Posted by: notsofancynancy | February 7, 2013

World War II, Chapter 50, Foxholes

World War II

Foxholes

Chapter 50

Foxhole Courtesy of the Cain Family

Foxhole Courtesy of the Cain Family

Dad was sent overseas in May 1944 and has been on the move most of the time since he arrived. Although his letters say nothing about what is going on there I know it has to be scary. You can see by his hurried penmanship he is distracted. Up until now his handwriting has been mostly legible. Now it is more hurried and harder to read.  Did Mom notice this as well?

25 August 1944 QM (Quartermaster) moved to bivouac area in the vicinity of La Chapelle approximately four (4) miles east of Montargis.  From the document “Various stations and area’s occupied by the 35th Quartermaster since entry in federal active service” provided by Marvin Cain’s Family.

28 August, Near Montargis, France

Dearest Wife, How’s Mommie tonight. I hope you are well. Bob just said Madeline asked if we were expecting a boy. Well gosh Mommie I will be happy with either. You don’t know how much either. Gosh I just can’t get either of you off my mind. It just doesn’t seem that that could happen to me. God if only I were there. We have a chance of getting there someday anyway. You said you were keeping a scrap book. Well Mommie some time ago I got a letter from George (your minister) and he wanted some stamps. Well you know what a chance I would have at getting them but I have gotten three. I’ll send them to you and you can either give them to him or keep them. They would be nice to have. I also have another clipping and some invasion money which I’ll send. I’ll send more of the money as I get it. Franc = 2 cents. You know Mommie if I send all the things I intend to in this letter I’ll have too much to write another page so I’ll tell you how much I love you.  I hope you and Jr. are getting along ok. Mommie the large one is real French money 5 francs = 10 cents

29 August QM move to bivouac area approximately two (2) miles north of Villeneuve-L’archeveque, NE of Sens

29 August, Northeast of Sens, France

Dear Darling, Gosh this is two nights in a row again. How am I doing. I’m even surprised at myself. I really haven’t much to say Mommie only I love you. I think of you lots too. Sometimes I about go nuts. Some yap keeps hollering when I want to think. I’ll bet Georgie is having quite a time in that wheel chair. You know what I always wanted when I was small. One of those little cars you could get in and peddle with your feet. Man I did have my heart set on one. Then I grew up and never did get it. I didn’t get that done either. That’s quite a bit off subject but its [sic] nice Georgie got one anyway. It seems everyone is getting killed too bad for Betty. I believe you said something before about them not getting along. I’m glad you got the money order. I guess I said that once before though. I remember now I sent some things in a letter last night. I hope you get them also. I imagine the money will come in handy for buying Jr. attire. I’m glad it’s you I wouldn’t know where to start. I haven’t been to a picture show in two months.  The Doughnut Wagon was supposed to be here this morning but we left before it arrived. Only about 10 minutes though. Well better luck next time.  Johnnie sure didn’t have much weight to lose did she. The last time I saw her she looked about like me now. I’m so thin I don’t even make a shadow.  I kind of had Jr. figured as Jan 6 or 7 of course I’m no judge. I only guessed. That’s as near as I could figure the way things were. I guess I don’t know. He’ll be good and waite [sic] though. I guess it’s about time I was getting my bed made. That[‘s] about the last thing I do in the evening then if we have to go I don’t have to remake it. Lately it took about 3 hrs. to make it. Yes Mommie a fox hole. Not the best thing one can talk of but the safest. I love you Mommie very much. Gosh I wish I could give you a great big kiss right now. Madeline said maybe if they had gotten married they could have been like someone else she knows. Guess what she meant. I love you Mommie Darling.

Dad Wrote " Me and my family, oh la la"

Dad Wrote ” Me and my family, oh la la”

31 August QM moved to bivouac area one and one half (1 ½) miles NW of Estissic, France, approximately ten (10) miles west of Troyes

31 August, Near Estissic, France

My Darling, Well I missed last night again. Had a bad time [with] that damn mosquito, wouldn’t let me alone. He really raised a big bump. Maybe I should have had it covered up. Have had an awful time setting around today. I got your V-Mail you wrote the 14 also Mom’s letter of the 18. So I know Florence got down at least one day. Hope she got to come back. Gosh Mommie that’s the first letter I have gotten in ages. Got a card but they don’t count. Guess the mail isn’t coming any more. I mean anybetter [sic]. The last letter I got was from the 14. So again I scored. Two in one day. Gee honey that make[s] me want to wade the ocean. If you sunburned your nose Mommie we’ll both have a new layer of skin. Mine just got through peeling and gosh what a mess it was. Mommie if we ever go camping when I get home you’ll have an experienced cook. We cooked again tonight. Made gravy and everything. It was good too. You asked what I needed. Well a discharge would be well appreciated. Otherwise nothing. No Mommie don’t need anything. It takes a package too long to get here that I would be to [sic] disgusted to enjoy it. Bob has been waiting for one for over two months and still don’t know where it is. What a mess that would be if it were a pumpkin pie. I love you very much my darling. I think about you lots and lots. And wish I were home. But that doesn’t get it. I do love you Honey.

1 September, Near Estissic, France

My Darling, Well I don’t imagine this will be very much of a letter. Don’t feel in the mood for writing. Haven’t gotten any mail for a long time except your V-Mail and I answered that in one sentence. Not a long one either. Today was payday. It wasn’t as much as last month though. I’ll send you as much as possible though. Don’t be surprised at the amount though. Wish I could think straight. Bob is bringing some coffee so maybe that will help. The coffees [sic] good and that’s all I can say for that.  How’s Jr. behaving? Kicking a little now and then I suppose. Not much yet though. But waite [sic] till he lays that old left in there and then you’ll wonder. Take it easy Mommie. He’ll be good I’m sure. You should have seen us today honey. Man we had it. Wish I could tell you about the whole thing but can’t. Yet anyway. Fun anyway.

Dad Wrote "This is one of the main tractors they have over here. Seems about everyone uses them. Modern ain't they."

Dad Wrote “This is one of the main tractors they have over here. Seems about everyone uses them. Modern ain’t they.”

2 September written on the same page as above.

Well Mommie I didn’t get to finish last night so will do or die now. I got three letters from you last nite [sic] and only able to read one. The others had gotten wet and all that was readable was 6 or 8 lines in the center. Man was I feeling bad then. One was July 7 and the two was 18 & 19 so if you recall anything you wrote you can make another copy. One thing that was there that I couldn’t make out was those addresses. All I got was 22 something or other and the rest was gone. I started to find out about that bill here Mommie, but no one seemed to know just what had to be done so I thought we would let it ride and see what happened. Now everything is ok I guess Mommie in case you do cable me. My cable address will consist of my name, rank, serial number and that’s all no company or anything. I think maybe it will come through quicker that way. It’s almost too dark to write so I better stop and say how much I love you. I do love you my darling. Lots and Lots.

2 September QM moved to bivouac area on outskirts of Chassericourt, France approximately fifteen (15) miles south of Vitry-le-Francois

3 September, Near Chassericourt, France

My Darling, Well Mommie here comes nothing. Gosh everyday seems to get worse about news. And when I haven’t anything to answer from you there just isn’t anything to say. Of course if I had been able to read your letters I would have had plenty for a couple of nights. But I am running on past events now so what happens I don’t know. I’ll bet Mary Sue is cute. I haven’t seen very many that aren’t. I knew what formula was honey. I haven’t been around babies for the past 14 years for nothing. No actual experience though. I guess I have missed some of your letters because I can’t find what wedding you were going to take Pop to. Maybe they are still on the way. I hope so but that’s a long time gone. I’m glad Cloyd is back in his old company and ok again. Also Gerald is ok again. I imagine he did have a touch of fever. He will probably be able to tell you about it soon. Have you even listened to the radio news.  Sounds good huh. Some Frenchman just came by with 6 eggs and we had to make a deal. So now Bob and I have breakfast.  He also had some French money to trade as souvenirs so I have some more to send. I have the money order today so I imagine I’ll send it tomorrow. Or sometime. Maybe if I keep on I’ll have enough extra money to send home to pay Junior’s bill and you won’t have to use what you have saved. It’s something to think about anyway. You’ll have enough plans for your money anyway. Well Mommie since I have been writing this I have collected 24 eggs and about 30 good tomatoes. What a breakfast we’ll have. Oh yes some cattle just went by. Oh for a farmer. See what we have been eating. Not bad. Just like Kings. Of course the kitchen feeds too but we like this. Well darling I love you very much. I love you so much my Darling wife. Gosh I wish I was there.

Dad Wrote "Oxen somewhere in France"

Dad Wrote “Oxen somewhere in France”

4 September, Near Chassericourt, France

Dearest Wife. How’s my Darling tonight. & Jr. too. I love you honey. I got a letter from you today one I could read 23rd. That’s not bad. Wish they would all come. Gosh I haven’t gotten much mail from you the last month. Must be some on the way. Your cherry jello sounded good. How’s this? I made stew for dinner. Had cabbage, carrots, potatoes, tomatoes, turnips. Boy it didn’t go bad. All fresh vegetables too. Made it in a gallon pail and it was almost full and three of us ate it all. Then boiled a dozen eggs and ate. Bob kind of turned his nose up at my stew when I started but sure ate his share. Oh yes we had onions in it too. Your letter was nice honey only I couldn’t stand on my head long enough to read the last three pages. Remember it was the one you started on the back. A letter from you though honey is good even if you start in the middle. Some Frenchman were around here with cucumbers too. Didn’t trade for any though didn’t have any way to fix them. I imagine Dad is busy. Rosa said he had been sick but Elmer said he was ok again. They think more of telling what they can than about Dad. Well Darling I have a meeting to go to so I guess I better get busy. I love you so much my Darling Gosh I wish I were there to tell you in person. Maybe I’ll be there sooner than expected. I love you my Darling.

Dad and Bob sure have become good friends. I don’t remember him but my older sister does. She said that she remembers the two families being good friends even sending Christmas cards to each other all the way until Mom got Alzheimer’s about 1990. That is about 44 years after the war was over. Bob went back to Nebraska and married Madeline, Dad settled here in California. I cannot believe how much Dad wrote about Bob. It seems as though every letter mentions him. I feel like I know him myself with all I have learned from Dad’s letters.

© 2013 notsofancynancy

Robert “Bob” Winter, Marvin Cain

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Responses

  1. Even back then, our men saw so many different cultures. Great post and loved the photos.

  2. The letters sure do a “swell job” (lingo of that time) of showing how Lefty felt… I’m sure “mommie” was real worried especially since he wasn’t allowed to write much… And the one comment about the letters getting wet and therefore unable to read them. I had forgotten they were written likely in fountain ink.

    I am curious, though. Have you mapped out his journeys on a wall map?

    • Funny you ask that. I spent last week searching for the names of places written on the pictures then doing the same with the “Various places and areas occupied by the 35th Quartermaster since it’s induction into active service” document I have. Also last week on the way home from Arizona I purchased a book at the Patton Museum “The War as I knew it” by Patton himself. There are several places I have not been able to find, but I do have a good idea of the path they took.

  3. There are quite a few electronic copies of actual war diaries (battle reports and the like) out on the internet. If you need some assistance, just holler (since I’m hard of hearing).

  4. What fascinating photos and letters! Have you ever researched what exactly was going on in these areas at the time your father was writing? I recently did that with my grandfather’s locations during WWI and it gave me a whole new perspective on the war.

    • I have and am amazed at what is actually happening. I just don’t know how to bring it into the blog posts as I know he is not on the front lines as he is with the Quartermaster, truck driver. I do know there is fighting all around him. I will do more research and see what I can come up with.

  5. Another amazing story – I wonder if Bob’s family has any letters from around the same time. It would be interesting to compare stories.

    • One of my biggest wishes is that I can eventually connect with Bob’s family and share all this with them.

  6. Amazing as always! I do love the photo of the foxhole. It’s almost funny to say, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen a real one! I do hope you connect with Bob’s family at some point…can you imagine how thrilled they would be? Wow!

    • I pray it will happen someday! That is why I put his name in the tags! Not sure what else I can do???

  7. this would make an incredible book. Hope you can publish someday (if it isn’t already)

    • Thanks I hope someday to do just that. I need to figure out how first.

      • Well, it seems to me you’ve already done the hard work – compiling the history, transcribing the letters. There must be an editor out there somewhere who would jump at the chance (I would look for a non-fiction publisher)
        good luck!

      • Thanks I will check into it!


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