This slim volume contains about two-dozen letters sent more than 70 years ago by Edward B. Rowe, a University of Texas medical student in Galveston, to his friend Wanda, of Wortham, Texas.
Penned during 1942 and 1943, the original handwritten letters are reproduced along with typed copies for easier reading; a couple of Christmas cards and a Valentine’s card complete the collection. Rowe emerges as a dedicated, cheerful and hard-working student who also enjoys life, especially hunting and fishing, golf, tennis, sailing, swimming … and parties, of which there were many at med school!
Towards the end of the book, Karen Paysse Rowe explains that the man signing himself Ed was her late father-in-law. Wanda kept the letters for six decades, giving them to the author only after Ed died in 2002.
While these letters will most appeal to family and friends, a scattering of social and medical insights may interest and perhaps amuse others. Ed provides detailed yet informal accounts of his studies, operating experience and hospital training. “This next Thursday, I will go on obstetrics, and maybe I will get to deliver some young ’uns,” he writes good naturedly. He was in Galveston when the devastating Surprise Hurricane struck in July 1943 and recounts moving hospital patients to safety and later patching up people hurt in the storm.
Though Ed constantly references Wanda’s latest letters, we unfortunately know very little about her, what she’s writing, or how she feels about him.
Overall, the book would require more explanatory text to give the letters greater historical context and make them more relevant to general readers. As it stands, it’s a wonderful keepsake for Ed’s family and inner circle.
Also available in hardcover and ebook.