Posted by: notsofancynancy | July 11, 2013

World War II, chapter 72, Cold and Tired of the Whole Damn Thing

World War II

Sick and Tired of the Whole Damn Thing

Chapter 72

Still hunkered down in Buzz-Bomb Alley the Quartermaster did what they did best drove, hauling things up and down that “alley.” In the research I have done most of the Buzz-Bombs were dropped starting in July of 1944. I wonder if our men encountered any of these remote controlled bombs with wings. How could they not have?

Mom and Mary Lynn

Mom and Mary Lynn

12 February, Buzz-Bomb Alley, Stahe, Germany

Darling Wife & Daughter, Well honey I’m not sure I should write tonight. I’m in an awful mood and feeling about half sick. Seems everything happens at once. Well almost at once. Its [sic] been coming for a long time. I don’t mean that about me. About all that’s wrong with me is I’m sick and tired of the whole damn thing. Oh yes the dog came in again. In fact he has been around all the time. I just got mad at him and kicked him out of here so he went to another room and went to bed. I went after him just after I finished your letter last night. We made up and now awful good friends.  In fact he is here on my lap. So if you see a few footprints on the paper you’ll know what happened. He just couldn’t sleep when I started moaning around. He is about 2 hands high and nearly all black. He has brown on the legs and just a little around the mouth. Part rat terrier and part flea carrier. I think the most is flea. I got three of the best letters from you today Feb 2-3-5 boy they came right through. I sure needed my morale built up too. I also got one from Mom. I think I’m only going to answer these one at a time because I’ve lost faith in the mail and they are fairly new. Just to tell you how good the mail is. Lucille sent me a package with one of those gummed paper tags on. Well the tag got wet came off and stuck to someone’s newspaper and I got the damn paper. The best part of it was the paper was from New York and about the same as some people from here. We finally got paid the other day so I’ll send you some money as soon as I get around to it. It will be late so I haven’t hurried much. Anyway I love you so much my Darling. And even if I can’t buy and send you something I think about you an awful lot. The last time I was in town was when I sent the last package to you. Since I haven’t been any place to buy anything. As a matter of fact honey in the last four months I haven’t spent over $1.00 besides stamps and that went for PX Rations. Oh yes I lied I have around a hundred pictures coming if they ever get here. I have had some coming for about 3 month[s] and have nearly lost hope of getting them. Sounds like Mary is getting all the new clothes. How she should be as proud of you as you are of her. I’m sure looking forward to getting home to see the two of you. Sure sounds like the kitchen is being misused but to a good cause. Well honey the lights will go out any time now. I sure hope Mom is on par again. I sure hope you don’t think I’m going to get tired of listening to you tell of Mary Lynn. Gosh I’m sweating these letters out just to hear about her and you. Boy honey I love you and if it weren’t for you telling me about her what would I be. I love you my Darling. The lights just went out so I’ll have to end this. I love you Darling. I love you so much. I love you I love you I love you both honey. Tell me more about the baby. All my love Darling, Lefty

13 February, Buzz-Bomb Alley, Stahe, Germany

My Darling Wife & Daughter, Gosh tomorrow is Valentines [sic] Day and only my heart to send you and have to write that. I got some of the pictures I had ordered but they aren’t just what I wanted. Got them from Ben and he had them enlarged. They don’t look just right to me. I got another letter from you and one from Mom today. They were Jan 25 & 26. A little later than the ones yesterday but awful good. You asked if it would be ok to have her baptized. I think it would be a very good idea honey. In fact I didn’t think you had to ask me something like that. But I’m glad you did made me feel important. Tell me all about it huh!  Say Mommie why don’t you turn in Mary’s laundry to that outfit to be done. After all you better take advantage of something while you can. I imagine the one I have to help take care of you all have to do the laundry after you come home from work. I’m going to be lazy to do anything like work. I finally got a money order. Now if I haven’t lost it I’ll send it and about three pictures that should make almost a package. The money order isn’t to [sic] much but all I had. One kid didn’t pay me so I didn’t have all I wanted. I told Bob about the report you wanted to hear of him on Jan 16. He laughed and said I guess I should write one.  Well Darling I’m just going to stop this now. I love you so much my Darling. Hope Mary has gotten over the gas now. I love you both Darling I love you so much I love you. All my love Darling, Lefty Tell me the pictures you get they are numbered on the back.

15 February, 1945 Quartermaster received Meritorious Service Unit Plaque by G.O. No. 12 Hg. 35th Infantry Division

Meritorious Service patch Courtesy of Wikipedia

Meritorious Service patch
Courtesy of Wikipedia

According to the Office of the Assistant to the Secretary of the Army:

The Meritorious Service Unit Plaque was established by War Department Circular No. 345, dated 23 August 1944. The circular provided that military personnel assigned or attached to an organization were entitled to wear the Meritorious Service Unit Insignia on the outside half of the right sleeve of the service coat and shirt, four inches above the end of the sleeve. Additional awards were to be indicated by a gold star to be placed on the plaque. War Department Circular No. 54, 1946, provided that additional awards would be indicated by placing a golden numeral inside the wreath. 15 February, Buzz-Bomb Alley, Stahe, Germany

15 February, Buzz-Bomb Alley, Stahe, Germany

My Darling Wife & Daughter, Hello honey hows [sic] the daughter. In the letter I got from you today you sounded pretty disgusted. It was written Jan. 23 So you know what was happening along when you didn’t get to go home when you should have. I’ll bet things were all missed up when you didn’t get there.  Mom being sick and all. I’m glad you liked the comb and brush set. I sure couldn’t by [sic] anything like that here and send it. Nor could I buy anything. I sent a money order the other day for something for our anniversary so I hope you get that someday. I’ll send some more pictures tonight. Hope you get all I send. I must have sprouted off in my letter about the paper George sends. Sure would. I read it and like most of it and perhaps if I knew someone around there it would be better. I have forgotten what I said but whatever it was I must have said the wrong thing. Mommie do you remember some time ago I said we went on a blackout drive and stated it was the mother of them all. Well what really happened that night two of us started up the line about 50 miles for a load and didn’t even get a dry run. Didn’t think they had them here but they do. We started about 6:30 and picked up another man and took off. Even before we left there was a plane over head and the A.A. [Anti -Aircraft] Boys were giving him a good time. He seemed to have a couple friends before the night was over. They were firing Ack Ack Alt.

Thanks to my fellow blogger, Mustang Koji  the definition

“Ack-Ack is for anti-aircraft fire.  Ground crews would fire shells in the air with fuses timed for the ordnance to explode at a specific altitude…like the altitude enemy bombers would be at. Ack-Ack came from WWI British encoding where “A” was “Ack”.  Therefore, “ack-ack” was the acronym, per se, for “Anti-Aircraft”, or AA.”

They were up and of course a few bombs dropped but I believe one of the planes exploded in the air. When I looked out I could see fire and big black smoke off to the left. It was all up in the air and all around it just sounded like hail on the tin roof. Of course it wasn’t hail but had the same effect. We wasn’t keeping quite within the limit of speed for blackout of course and had a couple of narrow escapes between the two ditches and after we got there a bunch of Jiggs [African-American soldiers] wouldn’t tell us they didn’t have what we wanted we had to set out and waite [sic] about 3 hrs. Then to top it all off it started to rain on the way back. By the time we got back at 6 next morning the extra man setting between us was shaking like he had St. Vitas Dance. He even had a hard time talking. I haven’t heard of him ever going out with any of us since.

You have to love Dad’s description of this frightening incident. I love when we get these tidbits to the past of what was really going on.  I have to believe this is how a lot of Dad’s days were while he was overseas. The supplies had to be delivered to the front lines and someone had to do it. It is foolish of me to believe he didn’t have many more of these missions.

Courtesy of Murray Combs Family

Courtesy of Murray Combs Family

I had never heard of St. Vitas Dance but it seems as though it is a real disease which affects mostly children who have suffered rheumatic fever. According to Wikipedia “It is characterized by a jerking motion  localized in the hands and face. Sydenham’s chorea is more common in females than males and most patients are children, below 18 years of age.” I bet that Dad was also scared but I bet for that poor “kid” it was something he never forgot.

I hope our daughter isn’t crying to [sic] much now Darling. I guess with all Mom being sick and Mary being off tune you have been having yourself quite a time. I know damn well I should be home to help take care of one. Haven’t had much experience at taking care of anything lately but my gun and dog. And the dog does pretty well by himself.  Wow I am on the ball tonight. They gave us this paper today and I like it so well I can’t get stopped. Guess I am going to have to turn it over so I can write smaller. Its [sic] almost bedtime now so I guess I’ll have to stop. I love you so much my Darling. I still have about two letters to answer so when I don’t get one I’ll answer them I love you so much honey. I love you and all you have told me about our daughter. I love you honey I love you I love you so much I love you I love you. All my love Darlings, Lefty

Dad wrote "Coffee Time, (Gerald) Dennis, (Myron) Morris, (Raymond) Linden, (Alexander) Weil, (Reynold) Hanson

Dad wrote “Coffee Time, (Gerald) Dennis, (Myron) Morris, (Raymond) Linden, (Alexander) Weil, (Reynold) Hanson

16 February, Buzz-Bomb Alley, Stahe, Germany

My Darling Wife & Daughter, Gee honey did I get the mail today. 10 letters. All back mail though. But all (or Some) of the letters came telling about Mary and they were the ones I wanted. Boy oh Boy I got an announcement from Mom on our daughter. Which I and about everyone else thought was quite clever. Then I got a congratulation card from Aunt Dick and I haven’t yet figured out why she sent one to me.  After all you did all the work. I only had a small part to do. It was nice anyway. Then I got a Valentine from Madelyn. She hasn’t written in ages. Have you heard from her. Guess I’m going to have to write and tell her about our daughter huh? I’m sure jumbled up I don’t know whether Mary had red or blond hair. But in one letter its blond and the next its red.  Hope she hasn’t taken to dye it yet. I finally got the lessons I sent for. I don’t know how long it has taken to get them here but they seem pretty much what I wanted. Have to work all the harder now. Have to work for when I get home.  I have 14 months to complete the course but am sure it won’t take half that long. They have a couple more I want to take if I have time. Gosh there is lots I could say about your letters but they are so old I’m not sure I haven’t said it before  I’m glad you liked the flowers. I sure don’t know what I’d do if it weren’t for your Mom and Pop. Sure have a lot to thank them for.  Know the picture I sent home to you some time ago. Well Dad had some made of those and gave all the kids one.  Guess I should have sent some good ones. Didn’t realize he was going to do anything like that. While I am on the subject I’ll send home some more. I’m sending them three at a time and hope you get them.  I sent in what rolls I had taken to be developed that should make near 200 pictures I have coming.  I’ll just send the interesting ones and keep the rest and bring them When I Come!! Honey you wouldn’t be the only happy one if I were home. I love you so much my Darling. Sure hope you and Mary and Mom are well now and you are getting the rest you need. I love you sweet. I love both of my girls. I love you so much. All my love, Lefty

"Lefty" Woodside

“Lefty” Woodside

My father’s pictures number right around 200. I want to make sure you know that at one time Dad mentions getting pictures from Dudley. This would be Oswald Dudley from Missouri and if I understand things correct someone, like Mr. Dudley would take pictures and other soldier’s would order “copies” of them. They in turn would send them home to their families. So in one case Dad mentions that they had ordered 80 copies. This means that somewhere out there are 80 other people thinking they have pictures that their family member had taken, just as I had and now I know many other’s will have the same pictures. I hope some day to find others with the same pictures. I wonder what the odds of that would be?

17 February, Buzz-Bomb Alley, Stahe, Germany

My Darling Wife & Daughter, Hello honey, How’s everything this fine rainy morning. I just came off guard and its [sic] about 3:00 A.M. So you see it is morning. Didn’t get any mail from you today but did get one from Mrs. Vance. She congratulated us and said how George was. [This is the George Vance, who introduced my parents back in 1937] Also said Della was thinking of getting married and had been sick. Everything else was in order I guess. Say you know this book I’m reading from that school is pretty good. One would think to be a carpenter all you would have to know would be which end of the hammer was the hardest or which wall the nail fit. But its [sic] different than that. This one telling the different cuts on trees to get the best material and the different trees. Its [sic] quite interesting and so far I have learned quite a little about drying lumber and such. Only have 18 books to read so it will probably be old. Have 14 now and 4 more to come. Hows [sic] Mary? Sure wish I could bring the dog I have home. I believe if I could learn him to like civilians the two of them would get along. He is smart as a whip and everyone says he is a good looking dog. You know he was out all night and came in about 10 this morning. I guess someone had him shut up someplace because he usually fallows me. The other day some civilian was walking by to [sic] close to the truck and happened to hit the open door. Man did the dog raise heck. Just like he owned the place. The man sure didn’t fool around either. The dog is just a pup but learns fast I think. Tell Mom I got the picture from the Sat Evening Post she sent. Not bad. I can sure see what she means. I’m going to write her as soon as I have time. This is mighty early in the morning to go into any details about the length a letter should be. I need my beauty sleep. So I’m going to say I love you so much my Darling. Don’t let the red hair and temper get you down. I love you so much honey. I love you both Darling. All my love Darling, Lefty

Some of Dad's wood carvings

Some of Dad’s wood carvings

My father enjoyed doing carpentry in his retirement. It started with a shelving unit at one end of our living room. He made some other furniture, one dresser for my sister in which he used no nails and only dowels and glue, and he built several buildings on our property. He also loved to whittle. This would be something he enjoyed until his fingers could no longer hold the knives. He carved saddles pins and cowboy boots.  He also carved birds and people. I am lucky to still have quite a collection of his carvings, one of my most prized possessions.  But my father did not become a carpenter.  After the war he had a very long career as a driver. Driving what? Ah you will have to wait and read the epilogue.

© 2013 notsofancynancy

Truman “Ben” Howard, Robert “Bob” Winter, Oswald Dudley, Gerald Dennis, Myron J. Morris, Alexander Weil, Reynold Hanson, Raymond Linden,

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Responses

  1. Another great post. I got a kick out of your dad’s description of the dog. My father,like yours, kept track of mail delivery promptness. I remembered that my father got paid in currency of the host country (Indian Rupees). I guess Lefty wouldn’t have been paid in French Francs because France had been occupied by the Nazis and was being liberated. I wonder if he was paid in military script or US dollars? I know who your dad drove for, from previous posts, but I’ll keep quiet.

    • Thanks Dad had many dogs while he was overseas. And yes the mail was ever so important. Thanks for keeping quiet! lol

  2. Your treatment of the “issue”, notsofancynancy, was excellent. Told as it was in WWII which is one of the purposes of your blog. Kudos to you. Similarly, when I quote Old Man Jack, it’s written as he said it… and he certainly wasn’t directing his words at me – just the past demons.

    Also, one thing that intrigued me was his writing about film processing, printing, and ordering re-prints while at his post. Do you have any specifics on how this was accomplished? I’ve always wondered about that.

    And your dad’s whittlings… What wonderful herilooms… I hope you will take some time and study how to best preserve them…

    • Thank you Mustang Koji. My father’s prejudice is hard for me to deal with. But as we have discussed it made me see what an injustice prejudice is and how I will not have it in my life. I love that about me! Another great lesson Dad taught me in a round about way!

      It is cool up here and we are getting a bit of rain. I can almost hear the desert sucking up every drop. We really need it! I know you are getting some down there. Enjoy!

    • Oh and as near as I can figure out about the pictures is they sent them through the mail to get them developed. One letter dad says it is taking two months to get them back. He does not say more than that though and does not specify mail.

  3. Hi Nancy – Interesting about thinking that your father took the photos. I had the same experience with the several hundred photos that my father left. Until I found and soon after met the professional photographer for the unit – Dennis Wile. Unbeknownst to me, he had already had a show of these photos at Emory University – The Blur of War. One woman even wrote and published a short book about the photos (she thought) her father had taken. Dennis (Mr. D.) Wile described details to me of these photos that he had taken and sold to the soldiers (being careful to only use papers and products he had purchased for this side business). Some were self timer and he had been able to pose as well in the photos. All can be seen on my web site: http://www.1270thengineercombatbattalion.com. thanks for sharing your very interesting information. My father burned all his letters home, in spite of his sisters protest, while they were cleaning out my grandfather’s home.

    • Yes in the beginning I thought they were his. But in his writing he talks about getting some from so-and-so. I too thought there must have been a photographer as you can tell that some of the pictures are staged. Then there are the ones I know were ones Dad took as he talks about that too. I am thinking all three are right. Also with other’s letting me see their collections they have some I do and some I don’t. Our soldiers stories are similar.

  4. The beginning of this chapter reminded me so much of my own dad. He was in a hospital in Belgium when I was born and didn’t get the news for a long time after that. The mail was iffy as your dad said and my dad got the news first from his sister before he heard it from mom. I was 9 months old before he ever got to see me. He had pneumonia 4 times while overseas and 3 of those times, he just laid in a foxhole and shivered. It had to be extremely depressing but he barely let that show through in his letters to the family. I do want to give kudos to mom though. She had a big picture of him in his uniform and sat me in front of it every day, telling me about my daddy. When he came home, I was not the least bit afraid of him and knew who he was. So many memories come to me when I read your posts. My earliest childhood memory is of my dad. I can’t have been more than 2 and I am sitting on his lap while he teaches me to count in German. I love your posts about your dad, Nancy. I think he was a lot like my own dad.

    • Thank you! I am glad my father’s letters bring good memories for you. We are both blessed to have such great father’s!


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