Posted by: notsofancynancy | March 21, 2013

World War II, Chapter 56, Saint Max, France

World War II

Saint Max, France

Chapter 56

Dad Wrote "Chateau where we lived"

Dad Wrote “Chateau where we lived”

My father spent his 25th birthday, 22 October 1944 in bed sick with the flu trying to avoid the medics so he did not land in the hospital. I am sure they were able to hear enemy fire in the distance. I know if the illness kept him in bed he had to be pretty sick. Nothing kept my father down well into his later years as long as he could get out of bed in the morning he did whatever he was asked to do with a 100 percent dedication. I have to wonder if he is still sleeping in a fox hole.

23 October, St. Max, France

My Darling Wife, The mail man was sure good to me yesterday. 5 letters from you. Only 4 were dated for Sept 9-13-15-16 and one was for Oct 12. But even though they were late they were so nice. But the best was the pictures. Boy honey it was good. I didn’t get to write about it yesterday. Had a touch of the flu and just didn’t feel like doing much writing. Am still awful weak but am back on the haul. I sure wish it would be 104 around here once more. About a week if it would rain or be cloudy every night. Of course we couldn’t do away with this cloudy weather altogether. I guess we just didn’t appreciate the warm weather enough. I hope Deloris gets to be transferred to where she wants. Of course she is in the Navy now and they just don’t do things you want them too. I guess its [sic] about 6 of one half doz of the other on the wrinkles. A little kitchen is sure going to have lots of trouble keeping me away. It sounds like your [sic] saving all the money I send home honey. Gee I didn’t expect you to do that. Which reminds me I was going to say I won’t send anymore. I owe Harold some so I’ll just pay him and have that off my mind. I imagine he will be able to use it. I got a couple of letters from Lucille too. Guess she has sent some packages. She had sent three and had one more about ready. Only I believe she said she was sending some winter undershirts. Now what in the hell do you suppose I’ll do with them. I guess I have enough to wear. Only after I get it all on I’m not man enough to carry it. But then I’ll be satisfied with what she sends. Half [sic] to be I guess. Honey you asked how old I was going to be. I am 25 now and feel like 50. I sure spent a happy birthday though. You know presents Ice cream cake and all the things. Oh yes I didn’t even get up. Felt to [sic] bad to eat and didn’t want to go to the medics for fear they would send me to the hospital. So had Bob go get me some pills. I got up for breakfast this morning and only ate about ½ a pancake and for dinner a spoon full of pairs [pear]. For supper it was a little better. But am feeling a lot better now. I did go to the Medic’s though. He couldn’t find anything wrong with me. My heart was still beating so I was alive. It was bad except the loss of appetite. That’s bad in itself. I also got a letter from Madeline. She wants your address. As she quotes you two can talk direct behind my back. So maybe I should [give] you hers too. Oh yes she also sent me a package for Xmas. Waite [sic] till you get acquainted with them. Oh and Bud and Jane her Bro and Sister are home again so the family is altogether. Thats [sic] nice. I love you my darling have I told that lately. I do love you so much honey. I have about run down tonight so better stop. I love you, all my love, Lefty

Oh dear! I think that Dad dated this Madeline back when he was stationed in California in 1942. I bet that Mom was a little jealous of this one. I wonder how that went over.

Dad wrote "Just don't know where this one was taken, looks kinda like a socker [sic] game.  Mr. Cain wrote "Soccar game, St. Max-Cain

Dad wrote “Just don’t know where this one was taken, looks kinda like a socker [sic] game. Mr. Cain wrote “Soccar game, St. Max-Cain

24 October, St. Max, France

My Dearest Wife, Hi Honey. Sure feel better today. Back with the feed bag on too. Almost  drank a full cup of coffee. Better than eating though. I got two more letters from you. And that did it. Boy were they sweet. These were more up to date though. But I’ll answer them tomorrow. Don’t just have enough paper to answer all six with tonight. And as a matter of fact I couldn’t think of enough to write and then wouldn’t have any to answer tomorrow. So there too. I also get a birthday card from Mrs. Johnson. It was nice and quite cunning. I guess by the time I get back honey you’ll have to be dancing with a broom stick. I just won’t know how. I haven’t even heard enough music to get me in the mood. Boy how nice it would be to put on a day pair of shoes and go to a dance. It would be nice to be able to keep the shoes dry. But then I guess we can waite [sic] a few months for that. I mean us over here of course. Nothing more can happen now. I hope George had a lot of tales to tell. And I hope he told my share too. I guess I’m not going to have any to tell. It takes the Marines to make the history. So let them tell about it. I’ll laugh up my sleeve. Gosh would it have been nice if Aunt Clara and Uncle George could have come out with Grandma. This traveling alone sure doesn’t get it. The trains are just to [sic] darn hard to get along with. What do you suppose the plan to do with the house they bought. Just rent it or do you suppose The Kid will move into it. I’ll bet he does in the end. I believe I remember the landlord with Mac that night. Even though it may not be to [sic] well. I did see and remember Mac though. And you know I think he would look darn good in battle tags. A little mud mixed here and there. Perhaps a couple of footprints on that nice mush [sic] of his would put him in the humor too. Perhaps he is a good friend of the families but about the first time he opens his head to me I’ll probably try to drive about 6 inches of good solid fist into it with all his teeth in front of it. His name just makes me creep. Well Mommie I must write a couple more letters tonight. Have to write Lucille and Dad so I’ll tell you how much I love you. I do my Darling. I love you so much. Gee honey I wish I were home with you. I love you. All my love, Lefty. Darling, Happy anniversary for yesterday. I didn’t forget the day just to write it.

I have to add a side note about Aunt Clara. Clara was one of my grandmother’s sisters, one of three. What great memories I have although few, of the time we spent with Grandma Susie’s family. Most of this was done when my siblings and I were young. The “Girls” as they were known were a kick when they all got together. Grandma Susie’s family was from Kansas where her two brothers and Aunt Clara resided. Aunt Dick (not her real name, but the one she went by) and her husband Gerald settled in Arizona after the war. Gerald also served in the Army. There are a lot of family pictures between Arizona, California, and Kansas, showing warm embraces as my grandmothers siblings reunite. One last side note, Aunt Clara, Grandma Susie’s youngest sister was born in 1906. She was the last of the siblings to pass away. This line of the family had good genes though. Grandma Susie lived to be 96, Aunt Dick to 86, but dear sweet Aunt Clara she just passed away in February 2013 at the age of 106. She had a blessed life and she blessed our lives. They will never be forgotten, those three strong women who grew up homesteading on the Kansas prairie in the early 1900’s, but that is a whole other story.

Grandma Susie, Aunt Dick and Aunt Clara

Grandma Susie, Aunt Dick and Aunt Clara

25 October, St. Max, France

Hi my Darling, Hows [sic] Mommie and Junior tonight. I hope you feel as good as I. I sure am feeling good again. Its [sic] about time though. I even went back for seconds at chow tonight. That’s the first time I have even eaten all the firsts in a week as usual no mail today. But tomorrow is another day and I’ll waite [sic] Got two yesterday though so am ahead today anyway. You speak the truth. Some French women are very pretty. But do you know I have seen things in this country I didn’t think I even the heard hunters did.  Talk about strange habits. Boy they have them here. Its [sic] worth talking about but no can do. On one letter you said you hoped I had on at least half of my long handles. Gee honey I have had the whole works on for almost two months and do they feel good. Wish I had room to put on a couple more pair. And if I get any skinner I’ll be able too. But now that I can eat perhaps I won’t. I’m glad Deloris got home for a while. Bet with all the work she has been doing she was a little homesick. Wonder where she will go. We got word of the ball game over the radio. In fact I listened to some of the games. I’m glad the Cards won. That’s my team.

According to good old Wikipedia,” the 1944 World Series was an all-St. Louis World Series, matching up the St. Louis Cardinals and St. Louis Browns at Sportsman’s Park. “It was held from October 4th through the 9th. The Cardinals won the series four games to two.”  What could be better for the souls of these young men to sit in front of the radio when they got the chance to listen to the World Series that year?

Click on the picture to see highlights of the 1944 World Series

 I got the package you sent the 30th. That is if it was the portfolio. But the rest I haven’t gotten. You see why the U.S. had such a hard time getting things across. I have five packages on the way. If everyone had as many what a pile that would be. Just waite [sic] till I can go down town and buy me a hat. I think I’ll have a pink one too. I’ll bet the hat is nice though honey. And I wasn’t making fun of you. Just making some post war plans. Nice Huh! Nope sweet we never did look for another dog. Guess we were so glad to get rid of the first one we didn’t look anymore. I am going to write to Frank and Dorothy so perhaps I better stop this and start that. I haven’t written then for a long I time. I love you may darling. I love you so much. Gee honey I’ll never get tired saying that. I love you my darling wife. All my love, Lefty.

26 October, St. Max, France

My Darling Wife, I got another letter from you today honey. Gosh it sure seems nice to be getting mail regular. When it doesn’t come through is when we have the low down blues. But I guess it hasn’t hurt us to waite [sic]. But we certainly don’t want to do that. It sounds like Junior is certainly going to have the wardrobe. Once I was going to start a chart to see how much he had to look forward to but that sounded like work so I’m just leaving the whole darn thing to you. Not that it would have done me any good. But you wrote and said you were working on such things and I really didn’t know which one. I just love fried potatoes with onions in them. But that and raw onions are about the best. Oh! In soup they are good. One can’t be to [sic] particular of what he has to eat here though.  So everything is supposed to be good. Ben and I have been discussing Roberta. We had decided it was about time and then Ann wrote and confirmed it. And now you so we know for sure. Hope she gets on ok. She is pretty lucky. In more ways than one. I’m not sure whether you got my cold or I got yours. Anyway I have passed mine on now. Someone else has it. And am I glad. Now if you just get rid of yours we’ll both be happy. The cold seems general though. Everyone has one once in a while. But why do I have to have second and thirds on it. I can just see you getting big Mommie. Boy! Oh Boy! Do I wish I were there to tease you. And make you mad.  Remember how you used to get mad when I teased you. Gosh you could have shot me. I finally got all the folks written to. Except Dad and he never writes me so I take my time writing him. But his turn will come someday. Don’t ask when. Well Mommie we seem to be two of a kind. You like to tell me you love me and I love to tell you. I do love you my darling. Gosh Mommie. I love you. I love you so much. Wish I were home with you. I love you. All my love, your husband, Lefty.

In reading different accounts of this time in the war, I have found that a lot of men had colds. Not because they just passed them around but these soldiers could not stay dry. Flooding was at its worse in 80 years. Between that and river crossings they did not have time to dry out. Not only did these soldiers face head colds but it was during this time that trench foot ran rampant among the troops.

© 2013 notsofancynancy

Robert “Bob” Winter, Truman “Ben” Howard

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Responses

  1. Your Dad’s baseball team is also my team.

  2. Such hard times for them all. I always love reading these posts, getting a bit of history from such a personal point of view

    • Thank you so much it really means a lot to hear that!

  3. Those Kansas girls certainly DID have good genes. Trench foot was everywhere. In the Pacific it got the exotic name of jungle rot. (what an improvement)

    • Oh my! Jungle rot sounds horrible!

    • I agree trench foot was everywhere, gpcox. But I believe jungle rot was a fungal infection?

      • Interesting! Another thing I will have to research. I think that is my favorite thing to do working with these letters.

      • I an uncertain, notsofancynancy and gpcox… but Old Man Jack never mentioned trench foot. Only jungle rot.

      • And I have only heard of trench foot!

      • I believe you’re correct Koji.

  4. No rest for the weary. Cold, wet and sick but no days off. Incredible. I also meant to ask you, what program do you use to scan/import your photos? They come out very clear.

    • In a later letter Dad says it rained six weeks straight. It would have been miserable for a lot of soldiers.

      I have Picasa 3 on my computer and the scanner is a Kodak all in one printer/scanner

  5. The image of the chateau was wonderful. I always wonder what happened to homes like that during the war… I took notice of your dad mentioning the “Marines” as if they were getting all the news coverage (i.e., the Marines were winning the war!). And his recollection of “Mac” was quite funny…perhaps not at that time. 🙂

    But alluding to the dry feet. Yes, as you say, they went for weeks without ever drying out. Trench foot was – I believe – enough to qualify for a Purple Heart?

    • I was hoping someone would clarify what was going on with the Marines! It sure made Dad mad. I am not sure being where he was that he would have really known about how much the Marines were doing. He would have only been getting information from newspapers and word of mouth.

      • Well, its just my take, notsofancynancy, but the war in Europe was “in the can” – perhaps not so to young men like your father fighting under miserable conditions. The Pacific is where the focus shifted, both publicly and militarily. Remember, the Allies had not yet captured any Japanese homeland yet. The first piece of Japanese soil taken was Iwo Jima, about six months later. Also, Americans were tiring of the war and of the losses; bond drives were waning…that is, until the three survivors of the flag raising hit the war bond circuit.

      • I love that you share your knowledge with my posts. I have learned so much, thank you


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