2 June 1943 – Letter from Dad to Mom

Letter or Postcard – Letter

Sender – Ralph Peterson

Recipient – Phyllis Peterson

Postmark Place – Red Bank, New Jersey

Postmark Date – 3 June 1943

Letter Date – 2 June 1943

Text:

Hello sweetheart,

How are you tonight, baby? I missed your letter yesterday but got one from you today and was I ever glad to get it. I was waiting for it all through mail call and when my name was called I yelled so loud that the mail clerk said I must have been waiting for it, and I sure was glad to get it. It was nice all day but last night we had one of the biggest storms that has been here for a long time. It sure was a Lulu. It blew, rained, and it hailed the hardest I have ever seen it hail. Some of the hailstones came through the tar paper on our barracks. Boy, it sure was a pip[?]. You said you was going to Ronald’s shower[?]. You know last summer he bet me the best drinks in town. I haven’t been home to collect from him so I guess you will have to straighten up that debt. You had better take ice cream or pop instead, though. I will be home to collect that pretty soon, though you can take part of it now and I will get the rest. The bet was that we would be married before the first of this year, and we was. That should prove that I was going to marry you, don’t it? But I was ready to marry you the first night I went out with you. I really loved you the first time I saw you, even if you did act kind of mean to me. But I loved you all the time. School is going good. In fact, everything is going good, only I am so damn far away from you. That is the only thing that bothers me. Gee, how I wish I was home. I think I will go post school. Then I will learn to type making me a regular old woman out of me, but then maybe I can get a good job when I come home. Wouldn’t that be swell? We could have a little house all by ourselves and a yard for Bonny girl to play in…also for her little blue-eyed brother, the one we are going to make when this is all over. I only hope it is soon. I am glad that you like that pin I got for you. It wasn’t much but reminded you I still think of you, and my picture will follow soon as quick as I get it finished. Say, who does Bonny look like anyway? I am sorry. I didn’t mean that. All of us boys look a lot alike. I am the only one who isn’t good looking so it is good that she has my brother’s looks. Uh-oh. The lights are going out in about two minutes, so for tonight all my love and kisses to my two sweethearts, from Daddy

PS – I love you a lot, honey. Please think of me always. Sweet dreams, baby. Night, now. Ralph

Notes: I am a bit stumped over the identity of the Ronald that Dad had a bet with. Not sure if he was family or a friend. Mom would have admitted that she was cool to Dad on their first date. I once asked her what she thought of Dad when they met and she told me she thought he was pretty damn full of himself. Again, Bonny most assuredly looked like my Dad.

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31 May 1943 – Letter from Dad to Mom

Letter or Postcard – Letter

Sender – Ralph Peterson

Recipient – Phyllis Peterson

Postmark Place – Red Bank, New Jersey

Postmark Date – 1 June 1943

Letter Date – 31 May 1943

Text:

My dearest wife and baby,

Gee whiz! I got two letters from you today. That’s the way I like to get them. I can’t figure out why you haven’t been getting my letters. I have been writing every day. There must be something wrong with the mail. You will get two letters this week some time as I wrote one Saturday night and another Sunday. The mail didn’t go out until today, so you most likely get two in one day. I hope I keep on getting two a day. That’s what keeps up my morale. Keep it up, will you? I will try and get one a day to you. A very quiet day in camp. I was barracks on duty today so didn’t go to school. I kind of layed around all forenoon but in the afternoon I really went to work. I washed all my clothes, and this is the truth, I ironed all of them, too. I guess I must have turned into a old woman. It’s the only way I can get them done, though. I could send them out and have them done but I need all the money I get. Talking about, we had payday today so I have some money again. I hope enough to last me the next month. Now I can go down and get my picture fixed up and sent to you. I think you said you wanted my picture, didn’t you? I am glad that Bonny is growing and getting bigger. I only wish I could see her smiling and cooing. I only wish I could have been the first one to make her smile, but as long as she smiles at you. The lights are out in the barracks but I am writing this down in the washroom. A lot of guys are here but I sneaked off in one corner and have a little quiet now. There isn’t much to write about so this will a short letter. You said you had got over your madness. I didn’t know you were mad. If you were, what were you mad about? Was it that trouble you had with your folks? I hope that is what you got over. Tomorrow is another day of school. They added another two hours on our school day so now we have so now we have [sic] nine hours instead of seven. I guess they want to push us through faster. I don’t know why they want us to go any faster but what they want they get, so it is two more hours a day from now on. It’s kind of funny. It hasn’t rained since last Friday, the first time it has gone three days in a row without raining. I hope it has quit, as it is awful dirty here when it rains. This is all for tonight as the lights are going out here pretty soon, so have to close with all my love and kisses to the sweetest wife and baby a man could ever ask for, from Daddy

Notes: Although Dad said he didn’t do too much that day it looks like he was tired when he wrote this. The letter is sloppy, perhaps because he was writing it in a loud and crowded room. Can’t figure out if washroom is a bathroom or a laundry room. Still funny that he wants Mom to write him twice a day.

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29 May 1943 – Letter from Dad to Mom

Letter or Postcard – Letter

Sender – Ralph Peterson

Recipient – Phyllis Peterson

Postmark Place – Red Bank, New Jersey

Postmark Date – 31 May 1943

Letter Date – 29 May 1943

Text:

My dearest wife and baby,

How are my two girls tonight? I hope you are both feeling good. I am getting along fine and I’m feeling good. Got my shoes and a letter from you today. Boy do those ever feel good on my feet after having those big army shoes on all the time. I am really grateful to you for sending them. Of course I know you would send anything I ask for. Please excuse this pen as the damn thing is leaking ink all over I think. I have got it fixed now. I am sorry to hear that you and your Mom aren’t getting along. I had an idea that it wouldn’t work out. Way back in my head I was hoping that your mother would get it out of her head that you was at last old enough to take care of yourself. I know she has some crazy ideas and of course you will be the one she will take it out on. I hope you can stay there until I come home, and then we can have our place all by ourself. I am just waiting for that day. Think you can wait, sweetheart? And don’t worry about everybody not wanting you. There is one little soldier boy who is your husband who wants you and needs you more than anything in the whole world. And don’t worry about our little Bonny girl not wanting you. I think something would happen to her if you wasn’t around, and if you didn’t care for me something what happened to me which I know would not be accidental, so I think if we all want and need each other we will come along all right. Just keep that in mind. I need you and you need me and our little Bonny girl needs us both. You think I am right? Say, baby, you asked me whether I would care if you worked at Chapman’s. If you really want to go there and work just go ahead. I don’t want to say whether you should or not, but if you really want to I say go ahead. But do you think Avis will be around all the time while you are away? I suppose she would, and you would be home at nights. It would be some time away from your mother. Go ahead, honey, and try it for a while and see if you like it. But don’t go falling for any of those grease monkeys down there unless it is for your pappy. There is not anything else to write about tonight and so I guess I will close until tomorrow, so night now, honey. Keep your chin up until I come home again. Give baby all my love. Ralph

Notes: Haven’t yet seen the letter from Mom yet but apparently she was fighting with her Mom and feeling down. Letter got pretty dark for a moment in the middle with the references to bad things happening that wouldn’t be accidental. I never met my Grandma Grant but I understand she was a strong personality. My Mom sure was, and I can easily picture those two personalities slamming heads from time to time. An earlier letter had mentioned that Grandpa Grant was working at Chapman’s.

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30 May 1943 – Letter from Dad to Mom

Letter or Postcard – Letter

Sender – Ralph Peterson

Recipient – Phyllis Peterson

Postmark Place – Red Bank, New Jersey

Postmark Date – 31 May 1943

Letter Date – 30 May 1943

Text:

My sweetest wife and baby,

How are you this nice Sunday afternoon? At least I hope it is as nice there as it is here – the first real nice Sunday since I have been here. No mail from you, but there is a reason for that. The reason is that they don’t pass out the mail on Sunday. Pretty good reason, don’t you think? Had a big parade today here in honor of Memorial Day. I was not in it but I was watching it and it sure was nice. There must of been a couple of thousand soldiers in it. Lots of flags and bands. Also some tanks and some airplanes. These planes were those big Flying Fortresses. Say, did I tell you about the air raid we had the other night? If I did I will tell you again. The lights went out as usual at ten, and about ten-thirty when we were all sound asleep the damned siren went off. We had to get up, put on our packs, gas masks, and leggings. This all had to be done in the dark, as it had to be dark all over. And to top all that off I am an air raid patrol and had to get out first and help load trucks and see that everybody got out. When we were all loaded the all clear sounded off, so we all went back to bed, a very tired bunch of guys. I only hope that it don’t happen very often. When we put the lights on after it was all over I found I had put my leggings on the wrong legs. I am going to a show tonight. It is supposed to be a good one. The name of it is “My Friend Flicka.” Roddy McDowall is starring in it. You remember him from “How Green Was My Valley.” It is all about a horse and a little boy from the west. Tomorrow is payday and I suppose you will be getting your check soon after I get mine. Let me know if you get any more this time. I want to know if you did get any more. I sure as the devil can use it, as I spent my last dime this morning. I bet you can use it, too. If you worked down at Chapman’s you wouldn’t have to wait until every month for your money. Then you would have some money all the time instead of having it all in a bunch. That is, if you worked down there. I’m afraid I can’t think of anything else to write about today, honey. Everything is quiet and peaceful here so I think I better close and go and eat supper, so until tomorrow night kisses and hugs to you, honey, and also to Bonny girl from Daddy.

PS – Gee whiz, honey, I miss you so damn much I can’t hardly wait until I come home to you again.

Notes: As mentioned in a previous post, Chapman’s was an area business back home.

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28 May 1943 – Letter from Dad to Mom

Letter or Postcard – Letter

Sender – Ralph Peterson

Recipient – Phyllis Peterson

Postmark Place – Red Bank, New Jersey

Postmark Date – 29 May 1943

Letter Date – 28 May 1943

Text:

Hello sweetheart,

Another day gone by and here I am writing to you. The best part of my day’s work. I mean the part I like the best. We just got done doing our weekly duty. That is every Friday night we have to scrub up our barracks nice and clean for the Saturday competition. Everything is supposed to be spick-and-span for inspection. It was nice and warm all day until tonight, when it started to rain and blow like the devil. But it has cleared off now and it looks like it might be a nice day tomorrow. Oh, by the way, I better tell you I got your letter today, and also a card from a guy in St. Pete – the one from Green Bay. He had his wife send him a telegram that she was awful sick and so he got an emergency furlough. When he came back from home he brought his wife along back with him. That is the reason he wrote to me. Him and I used to get along real good. He is only nineteen, too, and a real nice guy. Say, here is a poem that a guy told me when we was in school today. This is the way it goes…

Twinkle, twinkle little star

I stayed all night in his car

What I did I ain’t admittin’

What I’m knittin’ ain’t for Britain

Some poem, huh? I don’t know whether I should write it or not, but I felt like a little devil so I dood it. Don’t be mad at me, honey. Say, you haven’t heard from Marvin, have you? I haven’t got a letter from him only once since I have been in the army. That little devil better let me know how and where he is pretty soon. I wouldn’t doubt that he might be in the army by now. I wish I was home so we could go fishing together again, just like we used to. Remember that time down on the White River? The more you talk about things happening up there the more lonesome I get, but keep on telling me all about it. Gosh honey, I can’t think of anything else to write about tonight so guess I will have to close until tomorrow night. All my love and kisses to you my sweetest wife, and loads of love to Bonny girl from Daddy

PS – No shoes yet, but will let you know as quick as I get them. Night now. RP

Notes: I don’t know if little brother Marvin Peterson was in the Army yet at this point, but he eventually did enlist. Interesting that Dad included a vaguely suggestive poem here. I wasn’t sure what the reference was, but it seems there was a United States project started before our entry into the war to support England, something called “Bundles for Britain,” which was mostly American women knitting a variety of clothing items for British soldiers.

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27 May 1943 – Letter from Dad to Mom

Letter or Postcard – Letter

Sender – Ralph Peterson

Recipient – Phyllis Peterson

Postmark Place – Red Bank, New Jersey

Postmark Date – 28 May 1943

Letter Date – 27 May 1943

Text:

Hello Girls,

How are my two little sweethearts tonight? No letter from you today. What’s the trouble? You getting tired of writing to me? No? Come now, don’t lie to me. Tell me the truth. I’m sorry, honey. I didn’t mean that. It’s just that I got the crazy idea that I should get one or two letters a day, and when I miss one day I get so darn disappointed. Then I remember that I know that you don’t get one every day and I feel a little better. I’m going to try and send you one every day from now. The only day I will miss is Sunday, because the mail don’t go out on that day. But every other day I’m going to try and get one sent to you. I want you to do the same thing. Today was nice and sunny and very warm – the first nice day since I have been here. I don’t know what it will do tomorrow, but I suppose it will rain, as it usually does. I had my first test in sending today and I really came out good. The instructor said so, anyway. I am still doing good and I hope I keep on doing it. I sent that present I bought for you again today. This time I think it will stay wrapped. I tied it enough, anyway. This will be an awful short letter tonight, as we had a ball game, and as we always do we won. I will have to close now if I want to mail this tonight, so until tomorrow, honey, and a longer letter, all my love and kisses to my dearest wife and baby. Night now, honey, from your husband and daddy.

Notes: Interesting contrast between insecure Ralph the husband and supremely confident Ralph the ballplayer.

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26 May 1943 – Letter from Dad to Mom

Letter or Postcard – Letter

Sender – Ralph Peterson

Recipient – Phyllis Peterson

Postmark Place – Red Bank, New Jersey

Postmark Date – 27 May 1943

Letter Date – 26 May 1943

Text:

Hi sweetheart,

Got your letter today and was sure glad to get one after missing yesterday. And it was an awful nice letter, too, the kind I like to get. Just the right length. I suppose you will think it is funny for me to agree on the letters but I really like the letter I got today. Just keep it up and I will be satisfied. Then the only day I will miss will on Sunday, as they don’t pass out the mail then. I also got Avis’s letter, too, and was glad the little squirt wrote to me, but for God’s sake don’t tell her I called her that. Maybe then she won’t even write to me, and I just love to get mail, especially if it is from you. It is a sort of relaxation to lay down at night and read letters from home. It makes me feel good. I can lay back and close my eyes and dream that I am home beside you. Gosh, honey, that sure is a grand feeling. If I could only make the dream come real one of these times. But I don’t suppose I can until I get out of school. Maybe I better tell you more about my school and where I will go when I get done here. You see, if I pass this school here – that is, if I get thirteen words a minute – I will go to post school, which is a school for advanced training that lasts for three months. If I get through that all right I will get a sergeant’s or a staff sergeant’s rating and be sent to be attached to some air squadron. From there I don’t know where. If I don’t pass the school I will be sent out to some air squadron anyway, but won’t get the rating and will have a lot harder work. I only hope I make the post school as it will be a lot better and I can use the rating and the money. The rating I can use to make you feel more proud of me and the money because then maybe I can send some home to you. As far as my stripe goes I have got it but can’t wear it or use it while I am on this post, but when I get out of here I can put it on. The reason is this – I have been transferred out of the Signal Corps and am now in the Air Corps. When I get done here I will be sent back to the Air Corps. That is the reason I can’t wear my stripe. The Signal Corps can’t give an Air Corps man a rating. Don’t worry, I will let you know when I will use it because I would like to have that stripe on. It will make me feel a lot more important. So our baby is starting to write already. Try and get her to write me a letter all by herself. Do you think she can do that? Maybe not for a while, yet. I want to be home when she starts writing. I remember Thelma had the same idea about you trying to take Bonny away from her. Boy, is she nuts. Ain’t it? I don’t think you would try anything like that, would you? It would hurt poor old Thelma so much. Don’t worry about us making up what we lost. When I get home we are going to spend at least a year just to ourselves. I mean you, Bonny, and I. Do what we want to and when we want to. It is worth all of that after we are separated for this long. Don’t call yourself names, honey, about making me feel bad. I think I should call myself all the names I can think of, as I have wrote you nothing but all my worries, but I will try and cut that out. I know it don’t help you any. There isn’t much more for me to scribble about unless I tell you it is raining again. Which it is doing half of the time here anyway. I will close now as it is getting late and I want to write to Harold Button and take a shower yet tonight, so for tonight all my love and kisses to my one and only love and our baby, from Daddy

PS – Thanks for sending me shoes. It will save my feet a lot. Night, now, babies

Notes: A much meatier letter with a more adult tone. I am very curious about what was going on with Thelma [Shruck] Pick, who was Mom’s first cousin and as far as I know never had children of her own. One sentence Dad is calling her crazy and the very next he is sympathetic to whatever her situation was. Something I will have to look into further if I can.

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25 May 1943 – Letter from Dad to Mom

Letter or Postcard – Letter

Sender – Ralph Peterson

Recipient – Phyllis Peterson

Postmark Place – Red Bank, New Jersey

Postmark Date – 26 May 1943

Letter Date – 25 May 1943

Text:

Dearest wife and baby,

How are you tonight, sweetheart, and little Bonny girl, too? I hope you are feeling well and are lonesome for me. Are you? If you are as bad as I am then you are pretty bad, but I don’t suppose you like to hear me talk about the same old thing in every letter so I will try and cut it out. No letter from you today but I’m figuring on a nice long one tomorrow. I will get one, won’t I? I hope so, anyway. Promise me one, won’t you honey? It started out to rain again this morning but cleared up around noon. The rest of the day was nice. Tonight it has turned cool – cool enough to have a fire in the stove. We had our first drill out in the woods this afternoon after school. For two hours we had to run drill. Run through woods and wade through water. When we got through they sent us right back the same way we came, so tonight I am kind of tired. Also scratched up somewhat from the bushes. One thing that was nice was there was some wild strawberries around. Boy, did they taste good. I suppose you will be having some up there pretty quick. Right now as I am writing to you a bunch of guys are around my bunk and we are talking about cars. Boy, is there ever a lot of lies going on, and I am telling my share of them. Before you start talking about cars nobody seems to have any but as soon as it starts everybody has the best and the newest ones. I bet I have had about fifty cars the way I’ve been talking. I have been keeping up my side. That present I sent you came back today. It had come back unwrapped so I have to tie it up again and send it again but you will get it within the next two or three days. It will be wrapped up better next time. Tonight I will have time to write to Alvin after I get this one wrote. I think it is about time as I got one from him last week. I think I had better close, honey, as if I don’t I won’t get one wrote to Alvin, so this is all for now. So until tomorrow all my love and kisses to you and baby girl from your daddy.

PS – I think I will time to write to your folks, too.

Notes: Needy Ralph to start with but he realizes it and stops. I can see him stopping to enjoy wild strawberries and I can see him BS’ing about cars with the guys. Pretty sure by this time he had only one car, a 1932 Chevrolet Confederate Coupe with a rumble seat I believe he purchased from his older brother Clarence. I think that was the car he drove Mom around in when they were courting.

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23 May 1944 – Letter from Dad to Mom

Letter or Postcard – Letter

Sender – Ralph Peterson

Recipient – Phyllis Peterson

Postmark Place – Red Bank, New Jersey

Postmark Date – 25 May 1943

Letter Date – 23 May 1943

Text:

My dearest wife and baby,

Got your letter today and was awfully glad to get it, but I think you should write longer letters. I know I don’t write very long ones, but I will try and write a little longer ones after this and I want you to write me ones that are a lot sweeter. I miss your loving so much that I want you to make it up in your letters. Will you do that, honey? I know it is going to be a little hard loving me as much through your letters than it was when I was home. When I was home and if didn’t feel good or was mad about something then you could come and kiss me and then everything would be all right. Now when I get feeling that way your letters help me out. Sometimes they make me feel real good and other times I don’t know just how they make me feel. It makes me feel lonesome and blue and sort of put out, but the way I write I suppose you feel that way all the time. It’s just that I can’t think of anything to write. I know it is hard for you to write everyday, too, because I don’t suppose there is much going on up there, either, but if you just write me that you love me a whole lot in each letter I will be satisfied. Okay, sweetheart? There wasn’t much doing today. Just went to school and seen some movies on the war. I am up to ten words a minute now so I am getting along good. At least I think I am. The average for two weeks is between five and seven words so I am a little bit ahead. Tonight our barracks was on detail around the camp, just cleaning up. I was put on a truck and had to haul sand for the roads. It was the first time I ever was in one of these big trucks but I got around with it all right. When I was out after the sand it was the first time that I have been off the camp grounds. I would much rather stay in camp, though, and wait for your letters. I have not ever use my pass yet and I know I won’t because I don’t care to go out. There isn’t much to write about, dearest, tonight. I got my picture taken yesterday but can’t get them until after payday as my pocketbook won’t let me do it, but you will get them as soon as I can. I don’t suppose they will be much to look at seeing it is my ugly face, but then you can see what I look like in case you forgot. You haven’t, have you? I think I better close now as it is getting late and the lights are going out soon. All my love and kisses to my dearest wife and baby from Pappy

PS – Kisses to you and Bonny. God, how I miss you honey.

Notes:

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21 May 1944 – Letter from Dad to Mom

Letter or Postcard – Letter

Sender – Ralph Peterson

Recipient – Phyllis Peterson

Postmark Place – Red Bank, New Jersey

Postmark Date – 22 May 1943

Letter Date – 21 May 1943

Text:

What’s the matter? No letter from you today. I am so used to getting one each day that when I miss one day it seems like a week that I miss. But I hope I get a nice long one tomorrow. I really miss them. All this ink you see on this paper, please excuse it. When I filled my pen it backfired and squirted all over the letter. I didn’t think it was bad enough to throw away so I will use it. You know I have been here about two weeks and it has rained at least half of the time. Again today and so far tonight it has rained hard. This darn weather is really hard on the soldier. At least half of them have colds, some of them so bad that they have went to the hospital. So far I have been lucky. There isn’t much to write about tonight. School is coming along good. Everything is swell except the weather. Sunday is coming up, so I can sleep and write my dearest wife and baby a nice long letter. I have got my clothes pretty well cleaned up so I won’t have to wash anything, and I also have to write Alvin a letter. Also I think it is time to write to your folks. I just found out that one of my pals from my old squadron in St. Pete is right in the same camp, and I have been here two weeks and didn’t know about it. He is supposed to come over and see me Sunday. We had a show here last night at our hall. I didn’t go but I will tell you what happened. You most likely have heard of the man who sang. His name was Lawrence Tibbett. They say he was really good. Maybe your mother has heard of him. I am afraid I will have to close now, as you probably can’t read what I have wrote, so I will close until tomorrow night. Night now, honey, from your soldier husband and daddy.

PS – Write me a extra nice letter telling me how much you love me and how much you miss me. I am so doggone lonesome baby for you. It is all right if you just write me a whole letter telling me how much you love me. Love and kisses, Ralph

Notes: Apparently Lawrence Tibbett was quite the star, though I had never heard of him. He was in the first group of people to have stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and also had a US postage stamp in his honour.

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