Letter or Postcard – Letter
Sender – Ralph Peterson
Recipient – Phyllis Peterson
Postmark Place – St. Petersburg, Florida
Postmark Date – 14 April 1943
Letter Date – 13 April 1943
My dearest Phyllis and Bonny,
I got your letter today and was glad to hear from you, and that you and Bonny are getting along good. Always tell me how you and our little girl are getting along. I like to hear what you and her are doing and what kind of devilment you get into. I bet you two can think of a lot to do. Maybe Bonny is small yet, but wait until she grows up. Then, if she is anything like you were I just bet we won’t be able to make the little dickens mind at all. I mean when she gets like Donna is. Just about that age. And if I can remember right I think your mother told me about you when you were small. But I don’t care as long as she is just like you always. I am glad that you got the doctor bill paid, as it will be a big load off your mind. Now the money you get from the government you can buy something you need, if you have enough. I guess you will have a place for all you get. I use enough as it is, but I put myself on $10 a month allowance and it is only the first of the month now and I am damn near broke already. But I have bought everything I need for this month. I wash my own clothes and I take my uniform to the YWCA. They have electric irons there so I press my own. I also press another guy’s here. I get 35 cents a suit for doing it. It all helps out, but I seem a lot happier when I am broke than when I have a little money. Don’t worry about me. I will get along alright, even if I have to take in washings. I just heard tonight that I’m getting shipped out before Saturday. Of course I don’t know for sure, but I know a guy that works at headquarters. I will let you know tomorrow if I find out, which is doubtful, as all these troop movements are supposed to be secret. I am on KP again tomorrow. This isn’t for doing nothing wrong, but it just happens that our Squadron is X now, and anything that needs to be done we do it. All this squadron consists of is the leftovers of a bunch of other squadrons. I guess I better tell you what I did today. Got up about five, had chow, and went out to the rifle and machine gun range. We shot them off a few times, then we marched over to the gas range. There they set off gas bombs. The different kinds of gases are tear gas, mustard, Lewisite, and phosgene. Boy and I tell you, they really stung. They just want us to know what each one smells like. Then at noon it started to rain and it kept on all afternoon so we had a half a day off. No more news to write about tonight, and also I have to get up at three in the morning. I think I better go to bed, so till tomorrow night all my love and kisses to my dearest wife and baby from Daddy.
PS – Keep on saying you love me in each letter. I like to see that in there. Night, now. Ralph
Notes: At this point Bonny is about a month old, so I don’t know what sort of devilment the little dickens was really cooking up other than pooping, peeing, and spitting up. I think Dad was looking to a time when she would be older. Donna was Donna Leigh, second child of Mom’s sister Marian Leigh and her husband Donald. By this time they had three kids with the fourth on the way later that year. Donna was almost three. Dad had lived with them before for a time before getting married and going into the army so he would have a good idea of what a two year old little girl was like.
Dad very clearly wrote YWCA, not YMCA. I suppose he could have meant to write YMCA, but perhaps the YWCA did offer some assistance to soldiers. The building above is the St. Petersburg building that housed the YWCA during World War II, and it is not far from where Dad was based.