Continued from Chaos II

A trail of letters from the CX Ranch to Norah dates back to early 1944 and indicates that the Cormacks had no knowledge of Yry’s pregnancy. Dallas is mentioned only in recounting a private airplane crash that he had survived. In the fall, Claire wrote about George’s campaign for and included this reference:

“Norah, of course we hadn’t heard of Yry’s marriage and it seems very strange. The baby must be like you if she has beautiful hands.”

To Yry, Claire sent holiday greetings and pictures of the ranch, horses, and new foals.

In July and August of 1945, Yry escaped the city heat to visit the New Hampshire  resort where she’d often vacationed with her parents. At 18 months, Joan toddled around investigating the grounds, the guests, the cats, dogs, and whomever wasn’t quick enough to elude her embrace. She charmed everyone, including Bozo, her first equine pal. Like her mother, swimming was one of her favorite past times.


Norah wrote to Yry about the annoyance of the city coming to a complete halt for two days to celebrate VJ Day. She was scandalized by her doctor’s suggestion that her nasty rash might be a result of her Elizabeth Arden, Paradise Pink nail polish. Norah’s chatty letter included a $200 check to cover Yry’s and Joan’s expenses.

The bliss of the woods couldn’t last forever. Yry and Joan returned to the city, Joan to charming her grandfather and Yry to shopping, wrapping, posting, and cooking.

Post-war communication stabilized; letters chased each other across the ocean. Written on every inch of onion skin sheets, family members added their personal greetings to each letter, receipt of which was treasured equally on both ends.

Despite dismal conditions, letters from Germany were peppered with whimsy and graciousness. In December 1946, Cousin Hermann who, with his sister’s help, was adjusting to a newly-figured body, wrote with pragmaticism and philosophical wisdom.

 . . . I changed my study for there is no more research of chemistry and so I study special engineering for building big bridges. That will have a good future for there are still only a few good bridges here. During my free time I study philosophy. I always wished to become a researcher of the atomic sciences and to see the last limit of human thinking of our time. It’s wonderful to comprehend the last connections of our life. So I try to think in an absolute manner about our living and being human. Politics are only things of moments and occasion. Sciences exist eternally in nature. We live only a short time and it is our own task to exhaust it completely.

You can’t imagine the life here nowadays. Sometimes I think about Spengler’s book, “The End of the Evening Land.” That’s how it is, and best is to laugh about all, for weeping doesn’t have any purpose. My sister (Lore) says, “More laughing! When you laugh ten minutes it will have the same value as eating an egg, and since we have no eggs, we laugh!”

When I first saw Eastern Europe and Russia (as a German conscript) I couldn’t comprehend the possibility of living in such a primitive manner. Now we ourselves do so. . . . 

Four months later he wrote:

My dearest Iry,

Thanks for the packages!  . . . The chocolate bar disappeared at once. Lore, Hedi, and Verena could nourish themselves on only chocolate!

You can’t imagine the arrival of a parcel containing clothes. It is opened by our “three” with a noise that would make Apaches jealous! The stockings are cheered like a newly elected president after a big speech. Aunt Emma is sitting down weeping and laughing about her excited girls. Afterward I have a private modeling show as the three parade in their new clothes.

Tomorrow the new semester begins. I hope it will be as successful as possible, for it is difficult to get glasses for the laboratories, caused by the iron curtain. (The big glass plants are all on the other side.) Despite all the pains of Marshall, the Moscow conference has brought hardly a success and that is a strong brake for starting the engine.  . . . 

Spring gives new hope and strength. The apple trees in the garden are flourishing wonderfully.  . . .

The letters always included greetings to her parents and to little Joan. Frequently the references to Joan also included allusions to the tragic loss of her dear father, indicating that the father issue had been resolved when his ship was sunk at sea. I wonder how many other unplanned pregnancy stories were resolved in a similar fashion in the 1940s.