Happy Birthday, U.S. Navy!

October 13th, 2006

The US Navy turns 231 years old today. Seems appropriate to note that on this blog . . .

October 7–13, 1942

March 29th, 2006

Dad's WWII Letters to MomIt’s early October of 1942. Dad is still at Norfolk, Virginia, processing the Navy Seabee recruits through their vaccination routines and other health matters. He doesn’t write to my future mom about the war, and seems to be completely detached from what is going on overseas. As he mentions in one of today’s letters, a movie that he saw on one of his trips to town brought it all home for a bit. He even brings up religion and tries to explain to her what he personally believes. His faith a bit shaky at this point in his existence, and certainly gets a lot stronger as time goes on. Later in life he became a church Deacon at the First Baptist Church in Collinsville, Oklahoma, and taught Sunday School for many years. He was one of my teachers as a matter of fact. The man did know his Bible!

He goes to downtown Norfolk one night and seems quite disturbed by what he sees, but I think that is an act for his Anna Mae. Both of them grew up in or around Oilton, Oklahoma, which was an oil boom town at that time. Oilton was rough! At least one homicide a night. Much like an old mining town, where the bars and cat houses were the hoppin’ joints, and no God-fearing folk ventured out after dark, at least this is what I’ve read about it, ’cause these two didn’t talk about it at all! Must be where I get it from!

On to the letters . . . (db)

[Postmark: October 7, 1942]

One of Dad's WWII letters to Mom
[Click image for larger view]

[Norfolk, VA]

Oct. 6, 1942

My Darling Sweetheart,

Thanks for the picture. I like it even if you don’t. I don’t see why there had to be two extra girls in it. Send me some more, please.

I just got back from the show. I saw the man who came for dinner. Pretty good.

Nothing new has happened here, I’ll probably go to town tomorrow night & get those pictures, boy they sure look salty, I saw the proofs.

How is the old cold coming along? I hope you didn’t have too .[??? word] a cold all winter. Maybe you should have my bottle of cod liver oil. Confidentially, I quit taking it. I have never felt better in my life, as far as health is concerned, but as usual, I am lonely for you.

Boy was I surprised when I saw the paper you wrote to me on. I didn’t know I sent it. It looks so much better when you write on it.

Bob said to tell you hello. I told him what you said, but he isn’t conceited. He is a swell egg.

Well, I had better close, it is bed time & I am sure I love you too & always will.

All My Love
“Duke”


[Postmark: October 9, 1942]

One of Dad's WWII letters to Mom
[Click image for larger view]

[Norfolk, VA]

Oct. 8, 1942

To My Darling Anna Mae,

I know you don’t like typewritten letters but I forgot to bring my stationary over with me tonight, so I have to write on this paper and I could never write in a straight line on this paper with a pen. Please forgive me, I am on duty tonight, wish you were here, you could help me work. Oh Yeah! I can imagine how much work we would get done, but I can’t think of any thing I would rather do than be with you. Anywhere.

Yes, I know, I didn’t write to you, but I guess you already know why I didn’t. I was up town. I hope you like the picture, it was the best I could do, you know you have to have a subject to make a picture that is good, so I guess you didn’t expect too much. I also went to the show while down town, saw the filming of (The Jap attack on Batan.) Say, that show will make you set up and take notice.

I got a card from Mother today, she was still in Kentucky. She seems to think that I will be coming home to get married soon, wonder how she got that idea. She seems to think it would be a good idea. Then she could say all her boys were married in the same year, wouldn’t that be something?

I am glad to hear you are feeling better, I was about ready to come home and take care of you, but I guess I won’t have to now. Boy, how I wish I could.

Have you noticed that I can write a better letter on a typewriter, I guess I just take more time to think about what I am going to say. I am sure glad you haven’t neglected me on the letters. I don’t know how I could have stood it up here if you hadn’t written to me like you have. I realize now more than ever before just how much you mean to me, it seems every thing I plan is built around you. I hope you don’
t ever get tired of my telling you how much I Love you.

Nothing new here, there is still some talk about moving, but nothing definite about the time yet. Yorktown is just about fifty (50) miles from here so it won’t make any difference. It is still too far away from you. There was a lot of boys from Okla. here today who had just joined the Navy. I didn’t happen to see anyone I knew.

Well, I have just about run down, so take care of yourself.

I LOVE YOU.
“Duke”

P.S. I send mother a picture just like the one you got.


[Postmark: October 12, 1942]

One of Dad's WWII letters to Mom
[Click image for larger view]

[Norfolk, VA]

Oct. 11, 1942

MY DARLING ANNA MAE,

Yes I know I missed writing to you. I went to town last night, I had to go some place, it was getting on my nerves just staying here all the time. I have only been to town twice in the last two weeks, that was last Wednesday and last night.

Last night I went to two shows, say a couple of pictures that I can’t even remember the names of. It was just some place to go. I also went to a place called Main STreet, boy is it tough down there,. I have heard about it ever since I came to Norfolk, so I ventured down there. It is one long street with nothing but joints and side shows. Everyone was drunk and raising H _ _ _. I never even drank a bottle of beer so it was disgusting to me I had to leave. Before I left I saw three fights. One of them was between a soldier and a girl. You can’t even imagine what this town is like until you see it on Saturday night especially, people walking up and down the street signing and raising H _ _ _. That is one of the reasons I can’t stand to drink anymore, after seeing some of the things that go on here.

You are still the most wonderful girl in the world, and I will be satisfied if I can have only You. I got two wonderful letters from you yesterday, And I Love you for your faithful writing.

Thanks for the paper but there wasn’t much news in it, just the same old Gusher advertisements. Boy, what a sorry excuse that is for a paper. Pardon me while I relay some scuttlebutt. That is what we call it in the Navy. So you are working nights now, my how I wish you were working nights at Burnie’s and I was still working up at the drugstore. I don’t believe I realized what a wonderful life that was. Oh, this isn’t so bad, but you aren’t here and that was what made it so swell at Oilton.

I hung that snapshot up in my locker and everyone has asked who the sailor girl is, I tell them it is my wife, and they congratulate me. Then they say but who in heavens name are those other two.

I haven’t heard from any of my family lately, I guess they have forgotten me. Well, that isn’t so bad, just so you don’t forget. I’ll survive if you just keep loving me.

I think I’ll go see if the mail has come in today before I finish this. No, it hasn’t come in yet, we only get mail once on Sunday. I got two letters yesterday, maybe I won’t get one today. I hope so. I know, as I said before, that you don’t like typewritten letters, but don’t you think I write a better letter on a typewriter than with pen and ink? Yes, I know I mess them up with a typewriter, but I do the same thing with pen and ink. I mean it just a much no matter how I write it. Did you know you are the only girl I ever cried over or even felt like crying over? I am sure you remember the times, twice to be exact. One of those times didn’t count because I was inebriated. Did you ever cry over me, I mean cry for me and not because of what I had done? I don’t recall you ever telling me about it.

Oh, I just remembered the name of the shows I saw, at least one of them, it was “Just between us girls”. It wasn’t a bad show, pretty funny. The other was a story of the life of some painter, you know, the kind that paints pictures. It was kind of screwy. I don’t recall the name of it. [Dad, if you thought painters were weird, wonder what you really thought when I told you I was going to be a potter? - Okie]

I didn’t get up this morning till 11:30, you see, when we are supposed to have liberty on Sunday, we don’t have to get up unless we want to. This happens every other week-end.

I just heard that we would move the last of this month, of course it is just scuttlebutt, but it might be true, I don’t know and have no way of finding out. I will tell you all about the place when we move. Boy, I just know it will be a mess.

I thought I would go back over to see Bill today, but it is raining, not hard but it is still raining, and besides, i wanted to take lots of time to write to you. I started this letter at oNe o’clock (1300) and I will tell you the time when I finish.

We sure had a good meal today, that is dinner (lunch), we usually have chicken but today, we had roast pork and mashed potatoes with carrots and peas, as salad, and ice cream and cookies. Boy did I ever eat, you see I didn’t get up in time for breakfast. I sure did enjoy that sleep.

I never did buy that radio, but Bob bought one, so I don’t think I will. I bunk with him and I can play his so why should I buy one? I’ll just help buy some more batteries or tubes for it when it needs some. That is fair enough, don’t you think?

This boy friend of Clara Lue that joined the Navy Construction department will surely some here, because this is the main office of the construction Battalions, this is where he construction Battalions first originated. What is his name and I will look for him. They don’t have a Construction camp in San Diego, there is only two, one here and the other in Florida.

By the way, I have quit smoking everything except a pipe that I bought the other day, and I don’t chew tobacco any more. It is a cute little pipe, I just know you would like it, and besides, it is cheaper to smoke a pipe, costs about 15 cents per week. Boy am I tight.

It’s now 1630 and I have been writing since 1300 and haven’t said anything yet, so I guess I had better close and go see about some chow (food).

Love Allways (mispelled)
“Duke”

P.S. I Do Love You.


[Postmark: October 12, 1942]

One of Dad's WWII letters to Mom
[Click image for larger view]

[Norfolk, VA]

1930 or 7:30
Oct. 11, 1942

My Darling Anna Mae,

It hasn’t been more than a few hours since I wrote you a long letter, but I am on duty tonight. I am standing by for a guy who is supposed to be on duty. In other words, I am working for him. We have a patient here to be sent to the hospital, pretty sick boy. Sure is a lot of red tape to this stuff.

i don’t have anything particularly to write about, but I am behind on my writing and I don’t want you to miss a day. I didn’t get a letter today just like I suspected, you know I got two yesterday.

I borrowed this paper from a friend, it is something different from what I have ever seen before, I think I’ll try to buy some. This probably won’t make sense because I am trying to write and listen to the Fitch Band Wagon program at the same time.

You asked me sometime back some thing about religion, I don’t know just what you wanted to know, but I am a God fearing man and I believe in a hereafter of some kind. There is sure to be something behind this old world of ours than just what meets the eye. I don’t know much about it and it seems the more you try to figure it out the deeper you get. I think there is no better laws than the 10 Commandments. What are your thoughts on the subject? I have often wondered.

Now I am listening to Charley McCarthy, so don’t be surprised what I write. Some is singing a song about a sailor with Navy Blue Eyes. Say, my eyes aren’t blue or are they? I really don’t know, do you?

Boy do I write a sorry letter, it isn’t bad enough that I don’t know how to type. Say, do you type? I don’t believe that you ever told me just exactly what you do. You said something about the figures on the gas bills, do you figure them up or type them in? I would like just as much about your work as you would mine.

I can’t think of any thing else to ask or tell you about, so good night and I Love You Very Much.

Your Sailor Boy.
“Duke”


[Postmark: October 13, 1942]

One of Dad's WWII letters to Mom
[Click image for larger view]

[Norfolk, VA]

Oct. 12, 1942
Hello Darling,

Well, how are you today? I am just fine. I see by the clipping you sent that You know just about as much about this town as I do. I didn’t know it was that widely know, but it si the worst place that I have seen. I was wondering if you would believe me whan I wrote what I did yesterday, aobut this town. They call this place the a_ _hole of creation, & I believe it is.

I got a nice letter from Juanita today, ahe also sent me a picture of herself & Audeen. She said she was going over to the follies. I hope you all have a good time. I haven’t heard from Mother in some time, I guess she is still on her vacation.

Goodnight Darling
I Love You
“Duke the Sailor”

Duke

Dad’s WWII Letters to Mom™
A celebration of love and discovery by Duke’s son.
Copyright © 2005-2006 — Arthur Dale Baker — All Rights Reserved


[tags]World War II letters, WWII, Dad’s WWII Letters, Camp Allen, Norfolk, Navy[/tags]

October 2–6, 1942

March 23rd, 2006

Dad's WWII Letters to MomIt is October of 1942. War and baseball is in the air, and on the airwaves. The New York Yankees are on their way to losing their first World Series since 1926 to the St. Louis Cardinals, they had won all eight of them in between. As you will read, radios were scarce, and if you had access to one, you were listening to baseball.

Seems like Dad gets lonelier and more bored by the day. Same old routine, day in and day out, with the monotony broken by the occasional trips into Norfolk. His buddy, Bill, stationed in Norfolk proper, gets some bad news from home, and Dad just tries to avoid thinking that it might also happen to him.

We finally see him mention his sisters Audeen and Juanita, both of whom I knew well. Audeen is still with us, but all the others are gone, (I’m guessing about Ina out here in California, as she was suffering with Alzheimer’s half a decade ago.) It’s very odd, he still hasn’t mentioned his brother Rollen, who eventually partnered with him to buy our farm outside of Collinsville, Oklahoma. Also, his brother Ophard has married Gladys, and hasn’t bothered to write Dad about it. Must be where I get it from!

My father’s letters, continued . . . (db)

[Postmark: October 2, 1942]

One of Dad's WWII letters to Mom
[Click image for larger view]

[Norfolk, VA]

Oct. 1, 1942

Hello Darling,

Got a lovely letter today. I hadn’t gotten one for a day or so but I missed a few days so I guess we are about even.

Nothing new has happened here, just the same old routine. I have reached the point to where I don’t mind it so much, but I do miss you terribly.

I got a letter from mother today that was written Sept. 6. She hadn’t addressed it just right so it was delayed. I see why she wondered why I didn’t write.

I am so tired I can hardly write. I have been writing all day on a typewriter & it tires me. Then we fell out for drill. Boy, what a life. I wish I was back in good ol’ Oklahoma. (WITH YOU)

I hope Ophard writes & tells me some of the finer points of married life. I would sure like to be there. Boy, what a celebration. Maybe I could be best man. I have never been best man at a wedding. I told you I couldn’t write tonight.

I don’t think I’ll like moving. They saw we won’t live in barracks. I don’t know, maybe it will be tents. I hope not, it is cold up here.

I know you had a good time at home. I keep thinking of the good times we have had,keep looking forward to more happiness with you. That is what keeps me on the right side of the fence. I love you Darling, no matter how poor my letters may be.

Yours for Keeps
Duke


[Postmark: October 3, 1942]

One of Dad's WWII letters to Mom
[Click image for larger view]

[Norfolk, VA]

Oct. 2, 1942

My Darling,

Well, this is one of the best days since joining the navy. I got a letter this morning & one this evening. I also wrote Mother & Juanita [one of Dad's sisters - Okie] yesterday. I guess I am improving.

It’s funny that Grandmother asked you if we were married. That isn’t the first time I have been asked that question, how about you? It must be very obvious that we are very much in love. I didn’t realize that it showed so plain, did you?

There was Mother, Aunt Zona, Audeen, [another sister - Okie] Juanita & I don’t know who else. I guess the reason is that I don’t care who knows I love you. As a matter of fact, I want the world to know.

Do you suppose you will ever get your schedule worked out? I remember you told me that you went to work early before. Maybe you had better ask about your working hours.

I am sorry to hear that your cold is worse. Please take care of yourself & don’t work if you aren’t well because your health is worth more than all the jobs there is. I love you darling, so please take care of you for me. Promise? I wish I were there so I could take the cold directly from you. I’d love to have it. I’d stay up nights just to have the privilege of catching colds from you. Believe Me?

Well, take care of yourself & be good. By till tomorrow.

I Love You
“Duke”


[Postmark: October 4, 1942]

One of Dad's WWII letters to Mom
[Click image for larger view]

[Norfolk, VA]

Oct. 3, 1942

Hello Darling,

Yes, it is me. I don’t intend to stop writing even if you do. I am sorry to hear that your cold is worse. I am sure it is or you would have written.

There is nothing new here, just the same old thing. This is my night to work till 9 o’clock, so I am writing you a letter. I don’t feel like working, have been at it all day and am tired.

I was certainly disappointed when I didn’t get a letter today. I kept looking but no results. Bob kidded me by saying, “I told you the letters would drop off after a while & then you won’t get any.” I don’t believe him. He is pretty well disgusted because his girl friend at home got married.

I had a slight touch of cold this morning but I don’t think it will last.

Did you hear that they are going to divide the Pacific Ocean with the Japs? We are going to take the top half & give them the bottom.

Say, you never did tell me that joke you said you was going to tell me. The one Paul wrote you. Don’t forget. A good joke would do me good. I only wish you were here to tell it to me in person.

Take care of yourself.

All my Love
“Duke”


[Postmark: October 5, 1942]

One of Dad's WWII letters to Mom
[Click image for larger view]

[Norfolk, VA]

Oct. 4, 1942

Hello Darling,

Well, another Sunday has rolled around & nothing new. I am on duty this weekend. We are sitting in my office listening to a radio (not mine). I didn’t buy one yet. The world series are on it, there is 5 boys in here listening to them with me.

I got your letter this morning & you didn’t say anything about your cold, so I am hoping it is better or even well.

Say, did I ever tell you how we tell time in the Navy? We don’t have clocks, we have a bell, a large bell about 2 foot and a half across & they ring it every half hour. I hope you can understand this but I’ll try. Time starts at 12 o’clock midnight & counts straight through to 2400.

8 bells is midnight, then it starts at 1 bell at 12:30, 2 bell is 1 o’clock. It goes up to 8 bells, which is 4 o’clock, then starts over at one bell at 4:30. Understand?

I am listening to Jack Benny & writing at the same time, so don’t blame me if it doesn’t make sense. The bell just rang 7 times, what time is it?

All I can say is I love you very much, so be good & I hope you won’t be sorry.

With all My Love
“Duke”

P.S. Send me some pictures.


[Postmark: October 6, 1942]

One of Dad's WWII letters to Mom
[Click image for larger view]

[Norfolk, VA]

Oct. 6, 1942

My Darling,

Just a short note to let you know I am always thinking of you. I started to write last night but I left my paper over here at the office so I’ll write a short line this morning & a long letter this evening.

I am very proud I got two letters from you yesterday & one from Juanita. She told me that you & her & a bunch was going to the Ice Follies. So get well & go, don’t disappoint them. I’ll bet if I were there I’d get you well of that cold in a hurry.

I haven’t heard from Ophard yet. I thought he would at least write, didn’t you?

I better get this in the mail or I’ll miss a day.

Your wish is my command. (maybe)

All my Love,
“Duke”

Duke

Dad’s WWII Letters to Mom™
A celebration of love and discovery by Duke’s son.
Copyright © 2005-2006 — Arthur Dale Baker — All Rights Reserved


[tags]World War II letters, WWII, Dad’s WWII Letters, Camp Allen, Norfolk, Navy[/tags]

September 25–30, 1942

March 23rd, 2006

Dad's WWII Letters to MomMy Dad is starting to get his romantic legs, finally! I never saw him express himself the way he does in these letters, and as the days, weeks & months pile up, his lonliness and his longing for his Anna Mae gets ever stronger. He’s even learned how to “turn a phrase”, “It is the first time I have had lipstick on my face since the last time I kissed you. I even put a little spot of it on my shoulder so I would feel like I had really been kissed.” Wow — Way to go, Dad!

He also seems to be getting her ready for his first at-sea deployment, hinting that it is now less than 6 months away. I haven’t read ahead so I don’t know when he first had to go overseas, but there is a war on, and he’s not there just to learn how to iron his blues and “drill”. At least I know how this strory ends . . . when they were living it, they didn’t know if they would ever get to see each other again.

My father’s letters, continued . . . (db)

[Postmark: September 25, 1942]

One of Dad's WWII letters to Mom
[Click image for larger view]

[Norfolk, VA]

Sept. 24, 1942

Hello Darling,

Yes, I know, I missed writing to you last night, but if you know what I was doing I don’t think you would care a bit. It sure is hard to get pictures made here in Norfolk, too much business.

First you make an appointment, then you go have them made, wait a week, & go look at the proofs, then pick one & wait two weeks to get the pictures. [& I get impatient with the speed of my digital camera's memory chip! - Okie]

I also saw a show “Panama Hattie” plenty good, don’t miss it. Red Skelton & Ann Southern.

I looked at some radios while down town. I think I’ll buy one, one of those combination battery & electric sets.

I don’t mind not hearing from anyone else as long as you write me. It doesn’t matter what you say so long as you write.

I haven’t heard from anyone except you in ages, so I don’t know anything that you didn’t tell me about any of our friends.

It is hotter than H _ _ _ here today. I have been sweating all day. It cools off at night but is hot all day.

Aren’t you ashamed of yourself to tell everyone you was coming home, then not go? I wish I could go home, just any weekend. I wouldn’t miss because of a little rain.

I would sure like to see the ice follies. I have never seen them, they say it is quite a show.

We were in Bradford all day today, shot about 2,500 men.

We had drill this afternoon for about 30 minutes. We have a new chief & he thinks we (the medical dept.) should drill, so we drill.

All my Love
Duke


[Postmark: September 26, 1942]

One of Dad's WWII letters to Mom
[Click image for larger view]

[Norfolk, VA]

Sept. 25, 1942

Hello Darling,

Thanks a million for the kiss. It is the first time I have had lipstick on my face since the last time I kissed you. I even put a little spot of it on my shoulder so I would feel like I had really been kissed. You are a darling & I don’t see how I ever got along without you as long as I did. come to think of it, I hadn’t been getting along very well until I met you.

I’ll take my kisses first hand direct if I have any choice, but this is much better than no kiss at all, so I accept it with all my heart and affection.

I got a letter card from my Aunt Zona today, she says everything is fine up there. She also said you wrote to her, I am glad you did, she likes you a lot, which isn’t hard for me to understand, who could help but like you? Look at me, I am goofy about you.

Aunt Zona wants me to come up & see her, but I don’t guess I will, my Uncle won’t let me.

I don’t think I’ll have to go to sea for about 6 mo., most of the boys have about 6 mo. land service before going to sea. I don’t see why I should be any exception.

Guess what? I changed jobs again today. Just like I thought I would. I am now in the record office again. It is easy, but I like the shot hut better.

I am sending you a picture of Bob. He had this taken while he was home on leave, while I am setting here in the shot hut writing, Bob is pressing his blue suit & boy did he ever burn a hole about the size of the iron in the leg. I can’t tell you what he said but you can imagine. It was his best pair of blues & he was getting them ready so he could wear them on liberty tomorrow & Sunday. They cost about $10.00 & they can’t be fixed. Is he ever mad. I don’t blame him, guess I’ll have to teach him how to iron.

I bought some more material for your scrap book, now you can tell what kind of plane is flying over when you see one.

I have fire watch tonight from 2 o’clock till 4:00. boy will I be sleepy tomorrow. I wish you were here to keep me company. It gets lonesome when you have to stay up alone. I don’t know who I am suppose to awake to relieve me so I guess I had better find out where he sleeps before the lights go out.

Good night Darling. XXX_________X (Boy was that one good.)

All my Love
“Duke”


[Postmark: September 28, 1942]

One of Dad's WWII letters to Mom
[Click image for larger view]

[Norfolk, VA]

Sept. 26, 1942

My Darling,

I didn’t get a letter today but I guess I’ll get two tomorrow “I hope”.

Well, my new job isn’t so bad. I am taking care of the officers’ records. I check them in when they report for duty, then check them out when they are moved to another station. There is a lot of red tape to moving them. I know it won’t be interesting, so I’ll skip it. Also, I handle the records of Ships Company men. That is what I am in.

Belive it or not, it is Saturday night & I have liberty, but I am staying home. I just finished washing clothes. Started to go to the show here on the station but I have already seen it, so I guess I’ll just go to bed & get some sleep. I am tired from being on fire watch last night & working all day today.

I am sorry I don’t know what to say, I can’t answer your letter because I didn’t get one.

I think I’ll go over to Portsmouth tomorrow & see Bill. He is on duty so we can’t go to the beach or anywhere, but I’ll go over & chat with him anyway. Bob has gone to town to see his girl friend, & don’t think he will be back till Monday morning. Wish my girl friend lived here. Don’t you?

I have told you a million times how much I love you but I’ll tell you again, you are the one & only & I love you more than anything else. Have faith till this war is over & I’ll prove it.

With Love
Your Sailor Boy
“Duke”


[Postmark: September 29, 1942]

One of Dad's WWII letters to Mom
[Click image for larger view]

[Norfolk, VA]

Sept. 28, 1942

My Darling Anna Mae,

Yes, I know I missed writing you yesterday & got two big wonderful letters today. I went over to see Bill yesterday. We went down to the ship yards & saw some of the Big Ships! They sure are big, almost unbelievable until you see them.

This is the yard where B.H. Alexander works, but I didn’t see him. It sure is a large ship yard & I don’t have any idea how many ships they have. This is where they repair ships that have been in combat at sea. Some of them had holes in them which were being repaired. They have ships from all countries there. The U.S.A. Ships are the cleanest & best looking. We stayed there about three hours & didn’t even get started at getting around to all the ships.

So much for the ships.

I know just how you feel & I feel like crying myself sometimes, but I can’s see that it would do any good so I just grin & bear it.

I am as sure of your love now as I am of life itself & you can depend on me. I hope someday our dreams will come true.

I haven’t heard from anyone lately. I guess it is mostly because I haven’t written to anyone except you.

I would like to send you a picture of myself washing clothes, but it is against the regulations to have a Kodak on the compound. The compound is like the camps except it has a high fence around it & a guard at the gate.

I am sorry to hear you aren’t feeling well, take care of yourself & have a good time while you are home.

I LOVE YOU. XXXXX

All my love
Duke.


[Postmark: September 30, 1942]

One of Dad's WWII letters to Mom
[Click image for larger view]

[Norfolk, VA]

Sept. 29, 1942

My Darling,

Well, how are you this cold weather? I hope your cold is getting better. It turned cold here last Saturday night & has been colder than H _ _ _ ever since. I guess I won’t get to finish my sun tan. We have started wearing our blue uniforms. It was made (the uniform of the day) today. You see, in the Navy they tell you what you can & can’t wear & when you can wear it, so until you are told to wear blues you can’t, unless you sneak out. That is what I did when I had my picture made for you. I will be able to get that picture about Oct. 7. They are so busy & I thought you wouldn’t mind waiting a few more days. I love you for being so patient with me. [Dad, I think you used it all up before I came around! - Okie]

Looks to me like Ophard would at least let me know when he is going to do such an important thing as marry. I wonder if they will send me an announcement.

You don’t suppose it worries him so much or is so excited that he forgot his own brother? Boy, it must be quite a sensation, suppose?

I think that is a good suggestion, about sending you a message by spelling out the place at the beginning of each paragraph. if I can send a letter at all I’ll do just that.

We are moving to Yorktown about October 15th, it isn’t official yet, but that is what they say or is scuttlebutt.

I like my new job in the record office now. I am getting a room to myself, or you might call it an office. It has a desk, typewriter & a filing cabinet.

Maybe I’ll get enough experience sitting at a desk with my feet upon it, that some day I’ll be a big business man.

I know you had a swell time at home & I am glad you get to go home. I only with I could have enjoyed it with you.

Well, I have just about run out of news.

Don’t ever forget that I Love You.

Goodnight, & be good.

All My Love
“Duke”

Duke

Dad’s WWII Letters to Mom™
A celebration of love and discovery by Duke’s son.
Copyright © 2005-2006 — Arthur Dale Baker — All Rights Reserved


[tags]World War II letters, WWII, Dad’s WWII Letters, Camp Allen, Norfolk, Navy[/tags]

September 19–22, 1942

March 23rd, 2006

Dad's WWII Letters to MomMy Dad wasn’t a stranger to me and I always knew that he loved me very much. However, he was not the most open personality, at least to my interpretation, he always had a depth of patience that defied reason, until the bottom of the barrel was reached. Let me explain via three events, two I heard about and one I experienced, although all involve me.

First one, we were visiting one of Mom’s brothers in Blackwell, OK, before he moved his family to Colorado, and they had a swimming pool at their house, which was extremely rare in the mid-’50s in Oklahoma. A bunch of kids were in the pool and I was wading in the shallow end and somehow was knocked down and sitting on the bottom, now too deep to stand and get my head above water. Mom later told me that Dad — who was wearing his good suit — jumped into the pool and rescued me. Not everyone can truly relate that their father actually saved their life, but mine did. He also ruined his best suit and shoes. Sure hope he always felt it was worth it.

The second, I was in the chicken yard feeding grain to the hens when one of the roosters attacked me and knocked me down and started slicing me with its spurs. Mom later told me that Dad grabbed a hatchet, ran into the chicken yard and dispatched the offending rooster with a solid whack! I imagine that we had fried chicken that night, and it was, I’m sure, real goooood!

The third, what it was about I really don’t have a clue. I must have been doing something extremely stupid because I still remember what it felt like for him to give me a swift kick in the butt! When I screw up even now, I can feel his foot kicking me in the ass, and I know that I deserved it then, and also all too often even more so now.

I have so many of his traits. He was a control freak, however he certainly met his match with my Mom. I finally found someone for me that measures up to my penchant for controlling B.S. and she gives me no quarter either.

In today’s five letters you get the sense that Duke, becoming ever more devoted to his Anna Mae, is starting to worry a little about the future, about whether he will ever get to go back home, and whether his Anna Mae will be there if he does make it through the war. In September of 1942, the war’s outcome is certainly not determined, and we are not sure how much he is thinking about the big picture. Since he and I never got to talk about any of this, I have no insight into his frame of mind at this time of his life. I’m just tripping on getting to know my Dad as a twenty-five year old guy. As a fifty-four year old father of one, I look at him as I would a student in one of the freshman classes I taught at Tulsa University, and also as my Dad. It’s a very Kevin Costneresque experience — as per the final catch scenes in the movie Field of Dreams.

Once again, my father’s letters . . . (db)

[Postmark: September 19, 1942]
One of Dad's WWII letters to Mom
[Click image for larger view]

[Norfolk, VA]

Sept. 18, 1942

My Darling,

I see you haven’t as yet gotten a letter saying I am well, as a matter of fact, I guess I never was very sick.

So, you don’t know how to act in an up town theater, well don’t feel too badly about getting lost. I remember the first larger theater I ever attended. If it hadn’t been for the usher I would have probably gone out the exit & missed the show.

I hope you don’t acquire too many of those big town ideas. I like you just as you are. I am more than glad you got the opportunity to work at a better job but don’t let it change you too much & I’ll do the same.

Didn’t I ever tell you about the way I wash clothes? Well, to start with, we don’t have a washing machine as you probably have already guessed. We use a scrub brush and scrub to beat H_ _ _, then turn the clothes wrong side out & fold them along the seam while they are soaking wet & hang them out to dry without wringing them out. In this way, when they dry, they are pressed. You’d be surprised how good they turn out. Some of the boys have irons but I never use one & my clothes look just as well, believe it or not. Those white suits sure get dirty.

I saw Bill a couple of days ago, he is starting to school in a day or so, I don’t know much about it, I only saw him for a minute.

Bob, my friend here, said to tell you hello & he hung your picture in my locker for me, did a real good job of it too.

He (Bob) still says he is going to send you that picture of him you asked for. I am also going to send you a picture & in the near future too, I promise.

I am still taking my medicine & feel a lot better. I don’t feel like I need it now, but the doctor said to take it so I am.

I am tired tonight. We shot a battalion here this morning & are at Bradford this afternoon. Then I washed my clothes & now I am writing you. It is almost time for lights out so I had better bathe & get to bed. We have inspection by the Captain tomorrow. Everyone dresses in his best & the Captain gives us the once over, just like you have probably seen in the movies. Well, good night darling, & be good.

Yours forever
Love
“Duke”


[Postmark: September 21, 1942]
One of Dad's WWII letters to Mom
[Click image for larger view]

[Norfolk, VA]

Sept. 19, 1942

Hello Darling,

I just got back from Portsmouth Hospital. Took a couple of patients over. On the way back we stopped & bought some ice cream & cookies, sure were good. This is Sunday morning, Sept. 20, 942. I ran out of ink last night & had to wait until this morning to borrow some & write you, notice the difference in color?

We had a long day yesterday, had inspection by the Captain. That is the first time I have ever stood Captain’s inspection. He just gave me the once over & went on, I guess everything was O.K. because he stopped at several of the boys and gave them H _ _ _, & I mean he can do a good job of it too. He also ate out some of the officers, who hadn’t polished their buttons lately.

I have nothing to do today. I am on standby, don’t have to work but I have to stay on the compound. I guess I might as well wash a few clothes & then take a sun bath. I sure have read a lot since I joined the Navy, it is a good way to pass away time. I read every thing I get my hands on except the newspaper.

I had to stand fire watch last night from 12 o’clock till 2 o’clock. This happens every two or three weeks, for the hospital corps. We have to make the rounds through a building where they keep the patients that are being discharged from the Navy. We check to see that they are all there & that they don’t smoke in bed.

Say, about that Civil Service job, if I were you I wouldn’t give up a good job I liked for one I don’t know anything about & besides, don’t get too far away from home, you will always be happier if you stay close enough that you can go home once in a while. I know, & besides, I’ll know where to find you when I do come back.

I don’t know anything about Earl Semons so I can’t say much. It doesn’t sound any too good though.

I can’t figure it out. I write mother letters & all she sends me is cards. I guess that is better than nothing, though.

About that Casa Loma visit, I want you to have a good time, but do be good. I know Lucille & Billy drink & you promised you wouldn’t unless I was along, so have a good time but don’t indulge for it makes you do things you shouldn’t.

By till tomorrow.

Yours for Ever.
Duke.

P.S. I think Ophard is getting married next week.


[Postmark: September 21, 1942]
One of Dad's WWII letters to Mom
[Click image for larger view]

[Norfolk, VA]

Sept. 20, 1942

My Darling Sweetheart,

I don’t understand it, I didn’t get a letter today but I suppose I’ll get two tomorrow. I hope so. I sure missed the one I was supposed to get today.

I got a letter from the Sturgeons. They each wrote a letter and put it in the same envelope. They don’t know what to think about Ophard [Dad's brother - Okie] planning on getting married. you see, they have never met Gladys & they sort of feel as though they should either approve or disapprove of the girl before Ophard marries.

Ted said he sure needs help on the farm & wishes Ophard & I were there to help him.

I sat in the sun almost all day today, got a little red, but didn’t burn. If I can find time I am going to start on that again, the one I started down in Texas. I have been on the job so much I haven’t had time to complete it, that is, do a good job. I am a lot browner than I was the last time you saw me, but I am far from being satisfied with the job.

I washed again today, just the suit I wore yesterday. I try to wash every other day so there won’t be so much to wash at one time. I have 8 suits of whites, 3 suits of blues, 4 white hats, 1 blue hat, 10 suits of undies, 12 pairs of socks, a over coat, over shoes, two pairs of slippers, 1 pair of black shoes, 2 pair of brown shoes, 2 pair of overall pants, & lord only knows what else. This is more clothes than I ever had in my life before.

Bob is over at the main building making a long distant call to his girl, boy would it cost me to call my girl. I might try it some time, don’t be surprised.

Say, I am getting to where I can write several pages. I get lots of practice, but I love it.

I just got back from the station movie “Bullet Seas”. I don’t know any of the stars & it wasn’t any too good, but it was free.

Well, it is about time for lights out, so good night darling. (I LOVE YOU)

Forever yours,
“Duke”


[Postmark: September 22, 1942]
One of Dad's WWII letters to Mom
[Click image for larger view]

[Norfolk, VA]

Sept. 21, 1942

My Darling Anna Mae,

I certainly do have a wonderful girl. Guess what! I got 2 letters & a card from her today. Darling, I don’t know what I’d do if you didn’t write to me every day. I guess I’d go nutty.

We have sure been busy today. We shot a battalion this morning & have been examining another battalion all afternoon. it is now 9:15 & we just now quit, some days are like this. I have typed so much today I’ll probably type in my sleep. But the way, I am getting pretty good at typing if I do say so myself, practice makes perfect.

You won’t have to ask me to come home if I can, because the first chance I get you’ll be seeing me. boy, what writing, I am tired. I am still out in the shot hut writing this letter. I knew if I went over to the barracks it would be too noisy. I still promise I’ll have a picture made for you & soon, too. you see, I can’t go to town just anytime I please.

I don’t get off till 5 o’clock & by the time I could get to town it would be too late, so I have to wait till the weekend & I only get off every other weekend, Maybe. Sometimes we have to work on Sunday when we are supposed to have liberty, but it is O.K., gets kind of tiresome but I don’t mind too much. It can’t last forever, I hope.

My Darling, I am so lonely tonight. I wish you were here, or I was there. There isn’t anything or anybody that can take your place & fill the spot that you have been in my life. I guess I have it pretty bad. Forgive me, I am supposed to keep up your moral & not break it down.

All my Love
Forever & a day
“Duke”

P.S. thumbs Up.


[Postmark: September 22, 1942]
One of Dad's WWII letters to Mom
[Click image for larger view]

[Norfolk, VA]

Sept. 22, 1942

To My Darling Anna Mae,

I didn’t get a letter today but I got three yesterday, so I didn’t exactly expect one, although I waited in hope all day & it didn’t come.

I haven’t written mother in two or three days, I know I should but I can’t seem to find time, maybe I will tonight after I finish this to you. Your letter means more to me than all the rest together. I guess we feel the same about most things.

I am on duty tonight but we haven’t had a call for ambulance yet. Oh yeah, a call just now came in. I’ll finish this before I go because some papers have to be filled out first on the patient.

We take him over to the Hospital at Portsmouth. That is where I was before I came over here. I am just the helper on the ambulance, I don’t drive because I don’t have a license.

Some of the boys here in ships co. are getting their orders so you never can tell who will be next. I’ll probably have to fill in one of the jobs where the boys are leaving. I don’t know yet, but I’ll bet I will probably be sent back in the records office.

One of the fellows here got a clipping from his wife today. They had his name & a write up about him & the Seabees in his hometown paper, By the way, most of the boys here are married. I don’t see how they figure it, but I guess it is all right, what do you think?

Well, I guess I’d better get ready to go on that trip to Portsmouth.

All My Love
Duke

P.S. Keep your nose clean

Duke

Dad’s WWII Letters to Mom™
A celebration of love and discovery by Duke’s son.
Copyright © 2005-2006 — Arthur Dale Baker — All Rights Reserved


[tags]World War II letters, WWII, Dad’s WWII Letters, Camp Allen, Norfolk, Navy[/tags]

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