History of World War Two Told Through Letters
Please don’t read into my prolonged absence from the blog as anything but being incredibly busy, having started a new job. I am not angry with you nor am I lazy but lately it is nearly impossible to find the time and energy that I wish to put into this relationship. Writing takes time, thought, and even editing (hopefully!). I hope you don’t feel, as Alex did in his last letter, that my prolonged silence is due to “negligence, laziness, being inconsiderate.”
So! That Italian machismo shows some of its force in Alex’s last letter. And yet he reigns back a lot of what he says and articulates his feelings quite clearly. The “bawling out,” as he describes it, stems mainly from being hurt. This letter is one of the last – chronologically – as the war was coming to an end. Despite this, however, it seems that the correspondence is suffering greatly.
It’s possible that the promise of Alex’s return has led to a lapse in Sylvia’s writing. It could be that Alex is in fact upset that she decided not to visit him in New Orleans. What is most painful about this letter, for me, is imagining that Alex had to send this, wait days knowing that it would reach Sylvia in a couple of days and her response would be even further removed from the time of his anger. You can really feel the drama of “old fashioned” mail when it comes to a fight that is so full of instant, possibly irrational, possibly hurtful emotion. If either Sylvia or Alex wished to apologize or refute an argument it would be difficult to do so in a timely manner.
A lot of Alex’s anger, or disappointment seems to stem from his anxiety over Sylvia’s health. I will write more about this in an upcoming post. Alex is aware of the damage an entirely angry letter can do and takes the necessary precautions to cushion the letter with some affection. He sends his love to Cookie and he tells Sylvia not to let the letter upset her vacation (I’m choosing to read this as straightforward and not resentful). He writes, “I am sorry, I realize how bad it is to write a letter full of bawling out. But I just have to. I am bursting with hurt feelings. I am so full of disappointment that I just got to bust out some where. I am not angry at you for not coming here. I am glad particularly in view the fact that I am trying to get up home and am I hope it will be soon.”
Since a lot of the fight stems from a lack of communication (i.e. a absence of letters/documentation) we have to listen to that silence and read what is not written. This is an important, common and fascinating way to look at history. What other clues do we have when we rely so heavily on written material to discover the past? Alex himself tries to analyze Sylvia’s silence and ends up attributing it to something negative because it is hurtful not to hear from her. What he writes is not instantaneous; it is stern and honest and it is crucial to note that Alex is sure NOT to say that he does not love Sylvia. And from that silence, and his strong reaction to her silence, we know he loves her dearly.