3 March 1943 – Letter from Dad to Mom

Letter or Postcard – Letter

Sender – Ralph Peterson

Recipient – Phyllis Peterson

Postmark Place – St. Petersburg, Florida

Postmark Date – 3 March 1943

Letter Date – 2 March 1943


Dearest darling wife,

Hiya beautiful. How are you feeling?  I hope you are swell. I feel good.  There are quite a few sick down here with colds.  I had a cold when I come down here but I feel good now. Well, I got my first basic training today.  I mean the first real drill I have ever had.  I marched about six hours today so I’m sort of tired, but not too tired to write to my wife. That day will never come.  We are supposed to drill for three days steady and then we take our first one in front of the commanding officer of the post.  If we pass that all we do is turn around and march and drill for the next three weeks. That sounds like quite a long time down here but I guess it will go faster after I get some letters from you.  Then after that we will get sent to some radio school in the United States for our 20 weeks training. There is a slim chance I will get sent up to the University of Wisconsin at Madison for my training,  but that is so slim I don’t like to think of it.  Boy that would be swell if I could get up there, wouldn’t it?  The Sergeant just told us we would get all of our basic training here instead of moving into tents for part of it, and that’s what I call swell, too.  We got everything here – radios, musical instruments, and showers and bathtubs.  Everything is real classy.  We even have a nice dresser with a big mirror on it in my room.  When we was out doing physical exercises today Bill Pick kind of monkeyed around when he wasn’t supposed to, so they made him stand at attention in front of about 500 of us for about two hours.  He felt kind of cheap about it.  I also run the obstacle course today for the first time.  This is about a half-mile around with 20 foot walls and a lot of smaller ones,  tunnels to crawl through,  wide creeks to jump,  and a bunch of ropes to swing across a deep ditch with.  The hard part of it was in that we had to run all the way and it was all washed sand about ten inches deep.  I was pretty well tired out at the end.  A bunch of them didn’t make it and one of them fainted.  It was funny  some more of them didn’t, as it was about 90 degrees in the sun.  I’ll bet you wish you had some of that heat up there.  I got a letter from Clarence today.  He was glad to hear from me.  He sent me a letter my stepmother sent him telling him that she was living in or near Redgranite.  I also wrote Alvin about two days ago but no answer yet.  Well sweetheart, I guess I will have to close now as I am getting tired and have to go to bed.  Lots of love and kisses and pray every night that I will get sent to Wisconsin.

By your Ralph

Notes: Clarence was Clarence Henry Peterson, my Dad’s oldest brother. Pretty sure he was already in the Army by this point. Their Mom [Esther Serena (Hansen) Peterson] had died in 1930, scared to death by lightning [see newspaper clipping below]. Their Dad [Henry Peterson] had died less then a year before this letter, in 1942, leaving his second wife [Evangeline (Parsons) Peterson]. She is the stepmother who had moved to Redgranite with Dad’s younger siblings, Florian Frederick Peterson [later Scott Peterson] and Lorraine Peterson. Alvin was my Mom’s oldest brother Alvin Grant, who was also probably in the Army by this point.

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