5 May 1943 – Postcard from Dad to Mom

Letter or Postcard – Postcard
Sender – Ralph Peterson
Recipient – Phyllis Peterson
Postmark Place – Hamlet, North Carolina
Postmark Date – 5 May 1943
Letter Date – None

Text:
Dearest wife and baby,

Here I am still traveling. I’m now in Columbia, South Carolina. I still don’t know where I’m going. It is beautiful country around here. More like home all the time. All my pals are along with me. More later. Love, Ralph

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5 May 1943 – Postcard from Dad to Mom

Letter or Postcard – Postcard

Sender – Ralph Peterson

Recipient – Phyllis Peterson

Postmark Place – Hamlet, North Carolina

Postmark Date – 5 May 1943

Letter Date – None

 

Text:

Dearest wife and baby,

Here I am on the move again. I don’t know where I am going, but will let you know as quick as I get there. Am now traveling through Georgia heading northeast. Hope I get closer to you and home. Lots of love and kisses, Ralph

Notes: He was writing postcards on the train heading northeast and mailing them where he could. Back in this time Hamlet, North Carolina was a major rail hub.

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4 May 1943 – Letter from Dad to Mom

Letter or Postcard – Letter

Sender – Ralph Peterson

Recipient – Phyllis Peterson

Postmark Place – St. Petersburg, Florida

Postmark Date – 4 May 1943

Letter Date – 3 May 1943

 

Text:

My dearest wife and baby,

Here I am starting another week and starting another letter to you. I missed one from you yesterday and so far today I haven’t got none, but I am expecting one tomorrow. I might (?) get me tonight. At last I am going to be shipped, I hope. In about fifteen minutes I am going up for an examination. Then after that I will be here for maybe two or three days. Then I will get shipped. I don’t know where I am going, but it will be quite a long trip as we have to carry our mess kits. All those who went to California wore their wool uniforms but we wear our summer ones. I guess, though, they wear the summer issue all over now. We are going someplace where it is cooler than Florida or California, as we have to wear our flight jackets. These are wool jacket and they don’t wear wool where it is warm. I only hope it is good old Wisconsin that we stay at. Wouldn’t that be nice, honey? The whistle just blew for examination, so guess I have to close for now. Well, I got back at last. I have done a lot of things since I stopped writing last time. I went down and had my examination. Passed that and come back to the hotel. I washed a few clothes and about three o’clock I went down to headquarters and got that allotment all fixed up. There wasn’t much to do with it. So next month you will get $12 more. I know you can use it. I am quite sure that it will start from the 1st of May. Then, after all that happened I got two letters and that picture from you. I am telling you honey, when I seen yours and Bonny’s picture I was so damn glad to see you again that I just about cried. I can see the baby real plain – at least her little hand sticking up and part of her sweet little face. And I was so glad to see your sweet face again. It almost makes me think I seen you once more. My pals looked at it and they said it sure was nice. They remarked how you were holding the baby so gentle, as if you were afraid you were going to drop her. If you get a bigger one of you and Bonny please send it to me, but wait until I get sent to another place. If I can I will drop you a telegram when I am stationed. I would rather telephone you from Chicago, if I could get there. There wasn’t much doing today. All it was was a lot of fooling around. I did have my picture taken. The kid from Minnesota took it, but he wants it so I have the negative and I will have it developed and sent one to you. I was going to send you a big picture, but I won’t have time to get one here. I will have to make it the next post. I know most of the guys who I am shipping with. They are from our old Squadron 400s. The worst part of it is we are all going except one guy, and he is pretty down in the mouth about it. Gee whiz, darling, this is going to be a short letter, as I want it to go out on tonight’s mail and that leaves in five minutes, so until tomorrow all my love and kisses to the sweetest wife and baby in the world, from their Daddy

PS – Keep on writing to me here, as they will forward it to me. Love, Ralph

Notes: The last letter from St. Petersburg. After days if waiting everything seemed to happen at once. Dad finally sees a photograph of his first child, a photograph which I have been unable to locate as yet. He learns he is shipping out but still does not know where he is going.

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2 May 1943 – Letter from Dad to Mom

Letter or Postcard – Letter

Sender – Ralph Peterson

Recipient – Phyllis Peterson

Postmark Place – St. Petersburg, Florida

Postmark Date – 2 May 1943

Letter Date – 1 May 1943

 

Text:

My dearest wife and baby,

This letter will be one that will be wrote while I am on guard duty. As I am starting this it is fifteen to twelve and I go on at midnight until four. This shift is called the graveyard shift, as everybody has gone to bed all. I have to do is walk down a few corridors which are black is a cat’s ass. I think that is dark enough. You know, a funny thing happened tonight. Another guy and I was downtown after some ice cream. When we were in the store I was looking out of the door when who would walk in but Elmer Mischka from Wautoma. You or your dad will know who I mean. He didn’t recognize me at first, but when I told him who I was then he remembered me. He is a crazy drunk devil at times, but it sure was nice to see someone from up around home. He is stationed only nine miles from here at a air base. He is a Corporal and the second cook. I still can’t get over seeing him down here. We talked for at least two hours and he wants me to come over to his camp and see what kind of a place he is in. I don’t think I will, as I won’t have that much spare time. I got only one letter today and that one was from you. A nice sweet letter. Just the kind I like. Keep it up, my darling. Now, now, honey, don’t tell me that our little Bonny girl is spoiled already. I thought I would get home in time to keep spoil her. But don’t worry, I will when I come home. Why in two minutes I will have her hitting at me with her little hands. Remember how good I am at that. I just filled this pen up, as you will probably notice. The darn thing is always running out of ink. The picture I got from Alvin is the same kind he sent us when we were in Green Bay. But it still is a nice picture anyway. I am supposed to send him one back of me if I can get one that looks decent. Talking about pictures, honey, I wish you would send my camera and about three films down to me. I would like to take some pictures of this place before I leave. There is some really nice places around here, and I mean the parks and stuff like that. Don’t ever worry about me, honey, as I will be true to you and love you as long as I live. And I figure on living a long, long time. Listen honey, if you gain ten pounds more every time that your mother makes something good to eat you would be a fat little girl in a week. Say, I am going to sign off now for a while, as it is just about midnight. I will write some more later in the morning. Here it is only a hour later. Everybody has gone to bed, including a couple of guys that we had to put to bed. They will come in drunk, start raising hell. That’s where us guards come in. All we do is tell them to go to bed. If they don’t do it we can go to work on their heads with our clubs. And believe me, these clubs are plenty big and hard. Just one little whack and a guy can go to sleep awful darn fast. Tonight especially there is quite a few drunks, as payday was only a few days ago. But when they see one guy take a beating the rest of them quiet down. One of the guys in this hotel is leaving for the nut house tomorrow. He didn’t like the army and he just went sort of nuts. As a example, he didn’t even know his own name today. But I have a special guard over him. He can’t even leave his room for nothing except chow. Boy has it ever been hot down here lately. Nights and days both, it stays the same temperature all the time, and that is too darn hot. It hangs between 75 and 100 all the time. I can’t think of much more to write to you now darling, but I won’t finish until I go off at four in the morning. Maybe something will happen and I can write some more. Right now it is half past one. Until later, my dearest, (?) so long. I thought that I could think of some more to write about, but I guess I can’t, so I think I will close for now. All my love and kisses to the sweetest wife and baby a person could ask for, from your soldier Daddy

PS – Don’t let Bonny cry too much. Maybe it isn’t good for her. RP

Lots of love my darling.

Notes:

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2 May 1943 – Letter from Dad to Mom

Letter or Postcard – Letter

Sender – Ralph Peterson

Recipient – Phyllis Peterson

Postmark Place – St. Petersburg, Florida

Postmark Date – 2 May 1943

Letter Date – 30 April 1943

 

Text:

My dearest wife and baby,

Got your nice long letter today and I am answering right back. How are both of my girls tonight? I suppose you know by now that you have some competition, or hasn’t anybody told you yet? I have to admit there is another girl that I am beginning to love a lot. I think you know that I mean this girl is name Bonny Louise. Just to hear you talk about her in your letters has made it seem that I have already seen her. Did I have you worried a little bit? I bet I did. Don’t ever worry about me loving anybody else. There is only two girls in this world that I love from the bottom of my heart. You know who I mean now, don’t you? And don’t think that your letter writing is silly and that it makes me mad. I just love to get your letters. You right such damn sweet and nice ones it’s about the only thing that I really can say I enjoy a lot down here, so keep on sending those kind of letters. Well I got paid today, the whole sum of $17.75. Do you think I can live on that much? I know I can, as I will make myself do it. I suppose you will be getting your check soon. I bet you can use it, too. So Don and Marian want you to come up there and stay. Well I want you to stay right where you are. Take your pick between us two and I think that I will win, won’t I? I don’t care if you go up there for a day or so, but don’t go up there for any longer than that. I am glad that you and Bonny are getting along fine. So the little dickens is getting cuter everyday. She must be getting to look more like you all the time. I bet when she grows up she will be the exact picture of you. I’m also glad that your folks like her a lot, as it will make it easier for you to get along with them. I know how your Pappy likes kids and I bet he is just twice as bad with Bonny girl. Does he jig for her yet, or hasn’t she took notice of anything like that? But I bet he will be doing it as quick as she is old enough to notice him. I only wish I was home to see your pop come in from a day’s work from Chapman’s with his face all dirty and so damn tired that all he would do is plunk his rear down in a chair and stay there until supper was called. I remember that happened lots of times. I only wish I could see it again real soon. By the way, I am going to get my picture took tomorrow downtown and have it sent to you. That is, if I can take a good enough picture to have made. Maybe if you would show it to Bonny she would smile at my picture. Try it and see if she will, then let me know how she takes it. I only hope she don’t laugh at it. This is about all I can think of now, so I guess I will close with all my love and kisses to my sweetest wife and baby, from Daddy

PS – I could tell you a good joke, but your mother might see the letter. Dad

Notes: Dad keeps playing with fire when it comes to his sense of humour. He also seems to keep lobbying for a bit more of his pay. For the record, Bonny looked much more like Dad than Mom. Her hair, her eye colour, her look. In later years you could pick out areas where she resembled Mom, like around her mouth, but those resemblances were few and far between. By all accounts my Mom’s Dad was apt to do a little jig for the kids, made more quaint by his small stature.

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30 April 1943 – Letter from Dad to Mom

Letter or Postcard – Letter

Sender – Ralph Peterson

Recipient – Phyllis Peterson

Postmark Place – St. Petersburg, Florida

Postmark Date – 30 April 1943

Letter Date – 29 April 1943

 

Text:

My dearest Phyllis and Bonny,

Hello, girls. How is every little thing? I hope everything is swell. I got the Argus and a letter from mother this morning, and this afternoon I got a letter and Bonny’s birth certificate from my dearest wife. That was what I wanted to get most. I would rather get one letter from you then ten from anybody else. I’m going to take Bonny’s birth certificate down to headquarters tomorrow and get it straightened out. Then you will get some extra money every month. My two pals and I just moved to another room and the flight just moved in so we had to move and make room for them all. All we did was moved to another wing of the same hotel. Let me tell me something about these guys I call pals. It’s kind of funny how they and me got to be such good pals. They are both from California. One is of German nationality and the other is Mexican. They ain’t young men anymore. They are both 37 years old, but they are two swell guys. They are both married and have children. One of them just became a papa just before he came in the army, so that is one of the reasons I get along good with them. I can talk to them about our little Bonny Louise and they like to hear it. As a matter a fact I guess I have bragged about it to everyone. I know I really am proud of you two and I love you more as each minute goes by. I love you so much that it hurts when I think of it. When I was about 16 I never thought I could get that way about anyone, but you changed my mind and I love you for it. It was a quiet day today. I had lost some sleep yesterday but I sure made up for it today. I got up at reveille this morning at five, went back to bed and slept until eleven, then I had chow and went to sleep until four tonight. Then to top all of that off I’m going to bed rather early tonight. I guess I will have enough sleep for a while. I don’t have to go on duty until noon tomorrow, so if I still am tired I can sleep some more tomorrow forenoon. Well tomorrow is the day that all of us boys have been waiting for a long time. It is the day that we go down to headquarters broke and come back with a little of those gum things. The heck of it is a guy spends it when he gets it. I can’t think of anything else to write now, but will write you a nice long letter tomorrow. I sure like to see that drawing of baby’s hand. I can see how big she is then. Well, until tomorrow all my love and kisses to the sweetest wife and baby in the world. Night now, honey, from Daddy

PS – Give my love to all the folks, and happy birthday sweetheart honey. RP

Notes: “Mother” of course is Mom’s Mom. So his two California pals aren’t young men anymore. At 37 they were the same age Dad was when I came around many years later. He slipped it in at the end, but he didn’t forget Mom’s birthday, which was on the 30th.

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29 April 1943 – Letter from Dad to Mom

Letter or Postcard – Letter

Sender – Ralph Peterson

Recipient – Phyllis Peterson

Postmark Place – St. Petersburg, Florida

Postmark Date – 29 April 1943

Letter Date – 28 April 1943

 

Text:

My dearest wife and baby,

Hi, girls. How are my two darlings tonight? It will be daytime when you get this, but it is night as I am writing this. Right now it is exactly ten minutes to eleven, so it is getting late, but I won’t get to sleep until four in the morning as I go on duty with my shift at midnight. I got up at five this morning so I will be up 23 hours without any sleep, but I will make up for it tomorrow, as it is my day off. Nothing much happened today. I didn’t get even one letter from nobody. That’s the first time it has happened for a long time, but I am hoping for some tomorrow. There isn’t much left of our squadron now, as a few more shipped out today. I think all there is now is ten or twelve. I haven’t been shipped yet but I am hoping each day that I will be. I want to get out and get something to work at, not just this laying around doing nothing and getting nowhere. A big flight of men just came in today. They are all from Wisconsin and Michigan but I don’t know any of them, as they are from the bigger cities. Still it is kind of nice to have somebody from the home state. Friday night the eagle flies again, or I should say it is payday. Then I suppose you will be getting your check pretty soon. I bet it will come in handy for you as I know it will help me out a hell of a lot. I have to get my uniform washed and pressed, and that costs money. I suppose by the next month you will be getting more money. I mean if the baby’s certificate gets here in time. And twelve bucks is twelve bucks nowadays. Say, isn’t it about time for the Argus to come again? I really like to get that little paper. It is small but it helps cheer a guy up. Well, I have a half an hour left before I go to work so I guess I had better close pretty quick. There isn’t much news ¬†anyway so I think I will close now, honey. All my love and kisses to my dearest wife and baby from Daddy

PS –¬† I love you two Girls, and be sure you love me. I will love you the rest of my life. Night now, honey. Ralph

Notes:

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28 April 1943 – Letter from Dad to Mom

Letter or Postcard – Letter

Sender – Ralph Peterson

Recipient – Phyllis Peterson

Postmark Place – St. Petersburg, Florida

Postmark Date – 28 April 1943

Letter Date – 27 April 1943

 

Text:

My dearest wife and baby,

Got another letter from you tonight, so I’m going to answer right back. I didn’t have to work at all today. All I did was eat, sleep, and listen to a lecture on chemical warfare. Sort of an easy day tomorrow. I start my job at noon. If I keep this up I will be getting fat and will soon be up to a couple of hundred pounds. I will be your old fat man then. I will have a little fat ass like yours then. Ha ha! I am sorry. I didn’t mean to say that. Anyway, I should say hinder. Uh-oh. I am sorry again. Now I bet you will be mad and never write to me again. Ha ha! What are you and Avis trying to do with Gordon? Make love to him? I can remember last Christmas when we were down home home, how Gordon wanted to have you come up to his place and look at the toys and stuff that he got. I thought you were going up there and see them. Oh well, treat the little boy alright cause he is a swell kid. Why I thought Avis was in love with Billy. For cripes sake don’t tell her that or she will wring my neck. By the way, you tell her to write me a letter. I wrote her one last. Are you going to move to California? Wait until I get shipped out there, then you can come out there. I mean if I ever get shipped out. I would much rather get sent to Wisconsin where I could come home on a weekend pass. You know darling, there isn’t much to write about tonight as I told you all the news that I knew in my first letter today. I really should write a letter to my Aunt Clara tonight, but I don’t hardly think I can as it is getting late and I will only have time for this one. Then I’m going to hit the hay. When I took a shower today I found I had lost most of my tan already. I am just about the same color as I was when I left. I will have to get out in the sun some more. I think I will go off this guard duty in about a week. I want to get some more tan and build some more muscles. I only weigh 165 now, so I ain’t losing no weight, am I. Well honey, I think I will close for tonight as I am getting tired and the lights will be going out soon. Night now to my wife and baby from Daddy

PS – Pleasant dreams sweetheart, and God bless you and our little Bonny girl. Pop

Notes: He’s going to go to the well once too often with the fat-ass jokes. At first I thought that Gordon must be Gordon Schruck, my Mom’s cousin who probably lived not too far from them. But when I checked my genealogical database that Gordon wouldn’t be born for a couple months and can be ruled out. Dad had a first cousin named Gordon Hansen, son of his Mom’s sister Bertha. He would have been 16, so not sure if he fits the description of a “swell kid” wanting to show off his toys at Christmas of 1942. This will have to be a mystery for now. Dad is obviously joking about Aunt Avis and Billy Pick. Pretty sure she was already with Cal Woodward, who she would marry in about a year. My Dad never weighed more than about 165 his entire life and never could be described as fat.

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28 April 1943 – Letter from Dad to Mom

Letter or Postcard – Letter

Sender – Ralph Peterson

Recipient – Phyllis Peterson

Postmark Place – St. Petersburg, Florida

Postmark Date – 28 April 1943

Letter Date – 27 April 1943

 

Text:

My dearest wife and baby,

Hello, darling. I got three letters from you to answer. I didn’t have much time to write to you yesterday, but I will try and make up for it today. I am writing this in the forenoon and I am going to send it airmail so you won’t miss a day of getting my letters. I know how I like to get them and I hope you like to get my letters, too. Yesterday I was on duty but today I just don’t have nothing to do. In between times yesterday I got a nice sun bath, but there wasn’t much time in between times and today I am staying in all day and trying to get a letter wrote to my two sweet girls. You said something about that you would like to work down at Chapmans. Did you mean that or were you just fooling? Let me know next time what you meant by that. You must have plenty of work at home with Bonny girl without going out and working someplace else. I don’t want you to go out and work, but if it would make you happier and you want to I suppose it will be all right. Let me know what you are going to do. I hope you don’t want to, honey. So you have some company up home now. Don’t tell me that she come all alone. I remember how you said that she always brought a lot of stuff along. It is probably a good thing, as I suppose the house is full enough as it is. For cripes sake don’t go down and stay at her place. You will always seem more at home if you stay where you are now. That’s the only place I can call home and that’s where I want you to be when I come home. I have always said that the day we got married was my happiest one I ever had, despite the flat tires. But I think, or I should say I know, that the day I come home and see you waiting for me will top all of them. I would just as soon give up a whole year’s wages if I only could see you, even for a few minutes. I am getting so damn lonesome for you that it is just awful. Gee whiz, honey, I was hoping that I would be the first one she would smile at. But I am glad you was the one she smiled at instead of anybody else. But you wait until I start making her smile and I will show her how to use her little arm like I did Wayne. Don’t worry about me being changed. I will be the same always. The same little bashful boy that I was ever since I met you. Now I bet you won’t believe me when I say I am bashful. You know how I was when I was going with you. I wouldn’t kiss you unless you asked me to. Or is that a little bit too thick? About writing to Clarence, I don’t care if you do. I know he would like to hear from you. He told me he would. Him and I always got along pretty good he must think a lot of Bonny, too, as he always tells me a lot about her in his letters. Just keep on writing to him because I like to get letters and I don’t think he is any different than any other soldier. Don’t worry about me getting jealous. I know who you love. I trust you honey. And besides, Clarence has a Phyllis of his own to look after. Gee whiz, baby, the way you tell me about Bonny girl makes me all the more crazy to see her. I remember how you used to dress Wayne up and how nice he looked, but this is yours and my baby and I bet she looks just twice as sweet as Wayne did. And with you holding her I know that is the sweetest picture I could ever see, and I want to see it real soon. I got a Easter card from my Aunt Clara yesterday. You know who that is. The one I bought the car from. I mean the place we went to get it. Now I will have to drop her a letter or a card, and I thought she had forgot all about me, but I guess she hasn’t. I know my Uncle Charlie and Irene has, because I haven’t got even a card from them, and I sent them a nice card. I don’t give a damn whether they write or not. They give me a raw deal, so it isn’t going to bother me if they write or not. I don’t suppose it is nice to talk about your relations like that, but I just can’t help it. I can’t think of much more now, honey, but will write more tonight so you won’t miss a day. All my love and kisses to my sweetest wife and baby from your soldier Daddy

PS – Give Ma and Pappy my love and tell Aunt Agnes to write. Here’s a return kiss for Bonny. The rest of these are for you.

Notes: Probably one of Dad’s longest letters to date. Interesting that Mom spoke of going to work at Chapmans, which was the Berlin-Chapman Foundry where her Dad worked for a time, at least. To my knowledge she never went to work there, but later in life she did work at various jobs, including W. T. Grants in Daytona Beach and of course our family bakery in St. Augustine. At this point I have no clue as to who the mystery house guest was so I won’t speculate. Of course Wayne is Wayne Leigh, son of Mom’s sister Marian and her husband Donald. As he been noted elsewhere Dad lived with them for a time, and Wayne’s sister Sharon tells me Wayne was Dad’s favourite. She also told me Dad taught Wayne to put up his little fists and fight, which may be what Dad refers to when he talks about teaching Bonny “how to use her little arm like I did Wayne.” Clarence was Dad’s oldest brother. His Phyllis was Phyllis DeGolier, who he would marry later in 1943. Clara was the next older sister of Dad’s mother. Clara married Jim Peterson (no relation to Dad). Not sure why Dad was so surprised she wrote as he did retain contact with his Mom’s family after she died in 1930. Charlie Hansen was the next younger brother of Dad’s mother, who owned the bakery in Wautoma where Dad worked before the war. Irene was his wife. They must have patched things up over the “raw deal” Dad refers to, because Dad came back after the war to work for Charlie until Charlie died in 1953, and then continued to run the bakery until Dad and Mom moved the family south to Savannah in 1956. Aunt Agnes almost has to be the younger sister of my Mom’s Mom. I think she lived in the Oshkosh area most of her life. She was married several times in her life, so I’m not sure who she was married to at this time and thus not sure of her name. It may have been Olson or it may have been Reddin.

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26 April 1943 – Letter from Dad to Mom

Letter or Postcard – Letter
Sender – Ralph Peterson
Recipient – Phyllis Peterson
Postmark Place – St. Petersburg, Florida
Postmark Date – 26 April 1943
Letter Date – 25 April 1943

Text:
My dearest Phyllis and Bonny,

Here it is, Easter, and all I can do is send you my love. I will make up for it after payday, though. And as far as your birthday goes I guess you will have to wait for that, too. It sure is hell not having any money when something like that comes up. I wanted to send you a telegram for Easter but I just couldn’t manage it. So as I said again, I will just have to send my love. Let me know if you think that is enough. Well, it is a hell of a hot day here today. I haven’t got nothing to do until Monday at twelve, so that gives me a 28-hours in which I have all to myself. I am using it up right here at camp. I didn’t get up until eight, then I washed out a big washing in the forenoon. I had dinner, and after that I hung out my clothes. Now I am writing this letter to my wife out on the lawn. It is real hot, but then it makes a better tan. The last few days on guard duty my tan sort of bleached out, so I am trying to get back the color. I don’t know when I will get shipped out, but there is a big list of names that are going to be called out tomorrow. I would like to stay here until payday, though. If I am shipped before I won’t get paid until the next payday, so I hope that I ain’t moved. I forgot to tell you one thing that I did today. I went to Easter Service at two o’clock. It was an army church. There was about a thousand men there. I said church but you wouldn’t hardly call it that. It was held in a big park near here. Boy, was that nice and pretty. Lots of nice flowers, and after the service they give us each some cigarettes. It is the first time that I ever see them give anything away, but it was well worth going to see. There is not much news down here. I didn’t get a letter from you today, but I am hoping for a nice one tomorrow. Now don’t disappoint me, will you. This job I have now is sure an easy job. I get up when I want to. I can eat before the rest of the men do. I have no KP or any other work like that. I have not been down to the drill field for four days, so you can see what work I am doing. It is a lot different than driving trucks for Charlie all day. Darling, every time you write me tell me a lot about you and Bonny. What you do and how much you love me and miss me. And as quick as you can send me a picture of you and Bonny girl. I sure would like to see what my daughter looks like. Meanwhile, tell me everything she does. Has she smiled yet or is she waiting for me? This is all for now my dearest ones. Until tomorrow, all my love and kisses to my sweetest wife and baby from Daddy .

Notes: The St. Petersburg Times of the following day described several Easter services in the bay area. The only one that seemed exclusively for soldiers was a large gathering of 1500-200 men at Drew Field across the bay in Tampa. Most of the rest were sunrise services throughout St. Petersburg. As Dad clearly says the service he attended was at two o’clock those may be ruled out. But he does say the service was held “in a big park near here.” One of the sunrise services was held at Williams Park, which was St. Petersburg’s first real public park. It is located downtown not far from the hotel where Dad was housed. This was a possible location. It had a bandshell (seen below in 1941) and could accommodate a thousand men. Perhaps the army held their services here in the afternoon after the sunrise crowd had cleared. Interesting to see that what really excited Dad was the free cigarettes they gave out after the service. Sic semper smokers.

Postcards Collection

Dad drove a delivery truck for his Uncle Charlie Hansen’s bakery in Wautoma. As a child I recall a humourous story Dad told about driving into a farm yard to make a delivery. Unseen in the tall grass a young woman who lived on the farm was sunbathing. Dad drove directly over her and parked the truck, and was startled to hear and feel someone pounding the floorboard directly under his feet, cutting loose with some choice language. Miraculously he did not injure her. I am a bit taken aback that folks seemed so in to tanning back in those days.

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