Posted by: notsofancynancy | November 8, 2012

Wrold War II, chapter 37, Counting the Days.

World War II

Counting the Days

Chapter 37

In the last chapter we saw Dad uncertain whether he would actually be granted a furlough to go home. This next letter finds him a little more confident that the furlough will happen. He is counting down the days.

March Letter

7 January 1944, Camp Butner, North Carolina

Dearest Vi, God Darling time is going so slow. We have 10 days to get started in now. Seems like a million years though. Sure wish we were starting today. I guess Madeline is counting the days also. Bob keeps telling me such. Between the four of us I believe time is at a standstill but each night  I’m tired enough to drop into bed so I know it has come one day closer. I have to haul Officer’s mess rations tomorrow so that will be a long day. Nothing to do but sit around and think. It’s getting so thats [sic] all I do in the shows(movies) anymore. I guess I just go to be alone and dream. I hauled Italian Prisoners today and the more I saw of them the madder I got. I was about ready to run the whole bunch down with a 6×6. They seem to [sic] damn happy for me. 9 months ago they were shooting us in the back if possible. Now they have as good a deal as we. Even better. Some can understand us and I believe if I had known what some of them were saying to laugh at I would have gotten me a dozen right there. They were a bunch of little guys or I wouldn’t have said that. They sure had me mad though. Then one of the interpreters had guts enough to say they wouldn’t harm a thing. He went out of the cab of my truck so fast. He rode in the rear of another truck and I rode alone. We almost had a Civil War right there.

What would that have been like, hauling prisoners around and not knowing what they were saying? He must have felt intimidated with all the Italian being spoken and not being able to understand what they were saying and joking about.

You asked what Lt. Gordon meant when he said I would be sure to get my furlough the 15th. If I were getting married. Well he just did not want me to miss my wedding I guess. In other words if Bob and I wanted we could have priority on the furlough then. We have anyway and we will all get out by the 17th so that’s suits me fine. Wish you could have been here Sunday for dinner. We had chicken and ice cream. Anyway they drew rations for 185 men and only about 25 turned up and we just couldn’t let anything go to waste. I made up for my Christmas dinner then. Both Bob and I were hardly able to move all afternoon. Boy was I full. About 6 we went over to the service club and watched the dance awhile. Oh! Yes we danced some but not over 3 steps at a time. It was a tag and that’s about as long as one could keep a partner.  I have sure attached myself to a good cough. Sure hope it finds a happy ending before I come home. It will though. It has too. You know Darling I love you so much. Yes I do Honey. And will I be happy when we get together. I certainly hate for you to have to take that trip alone though. I’ll have to close now Sweet so for another 10 days let’s just dream. Don’t make to [sic] many plans for Sat night after you get there because you’re going to bed and no kidding. I’m going to hide you somewhere so you can have a good rest then I’ll come and get you. How do you like that? Good nite [sic] darling. All my love, Your Lefty. PS Bob’s gone batty. He’s drawing pictures of the man in the moon. Next he will be going around snapping flies.

February Letter

10 February

Dearest Vi, Hi honey. Only 7 more days. Gosh just think. I hope nothing goes wrong between now and then. It positive I leave the 16th or 17th. I guess I could leave either. You know which it will be. I want to get home as near the time you do as possible. God Darling that won’t be too soon.  I have some bad news. For me of course. Dad was operated on for the rupture around the 2nd or 3rd. I guess he was to have waited until I left here then took sick again and had to go then. Instead of going to Omaha though he was taken care of in Lex (Lexington, Nebraska). No I don’t know how he is. You see I’m not important enough in the family anymore to let things like that have any effect. I got a letter on the 8th saying he had been operated on and such. They evln said he wasn’t out from under the ether yet. Not a word of how he was. If you see an awful blue haze over Lex. when you pull in you will know I got there first. Honey I wished again I had taken chances on coming out there. I’ll bet before this is over with you’ll wish you had let me waite [sic] or something. We certainly haven’t been doing much here. Have been trying for two days to take a 15 mile hike. One day it rained and today we didn’t have enough men left. After the details were out to go. It was wet too. We had to work on our trucks. We are back on that again. Have to make a trip to Virginia this month. And there are some awful mountains up there. I won’t be making this trip but I suppose there will be others. My sister whose husband is going into service is in Lex. He got word some time ago that he was going and moved back. I guess he has passed all exams now and waiting to be called. Maybe he’s in now. I don’t know. If not it won’t be long. I haven’t seen him for over two years. Well on my first furlough from Arkansas is the last time. They are home though. I hope you haven’t a cold honey. I know just how you feel if you have. I have one. And what’s more I have to be running around enough in the damp to keep it going and that’s about all. Guess a furlough will do me good. Darling time certainly going slow. I’m down to counting the hours now as they go by. God what will the last couple days be like. Guess I will be as worthless as now even then. Anyway it isn’t so long. I love you very much my Darling. Am hoping you the best trip ever. Take it easy Darling. I love you so. All my love, Your Lefty.

13 February

Dearest Vi, Hi Honey. Guess you’ll get this before you leave. Anyway I’m hoping I haven’t much time. But am going to scribble anyway. I’m in a much different mood than this though. We just had a drunken argument. Of course I as usual stood a happy medium and tried to keep it down. Well they didn’t come to fist work but lots of tongue. I got a little tired of it. Thanks sweet for the valentine. It was swell. I guess I need a (unreadable) because I can’t remember to think of anything but you. I’ll bet I made up my mind to go to town and get some things a dozen times. Theres [sic]always so many G.I.’s in  town and God I hate to do anything that has to do with them. I have a million things to do anyway. I’ll make up for it someday darling. Believe me this is a hard night to write. Everyone is trying to talk louder than the other and boy what a mess. Just 4 more days Sweet. I also leave Thursday. At least I think so. We might leave Wed. That is if Bob has his way. And I’m not sure about that because he put his word in first and mine.  I don’t know how much good I did at that. I’ll only be there a few days longer. May I stop for now sweet. At least you know I love you very much. I do darling so much. Nite [sic] now sweet. All my love, Your Lefty

That is the last letter Dad wrote to Mom until late March. I guess he got his furlough. I did find some letters from Mom’s Mother written to both Dad and Mom. Inside the first letter what did I find? A letter from MOM to Dad! Let’s read it!

Letter from Mom

Pasadena, California 13 February 1944

Dear Lefty, Do you think you can love a heathen? Well why I ask I haven’t gone to church for ever so long and I guess some people think that is what I am. We are supposed to go to Bill and Florence (John’s brother-in-law) for dinner today. But Mom went to church. The pickup stopped about two miles from home last night and Pop had to leave it and walk home and this morning the Buick would not start until Mr. Bain siphoned some gas out to put in the carburetor and pushed him. The battery is almost dead and setting all week the gas drained out of the carb. Tomorrow is Valentine ’s Day. I hope you got the Valentine I sent you. Well only four more days after today and I will be on my way. I am not sure whether I will work Wednesday or not. I hope so. One day is enough for me to get ready in. Mr. Bain and I pushed the Buick out to the street and I am so nervous I can’t write. That’s the first physical labor I have done in ages. Guess it got the best of me. All right so I never did I won’t argue with you over a cause in which you are very likely right on. We had a shower Friday night for one of the girls down at the church. She is getting married the 26th.  How her husband escaped the draft I don’t know. He is some kind of mechanical engineer at an air craft factory. Hal passed his physical but he has been sick ever since. His wife said she didn’t know whether it was a bad cold or the flu. You should see the girl who is taking my place at the office. She is homely as a mud fence. At one time her hair was blonde but it is growing out. A dedicated brunette.  She is from Texas and what a drawl she has. I think Bill hired her because he is from Texas too. She is a good bookkeeper though and I am sure glad of that. I have been reading in the papers about the awful blizzards in the middle-west. Boy I am frozen already. We had a beautiful spot light or I guess I should say search light display up in the mountains Thursday and Friday nights. I don’t know what it was but they were all over the place and fanned out in the sky. Boy it sure was pretty. It sounds as though those trucks were about worn out to me. Gee are parts hard for you to get too? They keep telling us the Army is getting all the parts so we can’t get them but I guess you are getting them all. Maybe they mean overseas or something huh? You thought you would fix me by telling about the new parts they had to put in Bob’s brakes didn’t you? What do you think I hung around the parts dept so much for? I sure would like to work in one. I love to monkey with auto parts. Honey I had hoped you would get home a few days before me but you might yet. I thought you ought to kind a get acquainted with your family before I dropped in. Well dearest I must close and get the bedroom kind a cleaned up before Mom comes from church and wants to know what I have been doing. I love you dear. I’ll see you in a little while now. All my love, Viola.

With that we end all the correspondence between the two from February until March 18, 1944. I will have to speak with my family to see if they have any memories of what happened during this time. What I do know is they both made the trip to Nebraska. I guess you will have to wait until the next chapter to see what happens.

16 February 1944-MISS VIOLA WIKOFF,PASADENA, CALIFORNIA-LEFT MIDNIGHT 15TH WILL BE HOME SOMETIME 18TH MEET YOU THERE, LOVE=LEFTY

© 2012 notsofancynancy

Robert “Bob” Winter, Claude R. Gordon,

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Responses

  1. BOL …homely as a mud fence…:o) thanks for this wonderful post :o)

  2. Ooh, not long now!

  3. These letters are so priceless. What a story they tell! I’m sitting on the edge of my seat.

  4. This is getting really good! It seems your folks lived about 3 or 4 miles from mine in Pasadena. Mine were on Oneida Drive. Now the 210 Freeway separates them. My folks moved to San Diego in 1945.

  5. I am so enjoying these letters. It is like stepping into that time frame and experiencing it for ourselves. Truly amazing!

    • I don’t know which ones you have read but some of them when Dad mentions a song, I have been able to put links to listen to them. If you play the songs while you read the letters it really, really takes you back. Thanks for reading and the kind words.

  6. Each letter is truly amazing Nancy LOVE THEM

    Eunice

    • Thanks for you support Eunice! It really means so much to hear people are enjoying them.

  7. Following your pop’s story is so cool. It’s like reliving history. You need to lock up a TV show or movie ASAP!

    • Maybe Eko can play my dad in the movie! lol Thanks for your kind words! It really means a lot!

  8. I just love these letters. It’s all so personal and puts everything we learn and see on TV into perspective. Nowadays, with emails, skype, etc, I wonder if our grandchilren will have any means of learning stuff like this.

  9. What a great read with your mother’s letter…homely as a mud fence! Hopefully, you will find more of hers also. So enjoy reading these love letters, Nancy. Thank you.

    • Thanks! I hope I find more too, you never know…. I didn’t expect this one!

  10. I hope you’ll excuse my tardiness here and there. The kids need to be asleep when I try to read these wonderful letters so as to not get interrupted… While all of it is fascinating, one thing (historically) that caught my eye was your father’s reference to …”Theres [sic]always so many G.I.’s in town…” This would have been a tremendous indicator of America’s depth. Victory was already assured except for who could harness atomic energy first. While perhaps many of them are not “professional” soldiers, they were not conscripts of conquered nations as like for Nazi Germany or Imperial Japan.

    • Great Point! Thanks for pointing it out. It is certainly a side many don’t think about when thinking of these soldiers.


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