Before Cpl. Jones was killed in action, he requested one last favor: that his diary be given to the woman he loved.
The soldier honorably gave his life in service to his country, shot by a Japanese sniper in the islands of the South Pacific. Before his death, Cpl. Thomas “Cotton” Jones wrote his “last life request,” instructing anyone who might find his diary to “please give it to Laura Mae Davis,” the girl he loved.
“I didn’t have any idea there was a diary in there,” said the elderly woman from Indiana.
Davis visited the New Orleans museum expecting to see pictures of her high school sweet heart. Instead, she was shocked with 70-year-old photos of herself!
Curator Eric Rivet decided to let the senior citizen take a closer look. Taking proper precaution, Davis worse white gloves as she flipped through the delicate, wrinkled pages. It was the first time someone ever found “themselves mentioned in an artifact in the museum,” Rivet said.
Davis explained the diary had actually been her gift to the solider, back in 1941 when the couple met at Winslow High School.
“He was a basketball player and I was a cheerleader,” she said.
One of the woman’s favorite memories with Jones was attending the senior prom together. That night, the marine thoughtfully gave Davis his class ring.
The very first entry in the journal is dated a year before his death.
“…my life history of my days in the U.S. Marine Corps … ” the statement read. “And most of all my love for Laura Mae for whom my heart is completely filled. So if you all get a chance please return it to her. I (am) writing this as my last life request.”
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Davis never received the diary, and always questioned where it had gone. After his death, Jones’ possessions were sent to Robert Hunt, the soldier’s nephew. The young man didn’t think it appropriate to send the journal to Davis, assuming it would cause strife in her marriage. According to her, it would’ve done quite the opposite.
“My husband and Tommy were good friends,” the woman explained.
Hoping to make amends, Hunt gifted Jones’ class ring and a few photographs to his uncle’s high school sweetheart. Before leaving the museum, Davis read the last entry in the journal, an imaginary and hopeful memory of Cpl. Thomas “Cotton” Jones.
If the U.S. marine were home…”Laura Mae & I would really have a wonderful Xmas.”