Brooklyn in Love and at War

History of World War Two Told Through Letters

Mommy says we have to be practical not beautiful.

Sometimes Sylvia wrote to Alex as a wife and sometimes she wrote as a mother. This is a letter from 1945 that Sylvia wrote out in the voice of Adrienne (Cookie). Still, she can’t help adding some of her own adult language. At this point Sylvia was living at 133 Navy Walk in Brooklyn. Alex was stationed abroad on the S.S.Pennsylvania.

Mothers are complicated entities. Sylvia shows how in the span of two pages a mother can be loving, caring, forthright, honest, and pragmatic.

Wed. March 7

Hello daddy –

Here are some more pictures of me – Hope you like them. We took these in that park on the lower east side – near Bubbie’s house where you and Mommy used to take me when I was a baby. When you come home, we’ll all go there together to take pictures.

Yesterday Mommy splurged – she bought me a blackboard and chalk so that I won’t write on the walls – well, I write on the floors instead! Some fun. Today Mommy couldn’t resist 2 ivy plants (75cents + 75 cents) and with all this spending she says we’ll be broke soon. Anyway, we wouldn’t have had enough until the end of the month as I need new shoes (so does Mommy, but she said she’d wait until she had her new suits and then maybe you’d come home with some money.) And I needed some new overalls. Mommy bought me 2 pairs – and they’re so damn big on me – size 6! But Mommy says we have to be practical not beautiful. She says I’ll grow into them. Anyway, daddy, I’m still a well dressed baby, as you can see from the photos. And Mommy doesn’t look so bad either. But whatthehell [sic] do you look like? How about sending us a picture of yourself?

Darling daddy, Mommy can’t write you as she had a bad toothache – but she’ll go to the dentist tomorrow and have it taken care of. That tooth has kept her awake for 2 nights now and she’s acting a little groggy today.

All my love to the grandest dad in the world.




3 comments on “Mommy says we have to be practical not beautiful.

  1. Adrienne
    May 11, 2010

    Broke but whatthehell…..Fortunate to have the grandest dad in the world and a mother who doesn’t look too bad either! As for Cookie, size 6 and not even two!

    • Joann
      May 11, 2010

      Cookie, you write very well for a two-year old. Now we know where Molly gets her writing ability. Such genius in the family!

  2. Kelly
    May 12, 2010

    I love this, Molly. So glad to see you doing the blog. This letter is endearing in many many ways, and the context you provide, the story you are weaving is beautiful. You have a way of writing that guides the reader without leading or hand-holding and illuminates your material while allowing it to speak for itself. I’m impressed with you, as usual. love you and miss you lady

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This entry was posted on May 11, 2010 by in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , .
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