|Sun. Nov. 21, 1943
Dear Ida & Patty
Answering your letter of Nov. 18. I’m glad your father takes an interest in Patty. I can feel that the both of you are well taken care of.
Don’t send mail by air. We haven’t seen a plane since we’ve been here. In fact, I feel like a spring chicken in a [coop]. When the owner throws a piece of bread in a corner all the chickens run in that direction. Then he throws a piece in another corner and they all run in that direction. We’re here, we’re there, and back. Then out and in. It’s going to be this way for seven weeks.
Ida, I told you on the phone that you could come down in five weeks. I was talking it over with Ed. Kiernan an he said it would be foolish because it is so far and that we would be home in 2 more weeks. So I’m willing to have you wait and see me when I come home. O.K. Then it will be more of a surprise.
You asked me if I missed Patty. That’s a foolish question, but I will answer it. Yes. Just as much as I miss you. I wanted to tell you on the phone but I was afraid I would cry and lose time. You told me that I would talk like this. I never said anything because you don’t know how bad I felt
You always wanted to know what I was thinking about. Well, do you remember me telling you that someday I was going [to go] away and [would] feel lost? Well, I’m lost now. I could see what was coming a long way back and kept thinking about it. I didn’t want to leave you because in some way or other I felt you needed me all the time. I just couldn’t see myself away from you. I picture you with someone else and it makes me get a lump in my throat, my heart beats fast and I feel sick. I’m afraid they wouldn’t try to understand you and treat you nice, like I tried to do. It sounds foolish but if I told you at home you would only laugh at me. When you read this you can laugh all by yourself. I suppose someday we will have to part but I hope it is when we’re very very old and gray so that we can go together.
I know that you have been a grand girl all your life and I have tried to do the best I could. So if we keep it up I think that we will always be happy. Please do not try to answer this because it was pretty tough writing it. It will only get me started again if you were to answer me so please write about other things. Just remember that I love you and always will no matter what happens.
I’m sending you a sheet with the list of stuff they gave us to put in a locker about 20 inches square and 30 inches high. Everything has to be folded and put in its proper place. Boy what a job.
I’m also sending that bill back to you. [change of pen] I don’t think that it is too much. But it is just for you. Seeing that no one is willing to help I don’t want you to do it all by yourself. So I am sending you some money. I don’t need it. So take it and pay this bill. When I come home maybe I will sell the car and let you have the money. Please take it and do as I say. I had to buy some ink. How do you like the color?
I want to explain a few terms that we have down here. For instance, if you want the fellows to shut up, you say, “Knock it off.” Everything is termed just like a ship. When we wash the floor it’s “squabbing the deck” [otherwise known as "swabbing the deck"]. When we get up in the morning they say “hit the deck.” We call each other “Mates.” A lot of the fellows that came back from [their] week’s leave, they call them “Shark bait.” It gives you the jitters. Right now I am a “Skin head” because I have had my head shaved.
We passed our general inspection Sat. That’s getting off to a good start. If you don’t they are after you all the time.
I don’t want to say too much, in fact I think I’ve said enough.
For Ever & Ever
P.S. Have Patty write to me.
Posted with permission.