Letters To My Mother From WWII: June 16-29, 1945


Betty Hutton Singing To the Troops

June 16:  I have some good news for you. I am at my new place which is in Manilla and this morning they had me over for classification. They told me they would find some light job for me around here and I could work for a while. They also told me I would be leaving for the states within a couple of months. I have an idea I will be home by the last of August, but  am not building my hopes too high.

I am going to get a pass and go back to E Troop to get my things. If they are on the line I will not go up. It would be silly to take unnecessary risks after what I have been through.

Last night I walked downtown. The town has changed since I entered it on the night of February 6th. I like it better this way, but I’ll always remember it as it was then with the sky red from fire and the people hysterical with joy. Last night I walked along the streets and looked into the shop windows where I could buy anything from a python skin to a pair of shoes and thought of the other time. I was in an ambulance that night and as we went along the darkened streets we could hear the bullets. Yes Flip, it’s a better Manilla now.

Did dad leave my reels up home? I hope so. I will do some fishing before this season ends. Wouldn’t it be great if I got there about the last of August? Perhaps I am dreaming too much.

It’s raining hard. If it lets up I want to walk down town. I think walking will build me up and it keeps my mind busy.

June 19:  I still haven’t had time to re-read all of your letters, but I guess you are in Detroit. I sent a letter to Muskegon yesterday with two pictures in it.  Editor’s Note:  Unfortunately none of the pictures dad talks about have survived. I recently searched the Civil War Trunk and the only pictures are family pictures.   I’ll send two more today. The one picture is of Clair T and myself with a couple of our girlfriends. The other picture is of Sgt.Bretta, saddle horse man from Mexico, MO. and our platoon officer (white shirt). He was killed and I want to send this picture to his wife if I can get her address. The color is perfect and notice how the chicken is trying to get the other one.

You told me your aunt rode a horse with kicking straps on and it can’t be done. Of course if she was driving him, that would be different.

I was over in Manilla last night and I decided I wanted some fried shrimp. I had about 10 of them and they cost two dollars, so I decided I didn’t want any more.

I have decided to send all the pictures in a separate envelope. You will notice the one fellow with the chickens (where they are fighting), that is James. After you have looked at it would you mind sending it to his mother? James is still in the hospital and she would enjoy seeing the picture.

Editor’s Note:  Dad included Alice James address in this letter. I am going to include the address just in case someone reads this and knows the family. I doubt the address is current, but if it is, the James family may be interested in this blog. I did google the address and there is a street view of the house taken in 2013. The address is: Alice James, 1025 15th St. S., Columbus Mississippi.

Talk about carved Ivory…I have found some and, what I mean, it is beautiful. I wanted to buy some for you, but they ask $140 for what I want. I keep looking at it and thinking. I have an idea I could trade my camera for it and don’t be surprised if I do. Remember the carved tusk we saw in Washington. This is smaller but the carving is as good if not better.

My bed is a mess. I have it covered with your letters, pictures and Thoroughbred Records. Don’t send any packages unless I tell you to. They might not get here in time.

You want to know what I want to do when I get home? I want you to meet me at the train and we will go out to the house together. Then I want to go to Bellaire. There is no need for an apartment up there. We will stay at mom’s for a week or two and be sure to have some walking shoes. You and I will hike around the country, fish and whatever there is to do. After we get back to Detroit I would like to leave Edith with your mother and then you and I will go to Lexington for a weekend. Then I will be ready to go to work. I know work will be hard on me for a couple of weeks, so I want to have a good time first We will not have too much money to spend but it will not cost us much in Bellaire. Oh yes, I want to spend a day with John and Steve.

Even though I talk about coming home this summer you must not get your hopes up too high. I am out of combat and having it very nice here (four fried eggs for breakfast) so I will not kick if I don’t get home right away.

June 20:  Last night I took a long walk. Manilla is starting to have more personality now and the people are busy building and cleaning up. The little boys shine shoes on the sidewalk, the girls sell corsages made from orchids, and the Hindus, with their turbaned heads, look on in contempt. I have wanted to stop and talk to one of them, but they always seem so reserved that I never have screwed up the courage. I will one of these days. During my walk I stopped at a tiny restaurant and had seven tiny shrimp served to me at the price of $1.25. The shrimp were good, but they should be at such a price.  It made me remember the shrimp dinners we used to get for $1.00. I stopped at the Red Cross and sweated out the line for a cup of coffee and then I came back. What a beautiful sun set there was. I couldn’t see the sun because it had hidden behind a cloud, but the clouds were all pink and gold. I walked along a street where several of the buildings had been reduced to heaps of rubbish and as I looked at the clouds and felt the beauty of the scene I guess I felt about like Noah felt when the Lord pointed out the rainbow.

You have no idea how happy I am now that I know I will not have to go back into combat. When I got hit in the arm I thought I was going to be killed that morning. I will never forget the first time I was hit in the shoulder. As I ducked down into the ditch of water I realized just what combat could be like. When I got hit in the arm I thought I was going to be killed that morning. I’ll never forget how a Filipino and I hid in the fox hole during the shelling. I had my arms around that poor kid and I think we were both waiting to die and he, I am afraid, did die. When I got it in the head, well, that happened so quick that I didn’t have time to worry, but it all helps you to understand why I am glad to be away from it. You say I have done my share, but there is no way of figuring what the share is. Compared to a lot of fellows my share has been small.

I have always done what I was told to do. Once I refused. It was early in the morning, before breakfast, and they told me and two other fellows to wade across a small creek, climb the bank and look around some houses that were on the other side. I got as far as the creek and had a hunch I shouldn’t go on. We went back. Well, I was right. It took us two days to cross the blamed creek and we had to have plenty of support from the artillery.

June 21:  Talk about eating…..I had three fried eggs for breakfast. For lunch I had some macaroni fixed with meat and hard boiled eggs, potato salad and it had sour pickles in it, pumpkin pie and apple juice. I can’t find any scales, but I know this good food is shooting my weight up and I feel and look better. I did have a grim look in all those pictures. There were a couple I didn’t send to you. Since then I have made myself smile and the grim look is leaving my face. I didn’t feel grim, but there hadn’t been anything to smile about and my face drifted in that shape.

I wonder how Edith will react towards me when I get home. I will be able to win her over in a day or so, but she will always be your girl. Lets wait at least two or three months after I get home before starting to make plans for John W; sort of let me enjoy the one I have for a little while and I want to take you out a few more times before we have so many kids we will not be able to go out. I noticed a spot between Edith’s eyes in all the pictures. Is that scab from the treatments? Even though they are not very plain, I like the pictures of her standing up. It gives me an idea of how large she is and what she looks like. She may look like you when she gets older. Just now she is still an Ellison and looks like Wanda did at the same age. I tell you Flip, I put my stamp on all my colts. You can recognize them as far as you can see them. Without a doubt our first son will look like the Nortons.

June 22:  Tomorrow will find me with a job. I am not sure how much I can tell you about it. I don’t know very much myself, but it will not be hard work and it sounds interesting. My address will be the same. I don’t suppose I’ll have much time for writing letters. I’ll always manage to write to you every day.

My stomach has turned sour this afternoon. I hope this isn’t dysentery coming back. I’ll walk to town after supper and buy a pineapple.

It has been fairly cool today. We have had some hot weather around here. I have taken two or three showers a day.

It has been almost two years to the day since I was last in Detroit. I’ll always remember how blue I felt when I was last there. Flip, you sure made me worry. I guess we are both happy things turned out the way they did. I know I am.

There are two small matched vases of carved ivory in Manilla. The price is $100.00, but I think I can get them for less. I have a Filipino who is going to act as my agent. The damn Chinaman knows I want them and he is keeping the price up. I’ll get around his high price, if possible, because I know you would love them.

June 24:  This will be a very short note. I am very tired and I have to go to school tonight. I spent a part of the afternoon in Manilla’s Chinatown. It’s the real McCoy with it’s narrow winding streets and it’s many eat shops. I would have had some food, but I am a little afraid of it. They are not so very clean.

June 25: I worked this morning and have the afternoon off. However, I have to go back after supper and may not be through until one in the morning. I had lunch aboard ship. This is all we had, soup, steak, gravy, potatoes, fresh salad, raisin bread, butter, hot coffee and apple pie with cheese. I will get fat if I eat like that very often. I know I am going to enjoy this job and if it wasn’t for you and Edith I wouldn’t want to come home. After combat any kind of work would seem like heaven.

Detroit seems to be having it’s share of racing trouble. I expect they will put through the proper legislation, build a new track and they will be ready to go. I hope they do build a new track and fix it so they can train during the winter. It’s hard to get a two-year-old ready for the June meeting if you can’t gallop him during the late winter. If I am in Detroit this fall I may try to buy a young mare and breed her in the spring. There is going to be a new stud standing near Detroit next spring and if I could get a mare with Teddy blood it would make a good cross. We will see. If I did buy a mare you would be able to ride her all winter and most of next summer.

I guess Edith is a real live wire. I only hope she will like me. She better, because she is going to see a lot of me.

June 26:  I worked last night and everything went just fine. I guess I’ll catch on to things all right. Perhaps I’ll hear from you today. My mail should start coming here before very long and I’ll be glad when it does.

George Brewer hasn’t many points. He can’t possibly have over thirty-four. I wonder if he will be sent over here. I hope not. There is only one guy I would like to see over here and that is Lyol. Fat Chance!

Last night I started to get on a ship and the ship’s officer and asked me where I was from. I told him Michigan and he said “well I guess I don’t know you because I am from Kentucky, but it seems as if I have seen you before.” He used to work at the Scott Hotel while going to college and Eddie and I lived there.

There isn’t much to tell you. I am still looking forward to coming home and in the meantime I am enjoying myself. I should have close to a hundred and fifty dollars when I get home and that will take us where we want to go and give us enough money to fool around on for a while. I will need some clothes, but not too many. We will make out some way and I know we will be plenty happy.

June 27:  I expect to hear from you today. I did get a little mail yesterday, but none of it was from you. Blanch wrote, she is now in the Hawaiian Islands.

We have a barber shop here and I can get a shave for ten cents. From now on I am going to let the barber shave me.

I had supper last night on board the ship. Those boys sure feed good. I didn’t have very much to do last night. There was a fellow with me all the time and he sure was a pain. He hasn’t been over here a year and hasn’t been in any combat. However, he is positive it will take several months to readjust himself once he gets back to the states. SILLY!

It is possible I am going to spend a couple of days on the west coast before I start for Detroit. I had a buddy killed here and I want to see his folks. He was with Clair and I all the way from Ft. Ord and I guess his folks feel pretty bad. They live close to Frisco and I could send them a wire and meet them there. I received a letter from Clair T. His mother sent him a camera exactly like mine.

Come to think of it I will have a little adjusting to do. It’s going to be hard to go to the bathroom and not have at least 50 guys grunting and groaning on each side of you. For the past eight months I have used nothing but a GI spoon to eat with and it will be hard to get used to a fork.

It sure is a swell feeling to know that I have a wife and a baby to come home to.

June 28:  This letter may not turn out to be much. It has been pretty hot all day and I can’t seem to think of anything to write about. Two letters for mom last night, but none from you. I am sure to hear from you today. I hope so at least. Mom said Edith liked her cat. We will have to buy her a pup as soon as we possibly can. She would be a happy little girl if she had a dog to play with. I am glad she likes animals.

It’s about time for your dad’s new “wonder man” to take over. I am glad dad is to have lots of help, because he sure has lots of work ahead of him.

I sure have an easy job. Last night I didn’t have to do a blessed thing. While I was away someone entered my tent and made off with my cigarettes. The varmint!

Still waiting my turn to come home. It will be some time before I get away. The fellows with the most points go first and I am willing to wait my turn. If I get home this fall we will hunt instead of fishing. I can hear mom telling me to be careful with the gun and asking me if it is loaded.

We will have fun, Flip. I can  close my eyes and just see how it’s going to be when we are together again and this time we will not have to worry about my leaving.

June 29:  I received your letter written June 14th.  What a mix up in your mail. I have been sending it to Detroit; now I’ll change and send it to Bellaire. Glad you are going up there for the month of July. It will give you a nice vacation and will help pass the time until I get there. I may not get home as soon as they told me. You better plan on seeing me the first of November and then you will not be disappointed.

Edith fell for Jim and when I get home she will be afraid of me. It always turns out that way. What did Edith think of John and Steve? Was John quiet while you were there?

I had a wonderful day. My job has changed a little. Now I ride around town in a car. It’s the same job though and I visit all the ships.

Did I ever tell you about Mary? She was a Red Cross girl who used to be pretty nice to me when my nerves were so bad. I saw her in town today. She was riding with a one star general and I was surprised when she waved to me. Her husband is in India.

In a way Jim is a lucky cuss, however, he may serve another year in this army  and once I get home I am OUT! I have put in my time. Some of us were talking about combat this afternoon. It’s not fun to hash it over.

There is to be a movie tonight, God Is My Co Pilot.  It may be good, that is, if they don’t wave too many flags.

So the truck drivers in Chicago are having a strike. I am not a union man, but I don’t blame the union for standing up for their rights, but it’s a bad thing to hear about when you are over here.

A WAC is what we call a double-breasted soldier.


Letters To My Mother From WWII: June 1-14, 1945

June Not Dated:  Yesterday I hitch-hiked out to the troop and got all my things, camera, barber tools, pictures, and best of all my mail. When I got there one of the fellows remarked that something was bound to happen to me before I left. Sure enough, about an hour later I was riding on a truck load of trunks and fell off flat on my back. My head hit the pavement with a big bang and I knocked some skin off my elbow.

I hated to leave this morning. The troop was still in combat, but some of the boys were back to the CP (Command Post) sort of licking their wounds and I talked with them last night. Clair  T was still in combat and James is still in the hospital. A few nights ago some ornery Japs tossed a grenade into a fox hole where some of my friends were sleeping. No one was killed, but a couple of my friends were cut up.

I am not going to try to answer all your questions in this letter. In fact I haven’t even had time to look over your house plans. The pictures of Edith are swell and the ones of you are extra good. I look at them all the time. The ones taken of Edith at Christmas make her look as though she is half bull frog. I sure was surprised to hear that John got married. I am going to buy them something and write a letter to them.

All my colored pictures turned out good. I am sending you two today and I’ll send two more tomorrow. The other four pictures are of kids who have been killed since I took the pictures. Save them please. After the war I will send them to their mothers.

June 2: Japan and I have declared a separate peace treaty. I am not going to shoot at them and they are not going to shoot at me. In other words, I am now a non-combat soldier with a fair chance of returning to the states. I doubt whether I’ll come before fall, but I’ll keep the Christmas date with you.

Now my fighting days are over I find myself looking back at them with a mixture of feelings. They were bad. I never told you how bad because I didn’t want you to worry, but there were times when I thought I would never make it. I guess I will never forget the foxholes and how I used to dream of you with a full moon to keep me company and remind me of the swell wife back home. I will always remember the fellows who fought with me. Many of them have been killed.  Some are in the states and, without a doubt, I will never see the most of them again. As Kipling said,” I have shoved it all behind me, long ago and far away.” I will do the same thing and in the years to come I’ll remember nothing but the beautiful part of it.

You may send my mail here: 191 Repl Co. 46th Bn, APO 711, C/O P.M. San Francisco, Calif. I don’t know what they will have me doing or how long I’ll be here. Just now I am working in the mail room re-addressing letters. It’s a very easy job and it is good for my nerves. Everyone is nice to me and I feel a lot better.

Life, what is next? I am ready!

June 3:  I weighed myself this afternoon and I am up to 132 lbs. I should weigh 150, but I am not kicking. A few weeks ago I was down to 125.

My chances for coming home are pretty good. A fellow left this morning and he only had two more points than I have.  Of course I will have to join some outfit before I can be sent home. I guess you better not plan on going back to Muskegon.

My day seems to be pretty full. I get up before daylight, go to work at 7:30, have an hour for lunch, and I get through between four and five in the evening. After dinner I go to the Red Cross for coffee and then to the show. They give out news at the movie, so I never miss it. The food here is pretty good. At least it’s a lot better than we had during combat.

Sunday and I didn’t go to church. I used to enjoy going to church, but after our chaplain got killed I sort of stopped. I’ll start again when I get home and can go with you. It will not be very long before we start sending Edith to Sunday School. Will your dad get the same church this year? I hope so.

June 4:  This has been one swell day. It rained for a while this morning and then it turned off clear and cool. When I say cool I don’t mean frosty. They started out the day for me by giving me two slices of french toast for breakfast.

I started a letter to Maggie last night, but didn’t finish it. I get so sleepy. Honestly, I don’t believe it is possible for me to get enough sleep. I guess I am making up for what I missed last winter.

I suppose you are having a good time in Bellaire. Editor’s Note: Mom is not in Bellaire. Her mail is being forwarded to Marlowe St in Detroit.  Oh how I wish I were there with you. We haven’t anything to kick about have we? It hardly seems possible there is a chance of my coming home. Flip, if I do come home I may leave my camera with Clair T. He could send it to me after the war.

One of the fellows just brought in a pineapple. We Eat! The ones we get here sure are better than the ones you buy at home. I guess you don’t buy so many now.

I expect to go to classification one of these days and they are going to try to find some kind of a job for me. That is going to be hard because I don’t plan on working too hard from here out. As soon as I get in some outfit I’ll be eligible for home. I expect the summer will be pretty far gone before I even get in an outfit.

I should get some mail from you within another week.

Oh, yes, when I got wounded March 6th I told you there was a story that went with it. You see I got caught on a hill directly in front of a target our artillery was firing on. It was one of our own shells that hit me.

Editor’s Note: Attached to this letter is an undated newspaper article in very small print. It reads as follows:

People these days are often given short emergency courses in how to carry out difficult tasks. An elevator operator, off for the day, was replaced by a girl who on her first trip with live passengers brought the elevator to an abrupt stop. “Did I stop too quickly For you?” She asked the passengers. “oh no indeed,” coyly replied a little old woman in one corner of the car. “I always wear my bloomers around my ankles.”

June 5:  After spending nearly three years in the Army I am CQ (Charge of Quarters) for the first time. Yes, I am CQ of a mail room for one night. By golly, I am going up in the world. Tomorrow I can have a pass to go into (word censored). I think I will stay here and spend the day sleeping. I can wash out my clothes and save a Peso.

I have worked pretty steady today. It seems so good to just be able to work and not worry about anything. I am starting to gain weight. The flesh is starting to pad my ribs. A month ago it was stretched over my ribs like the head of a drum. I guess I don’t have to tell you after sending those pictures home.

I wrote to Clair T and told him to pick up my camera, barber tools and pictures and either send them to me or else I will try to see him when he goes into the garrison. I still have the four rolls of film dad sent me and I am anxious to get the camera. I would like to have my picture taken with you. Fat chance of that.

It’s about time for me to walk over to the Red Cross and get a cup of coffee. There is a good show on tonight, but I have to stay around here.

I must write to Maggie. I have started a couple of letters to her, but for some reason I never finish them. I’ll have to stay up late tonight, so perhaps I’ll get to it.

Lets not plan a too long vacation when I get home. I am anxious to get to work. A couple of weeks should be enough. There are several places up there where I want to take you and, of course, I’ll want to have a good visit with mom and then I’ll be ready to work. We can’t spend much money anyway.

I think I’ll start saving a little towards coming home. When I get off the boat in Frisco I want enough money to buy a gallon of wine, pay for a telegram, and buy a one way ticket to Detroit. Guess who will get the telegram? You are right.

June 5:  My day off and what a day it has been.  I wish  had worked because I can’t seem to find anything to do. I have spent a part of the afternoon talking with a fellow from Alpena. I do not even have to work while I am here. I didn’t know that until this morning. I would rather work than lie around, so I guess I’ll just stay on the job.

There is a fellow in this tent from Lexington Ky and he is as funny as a crutch. He isn’t very old and hasn’t been over here two weeks, but he has all the fellows believing that he has been overseas for years.

I have been thinking about writing to Mr. Moore (W&B). He wrote to me last winter asking about my post war plans. I have decided I would like to have a job in the inspection dept and I think I’ll write and tell him to make way for a good man. I am afraid I wouldn’t be able to handle the job I used to have. It was killing work then.

Flip, did you ever play golf? It’s a lot of fun and your husband can still play a good game. If you don’t take my word for it ask Art Ward. It would be fun for you and I to take it up. The one thing I must get you interested in is fishing. You say you don’t like to fish. That’s because you never caught any. Wait until you go with me.

I haven’t had a beer since March. I wish they would give us some as I have a thirst. Remember the brandy we used to drink?  Where will we hide our brandy when your folks come to visit us? I’ll have to keep it with my horse medicine.

The Filipinos have a unique way of cooking duck eggs. They incubate the eggs and when they are about ready to hatch they boil the eggs and eat the unhatched duck. I am going to try them some day. They should be good. Perhaps I should say, there is no reason for them not being good. We like lobsters and they live off dead sailor bays. Once, when I was going with Eloise, Mrs Cook cooked a beaver. They asked me to dinner that night and we all went to work on that damned old beaver and kidded ourselves into believing it tasted like rabbit. About five years later Clair and I were eating dinner one night and I got to thinking about that beaver his mother cooked and wondering whether or not he remembered it. All I said to him was “Wasn’t that the worst meat you ever ate?” Without thinking he answered “You mean the beaver?”

June 7:   This is going to be a nice night to sleep. It is raining now and it looks like an all night rain. I am lucky to have inside jobs if this is going to keep up.

I was thinking last night how nice it’s going to seem to sleep in a bed again. Right now a canvas cot seems like a luxury and what will it be like when I get home and have a real bed to sleep in, not to mention my blue-eyed sleeping partner. I can hardly wait.

What part of Detroit do you want to live in this winter? I would like to find some place small and furnished. It will just about have to be furnished and I suppose places are hard to find. I wouldn’t want to live as far out as your folks live because it would be too far to work. Of course, if we can’t find anything closer we will have to make the best of it. We could spend the winter reading Paradise Lost. Now and then we can slip out to some place like the Roma and have dinner and remember that son-of-a ***** who wanted to buy a drink for his Cap-a-tan.

I am tired tonight and I am going to take a nap before dinner. I guess I worked too hard today. Flip, pretty soon our long wait will be over.

June 8: I am very much in love with my wife tonight. I guess I have been dreaming more than a man should when he is ten thousand miles away. One thing, Flip, I can dream of you now and feel fairly sure of seeing you some day, and it’s more than I could do while I was fighting. Life was so uncertain then.

It is raining, but here in my tent everything is snug and dry. My lighting system isn’t  much, just a can of fat with a cloth wick. It flickers a good deal. Flickers and makes cracking sounds and smells good as hell.

I am wondering what Maggie will put in the Bellaire paper about me. I know she will not miss. I did my best. Perhaps it wasn’t enough. I wish I could talk with you tonight. I am lonesome.

They gave us six cans of beer tonight. I traded four cans for cigarettes. I have to buy my cigarettes now (five cents a pack) and I am short of money. I have enough to get along on.

The days go by so fast. I like my job and have a swell kid to work for, so you can see everything is lovely. One of these days I am going over to classification and see what they have to offer me. Just now I am contented to rest and enjoy life.

Can Edith walk as far as downtown? Keep your eye on her or she will be all over town. Are there any children around there close to her age? Tell her daddy will buy her a dog when he gets home.

They feed us pretty good here. We had all the hot dogs we wanted for dinner. I ate a couple of them. This noon we had hamburgers and onions. I’ll get fat on this. During the early part of the Luzon Campaign I lived off the Filipinos. They sure fix some strange dishes even though they are delicious. Their chicken soup is the best in the world and when I come home I’ll make some for you. They flavor a lot of their food with ginger root.

June 10:  I was over to clarifications this morning. The fellow talked with me for two hours and decided there were only two things in the army I was classified to do: break horses and parade a M-1 Rifle and there are no horses to break. He said I was a cinch to go home, however, they might keep me here for a couple of months and send me back to the Cavalry so as I could be sent home from there. I know how the 1st Cavalry sends men home and I don’t plan on going back there. Well as times rolls by we will see how things work out.

I haven’t heard who won the Derby. I’ll hear it tonight over the news. L.B. Meyer had a good colt in the race by the name of Jeep.  Editor’s Note: Hoop Jr. won the Derby in 1945.


It’s very near chow time. As a usual thing I write to you after I finish work at night, but I had a little spare time this morning and I am always so tired at night. Last night I went to bed before dark.

They have good movies here. All of them seem to be late pictures and the machine manages to limp through the show without breaking down. Last summer, on Howie, we never saw a show without having the machine break down two or three times.

Have you seen Florence Culver up there? I had a dream about her last night. I can’t remember the dream, but it had to do with a picture Bob painted; a picture called Old Man Gille’s Barn The Day He Died. I remember very distinctly that was the picture and it seems as though he did paint a picture of the barn. Ask if you see her.

June 11:  I am CQ tonight and tomorrow is my day off. I may get a pass and try to find my troop, because I want to get my camera, pictures, and broken tools. I am not sure where they are, but I may be able to find them.   Editor’s Note: So I am thinking he is still somewhere in the Philippines.

I worked pretty steady today. It seems so darned good to be doing something like this and I actually have been enjoying myself. I am starting to dream more of you and less of the Japs. Dreaming of you has it’s bad points because it always makes me lonesome. Anyway, I am feeling better, eating good, and working hard.

The Derby, to my way of thinking, wasn’t too much of a race. The winner was not too impressive as a two-year old and I am afraid he will go down in history as a pretty bad Derby winner. Of course I haven’t heard all the details. Perhaps he set a track record. I doubt it. How is Edith’s Teddy? Has she entered him in any two year old stakes?

Censorship regulations around here are pretty strict. I can’t write like I used to when I was in the troop. There isn’t anything around here you would be interested in except for me.

Did you receive the pictures? I want to take more to show you how I have improved since then. I can get a regular photo taken and I may do it when I get paid. I still draw combat pay and will until I get out of the army. I wouldn’t get it if they put me in the medic’s or chaplain’s corp. Fat chance of me getting into the chaplain’s corp and I sure wouldn’t want to be a line medic over here. They have a rough go of it and my hat is off to them. One of the kids I came over with was put in the medics. One night a mortar shell hit close to his hole and one of the kids ….censored words.…. and got out of the hole. My buddy got out and tried to drag him back and another mortar shell hit. No Flip, I don’t want to be a medic. One of the first things you learn in combat is to stay in your hole after dark. Darkness seems to lock you in and regardless of what happens you stay put.

I will tell you a little story about me. I can’t say when or where, but it makes no difference. I spent several nights in a hole with the artillery forward observer. There were several of us in the hole and it used to get pretty darned hot so I decided to sleep just outside. Several times the Nips opened up with mortars and the observer would reach out and grab me. I always had plenty of time to get in before the shells fell, but one night a phone wire caught under the sole of my shoe and I couldn’t untangle myself in time. As luck would have it they didn’t even come close. You folks haven’t any idea of what frontline combat is actually like. It’s rough and there is plenty of grief with it, but you spend a good deal of time writing letters, reading, sleeping, and shooting the bull. We call it fighting a jawbone war. Some mighty funny things happened and I have an idea you will someday get pretty tired of hearing me tell the grandchildren about it.

June 12:  I am at the Red Cross lapping up coffee and listening to a broadcast from Tokyo. It’s good. They have quite a line they hand us along with a lot of music. This morning they said that at last the war was turning in Japan’s favor. They tell us our B29’s have not done any damage.   I wonder if they can make their own people believe that sort of stuff.

We had a good dinner and I went back for seconds. If this keeps up I’ll come home heavier than when I left. That will be all right too.

Every time I start a letter to you I end up by dreaming about coming home. I will be lucky to get home by fall, but even fall isn’t too far away and at least I am nearly positive you will not have to spend another winter all alone. I may be around here most of the summer and I may leave tomorrow. Once I get away from here I will be eligible to come home. I suppose they will give me my discharge at Ft. Custer. I hope so, because when I get off the train in Detroit I am there for good. I suppose Maggie is full of plans for my homecoming.

Generally we have a rain in the afternoon. This one is going to be no exception. It gets pretty hot here and the rain cools things off. It is nice and cool at night for sleeping. The fellows in my tent raise a lot of hell and sometimes keep me awake. I never mind that and enjoy hearing them talk and argue about which state is the best. I never argue about the states. I know Michigan is the best.

June 13:  June is nearly half gone. It seems impossible time could go by so fast. Time never did seem to drag for me over here or any place else.

I have been busy making a few post war plans. Most of them have to do with eating. Here is my idea of what I want for my first official meal when I get home. I’ll start with a tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce and a walk around the block. For a salad I want shrimp and chopped head of lettuce with plenty of french dressing. I’ll want my spuds boiled with clothes on and I’ll want bacon grease for gravy. No Meat, but a big dish of macaroni and cheese and a glass of buttermilk with plenty of salt and pepper sprinkled on top. I’ll want three or four kinds of pickles, all sweet, small, and crisp. I’ll finish it off with a quart of ice cream and a coconut layer cake. If I can find fresh strawberries we will skip this menu and just have a big shortcake.

There were several bags of mail coming in when I came over to the Red Cross and perhaps some of it is for me. One advantage of working in the mail room is you get your mail on time.

I have a little touch of cold. My head is stuffed up, but I feel pretty good.

It’s almost two months since I left the troop and I wonder how the boys are. Several were wounded after I left, but I guess no one was killed. I am anxious to hear from Clair T. He was in a weapons troop and had it pretty easy. The last time I saw him was in a rest camp.

How is my ring? As beautiful as ever? Editor’s Note: I think he is talking about the square ruby or garnet set in gold ring he wore for as long as I can remember. Whenever us kids touched the stone he would yell out Beep Beep. Don’t know where it is now.   I never did tell you how much I paid for it. It will seem good to start wearing it again. This is the first time in years I have been without a ring.

This letter drags. It’s so darned hard to think of things to write about when I am not hearing from you. How do my “free” mails come through? If they are not too slow I may have to use them now and then. Believe it or not, but it costs more to live back here. I have to buy my cigarettes and pay for my laundry and hair cuts. I am trying to figure out some way to make money this summer.

June 14:  I have some good news for you. I am leaving here. I can’t tell you where I am going or when, but it will be one step closer to home. That’s about all I can tell you and don’t get the idea I will be home in two weeks. It’s still a matter of months, but perhaps not too many months.

They had a quiz program at the Red Cross tonight and I entered it and won. It was on sports and I took horse racing and never missed a question. I sort of trembled when they asked me who the best two-year old of 1944 was. I figured it would be Pavot and sure enough I won. They asked me: Who won the Derby in 1942?; What race horses are entered before they are born?; Who was the leading two and three-year old of 1944?; Who saddled the most winners of 1944?; Who were the three leading riders of 1944?; What horse won the most money in 1944? and Who finished second to Count Fleet in the Derby of 1943?  For a guy who spent a good part of the racing season chasing Japs I think I did pretty well. For a prize they gave me a book on, of all things, football. I am almost as happy about winning the quiz as I am about coming home.

I am going to miss this place. They tell me I will have it real easy where I am going, but still and all, I have enjoyed my work and the fellows I have worked with. I have gained weight and my nerves have settled a lot. I never told you how bad my nerves were, but while I was in the hospital I couldn’t stand to get mail. Sounds funny, but it’s true. I would get so excited I couldn’t eat and sometimes I would even shake. Well I sure have changed and I think by the time you see me I will be pretty much like when I left. I will look older, but you must expect that. Three campaigns, three wounds, and about a dozen close ones don’t make a man look younger. The thing that matters most to you is that I still have my health, and my love for God, and a wife that is sweeter than all the world.

I never did tell you much about combat….the mean part where everything in you seems to revolt. Censorship rules now are that I can tell you about the Jap atrocities providing I saw them. Well here is one that I will never forget. We had taken a town and the Japs charged and we had to get out. In the fight that followed they got one of our men alive and when we took the town again we found him nailed to the side of a building. They had pulled the fingernails off his left hand, skinned the palm of his right hand, burnt the hair off his head “and things,” stuck a bayonet through his stomach and smashed his head. From that time on I carried an extra round for myself. No one can possibly imagine what combat is until you hug the ground while some mortar shells are falling close or lie in your foxhole  and hear some kid you know in the next hole that is hit and can’t get out until morning.

I think all of it is behind me and my prayers are for the fellows who are finishing up the job.