Letter or Postcard – Letter
Sender – Ralph Peterson
Recipient – Phyllis Peterson
Postmark Place – St. Petersburg, Florida
Postmark Date – 7 March 1943
Letter Date – 6 March 1943
We have got the afternoon off so I will write you a letter now. The reason we are staying in is that it started raining at noon and it is sort of wet outside. Now, or just about an hour ago, we were all called out in the lobby and told us that there was a hurricane heading this way from the north. It hasn’t struck yet but they give it until midnight to come. It looks and sounds sort of bad out right now. Thundering, lightning, and the wind is blowing. Everybody’s pass was cancelled for tonight and some of the guys are kind of sore, but it don’t bother me as I got my cigarettes and all the stuff from the post exchange. It’s only two blocks from here. A guy from Michigan and I just had a little fun. We put on our gas masks and steel helmets and went parading around the lobby. We look like some men from Mars. We sure look tough, even if I ain’t. Say, I took some films up to get developed when I went to Fort Sheridan. Did you get them back? If you did and there is one of you that you don’t want will you send it down here? I would like to have some more pictures of you. I miss you so that I don’t know what to do with myself. Please send one or two down here, will you? How are your folks getting along? I will drop them a line along with this letter so they won’t get mad at me. So your dad missed the bus, did he? Well you tell him for me that he had better get up in the morning. Tell him that I get up at five. Is he still working at Chapman’s? I hope he is and he keeps on working there for a long while. You know I miss my hot homemade biscuits and smoked link sausage. When you get some will you eat some for me? Your mother sure can make them so they can melt in your mouth. This is all for now, as the mail is yet to be delivered out. If I get a letter from you I will write some more. Just got the mail and the letter I was supposed to get yesterday I got today, but the first one I got, or the one I got today, I really liked. It was nice and long and that’s the kind I like. I am sorry that I had to get some money from you, but I had to get it. I will pay it back ten times over. So we are going to have a baby the last of this month. I only wish I could be there, but I don’t think I can make it. I will be in school then, but if there is the slightest chance of being there I will be there. I got the paper and the letter from mother, and tell her I will write them the same time as this letter. I sure like to read that Argus. About all the guys from Waushara County have already borrowed them and read them. I guess I will have to close now to write to mother and then go to bed.
Love and kisses, your husband Ralph.
PS – The all clear sounded just on the dot of eight and we didn’t have no hurricane. Ralph
PPS – God bless you and our little blonde haired, blue eyed baby. RP
Notes: Obviously it was not a hurricane they were under watch for, but a tornado. Newspaper accounts show other parts of Florida raked by bad weather that day, striking the panhandle and northeast Florida.
Again, the “folks” Dad is referring to are actually my Mom’s parents. They were little people, both under five feet tall. My Grandfather, George Spencer Grant, was known locally as “Little George.” It is generally acknowledged that he was something of a binge alcoholic, but my Mom loved him dearly. By “Chapman’s” my Dad was almost assuredly referring to the Berlin-Chapman Foundry in Berlin, Wisconsin. Likely that was where Little George was taking the bus to. I never knew he worked there.
It seems like most of his life was spent working in Waushara County granite quarries. He was the only grandparent I ever met, and only once in 1966 when I was six. He was living in a dark, cluttered little house south of the railroad tracks and at my age I had little interest in talking to him, wanting to go outside and play with the kids instead. I would have liked to meet the rest of them, including my Mom’s Mom, Myrtle Bernice (Hager) Grant. I already knew she was a good cook, a skill she passed down to my Mom. She was also a very intelligent woman who was a local midwife.