Friday, October 31, 2014

Dear Ma, Pa, Grandma, Barb, Ann & Ele Letter No. 154

Somewhere in England

Oct. 31, 1944

Dear Mom, Grandma, Pa, Barb, Ann & Ele,

Now I've seen London.  I was there Sunday on a pass and was there Sunday on a pass and was very much impressed by most things and other things didn’t please me so well.

As soon as we go there we went to Buckingham Palace.  But it was a disappointment to me.  It was an immense place but didn’t have any “color” at all.  I imagine if we could have seen the inside I would have been surprised (you can’t judge a book by its cover you know).  I talked to one of the bobby’s (policeman) and he gave us a little interesting points about the place.  (By the way Max and another fellow & myself went).  He told us that when the King was there the colors would fly on the mast on top of the building, and when we were [there] the colors were not flying therefore the King wasn’t there.

As I was making the rounds I wished you all could have been with me.  It’s really something everybody should see.  You never can tell there may come a day.

From there we went to Westminster Abbey and upon approaching it, little did we know it was Westminster Abbey.  But upon entering it, it hit us as one of the most interesting, most thrilling sights I ever saw.  It was built in the 9 &10 centuries, so that makes is just about a 1000 years old, and it looks it.  Can you imagine seeing something a 1000 years old.  It’s kind of hard to realize isn’t it?  In this church just about everybody that’s noble was buried.  And for each tomb they have a statue or carving with beauty that isn’t explainable in words.  Kings, great poets, scientists etc. were buried there.  The alter & surroundings & choir seats (where they have processions) are beautifully carved.  And believe it or not when we were there the sun was shining and we got the beautiful effects of the huge rose colored glasses.  The structure itself is all made of stone, all hand carved and it extends so high, you just wonder what keeps it up there.  Being I am interested in building construction I wonder all the more.  But the boys in those times were really good and you have to give them credit.  They built for endurance not like today.

St. Paul’s Cathedral was one of the disappointments.  I guess it’s really something but after seeing Westminster Abbey it didn’t impress me too much.  But it was thrilling to see the huge dome on the church from the inside.  It’s a huge size and extends, maybe 400 ft. in the air.  (That’s an estimation).  If you like you can look up some of these wonders in a book and get some facts about them.  If I had access to do a library I would do the same thing.  If I ever get some time on a pass I’ll try to get to a library and do a little research work.

The House of Parliament on the Thames River is a building of unusual size and is a building of beautiful architecture.  We couldn’t get into this building as you have to register for a tour and we didn’t have time for that.  Right at the end of this building was Big Ben, the clock you hear so much about.  It’s quite a sight.  As we passed it struck two o’clock in the afternoon with two big bongs.

No. 10 Downing St. & Scotland Yard was close by but we didn’t get around to see it.

Then we went to see the oldest building in London and that was the Tower of London.  This is a prison & torture chamber where all these kings etc. were beheaded (If I got it straight).  There was a tour thru here and we missed it.  Maybe I can make it next time.

Also right next to this building was the London Bridge over the Thames River.  I forgot to mention that the Tower of London was hit by a bomb.  But it was a very small portion of it.  It gave us an opportunity to see the thickness of the wall & the rooms where they kept the prisoners.

I sent Helen a map and when she is finished with it she will send it to you & then you can put it in the scrap book.  It’s in pretty bad shape but I’ll try to get a few new ones the next time I go.  OK.

A few more interesting points.  We visited Piccadilly Circus.  But we didn’t see Barnum & Bailey or any other circus.  Piccadilly Circus is to London as Times Square is to New York.  Just a main section.  But it really does look like a circus to see al these different uniforms of different countries.  The Scottish uniforms are the most colorful.  I don’t think there is any explanation, is there?

Some of the boys weighed themselves and got their weight in stones.  One stone is equal to 14 pounds.  A person who weighs 126#, weighs 9 stones in England.

I guess that’s about all for now.  I think I’ll get some shut eye.  I hope you are all in the best of health and very happy.  I am fine.  I got Grandma’s name on this letter & will do so in the future unless Aunt Anna changes her mind.  You read it to Grandma OK ma?  Until my next letter I remain

Your loving Soldier Boy

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Dear Ma, Pa, Grandma, Barb, Ann & Ele Letter No. 153

Oct. 27, 1944

Dear Ma, Pa, Grandma, Barb, Ann & Ele,

I finally got your mail ma, and boy was I happy.  It seemed so long since I heard from you.  It's a very short time since I saw you all but we cover so much ground that it seems so much longer.  I got letters 219, 220, 221 and you are also giving them another no. so that means I didn't get 217 & 218 yet.  I guess they will come soon.  You can use the other no.'s if you wish ma.  It will be easier for you.
Boy was that I surprise to hear that Henry is home.  I'm just dying to know how Bob is making out and how much time she will spend with him.  I guess I will know before long.  Also about the painting.
I am glad Anita liked the present.  So you made her a hat huh!  It's good you made Helen one too or else I would have been disappointed.  I really was well pleased with that though.
I think Ele will fall right in Boby's footsteps as far as boyfriends is concerned.  I am so glad she can choose her own friends wisely.  Is Ele's prom going to be formal?  I hope it is.  Gee I would like to be there for her graduation but--
I am so glad you are picking up so much weight.  That's a sure sign and after seeing how well you looked when I was home I just know you are doing perfectly and that's all I need to make me happy.  
By gosh my bank account really is growing isn't it.  With all these Christmas presents and especially yours it certainly gives me a swell start.  But I want to say again, ma, when those $25 checks come be sure to take out whatever you need.  In fact take some out anyway & put it in your own account.  OK.
Are you sure Bob got ready in 7 min. ma.  It seems hardly believable.  Especially awaiting her long waited friend.  It's really more comical than anything.
I can't see Aunt Anna's reason at all.  But---.  I'll include Grandma in these letters & when I get more time I'll write to Aunt Anna.  
I'll close for now ma and will write soon again.  Oh I forgot to tell you that I will probably get a pass to London Sunday and I will tell you about it as soon as I get back.  It should be real interesting.

Your Loving Soldier Boy

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Dear Mom, Pa, Grandma, Aunt Anna, Bob, Ann & Ele Letter No. 151

Oct. 24, 1944
Somewhere in England

Dear Mom, Pa, Grandma, Aunt Anna, Bob, Ann & Ele,

It's just about a week since I last wrote, but a cold (which is just about gone) and a few other circumstances made it a bit difficult for me to write but now I guess I will be able to write more regular.
I'll include Grandma & Aunt Anna in a few more letters until I catch up with my mail.  OK?  So when your through with it ma, let Grandma & Aunt Anna read it.
I got quite a bit to write but I don't know where to begin.  I think I'll just write them as they come into my mind.  O.K.
Coming across on the boat, after I wrote you on the boat, we got Red Cross kits with toilet articles, cards, games & books, so for the rest of the trip that was our pastime.  We also got paid on the boat ($9.50) but I got a stroke of luck and won a few dollars playing bingo with the boys.  At the end of the trip I was ahead about $50.  Believe me it was just a pastime.  A few of the boys in the Co. who played craps won about $1,000.  That's hard to believe but it's true.  I got a money order made and am sending it home.  Please give Boby $10 of it.  O.K.  And take out what you need ma.  
I still didn't receive any letters from you ma but I will probably get some in short order as the mail over here is far from being straightened out.  I just got a few letters from Helen & one from Sonny.  Helen's letters are really swell swell.  Yes ma she's the girl for me.  She sent me some pictures she took while she was in Chicago and they came out swell.  I'll enclose one and then you can send it back.  O.K.  She said she promised her mother she was going to stay home this vacation (I remember her saying something about it one time but I wasn't sure) So I wrote and told her she was welcome at any time, so maybe it will be next May or June.  How is that Ma?  I guess you both got it figured out already but you could mention in your letter ma that she is welcome at any time O.K.?
I have a few points of interest which I'm sure you all will enjoy.  First, I believe I said I would tell you about the English money.  It will probably be a bit confusing at first as I did but it works out pretty good.  I'll give the name of the coin & then the approximate value in American money.  d=penny  s=shilling  £=pound.
Copper Coins
1/2d (half penny) = 1 cent in American money
1d (penny) = 2 cents
3d (three pence or thrupence) = 5 cents
Silver Coins
6d (six pence) = 10 cents
1s (shilling or bob) = 20 cents
2s (Florin) = 40 cents
2s+6d (Half Crown) = 50 cents
5s (Crown) = $1.00
Paper Currency
10s (10 shilling note) = $2.00
£1 (pound note) = $4.00
£5 (5 pound note) = $20.00

Do you all understand it.  It may be confusing if your having the money but I'm sure it will be interesting.  A few little oddities which you'll find interesting I'm sure.
England is a small country, smaller than N. Carolina or Iowa.  London has a population of 12 million people 1/4 of the total of the British Isles.  I guess that's why it's Germany's target.  The people in England drive on the left side of the road & the steering wheel is on the right side.  Just the opposite from ours.  I thought some of the things in our country was old but when I was on pass I saw a church over a 1000 years old.  That's twice as old as anything in the U.S.  At anyplace in England a person can't be over a 100 miles from a sea.  Do you all like these little oddities?  I'll try to pick up a few more and write them in my next letter.
How do you all feel?  I pray that you all are in the best of health and very happy.  And remember there is nothing to worry about.  Just promise me you won't worry and I'll be real happy.  Tell Grandma I pray every night no matter where I may be.  So until my next letter I remain
Your Loving Soldier Boy

P.S.  Boby your pen writes real well.  I hope you are making out just as well with mine.
P.S.2  I forgot to tell you that Sonny was made First Lieutenant (I just can't picture him to be a lieutenant, the only way I think of him is a jitterbug and us going to school together).  Things really do change don't they?  He has 21 missions to his credit and had a few narrow escapes over the Ploesti Oil Fields.  Please say a few prayers for him that he will be protected at all times.  O.K. Thanks.
P.S.3  How is our little puppy?  Has he got a new sweater?
P.S.4  Max hurt his toe kicking the mud off his shoe.  So now he has to sit around a couple days.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Dear Ma, Pa, Barb, Ann & Ele Letter No. 149

Oct. 7, 1944

Dear Ma, Pa, Barb, Ann & Ele,

Well folks here I am on the high seas but as I said when I was home there is nothing to worry about.  We didn't stay at camp very long after I was home & that pass on Mon. was the last pass little did I realize, but I guess it's best when you don't know, right?
The boys & I just stopped at a few places as I wanted to show them around a bit.
We are on an English ship and I get a real kick out of the way these English men talk.  You just have to concentrate a little harder before you can make out what they say.
You certainly looked swell ma and it made me feel so very healthy and happy and that's just the way I like to see it.  But I noticed that Grandma didn't say very much, but Grandma did look very well, and will you please tell Grandma that I pray for her every night.  They have a mass said every day and I try to make it every day and just yesterday I went to confession & received communion.  This letter won't be mailed until we reach our destination so when I get to my new place I'll write as much as I can tell you all.  So when you get this letter you'll know that I arrived safely.
I was really so lucky to get home so much.  When we got to camp I didn't even think I would get a pass, but that's the Army you never know.  I always think of Joe, he never got a furlough or anything so he could see his people.  He certainly got a bad break.  Did you hear from him?  And did youhear from Helen?  I guess I shouldn't ask that question though as she is very prompt.  Did she accept the invitation?  I hope she did and I just know you'll like her ma.  When your with her for 10 min you'll know what I mean.
There are so many things to tell but I guess I just have to wait I see you all because it's all military which probably don't sound like much but it's still restricted.
So far I didn't get seasick, in fact I really get a kick out of the sway of the ship.  I guess I'm an old timer at it huh!  Remember when I went down to sign up for the Navy?  I felt so disappointed I think I would have like it.  But it really doesn't make much of a difference, does it ma?
I am sleeping on a flat mattress but most of the boys are sleeping in hammocks but I don't hear any of them complain so I guess it's all right.  Maybe I'll try it one night to see how it feels.  
We are pretty fortunate as the boys have formed a band and play twice a day and they really jive out (15 pieces).  It certainly makes the trip a peaceful one.
I guess Helen must be real happy being two St. Louis teams won the pennants.  I guess she will probably say something about that in her letters.  
We saw some flying fish.  They're small & they come out of the water flay for a couple of yards and they go into the water again.  They're beautiful little fish.
I guess that's about all right now.  So until we land I close & don't worry because there is nothing to worry about.  And I'll write as soon as possible.  Until then I remain
Your Loving Soldier Boy

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Dear Ma, Pa, Barb, Ann & Ele Letter No. 148

Sept. 10, 1944

Dear Ma, Pa, Barb, Ann & Ele,

It is Sunday afternoon & the sun is trying its darnedest to break through.  It's a flip of the coin whether it will or not though.  Talking about weather, remember I told you it was sweltering in L.A.; Well the next day I read in the paper it was 103 degrees.  I guess it was hot huh!  Another thing--when I was in L.A. my eyes did burn me an awful lot (that's one reason I went to the show I thought it was the sun) but I also read in the paper that it was the gas from the industrial factories that caused it.  I'll enclose 2 clippings which will explain everything.
I had to break it off here as one of the boys wanted me to go to the show.  And boy it was a good show.  "Arsenic and Old Lace" with Cary Grant, Raymond Massey, Priscilla Lane.  It was really good.  After seeing the show I remember seeing the stage play in N.Y. a long time ago.  I couldn't say which was the better.
Fri & Sat I had guard.
This morning I went to 11 o'clock mass.  I was surprised he didn't give a sermon today.
Say mom, in one of my letters to Helen I asked her if she would like to correspond to you and I just got a letter back and these are her exact words, "I should be tickled to death to correspond with your mother."  I told her it would make you so happy and I'm sure it will.  At least when you correspond with Helen ma you won't have any trouble as she always has plenty to say.  Not like Tiny.  What do you say?  Did you answer the thank you note she sent you?  If not why don't you ma?  I wish you would ma.  In fact ma after writing to her you will probably feel like you have another daughter.  And that's exactly the way I wish you would feel.  I do have intentions and if my intentions work out all right she will be your daughter after the war.  You could write just about anything as she writes just about ordinary things that would happen to anybody & boy they sure do sound funny.  Just in her last letter, I'll just quote one paragraph "Last night you know what happened?  First I let the potatoes fry too long and then when I was ready to put the bowl on the table I picked it up on the hot side and it was so hot I dropped the bowl, potatoes & all on the floor and even broke the dish.  Mary (her sister) and I had to almost fight to keep the baby from sitting in the middle of it.  He wanted to play in the fried potatoes.  Anyway when Jane (her other sister) came home last night she exclaimed "What no potatoes."  Guess I did it.  When I came home from church last night I took songs down in shorthand from the radio and sat on the floor in the living room and typed it out.  I wasn't a bit tired last night and at 12:00 I finally decided to turn in."  
That's one of her typical paragraphs so you see you won't have a bit of trouble corresponding with her.  In your next letter just tell her you would be delighted to correspond with her.  OK, ma?
I am glad Ann got the bracelet fixed.  Doe she like it?  (You could write things like that to Helen).  (Or that Ann just got finished baking cupcakes).  You see how easy it is.
I am so glad Dr. Trombly's report was good.  I guess that is all he can say ma, but as long as he does say that and nothing else is all that matters, right?
I hope Ann doesn't start having headaches again.  I hope she's better now.
So Ele & Bob are stepping out together.  That tickled me.  Yes please do let me know whether Clinton (It seems like all the Clinton's fall for Ele) makes the date.  This is like a continued serial.
I didn't get the course yet.  I probably will real soon now.  I'll let you know.
Well ma I am so glad you are O.K., that always makes me feel tops too.  Give Grandma my love.  Hope everybody is in the best of health.  Until my next letter I remain
Your Loving Soldier Boy

P.S. I'll enclose a few clippings for your scrapbook.  Love, T

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Dear Ma, Pa, Barb, Ann & Ele

Sept. 7/1944

Dear Ma, Pa, Barb, Ann & Ele,

I am at the U.S.O. in Los Angeles and have a few hours before the bus leaves back to camp.  I actually got my 3 day pass so I went to Long Beach (about 20 minutes from here).  I got down there about 8 o'clock Tues night and went to one of the dances & guess who I met.  Remember the record I sent home I mentioned going to a dance with Betty [?]?  Well she was there and we certainly wore ourselves out jitterbugging.  We had a good time.  I certainly slept well after that workout at the American Legion Dormitory.  I got up pretty late also on Wed. morning.  I wanted to go swimming in the afternoon but it was just a little bit too cold for swimming.  So I went to a show.  I saw two old pictures "Across the Pacific" and some other picture as I seen all the others they had back at camp.  
At night I went to the U.S.O. dance and had a swell time.  I slept at the same dormitory last night also.  Then as soon as I got up this morning I came right to Los Angeles.  After eating (hotcakes) I went to the show again and saw "Going My Way" with Bing Crosby and boy was it good.  I really enjoyed it an awful lot.
Boy it's sweltering here in the city.  It's really hot and the sun is shining brightly.  How is the weather in N.Y.?
I feel a bit lonely being I am all alone.  I usually come down with someone of the boys.  But only a few left and I didn't know them too well.
I'll close now hoping everybody is in the best of health.  Will write soon again.

Your Loving Soldier Boy

P.S.  I sent a package with a few letters and my ring etc.  Just a few odds & ends. T    

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Dear Ma, Pa, Barb, Ann & Ele Letter No. 146

Sept. 1/1944

Dear Mom, Pa, Bob, Ann & Ele,

Hello everybody!  Here it is the end of another week and we are still at Camp Cooke.  We are having a party tonight, just company B which promises to be real good.  They are having t-bone steak & beer & ice cream as the specialty.  I don't think the beer & ice cream will mix well but who am I to squawk.
I went to the show Wed. night & saw a very good picture "Wing and a Prayer" with Don Ameche.  It was very thrilling and very worthwhile seeing.
The weather this week has been very changeable.  Some days hot, some days cold, some days misty.  Nothing like variety.
Thanks for starting the bank account for me.  Can you draw out on it ma?  I hope so for that's the way I want it in case you need any.  I'll enclose a $20 money order in this letter.
I took out a class E allotment which means that the government will $25 out of my month's pay & send it to you each month so that I won't have to send it to you.  Don't you think that's a good idea.  So now at the end of each month you'll get one $7.50 bond & a check for $25.  You can let me know when you get them so I know your getting them.  The first one you'll get will be Oct. 1 - or a little after.
I found out that the army has courses which anybody in the service can take by means of correspondence.  All you have to do is fill out an application and send $2 for the complete course.  So I filled one out & intend to take a correspondence course in structural design.  I'll let you know when I get it.  It will be a good review for me.  Don't you think so?
I got a letter from Frank & one from Joe.  They both don't say much but it was certainly good to hear from them.  I received your letter also telling me you got a letter from Joe so I don't have to tell you he's in Saipan.  Frank & Joe are pretty close now.  They're only about 200 miles apart.  
When you receive the compacts ma will you please send one to Anita with a little note wishing her a happy birthday as soon as you get it.  And send the other one to Helen at the end of the year.  Helen's birthday is the last day of the month.  If you send them to me I may not get them for a while if we move out before they get here.  O.K.  If you will do that it will save me a lot of trouble.  Anita's address is -- 
I don't need anything right now mom.  If I need anything after we move I will let you know.  O.D.  Thanks a lot.
I hope Bob & Ele have a nice time over Labor Day.  Let me know all about it.
My watch keeps perfect time.  I never have any trouble with it.  It seems like I'm the only one in the whole barracks that have the right time.  Everybody asks me what time it is.
I believe I did put on weight.  I weighed myself the other day and weighed 172 with my clothes on.  Pretty good huh!  I am in the best of health.
Boy the stamps certainly came in the nick of time.  I was just about to buy some as I had a little time but didn't have to as I got your letter.  You're right on the ball mom.  (Army slang, meaning "your tops)
I am glad Sgt. Myer is a prisoner of war because that means he's O.K.  I guess it did make everybody happy.
I couldn't finish the letter before because we had our little party (chow time) and it was really good.  The steak was pretty good.  We also had the beer, french fries, appetizer, pie & ice cream.  Boy am I full.
Well I'll close now the boys want me to go to the show so until my next letter I hope everybody is in the best of health.  Take good care of yourself now ma & give my love & best to Grandma.

Your Loving Soldier Boy