Posted by: notsofancynancy | June 7, 2012

World War II, chapter 15, Finally

World War II


Chapter 15

This chapter finds my mom’s family settling into pre-war Pasadena, California. Just when you think my parents are going to hook up the Army whisks him to the boondocks of Alabama where the nearest town is 30 miles away.  According to, “It’s less than 1700 miles by car, border to border. (Alabama to California) Politically speaking, they might as well be on separate planets.” I bet my father felt like the politically speaking part of that quote. I know Dad did not have a car to get around. Well he has one but it is in Nebraska and I do not believe it would get him to Alabama, let alone 1700 miles to California. Besides the last time Dad has mentioned money he only had three dollars to spend for a month. My father would have had to catch a train or a ride with someone else. I can remember him talking about hitchhiking when he was on the California coast but 1700 miles, one way? How long would that take? Or there was always a bus. But even then if they only had a day pass or even a week pass he would never make it all the way to California and back. The closest town right now is 30 miles away. There are about 40, 000 men with nowhere to go. We find the Army keeping Dad busy.

Susie, Pop, and Vi

14 June 1943

Well at 6:30 in the morning we start for the field for a week that will be good anyway it will be different. It isn’t maneuvers.  Just going out there to live. Of course we will have some problems and such but it will be just Company stuff. Such as to 10 mile hikes and things like that. I guess they plan on keeping us going about day and nite [sic]though.

He goes on to talk about a friend of his named Madelyn. Someone Dad knew from California. Her mother passed away unexpectedly.  He had just received a letter a couple days before he wrote this letter saying she was gone. I guess while Dad was stationed in California he went to their house for dinner several times. This generous lady made Dad feel like he was at home. He is quite upset by her death.

17 June 1943

Guess where I am. Sitting here in my Pup Tent waiting to go on a 10 mile hike. And it is raining not hard but it has the makings of a good one. We have been in the field three days now and another had happened that’s very exciting. I am building flat tops for machine gun implacements [sic].  It should have taken me three hours and it has taken me three days and have figured it out so I can go back tomorrow. I guess we move back in Saturday morning then out for another week. Starting the first. This time we have to run the Ranger course you know with machine guns firing over your heads and all things like that. Sounds fun doesn’t it.  Darling you should see me. I have jiggers all over me and to top it off with I have poison oak coming on my face and one hand. Waite [sic] until tomorrow I will look like a bloom. Bob and I got permission to go into Camp last night to go to the dance. Was it ever hot. My shirt was so wet you could ring [sic] water out of it. And I only danced one dance. If I even watched the water just run. So I went outside  and waited for Bob. I wrote home and told the girl I went with I was going to get married on my furlough. I have not heard from her yet. I doubt whether I will but just in case (I hope) that is taken care of. Darling Bob said if I did he was or he and Madeline were going to call the whole thing off. He won’t but that’s what he said. I have 20 minutes to pack full field Equipt. To get ready for the hike so I better stop. Love always, Lefty.

18 June 1943

Guess what hon. I skiped [sic]a class walked ½ mile down in the woods just to write you. In fact I have skipped all the classes this morning. The first two I went to Camp then to the Service Club for lunch now this one. Are they ever in an uproar around here. I only have been to one all week. But have succeeded in getting something else to do. Such as checking camouflage nets where there wasn’t any and such. I did build some though. The Capt.  said I did a good job. I am still planning on coming out. I got my money from home. They think I am in trouble. But let them awhile. Don’t plan too much yet because Sis hasn’t had her operation and there is a rumor the furlough will be cancelled then. Of course I don’t know yet.

Dad does not say how much money he had saved up at home and is he asking for it so that he can use it to get married?

Lefty and Vi 1940’s

There are no letters for a month until 18 July 1943 but from the one on the 18th till the end of the month there are 12, one every day except the 20th and the letter on the 18th tells why. Dad got his furlough and went to see Mom in California. It seems like he might have swept her off her feet, finally.

Remember me. I am the guy who should have written a couple days ago but didn’t. Anyway we got through (back to camp) with only a few minor accidents. But it seemed every time I went to sleep we got lost. One time in Arizona just after we picked Lyman up I awoke and we were off someplace in the mountains (God only knows where) on a little old road. Or should I say cow trail. Well we ruined a tire there by hitting a rock. It was the new one we got on the way out. Well the spare lasted until we got almost to Ft Worth Texas. Then it blew out and Dick went into Fort Worth and got another. So we didn’t have much trouble but had so damn much monkeying [sic]around I was so tired when I got here I could have taken both Dick’s and Ruth’s head off. I drove all three nights and made good time. Then in the day they drove and had to stop about every hour. Everything seems about the same here though. I sure hated to leave out there but it didn’t effect [sic] me until that evening when I started driving. I could have cried. I really wanted to turn around and come back. Oh yes I got sideswiped the second night out. Got two of the prettiest rolled fenders you ever saw. It was lucky Ruth was awake and saw it wasn’t my fault. I was almost in the ditch when he hit me. He could have turned us over easily enough. I sure am glad you love me and like the ring. I wish it had been a big diamond but—-I do love you very much and wish the 2700 miles were only 27 so until I see you again will have to waite[sic]. I am glad the fellows at the office like the ring. I only wish the diamond could have been larger But you know me. I should have let you pick it. You know I have to pack to go into the field yet tonite [sic] so maybe I had better get started. I love you.

Sniff. Sniff. It seems he must have proposed and she must have said yes, if she is wearing an engagement ring. So I bet he had that talk with my grandparents. I wonder if they have set a date. My father seems so in love.

Eugene Lyman’s Autograph Courtesy of Marvin Cain’s Family

Richard Shelton Autograph Courtesy of Marvin Cain’s Family

I am not sure who the people he went with are, but he does have a sister named Ruth. I cannot imagine it would be her. None of the men have the same name as her husband and in 1940 she would have been married with two kids.  I did find a “Lyman,” a Eugene Lyman, of Del Rio, Texas on the 1945 Quartermaster roster. That would make sense as Dad talks about going through Texas on the way back to camp. There also is a Richard, which would be long for the “Dick” Dad mentions. There are other Richard’s but there are two clues that makes me believe it is this, Richard “Dick” Shelton that went on the run to California. Dad’s buddy Robert “Bob” Winter is listed in the Headquarters Platoon on the 1945 roster.  Both of these men are in the Headquarters platoon, although Dad is in the Third Platoon I know at this time they were all together. Second, Mr. Shelton was from Los Angeles, California and that is only 10 miles from where Dad was headed in Pasadena. Wow! That was fun! I am almost certain these are the two men that accompanied my father on that trip in 1943 from Alabama to Los Angeles, California. Richard “Dick” Shelton from Los Angeles and Eugene Lyman, from Del Rio, Texas.

Will Dad get another furlough before the army sends him overseas? Will they get married before he goes? When will he go? Stay tuned!

  ©  Copyright 2012 notsofancynancy


  1. Thanks for the like 🙂

    • Your welcome, thanks for stopping by in return.

  2. I wait for these entries to come to my mailbox, formally from Alabama, I enjoy location parts. I hope you are planning on getting this published. A great read. ajm

    • I hope to get them published some day and you have just given me one more reason why I should. I know Dad is smiling up in heaven. God Bless

      • I am certain that he is and very proud of you. I live by one rule taught to me by my great-grandmother; “Always Remember” and it is the title of a story I am writing. Keep up the outstanding work as you too “remember”. ajm

      • Wonderful words, thank you

  3. Thank you for posting these up. These give detailed insight on what was going on in a soldier’s life during that tumultuous time. Dances, humidity, minor accidents…

    • And a lot of training! There are so many of them it is hard to whittle it all down and include the good stuff. Thank YOU for stopping by and making it matter that I am doing this. The amount of letters is overwhelming some days. But I am trudging on and comments like this made it worth while.
      God Bless

  4. What a wonderful story – Good grief how we can get so much out of a good love story – the theme is so powerful. Thank-you for this story.

    • Thank you so much for reading and taking the time to comment. I cannot tell you how much this means coming from one of the “Greatest Generation.” Thank you for your service and sharing your own WWII story.

      God Bless

  5. I just smile all the way through each reading! I somehow feel like I can hear your dad’s voice. Today California to Alabama is nothing…but then? My goodness, you’re so right, it’s another planet. Think about how young these soldiers were to be separated from everyone and everything they knew and loved. THis is a beautiful journey! Debra

    • Thank you so much. And with each compliment on Dad’s story I feel like it is a hug. Thanks for the great compliment. I know Dad is smiling.

  6. I am enjoying your/his stories so much, I can’t even express. I, too, smiled all the way through this. I’ll admit, having a grandfather this age, I tended to see all vets as just that: old vets with grandkids. It’s so important for my generation to understand that they were young once (dare I say “hip”?), with all the big dreams and great loves all young people have. I have to share this with my husband (a sailor whose grandfather told stories of jumping out of planes but skipped the personal stuff, as most do). Keep writing and sharing – this IS special! Yay for love, no?

    • Well thank goodness for it or I would not be here. lol

      I am honored you would share it with any one. Thank you. I find it interesting when I read blogs from soldiers who are serving I hear the same frustrations as what Dad writes about in 1943 only ramped up to 2012 service. War sure has come a long way since then.

      Thank you for your families service.

  7. I’m on the edge of my seat now waiting for the next blog! So fascinating! Thanks so much for sharing your father’s history, Nancy!

    • I have said it before each compliment is like a hug from Dad, thank you as always for your support!

  8. FINALLY!!! It seemed like they kept having so many misunderstandings because of having to use written word instead of face to face!! I am so excited about the engagement!! As usual, cant wait for the next one!! =D Its scary to hear about him having to go through Ranger training with bullets zooming over his head. =( You provide us reality of war and love all in one!!

    • Thanks I don’t think I could make this stuff up! lol

      Thanks for your never ending support!

  9. So sweet, and romantic. I always tune in, and love your updates!!!

    • Thank you so much. I really am enjoying telling their story!

  10. Reblogged this on po11ycheck.

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