Posted by: notsofancynancy | May 16, 2013

World War II, chapter 64, The Bicycle

World War II

Chapter 64

The Bicycle

Looks like Mom wrote a baby list on the back of Dads letter Maybe hospital list?

Looks like Mom wrote a baby list on the back of Dads letter Maybe hospital list?

Christmas is coming and the soldier’s job is not done. Dad is still in France driving troops, delivering supplies, gas, rations, and whatever else needed to be hauled to the troops all over France. My mom on the other hand is spending her days in Pasadena, California. Christmas was always a big deal in my Grandma’s house. She always made things fun. Grandma Susie wasn’t a drinker but she did have one or two Pabst Blue Ribbon beers during the holidays. Looking back on it, it was fun to watch such a prim, proper lady like Grandma Susie with a beer buzz on. Mom will deliver their first child in less than a month.

Dad wrote "Remember that bicycle I told you about"

Dad wrote “Remember that bicycle I told you about” This is my dad! Lefty Woodside

13 December, St Jean-Rohrbach, France

My Darling Wife, Hello honey this is the daily bugle. I can blow for 10 minutes and not even get reveille. But there isn’t anyone in the world I would rather blow for. The mail came. But all I had was a letter from Lucille and a package from Rose and Elmer. The package was pretty nice. Another white towel and a bar of soap. Guess they think I need sanitation over here. Gosh I wash once a month whether I need it or not. You can just turn around and be dirty so you get used to it. Outside your [sic] in mud clear up to possible and that’s not hay.

In case you are keeping track Dad now has about twelve bars of soap and quite a few white towels. I can’t imagine him hauling all that on the road. I think when he talks about the once a month bath he is really not kidding. Maybe they will have better luck for “sanitation” staying in barracks.

Oh waite [sic] I think I have a letter left from yesterday I can write about. So you finally got the picture. Well there is another on the way. Sure hope you like it too. It’s a little fixed up. If I ever get to Paris I’ll get you that perfume. Until then I guess you’ll have to buy your own. I’m sorry I didn’t get some when I had the chance. Maybe I could have, I don’t know. Boy honey perhaps you won’t fall down again in ten years but I’m going to do a lot of hoping it doesn’t happen a little bit to [sic] soon. Sure wish I [was] there so you could lean on me. Probably I’d fall too. But do be careful honey. I guess L.A. kinda has it as Christmas goes huh. Someday I’m going to do my shopping there. And hope it is next year.  You and Mom really must have done the rounds today (Can’t say today that’s about 2 months late) I’m sure glad Jr didn’t give you much resistance. It sure would have ruined your day. Huh? About the names honey. I don’t know. I guess I have given the best I can think of. Perhaps you have some much better I don’t know. I’m leaving it all up to you. Don’t worry Mommie rather than have no name call it Sam or Sollsy [sic]. Well honey again its [sic] about time to quit. At least I think so. Lucille and Mike are Ok so quote they anyway. I love you my Darling. I love you. I love you. All my love, Lefty

Dad talks throughout the letters about how expensive it was to buy things in France. I am not sure of his motives though. Did he just not want to contribute to their economy when that money will be better spent in the United States?

Robert "Bob" Winter

Robert “Bob” Winter

14 December, St Jean-Rohrbach, France

My Darling Wife, Mail again today. Three letters from you and one from Elmer and Rose. The three from you were sure nice. I’m all in favor of Terry Lee or Mary Lynn. Boy if you like them we better make it that or I’m afraid he or she might get stuck with some of the names on that paper. Wow what a list. I got a big bang out of some of them. Then I showed them to Bob and we both had a good laugh. Tell you what I’ll save the list and if by chance we have to be farmers well have something to call the cats. Oh! Honey. I was only kidding. They are all good but I like the two. If you do swell. I could never go by what someone else wrote. Have to have brainstorms of my own. Some aren’t so bad either. I like Beverly Kay better than Gay. For some reason I don’t like Gay sounds out of place. Well thats [sic] my line. Ivan Ray would be nice. Terry Lee and Mary Lynn as the first two and Beverly Kay and Ivan Ray as second. (just in case of twins and we have to have two names.)

This is crazy, the baby will be here anytime now and they are just deciding on names? How long will this take to get to Mom? Will they use one of these names or will Mom pick one out Dad has not mentioned? There will be big news in the Woodside family soon and I wonder just how long it will take for Dad to get the news the stork has made the delivery.

Now vital subject is past and I hope you haven’t blown the lid, I love you darling. They were good names. Now do you believe me?  You asked me how much I owed. I only owe about half as much as there is owed me only I intend to pay what I owe out of my own pocket. Besides Harold I owe Elmer a little. About the some $30 each. I had Bob paid before I left the states. I think I wrote that once. If not I sure aimed too.  That’s where all the money went I won that month. In fact Bob owed me about 6 dollars by the first payday we had. Nope Mommie the two are all and I’ll get them paid. Don’t you go sending them any. Well that’s subject number two. Now we can get down to some real loving. I like the idea about the folks Christmas presents. I think they would too. So if that is what you did swell. They will think it grand. I guess I’m going to have to watch my figure. Boy Mommie I didn’t realize you weighed so much. Just waite [sic] though Jr will show you what’s what. If you keep that up perhaps I better send a couple more names huh? You know that clipping Lucille sent is sure going to town back there. By the time we get home we are going to be forgotten hero’s. For What? Everyone is writing about it. Sounds swell too. You say John isn’t working. Nice isn’t it. I’m glad I got a wife who can depend on me make the living. And if I can’t grant you will have the chance of finding someone else who can make it. But as you say its [sic] going to be damn hard. But honey I have no damn doubt but what we do a good job of it. I don’t think anything in the world is to [sic] good for you honey and I have plans of showing you the best. Boy honey all I want is a chance to show you and the rest.  Well gosh honey I guess I have forgotten all the good things I had to say. I went to a show “Cover Girl” tonight. It was sure good. Have you seen it. It made me so want to be home with you. I’m just the little guy but I sure love you. But damn it this war sure won’t let me tell you. Only of course a letter and that sure isn’t any good. I get so lonesome for you my Darling. Bob’s getting to call me “Lovesick Me.”  And he is the one who should be called that. Rose and Elmer are ok at least they said so. For some reason she said she was reading the first letter from France. I have sure written more than that. But perhaps she as you haven’t gotten them. The letter she was talking about was dated Oct something or other. I love you my Darling Wife. I love you so much. Gee honey I hope you and Jr are getting on ok. I love you honey. Oh Gee Mommie how can I tell you how much I have missed you and love you. All my love, Lefty

Clip from cover girl Rita Hayward preforms Poor John from the movie, “Cover Girl.”

17 December, St Jean-Rohrbach, France

My Darling Wife, Hello my Darling. Gosh honey am I the luckiest guy in the world. Know [?] why I got your Christmas Card yesterday and you know the rest. Was that picture good. Boy honey I’m so proud of it. I made a little leather folder for it today. The one it was in wouldn’t last long in this country. Boy I sure do like it Honey. The Christmas card was also very nice. Especially what you wrote on it. I sure like to get cards from you since you have been writing on them. By the way I also got letters from you. 7-8-9-10. Awful old but lots of loving and that’s what I want. I love you my Darling. Sounds like we are getting rich. And you ask me if I have enough money. Its [sic] me that should be asking you. Gosh have you been spending anything. I didn’t ever think we would have that much in the bank. That’s another thing honey. I guess I just need you to save the money for us. I have been going to write home and find [out] how many bonds I have but haven’t thought of it yet. If you need any of that money use it honey. After all its [sic] yours. I know this is mighty late but wish the folks a happy anniversary for me. Maybe next year I’ll be able to remember it and do it myself. I wish them all the luck in the world. I have your picture sitting here in front of me. And every once in a while I have to stop and look at it. I sure do like it honey. I sure wish you would get some good ones taken of you now. You write and say the ones aren’t good. I haven’t seen you take a really bad picture yet. I sure didn’t have much of a time wrapping Xmas presents this year. We just couldn’t buy anything for less than a fortune.  And I guess I’m a little Scotch because I hate to buy. Well its [sic] to [sic] late now in two ways. So Fred is in Germany. Guess he went the easy way huh!  I’m sure glad Ruth has been hearing from him. Wish she would send me his address someday. I probably wouldn’t write but the address would be good. You say what a cheerful day it rained all day, I can top that. What a cheerful 6 weeks. It has rained all of them. I don’t know what tree I have about run into. It has been pretty dark around here and I have walked into a few vehicles without seeing them. Does that count. Started walking downstairs last night and didn’t quite get all the way down before I turned and about broke my neck getting down the hard was. I didn’t hurt myself but my modesty was kind of mangled. (I’m sitting on a blanket now.) I’m not so sure I can fill another page or not but if your [sic] willing to read it I’m willing to try. (not bragging either) Last night we had a show “Cover Girl” and tonight “Crazy Horse.” Both were good. I guess just any old show would be good to us. They are one thing that really takes us home for awhile. It takes about three hours to come back but we make it. I don’t know why I go to them I get so damn lonesome. Then sit here and mood for 10-11 hours until the bull gets to rolling and forget it. I got another package from Lucille yesterday. The underclothes didn’t come but she said there were five packages in all coming so I still have two to go. That’s what balls up our mail so.  Not I’m on the ball. Have a cup of coffee. I’m not used to drinking coffee so much anymore. So what this will do to me Oh! La! La! I got the darndest letter from Norma and Bob. It was just clippings from the Lexington paper. It came and had 2 air mail stamps on it and I thought for sure thunder and lightning had taken over and there wasn’t one word written in it. Well my Darling I must stop for tonight. Your [sic] probably tired reading this anyway. I love you so much my Darling. Gee honey am I lucky to have gotten you before someone else. I love you. I love you. I love you. All my Love Darling, Lefty

Dad Wrote "Here is one reason why it was wrecked." Not sure if this is Dad or Bob

Dad Wrote “Here is one reason why it was wrecked.” Not sure if this is Dad or Bob

17 December, St Jean-Rohrbach, France

My Dearest Wife, Hello Honey. I’m going to have to write this in a hurry. It’s almost time for lights out and I’m awful sleepy so must have my sleep. Sound like Ruth is doing ok too isn’t she. The last thing I heard she was going to Oregon. I didn’t think she felt well and had to write her my two cents worth. Well maybe she took my advice.  Bob and I went to another show tonight. “Music in Manhattan.” It was good although we had seen it before. But Ann[e] Shelley was something to look at. Dennis Day was to [sic] darn crazy though. Was much better on the radio. And better than that in the Army. You know I wish the moon would be out all the time. Man does it get dark. I guess its ok though cause I’m really grown up now and not afraid of the dark. Say Mommie one time we had several bicycles around and Bob and I weren’t contended [sic] until we rode them. Man what a ride. The only bike we could borrow was one without the precious little gadgets tires. Well we rode and ended up in a heap. We made a necklace of the front wheel. That took some talking to get out of that. (also work) But talking about bicycles. We liked to go down the road and watch the people ride. The women over here just don’t care how the dresses fly. And many times we could be going along and see pinks hanging on the bicycle seats. They soon caught on though and we couldn’t enjoy the pinks (they took them off. The life of Riley. Well Honey I must stop now. I see the lights have dimmed a couple times and that’s my cue.  I love you so much my Darling. Gee I love you sweetheart. I love you, I love you. I love you. All my love Mommie, Lefty

I have been wondering what the stories were on these bicycle pictures. It looks like it did not take much to keep these soldiers amused and shame on them for spying on those French women’s underwear, but then boys will be boys even if they are 25 years old.

© 2013 notsofancynancy

Robert “Bob” Winter



  1. What a great story, I’m so glad you have all this letters. Thank you very much for sharing.

  2. I had a good laugh over the part about naming future cats (if they ever became farmers) the left over baby names 🙂

    • It made me laugh and wonder exactly what those names were! lol

  3. What a story!

  4. Lovely peek into his life once again, notsofancynancy…

    Your pictures this time.. Are you sure if scan it correctly (with auto correct and/or fade correction at time of scanning) you can’t get the details of their faces? But Lefty isn’t wearing a helmet with Bob is…. I guess you may never know.. I feel bad for ya.

    One funny thing again was the underwear… Boys may be boys but when a boy thinks he may die at any minute, they start thinking about those “kind” of things. Likewise, girls dream about being swept off their feet. Boys just dream about “it”. 🙂

    • And once again your comment is thought provoking!!! I really think it is Bob as you said Bob is wearing the helmet. And yes if I were at war and had a chance to look at some young bucks underwear .I would most certainly look but I would not write home about it! hahahaha

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