paradise with Vic. 

What I love about this letter is how age appropriate it is. She is 16 years old, flirty, boy crazy, and silly, like 16-year-old girls tend to be. 

I think we tend to think of "hater" as a recent word, but there it is, in 1949. Searches for the word "huba" came up empty, so I wonder if the handwriting is simply illegible, but if anyone knows what a huba is, or what that word could be, given the context, please comment.

Sal was well liked by family and acquaintances, but as an adult he wasn't exactly the type to have buddies. He wasn't the type of man to "hang with the guys," and he tended to spend most of his spare time with family. However in his late 60s he began to spend more time with his brother Guy, and they became best friends. Once or twice a week, he went to visit Guy and they often went out to eat with Guy's wife Jaye and her brother Joe. It was the first time I'd ever heard Sal refer to someone as simply "my friend," and he said it with a lightness of belonging and joy. "My friend Joe," he would begin a sentence. I believe that friend is the "Joe S" mentioned in this letter, though in truth it should have been "Joe Z." At least I would like to believe it is.

Finally, Lorraine and Phil. Wouldn't you like to know what happened to Phil in Africa? Did he make it out? And did Lorraine wait for him? 

What questions does this letter raise for you, in your imagination? And maybe what are your imagined answers for those questions? 


  1. Angela, About the word "huba"....when I was a very young girl there was an expression that people (especially boys or men) used when a girl went by of "huba huba" meaning that she was a looker and it seems as though Joyce perhaps meant that she wouldn"t have minded what he did if he had been handsome. :)

  2. I did consider "huba huba," as it was used when I was a kid too, and while the context was right, I thought it was something you said to express that someone was attractive, but not as an actual noun or adjective. More like an expletive, if you know what I mean. But I'm sure the word has evolved since 1949!

  3. I interpreted it to be as in "hubba hubba" as well. This is from

    –noun Slang .
    (an exclamation of admiration, approval, or enthusiasm, used especially by G.I.'s of world War II as a shout in appreciation of a pretty girl.)