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The Betty H. Carter Women Veterans Historical Project

Letter from Jean Holdridge Reeves to parents, 1945

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Object ID: WV0383.4.023

Description: Jean Holdridge (Reeves) discusses her relationship with Tom Reeves and budding romantic interest. She also describes in detail a WAC's recent awkward wedding and her last double-date with Tom.

Creator: Jean Holdridge Reeves

Biographical Info: Jean Holdridge Reeves (b. 1920) of Marion, Ohio, served in the Pacific as a member of the Red Cross from 1944 to 1946.

Collection: Jean Holdridge Reeves Papers

Rights: It is responsibility of the user to follow the copyright law of the United States (Title 17, U.S. Code). Materials are not to be reproduced in published works without written consent, and any use should credit Jackson Library, The University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

Full Text: Dearest Folks,

The rain patters on the roof to conceal the moon that has tried so hard to be pretty the last few nights. It’s strange that each month as full moon time we’ve had heavy rains— perhaps that’s a good thing in the tropics but it has spoiled our boat trips.

Tonight we’re rather waiting for a couple to come down for awhile— got everything in place and the essentials for banana splits. Now Tom and I are both writing letters— he’s a true man hating to write all the friends and family. His is even harder to keep in touch with because there are 4 boys and 2 girls all way from home. Three of the boys are in service but the other two still in the states waiting shipment. Up to now I’ve told you write a bit about Tom and add a little more each letter until you’re wondering what is going on. I’m not real sure myself but do know that I like him very much and hope that it might be the same when we get home. It does sounds a little sudden but we do see each other very often and have gotten to know each other very well. The other day I was figuring that we must have seen each other as much since my arrival as I did dating Jim for six years. Living here you certainly find people in many conditions, moods, and as we all know not exactly ideal set-up as at home. Scrutinizations are even more severe.

No matter how much I loved anyone though I wouldn’t marry overseas for lots of reasons which you all feel too. It’s very important to me that you all know the man I choose, like him and want him to be a part of our family. It has seemed even more important to me the last few days after long moments of thought while making preparations for the wedding of the WAC yesterday.

Last year the matrimonial highlight was Helen Robinson’s, at the present the WAC’s which was in many respects just as peculiar. When we arrived at the church at 9:45 there stood the bride in the beautiful handmade parachute dress and the bridesmaid in my formal. The C.O. was waiting to give her away. Veils were made from another girl's formal and flowers-frangipania—similar to a small lily—had been cleverly arranged as dutch bonnets of starched veiling. The white signal cloth was being rolled down the aisle and was in readiness for a prompt 10:00 ceremony.

When the bridal couple had reached the altar the priest said to those standing in the back— “there’s plenty of room down here in front.” He forgot to ask the questions before the vows and stopped in the middle to go back. A few minutes later after the ring, which had always been in the possession of the groom instead of best man, the priest paused and announced, “well, I guess the wedding ceremony is what you’d call over.”

He proceeded to tell how the Catholic mass and communion were divided in three parts and that we might understand it so if anyone cared to leave they might do so now. Everyone celebrated communion then which is not customary at a Catholic church wedding.

When it was all over it seemed almost a farce— such elaborate preparations, a beautifully palm decorated church, wedding dinner (fried chicken, peas, mashed potatoes, tomatoes, wedding cake and ice cream) and such “messing up” of the ceremony. Perhaps it was only the bystander who noticed and thought it strange.

My little bride and groom looked quite nice— she in her parachute dress to match the real one with a ping pong net veil and he with crepe paper top hat and tails. Jerry painted cute faces on the cotton heads covered with linen. I put an archway with bells over them.

You know, it’s no nice to read your letters about all of you— meals together, visiting the old friends. Just so much more natural sounding than anything since we left Marion eleven years ago.

I was hoping you’d get to see Aunt Alma’s so was very pleased. So it’s “SPODE” now! Well! Well!

Mother, I hope you’ll like the electric stove. All the preparations sound interesting but very tiring for you, I am sure. Glad to hear the money order came through alright. When you get settled I shall be interested in a financial report from Daddy to see how we stand.

Melissa in my red suit sounds good. We don’t hear any book reviews but I have read as much as possible. Right I’m trying to get “Green Dolphin Street”. I liked “Frenchman’s Creek” with its extraordinary rapid movement.

Are Don and Roy planning to join Church Children’s Day? Sounds that way in Melissa’s last letter.

The other couple came so we had a nice evening chatting and listening to the radio. They had never been down and were fascinated with Tom’s set-up. Guy is C.O. of an ordnance unit and Tiny a nurse. For refreshments we served water and banana splits with paper towels as napkins.

Dearies, I want to do my ironing before lunch and that’s only 45 min. away.

Lovingly, Jean