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The Ring – March 11, 1948

To review:  On March 8, 1948, the Buslees wrote to both Mr. B – the translator living in Texas – and Z – the finder of the ring.  In the letters they identified themselves as the parents of Lt. John O. Buslee, O-764209, who lost his life in a plane on a mission over Magdeburg, Germany in September 1944.  They also confirm that the ring in question is their son’s ring.  In addition to wishing to get the ring back, they ask for information about the crash that took their son’s life.

Mr. B writes the following letter back to the Buslees.

Mr. B
Richmond, Texas
U.S.A.

March 11, 1948

Mr. and Mrs. John Buslee,
Park Ridge, Ill.

My dear Mr. and Mrs. Buslee:

To-day I received your letter and am answering at once. I am writing to Z in Czechoslovakia too and at the same time, but—I don’t know if the letter will reach him. You know, dear Mr. and Mrs. Buslee, what happened in that little country I was born, last couple of weeks – the red murderers took Czechoslovakia over – and I did not receive any mail.

Your letter, dear people, touched us – me and my wife – so much, that we were not able keep our tears back-! Your sorrow is our sorrow-! You don’t know how happy I would be, if it would be possible for me now, to get the ring for you, because I DO know, how you would be happy and how you would esteem it.

The way it looks to me now is, that the red murderers, who took Czechoslovakia, do not let the peoples even write the letters to USA, and I don’t believe it would be possible for Z to mail the ring now. But, I got an idea, how it would be possible to get the ring and I will return to this below.

First I would like to tell you, that I do not know Z. I have some friends in the same town where he is, and all my letters to Czechoslovakia I furnished with nice American stamps, the “flag stamps”. And it so happen, that he have soon one of my letters and because he is a stamp collector, my friend gave him my address and he asked me for the stamps and in the same letter he asked me, if I would be able to find out you.

I am enclosing his first letter and you better send this letter to the American Embassy too, so they will understand better what it is all about. So I am very sorry, dear Mr. and Mrs. Buslee, that I am not able tell you anything about your beloved son. All I know is, what Z wrote to me, that is, that the plane came down Sept. 24, 1944, near a town about 50 km from Magdeburg.

“I worked” – he write – “near by, and came to the plane sooner than the German did. The plane came down in flames and none of the flyers were alive.” Then he write, he found the ring with the name and number and he ask me, if it would be possible to find out his family, that he would be glad to send them the ring.

I don’t know this man, but I do believe, he is an honest man. You know, Mr. and Mrs. Buslee, it all could be finished already if it would not be so much red tape. Soon, as I got the letter from Z, I went to the Veteran Service Officer here in Richmond and asked him for help.

He wrote at once to the Adjutant General’s Office, but they told him, “It is a long established policy of the Department to protect the privacy of the next of kin of former military personnel.” Well, I do understand this, but in this case, if the Adjutant General would send your address, you would have the ring long time ago. Of course, nobody knew, what would happen in Czechoslovakia. But now, here is my idea, now – I hope – would be possible to get the ring for you. I am SURE, Z will be glad to send you the ring. If he would be not, he would not ask me to find out the family of that flyer.

Please, write a letter to: American Consul General, Prague, Czechoslovakia., and tell him all you know, now you got the information about the ring, and it would be wise, to enclose the letter which Z wrote to me. It is written in Czech, but they have translators in the office in Prague, and asks the Consul General, to ask Z to send the ring to the Consul General and he will deliver the ring to you. It will be possible for the Consul General to do this, because I believe, those red murderers would not dare to open diplomatic mail.

You don’t know, dear Mr. and Mrs. Buslee, how happy I would be, if you would get the ring. I know, it would be great ease for you. And I do all I am told, to get it for you -! I will write to the president office in Prague, and I will beg President Dr. Beneš, to help me and, if the komunists will not kill him before that, – like they kill Jan Masaryk last Tuesday – I am sure he will help us too.

I am asking Z, if he will get a letter from American consul in Prague, and the consul will ask him for the ring, just to send him the ring, because I did arranged it this way, and please, Mr. and Mrs. Buslee, ask the American consul, when he will ask Z for the ring, ask him to enclose Z a letter, /which he wrote to me and I am enclosing to you/ so he will be sure, that the right people get the ring.

I am closing, dear Mr. and Mrs. Buslee and I wish, you believe, how happy I would be if you would get the ring-!

With great respect for you,
I am sincerely yours:
Mr. B.
Richmond, Texas

Handwritten addition to the above typed letter:
P.S. Please, send the letter to the Amer. Consul General in Prague Registered and Air Mail (15cents half oz., 30 cents one oz. and 20 cents registry)

This transcription is a careful reproduction of the original except for occasional spelling and punctuation corrections. Some names have been masked to protect the privacy of those individuals and their families.  In some circumstances, based on relevancy or a desire to mask locations, some material may not have been transcribed.

Thank you to John Dale Kielhofer, John Oliver (Jay) Buslee’s nephew, for sharing these letters with me.

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2014

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The Gift of Dance

Researching and writing about the men of the 384th Bombardment Group of the 8th Air Force during WWII has become my favorite hobby.  But on this Christmas Eve, I’m going to take a break from my dad’s WWII story.  It will resume again next week.

For the past couple of years, my other favorite hobby has been line dancing.  I live in an “active adult” community where dancing is one of the most popular activities.  I have two instructors who are very passionate about sharing their love of line dancing with other residents who want to learn.

Jeri became the community’s first resident line dance instructor about seven years ago.  Her husband, Gerry (yes, Jeri and Gerry), manages the music and sound system.  Amy started out as a student and became an instructor herself.  Jeri teaches the beginner and low intermediate dancers, while Amy teaches the intermediate and advanced students.  I wrote a little poem for them this year for Christmas.  I shared it with them and about 140 fellow line dancers at our annual Christmas party this year.  Now I’d like to share it with you.

“The Gift of Dance”
by
Cindy Farrar Bryan

‘Twas just before Christmas, when all through the ballroom,
The music was playing, Amy upping the volume.

Line dancers gathered at once on the floor,
While other arrivals streamed in the door.

I thought back of my choices in my Stone Creek start,
Deciding between bocce, dance, cards, or art.

My first dance class at Stone Creek was two years ago,
I loved the commercials and, even more, loved the show.

Mr. Gerry had the sound and music all set,
He had everything perfect, on that you could bet.

Jeri said “You don’t need a partner, just make a line,
And I’ll show you your first step, a simple grapevine.”

A few steps more and that was the Electric Slide,
I felt almost giddy with the way I could glide.

Then came coaster steps, jazz boxes, and twinkles,
With crossed legs, Jeri said “They’re twinkles, not tinkles.”

Then I learned a rhumba box is a square,
And line dancers don’t sit in their rocking chairs.

I was learning to dance, I could hardly believe,
And then Jeri tried to teach me to weave.

I eventually got that step and more,
And began to wonder what else was in store.

For a line dancer like me, hungry to learn,
It was Amy’s class where I learned how to turn, and turn, and turn.

Turning and kicking and shaking her hips,
Amy’s moves are like watching a total eclipse.

Filling my brain with too many steps,
Amy’s dances left me confused and perplexed.

Practice, and practice, and practice again,
I’m not learning one dance today, I’m learning ten.

The music’s familiar, I know one part,
I love that dance. How does it start?

Santa’s reindeer are Donner, Vixen, Dasher and Prancer,
Blitzen, Comet and Cupid and, my favorite, Line Dancer.

The night before Christmas, our gifts they will bring,
New dance shoes, potato chips, M&M’s, and some bling.

I think of line dancing for the last time this year,
And silently have to hold back a tear.

I can’t wait for January, but while I have the chance,
I say “Thank you, Jeri and Amy, for the gift of dance.”

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2014

The Ring – March 8, 1948 – Letter to Z

To review:  On February 20, 1948, the Buslee’s had learned that their son’s Air Force ring, a gift from them, had surfaced in Czechoslovakia.

On March 8, the Buslee’s wrote to both Mr. B – the translator living in Texas – and Z – the finder of the ring.  Last week’s post presented their letter to Mr. B and this week’s post will present their letter to Z.

411 Wisner Avenue
Park Ridge, Illinois U.S.A.

March 8, 1948

Dear Z:

Your letter of December 22, 1947 to your friend Mr. B was forwarded to us through the Adjutant General’s Office so that we could personally get in touch with you and Mr. B. This correspondence has just been received by us.

We are the parents of Lt. John O. Buslee, O-764209, who we were informed lost his life in a plane on a mission over Magdeburg, Germany in September 1944. Yes, it is his ring which you describe and now have. We gave it to him as a gift before he went overseas, and we would be very happy to have it back as a keepsake.

Z, it would be wonderful if you could help us get the ring back and write to us and tell us all you know about our son, the condition of the plane and, if possible, if our son and the rest of the men were dead when the plane reached the ground. Any news you can tell us we will be thankful for.

The Government has never been able to tell us anything about him due to the fact that the plane came down in enemy territory, so you can well imagine how word from you will help to ease our broken hearts. He was our only son.

We are so grateful to both you and Mr. B for your effort in trying to locate us and we assure you we shall always remember your thoughtfulness.

We will gladly reimburse you for any expense you have in returning the ring to us.

We patiently await an early reply from both of you gentlemen and our sincere thanks to you both for your kindness.

The anxious parents of John O. Buslee.

Sincerely yours,
Mr. and Mrs. John Buslee
411 Wisner Avenue
Park Ridge, Illinois, U.S.A.

Notice that the Buslee’s did not specify the date in September 1944 in which their son lost his life.  They were probably perplexed, as I am, as to why Z reported the date in his letter as September 22 instead of the actual date of the mid-air collision, September 28.  They chose not to correct the date or pursue any line of questioning regarding the date.  Were they skeptical, as I am, with Z’s claims, considering the inaccurate date?  Skepticism only goes so far, though, if Z actually has the ring.

This transcription is a careful reproduction of the original except for occasional spelling and punctuation corrections. Some names have been masked to protect the privacy of those individuals and their families.  In some circumstances, based on relevancy or a desire to mask locations, some material may not have been transcribed.

Thank you to John Dale Kielhofer, John Oliver (Jay) Buslee’s nephew, for sharing these letters with me.

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2014

The Ring – March 8, 1948 – Letter to Mr. B

To review:  On February 20, 1948, the Buslee’s had learned that their son’s Air Force ring, a gift from them, had surfaced in Czechoslovakia.

On March 8, the Buslee’s wrote to both Mr. B – the translator living in Texas – and Z – the finder of the ring.  Today’s post will present their letter to Mr. B and next week’s post will present their letter to Z.

411 Wisner Avenue
Park Ridge, Illinois

March 8, 1948

Mr. B
Richmond, Texas

Dear Mr. B:

The letter you wrote to the Adjutant General Charles D. Carle, was in turn mailed to us so that we could personally get in touch with you and Z. This correspondence has just been received by us.

We are the parents of Lt. John O. Buslee, O-764209, who we were informed lost his life in a plane on a mission over Magdeburg, Germany in September 1944. Yes, it is his ring which Z describes and now has. We gave it to him as a gift before he went overseas, and we would be very happy to have it back as a keepsake.

Mr. B, it would be wonderful if you could help us get the ring back from your friend, Z. We would appreciate it very much if you would get in touch with him at once, as you suggested in your letter and write to us and tell us all you know about our son. We are also sending a letter to Z with the hope that he will write and tell us all he can about the day he saw the plane, the condition of it, [and how many men were in the plane,]and if possible, if our son and the rest of the men were dead when the plane reached the ground. Any news you can tell us, Mr. B, we will be thankful for.

The Government has never been able to tell us anything about him due to the fact that the plane came down in enemy territory, so you can well imagine how word from you will help to ease our broken hearts. He was our only son.

We are so grateful to both of you men for your effort in trying to locate us and we assure you we shall always remember your thoughtfulness.

We will gladly reimburse you for any expense you have in returning the ring to us.

We patiently await an early reply from both of you gentlemen and our sincere thanks to you both for your kindness.

The anxious parents of John O. Buslee.

Sincerely yours,
Mr. and Mrs. John Buslee
411 Wisner Avenue
Park Ridge, Illinois, U.S.A.

I have two copies of this letter.  One is typed and one is handwritten.  In the handwritten draft of this letter, the Buslees also asked how many men were in the plane.  I have included that text above in brackets.  I assume that the typed letter is the one sent to Mr. B and the Buslee’s decided to leave out the question of how many men were found in the plane.

This transcription is a careful reproduction of the original except for occasional spelling and punctuation corrections. Some names have been masked to protect the privacy of those individuals and their families.  In some circumstances, based on relevancy or a desire to mask locations, some material may not have been transcribed.

Thank you to John Dale Kielhofer, John Oliver (Jay) Buslee’s nephew, for sharing these letters with me.

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2014

The Ring – February 20, 1948

To review:  On January 28, 1948, Mr B sent a letter to the Adjutant General’s office in St. Louis, Missouri.  He requested that his enclosed letter be delivered to John Oliver Buslee’s parents.  It took three weeks for a letter to be drafted and sent to the Buslees.  Along with Mr. B’s letter was this one from Colonel Charles D. Carle.

DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY
OFFICE OF THE ADJUTANT GENERAL
RECORDS ADMINISTRATION CENTER
ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI

In reply refer to:
ACRS-CD-S 201 Buslee, John O.
(28 Jan. 48) 764209

20 February 1948

Mr. John Buslee
411 N. Wisner Ave.
Park Ridge, Illinois

Dear Mr. Buslee:

The inclosed letter is forwarded to you for whatever action you deem appropriate inasmuch as it is the policy of the Department of the Army not to furnish the address of the next of kin in order to protect their privacy.

Sincerely yours,
Charles D. Carle
Colonel, AGD
Commanding

1 Inclosure
Ltr dtd 28 Jan 48

Imagine the Buslee’s surprise upon receiving the letter from Mr. B and hearing that their son’s ring had surfaced, and in all places – Czechoslovakia.

This transcription is a careful reproduction of the original except for occasional spelling and punctuation corrections. Some names have been masked to protect the privacy of those individuals and their families.  In some circumstances, based on relevancy or a desire to mask locations, some material may not have been transcribed.

Thank you to John Dale Kielhofer, John Oliver (Jay) Buslee’s nephew, for sharing these letters with me.

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2014