So Mom continued writing to Johnnie and he continued to write back. This one was signed “Love Johnnie”.
This one is the longest, by far, and the newsiest. It also contains connections that make me feel that I was meant to read these — and perhaps Indigo Bunting was meant to read them too.
Johnnie mentions Bethesda, Maryland in this letter — the town I now call home. He tells my mom that everyone should see the Nation’s Capital and its buildings and monuments. She has — several times. He also mentions a publishing company in Elgin which very likely was affiliated with the reason IB spent a year in Elgin in the 1980s which is partly why she and I connected.
I like the idea of you writing as soon as you hear from me. Maybe I’ll have to take time out to write you more often. That way I’ll receive more letters from you. I’m using my head now.
Do me a favor and don’t cut your hair. I like to see a girl with long hair, and from the picture I like yours as it is or longer.
When you write, just ramble on about nothing or try to imagine you know me fairly well. The letters are the best when they take my mind off Korea, and yours have done just that. It isn’t nice to be seeing killing and all fighting, then have to think about it too. It’s bad enough I have to study wounds and the treatments in my spare time, without thinking about it too.
Just keep your letters as nice as they have been and I’ll be a happy guy.
I’m glad you find my letters satisfactory and interesting. That’s a high compliment as far as I am concerned.
Don’t you go working too hard. You may have been waiting for a long time for the day you start, but you have all your life to work and you’ll get tired of it. I had my first job when I was eight and have been working ever since at a grocery store, bowling alley, another store, a dental laboratory and then a pharmacy. It has been interesting but I sure looked to0 [sic] vacations and days off. You will, too. You may think $ .75 is not too much, but it is. My job, the first, paid $2.00 a week. But then, that was in ’39. before the raise in prices. I guess it isn’t too much for today.
I have been through your home (Elgin) numerous times. At the pharmacy we had an elderly pharmacist by the name of Otto Bruder. His brother has a book publishing company in Elgin.
You don’t know much about me, do you? How will it be if I give you a short rundown of my life> Here goes:
I was born in Chicago (south side) and lived all my life in the area south of the stock yards. Graduated from St. Finbar grammar school. Lived on the south west side all through high school at St. Patrick’s Academy. Was in the glee club for three years (pres. for 2) I’m a baritone. Was sports reporter for three and editor for two years on the school paper. Did a littler boxing and played some basketball and baseball.
Was a student at the Art Institute for over a year and wrote with the sports division of the City News Bureau of Chicago newspapers. Had loads of fun and did lots of work, had a fairly high average in high school. Like most of all, math and chemistry. I’m a wanderer and like to travel and see new places, I’m crazy about baseball and basketball and have played both at Great Lakes, Bethesda, Maryland (outside Washington, D.C.) Camp Lejune, North Carolina and Camp Pendleton, Calif. My main ambitions in life are to be a better than average pianist (tho I can’t play a note now) and baseball player, and get a degree as a research chemist or professor of mathematics. Interesting?
The most interesting part of my life was spent near Washington, D.C. at the Naval Hospital at Bethesda. I went to medical school and worked on contagious wards, cardiac (heart diseases) ward, the nursery and pediatrics, and in general medicine. The best job was the honor of working for high government officials as Vice President A. Barkley, Admiral King and Admiral Leahy and other high dignitaries. I had the privilege of meeting General MacArthur and going to congressional sessions and Senatorial luncheons. It was wonderful to meet the people that run the gov’t and our country. My hopes are to return there for the summer.
I believe everyone should at some time visit the Capital and see the White House, Capitol Hill, Washington Monument, Lincoln & Jefferson Memorial and other places of interest.
Places as New York, Atlantic City, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Gettysburg, and many other cities on the coast were great places of interest for me. Maybe someday I’ll get to tell you of them.
Know me any better now? Will write more later. You answer this – another will follow in two days.
8 thoughts on “Letters from Johnnie: Letter Three”
Wow! Do you have a picture of Johnnie?
Unfortunately only one in my head, Lali. He never sent one to Mom and, as you will discover, their correspondence ended before they could meet.
Fascinating. And how terrible Google is with this. Looks like Otto Bruder’s brother was Harold Bruder, and it looks like he published Otto’s book, but there seems to be no record of his publishing company.
PHARMACY’S JOURNEY THROUGH LIFE
Author: Bruder, Otto
Publisher: Harold Bruder Elgin, IL 1941
I’m guessing, alas, that this has nothing to do with the Brethren Press.
Great Internet sleuthing, IB I’ll have to agree with you about the Brethren Press. I think, however, Harold might be Otto’s son. I found an Otto Bruder who was a “Druggist” living on Slade Avenue in Elgin in the 1940 census. He was 70, his wife was 52 and his son, Harold, was 24. Although, perhaps Harold the son was named after Harold the brother (who is missing from the 1940 census). Johnnie probably got it wrong.
Don’t have time to look again now, but it looked like there were a couple of generations of Harolds.
Dona: As usual, I think your stuff is so cool. Are you going any further with tracing this guy? I think there’s a book in this story.
I’ve not gotten any farther tracing Johnnie, Catherine. I just hope someone in his family searches him someday and finds this.
Dona, my thoughts exactly. I would be so excited for you if Johnnie’s family found you.