Letter or Postcard – Letter
Sender – Ralph Peterson
Recipient – Phyllis Peterson
Postmark Place – St. Petersburg, Florida
Postmark Date – 27 March 1943
Letter Date – 26 March 1943
My dearest wife and baby,
Another day and time to write to you again. This is the part of the day that I really enjoy, when I can sit down at a desk and write you a letter. I try to get a nice corner so I can think, but with my head that is kind of hard to do. Nice cool day here today. It was cloudy all day and that was sure a relief from all that hot weather we have been used to. It even looks a little like rain as I am writing this. I suppose up there you are thinking about planting a garden. Or isn’t the snow all gone yet? I would like to get up there in time to see some snow once again. I really miss that stuff. It may sound funny when I have the whole town of St Pete with all its sunshine. Two days have gone by since I last got a letter from you. I will stay writing and tell you it is raining like hell now. As I was saying, I didn’t get a letter from you today but I got one from Harold Button. He is a PFC now, already a step higher than I am. He is a second cook in the mess hall. He was home on a furlough the first part of this month. While he was there he got married. He congratulated me on being a daddy and hoped you and the baby got along all right. He is one hell of a nice guy. I think you said you talked to him once, didn’t you, at a dance or something? We didn’t do much work today, just sort of laid around and took it easy. We did have one big fight with another squadron. They lined up guys up sixteen at a time about 100 yards apart, then at the sound of a whistle both sides would tear into each other. They could do anything to the other guy as long as he set him down on his rear. I came out of it all right. I didn’t win and I didn’t lose. They called it a draw. Lot of fun, though, seeing all of these guys kicking the devil out of each other in about a foot of soft white sand. The best part of it was, though, that before we had this they gave us a three hour instruction in this Japanese fighting called Ju Jitsu. I didn’t know how to spell that but it is close enough. They taught us how to cripple an enemy in the quickest way possible, the dirtier fighting the better. We learned how to break wrists, necks, backbones and how to put a person’s eyes out. You better watch out when I come home. I will be one tough, rough son of a gun. But I guess they can never change me so much. Tonight it is kind of lonesome in my room. There’s only one guy in here besides me. Bill and this other guy left last night as I told you yesterday. The Sarge said we will all be shipped out by next week so maybe next week I will be a lot closer to you. I hope so, anyway. I guess the reason why I am not getting any letters from you is that you have moved back home and you haven’t had much time to do anything besides take care of our little Bonny girl. But when you get all settled down I want you to write me a letter every single day. You will do that, won’t you? I guess I will have to close now as I didn’t get time to write to Sookie last night and I want to do it now, so I will close with lots of love to my dearest wife and baby from Daddy.
PS – Take care of yourself and write real soon. RP
Notes: In transcribing these letters one can forget this was military training and there was a war going on. Still, casual chat with your young wife seems an odd place to describe gouging an enemy’s eyes out. Harold Button was Dad’s former brother-in-law. Sookie was my Mom’s sister Virginia.