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Erwin R. and Melba Dee Eastwood Papers

 Collection — Box: MISC-07, Folder: MSS-0116
Identifier: MSS-0116
The papers of Erwin R. and Melba Dee (nee Code) Eastwood document the life of this Agra, Oklahoma, couple during their dating or courtship and later marriage during World War II through their letters. The collection also includes a small number of unidentified photographs. At the end of the war, the letters continue as Erwin Eastwood worked away from the Eastwood's Oklahoma home. The letters in the collection are addressed to Melba Dee from her boyfriend and husband Erwin Eastwood, a Seabee in the U.S. Navy, as well as from her brother William Code who also served in the U.S. military during World War II. The letters between Melba Dee and Erwin during World War II demonstrate their romantic relationship while they are dating and after they marry. The letters from Erwin include references to Melba's period and his reaction to first learning about menstruation from Melba when they married. After the war, letters from Melba to Erwin are addressed to him in New Mexico and Denver, Colorado. The family -- Melba, Erwin, and a daughter -- eventually all moved to Denver in the 1950s. Excerpts provided by the seller: "February 19, 1942. Somewhere between Tulsa and St. Louis 9:30 Dear Sweetheart, The sweetest girl in all the world is and always on my mind. Sweetheart you have proved your love and trust to me. I am in an upper birth (or bed) trying to write a few lines. I wish you were here and we were headed South for our honeymoon. We are allowed $1.00 per meal (3 a day). A teabone steak is $1.85, coffee is $.15. Ham sandwich is $.30. We will arrive about 11:00 Sat. morning at Norfolk Virginia. Being that close to the east coast (in fact it's on the coast) will probably be sent to Europe, to island or B. I. There are just 19 of us. The boys have been making so much noys (shooting craps) that is dice, I can't hear the train. We stoped in Tulsa for 20 minutes and I got a ham san for a midnight . . . The train is about to stop. I'm trusting you with my heart, 3rd finger left hand. Some drunk man and woman come up and tried a little of pulling me out of bed. I miss you a lot sweetheart. I'll write again an God keep you safe for me, Love Erwin."

"October 19th, 1943. Somewhere over sea. Dearest Sister, I will try and write you a few lines today and let you know I am alright. I hope you are the same. Say, did you get married? In one of Phyliss's letters she said you was going to get married that week. I was glad to hear that Erwin got to come home but sorry to hear he has the jungle fever . . . Melba have you seen Blanch lately? I hope she don't get a foolish idea about marrying that crank. Why did she brake it off with Otto. He was one of the nicest fellows I know . . . It seems like years and years since I have seen anyone from home . . . Hoping to hear from you soon, Your Loving Bud." (By this time the letters are addressed to her as Melba Eastwood. Erwin is stationed at Gulfport Mississippi.)

"October 20th, 1943 Dearest Melba, You sweet little thing, I love you. Believe you me I'm loving to tell you about it too. I want to keep you on my mind . . . Sweetheart don't worry about me I have an easy job at the present time, at least I don't think I ship across for 6 mo. or more . . . It's about time for your period, that is if it's going to come around. In other words back in the saddle again. I'll never forget the first time you told me about that. Please excuse this switch in paper but I ran out and had to borrow some more. (this one is on Seabee's U.S. Navy paper) . . . Your voice was so sweet and heavenly when I talked to you on the phone. Dear I do love you and miss you more than anything . . . I am your devoted husband, Erwin."

"January 29th, 1944 Dear Melba, Received your letter of the 26 today and how I would like to fold you up in my arms again like I'm going to do next time I see you and not going to turn you loose again . . . Sweetheart I love you so much it hurts. I just want to tell you all the time. Just think what I have missed by not marrying you 100 years ago . . . I do think your period went by ok? You said you were in the saddle again. Dear keep those letters coming to your little rabit and I bet he'll survive. Lovingly yours, Erwin." (He's now at Camp Endicott in Davisville, R.I.)

"March 13th, 1944 Dear Wife, Another Monday and another day nearer the peace that we want so bad. I do love you dear . . . This waiting around is going to be rough as they'll keep me here until my papers come back from Wash. about 2 weeks I think. And to think they put me in with the fellows that are getting medical discharges, you can imagine how I feel as bad as I want to be there with you . . . Let me kiss you goodnight dear so your loving husband, Erwin." (Now the letters are from the U.S. Naval Construction Training Center, Camp Lee Stephenson, Quoddy Village, Maine.)

"May 9th, 1944 Dearest Melba Dee, Phew! Am I relieved, I mean I thought I was a gone gunner on the letter of May 3rd. But the next day I was really relieved when your note came . . . Certainly your letter of May 3rd was shocking but dear I assure you your next letter was most welcome and nothing else will be said of it from me. I will admit the mix up is and has gone longer than I expected it to . . . I'm glad I waited a day or so to write you as I was in such a trance and shocked stage I might have said something I'd be sorry for. But really I'm not angry with you. I love you for your short following letter dear. I must have you this summer darling. I just can't go on. These are very trying times as we all know . . . Forever yours, Erwin"

Dates

  • 1941-1967

Creator

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research use. Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations, the Nebraska Public Records Statutes (Neb. Rev. Stat. §§ 84-712 through 84-712.09), and other relevant regulations. Confidential material may include, but is not limited to, educational, medical, and personnel records. Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in this collection without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications (e.g., a cause of action under common law for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual's private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which the University of Nebraska Omaha assumes no responsibility.

Conditions Governing Use

The researcher assumes full responsibility for conforming with the laws of copyright. Whenever possible, Archives & Special Collections will provide information about copyright owners and related information. Securing permission to publish or use material is the responsibility of the researcher. Note that unless specifically transferred to the University of Nebraska at Omaha, any applicable copyrights may be held by another individual or entity. Further information about copyright policy is available at https://www.unomaha.edu/criss-library/about-us/library-policies/index.php.

Extent

0.1 Cubic Feet (2 folders) : Correspondence; Photographs

Arrangement

Collection has not yet been arranged and described.

Custodial History

Purchased on ebay from seller diaries on 1/8/2018.

Creator

Title
Erwin R. and Melba Dee Eastwood Papers
Status
unprocessed
Author
Amy Schindler, Angela Kroeger
Date
2018-02-07
Description rules
Description based on DACS
Language of description
English

Repository Details

Part of the UNO Libraries' Archives & Special Collections Repository

Contact:
Dr. C.C. and Mabel L. Criss Library
6001 Dodge St.
Omaha Nebraska 68182-0237 United States
402-554-6046