Romantic Letters. The journey begins. We are publishing letters from real people from the early 1940s. Letters to sweethearts from American Soldiers during World War II. Currently over 200 letters from two different soldiers. Bert writing to Louise and Vance writing to Babe. This is our "trip" to find relatives and get permission to publish Babe and Vance's letters.
Another update: Jan 15, 1997. Just go down to UPDATE.
Our story begins in the early 1980s. Bob and I attend an auction at a public storage unit near our house. We purchase a cedar chest with a few miscellaneous personal items and a bunch of old letters. Some were interesting in that they were World War II V-mail. Letters written by soldiers, censored, then photographed and a small photo copy of the letter was sent home instead of the original letter.
They looked interesting and could be worth something someday. We just put them in a box and stored them in our garage. When we moved recently the letters showed up again. By this time my husband was developing his internet connection to his surplus electronics business.
Deciding that we'd like to move out of crime ridden southern California and move to a very small town in Montana created a need for a way to create an income in Montana. We have begun to liquidate our electronics business (a 7200 square foot warehouse of older electronic test equipment and computers). But what can you do in a town of 125 people with only a bar and not much else in the way of businesses. It's about 45 minutes to Bozeman, Montana or Ennis Montana. Jobs might be difficult to come by.
Click! The light comes on. Why not create a "business" on the internet? What could it be? Operate a label sales company on the internet. We have the manufacturer lined up already. Gold foil labels for business. Now what can we do during those long, cold winters? Publish our old letters and get sponsors to help pay for the site and hopefully create a small income for us at the same time. Give away our letters, but sell advertising. Let's go for it.
Stop! Someone asks if we own the copyright to the letters. Of course, we own the letters. Besides the copyright has expired on them. WRONG! We may have bought the letters, but according to United States copyright law we don't own the copyright. Since these were never published they don't fall into public domain laws. If they had been published, the copyright would have expired if it hadn't been renewed. Since these were never published, they remain the intellectual property of the creator or creator's heirs.
The journey begins. This is sort of like genealogy. Vance and Babe. Who are they? Who are their relatives and heirs. We are tracking down family members trying to find who the heirs are. Babe and Vance have both passed on. When and how will be revealed in our story.
We began our search with a CD of American White Pages. With this we were able to come up with addresses and phone numbers for family names, and towns found amongst the letters. Our first contact is Delores, our main character’s sister-in-law. Although she doesn’t respond to our letter, Bob (my husband) calls her and has a nice chat but no one has heard from any of the descendants of Vance and Babe. Delores gives us the names of other relatives in a different state. Unfortunately they can’t help either. No on has heard from the California clan in a few years.
Delores told Bob she had passed our letter on to Loraine, who is interested in the family tree and should probably be getting in touch with us for any help we can offer.
Another letter yields the address of an elderly aunt who passes our name onto a granddaughter. One evening an excited young woman and mother of four calls saying she is Vance’s granddaughter. She’s really happy to hear that these family treasures were not lost for all time. We tell her of our plans to publish the letters and she is excited about the idea of her grandfathers love letters becoming his road to worldwide fame. She's also happy to hear we'll soon be returning family papers and pictures.
Her help has led to a southern California fire department. A retired firefighter and Vance’s step-son. We contacted the fire department and requested they pass on a message. Hopefully we’ll hear soon. This coming week, we’ll send him a letter in care of the fire department.
Dec 16, Bob checks in Four 11 internet people search engine. We've possibly found the son of the man I'm looking for. Again I'm waiting for a reply.
Where is Vance's daughter? No ones knows. Not even her daughter (the grand daughter above). We get the name of a long time friend and will contact the friend this week. Dec. 16 and we can't locate her. She has remarried and we don't know the married name.
The key to publishing the Vance and Babe letters lies in finding Vance’s heirs and getting their permission to publish them.
Our search led us to the Los County probate archives. Over the phone, we found out that there were no probate records to indicate heirs.
Journey with us as we search for Vance’s heirs and permission to publish his letters.
In the mean time, we are about to bring you the letters of Bert and Louise. Another couple from World War II. Bert is drafted into the American Army. His story is my story. You see, Bert was my father, Louise, my mom.
Dad’s letters and Mom’s journal will show you the deep love my parents felt for each other. Their hopes, fears, marriage and...........you’ll read the whole story here on the internet. I’ll publish the letters and journals a day at a time. Letting you feel the love, the suspense, the sadness, the happiness.........the telegrams.
You’ll be awaiting each letter, each smile, each tear. Don’t miss this touching real story of love and romance. It has touched me once again, going over old memories, mine and my Mom's.
We contacted Vance's grandson on Dec. 19 (found his name on the internet using Four 11 search engine). He sounded positive about our project and said he'd contact his Dad for us. It's Dec 22 and we are still waiting to here from his Dad.
January 4, 1997: In December we sent Babe & Vance's granddaughter a Christmas package. It contained family pictures, here baby book, a kindergarten class picture and hand prints made in kindergarten. Also her and her Mom's hospital tags when she was born. A New Testament Bible with her name in gold on the cover. Also 4 gold plated quarters for her 4 children.
I called the grandson again and he said he passed our request on to his father and the father would think about it. Dad is Vance's stepson, Babe's son. The grandson doesn't think his father was too receptive to the idea. (Note: Since the letters came from a sale of Vance and Babe's daughter there isn't a lot relating to the grandson and his father.)
The next step is to send transcripts of the letters to the grandson and a letter to his father and have him pass them on to his dad.
Jan. 15, 1997
I sent the granddaughter and stepson a set of transcribed letters from Vance to Babe along with the hair from the son's first hair cut, copies of burial certificates and a request for permission to publish.
No response from the son, but the granddaughter called again and was thrilled to get the copies and more pictures from her past that we enclosed. She gave me more names and addresses, all of which we couldn't locate or confirm or had moved (using a Nationwide CD telephone and address book).
However, she also gave me the phone number of her Mom's "previous employer" Guess what? Mom is still working there. I have left a message for Mom to give me a call collect. We are getting very close to a YES:-) or a NO:-( YES, I hope.
Coming Soon! Don't miss,
"Love Letters In The Sands Of Time"
Over 200 True Love Letters From An American Soldier.
The setting is World War II. The letters are presented daily,
just as they were written. A true experience of Long Distance Romance.
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