8 April 1943 – Letter from Dad to Mom

Letter or Postcard – Letter

Sender – Ralph Peterson

Recipient – Phyllis Peterson

Postmark Place – St. Petersburg, Florida

Postmark Date – 8 April 1943

Letter Date – 7 April 1943



My dearest wife and baby,

How are my girls today? I am one tired boy tonight. This was my first day in the field for eight days. Besides that, we change hotels at noon today. The sun was so damn hot that I just was sweating steady all day. We had our first bayonet practice this forenoon. It wasn’t much. Just to show how to kill a man. You can stick him, slash him, or just (?) his head in. This lasted only a half a day, but we will get some more soon. There are six guys in our new room. Two of us from Wisconsin, two from California, one from Minnesota, and one from Illinois. Quite a collection of men. All our hell of nice guys. We have our room closet and shower and toilet, so I guess we are living pretty high according to the army. I didn’t get a letter from you today, but all the mail wasn’t brought to our new hotel. Some of the guys said that there wives had got there allotment check, so I was wondering if you had got yours. I hope that it will come in time to help you out. Also, that money I sent should come in pretty handy. You can use it all because you have our baby to buy for, which I have nothing – only myself to buy for and that don’t amount to much. Gosh, darling, I sure would like to come home some night and surprise you. I bet they couldn’t separate us for hours. The longer it is the more sweet and nice it will seem. I hope it isn’t too long. There isn’t much news down here. We had a blackout here last night that lasted from eight to eight-thirty. They sure can make it dark here along the coast. While we were having it a squadron of our big bombers came over. It sure sounded real. There were about twenty, the way it sounded. I am now in what they call Flight X. It is the parts of all the squadrons that have been shipped out. My mail will still be sent to the same address. Gee, baby, I should write to Sookie, and Cal, Avis, your father, and my stepmother. Oh, yes, and to my brother-in-law. I mean Harold Button. But I am so damn tired tonight that I will have to wait until tomorrow to do that. The way this writing is, it looks as if I am tired, but I will do better tomorrow. Until then, all my love and kisses to the sweetest wife and baby in the world, from Daddy

PS – The order just came through, and the whole squadron will be on KP tomorrow. Night, sweetheart. RP

Notes: More casual chat about killing methods followed hard by details about closets, showers, and toilets. C’est la guerre. At this point Dad was unaware that his military experience would come in those heavy bombers flying over St. Petersburg. Just as a reminder, Sookie was my Mom’s older sister Virginia, Avis was my Mom’s younger sister and Cal her husband, and Harold Button the widower of my Dad’s sister Merna.

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