WWII and A Long Distance Romance

My artist parents met at Pratt Institute Art School the year my Mom, Adele Innes, became a freshman in 1942; she was just 16.

Adele Inness Pratt067My Dad, Bernard Safran, was already in his third year at Pratt, and was by then considered one of the stars of the art school (especially for drawing); he was just 18.

My Dad - Bernard Safran at Pratt Institute Art School

She told me that she idolized Bernie – he was handsome, friendly and talented.

I was never told any stories about how they met that year, though there is a small drawing by my mother of people dancing and drinking and the words “How We Met” on it from an old scrapbook that my mother kept – so let’s assume they met at some college party.

Dad received notification in December 1942 that he would be drafted into the US Armed Forces. And in the spring of 1943 he was called up for service and went into basic training at a camp in Richmond, Virginia.

Marching Papers 1943

Dad’s marching papers

As soon as he left Pratt the letter writing between them began.

Bernie with canteen and rifleWhen Dad had a furlough and he got home to Brooklyn for a short visit before shipping out to Asia, he and my Mom had their first date.

She illustrated a page for her scrapbook with what reads like a diary entry so she could have a lasting record of that first date.

Adele and Bernie their first date illustration

Adele’s romantic watercolor illustration and diary entry

Adele Safran and Bernard Safran first date photo c 1943

First Date 1943

Dad was then sent overseas; first to India, then to Burma (called Myanmar now) and finally to China. He was on active duty til the end of WWII.

My parents wrote to each other the whole time; they sent each other long letters and photos…

Bernie Safran in his army tent in China 1943 looking at Adele

Dad sent this photo to my Mom – it shows him in his army tent in China looking admiringly at her pictures. (notice he’s already smoking a pipe)

Bernie Safran in his army tent in China 1943 looking at another girl

Okay – so here’s my faithful and ever loving Dad posing the same way for some other girl. I guess you can’t blame a soldier for keeping his options open. But notice how someone (?) damaged the photo – ?

My mother told me once that they really got to know each other through their letters despite being apart for so long.

By the time my father was decommissioned and returned home to Brooklyn, they both knew that they were for each other.

My father finished his final year at Pratt along with my mother who was by then a senior, and soon after they got married.


2 thoughts on “WWII and A Long Distance Romance

  1. I am a massive fan of your fathers work and really enjoyed this insight into his world, his art and his family life during that time. Is very rare to get so much first hand information on artists who painted in the genre in which I am interested . I will have to admit to being a fan of his pulp art during the early fifties, I know he later done some stunning work but it is the pulp period which really excites me and many other pulp art collectors. I do not own any original works by your dad (I would need deep pockets) but I do own many digest books by publishers by Croydon & Stallion and am always looking to add to my collection, I have a section dedicated to your dad on my ‘Ipernity’ page, here is the link http://www.ipernity.com/doc/372207/album/509149/@/page:2:9
    Once again thanks for sharing your memories and good luck to you and your family .
    Kind regards.
    Mick Cocksedge

    • Hi Mick – thanks for your comments. I checked out your online collection of my father’s Pulp Fiction covers and its pretty thorough and I really appreciate that – I have only a few images myself from that period. Happy to know you’re reading this blog…. Betty

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