In the February 2014 issue of Mankato Magazine, Pete Steiner wrote an article entitled “Letters of the Greatest Generation”. Pete Steiner is the grandson of Jabez Lloyd (Cab Edwards). Jab and his wife Grace had three children; Robert, Richard and Millicent. The following contains excerpts from this article.
Pete’s cousin gave him a bound book of letters their grandfather Jab had written to his sons, Bob and Dick, while they were serving in the South Pacific during World War II. The series of 50 letters began in 1943. Pete wrote, “The letters have given me insights into J.A. Lloyd that I never had while he was alive. Perusing written family heirlooms, I felt like I was suddenly in a room with their authors again, hearing them speak.”
“Letters from home were crucial for troop morale during the long years of the Second World War. My grandfather, whom everyone called “Jab,” dictated the series of letters to his secretary, Ida Enstead. A lumberman who also operated a farm near Judson, Jab’s registered Guernseys each had a name. This letter to his sons is dated October 16, 1943: ‘Little Honey’, with her first calf, is now giving 36 lbs. of milk a day…We won’t be picking our corn until the latter part of this month…This week I should market at least 8 pigs…that average 350 lbs. …I want to tile the low places down where the willows are… The war would grind on another 19 months in Europe, nearly two more years in the Pacific. But after two years of U.S. involvement, my grandfather wrote optimistically, the war news has been very good. …If England, Rusia, and the U.S. can settle the difficulties that confront them diplomatically, I feel positive that the European war will be over before long. Still, there was worry: We surely are anxious to know where you are. …We have our maps (of the South Pacific) pretty near worn out.”
“My grandfather comes across as an astute businessman who liked to send encouraging news to his boys. Looking to the future, he wrote in one letter, I have so many ideas…about the lumber business. …Save every single dime you can, that’s the banker’s first consideration … you have to have the wherewithal. … There is nothing that can stop us if we really set our minds to it. …The ambitious, smart merchandiser is the boy that will reap the harvest in this post-war building boom.
“By mid-summer, a month after D-day, Jab would write, I don’t see how the war in Europe can last much longer, as they have this boy Hitler cornered from all sides. …You fellows in the Pacific are surely doing a marvelous job … progress … better than anticipated.” And yet the war in the Pacific would grind on for 14 more months.
The Lloyd brothers returned home safely after the war ended. Pete’s parents, Millicent (Mickee) Lloyd and Bill Steiner (a Marine officer who served at Iwo Jima) were married just two weeks after Bill returned home in January 1946.