10 x 13” black string-bound scrapbook with a map of the White Sulphur Springs area of West Virginia pasted to the cover. The album is filled with correspondence Diane Curtis received from soldiers that she worked with during her time as a nurse's aide at Ashford General Hospital around 1944. There are several scraps of paper with poems, Christmas cards, and clippings pasted into the album, but the main focus is given to around 41 letters, most of which are still tucked into their opened envelopes. Curtis appears to have left her position at Ashford to return to school and the majority of the letters take place after this event, given that many of the men she corresponds with discuss her dislike of school. Correspondents include Merrick H. Bigelow, Alfred W. White, PFC Mathern. Some of the men who wrote to Curtis had left Ashford to rejoin the military, while others remained at the hospital. The men tell Curtis about where they are stationed, what they are up to, school, and even Curtis’ boy problems. Along with letters and poems from these men, there is also an envelope filled with magazine clippings of slogans that the men of Room 11 dedicated to their nurse's aide. A copy of The Ashford News (dated November 28, 1944) is also pasted into the scrapbook. Curtis’ membership cards for the Officer’s Club at Ashford General Hospital, and for Golf and Tennis at the Greenbrier Recreation Center are loose within the album. There are also around 16 black and white photos measuring between 2 x 1.5” and 5.5 x 3.5” pasted into the album, accompanied by handwritten annotations, which feature the area around Ashford and the men that Curtis nursed. One photo that is in an envelope in the beginning of the album, shows her giving a man a massage and written on the envelope is “Me rubbing Chick’s back.” There is also a copy of the Regulations for Nurse’s Aides and a pamphlet about the Lockheed P-38 Lightning.
Example of poems and letters sent to Diane Curtis:
Our Nurse’s Aide’s Kind Words
Beyond The Window, White Looked Out
Into The Sun. The Dressing Cart Rumbles Past The Door.
But In The Stillness Of His Room
White Isn’t Thinking Of The Busy World
He’ll Soon Be Going Back To—
He’s Thinking Of “The Nurse’s Aide’s”
Pleading Eyes And how her Anxious
Face Told him How Well He Was
For in Those Fevered Hours When No
Money Could Have Bought For Me
These Kind Words From “My Nurse’s Aide”
She Said Them For Me—
And He’s Remembering How Thankful
He Felt To His “Nurse’s Aide” For Having
Persuaded Him To Have Confidence
Letter from Joe Acer to Dee (July 21, 1944)
Received your card which was quite a surprise as I didn’t think I rated it.
Just to be specific I haven’t climbed that mountain, at least yet. There is a bit more to climbing mountains than I think you realize. Besides I would not be satisfied until I had climbed the highest one of that bunch and there are three smaller ones before it. Such a expedition would require several days preparation of rest to store up the required energy to be expended not to mention a few supplies in the way of a basket lunch. Leaving at 4:30 AM, I figure steady climbing with two hours out for make and rest, one might make the top of the forth mountain by sun down. Then we could not start back but would have to camp out for the night. Did you ever sleep with the ants and glow worms and other inhabitants of the night? It is quite an experience. After a good night’s sleep, I believe the journey back could be made the next day. Of course, this plan involves blazing one’s own trail right up and down each mountain—none of this winding around the side of the mountain like a spiral staircase. Are you still game?
Enough of mountain climbing, Dee. I worn out already.
How about being drafted. Well, you certainly would be welcome back at Ashford in the same capacity in which you left. But to be drafted back in any other outfit such as WACS or Waves or similar Wacky outfits I would not approve. For awhile I thought they were going to draft women into the Army, I was worried. The thought of it just made me angry. It is a disgrace to the country to allow women in such organizations as the WACS and the Waves. It is a mark of shame that so many men are physically unfit for military service that women should ever be considered in a military category. The present decline of the rigor and vitality of our national blood is a direct result of the mental and seasonal decay of the last thirty years and [illegible] the decline and fall of our great nation unless we wake up and become less selfish. But enough of my rambling on this matter.
Dee, do you recall that little, short, dark, spanish type of fellow, Robert Alvarez? He did not see you before he left and he is so sorry about it. Also he has just received a [illegible] operation and is not very comfortable altho he is improving. How about dropping him a card? A card from you would raise his morale 100%. He thinks the world of you as we all do. He is in ward 204 now recuperating.
Well that’s about all for now Dee. I going out to play a little golf now.
In closing, not that I [illegible] your worried about it, but just stay as sweet as you are and you need never worry about the man power situation.
God Bless You.
Letter from Malcolm to Dee (October 4, 1944)
Had not meant to answer your last letter but did want to let you know I appreciated the candy and book. Thanks so much.
I’m not being too outward when I tell you this, I hope. But I just don’t feel like writing any more, and when I don’t feel like writing, I hate to go thru it. It’s not your fault at all, because you were swell about writing me.
Please don’t think there are any hard feelings. I’ll always remember you as a very good friend, and a good nurse’s aide too. Best of luck and hope you receive your parent’s consent to come back here.
P.S. Gaylord came back from his furlough and says he is engaged but I doubt it. You know Gaylord!
Letter from ‘Al’ to Diane (November 21, 1944)
Oh! Oh! Is Tony around? Well, anyway I still think you’re a swell girl and I hope you don’t mind my saying so. I suppose by this time you must have seen Tony and I hope you two had a nice reunion. Did you cry on his shoulder—much? I wouldn’t blame you after such a long parting. If you will notice the postmark on this envelope, it was mailed in Wakefield, Mass. My good old home tour. All I’ve been doing is running around visiting my friends (and neighbors). Ha! ha! Really though I live among a fine lot of people and of course they were all glad to see me. I got 30 days home and it sure flys. When the train got to Alexandria, I thought, now if Diane were home I might be inclined to pay her a visit. See—I haven’t forgotten about you even though I haven’t written for quite some time. Well, I’ve been trying to stay sober and have for the most part succeeded but it’s pretty hard to refuse when everybody tries to be sociable. Today is lousy because it is windy and raining but I suppose I could be cozy in somebodys parlor tonight. Isn’t love grand. Tsk! ssk! I got the latter part of the summer to play golf and I sure did, improving my game considerably. I wish I could have been able to play when you were there then we could have both gone around. Anyway I guess I decreased my strokes and increased my vocabulary. @!$# dash! Ha! ha! I visited the place where I used to work and they all took the last hour of the day off just to welcome me back and the boss has invited me to a steak dinner along with the others and don’t think I’ll refuse. I just went to visit one of my buddys who happened to be lucky enough to get back too. He happens to be Italian so you know what that meant. His sister cooked up a dish of spaghetti and then came a nice big juicy steak with potatoes, beets, peas, onions, mushrooms and it was delicious. I’ve been out just about every night until 2 or 3 A.M. but I don’t mind that. I was out to visit my brother and his wife this weekend in Springfield, Mass. He works at radio station W.M.A.S. I was down at the station most every night. There is nothing elaborate about the studio but they sure make money. And while I was visiting I had a couple pictures taken so I will send one if they’re any good—and remember—you owe me a picture too! Regards to all the family and roommates. Always—‘Al’.