Mom was in hospice. She'd made it to ninety but wasn't expected to last much longer. Dad died years ago. I visited her every other day after work.
We often ate dinner together and talked. After this one she brought out an obviously old envelope with a three cent postage stamp on it.
"Read this," is all she said as she handed it to me. I opened it carefully and read:
My Dear Lucy,
If you are reading this, I will not be coming back home. My sister had instructions to mail it if she was informed I was killed in combat.
I can never forget the time I stayed at your home. I can never forget you. The memories have warmed many a lonely night at a forward airbase.
There is something I could never say in person, mostly because you were married to a fine man who helped build the planes that I flew.
I was deeply in love with you. I hoped you could tell. No other woman attracted me after I flew my new plane away from you.
Goodbye my love,
Captain Bill Morrisey, USAAF
Mom watched as I read this letter, then began her tale, "His plane disappeared on a combat mission in the Pacific somewhere. It has never been found. There is more to this story that you need to hear before I can no longer tell it.
"We were living in Dallas during World War 2 near the plant where P51 Mustangs were built. Dad was a young manufacturing engineer and the War Board wanted him to build airplanes rather that do combat. There was an advanced pilot training facility at the same airfield so the new pilots could pick up a new plane when they graduated.
"Rooms were in short supply at the airbase so nearby folks were asked to house a pilot trainee. We'd been married just a few years and had an extra bedroom for the baby we were trying to have. Bill was selected to stay with us for four months.
"It was a bit awkward at first but he was personable and gone a lot for
his training. He and Dad would drink beer and talk airplanes. I was working part-time at the base. Then Dad got moved to nights. It was urgent to increase production so everyone was working long hours. He was gone from seven pm until six am six days a week. On Sundays he was exhausted. We didn't see each other nearly as much as we were used to.
.... There is more of this story ...