Letters Written To Hubert Kleiboeker

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The following 66 letters were written between July 1944 and April 1945 from various members of the August Kleiboeker Family.  They provide an incredible insight into life in the 1940's in rural SW Missouri describing the incredible amount of labor required to maintain and operate a farmstead at that time.  Keep in mind that this farm family of 10 children still had no electricity or running water in 1945.  Most of their community members, who lived in or near the town of Freistatt had had electricity since 1927.  The remote Kleiboeker farm was located near neighbors who did not want to spend the money for electricity as it took multiple neighbors to agree to fund a new electric line.  Without electricity, their only way to pump the well water into the house was with the pump handle and lots of buckets. This also meant use of an outhouse on a regular basis even in winter.  All of this is mentioned in the letters.  Luther, their hired hand digs a new outhouse. Lorene writes of hauling water to get ready to do wash on Mondays. Evelyn writes about Lorn hauling and chopping firewood which was used to cook and heat the house.  Lorene struggles with the gas powered washing machine that would not start.  Lorene writes of listening to the hand cranked Victrola, and Evelyn writes about her favorite radio shows.  The letters describe butchering hogs in the winter, selling cattle, and what prices they get at the market.  Mama Hulda writes about the 350 new chicks she will soon receive and without the help of Hubert she was worried how she would manage.  Hulda's two letters, March 5th and 20th, are written in German (which didn't seem to bother the US Army's letter censors) and are translated in the files below and especially interesting to read.

In 1945, 4 of the older children, Elda, Alvin, Martin and Meta are already married and no longer at home.  Elda (37) is in Kansas City with her Husband Al operating a funeral home, Meta (28) is in California as her husband Vic is stationed there and off fighting in the Pacific. Martin (33) and Alvin (31) are both farming nearby and helping out when they can but they have their own children too.  Vera is working at Camp Crowder and living in Neosha, MO, traveling by bus from Neosha to Pierce City on the weekends to see her family.  Leona (35) had been working as a nanny  and household help in various families in Kansas City, but was between jobs at the time and came back home to help out.  Lorene (25) had been working in Washington DC since late 1941, but came back home in the summer of 1943 to help with all the chores at home.  Papa August was not that healthy, and could not put in a full days work, so the family desperately needed more labor at home, with only Evelyn (17) and Lorn (20) there now that Hubert was off to fight in Europe.

Day of Week Date From Age of writer Medium Remarks
  Jul-44 Leona 35 Hotel Broadmoor, Colorado Springs Stationary Leona says she is not there at home place when Hubert leaves for Boot Camp, August 1944, sorry to not be there to see him off.  Warns Hubert of bad influences from other soldiers who might drink too much
Sunday? Jan-45 Lorn 20 VMAIL Selling calves including one from Vera's Bull.  Taking Vera to Pierce City (so she can catch Bus back to Neosho, where she lives. Selling Wheat
Thursday 4-Jan-45 Lorene 25 Paper Hubert's Christmas Visit and Hubert visits Elda in Kansas City 
Saturday 13-Jan-45 Lorene 25 Paper cattle sale with prices
Wednesday 17-Jan-45 Evelyn 17 Paper mentions practicing for Walther League Play, and her lines.  Ruben Bremer and Alvin help Lorn haul manure.  Evelyn  sees the inside of neighbor Pearl's house for the first time. Went to Movie theater in Pierce City to see "Princess and Pirate" with Bob Hope and Virginia Mayo.  Marilyn has the chicken pox
Sunday 21-Jan-45 Leona 35 Paper Letter from Kansas City, Envelope says 823 West 55th Street
Tuesday 23-Jan-45 Evelyn 17 VMAIL Mrs. Wandler's Funeral
Tuesday 23-Jan-45 Evelyn 17 VMAIL Billy Scheldrup is in Europe, 
Friday 26-Jan-45 Alice Nelson Kleiboeker 29 VMAIL Butchering Hogs and selling twin steers.  Hogs owned by the Nelsons, by Alvin and Alice and August and Hulda were all butchered the same week.
Friday 26-Jan-45 Leona 35 VMAIL Mentions Robert Louis who was wounded with shrapnel in arm
Monday 29-Jan-45 Vera 27 paper Valentine's Day Card
Wednesday 31-Jan-45 Lorene 25 Paper Lorn and Alvin get new suits,  Christmas Eve Sermon enclosed and was typed by Evie and Lorene
Monday 5-Feb-45 Evelyn 17 paper "Also the Ranchers heard."  A reference to the fact that the neighbor Mattlage's received a letter from Hubert.   Vera's boyfriend Russell is wounded in Belgium.  Evie buys gift on behalf of Hubert for Doris 
Monday 5-Feb-45 Lorene 25 Paper Lorene and Evelyn Valentine's day care to Hubert
Wednesday 7-Feb-45 Lorene 25 VMAIL Got Radio fixed and Alvin and Martin buy Saw from Edgar Bremer
Thursday 8-Feb-45 Evelyn 17 VMAIL Spring weather, makes her think of gardening Vernon Krueger in France too.  Margaret and Casper engaged
Thursday 8-Feb-45 Vera 27 paper News of Vera's Boyfriend Russell (from Quincy Illinois) being wounded on Jan 15 in Belgium.  Teased Lorene about Mel's letter to Vera mentioning how much he enjoyed riding in the bus on weekends with Vera.
Sunday 11-Feb-45 Evelyn 17 paper Melvin Buescher takes typing and steno test, Viola ruth has new Spring Lambs.  Marvin Moening has a Schnelle girfriend. 
Sunday 11-Feb-45 Lorene 25 Paper She confirms receipt of Check for $52.00 GI payroll
Monday 12-Feb-45 Lorene 25 VMAIL Announcement of Karen Kleiboeker birth
Wednesday 14-Feb-45 Leona 35 Paper Mentions box Elda and Leona packed which contained: 3 cans of cookies, 1 smaller can with candy and nuts, 3 Hershey bars, 2 "Whiz" candy, 2 pckgs cigarettes and a little diary notebook. Letter from 823 W 55th
Thursday 15-Feb-45 Evelyn 17 VMAIL Alice and Karen arrive back home, Evelyn becomes "chief cook and bottle washer" as Lorene and Grandma are at Alice and Alvins
Friday 16-Feb-45 Lorene 25 VMAIL Alice and Karen arrive back home
Tuesday 20-Feb-45 Evelyn 17 paper Vera (Bobby) is at home helping Evelyn make cookies, and Evie "made a banana pie, an angel food cake, two batches of cookies, Mom (Grandma Hulda) is making 2 different kinds of bread".  Lorn has split two wagon loads and a truck load of wood. Evelyn has an itch to become a nurse.
Monday 26-Feb-45 August  65 paper "Yes Hubert I am praying for this war to be over every morning. even I wake up the first I think of is you, Poor Hubert, but I don't think it is far off and will that be a great day.  All we can do is keep on praying the Lord won't forsake us."
Monday 26-Feb-45 Evelyn 17 paper Evelyn writes about her fondness for "pretty feed sacks". She finds ones with"a blue background with a lil sailor and an anchor in white.  I'm going to make a dress out of them. I'm so thrilled over them.  Eveleyn sews an Apron for herself without mom's help.
Monday 26-Feb-45 Lorn 20 paper Sells Bull weighing 1400 pounds. "I haven't broken Jim yet but my intentions are good.  I put the bridle on him the other day but then I decided to drag wood with him for the first time, wouldn't be so good, so I turned him loose again. We are trying to sell Daisy, when we get her sold, then I'll have to break him. There won't be no getting around the bush then ha ha."  The chickens lay 160 eggs a day.
Monday 26-Feb-45 Martin 33 paper Heavy Sleet, Marilyn goes to Joplin for some shots. Martin "gathered corn all day" for his birthday
Tuesday 27-Feb-45 Alice Nelson Kleiboeker 29 paper Karen's birth, "Mommy I like baby. Mommy likes Baby? I kiss Baby, Mommy kiss Baby.  Baby's sweet" says older brother David.  "Hospital was so full I was glad to come home"
Thursday 01-Mar-45 Leona 35 VMAIL From 204 W Linwood (Elda's).  Mentions letters Hubert writes from ship. Asks about which army Hubert is in.
Monday 05-Mar-45 Alvin Kleiboeker 31 Telegram Complete Telegram: "Daughter Born. Family all well.  Letters received. Many thanks.  Alvin Kleiboeker"  
Monday 05-Mar-45 Evelyn 17 Paper Words from David, Hubert's 2 year old nephew.  "Snow all gone" "pony gave me a sleigh ride and I fall off" "I wanna help Daddy sow clover seed"
Thursday 05-Mar-45 Hulda 61 paper Hulda explains to Hubert where she lived in Germany, Seethal, Debenke and Lobsens and mentions towns of Mrotschen, and Nakel.  Nakel was the big town where they went shopping for Groceries
Monday 05-Mar-45 Leona 35 Paper "I don't know how long I'm going to stay down here but I'm in no hurry to go back to KC because I haven't started on a new job."
Monday 05-Mar-45 Lorene 25 Paper "Nie's Notes" Lorene mentions money received from Hubert, and that it is now in his bank account. "Boy David sure knows his geography.  He can show us on the map where Hubie and Verner are.  Also where Melvin Buescher is.  You should hear him say New Guinea".  Pastor Stuenkel preaches sermon based on letter Hubert sent to pastor. "We haven't sold any cattle besides the feeders and Jackie.  Lorn bought another bull Friday for $125.00.  I haven't seen him yet. We are selling 3 cull cows tomorrow, that black one next to Marg, a red one and one of the Veith Heifers.  Riddle had a bull calf, but she sure gives the milk - would like more cows like her.  The old sow had 12 pigs, now has 9."
Monday 05-Mar-45 Vera 27 paper Sent package with razor and blades, toothbrush and toothpaste to replace items he lost when he left his backpack in the fighting.
Wednesday 07-Mar-45 Lorn 20 paper Lorn mentions that sister Lorene keeps her pen hot by always writing to Buescher. Lorn does "not even write special letters to Lockwood anymore".  Lorn helps Martin J. Boettcher butcher some hogs. Someone wants to buy Daisy their horse. But offer was too cheap. 
Wednesday 07-Mar-45 Leona 35 paper Hubert promoted from private to Private First Class (PVC). Arno Kleiboeker moves to Miami Oklahoma to work at a defense plant. Oren Boucher takes over Arno's gas truck. Leona provides their Uncle Theodore's address in Neustettin, in case he gets that far in Germany
Wednesday 07-Mar-45 Evelyn 17 VMAIL Alvin and Lorn help the "Ranchers" butcher two hogs. New dresses for Easter and Evie's birthday
Thursday 08-Mar-45 Evelyn 17 paper Hubert promoted from private to Private First Class (PVC). 
Friday 09-Mar-45 Evelyn 17 VMAIL Evelyn listening to Abe Lyman's orchestra on radio. New mens organization at church, called Layman's League, Alvin is joining
Sunday 11-Mar-45 Vera 27 paper Congrats to Hubert for his promotion to Private First Class. Mentions box Leona and Vera made with baking soda and baking Powder so Hubert will have both next time he makes some pancakes
Monday 12-Mar-45 Evelyn 17 Paper Lorn and Martin broke Jim (the horse).  Selling Daisy the Milk cow, and listening to Dr. I.Q. Radio show.
Monday 12-Mar-45 Lorene 25 Paper Lorene says she got 4 letters from Hubert in one day
Tuesday 13-Mar-45 Leona 35 Paper Notes letters from Hubert about meeting Chaplain Grapatin.  Also that Hubert is getting letters and "some of the first were from Doris for I'm sure no one else's letters could do as much for your morale. Ha Ha!"  lLetter written from Vera's office at Camp Crowder while Leona is visiting. Long list of items they sent in a package including hershey bar, box of chocolate pudding, can of cookies, can of sardines, can of peanut brittle. Explains when to use baking powder and when to use baking soda.
Wednesday 14-Mar-45 Evelyn 17 Paper Planned shopping trip to Joplin on Weekend. David asks "No Hubie?" when his dad brings in the mail. 
Thursday 15-Mar-45 Evelyn 17 Paper Ted Spree visits Alvin's. Evelyn admits to reading Hubert's letter to Doris, about taking her for a ride in a jeep
Sunday 18-Mar-45 Evelyn 17 paper 11 Confirmands were examined in both English and German in church service.  Larry Schoen baptized. Vera celebrates her March 20th Birthday at home today.  "Mom, Leona, and Enny are at "rest camp", Bobby's typing a letter to Meta, Dad is peeling an orange, Don't know what Lorn is doing."  Evelyn "buys new shoes with her dad's ration stamp, and buys new hat to go with coat that Leona bought from Mrs. Kemper who had only worn it once or twice."
Monday 19-Mar-45 Lorene 25 Paper Lorn helps a new calf come into the world. "Lee and I filed letters today - yours and Mels". News that Vic is in the Pacific somewhere near "Butch"
Monday 19-Mar-45 Lorn 20 paper Sowing new seed, repairing fence during washouts and rain.  We sold Daisy. And broke Jim
Tuesday 20-Mar-45 Hulda 61 paper Hulda misses Hubert and his help with the Chickens.  Hulda is to receive 350 new chicks on April 12th.  Leona adds a postscript that Hubert owns the Pullets and they are laying 230 eggs a day, the most they have ever had. They are getting 30 cents a dozen for them. 
Tuesday 20-Mar-45 Vera 27 paper Vera note receiving letter from Hubie for her Birthday (3/20). Words about which army he is in , and Vera solves the puzzle, Hubert is in the 7th Army. Much confusion about Hubert being in the 7th Army, Third Division and the 7th Infantry Regiment.
Wednesday 21-Mar-45 Leona 35 paper Notes that letter from Hubert of March 10th arrived and Letter to Alvin's written on 27 Feb.  "That sure is a fine letter.  In fact all your letters are 'super-duper'.  Mom and I were over at Pearl Herman one day and she got out her letter you had written her on the boat.  She said 'I want you to read this, its the best letter I ever got in my life'.  So you see how your letters rate."  Lorene is cleaning closets, Lee describes in great detail the food in the box she is sending.
Wednesday 21-Mar-45 Evelyn 17 Paper Evelyn mentions that wooden shoes supposedly sent by Hubert have not arrived. Ironing all day at Alice's, then working at church to scrub down the sanctuary for Easter
Friday 23-Mar-45 Evelyn 17 Paper Nelson's Martin's and Alvin's will all be at dinner at August and Hulda's for Alice's baptism.  Alice was running temperture of 101.
Friday 23-Mar-45 Leona 35 Paper Letter written from Home and included in envelope that was sent by Lorene and Leona to Hubert.  Leona writes about Lorene misaddressing letters to Mel Buescher, using Hubert's address info.
Friday 23-Mar-45 Lorene 25 Paper "Nie's Notes" Lorene announces she is to be the godmother of new baby Karen who is to be baptized this coming Sunday.  "Mrs. Nelson will hold the baby, and Mr. Nelson and I'm the proud Aunt to stand up for her."  Martin buys new 2 disc John Deere plow for $175.00.  "Luther (a hired hand) dug a fox hole for us today.  Of course we put a little white building on it.  Get it?"  "Lorn is sitting by the radio and enjoying some nice music.  Reminds me of the times you used to do that".
Monday 26-Mar-45 Evelyn 17 VMAIL Arnold Doss passes away.  Karen Kleiboeker and Linda Kay (Eddy & Verna's baby) both baptized on Sunday March 25th)
Maundy Thursday 29-Mar-45 Evelyn 17 paper "Haven't heard from you all week. Hope we hear tomorrow."  Evelyn reviews her Birthday gifts (3/27 & 18th Bday)
Maundy Thursday 29-Mar-45 Leona 35 VMAIL Written from Home place, Mentions "...Chester Boucher has sold his farm to an Iowan.  I can't figure out what a man from Iowa wants with that place.  Dad thinks that his alfalfa field sold the place for Chester.  Isn't that just like Dad? Ha ha. "
Maundy Thursday 29-Mar-45 Lorn 20 paper Saw a wolf in Alvin's Strawberry Patch
Good Friday 30-Mar-45 Lorene 25 Paper Mentions Lyle, later Mel's sister Ruth's husband, Lorene says "Evie and Lorn are about to run us out of the house.  They've got that Old Victrola going, Mom said the cat's wouldn't sound worse"
Monday 02-Apr-45 Lorene 25 Paper End of Letter mentions Telegram Received about Hubert MIA
Monday 02-Apr-45 Lorene To Mel 25 Paper Lorene found out that day that Hubert was MIA.  Tells Mel the news

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