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Mrs. Henson Writes to Mrs. Buslee

On February 1, 1945, William Alvin Henson’s wife, Harriet, wrote a sympathy letter to John Oliver (Jay) Buslee’s mother.  The Buslees had just learned on January 28 that their son had been killed on September 28, 1944 in the same mid-air collision between Lead Banana and Lazy Daisy that claimed the life of William Henson.  Harriet had learned of her husband’s fate just two days before Christmas.  It was her infant daughter’s first Christmas, a holiday she would never be able to celebrate with her father.

February 1, 1945

Dear Mrs. Buslee,

I am so sorry that I have to write this letter. I had prayed that I wouldn’t, because, to say the least, it isn’t very pleasant.

Mrs. Buslee, to say I am sorry is trite, but I really am sorry. To lose a son is different from losing a husband (presuming that we have), and since I have my little girl I feel that I can sympathize with you more, because I just don’t know what I would do if something happened to her.

It isn’t human nature to give up hope. So please don’t, I haven’t. I asked God to bring Bill back to me and I believe He will. Bill has to come back and see his little girl.

Give my best regards to Mr. Buslee and your daughter, and know that I am thinking about you. I feel so close to you even though I do not know you. Maybe when Jay and Bill get back, we can all get together and have a gay time.


Harriet Henson

Thank you to John Dale Kielhofer, nephew of John Oliver (Jay) Buslee, for sharing this letter from Harriet Henson to his grandmother.

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2014