May 21, 2014

Sun, May 21, 1944: interesting yeoman

"Incidentally, I met a very interesting yeoman up at the regimental office while on duty Friday night from 8 to 12.  This little Puerto Rican chap, Arana, who stands about 5 feet tall and is probably 25 yrs. old, was a very likeable person.  I made his acquaintance when he plugged one of his former boss's books by suggesting that an idle messenger boy read Richard Halliburton's 'Seven League Boots.' It turned out that Arana had worked for Halliburton off and on between 1936 and 1939 - at the same time doing some college studies.  He had typed up the manuscripts for such best-sellers as 'The Book of Marvels,' one of Halliburton's many travel books, and besides that was a personal friend of the author...."

-- Letter from my father, Camp Sampson, N.Y., to his family, Bloomington, Kans., Sunday, May 21, 1944.  This is the only fellow sailor my father referred to by name in his letters from boot camp.

May 18, 2014

Thur, May 18, 1944: change of plans

"A change of plans has been made for me.  I won't be home on the 22nd. Instead I'll be paid with the company and sent to OGU (outgoing unit from which men go to school or sea) on May 23rd.  There's a reasonable chance that I'll be home later, but don't count too much on it and we won't be disappointed.  That's the way things happen in the navy..."

-- Letter from my father, Camp Sampson, N.Y., to his family, Bloomington, Kans., Thursday, May 18, 1944.

May 15, 2014

Sun, May 14, 1944: little colt

"Stanley says to tell you he and Daddy put a halter on the little colt this evening.  You had better be thinking of a classical name for a mare colt as they have not named it yet."

-- Letter from my grandmother, Bloomington, Kans., to my father, Camp Sampson, N.Y., Sunday, May 14, 1944.

Thu, May 11, 1944: tickled

"Dearest DeVere:-  Were we thrilled when we heard you were going to come home [on leave]!  In fact I was so tickled it was two hours after we read your letter before I could settle down to my work again."

-- Letter from my grandmother, Jessie Maybelle (Berger) Brown, Bloomington, Kans., to my father, Sidney DeVere Brown, Camp Sampson, N.Y., Thursday, May 11, 1944.

Wed, May 10, 1944: ball park

“Life here has had a few variations recently.  For example Monday afternoon our two periods of drill as well as our scheduled second hair cut or head shave were cancelled unexpectedly.  We were told to make a quick change from dungarees to undress blues with neckerchiefs - then they marched us off.  Our destination turned out to be the ball park, and to our surprise we were entertained with an exhibition game between the Sampson nine and the Baltimore Orioles, who are now running second in the International League. Baltimore either lacked the class of Sampson or else they didn't put much fight into this non-league game for the final score read 9 to 0 in favor of Sampson.  But then the man on the mound for us was none other than Johnny Vander Meer of two consecutive no-hit fame back in his days with the Cincinnati Reds....
"Monday evening I took in my first entertainment move in over a month.  It was "Higher and Higher" featuring Frankie Sinatra, and in the absence of a feminine audience the boys did an adequate job of supplying the usual sighs."

-- Letter from my father, Camp Sampson, N.Y., to his father, Bloomington, Kans., Wednesday, May 10, 1944.

Wed, May 3, 1944: fixing up things

“Daddy and Bato can't get into the fields so they have been fixing up things around here a little.  They put a new floor in the south half of the east porch and fixed new concrete most of the way around the cistern.  Yesterday they built a small pen south of the brooder house so if it ever dries up enough we will let the little chickens out.  Then to-day they also vaccinated some calves so they can take them up to the Clark pasture.  I think they are going to dehorn some calves in the morning."

-- Letter from my grandmother, Bloomington, Kans., to my father, Camp Sampson, N.Y., Wednesday, May 3, 1944.

Mon, May 1, 1944: damnable humiliations

"I'm no one to console a person because of awkwardness on my own part.  But a fellow of your intelligence and broad outlook on life needs none.  You will have many damnable humiliations, but will meet numerous personalities and be a leader among all of them.  There is no doubt that you now hold a record of being the most intelligent and best educated young man of your age to enter boot camp.  This will make you a natural leader and you can develop a philosophy which will be worth more than many more glamorous things."

-- Letter from Rip Tallent, Cape Girardeau, Missouri, to my father, Camp Sampson, N.Y., Monday, May 1, 1944.