My Uncle Jimmy was a mystery to me when I was growing up. I knew he had died young, flying a P-39 Bell Airacobra while flying in formation in a plane crash near San Francisco during WWII. My Grandmother had many photos of him adorning her living space and she spoke of him reverently and a bit wistfully. His death had been terribly painful for her, and she did not speak of the details if she knew them. The story generally discussed was the possibility that his knee had given out and caused him to crash.

My mother was a 12 year old when he died, and she remembered him as a doting brother, someone she looked up to and wanted to impress. After my grandmother’s and mother’s deaths I came across a box with a packet of letters Jimmy wrote to his home while stationed on the west coast learning to fly. After reading them all, along with his diary I felt I knew him. It was eye opening, and I was ashamed by some of the content that was cruel about a Jewish boy. Where did he learn to say crass things? He was not the perfect young man as portrayed throughout my childhood.

I decided to post his letters, warts and all, in memory of him and what he meant to my family. War sucks, and these boys were pushed beyond their comfort zones in the rush to create a war machine. My Uncle Jimmy was a casualty of this push for more pilots.

Hope you enjoy the ride and that this brings something fresh to you,

~ Margo