Letters from Larry – 9 November 1942

9 November 1942 – Newport, Rhode Island

Dearest Marion,

Well sweetheart how are you?  I hope your feeling well.  I’ve been thinking of you constantly.  And I do miss you & need you.  You really were a comfort when I was feeling lousey and I feel that whenever I think of home & you. I wish I could end this rotten war.  All the fellows feel that way too.  I’m at a loss for words right now because I’ve been thinking about you so much I want to be near year.  Honest honey I love you, I really do.  Just wait till I get home.  Well have a good time.

We had chicken for Sunday’s dinner and was that good.  I’m getting use to the food now and its not bad at all.  I gained four pounds already.  I’ll be a horse soon.  How’s everyone home?  Well I just have 9 minutes before taps to write the envelope and drop it in the mail-box.  I was busy tonight washing clothes & stuff.  Well goodnight sweetheart.  I’ll write a nice long Wed. night.  Good again honey.

I love you always




P. S. I love you. L.

Letters from Larry – 7 November 1942

7 November 1942 – Newport, Rhode Island

Dearest Marion,

Hello honey, how are you.  I feel pretty good except for the fact that I miss you very much.  I didn’t get any sleep from Thurs. morning until 9:30 Friday nite.  If you didn’t get the card I sent I’m in Newport, R.I.  I’ve only been here a few days and I love although I’m very homesick.  We get swell food, too many clothes, and no lovin’.  Have you seen Irene yet.  Poor kid I was thinking about her and leaving you and felt lousey on the train.  We got on the train at 10 o’clock Thurs. nite and we didn’t leave until 1 o’clock Fri morning.  We arrived at Newport at 7 o’clock Fri morning.  Did we have a busy day.  We got 3 needles in the arms, and med. exam and all our clothes except our dress uniform.  What a load of stuff to carry.  We got a hammock, 2 blankets and a mattress besides our clothes all together it weighs over 100 lbs. to carry.  Excuse the writing.  This is the first chance I’ve had to write and my brain is all mixed up.  Tomorrow we don’t do anything but go to church so I’ll write again.  You should see my head they cut off almost all my hair except 1/2″ in front.  I’ll tell you what to do.  Go around to my house and read the letter I sent my mother and you’ll find out a lot more of what we do.  I’ll have to close now because we have to turn in.

Here’s my address.  Write exactly as it is





Please write soon.  I miss you an awful lot.  Tell my mother the same thing.  Tell everyone else the same and I’ll write them as soon as I get a chance because we’re awfully busy.  Good night honey.  I love you.  Take care of yourself.

Love Larry


This is Pop’s first letter home to Nan after joining the Navy and heading off to boot camp.

Letters from Larry – 7 November 1942

7 November 1942 – Newport, Rhode Island

This is a brown postcard that was mailed for free on behalf of Larry by the U.S. Navy. On the back of the card is a form that could be filled in.

The form stated:

U.S. Naval Training Station

Newport, Rhode Island

Dear Friend:
I have arrived at the U.S. Naval Training Station, Newport, R.I., today, and my address is:

Company _________,

U.S. Naval Training Station,

Newport, Rhode Island.


(Name) (Rate)

Handwritten on the face of the postcard:

“Friend” was scratched out and replaced with Marion

By the name, “I’ll write soon” was written.

In the company blank, “250” was written.

The card was signed “Lawrence J. Reilly” with a rate of “A.S.”


Note: This is the first communication with Nan after Pop joined the U.S. Navy during World War II.  He was sent to the Naval Training Station in Newport, Rhode Island to train to be a Torpedoman on a submarine.  He ended up not making the subs, and eventually became a gunner on the U.S.S. Oakland.

Two Great-Grand “Gamblers & Thieves”

Allegedly both of my paternal great-grandfathers were gamblers and thieves!

Lawrence Ambrose Reilly worked in the finance industry as a clerk as a young husband and father.  On 21 November 1925, two articles were published with the following headlines:

Brokers’ Clerk Held

Reilly Accused of $10,000 Theft

The first article is a short two sentence bit that states that Lawrence while working as a clerk at Carden, Green & Co., is accused of taking $10,000 from the firm to play the cotton market.  The second article provides a little bit more information, explaining that he was arraigned in the Tombs Court in New York City on a charge of grand larceny.  He had been arrested by Detective Jesse Upham, after a firm higher-up told the police that Lawrence had stolen the money through forged endorsements that looked like the funds had been given to the firm’s clients. (Full Newspaper Page – column 2 towards the bottom of the page & Full Newspaper Page – column 6 mid-page)



I’ve been unable to locate any additional articles that follow up on these stories about Lawrence.  It worked later in life as an accountant, so it’s hard to imagine that he ended up being convicted of a crime, given he kept working in the financial industry, but without additional information, it’s hard to say how this story actually ended.

In 1928, my great-grandfather, Gerald Thomas, was a postman in Brooklyn, New York.  He was married with two young daughters at home – my grandmother Marion was only two years old at the time.  According to an article in the Brooklyn Standard Union on 8 September 1928, “Postum Under Arrest On Mail Theft Charge”.

Brooklyn NY Standard Union 1928 a - 1033


According to the article, he stole a “test” letter that was sent through the mail as part of an investigation into mail theft.  He also had another letter with $2 in it.  Allegedly, the thefts were a response to losses he suffered while betting on the ponies.  (Full newspaper page – the article is at the bottom of the 2nd column)

In follow-up articles in both the Brooklyn Union and The Daily News, it turns out that Gerald was a part of a ring of postal thieves.  According to the article, there were a total of five thieves arrested, one of whom was a woman.  Gerald was one of three out of the five who pled guilty, and was sentenced to one year in the Federal prison in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Full newspaper page – the article is at the bottom of the 4th column & Full Newspaper page – 1st column)

Brooklyn NY Standard Union 1928 a - 1251.jpg


After he was released from prison in Atlanta, Gerald moved the family from Brooklyn to Queens.

Letters from Larry – 8 October 1942

8 October 1942 – Queens, New York

Dearest Marion,

I only have about 8 minutes in which to write to you.  Well honey I love you and still want you more & more to myself.  About the way I asked if it would be alright with you if I didn’t come around tonight.  I[‘m] sorry hon I didn’t mean it the way it sounded.  I like to see you every night.  Tonight I have to go over Adam’s to a meeting of some sort of the Air Wardens.  They are going to have a lot of speakers & awards.  You didn’t say anything about going to Bellevue to give blood so I didn’t think of it either until this morning, but I guess your not going or you would have said so.  Well my times up now.  I’ll see you tomorrow night.  We’ll go to the movies.

Love Larry

P.S. I love you.

PPS. I love you.

PPPS. I love you

1,000,000,000 times


Note: Air Raid Wardens were volunteers at home during World War II to watch the skies for signs of enemy airplanes, and protect the cities against possible bombings.

Air Raid Warden recruitment film