Dec 26, 2013

Bloomington, December 1943

My father, age 18, with my uncle Stanley, 10, and aunt Barbara, 15, at the family farm in Bloomington.  Dad was home on his second leave from the Navy training program in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, in late December 1943.

Dec 20, 2013

Mon, Dec 20, 1943: the ice

"He [Stanley] worked pretty hard on a book report he has to get in at school this morning so he could go down and play on the ice this afternoon and when we were eating dinner he said something about the ice and I told him I thought it would be to soft as the sun had been shining all morning or most of the morning and he hit the table with his hand and tears came in his eyes, he was pretty disappointed about it but soon got over it."
-- Letter from my grandfather, Bloomington, Kans., to my father, Cape Girardeau, Mo., Monday, December 20, 1943.  Stanley was my father’s 10-year-old brother.  Dinner was eaten at noontime on the farm.

Dec 19, 2013

Sun, Dec 19, 1943: out of trouble

"As I previously mentioned, we spent the weekend at home to keep from catching the 'flu.'  To keep us busy (and out of trouble) during that time they required each man to wash the walls of his room and wax the floor.  Clarence and I were hard at work on this assignment about the time Frank Sinatra and 'Your Hit Parade' came on last night."
-- Letter from my father, Cape Girardeau, Mo., to his family, Bloomington, Kans., Sunday, December 19, 1943.   My father was home on leave from about December 24 to January 2; so this was his last letter home in 1943.  His family kept all of his letters and numbered them, in part so he could have a record of his Navy years.  They numbered this last letter of the year "44."  (They actually had missed counting at least one letter.) So, on average, he was writing home 7 times a month, not counting postcards and not counting all the letters he wrote to friends and family members outside his immediate family.  He typically wrote home every Sunday and Wednesday.  He continued writing letters on Sunday throughout his life.

Dec 12, 2013

Sun, Dec 12, 1943: North Africa

"Ruby and Homer got word Jack has landed safely in North Africa.  He didn't write much and what he did write was partly cut out....
"All of us went to town yesterday to do our Christmas shopping.  The stores are rather empty looking and everything a person looks at seems rather cheap except when you price it, then you almost fall over."

--Letter from my grandmother, Bloomington, Kans., to my father, Cape Girardeau, Mo., Sunday, December 12, 1943. Jack Seal was one of my father's best friends from childhoodHe was the only child of Homer and Ruby, who ran the community store.  By this point in the war, the Allies had control of North Africa and it was a staging point for the invasion of Italy.

Dec 8, 2013

Wed, Dec 8, 1943: cattle interests

"Dear Stanley:
"The report you gave me on the farm livestock was very interesting.  So you're a hunter now!  Did you have the rabbits for dinner that you and Buzz killed?  And about my cattle interests -- I think I'd better appoint you to make a count of my animals.  After you mentioned the birth of a calf to my cow in the last letter.  I got to thinking that perhaps I didn't really know very much about my cattle.  So would you tell me how many cows and calves there are."

-- Letter from my father, Cape Girardeau, Mo., to my uncle Stanley, Bloomington, Kans., Wednesday, December 8, 1943.

Dec 5, 2013

Sun, Dec 5, 1943: home for Christmas

"Boy! Oh Boy! were we tickled when your letter say you would be home for Christmas.
"My little puppys have their eyes open and are getting bigger.
"We have all the corn shucked over at Ed King's and drove about 98 head over there.  We took your cow over there and it has a new calf.  Yesterday Buzz and I went hunting and got two rabbit, Buzz chased down one and I shot one with my B-B gun.  We chased a third one but didn't get him.
"In the last week old Buzz has got two possums, one in the chicken house and the other in a pile of brush."

-- Letter from my uncle, age 10, Bloomington, Kans., to my father, age 18, Navy V-12 program, Cape Girardeau, Mo., Sunday, December 5, 1943.

Sun, Dec 5, 1943: reviewing lineup

"Personnel inspection was made by the Commanding Officer at 8 A.M.  All four companies formed in front of the library, and we stood at attention while the CO checked every man in the outfit for unshined shoes, no shave, no haircut, lint on uniforms, etc.  I got a kick out of the reviewing lineup, as formed when it passed me -- first came Lieut Soderquist, CO; next Lieut. Morrissey, Ass't CO; third a yeoman; and bringing up the rear was a nondescript mongrel dog."
-- Letter from my father, Navy V-12 program, Cape Girardeau, Mo., to my aunt, Bloomington, Kans., Sunday, December 5, 1943.