It 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]
Oct. 1, 1942
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
[Postmark: October 3, 1942]
Oct. 2, 1942
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
[Postmark: October 4, 1942]
Oct. 3, 1942
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
[Postmark: October 5, 1942]
Oct. 4, 1942
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
P.S. Send me some pictures.
[Postmark: October 6, 1942]
Oct. 6, 1942
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,
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]