Trumbull – Dear Sons (4) – Dave’s Quotes and Grandpa’s Comments – May, 1945

DPG - with Zeke holding Butch

page 4   5.6.45

And from the Pacific area, written on Navy stationary and dated April 27th, received May 4th, – remarkably good time, even for airmail, we have the following: First – – I’m sorry. I’ve been pretty busy most of the time and the rest of the time (as usual) I’ve wasted. I went to a show tonight. The machine broke down so they called it off, and I figured if I got time to see a show I’ve got time to write to you, so here I am. Censorship is still pretty heavy but I got a letter off to Ellie that had quite a bit in it and I asked her to quote the interesting parts to you. If she hasn’t done it yet, you can call her up. The old morale is sky-high – – better than back in the states. There’s just enough danger to make it exciting. We were bombed one night but no damage was done, except a couple of shrapnel holes in some the tents. We’re dug in so none of us were hurt. Another night a plane came over and did some strafing but he didn’t get very near our bivouac area. I guess it sounds bad, and it isn’t as dangerous as it sounds. We’re getting wonderful chow and we rigged up a shower and bathtub. The anti-aircraft just started overhead – – something must be going on outside. It sure scares you when all is quiet and then all of a sudden all hell breaks loose. I jump every time. They’ve made me temporary mail clerk now. I get the water at the same time I go for the mail and that keeps me pretty busy. The boys are threatening to lynch me because we haven’t been getting any mail. We got one big batch one day. I got all your letters from February right up to April – – all at once. But we’ve got nothing since then. I guess congratulations go to both Dick and Dan. I guess I’ll have to pick me up a Chinese or Japanese girl out here someplace. The question is, where? They seem to be few and far between and what’s left is pretty ugly. Maybe I better wait till I get home and then I can court Mrs. Kintop’s little girl. Things seem to be shaping up pretty well in Germany. By the time you get this it will probably be all over. I guess my two sisters-in- law are a couple of happy girls. I once told Jean that when the war in Germany was over, I’d be out on a royal toot – – but I never yet saw a guy get drunk on chlorinated water. Well maybe, I can dig up some Saki (I don’t know if that’s spelled right). I like our new bill heads, Dad, but it makes me awfully homesick. Oh, for some gooey printer’s ink on my hands! How are things going? Is the labor problem still pretty bad? I wish you could’ve been here the other day, Dad. I was babbling away as usual about nothing and Lieut. Davis said it would be too bad if the Japs caught me and cut my tongue out. I told him you’d get a big kick out of his saying that. We’ve got to the best bunch of guys you could ask for. The officers are O.K. too (they read these letters). The only trouble is we’ve got some characters in the outfit, too — but if you don’t take them seriously, they are good for a few laughs. Well, I’ve got to hit the hay. I’ll write again when I get the chance. At least you know I’m alive, well and happy. Maybe in another year, or even less, I can get home and talk the rest of my brothers under the table – – but for now, I’ve got to rest my weary tongue. Good night, Dave.

So we owe this letter to the fact that the movie machine broke down. That’s one time when a broken machine is good. I don’t wish you any hard luck been under the circumstances, I hope it breaks down again and ipse facto, maybe we’ll get another letter. As I’ve mentioned several times in connection with letters that your brothers write to their soulmates, this reading or mentioning from memory the things that so-and-so mentioned in his letter is not a satisfactory quote. It loses the significance or personality that depends on the turn of a phrase. It’s similar to the difference between hearing an orchestra play an aria from some opera and having someone describe it to you.

I should say you were a pretty busy boy carrying, beside the mail, all the water for the shower bath and bathtub mentioned in the preceding paragraph. Sounds like the boy trying to earn his way into seeing the circus. The girls are puzzled. They can understand your desire to congratulate Dan, but they wonder if something has happened they didn’t know about that call for your congratulations to Dick. A little explanation would clear the atmosphere. The labor situation is just the same – – shortages everywhere, and what you get is extremely unreliable. But were getting by, limpingly. The condition is so universal that most people are understanding and generous in the judgments. Elsie is still invaliding. She is conscientiously bathing her leg. It is better but by no means well. The doctor visits her tomorrow. She sends her best to you, as do the rest, and most particularly your DAD

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