Letters from Larry – An overview

After my grandfather’s death in May, my father collected all the letters Pop had written to Nan during both World War II and Vietnam, during both of which he was active duty Navy.  I’ve been going through the letters putting them in archival sleeves and cataloging them.  I hope to eventually transcribe all of them.  I’ve just finished cataloging all of the letters from World War II, and they fill 8 2″ binders.

The letters are on a variety of paper – anything from his ship’s stationery to sheets of onion skin.  His handwriting also varies considerably, depending on the time of year.  He wrote letters about every other day and were generally 1 or 2 pages long. His longest letter was 14 pages, while his shortest was a postcard with only a couple of words on it.

The letters start in 1941 before Pop joined the Navy when he was only 17 years old and Nan was only 15.  They were already in love, and in one letter, he asks her to marry him for the first time. They did not become officially engaged until later in 1943, but he was sure that she was the one for him.

His most prolific writing year was 1945, a year in which he wrote 182 letters covering 245 sheets of paper.  They were married in January 1945 while he was on leave, and Nan quickly became pregnant before Pop had to return to his ship.  Most of the letters are from the Pacific and cover the news of her pregnancy and how much he misses her and is looking forward to being a father.  As her due date in November approached, his anticipation and anxiety increased steadily, and his worry about Nan and the baby is very apparent.

His second most prolific year was 1943 when he wrote 122 letters covering 212 sheets of paper.  This is the year he was assigned to the USS Oakland when it was commissioned in July and he departed for the Pacific.  Many of the letters appear to have been mailed together, as he would write, but wouldn’t be able to send them until he had access to a supply ship or port.

1944 was his least prolific year, with only 44 letters on 122 sheets of paper. There are two possibilities: either there are some letters missing (which seems unlikely based on how the letters were kept), or as seems most likely from the letters, he was engaged in prolonged combat from late 1943 to the end of 1944.  He was present at most of the major battles of the Pacific, and as a gunner, was directly involved in the combat.  I think he just did not have as much time to write to Nan that year as he would have liked. I think this is also evident from the fact that his letters averaged 3 sheets of papers vs only 1 sheet on average in 1945 and 2 sheets in 1943.  He couldn’t write as many letters, but he wrote longer ones.

pops letters chart

Letters from Larry – 1 January 1946

1 January 1946 – San Francisco, California

My Darling,

Here it is New Years night aboard and its as quiet as a church.

About five minutes ago the word was passed that we’re shoving off for Washington tomorrow morning so I guess I don’t get any liberty in Frisco.

Was trying to find out if there is any dope on who is staying aboard in Reserve Commission but there isn’t any dope as yet.

Gee I wish I could be with you for our anniversary but it don’t look as though I can.  Although time seemed to go slow when we were at sea it hardly seems like we’ve been married a year. It sure will be swell to be toether for more than a month or two.  By the time I see you and Jimmy again I’ll bet Jimmy will be pretty big.  You know the more I think of it the more I feel we should have been married while I was in Newport [late 1942 to 1943].  Don’t you?  I wonder if we would have had Jimmy right away like we did. I still wish we didn’t have to use those damn rubbers.  It a lot nicer without them but we can’t have anymore children till 48 or early 49.

J.J. and Cimarolli, Pete Smith and Pete Pruchnik and all the boys were asking how you were and also send their best wishes.  Well what di dyou do last night honey?  Were you home all alone or did you and J.T. go uot New Years calling?

Before I forget it your money order was here when I got back.  I’ll keep hit and send you may pay this Saturday.  Well baby I think I’ll close now.  Give my love to J.T. and the folks.  I love you and miss you sweetheart.

Your loving hubby,



P.S. Enclosed find some post-cards for your scrap-book.




Senate Tribute to Pop

On May 24, 2018, Senator Chuck Schumer of New York paid tribute to my grandfather, Larry Reilly, on the floor of the Senate.  Video clip of the comments below:

Isaiah and Susan Golden – 1910 US Federal Census

By 1910, Isaiah and Susan Golden have moved from the home on Conselyea to 1083 Bushwick Avenue in Brooklyn’s 28th Ward.  Isaiah was 86 years old, Susana was 64 years old, and they had been married for 37 years.  According to the census, this was the second marriage for both of them.  Living in the home with them was Harriet (Hattie), now widowed, along with three boarders: Charles and Emily Gonrig, and Cornelia Raborg.  Isaiah was no longer working, living on his own income, and he rents the home.  Susana was listed as having four children, none of whom are living.  Harriet was 45 years old, widowed and only had one of her three children still living.[1]

Isaiah Golden - 1910 Federal Census


1910 US Federal Census: New York, Kings, Brooklyn, 28th Ward, 27 April 1910, Page 9A, ED No. 889, 1083 Bushwick Avenue, Dwelling No. 98, Family No. 229:

GOLDEN, ISAIAH, Head, Male, White, Age 86, Married (2nd), Married 37 years, Born New York, Father born New York, Mother born New York, Occupation: Own Income, Can read, Can write, Rents house;

GOLDEN, SUSANA S., Wife, Female, White, Age 64, Married (2nd), Married 37 years, Four children born, 0 children living, Born Pennsylvania, Father born Pennsylvania, Mother born Pennsylvania, Speaks English, No occupation, Can read, Can write;

TRAVIS, HARRIET E., Daughter, Female, White, Age 45, Widowed, 3 children born, 1 child living, Born New York, Father born New York, Mother born Ireland-English, Speaks English, No Occupation, Can read, Can write;

GONRIG, CHARLES C., Boarder, Male, White, Age 45, Divorced, Born Germany-German, Father born Germany-German, Mother born Germany-German, Immigrated in 1882, Naturalized Citizen, Speaks English, Occupation: Pharmacist at a Drugstore, Employer, Can read, Can write;

GONRIG, EMILY T., Boarder, Female, White, Age 21, Single, Born New York, Father born Germany-German, Mother born Germany-German, Speaks English, Occupation: Stenographer at Insurance Company, Wage Earner, Not out of work, 0 weeks out of work, Can read, Can write, did not attend school;

RABORG, CORNELIA C., Boarder, Female, White, Age 18, Single, Born New York, Father born Pennsylvania, Mother born Germany-German, Speaks English, No occupation, Can read, Can write, Did not attend school.


[1] 1910 US Federal Census: New York, Kings, Brooklyn, Ward 28, Roll T624_981, Page 9A, E.D. 889, Ancestry.com Operations Inc., 2006.

Isaiah Golden – 1860 US Federal Census, Non-Population Schedules – Industry

1860 US Federal Census, Non-Population Schedules: New York, Westchester, Morrisania, 1 June 1860

Name, Business/Product/Capital Invested/Raw Materials Used: Quantities-Kinds-Value/Kind of Motive Power/Average Number of Hands Employed: Male-Female/Wages: Average monthly cost of male labor-Average monthly cost of female labor/Annual Product: Quantities-Kinds-Values

GOLDEN, ISAIAH, Cooper, $300 Invested[1], Hoops, $500 Value[2], 2 Male Laborers, $40[3] Cost of Labor, 4000 [illegible] Kegs, $1400[4] Value.[5]

Isaiah Golden - 1860 Federal Census-Non-Population

[1] $300 in 1860 is the equivalent of $124,000 in 2016 in Income Value.  https://www.measuringworth.com/uscompare/

[2] $500 in 1860 is the equivalent of $207,000 in 2016 in Income Value.

[3] $40 in labor cost in 1860 is the equivalent of $16,600 in 2016 in labor value for skilled labor.

[4] $1400 in 1860 is the equivalent of $579,000 in 2016 in Income Value.

[5] 1860 US Census, Non-Population Schedule: New York, Westchester, Morrisania , Archive Collection Number: I5; Roll: 80; Page: 12; Line: 19; Schedule Type: Industry, Image 448, (Ancestry Operations, Inc., 2010)