Posted by: notsofancynancy | September 20, 2012

World War II, chapter 30, Shoo Shoo Baby

World War II

Shoo Shoo Baby

Chapter 30

The Andrew Sisters Courtesy of Wikipedia

To enhance your reading experience, follow this link (Click Here ) and listen to the Andrew Sister’s sing “Shoo Shoo Baby.” It really allows you to get the feel for the era. Dad mentions this song in this first letter.

Still in Tennessee and still cold Dad and his fellow soldiers are wading through mud and muck to get through the “problems” the Army has arraigned for them. What will they come up with next?

20 December 1943

Dearest Sweet. How is everything tonight. I hope you are not as happy as I. If so we are sure in a bad mood. I guess everything happens to me. Don’t ask me what because it would take a year to tell it. We haven’t been doing much only waiting and hoping this won’t be lasting so much longer. It seems to be getting a little chilly again tonight. But of course it isn’t as cold as it was. As I said waiting. All the trucks are out for the duration of the problems and we are hoping it ends tomorrow or Wednesday. So we can get everything moved by Friday and then we can have Xmas day off. It doesn’t make much difference though because time passes much faster if we are doing something. Just think though this is the fifth problem. Only three to go and then back to civilization for a couple of months. Then to (God only knows where). Sure wish we would come west again so we could have those couple months together. Guess that won’t be though. Because we have had our share of the luck. Then maybe you wouldn’t want it that way anyway. Madeline sent Bob a Bolvia watch for Xmas. Sure is nice for Sunday. But won’t take the knocks mine will. I wouldn’t trade it for a million. Mine sure runs good. (If I remember to wind it) I guess he is as proud of his as I. Anyway he should be. Guess what? For a laugh a kid got a Xmas tree in the mail the other day. We got a laugh out of it. Here we sat among 50,000 cedar trees and he gets one from home. People do the darndest [sic] things. Oh! Yes and someone else wrote and said “I’m glad you are down south where it is warm for the winter.” Glad someone thinks it is warm here. Bob and I are with the Machine Guns again. It isn’t bad we have a trailer and are living in that. That is where we are now. We have all the flaps down and have a squad stove going inside.  Then each of us has a candle and are just writing for Gods sake. With nothing to write about. Fun isn’t it. (ha ha) I got a couple of letters from home yesterday and I guess they are having an epidemic of whooping cough in the Woodside family. 3 nephews and two nieces have it now. The little girl whose picture you have has it. Also her sister and the rest are in another bro’s family. Maybe it isn’t so bad though because they always have things 10 times worse than everyone else and half of it is just talk. What a family of course Whooping cough isn’t good at any time. No I haven’t heard “Shoo Shoo, baby.” I haven’t heard a radio for 6 weeks and haven’t seen a paper in the same time. Once about the time they bombed Berlin so bad we did get a paper and read a little. Here last night a kid came in with three magazines and we have read them silly. So you see we are cut off from the outside world. Someone usually get a little news in a letter and spreads it around so we know a little. Mrs. Johnson writes quite a lot in her letters. Only they come once a month and by that time the war could be over.

According to Wikipedia, The Battle of Berlin was a British bombing campaign on Berlin that began with that first bombing in November 1943. That means they have been without news for at least the time they have been on these field maneuvers which has been about 6 weeks now.

(Click here to learn more)

Mom

We sure caught heck today. Oh! About everything in general. Most of all though was Military Courtesy. And little things in the area. The details where we go out are swell and we get good credit for it. But here we don’t give the Second Lts. enough rope and they hang us. They get it to though. Our Company Commanders certainly lays it on thick when he has to. We like him though. He doesn’t say anything when he doesn’t have to and that’s often. Gosh Sweet have I gone on this far and said nothing. Guess I should say I love you and quit. I do love you my darling no Kidding. But right now I guess I had better stop this and thaw out my toes before I have to go to bed. Nite [sic] my Darling, I love you, Always Yours Lefty.

The next letter dated 21 December is another five page letter written very small and hard to read. We may need another chapter to get through December and there are only 10 days left.

Dearest Sweet, How’s my honey tonight. Ship shape I hope.  In a land lover way of course. I have hopes you are going to be able to read this. Its dark and I have a flashlight trying to write with. We are fresh out of candles and besides that I have my gloves on. How am I doing. I think it is cold out I’m not sure but if it isn’t my feelings have sure gone bad on me.  Bob and I are on Machine Gun Duty again. We have it setting in some farmers back yard. I have been hanging around all afternoon trying to lay a good hint and maybe they would invite me in for supper. But they didn’t.  Now I am sitting here in the cold writing. Poor little me. Bet 4 bits I live through. Say those pictures were good. Give me one of each and I’ll pay for them.  They were good though. Sure wish I had a camera here to take some.  I have a nice crop of whiskers and a pair of spotted pants that go good together. Say you know there is a fog here tonight. Just like Calif. Only its cold here. How did I get off the track. Here comes Bob anyway. Maybe he had a match so we can light the stove and I can go inside. Our objective in this Problem is to cross a river and I guess part of the division has made it now. So maybe this will end tomorrow and will have everything moved by Xmas day. I hope so anyway. You should see this area we are in. Rocks and more Rocks. Some have cracks in so you can’t see the bottom. I sure would hate to start wading around after dark. You might wake up gone. That would be one way of getting to China without a boat. Oh! Well who cares. Last night I figured what I have saved since my last furlough. Altogether $206.95. Not bad huh! Of course some is bonds and insurance. And even that is better than I have ever done in my life. So you see I haven’t lost too much in crap games.  No Sweet I haven’t done bad. Bob walked clean out here (1/2 mile) and did not have a match. Can you believe that. He knew I didn’t have any either. What a man??? Wish he would hurry back cause I’m getting cold. Oh! Boy here he comes.  Now I will write. Same conditions only now we are in the pup tent and have a stove going. We also have a candle which Bob was lucky to get from the supply. We are lucky to get anything from there. The stove is the best though. It is at least 10% warmer now. I even have my gloves off. Can you tell any difference. Now the darn stove is running out of gas. We have more luck. All hard. I guess you and I have one difference. I like Coca (Cola). I could drink it all day. That is if it isn’t to [sic] sweet. The only thing I like sweet is my woman and she has to be awful sweet. And you are darling. I looked at the pictures again and was wondering is that the girl downstairs. She looks like she is lots of fun. The dimple in her chin is just the thing or is it a dimple. I sure wish that farmer would get a kind streak. Now my feet are getting cold. This stove is OK only it warms the top and the bottom is cold. And that is where I sit. Buy the way I have two of those sleeveless sweaters and hate both of them. So there isn’t much use knitting one. Thanks a million honey I just don’t like. So I’ll just be truthful. I’m about run down now my darling so maybe I had better stop. I love you my sweet very very much. Always yours, Lefty. PS I will send the pictures tomorrow or sometime.

Could this be the picture Dad is talking about? Mom on right.

22 December

Dearest Vi, How’s my honey tonight. Swell I hope. Are you in church? It’s 7:00 or am I early? This is Wednesday you know.  It sure got cold last night. I was chilly all night long. Sure could have used you to keep my back warm. Probably be able to use you lots more tonight. It’s a lot colder and looks like snow. The problem hasn’t ended yet and we might have to move tonight sometime. I sure hope not. It will be to [sic] cold. If we are lucky maybe we will stay. God be with us. For once anyway.  its [sic] not that cold I was only kidding. Bob and I are out here with his red head again tonight. Guess we are just cut out that way. Next week I’ll be out with my blond.  You see every third week our machine guns doesn’t go out. This is my week off and then Bob’s and mine go out. We have 4 machine guns but one is mounted on a truck. There sure isn’t anything to write about. God I wish something would happen. Or maybe a few good rumors would come around so I could spread them. But nothing like that has happened. I have looked at those pictures a thousand times today. Wish your mother had kept the pictures and sent you.

23 December, continued in the same letter.

I quit last night so will attempt to finish this now. I am sitting about 3 feet from a huge bond [sic] fire and am freezing on one side.  Ice froze about 6 feet from it. I believe tonight will be the coldest so far. We have had to keep a fire all day in order to keep half warm. The Problem ended about 5 yesterday afternoon, but we didn’t get word about it until after 8. We thought we were settled for the evening then was called out about 4:30 this morning to move. My God was it cold. I would have sworn my feet were frozen but they were only cold. It didn’t snow. We have lots of leaves for tonight so we should at least sleep warm. I hope. Say honey I sent some money awhile back for your Xmas. You should have received before you wrote your last letter. I’m worried even though it isn’t much. If not so please write so I can check on it. Our mail is so mixed up. maybe half of it is still here in the Co.(Company)  I sent some home the same time and it got there. I got a two year subscription to the Readers Digest from Mrs. Johnson. I guess I am going to have a little reading for the next couple years. As I said she is a swell lady.

That is interesting, him mentioning Readers Digest. Growing up that is the magazine that was kept in our bathroom. You never went in where there was not one. I am embarrassed to admit that I still keep one in the bathroom. It is the perfect magazine for bathroom use. There are short stories and longer ones depending on the need. You can cancel any other magazine but I have to have my Readers Digest.

Dad in Nancy France 1944-45

You know sweet that ring. I guess you can do as you like. It would be nice and yet it is your Grandmothers my class ring is a size 10. If you do I’ll pay for it. But think it over first. Those pictures. I’ll send them back. I have just about looked holes in them now. Boy when I show them they all say Pop is sure tough. I have been warned about 10 times that I had better be careful. Should I? I’m about froze sweet. So I’ll quit. In case you have a hard time hearing from me. Its to cold to[sic] write much. So I do love you very much my darling. Do as you like about the ring. Nite [sic] my sweet. Love always, Your Lefty.

I am wondering about this ring. Mom always wore a gold band and Dad did not wear one. I do have a chain that holds my father’s dog tags, a church key (can opener) and a couple of rings.  But of course we cannot be sure if he is even talking about a ring for her or is it for him?

I see that there are only three letters left in 1943. Will these two get hitched before Dad gets sent overseas or will they even be able to see each other before he heads out? Will he get a furlough and lastly will it be a long enough furlough to travel the 2,000 miles to where Mom is living in California? There is so much uncertainty in Dad’s life right now it seems a little hopeless.

© 2012 notsofancynancy

Robert Winter

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Responses

  1. … how sad, it’s christmas and they aren’t together…btw: I like this pants style which your mom and one of her friends are wearing :o) & thanks for another great post!!!

    • It is very sad to know they are all away from their families. I like Mom’s pants too. I use to have a similar pair back in the 70’s. lol

  2. loved the post. For two reasons… it is long and it talks about positive things.
    The photographs are adding up to my imagination of reading your post in brown/sepia tone images. I don’t know why but I have an idea that it could be a bad influence from all those Spielberg films…on WW II.
    Nice post 🙂

    • Thank you, I am really glad people enjoy reading them. It really warms my heart.

  3. The days of letter writing eh. The man that mans the machine gun, handles a pen well too. Lovely conversation style – he is still talking, even today.

    • For some reason your comment brought tears to my eyes. I do miss him and seeing this side of him is amazing. I feel very blessed.

  4. WOW! MOM! Hope you got her looks.

  5. NsFN: these are wonderful letters, and the pictures bring back the spirit of the time…thx for sharing! MIndigo

  6. I especially liked the photo of your father standing in a field in Nancy, France. My Dad was wounded near Nancy, France – on his first night in combat. He was a replacement troop and he joined this unit that got shelled just a few hours after he arrived. He was in a foxhole with three other soldiers – at the bottom of the foxhole – but somehow he took a piece of shrapnel in his neck. None of the guys believed he was injured, but he insisted he felt a hot sting, and sure enough, when they looked, they saw the wound. Dad had to be sent to a field hospital (near Nancy) and then he was shipped back to England for further treatment.

    • Thank you so much for sharing your Dad’s story. I have to say we are fortunate he did not get wounded.


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