Based on the letters of Earl Philip Reinhalter (1922-1953). Edited by his son, Earl Philip Reinhalter (1950-).
< NARRATIVE CONTINUED FROM POSTWAR: 1945-1953 >
In the years to come, Yvonne would marry and have three children. Kitty, already married by 1953, also had three children. Phyllis (“Phus”) remained single, forever known by her nephews and nieces as their beloved Aunt Phyllis.
Loretta married twice more. She bore no other children, but was stepmother to several boys during her third marriage. She made up for quitting high school by earning her high school equivalency certification (GED), and then received a B.A. in philosophy from Pennsylvania State University (“Penn State”) on August 18, 1984. She was an extra in the 1998 John Waters movie Pecker, appearing briefly in one scene in which she walks up to a pizza parlor where there is a photo exhibition and looks in the window.
Philip Jacob Reinhalter (“Phil”) (May 6, 1887 - August 5, 1958)
The death of my grandfather, who I knew as “Poppy,” resulted in many changes for the family. Phyllis (“Phus”) moved out and got her own place. Also, the large family Christmas parties ended. The last one must have been in 1959. I recall that everyone was doing the twist, a dance craze which was popular that year.
Catherine Evelyn Reinhalter (February 11, 1900 - April 26, 1985)
After Catherine Reinhalter died, Yvonne continued living in the house at Sulphur Spring Road for a time. Then, for several years she rented it out while she was living in California with a man she had met through correspondence and married. My father’s war memorabilia had been left behind, stored in a closet. Upon her return in 2001, Yvonne discovered that many things were missing, including my father’s home movies and Purple Heart medal. During my visits there in 2018 and 2019, I was also unable to find his original 1942 audio record (which I had fortunately copied to cassette years earlier). His correspondence course certificates, likewise, were gone. But the letters remained. Yvonne gave them to me, along with the album of my father’s wartime photos, on September 24, 2018.
Phyllis Marie Reinhalter (“Phus”) (September 4, 1913 - March 25, 1998)
Loretta Joanna Antczak (February 8, 1931 - April 30, 2012)
Loretta died after a long physical decline. In her final months, she had been at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, followed by a stay at a rehab facility, which is where she died of heart failure.
Catherine Christine Reinhalter (“Kitty”) (May 5, 1923 - August 8, 2012)
Kitty died after a short battle with uterine cancer. Her body was cremated, and her remains interred at New Cathedral Cemetery.
Yvonne Cecille Reinhalter (June 9, 1935 - August 21, 2019)
At the beginning of this story, Yvonne was the youngest member of the Reinhalter family. Eventually, she was the eldest, the last surviving member of the family that lived at 4408 Frederick Avenue during World War II.
She laughed and said, “That is precious.” Putting the card back in the envelope, she remarked, “And I bet it's my last one. I do. It's my last one.” Referring to the video that I was making, she added, “You can play that next year and remember what I said.”
Two months later, she was in the hospital, followed by a week in a rehab facility, where she died on the morning of August 21st.
Like Father, Like Son?
Like my father, I also served three years in the U.S. Army. Similarly, I joined the service rather than wait to be drafted, so I could choose my specialty. I wanted to learn electronics, so I opted for the Signal Corps. I too served in Asia, only this time the war was in Viet Nam. On the flight overseas, my plane made a refueling stop in Tokyo, and later in my deployment I took R&R in Sydney, Australia, so I partly retraced my father’s footsteps. Like him, I had an army buddy from Baltimore named Fred. By coincidence, Fred’s father was named Earl, while my step-father at the time (my mother’s third husband) was named Fred.
NOW AVAILABLE AS A KINDLE BOOK!
The Kindle book includes Earl Reinhalter’s World War II letters; all 23 issues of the unit’s wartime newsletter “The Squadron Pulse,” which was originally edited by Leonard Stringfield; all 12 issues of the “Pennant Parade” newsletter that Stringfield published while sailing home after the war; complete text of the U.S. government booklet “Pocket Guide to Australia,” which soldiers heading Down Under were given to read; more than 200 photos; pre-war and postwar family history; and over 700 explanatory endnotes.
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This page established: October 9, 2020 Last updated: May 5, 2023
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