Whenever my parents were separated, starting with when they became engaged to be married, my father would sometimes decorate the envelopes of his letters to her. Here, to honor the anniversary of their marriage in 1939, is a selection of envelopes.
The first are from when she was in medical school at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa.
They became engaged with the understanding that they wanted to be missionaries. They were hoping to go to China. They had not learned that the mission had a strict social stratification for its selections for China.
In 1942-3, they taught at Judson College in Marion, Alabama. The last weeks before I was born, my mother went up to Birmingham to stay with her mother.
When I was five months old, my father left for war. Here is the last photo, with my aunt Janet Jordan Tate who idolized him, my grandmother, Anne Whitehurst Jordan, my mother, Martha Jordan Gilliland, and me.
My father got to China, by way of the US Army Air Corps. He was stationed with the 14th Air Corps, the "Flying Tigers," in Kunming, China, and at a small base to the north. My mother took me and went to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, for two years.
Notice the date on this next envelope: a month after the atomic bombs, he had learned that he was to be demobilized. It was another six months, including three months on a troop ship, before he reached the United States,