Letter or Postcard – Letter
Sender – Ralph Peterson
Recipient – Phyllis Peterson
Postmark Place – St. Petersburg, Florida
Postmark Date – 17 March 1943
Letter Date – 16 March 1943
My dearest wife and now mother of our baby,
I was so glad to hear that at last it happened and now I am the proud Papa, and I really mean proud and happy. I am the happiest man in Florida, or I should say the whole world. The way I got it was when I was waiting for dinner the Sarge called out my name, and when I seen it was a telegram I got sort of worried, but when I opened it I let out one hell of a yell, right when I was in ranks. The Sarge came back and started to give me the devil. He asked me what was wrong with me. When I showed him what I had got he congratulated me. When the rest of the squadron heard about they gave out three cheers for me. And all tonight they have been calling me Papa. They have also been razzing me about sitting around in a daze. I guess I must have read that telegram about twenty times now. You be careful honey and take care of yourself. If you don’t I will come up there and give you the devil. Talking about coming up there, it is possible that I can get an emergency furlough when I get through with my basic training. I mean after I get shipped to my school. If it is possible there is no doubt that I will be home as quick as I can. If I can I will be there in about two weeks. Don’t get your hopes too high because it is just a small chance, but I’m going to work on that chance. When you get this letter you just get down and write and tell me all about our little baby girl. Tell me what kind of hair and eyes it has. I hope it looks just like you, but I would kind of like it to have blue eyes like mine. Outside of that I hope she is the perfect picture of you. When I seen that it only weighed 6 lbs it sounded awfully small. Maybe that is all they do weigh when they are born. By the way, what are you going to name it? You pick out any name you want and like and it will be alright with me. Don’t send down and asked me what I like because I ain’t very good at deciding something like that. Be sure you let me know what you name it. I was going to send a telegram tonight but the whole squadron has got to stay in. We can’t get our passes for two days, but I will send one tomorrow morning right after chow. How long will you be in the hospital? I would like to know, as I won’t know where to send my letter. I will keep on sending to the hospital until you let me know different. Is your mother staying down there with you, or are you alone? I hope you have a lot of visitors while you are there. I will get something for her one of the first nights I can get out. I might find something for her that you haven’t already got. I will tell you a little about the day I put in. It sure was hot down here today. On the drill field and the obstacle course there were three guys that passed out. They would be standing up and all of a sudden they would just keel over. Then the meat wagon would come out and pick them up. After all, it was over 100 in the sun. Why doesn’t Avis write to me? I have been waiting for one for a long time. Her, Virginia, and your Dad are the only ones I haven’t heard from yet. You get your Dad by the hair and make him write. I don’t care if it is only two lines. I think I will have to close as it is getting late. I will write more tomorrow when I have more time. Until tomorrow, lots of love and kisses to my wife and our baby. Night, sweetheart. Ralph
PS – Be sure to tell me all about our baby.
Notes: So Dad finally gets the news that he’s a Papa. A supremely undemonstrative guy, it’s hard to imagine him shouting out in a crowded chow hall. It’s kind of interesting to see him referring to the baby as “it.” Don’t know what the language custom was back then. I do know he was seriously expecting a boy. Turns out she did have blue eyes, just like Dad, and looked far more like him than she did Mom.