Larry Reilly

Letters from Larry – 14 February 1942

14 February 1942 – Queens, New York

This is a lacy Valentine’s Day card – the cover has a cutout gold foil-lined heart with two blue love birds with their heads tilted together while sitting on a stand next to a flower arrangement.

There are no words on the front of the card, but the cutout makes the words inside the card visible even when the card is closed.

Inside the card, it says:

Remembering You on Valentine’s Day

It’s a pleasure to send wishes

And you know that when I do,

Every one means glad remembrances

Going from my heart to YOU!

Handwritten inside the card:

To Marion

From Larry

Also inside the card is an image of a little cottage with a white picket fence and flowers along the fence.

Letters from Larry – Undated from 1942

Undated – presumed to be sometime in 1942, after Pop went to training for the U.S. Navy, as he talks about being away and being in class.  The exact location of the letter is also unknown but presumed to be in Newport, Rhode Island.

Dearest Marion,

I received your letters of the 28th and 29th.  The first letter was swell but the second letter almost knocked me flat.  I can’t seemed to get it straight but whatever happened is some mix-up somewhere.  My mother wrote a letter the same time as you did but she didn’t say anything about it.  That’s one thing I don’t like.  My parents never did anything to make bad friends between me and anyone else.  I love you honey and no matter what anyone says or does they’ll never change that. I’m going to wait for one more letter from home and if they don’t say anything about it I’m going to write and find out all about.  Don’t let it bother you honey.  I’ll get this straightened out.  I despised Mr. Fredericks for interfering with George and Terry and I’ll make sure that my folks won’t do the same thing.  I’m in class now and if I get caught writing I’ll get the devil.  I’ll write again tomorrow. Don’t forget honey whatever happens I’m yours for the asking.

I’ll always love you,


This letter hints as some possible conflict between Pop’s parents and Nan.  If the presumption about timing is correct, they were already talking seriously about getting married, but Nan still would have only been about 16 years old, and I can understand that this may have caused concern for Pop’s parents.  Based on the comment regarding the Fredericks, I can imagine that this might be close to what this letter is about.  But without Nan’s letters, it’s hard to know this for sure.

Letters from Larry – 1941 in Review

That brings us to the end of 1941 in the letters Pop wrote to Nan.  At the end of the year, he was 17, and she had just turned 16.  There were 13 letters, covering 17 sheets of paper.  In the letters, he referred to her with affection as:

  • Sweetheart
  • Sweetest Sweetheart
  • Darling
  • Dear
  • My little angel
  • Honey

Seven of the letters were love letters, expressing his fervent devotion for her.  Three of the notes were apologies, where he begged for her forgiveness and expressed worry that he had lost her affections.  One was a birthday card, one a Christmas card, and one was a proposal of marriage.

My impressions of my young and in love grandfather:

  • He was a romantic!  He was one of the toughest people I’ve ever known, so it’s been very interesting to see such a tender and romantic side of him.  The romance definitely strikes me as the desperate and earnest love of teenagers, but at 17, he was definitely not afraid to express himself to my grandmother.
  • He’s a poet… Some of his writings are quite poetic and he likes to play with words.
  • He was bashful about sharing his affections with more than just my grandmother.  He admonishes her to keep his letters just be them.  I’m not surprised by this, because she and her sister were notoriously joined at the hip, and I can picture them sitting on her bed giggling while reading the letters together.

Letters from Larry – 25 December 1941

25 December 1941 – Queens, New York

This is a blue Christmas card – the cover has a young woman arranging flowers, with a gold ribbon tied through the card.

On the front of the card, it says:

To my Dear Sweetheart at Christmas

Inside the card, it says:

In the light of Christmas candles

It is your own smile I see

And I cherish every memory

Which your dearness brings to me….

By the merry Christmas candles

I will make this wish sincere:

May joy light the world at Christmas

Just for you….. My Sweetheart Dear!

Handwritten underneath the poem:

To the Sweetest Sweetheart of them all

From Larry with Love

Letters from Larry – 11 December 1941

11 December 1941 – Queens, New York

This is a pink birthday card – the cover has a young woman arranging flowers, with a gold ribbon tied through the card.

On the front of the card, it says:

To You at Sweet Sixteen

Inside the card, it says:

Your sixteenth Birthday is the day

When life has never seemed so gay.

The world looks bright and brave and new,

And evidently made for you.

Oh, I wish you neither wealth nor fame,

But just that you’ll always feel the same!

Handwritten underneath the poem:

To Marion

With love

From Larry