This week’s edition of the letter, with carbon copies for everyone, is filled with local news and news about what each of the boys are up to. Lad and Ced remain stationery, Dick is on the move and Dan is expecting to be shipped overseas any time now. He’s trying to get home for a visit before he leaves, but it doesn’t look too likely.
July 4, 1943
I don’t know what this means, but it sounds like a friendly Spanish phrase and being the title of one of Walt Disney’s pictures, it ought to be good, hence appropriate in starting off a letter to all my young hopefuls.
Today I made a Nazi prophecy come true and opened a second front on the garbage incinerator. With Lad’s flamethrower I succeeded in reducing the enemies stores and ammunition dumps to a heap of ashes. The ruins are still smoldering as I write. The next problem is where to dispose of the remains. Steve Kascak will still accept them as a help to increasing his “waterfront”, but with gas doled out by the spoonful, I can’t make five or six trips with my car hauling the blasted stuff. Any suggestions anyone can think of to relieve the situation will be given due consideration.
We had company today for dinner. The extras were Dorothy, Elsie, Biss and her two young imps. We played an unofficial game of find the fire tongs, or hammer for ringing the dinner gong, or the top to the brass teakettle that hangs on the stand in the dining room fireplace, or any other articles that are not nailed down, starting as soon as the firm of Marty and Butch get inside the outside screen door. Usual occupations cease and everyone turns to a combination of nursemaid and policemen — they usually go well together in real life, I am told. After everyone is thoroughly exhausted (except the children themselves) and the last farewells are said, we go round the house picking up things here and there and restoring them to their erstwhile resting place. It’s sort of an unorthodox method of getting things dusted.
On June 30 a little Wayne girl made her appearance at Bridgeport Hospital. Things I understand went very well and everybody is happy. Grandma has not been feeling as well today but came down to dinner after having had her breakfast in bed served by daughter Dorothy. She feels better tonight. Elsie is up taking a nap, which is part of her Trumbull routine when she comes to visit. This time she plans to stay overnight. Dorothy asked me to send her best to all of you and tell you she thinks that you all frequently.
Among the correspondence this week is the letter from private Donald Sirene (Red) from Camp Claiborne, Louisiana. He says he is working on the railroad, surveying — interesting work and keeps him from K P or other jobs below his dignity. “Girls down here get married young and don’t need any “literature” because they are rather prolific. I had a hot date with a three-year-old blonde, but had to break it because she got engaged, ah, me. I’ve seen those strange, hard cased animals called t armadillos, caught alligators and chased a cotton mouth – but not very far. You should see our Toonerville Trolley, as I call the G. I. railroad. The tracks were laid on soft clay (we have crews out all the time just hunting for the tracks.) Derailings are quite common. We have a novel way of being trained to face artillery fire. We were out in an open field, lining a curve (R.R.) when a sudden electrical storm jumped us. I saw trees within 500 feet of me blown up by lightning. At least four bolts struck within 1000 yards of us. Stumps were still burning two days later. Needless to say, I was glad to leave that spot.” signed Fatty Sirene
As Dick is not on speaking terms with his family any more, his faithful wife carries on the family correspondence. She writes it is just a little warm in Indianapolis, one hundred in the shade at 3 PM on June 27. That was the day Jean says Dick wouldn’t get home because the fort was being bombed — with flour bags, and Dick’s company had to be on hand to keep things in order. Dick said he was going to be one of the first “injured”, so he could sleep for the rest of the day. “It will be too bad if they all have the same idea.”
Dan, too, is getting to be just a memory, it is so long since we have seen his jovial countenance. He writes that “once again they have no definite word of our impending departure, and rather than renewing promises of passes and furloughs, we are still led to believe we shall be lucky to get home at all! There is not much I can tell you otherwise, except that we are anxious to get going after such a long and abortive stay in Lancaster. I have been, and still am, feeling in the pink of condition physically, which is precisely what the Army has been trying to achieve — this despite the long, intolerable heat wave.”
Maybe I’ll get fooled, Dan, but I can’t believe that your C.O. would refuse permission for you boys to get home once more before you go across, particularly as it has been so long a time that you have been training intensively. But, should you learn definitely that such is the case a letter or wire will bring me down there posthaste, preferably in the middle of the week to comply with the request that weekends be avoided for the convenience of you boys in the service.
Ced writes an extremely interesting and gripping account of the fire started in a plane he was repairing, finally resulting in the loss of that plane, the hangar, parts of other planes under repair, the radio station and equipment, tools and parts, several thousand dollars worth of liquor and furs, Ced’s new radio and battery, was himself burned and blistered so that he was laid up for about a week although he does not think there will be any permanent scars. The loss altogether will amount to about $75,000, not all of which was covered by insurance. Besides all this, the tires of his new car have gone flooey, Three out of five being “on their uppers”, but nothing can daunt his courage even though the ordeal has left its mark in more ways than one. The letter is too long to reproduce here (three full pages single spaced) but it is so graphic a description that you will do well to make a mental note to read it next time you are home. And that means YOU.
I wish, Ced, for certain reasons of my own, you would, as soon as you receive this, sit down and write me just how you now feel about this conscientious objector business, and whether outside of still holding the ideal of brotherhood being better than bloodshed, your attitude toward taking part in the fighting forces has been modified by our experiences in Japan, etc., and also by what we see of the type of individual who seems to compose the large majority of those under this classification. I would like your up-to-date views on this subject sent just as promptly as you can get them off to me, please. Good night to you all, my children, and blessings from your
Tomorrow, a short note from Lad to his father.
On Saturday and Sunday, more on the life of Mary E Wilson.