Archive | June, 2012

Feb 23, 1945 Somewhere in France

30 Jun

What follows in the next days and weeks is a series of letters written by Albert Mills to his father back in Rockland, Maine.  These letters were transcribed from the original by Albert’s wife Sybel.  They are presented here as Sybel wrote them.

Was pleased to receive your letter of the 10th this evening.  I also received one from Sybel.  I doubt if your V-mail will be here for a few days yet as it seems regular air mail is faster.

Boy that must have been some storm you got back home. That was a shame about those two sailors but there are a lot of American people like that.  These jerks we have in charge of us are just about the same sort of persons in a little different way of course.  It is no wonder the American soldiers fight so well.  When they get up front they want to stay up front so they don’t have to come back behind the lines and be put under what we call the scrappings from the bottom of the barrel.

That must have been quite a rally.  I’m glad it could be held in the community building.  I imagine you get a lot more room there than we used to have in the high school gym.  I’m glad our troop (204) won the “fire by friction”.  It seems we always got first in that.  I sure wish I was there.  I always enjoyed those rallys.  When this war is over I hope to get a troop of my own. (after I get settled of course.)  I can’t get a chance to get much leadership experience in the Army but I am getting some good ideas now and then which will come in handy.  I’m sure glad you got our present at last, and glad you liked it.  We were pretty sure you would.

We have well ventilated sleeping quarters as we are in the hayloft of an old barn.  We have plenty of straw which makes the floor more form fitting.  I wish now and then you would send me some different food stuffs if possible, such as cans of sardines (packed in mustard) and jars of jelly and peanut butter and such stuff as that.  We get fed pretty good, as well as could be expected, but we can’t run to the PX and get different stuff any time we want to over here and those little things between meals come in handy.  We are supposed to get a chance once a week to get stuff through the PX but it is rationed out and as of yet we have not heard of it.  Through a little bargaining with the French we can get French bread which is real good and jelly and such would come mighty handy.

Guess I will close for now and write Sybel before turning in.  Bye for now.

Your son,



I’m staying up late

30 Jun

Mia has long since gone to bed for the night but I’m staying up late.The Red Sox are playing on the west coast tonight and they are ahead of the Marriners 5-0 in the bottom of the 7th.  I can’t pass up a good Sox game no matter how latte it is on. 

TGIF, I’ve had a busy week this week.  I put over a thousand miles on my old car this week running from Rockland to Bar Harbor to Boothbay Harbor and back to Rockland.  Then I went from Rockland to New Hampshire via Boothbay Harbor and return.  Usually I put less than a thousand miles a month.

Mia went with me to Bar Harbor and visited with her friends Coco and Poobah but she stayed home when I went to New Hampshire.  Sammie took good care of her while I was gone but she was happy to see me when I got home.

This weekend I’m just going to stay home and chill. Maybe I’ll spend a little time with the grandkids.

On Monday my oldest son David will be arriving from Arizona for a couple of weeks.  That’s a real treat.  I only get to see him once a year.

I guess I’ve rambled on long enough.  The Red Sox won and I’m going to set up my morning coffee and join Mia.


Pfc Albert D. Mills, Jr. USA WWII

30 Jun

I just received Dad’s newsletter, the Sixteener – Sixteenth Armored Division, dedicated to the preservation of friendships established under the stress of and strain of a great war.  It reminded me of a story I overheard him telling his great-grand son a few months before he drew his final breath.

Dad was not one to talk about the war but sixty odd years after the fact Ezra popped the big question. “Papa, did you ever kill anyone when you were in the Army?”

Ezra had recently expanded his interests from dinosaurs to soldiors and was fascinated by the thought that his Papa had been one. He just had to explore the big question.  I was shocked.  The war had always been a don’t ask, don’t tell subject in our family.  Oh, dad would occasionally tell of an incident involving the friendships he made or stories like the time he traded his ration of tobacco with a Czech painter for a portrait.  He often spoke with pride of the liberation of Pilzen, Czechoslavakia, but never spoke of the horrors of war.

Dad leaned back in his chair and thought for a minute. “I don’t know for sure” he said.  “There was a time when I was directing tank traffic”  (dad was an MP) “a man started shooting at me from the top of a building on the corner.  He didn’t hit me but he hit the tank beside me.”  Dad stopped for a moment and drew a breath.  “I shot towards the top of the building and he stopped shooting.” Dad paused again. “I never thought about why he stopped shooting”.

I had never heard my dad talk of the war that way.  At 86 years old he seemed relieved like a weight had been lifted. He was an ancient warrior who rode proudly victorious into Pilzen and came home to live with buried memories only to be uncovered 60+ years later by the curiosity of a child.

Dog days

26 Jun

Mia and I are dogsitting for my brother’s dogs, Coco and Poobah.  Dan and Joan have gone to NY for the birth of their first grand daughter.  Mia and Poo get along just fine but Coco growls and Mia is scared to death of him.  She is spending most of the time in her crate.  Coco just curls up around my head on the pillow and smiles becouse he is the winner.  It has been rainy all day and the same is predicted for tomorrow. yuck!  So I’ve been laying around all day watching TV and waiting for time for the dogs to go out.  Actually the dogs are being good and jealously loveable. They are fun to be with. 

I’ve got a busy week ahead.  I’ll be here in Bar Harbor until Wednesday morning, then heading to Boothday to take Sue to Bath.  Then on Thursday, Sue and I are going to NH for a couple of days for a friend’s birthday party. I should be home by Saturday.  Davey arrives from Arizona on Monday or Tuesday (the 2nd),  and I’m sure someone will have a cookout on the 4th.  That’s my week. 
It’s 10 o’clock and the Red sox are in a rain delay.  They are losing to Toronto so there’s not much sense in staying awake for the rest of the game.
All is well with my world.  Jen Blood’s new book comes out next week (It’s been delayed again but I’m sure it’ll be worth the wait). 

And the days go on

25 Jun

My brother Paul and his wife Linda have been visiting from Texas for the past week. We had a great week just hanging out and eating lots of good New England food.

The highlight of the week was a visit to the Maine Veterans Memorial Cemetery to hold a brief memorial.  Paul sang a couple of songs and I swear I heard Mom singing along and Dad was just there resting his eyes and enjoining the conpany. Oh how they enjoyed listening to their kids making music.

After the cemetery, Paul and Linda headed back to Texas and Sue and I headed back to Boothbay,  From there I headed for Bar Harbor to dogsit for Dan’s dogs while they are off to NY.  I will be here for 3 days just chillin.

Aso over the weekend I met my newest great=grand chuld,  That makes 2, 1 boy and 1 girl.  Pretty special!

And the days go on getting better and better.


Baby Aubree

24 Jun

Baby Aubree

My grand daughter and my great-grand daughter.

The fix

22 Jun

My sister in law added a half bottle of Ketchup to the chili and it calmed right down.