22: She Answered Yes, Darling, Yes.

Saturday afternoon[1]

Please send back[2]

My Own Girls,

I wish there were words to tell you of my happiness. I wish I could sing of its lyric beauty, pour out the rhapsody of love and its fulfillment. I don’t think I have ever in my life been so happy–you both know how long we have been in love–and almost from the first we have hoped for and planned on this blessed marriage–we, it seems, have always known that it would be, but we did not know when or how. It was all money, of course, that has been holding us back for the last two years–I know that I could provide for Anne now, as long as I am in the service, but I feared for the future, after the war–I didn’t know how we were going to manage it, with law school and all yet to go: why I decided now, suddenly, that it could be done, I do not know. I did not believe before, I did not believe in myself, but now, suddenly, through some act of faith, I do, and know that I can do anything. I feel strong, and know that I am able. I needed confidence in myself. With it I could dare to be wise, without it I was cautious and little. Where this faith came from I do not know–one night, I could not sleep, and in the morning I had it, and knew I was a man.

I told this to Anne, put my case as strongly as I knew how, and wrote to Mr. Davis, and then sat back, amazed at but proud of myself.[3] She answered yes, darling, yes. I called her, and we decided to have it today if the plane connections worked out. The hell of it is that they did partway, but not enough.

My darling, my bride is grounded in Kansas City, has been since yesterday morning, and since then I have heard no word. Mr. Davis is coming out with her–at first I would have preferred to have had her come alone, but now I think it much the best–and God knows I would have you two here if I possibly could.

My emotions for the past few days have been so turbulent–a rising, mounting tide of happiness and purest delight–but followed by a deep-running current of regrets–not for the coming of the new life but for the passing of the old­–for whatever a marriage means, it at least does signal the final separation of the man from the boy. I will never again be a little son at his mother’s knee, nor a youth shy of his love for his little sister, and never, never again a little boy looking up into his father’s face and finding there the nearest thing to Godliness that there has yet been on this earth.

I think of the family group–usually sitting in one of our gardens in Hastings, in the sunlight, with Daddy reading aloud, or at night, at Minturn, with the glow of his cigarette, the family complete and a unit, and bound together by love and affection.[4] And of course my heart is twisted by nostalgia and I long for the past.

The new relationships will be just as happy, but they will not be the same–they will be new joys and not the same as the old–I will some day be the Daddy instead of the son–a paste imitation, but at least I will have had the perfect form.

I love you both and wish you were here.

On our plans–I’m, not going to tell you too much about them now, wait until after things are all over and then described what happened–but we’re going to be married probably Monday or Tuesday now, in a sweet little Episcopal church downtown by a friendly little old man, with my platoon, Major Dolan, and the Company officers there. Oz is my best man, and a wonderful best man he has been, too.[5] And we have the most wonderful house you ever saw. I will let Rusty tell you about it, but it is ideal, more than large enough, yet cozy, completely and fully equipped & furnished–everything–snuggled into the crest of a hill overlooking the bright blue Pacific. That’s all I’m going to tell you now–I’d go on for pages if I got started, but I want Anne to tell you–except that it is ivy covered, and secluded.

Only thing, it is 40 miles from camp, but Oz and Fran Shattuck and many other officers & wives from my outfit live there & commute by car–South Laguna, send mail c/o the post office, they don’t have R.F.D.[6]

And I am getting about a week’s leave starting whenever the wedding is, and we’re going to honeymoon there, and Rusty doesn’t know anything about any of the arrangements, but is just coming out to marry me because she loves me, she knows nothing more and only needs that–we will be so happy, so very happy–and I love her so for being rash and daring with me–you cannot live unless you take these chances. Now our love is living and great, and beautiful–Oh God–I’m happy.

God bless you both,

Your Phil

Oh–of course on the money. I forgot all about it, but the Marine Corps takes care of its own very well–married officers get $100 a month extra, making it something over $250 a month–and of course we’ll keep the $65 allotment setup. Course I’m short just now, just finished paying off the borrowings for that last leave, and would like that $50 in the bank. We will want to start a joint account out here anyway, so send me the necessary slips–this is what I was saving it for anyway!



[1] Date unknown, but probably early April, 1943. Phil and Rusty aimed for April 10 as the wedding date.
[2] In Phil’s handwriting.
[3] Paul Gray Davis, Rusty’s father, was a prominent lawyer and sometimes politician in Indianapolis.
[4] “Minturn” is the Wood family home, located on the corner of Minturn Street and Old Broadway in Hastings-on-Hudson, New York. Alternately “200” after the street address.
[5] Lieutenant Endecott “Oz” Osgood was one of the company officers. Later Roy Wood would claim to have assumed the role of best man.
[6] Coincidentally, this is where Phil’s sister Gretchen would eventually settle and raise her own family.

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