Dear Hubby of Mine:
Home Front Wives in World War II
Official publication date is January 21, 2020, when book will be available at retail for $17.99. You can also purchase it on Amazon.
Introduction—I want to share the introduction to my book with my fellow readers and authors. I think you will want to read more.
July 17, 1945
Dearest: Sometimes I miss you so, dear. I just think I can’t go on for another day. I go to bed and honestly don’t care if I ever wake up again. It gets just too, too hard to go on alone like this….
When I was a little girl playing in the basement of our house, I came upon a box of letters. I recognized my mother’s handwriting. I grabbed some letters and ran upstairs, yelling to my mother, “Can I open these? Can I read them?”
My mother came to the top of the stairs, wiping her hands on her apron “What do you have, Diane?” she said. I waved the letters over my head. She quickly reached out and removed them from my hand “These are private, Diane. They weren’t meant for you to read.”
Touching letters written by a loving couple; musty letters that detail past lives—my parent’s letters. A housewife and a sailor husband with shared immigrant experiences penned over 500 letters during World War II, plus assorted telegrams, greeting cards, and postcards that help to create a realistic portrait of their lives. My parents’ immigrant experiences shed light on the experiences of other minority groups and refugees that came before and after them.The letters provide an in-the-moment view of the anxieties and loneliness both experienced, as well as an accounting of their daily lives.
Love letters—a dated concept if ever there is one in this age of computers and the Internet. These letters represented a lifeline between husband and wife separated during wartime. My father wrote from a battlefront difficult to talk about because of military censors checking for sensitive information; my mother, on the home front in Cleveland, Ohio, was struggling to understand what was happening and to handle family responsibilities alone.
The 75th anniversary of the end of World War II will be celebrated in 2020. Like my parents, many of the participants have passed on. Servicemen stories have been broadly told; less so the stories of the resolute war wives, who had a significant impact on the outcome of the war and the well-being of the country. This book presents the story of one stay-at-home war wife and mother in World War II.
While many readers may see the story as a touching romance, and it is, others may appreciate the snapshot of the country in the 1940s under wartime conditions and how that culture influenced America in the decades to come. The story of my parents and their letters is also the story of approximately 4 million or more World War II wives whose husbands were in the armed forces, and their estimated 2 million or more children. Some women—approximately 350,000—joined the military. Many women found jobs outside the home, the majority for the first time.
Rosie the Riveter became the icon for women who worked in factories manufacturing war materials while the men were serving in the military. Little did they know they would make history as a bellwether for women who wanted to continue to work outside the home after a taste of independence. They would prefigure the launch of the feminist movement in the late 1960s.
Although deserving of admiration as women who broke down barriers in the workforce, they were not typical of the majority of women who were war wives. Seventy-five percent of married women stayed home to raise the children during the war. This book focuses on war wives who were primarily homemakers.
Letters were the predominant means of communication when servicemen were overseas in those days, and wives and husbands waited anxiously for them. Some letters between servicemen and their wives were lost, discarded, or destroyed to preserve privacy. Irma and Lou saved most of their letters. Lou stored them in his sea bag onboard ship and brought them safely home across more than 7,000 miles of blue Pacific Ocean—quite a feat in the midst of a world war; Irma placed hers in the cedar hope chest that had been a wedding gift.
I am lucky to have many photos and memorabilia from the time period of these love letters. I study the faces in the photos for more clues to the life they were living, to learn more from these photos about the culture of the 1940s in the U.S. with a war raging. I see my parents anew, not just as mother and father, but as Hungarian immigrants, and members of a generation that made a difference for all of us.
Book Review—My book earns 5 Stars from Readers' Favorite!!!
When we think of World War II what most often comes to mind are vicious battles, concentration camps, bombs raining down from the sky, Pearl Harbor and the like. Rarely do we give more than a passing thought to the more mundane aspects of wartime in that day and age, such as what went on at home. There were millions of war wives all over the world and this biography, Dear Hubby of Mine: Home Front Wives in War II by Diane Phelps Budden, tells their story. The names and circumstances might vary but the experience was generally the same everywhere. Waiting, worrying, rationing, child-rearing and worrying about money were common to most wives.
Diane Phelps Budden tells her parents’ story in Dear Hubby of Mine: Home Front Wives in War II. Irma and Lou were separated by the war, but they kept in touch by writing and the occasional phone call. Budden has included excerpts from the hundreds of letters her parents exchanged over the course of World War II and also added interesting historical notes and information. The letters are a fascinating glimpse not just of the war, but of life in the 1930s and '40s. They are sweet and romantic and sometimes playful. But often they are just the everyday happenings, thoughts and feelings of a husband and wife. They’re not love letters in the usual sense, but they are very loving letters that show the ordinary, everyday side of the war. The information included by Budden complements the letters and provides extra insight into a way of life that is gone forever. This book is a must-read for history lovers of all ages.
—Heather Stockard, Readers' Favorite