George Edwin (Ed) Farrar had written to his family in Atlanta, Georgia on December 10, 1945. He stated in his letter that he would be leaving Chicago, Illinois on the 15th to come home for a family Christmas. I don’t know his method of travel. He may have traveled with another person by car, or perhaps by train. He expected to be home by the 16th of December. He sounded in high spirits and was looking forward to reuniting with older brother Carroll Jr. on the visit.
Carroll Sr. and Raleigh Mae Farrar had nine children, four of them boys. Carroll Jr. was the oldest and had also served with the Army Air Forces during WWII, but in the Pacific theatre. My dad, George Edwin, was the middle child and second son. Younger brother Bob was the third Farrar son to serve in WWII, in the Navy aboard the USS Intrepid. The youngest boy, Gene, was too young to join the fighting.
Raleigh Mae was excited about having most of the family home that year to celebrate Christmas and to celebrate that her three sons in WWII had all made it back home alive. Carroll Sr. was very ill and bedridden, but was anxious to see his boys back together again.
Youngest daughter, Beverly, who was only eight years old at the time, remembers that Christmas to this day. Bob and Carroll Jr. had arrived home first. Carroll Jr. decided the house needed some sprucing up and took to painting and wallpapering the interior. There were no decorations, presents, or even a Christmas tree, so instead of a festive holiday atmosphere, the house was a wreck with Carroll Jr’s paint and wallpaper supplies scattered about.
Six of the Farrar children gathered at their parents’ home for the holidays – Janet, Carroll Jr., Ed, Bob, Gene, and Beverly. Only three – Geraldine (Gerry), Martha, and Dorothy (Dot) – were absent. Ed was the last to arrive.
Carroll Sr. had been waiting to see his boys all together, home from the war. He had been holding off the business of dying, waiting for his sons to arrive. A few days after their arrival, Carroll Sr.’s condition worsened and he was taken to the hospital. Beverly was sent to a neighbor’s house, the Patterson’s, while the rest of the family gathered at her father’s hospital bedside. Carroll Sr. died at Grady Hospital on December 20.
Beverly remembers Carroll Jr. coming to the Patterson’s very late to take her home. He told her their father had died. She would spend her eighth Christmas, just five days away, without her father. Instead of planning a joyous holiday, the Farrar’s would be planning a funeral.
Christmas Eve came with no Christmas tree and no presents. After Beverly was sent to bed, older brother Gene, fourteen years old, walked over to North Kirkwood in search of a Christmas tree. The tree lot was closed, but he found a tree he liked remaining and brought it home. When Beverly arose on Christmas morning, she was surprised to find a decorated Christmas tree and a Christmas present for her, a pair of skates, under it.
Carroll Farrar, Sr. didn’t live to see that Christmas, but he did live to see what was much more important to him. He made death wait to take him until he saw with his own eyes all three of his sons who had survived WWII come together again for a family Christmas.
© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2014