Posted 2 years ago
This is the pride and joy of my collection. One day at a flea market I found an old box full of letters and photos. By the date and content of one of the letters I knew they must be from a nurse serving in WWII. Of course I purchased the letters and photos, not realizing at the time that I was purchasing army nurse Lt. Adelyn Hansen's letters home to her family during the war. The letters span from 1942-1945. Adelyn spent a majority of her time on the USHNS Acadia, sailed to Morocco and England, and was docked off the coast near New York or New Jersey (Ft. Dix I believe?), South Carolina, and was stationed at Ft. Snelling at the beginning of her army career. The collection consists of over 30 hand written letters, 6 V-Mails, and several personal photos. In her letters Adelyn reminisces about home (she mentions how very homesick she was) and states many times that she is unsure of where her ship will be sailing next. She talks about caring for wounded soldiers and that she is tired of "this war", and that she may be an old woman before it is over. She mentions one man she cared for as being a bombadier who was shot down over the English Channel and was rescued 20 hours later. She mentions many of her adventures in New York City attending shows at Radio City for 28 cents and riding the subway for 10 cents. She also mentions the necessity of rationing gas during this time and the limit being only 1 gallon a week! She even includes a very detailed diagram of the hospital at Fort Dix where she worked (I will try and post the photo). These letters are truly a window in time, not to mention a history lesson. I am so glad I was able to save this story that would have otherwise been lost. Through research I learned that after the war Adelyn married Lt. Col Frank James Young and they had 2 sons together. Ironically enough they eventually settled in San Antonio and raised their family here. I also discovered that they have been laid to rest at Ft. Sam Houston National Cemetery. I learned that their last surviving son passed earlier this year, and this may be why all these personal items showed up at the flea market. I learned that Adelyn may have a granddaughter who may even live here in San Antonio but I am unsure of her name or any other info. I was really hoping to find a family member who could give theses letters a home again before I move out of state next summer but I doubt my search will be successful. I am considering asking the Ft. Sam medical museum if they might be interested in displaying the collection so that theses letters might stay in San Antonio. But until then I enjoy spending my free time reading over and over these wonderful windows to the past. I feel truly honored to own these letters and they have both inspired me and have solidified my love for the field of nursing.