A 22-year-old World War II soldier recorded himself reading a love letter to his wife while training at an Army base camp. Now, more than 70 years later, his family members have the chance to listen to that romantic message.
During World War II, Pepsi-Cola set up centers around the country, providing veterans with shaves, showers, a lounge to read, and even a place to record messages that would be sent to loved ones at home.
It was in Mississippi's Camp Shelby that Oscar Spaly recorded a one-minute message for his wife, Lois. “Hello sweetheart, I’m always thinking of you,” said Spaly.
“How do you like this record? It beats letter writing any day,” he continued. “So for the moment, your loving husband says, 'Bless you, love.'”
Spaly also describes his experiences while at Camp Shelby, saying “the country here is beautiful. And the air here is a tonic for my body.”
“Just wait until you see me,” he goes on to say “The boys I’m here with are tops. Real Americans from all over this God’s country.”
“With them around me all the time, it’s a wonder I get homesick at all,” he said. “The truth is, it keeps my thoughts from going back home.”
“Remember sweetheart, keep your chin up — keep writing,” Spaly says. Let me know about everybody and especially about you. What you’re doing, what you’re thinking.”
The 78 RPM vinyl record was shipped back to the couple’s home in Michigan in a cardboard envelope, in which it remained for years.
But in 2014, Spaly’s son, Doug, sought out a company in Ann Arbor, Mich., that would digitize the audio so he would finally be able to hear the voice of his young father.
“We consider it a privilege to have worked on such an important historical artifact from World War II and help the family preserve such a valuable part of its history,” Priceless Photo Preservation posted in a message online.
Although the recording had significant damage from scratches and warping, the joyful message is still clear.
Robert Spaly, the eldest son of Oscar, told Fox News his father was “the most affable and enjoyable person,” while the family grew up. Also, he "liked the military and the military liked him.”
When he looks back on his parents' relationship, Robert says “They were absolutely perfect parents; you couldn’t ask for anything better.”
After serving in Europe, Oscar Spaly joined the Army Reserve and retired as a major. He later went on to earn his master’s degree and opened up a real estate company that grew to become the Spaly Group, it is now run by his son Doug. Oscar died in 2008 at the age of 88.