Posted by: notsofancynancy | October 25, 2012

World War II chapter 35 Camp Butner

World War II

Camp Butner

Chapter 35

In the last chapter I mentioned how Dad was going to get some big news. Really he has a plan about getting married and has just gotten a letter from Mom in response to his ideas.  Let’s read on.

24 January 1944

Camp Butner, 24 January 1944

Dearest Vi, You made me next to the happiest man in the world honey. When I read your letter today I was so thrilled I could have cryed [sic] I was so glad you are coming. I had made up my mind that if you didn’t come I was coming out if we only had twenty minutes together. It was less than an hour before that I found out for sure my furlough came then. Bob also gets his then. So maybe we all get to know the other lots better. Darling when you become Mrs. Woodside I’ll be the happiest man in the world. I have really been on pins since noon. God I don’t know when a furlough meant so much. It can’t get here soon enough for me. I love you so much darling. We didn’t do much today. Scrubbed barracks this morning this afternoon we had a physical examination and then Bob and I washed the trucks we drove back. Man was that water cold. I hope it is the same way next summer if we are here. God darling I’m so happy I can’t get off the subject of your coming and I am going to write home and tell Dad to have a car and all the gas we can use. Bob says we could use some of his if we couldn’t get any anyplace else. There are enough Woodside’s that we shouldn’t have any trouble.

I never thought about gasoline rationing. By 1943 gas, as well as tires were being rationed. Did you know they rationed shoes? I found a great website that shows what items were rationed when, and the duration.

(Click here learn more about rationing)

Another thing Sweet I hope you like the family. Dad will be as tickled to see me as I will be you so he will have it! (gas) Gee sweet I’m all messed up.  Remember when I was out and you said it was my vacation you would do what I wanted to. Well Darling this is OUR vacation. So plan what you want to do and I’ll do likewise and we’ll meet a happy medium. If we don’t do it all I’ll grant you it can’t be done. Bob is writing Madeline now also and between us we are up walking the floor thinking and this is mixed up now I think I would die. The fellows left yesterday on the return trip to Tennessee. They will be gone about 9 days. Then our work will really begin. Have all those trucks to clean up and get back into shape. Boy what a mess it will be. I haven’t heard any more about Mr. Vance. The folks haven’t said anything so I guess he came through O.K. so far. Bob and I went to the show last night. “Song of Russia.” It was fairly good. I thought so anyway.

The movie actually is historically significant to this timeline in our war. According to a Turner Classic Movies article Hollywood was turning out movies showing all aspects of the war. The problem was leading men were in short order with Clark Gable and Jimmy Stewart were already serving. The studio’s other hottie, Robert Taylor enlisted and was waiting for his number to be called. The studio boss Louie B. Mayer saw what we have seen with my dad, the whole hurry up and wait routine and took a gamble that they could shoot one more movie before Taylor started serving. Turner Classic Movie’s describe the movie like this.

An American symphony conductor with a fondness for Tchaikovsky goes on tour in Russia. While there, he meets a peasant girl with a passion for classical music, who soon develops a passion for the conductor. The couple marries, but World War II tears them apart, as the patriotic American returns home, and his bride stays to fight the Nazis alongside her noble countrymen.

Mayer picked a good project with “Song of Russia” and it had all the stuff to make a great movie for wartime which included war, spies, intrigue, travel, heartbreak and we can’t forget the love story.

(Click here to read the article)

Honey I love you so much. I’ll be so glad when I see you. I’ll probably leave here on the night of the 14th. Or perhaps the afternoon. Are you starting earlier than that or then. A good trip darling I love you so. I’ll only have about 8-9 days home so will have to get there about the same time at least. All my love, your Lefty. Maybe I’m the happiest man now. I feel so anyway.

That letter calmed all my father’s fears about this whole getting married dilemma. I sure would love to have that letter Mom wrote, but I guess she is going to meet him back in Nebraska, or maybe 250 miles away where Mom has family in Kansas. This is so exciting; they will be together in one more month. I have to ask, for how long though. We know Dad goes overseas; let’s see how this plays out.

27 January 1944

Camp Butner, N.C. 27 January 1944

Darling, Gosh I guess we should have stayed out in the field. We have been here 6 days and I have been able to sleep in the barracks 3 nights. I did lots better in the woods. Guard twice and C.Q. once. This Guard is certainly getting to be a headache too. We have Special Units guard now. Each unit furnished so many men and they are on for 24 hours. And it means 24 too.  We have to walk 2 on 4 off and they are long hours.  So much for that. Lt. Gordon (Claude R. Gordon) was talking to Sgt. Bennett (Harvey L. Bennett) today and asked if Bob and I were going to get married.   (Trueman “Ben” Howard) said he didn’t know but heard us talking as if we were. Lt. said he knew damn well we would get our furloughs the 15th then. It looks rough though. We are damn near to go (overseas). No kidding this time. And unless I miss my guess it won’t be much later than April. I said guess though. In one letter you said you wanted to spend part of the time in Kansas. I think I answered that by saying this was your vacation. If not so. When you wish to go there well I can’t hold you. See sweet I am going to be agreeable at least. The dance Tuesday was a formal. We had a good time. But there was to [sic] much tagging.

Tagging means a whole different thing now than it did back in 1944. I can vision it in my mind 20 lady’s dancing on the floor with 20 handsome soldiers all in formal uniforms. They dance a few minutes and another gentleman comes up and taps the dancer’s shoulder that then leaves the dance floor so the tapper can dance. It was proper back then. I wonder if they still do that. It has been a long time since I have been to a dance.

Trueman “Ben” Howard

I can say one thing N.C. woman ain’t  half as nice as the homes. It was nice to dance again though. I almost forgot how. The boys who were on furlough are coming back. One Stf. Sgt.(Staff Sargent) was home while his Bro was. His Bro has been in Alaska for 18 months. All Joe said was he was still sane but that was more than a lot of them. I guess some officers went nuts up there too.  I knew both boys before I got in the Army.

Did you know about the stuff that went on in Alaska during World War II? I must have been sick the day they taught that in school because I remember nothing of Alaska being affected by the war but it was an important part of World War II history. According to Wikipedia the Japanese raided the harbor in Kodiak, Alaska in June of 1942.

(Read more about the Aleutian Campaign clicking here)

We had roast duck for supper. It was good but for some reason or other they don’t make the dressing right and it ruins my appetite. I have gained a little though. Up to 190 now. Maneuvers didn’t hurt much I guess. Bob and I went to the show again tonight. It was “Lifeboat.” Not bad but I have seen better.

“Lifeboat” was a war film directed by Alfred Hitchcock and written by John Steinbeck. According to,

In the Atlantic during WWII, a ship and a German U-boat are involved in a battle and both are sunk. The survivors from the ship gather in one of the boats. They are from a variety of backgrounds: an international journalist, a rich businessman, the radio operator, a nurse, a steward, a sailor and an engineer with communist tendencies. Trouble starts when they pull a man out of the water who turns out to be from the U-boat.

(See clips from the movie “Lifeboat” here)

Dad Continues,

 Bob is undecided as to whether he will get hitched or not. Madeline wrote and asked if she should resign her school when he came home. I guess he said yes and now don’t know what to do. If they did do the job they would have a couple months together at least. Then he thinks they can save the allotment money to begin on when he comes back. $28 a month is nothing to sneeze at. She would get $50. But would come out of Bob’s pay. There is some goofy dame on the radio. A laugh now and then. I guess I should quit now sweet. Have to get some sleep. How and when do you intend to come out. I don’t know what to say. I’ll leave the 14th if possible and I think I can for sure. God if anything happens now I don’t know what I’d do. I love you darling. Lots and lots. All my love, your Lefty

I don’t really understand the money thing.  $28 dollars a month does not seem like a lot in 2012 but as we all know back in 1944 it was.  Then if they are saving it for when they get back from overseas they would have a nice little nest egg to start their married life.

I wonder if Dad will finally get that furlough.

 © 2012 notsofancynancy

Claude R. Gordon, Harvey L. Bennett, Robert Winter, Truman “Ben” Howard



  1. Nancy, is there any way we can take a peep ahead. This is getting a little suspenseful!!!! 🙂 Kenny T

    • LOL! If we peep ahead you get me! But that is WAY ahead!

  2. Thanks again for a wonderful story !!!

  3. You’ve done it again, another great post – so much info!!

  4. Thanks for a lovely read. 🙂

    • Thank you for joining us on this WWII adventure!

  5. The writing harks you back to the “old days” when a family was primarily a one-earner home. Things have indeed changed. Good glimpse into the past lifestyle…

  6. Thanks for all the energy you are putting into sharing your father’s story. 🙂

  7. I’m still here, eagerly waiting the wedding, dreading the shipment over, rooting for the two of them, being reminded of how it was back then. Good work!

    • Thank you so much! And even though I know the outcome I am right there with you.

  8. Thanks for reading my blog! Your site is INCREDIBLE! I can’t wait to dig in to these posts…

    • Thanks for the return visit! I hope you enjoy you visit!

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