Letter or Postcard – Letter
Sender – Ralph Peterson
Recipient – Phyllis Peterson
Postmark Place – St. Petersburg, Florida
Postmark Date – 12 March 1943
Letter Date – 11 March 1943
My dearest wife,
Received your letter today and was really glad to get it. Keep on writing letters like that and it will suit me just right. I got it this noon and as yet the night mail hasn’t been delivered yet. I hope there is a letter there for me, too. Well, honey, it was another hot day today down here – about 80 degrees above, but at night it drops down to about 45 or 50. Then it feels really cold. This morning when we got up and had our chow we were marched up to the quartermaster and each one of us was issued a rifle. Then started one hell of a long day of drilling with them heavy things. These guns are 1917 models from the last war and they weigh 9 lbs and 9 oz. After drilling all day with these guns it is quite a relief to get home and sit down. These guns are only temporary. After I get stationed I will be issued my own rifle. This will be one of the newest guns that are made today. I think they will be a Garand, but you most likely don’t know what I’m talking about, but I will tell you anyway. I haven’t shot one of these yet but I will get my chance next week, I think. Well today is four weeks since I was sworn in at Milwaukee. It seems like a year already. I guess about two more weeks of my basic training and I will be shipped out to school. I am still praying that I will get sent back to good old Wisconsin and you. If I get up there I could get a weekend pass and come home to see you real often, but I don’t suppose my luck will ever be that good. It would be my luck to be sent clean out to California, but you pray for it and so will I, and we will see if our prayers are answered. I hope somebody hears them. Say, you better tell your Dad to write to me and also your Ma. Your Dad promised me he would write, but you tell him I haven’t seen one from him yet. I don’t care if it is just a card if he will write to me. Also, at this time I haven’t got a letter from your Mom or Avis, or nobody else besides you. You asked me what I do in my spare time, so I will tell you. I start Monday morning and do the same thing through to Saturday. I get up at five every morning, drill all the day, am done at five with that. Then after I get cleaned up and have chow it is seven. Then I write a letter to you and go to bed. On Sunday I get up at six, stand reveille, come back in and go to bed again until about ten. I get up and eat dinner, have a couple of games of cards, and go to sleep until supper, and then eat supper and come back and read and write until nine. Then I go to bed and I still can sleep. You know, I haven’t ever been down to see the Gulf yet. The reason I want the camera is that I want to take a picture of the hotel I am staying in and also some of myself, if you want them. I think you do, don’t you? Well the mail isn’t going to be passed out tonight so I guess I will close for now. Night, sweetheart. Ralph
PS – I love you more each day. Keep up the swell writing, sweetheart. RP
PPS – My nickname all over the squadron is whitey. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Take care of yourself.
Notes: Easy to believe the other guys calling Dad “Whitey,” though that nickname never stuck. At that age he had almost platinum hair, pale blue eyes, and I suspect coming from Wisconsin in the middle of winter not much of a tan.