Letters To My Mother From WWII: August 1945


Aug 5:  This picture isn’t so very good, but I’ll send it. Of course it isn’t retouched and due to the poor lighting my hair is black.

I am thinking about one thing this morning and that thing is “coming home.” A soldier’s life is full of thrills, but the greatest thrill of all is when you know your work is finished and you are going home. I hope I get there at night – I’ll send you a wire and you can meet me at the train. Perhaps we will go straight home and perhaps we will spend the night downtown. However, I believe I would rather go out to your place. It would seem just a little bit more  like a real homecoming. I have about seventy-five dollars in my pocket now and we should have enough to pay for a vacation.

Edith is going to find out she has a real flesh and blood daddy. I hope I can make a hit with her and I think I’ll be able to manage it.

When I first came overseas I introduced you to a guy who has lived with us ever since – the censor. I guess the three of us got along pretty well together, but he was better acquainted with us than we were with him. Now he is leaving us and I don’t think he will ever be back. Let him go and God bless him.

Aug 13:  Two letters from you today! They were written just before you left for Bellaire. Yes, when you go back again I will be with you.  It will not be long now. Tomorrow I have my clearance slip from the supply room and I believe that is about the last thing I will have to do. I may be at another camp for a few days after I leave here, but by the first of the month I’ll be well on my way.

I received a nice letter from W&B today. It was a form letter which they send to all the service men along with a bulletin which contains paragraphs taken from the letters of service men. They said they considered my letter “The Letter of the Year.” so they enclosed a copy of it with each bulletin. I’ll bring it home for you to read. That letter sure gave me a good stand-in with the firm and I am mighty glad of it. (Editor’s Note: See uncensored letter dated January 13, 1945.)

I sure have a stiff shoulder today. I don’t know what caused it, but I had it when I got up this morning and it is still there. You know Flip, I have Malaria now. I wouldn’t say a word to anyone until I get on the boat. It hardly seems possible I am coming home.

It sure is dusty around this place. It looks as if it might rain tonight and I sure hope it does. We have not had a good rain for several days. I have an idea my English is going to improve within the next two months.

In a way it is sort of hard to imagine you and I having a home as well as a family. Most of our married life has been spent apart and even when we were together we never talked much about a home. I am looking forward to a very enjoyable winter. We will not spend too much money for entertainment, perhaps a movie now and then or a wrestling match. We should enjoy each other’s company enough to spend the first winter just looking at each other.

I am glad you like Bob’s work. We may get a picture from him some day. A lot of his work is done around Bellaire and most of his winter scenes are good.

There are going to be some yearling fillys on the market this fall by the young sire Blue Swords. He is by Blue Larkspur and out of Flaming Swords by Man O War. I would like to own one of them and they hadn’t better sell them too cheap. Bill Downing (Northville) has a stud out of Rose Leaves and what a royal mating that would be. If we did buy one of those fillys we could call her Crossed Sabers and two years from now we could call her foal War of Roses. You must admit that even my dream horses have mighty nice names. I never did get around to writing the letter on horses.

My heart skipped a beat when you told me about the lake being so calm. How I love that lake! It’s going to be pretty rough by the time I get home and I don’t suppose I’ll do any fishing. If you happen to get near some store where they sell sporting goods see if you can buy some shot-gun shells. We own a twelve gage and a sixteen gage and get about a dozen shells for each gun. If you can get them we will shoot a few birds ……season or no season.



Aug 15:  The war is over, my bag is packed and tomorrow I start on my first leg of the journey towards home. Just how soon I get there depends on what ship I get on and how fast it goes. I suppose it will be pretty well towards the end of September before you see me.

Looking back on the past year seems more like a dream than anything else. There were times when I had an idea I would never make it. It wasn’t all bad and I am not sure I would have wanted to miss it. I can truly say I would never want to go through it again. I suppose I’ll soon forget most of what happened here. I never want to forget how beautiful the moon used to look or how restful the rain would sound as it pattered away on the jungle.

I wonder just how much change you will find in me and I in you. You may find me a little older and a little jumpy at times, but a sight more tolerant.

I haven’t much time, so I’ll see you at the station and a great big kiss, if you please.



























Letters To My Mother From WWII: July 1945


July 1:  Don’t look for my June 30th letter. I didn’t write it. I was going to write it. I was going to write last night, but some of the feather merchants (Cavalry) were in town last night and I went down to see them. I got home early, but I didn’t have any candles and it’s hard for me to write in the dark.

I am glad you liked the picture of me. It was pretty good. I have one more film left and one of these days I am going out and try to find Bob’s grave. If I find it I’ll take a picture of it and the cemetery for his folks.

I got a letter from Laura Marie. She said she was going to spend the weekend with you and was looking forward to seeing Edith. Did you have a good time? I guess it was a foolish question to ask. As a usual thing you two always manage to have a good time.

I have a new address. For some reason or other they changed the address. I am still in the same place.

This letter will find you having a good time in Bellaire. Dad should be able to catch a fish this month. I wish I could be there to show him the right spot. Sometimes I think I may leave here soon and then again I think it might be a couple of months. I have it nice here and am willing to wait my turn.

Want to take a good hike? Start down the road towards the golf course and after you have passed the entrance to Fisherman’s you take the first road to the left. It is nothing more than a driveway into the Gardner yard. Go right through their yard and follow the road back into the woods. When I was in the 5th grade, Puff Ritter and I would sneak out his dad’s shotgun and go back there to hunt rabbits.

Perhaps I should go to church this morning. It’s hard for me to sit still that long.

I am anxious to hear you sing. I have a very talented wife and everyone but me gets to hear her sing. Oh what fun it’s going to be to get home.

I suppose clothes are high. I’ll have to buy a suit, shirts, work clothes and shoes and if I possibly can some jods and boots. If you ever see any good arrow shirts you might buy a couple: 15 1/2 – 35 and either white or else blue with a white strip. I have an idea they will be scarce and hard to find.

I have four months pay coming and if I can keep from it I will not sign the payroll until I get in the states. I can manage to get along without money over here and I would rather have it when I get home.

July 3:  This is the life! Go to bed at midnight, sleep until seven and then have the whole day to yourself. I manage to get plenty of good things to eat. Whenever I get down around the ships I sniff the air like a hound dog because there are always good things to eat down there. Last night a Merchant Marine had me aboard to share lunch with him. That man would make Dagwood Bumstead look like a piker. Among the things he brought out was a gallon of sweet pickles. The food here has been pretty good. Last night we had fried chicken.

I think I am almost back up to normal as far as weight is concerned. My face still has a few lines in it, but they are there to stay. My hair is growing and it will soon be long enough to comb. I had to have it all cut off when I got hit in the head. I have an idea you will know me when I get off the train.

I spend a lot of my time dreaming about the day I reach Detroit. Sometimes I think I would like to go to the hotel for the first night and then again I want to go out to the house as soon as I get there. One thing for certain, I want you and only you to meet me at the station.

So far there has been no official tally of my points. It should come to 90, but they may figure it differently. They are waiting for my service record to come and I went over this morning to see about it. My records were not there, so they are going to write to the troop and ask for them. Guess I’ll be too late for the fishing season. Of course, the bass season on the upper lake is good until late in the fall. If I can’t fish I’ll be able to hunt and that will give us more reason to tramp around the country. I just want to wander around like I used to when I was a boy. I guess I know every tree and spring on section five and I want to revisit them. Have you ever heard a spring? There are some there you can hear and I’ll prove it when I get home.

July 4:  I am going to be a very happy boy when your letters start coming regular again. I  get a few from mom and other people, but yours are still on the way. They will all come at once when they do arrive.

In mom’s last letter she expected your folks either the third or the fifth of July. I suppose you are there by now or else you are getting ready to go. She told me how she would get to Grand Rapids this month and I think it’s pretty nice of your mother to stay there while she is away. I am glad the Nortons and the Fosters get along so well. I suppose Edith will be happy now that she can mock her Uncle Ed. We much teach her to call him Grandpa. He has been a mighty good step dad to me and I’ll want my children to have as many grandpas as they can have.

How much longer are you going to treat Edith for the mark on her face? Is the doctor doing any good and how much does he charge?

It has rained nearly all day. It started shortly after I quit work last night and has been raining off and on ever since. So far we have been pretty lucky about the rain, but I expect we will get our share before the summer is over. At least it will keep the streets washed down and that is something. After a long dry spell it gets pretty dusty around here.

I sure enjoy my work. The time goes by so fast and I feel as though I am doing something that is worthwhile. Last night I was on board an English ship and the officers had some scotch for sale, so I may do business with them tonight. I think I can resell it for a pretty fair profit. No, that isn’t black market, it’s just good business. What the army kicks on is when you sell army goods and you can hardly blame them for it.

They are having a big fast ball game today. I guess it will be good, nevertheless, fast ball reminds me of cold, windy days and it seems funny to be playing it in the summer. The Japs that were garrisoned here played a lot of baseball. The Filipinos tell me they used all the English terms while playing it. It would be fun to see them play, because they can’t run. About the only way I could ever tell a Jap from a Filipino was the way they walked or ran. The Filipinos tell me the Japs were pretty good at holding their drinks. They would go into a place, drink, and then when they left they would bow and act very sober and dignified. These (word I can’t decipher)   come busting out of a place with a wolf howl or a long yipee. I wonder if the people in Tokyo are bowing very much these days.

Your dad will miss the berry picking this year. I suppose he will find plenty to do. I’m afraid mom will not be able to bake many apple pies for him with the sugar shortage. I guess all of you will have a good time and Flip you can rest cosy this summer because you will not have to worry about me. This may be the last summer, for some time, you will be able to spend the whole month on the lake. There will not be such a long vacation next year unless you take it without me.

They are broadcasting the football game. I can hear the band playing and the people yelling. Sounds like the states.

I get a kick out of the snow jobs I hear around here. The funny part is that they all come from fellows who have not been in combat. Last night I had a fellow tell me about when he first came overseas and landed at Manilla. He was in a Repl. Camp and the Japs kept trying to take the camp. Every night they would sneak in and do a certain amount of damage and once they set fire to a hospital tent that belonged to the 1st Cavalry. He sure gave a good line and I know it was a lie because while he was in that camp fighting Japs I was in a rest camp on the other side of the road and we didn’t even post guard. We didn’t even have a hospital there. I hand out a snow job myself every now and then.

July 5:  I smell Kind of nice this morning. I have put some oil on my hair and it has a nice sort of odor to it. Still no mail from you or anyone else. Perhaps I’ll get some today. I hate to have it dribble in like this and will be glad when I start hearing direct from you.

Oh how it rained last night. I was lucky to have a good raincoat. Even then the bottom of my trousers were soaked. I could have got inside but I never mind rain if it’s warm. Remember the night you and I were caught in the rain in Palmer Woods and what a hell of a mess we were in afterwords.

I get a coke every afternoon for ten cents and I can get all the coke I can drink. That coke line is just a social gathering.

July 6: Still no mail from you! I suppose it will start coming pretty soon and I hope so. It’s hard to write every day when I am not hearing from you.

I don’t expect to get much help from the GI Bill of Rights when it comes to building our house. About the best thing we can do is just save as much as we can and get the bank or FHA for the rest. First of all I’ll go back to W&B and you and I will save as much as we can. After we have enough for a start we can move to Northville or Plymouth and I will get a job in that neighborhood and we will open our stable and build at the same time. It will be slow work and we may not have the house for another five years, but we will own it and that is going to be the main thing. Perhaps Chauncey and I can work out some kind of a deal on dogs.

If we are going to raise all those kids we will have to have some land, because they will eat us out of house and home. When I get home we will make a lot of plans.

It has been pretty hot today. I tried to sleep this morning. At first I was able to cat nap and then I got to thinking about you and couldn’t sleep a wink. Why is it after people get married they regret they didn’t meet each other sooner or get married before they did?  I should have married you that September morning back in 1940 when I first came down to your place. Little did either of us realize then that I would some day.

I have been reading King Leer. It’s pretty good. Flip, you and I are going to read Paradise Lost when I get home and some day I am going to read Green Pastures to you.

July 7: I have not been able to mail the letter I wrote to you yesterday; lack of stamps. I’ll try to get some tomorrow.

What a day this has been! They put me on a different job this morning. It’s along the same line, but there is a lot of work in it. I worked hard all day and I am dog tired tonight. Perhaps after I work a few days it will not tire me so much.

I got a letter from mom today, but still no mail from you. Did I ever thank you for the lipstick kiss you sent. It was very nice and I still have it. I guess I am saving it for a rainy day.

Pipe tobacco is fairly easy to get around here. As a usual thing I smoke my pipe only during the evening. That way I have plenty of tobacco to run me.

Mom sure sounded happy to know I was out of combat. She is anxious to have me come home. She wants to find out just where I have been and what I have done. I remember how happy I was when I was coming to Washington and I can hardly imagine how I will find it this time. I guess it will be great.

I have gained about all the weight I am going to. I always was a skinny rat. Perhaps I’ll gain a few more pounds when I get home again.  Then again, you may keep my weight down.

July 8:  I worked hard again today, but I am not as tired as I was last night. That proves I am stronger and it makes me pretty glad. I will need to be in good shape when I get home because my job at W&B isn’t an easy one.

What’s the news on Jim and Wanda? Is she going to stay with him regardless of where he is stationed? I wouldn’t blame her a bit. If I was back in the states I would want you close to me. Pretty darned close!

The news looks pretty good. They are sure pounding the hell out of Japan and I hope they keep on and the Japs give in. They better, because if those Yanks go up there after them things may be pretty rough on the Nips.

They have refrigeration plants here for our perishable food and I want to go and see them some day. It might be exactly what you and I want.

Maggie tells me the rose on dad’s  grave is growing very nice. We can get a slip from it and get a climbing rose for our own place. I love flowers and you and I are going to have plenty of them.

July 9:  Did I tell you there are two Max  Ellisons in the world? Both of them are right here in PHJBSEC. The other guy is from West Virginia and we may have our picture taken together.

I have been thinking of you all day. What have I been thinking? Well, I have been remembering the date of August 1, 1942. That was the day we went down and bought jodphurs. Afterwords we went to Joe’s Cafe (first time) and then out to your place. That was the night I decided I wanted to have you for a wife. It took a year and what I didn’t have to do. When I was fighting I never let myself think about you too much because home looked too far away.

One of the fellows in my tent just told me I look a lot better than I did when I first came here. That was about three weeks ago and if he has noticed a change in such a  short time it’s a cinch I am going to fatten up. I sure feel a lot better. Last night I had one of my bad dreams, but I expect to have them for a long time. I always dream I am in front of a Jap machine gun and can’t move. It’s a hell of a thing to dream.

I guess your folks are having a good time up there. Isn’t the lake beautiful in the morning? It’s so calm and still. Dad should be able to go out there and hook a fish before breakfast. Pike hit best just as it’s breaking day.

I think I’ll walk over to the Red Cross tonight. I haven’t been there for a long time and some of the feather merchants are in town. The boys are having an easy time of it now. They are in garrison and I guess they are pretty glad. They should be.

It rained last night. I was at the movies and it was a good picture so I stayed, but good golly Ned I sure got wet. I’ll come home and you will say “Let’s go to a movie” and I’ll start looking for an egg crate to take along for a seat.

We have a loud speaker here and they are playing “The Last Roundup.” I always did like that song. I would enjoy hearing some of Foster’s music now.

July 10:  I received mail from you today. The letters were dated June 23, 26th and 29th. The last one was sent here to (Base X). It sure seemed good to hear from you and I was so glad to get the picture. I always had the idea it was of you alone. No wonder Jim didn’t want to send it until he got home.

It sounds like we both had the same idea of buying things before I got out of combat. I can give you the go ahead signal now, but please don’t build your hopes up too high. I may not get home as soon as you think. Right now I can’t see anything to stop me, but knowing the army I start believing a thing when it happens. In the meantime you can go ahead buying things and make your dish clothes, because it will not be too long before you get to use them.

Mom enclosed one of John’s letters. He said he gave Edith some coffee when you were not looking. No wonder she likes her uncles so well. You want to watch her grandmaggie because she will feed her anything. I think this is why all of us kids had such bad teeth.

James is back with the troop. I expect he will soon get a five day leave and come into Manilla. I am going to be mighty glad to see him. I am afraid he hasn’t enough points to go home and he will have to make the next campaign, providing there is another campaign.

I had to laugh when I heard about your mother planting more tomatoes when she heard I was coming home. I hope we can have a garden next year. There isn’t much chance if we live down by Preston Church. They don’t do much farming in that part of Detroit. We don’t have to live that close to my work, because I can always catch a ride with some of the fellows. I know one fellow who used to drive back and forth from Plymouth and it only took him one hour.

It sure has been hot today. I was able to take a nap this afternoon and it sure helps me when I can relax for a few seconds during the day. I get along very well with my job and I sure enjoy doing something like this where you never have to worry or hug the ground.

July 11:  I think it is a good idea to wait a while before we have JW. It’s going to take a few months for me to get things going and a doctor bill so soon wouldn’t be any help. He shouldn’t cost quite as much as Edith because the little fellow will fall heir to some of her baby clothes.

I went down to the refrigeration plant the other night, but the fellow I wanted to see wasn’t there. He works days and I am going to see him some day and find out all I can about the type of refrigeration you and I will want and what the cost of it should be. It sure will help when you do not have to can food and I think it will save us some money.

Yes we can rent a place unfurnished and furnish it as best we can. The best way to do it would be to buy a good electric stove, and then we would have it when we do get a home of our own. I don’t suppose a person could buy one right now. We will get by some how and I have an idea it will be more comfortable than a foxhole.

That was a nice raise in pay your dad got. Chauncey does not make as much as I thought he did, but he makes enough to get by on and I only wish you and I were as sure we would make as much. Someday I hope to make more.

I didn’t work today. I am to go on at 4:30 and work until midnight. I like that shift because it’s cooler and as a usual thing it rains early in the evening and settles the dust. My job is to check trucks and I have to stand in the middle of the road to do it and it sure can get dusty and hot during the day.

This morning I washed all my clothes. What a job! I am trying to get by without signing the payroll and so I do my own washing. I want plenty of money when I get home. I am not in love with the idea of going to Miami Beach for a couple of weeks. Miami Beach is nice and if you want to go I would be willing, but I would rather spend the time working. I want to get away from the army.

I will say one thing about Truman. They are not going to fool him too much on money matters. It’s a might good thing because our nation sure is in debt.

July 12:  Only a couple hours left before I go to work, so I better write you a letter. In yesterday’s letter you told me how Edith enjoyed examining every bug and flower. I am glad she takes an interest in such things. I guess she is her dad’s girl in more ways than one. I never used to tan and even after spending a year and a half here I am just getting light brown. So Edith says fower for flower. She must be part Jap because they have trouble spitting out the L.

Yes, I too like a screened porch, and some day we will have one, but it didn’t look good on that house. It spoiled the outside view of the fireplace. We are not going to have everything just as we want it right at the start. I am anxious not to go too far into debt. We can keep on making plans and dreaming dreams and some day a part of them will come true. I am glad you are buying such nice silver. I will help you with it and when we do get it we will have something to be proud of. It’s going to be fun to have a place of our own and be able to ask other people to dinner.

I know you are working overtime dreaming about how soon I will get home. Just keep your fingers crossed and hope for the best and I’ll come when my turn comes. It’s such a relief to be out of combat that I just enjoy life without dreaming about home. I have plenty of good food , an easy job, and a good place to sleep. You have no idea what it can mean to a man who has gone without food, slept in holes, and saw your buddies killed and wounded. I know you miss me and I miss you, but we have so much to live for. It was worth fighting for and it’s worth waiting for. It may be two months and it may be six months, but some day I am coming home and then you and I can start to live.

I have a pass that lets me go aboard ships and sometimes when I am not working I use the pass for the purpose of getting coffee. Most ships have a small galley where the men spend a part of their spare time drinking coffee and I join them. I have met some pretty swell fellows who tell interesting stories of other ports where they have stopped. Most of the “Ellisons” have been a land locked bunch and I would enjoy seeing JW go to sea. Perhaps it’s a little early to start making plans for him, but there are so many interesting vocations in this world. Horse training is one of them, but I will never try to get my son to work in the old man’s footsteps.  Half the fun in life is breaking trail.

When I am positive I am on my way home you might start looking for a house. I do not want to stay at your folks place very long and I do want to start working. I will get $300. mustering out pay ($100. per month). If we work it right we can use most of it towards buying a few things for our home.

My vacation in Bellaire isn’t going to cost much. Of course Sam and I will drink a quart of Rye, but Sam Fuller never did pay over $3. for a quart of whiskey. I am going to need clothes, but not so many and the only thing that will cost a lot are my Jodhpurs. I can’t wear those “Myers” like you have. Remember how I worked and figured for two months trying to get those for you without your folks objecting? You are going to have plenty of chances to ride and this time I am going to start you at the bottom and make you learn how to ride a horse bareback.

I guess I do not look as old as I have pictured it to you. My eyes have several wrinkles, but I am wearing sun glasses and they will keep me from squinting and making them worse than they are. My face is still pretty thin, but even that will fill out in time. I am not sure about my hair. It is growing, but I can’t stand to work my scalp because it still hurts. I wonder if you realize how big an explosion I was in. The Jap bunker we were trying to knock out was built like a cave and unknowingly I was right on top of the cave. There was a big coconut log there and I crawled up behind the log and kept the hole covered while three other fellows came up with grenades. They threw a grenade in and the following explosion blew the log higher than the trees. The other three guys are still in the hospital and all three of us are lucky to have heads on our necks, not to mention hair on our head.

July 13:  We have a chair in our tent, but no one sits on it. I am so used to my bunk, the ground, or a box that I hardly think of sitting in a chair. We also have electric lights in the tent and they are going to come in handy when I start working days. It’s much easier to write at night.

You say your dad had my reels oiled by experts. That wasn’t necessary, but I am glad to know they have had good care. One of them is an extra good reel. I suppose my line is rather rotten. As a usual thing I use a line only one season and I don’t suppose I’ll have any trouble buying one when I get home. Some day I am going to take your dad on a real fishing trip. We will take you along as a cook. Do you have a motor for the boat this year? If so, go to the south end of the lake and go down the river about a quarter of a mile. On the left side you will see a stone cottage, but the people (Brakes) never seemed interested in selling. That cottage stands on the banks where they used to skid logs in the winter and my dad used to (unrecognizable word)  logs there when he was young. Once a log broke loose from the pile and my dad was caught between the pile and the river. He had to jump in to avoid being crushed – winter and cold as blue blazes. In the spring that marsh floods over and the large pike and bass go in there to spawn. In the old days folks would go in at night and spear them. As you leave the lake to go into the river please say hello to the sea-gull you will find perched on the pile. He is an old friend of mine and no doubt wonders what happened to me.

I suppose you will be going back to Detroit by the first of the month. If you are I will start sending your letters there on the 20th. I wonder why I do not hear from Wanda. I am wondering if she got to see Hialeah while she was in Florida. It’s a beautiful place.

I guess it’s about time for me to scram. I pick up my mail on the way to work and I am looking for one today.

July 14:  It’s too hot to write letters today. It’s always warm during the day, but almost always we have a shower in the evening to cool things off a bit. I am just a little lonesome for some snow. Perhaps there will be lots of it when I get home. If there is we may not stay in Bellaire too long. I will be glad when I start working days. I am afraid I miss too much sleep the way things are now.

Your folks will not get to pick any blackberries this year. Too bad. I guess there will not be many this year with such a freakish spring as they had. There used to be a lot of huckleberries east of Mancelona and my folks used to go over there nearly every summer. They always made sort of a picnic out of it and I remember them camping out for a night.

It sounds as though the Japs might be thinking about giving up. They better! To me, this is the most foolish thing in the world. They know they haven’t a chance and yet they hang on. They talk about saving face, but I hope we don’t give them a chance to save anything.

It’s hard to realize time is going by so fast. Tomorrow, and then July will be half gone. Ten months ago I was on the ship and headed for the invasion of Leyte. Did I ever tell you , I got on the ship to go to Leyte and the only thing I forgot was ammunition; of all the things for a man to forget.

July 16:  You will not get a letter for the 15th. I want to write  to you about horses and racing so you will understand what to expect in the years to come. I’ll send it one of these days.

The Lt. called me in tonight and told me he was going to move me to the other side of town.  From now on my work will be over there and it’s too much trouble to drive back and forth. He is sending five of us over there. Four to work and me to boss. I like this side best, but I am not going to kick too much.

For some reason known only to God and the mess Sgt. we had cocoa for breakfast instead of coffee. If it stops raining I will walk to the Red Cross and get a cup of coffee.

Some fellows left here with 97 points. Sounds as though they will get around to me yet. My service records should be here this week and then they will figure out exactly how I stand. I am sweating out the Admiralty Campaign. The campaign was over when I got there, but I went out on the patrol and we chalked up forty-seven of the varmints so they told us we would receive credit for it. Now I am wondering whether it was put on my service record as such. Actually a fellow does not get any extra credit for combat. If you are in a combat zone you get five points. A fellow just coming over seas and landing here the day before combat is declared closed gets exactly as many points as the guy who fought all the way through.

It has stopped raining, so I am headed for town. The army has put snack bars around town. There is one just down the street.

July 17:  A letter from you today. I was sure glad to hear from you and I hope they come steadily from now on. Flip, I know you are lonesome and so am I, but here is something for both of us to think about. There are thousands of guys over here who want to be home nearly as bad as I do. However, many of them still have hard fighting to do and a lot of them will not come home. You and I can just be very glad my chances of coming home are as good as they are. I remember one night in Leyte when I didn’t expect to last long enough to see the moon come up, to say nothing about coming home. I have had a Jap so close to me I could have clubbed him with my rifle, but I did the smart thing and kept quiet.

What a dream I had last night. The only thing it lacked was Technicolor. It seemed as though I was home and we were down to Richard’s grocery. After that we went fishing. I dream about you fairly often and I always dream we are in Bellaire. I guess I think about you and home too much.

I think we are going to have a big rain. A gust of wind just wandered through and darn near blew the tent down.

I saw the most beautiful ring this morning that I have ever seen. It was a star sapphire and a star ruby. The jeweler had made a figure eight out of the gold and mounted the saphire on one half and the ruby on the other half. Her husband had bought the ring in India for $150. You wonder who “her” is? They unloaded some troops today and the Red Cross was there with hot coffee and doughnuts and “her” was handing out the doughnuts. I asked her where she managed to get such a beautiful ring and got a life history of both the ring and her. She used to spend her vacations in Petoskey. She was calling me Honey before I left so I guess I look more like my old self. I guess she comes from the deep south.

The wind has died down and now it’s raining. I think I’ll take a walk over for coffee.

July 18:  Today I received letters from LauraMarie, Blanch, Claire T and a couple of letters from people you do not know, but there wasn’t  any mail from you. It has been a very nasty day. The wind blew and it rained a lot. Now I am nearly ready for bed. I have been to the Red Cross for a cup of coffee and on the way back I got a coke at the snack bar.

I have been dreaming a lot about our home. I have a very good idea for our grape arbor. We can have it behind the house and it will separate the back lawn from the garden. I want it fairly close to the house because a grape arbor makes an ideal place to bury any garbage or stuff like that. Next to the grapes, on the garden side, we can plant our beds of pie plant, horse radish, and asparagus. They come up early and will be out of the way before the grapes shade them.

At the far end of the garden we can put our tool shed, dog kennels, fruit trees, and a few swarms of bees. I don’t know much about bees, but I want them close to the fruit trees and I don’t want them singing around my ears when I drink a long tall one in my back yard. I plan on raising just as much of our food as I possibly can. There is an article in the April Readers Digest I wish you would read. Can’t remember the name of it, but it’s about the advantages of raising your own food. The bee project is going to be P. Ray’s. I’ll furnish the pasture and the bees and let him do the work. The dogs will be Chauncey’s project. He can furnish the dogs and I’ll furnish the work.  Flip, it is sort of nice to dream and I guess some of them will come true.

I am going to sign the payroll tomorrow. I am so broke and this is the last airmail I have until I get paid.

July 19:  This afternoon I stopped at personnel and my service records were there from the Squadron so we figured up my points. Right now I have 83, but that isn’t counting the two clusters on my Purple Heart. They typed out an order for them this afternoon and I will get them within two or three days and that will give me 93 points. I am pretty close to home and they are taking fellows with 95 to 97, so my turn is close. The Sgt. said next month by the very latest. This was the first time I had a chance to look at my service record and I am thinking my uniform will be well decorated, I am entitled to wear the combat infantry badge, good conduct medal, SWP Ribbon, Philippine Liberation Ribbon and the Purple Heart with 2 clusters.

I am pretty excited tonight and I think I’ll go for a walk and calm my nerves.

July 20:  I am not sure whether this is the 20th or the 21st. Anyway it’s Saturday night and I have been downtown. Every time I found a line I got in it, so now I am full of coke and coffee.

No mail from you today. It’s a funny thing that I hear from mom twice a week and every one else mail reaches me on time. I know a little girl who may think she will let up on letter writing now that I am so close to home and I remember what she told me the day we were married about writing letters. When your letters do come they better be fairly regular with postdates.

I hope tomorrow will be a good day. I am going to the cemetery if it isn’t raining. It’s the only day I have off in three weeks and I would hate to get a rain check for it.

I wonder what your plans are for the balance of the summer. It isn’t likely you will go back to Aunt Mary’s for such a short time. If I don’t get away next month I am bound to make it in September. Once I leave this place I will move fast and you may not hear from me for a few weeks. You can sort of watch for a wire telling you to meet the train. I’ll wire or call you before I get there, but I may wait until I am in Chicago. If you are in Muskegon I’ll give you a little more notice. I have often dreamed of coming home and I want it to be just like when I came to Washington. You will meet the train and we will go home together. You don’t need to bother about bringing the car. I’ll not have any baggage and it will be fun to take the bus or streetcar. We may not even go straight home. I suppose we will find a change in each other. I know you are bound to see a change in me. I guess I am a little battle worn in spots. About the only thing I have to overcome is my nerves and I think I’ll get over it in time. What I need most is plenty of Flip and it will not be long now. I hope you are willing to take a lot of walking, because I am doing a lot of it.

July 25:  My sins have found me out. Tomorrow morning I have to stand formation while the General pins the two oak clusters on me. This time it will be formal. I will get my picture taken and I think I’ll be able to get a copy for you.

I have gained back about all the weight I lost, but I am out of condition. I do as much walking as I can around here and I think by the time I get home I’ll be ready for work. I have been massaging my scalp and it no longer hurts. For a long time it was too sore to touch.