Mon. Jan. 31, 1944
Dearest darling wife,
Here it is early in the morning, you are probably still sleeping. It isn’t too early because we got up at 5 and did our exercises, then I shaved, cleaned up and went to chow. Today is the day of our first test. Everyone is sitting at their bunks taking a last look at their books. You will probably say, why am I not studying too, instead of writing. I studied hard all weekend and I don’t have to rush to the book [at] the last minute. You can’t learn it in just a half hour. Oh! Oh! there goes the bell to fall out. See you at 12:30 noon.
Well, here I am after taking our test. I think I did fairly well. I have just finished chow and I’m waiting for the fellows to bring in the mail. Here they come. Nope, no mail, maybe tonight, I hope.
Coming back to the test, it wasn’t hard. We will get a pretty good idea as to what we got this afternoon. The teacher said he would go after one of the test papers so that we could answer them in class. Holy smokes, fall out again. See you at 5:30 tonight.
I hope you don’t get dizzy following me back & forth to school, but here I am back again. We went over the questions as I explained to you this afternoon. If my memory is good as to my own answers, I think I will get about 85 or 90% and that’s damn good. I hope I’m right. You have to be at least 90% average to get a Petty Officer rating. Maybe tomorrow they will have all the test papers checked. Ah! the mail man again. Gosh, I have to wait until he gets to the “L’s.” Too bad my last name didn’t start with an “A.” I would know right away. He’s getting to the “L’s” and is my heart going pitter patter. There he goes, Lamagna, Lamagna & Lamagna. Whoopee! 3 letters, one from you dated Fri. Jan 28, one from Aunt Edith & one from Aunt Muffie. That’s the most I ever got at one time. Will you wait just a few minutes while I read them? I will start on yours first.
OK. I read your letter so I will now answer it. Let me see what is the first question you ask. (1) Have I received the package & pictures? If you mean the cookies, candy & nail file and also my picture alone, with you, Anne, Millie, my mother & father…Yes.
Excuse me a minute but as I read on you have to admit we have the most cleverest little girl a couple could ask for. She must be a dandy kid to play with & enjoy. Sigh—— Funny, Aunt Muffie told me the same thing about Patty going to the mirror to admire herself. I think she wants to see if she is as beautiful as her Momma. Aunt Muffie got this information from my Dad. She also forgave me for not dropping in before I left. She understands.
If Patty talks fast when you say Bow Wow, I would lose a lot of time. Just like Sunday. I guess she wasn’t in the mood. But I did want to hear her say something. She may before long. After all, she is a chip off the old block. That’s me.
If you are going to do calesthenics, don’t do them in bed when your mother is sleeping. Ha! Ha! She can swear better in Italian than I can. Do them in the morning when you get up. That is when they do you good, not at night.
Gee, Ida, you must be getting awful jumpy with Patty. I mean, she scares you a lot. What you need is me home. I don’t think you would get so scared. So chin up, darling, watch yourself, too. I think Patty likes herself too much to get into real trouble. Now I guess you know how I feel when you fall or almost fall. You scare the life out of me. Especially when you were carrying. I think I lost 10 years of my life keeping an eye on you every second.
The telephone just rang and someone hollered Hap and it sounded like Pat. Boy, I got scared. You see, I am waiting for a call or telegram about the new arrival. I hope it’s whatever my mother wants it to be.
I can’t see any more questions. Wait, I will take another look. Yep, right at the end of the letter. You want to know what S.G. is at the end of Jo’s name. It simply stands for “Swell Girl.” I thought that she deserved a title, too. She has been good in writing to me and sending me cookies once in awhile. By the way, tell her when do I get my next batch. They come in nice in between meals.
I took another practice typing test this morning. A fellow timed me for 5 minutes. I didn’t finish the 5 minutes because the bell rang, but checked my work. I did 39 words a minute for 4 minutes. Only 2 mistakes. It probably doesn’t sound like a lot, but I am trying to get out of the habit of looking at the keys. You only have to do 30 words a minute to pass typing for “Storekeeper” anyway. So, I don’t have to worry about that subject.
Honest, this will kill you. Yesterday (Sunday), we had Chicken Cream pie for dinner. However they made it or what was in it is still a mystery. Almost everyone around the unit here that ate [it] had the shits. Laugh, I don’t think any of us slept last night. The fellows just kept running back & forth to the head. Someone would come back and holler, next. It wasn’t funny for some fellows. They went down to sick bay. They thought they were poisoned. But it was a big laugh in the barracks. You’re probably wondering about me. Funny, it never bothered me at all. My movements were as natural as any day. Honest, to listen to the barracks with the fellows farting from here and there you’d think they were all shitting in their pants. And, boy, what a stink! I got to some of the …big shots and they are looking into the case and see what the heck was put in the food. Or, rather, how it was made. Keep this to yourself because I would probably get into trouble. Maybe they don’t want anyone to know about it.
We are having a mild blizzard. It started late this afternoon. Everyone up here is surprised because every year at this time they have about 2 or 2½ feet of snow. Maybe you will get this snow soon. I notice everytime you mention how the weather was it is the same as here only a day or so earlier. That’s why I think you will have snow soon. Maybe you will have it by the time this letter gets to you.
I was going to the show tonight here at the drill hall. I saw the picture. It is “Hostages.” Ever since I have been in this Unit, I have seen every picture that they had. They wait until a movie has traveled all over and rent them for a song to show the servicemen. Last week “Sahara” played. You remember seeing that with me. Humphrey Bogart played in it. It was about fighting in Tunisia.
I have asked about being a swimming instructor. If I do get it, I will get an extra weekend liberty. That will make five instead of 4. I have to see the fellow tomorrow.
I just thought of something, did you forget to answer me about what I told you. I mean putting my picture in the paper, etc. Did you get the letter saying that or did you forget to answer me? Do you think it is a foolish idea? If you do, let me know. I just thought you would want a picture of me in the paper for your collection. Do you remember how “Lou Gehrig’s” wife kept all the clippings of her husband? That was the picture we saw with Gary Cooper as Lou Gehrig, the famous baseball player who knew he was going to die. Maybe I will be famous someday and you will have a collection of my activities. Ha! Ha! I think you would rather have me alive than famous & dead. Right!
If you notice, I am writing nice big letters to you. So big that I have to put them in 2 letters. If I was to put all the sheets in one letter, it would be too heavy. So I split them up. This way you get a lot of mail, too.
Four fellows just came in and gave a little drama on “amidship.” We are all gathered around writing and others playing cards. Their drama was awful funny. You have to hear it yourself to really enjoy it. I will try to explain it to you the best I can. Here goes.
Cast = Villain, Hero, Fair Maiden, & sound effects man.
The villain keeps hollering at the fair maiden for the rent, and she replies in a dainty quivering voice “I can’t, I can’t.” The sound effects man boos when the villain speaks and hurrays when the fair maiden talks. Then up pops the hero, who says in a very sissified voice, “I will pay the rent.” The girl puts her arms around him and says, “My hero.” The villain comes out with his curses, & the sound effects man hollers “Curtain, curtain” and “Applauses” and “Hurrays.” It was awfully funny. You really have to hear them in order to enjoy. Maybe I explained it well enough for you to get it. Did you?
Guess who just came in to say goodbye. Levine. He graduated and is leaving for Dearborn, Mich. That’s where Pelky is. The lucky dog. He is going to study advanced training in gunnery. When he gets through, he will be a gun captain on a ship. He missed being a Petty Officer by one man. He was the 16th highest man and they only rated 15. Because there are only 150 men in his class and they only take 10%.
What am I doing, will I ever stop talking. I have been writing since 5:45. I stopped awhile to smoke & talk to Levine. Now it is getting close to my bedtime. Daddy must go to bed at 9:00. That’s why he is so smart. He also gets up early in the morning.
I will have to split up this letter in two in order to mail it. It won’t fit in one envelope.
You can write & tell me how much you miss me. But when I tell you how much I miss you I also feel it awful bad in my heart & throat & eyes.
I will never never let my thoughts of you & Patty out of my mind. Lots of love, kisses, hugs, squeezes, scratches & —————— [long squiggly line].
P.S. I only weigh 130 now. Lost 4 more pounds.