Letter or Postcard – Letter
Sender – Ralph Peterson
Recipient – Phyllis Peterson
Postmark Place – St. Petersburg, Florida
Postmark Date – 25 April 1943
Letter Date – 24 April 1943
My dearest wife and baby,
Got your letter and the money this morning. I had plenty of places to use that money. I hadn’t borrowed any yet, but I almost was to the point where I had to. About all I had to buy was paper and envelopes. Now I am pretty well fixed until payday. What do you mean by calling it gum gum? Or should I ask your mother what that is? Whatever you call it, it sure came in handy. I don’t mind missing a letter from you one day if I get a real nice long one the next day. And if you make it a little extra sweet that’s the kind I like. The sweeter and longer the better. How does the old bed sleep without me with you? Of course you have Bonny girl to sleep with, but I bet she can’t take the place of me. Have you still got two mattresses on it? It will be a lot softer sleeping that way. I just bet you and Bonny girl have a lot of fun there. I only wish that I could be home to have that fun with you, but I will make it all up when I get home. You wait and see. So old lady Dodson(?) told your mother that I wrote a letter to her. All I sent the old fool was a postcard with my little writing on it. That’s the way the old bag always was, making a lot out of a little. So old Earl pulled that old stuff again on Sookie. Well I guess that’s an old story to him. He has done it before and he will do it again, and I know how your folks and you like Sookie. It’s too bad she couldn’t come along. I never heard that raw deal about her California, but that sure was bad. When you told me how the baby nearly choked I sure got scared. I bet I was scared as you was. I am glad your mother is close around now when the baby is small, as she can help you out of a lot of things. It makes me feel a lot better when I know you are around someone who knows all about those things. I got off at eight this morning from duty and won’t go on until eight Sunday, which is tomorrow. I slept most of the time. I got up in time for chow. No, I wouldn’t miss anything to eat. Yes, I still have that appetite. I must have, as I have gained about fifteen pounds since I came in. This is about all I can think of to write now, so guess I will sign off for now. So until tomorrow, honey, all my love and kisses to my sweetest wife and baby from Daddy.
PS – Give my love and regards to your folks and take care of yourself. Night, now. Pop
Notes: What does she mean by “gum gum? I looked around a bit and did not find any obvious meaning. Old lady Dodson appears to be Grace Dodson, a 63 year old widow who also lived in Marion township, Waushara County, where she appears in the 1940 census. Dad thought enough of her to send a card, but not enough of her not to throw her under he bus in this letter. He was not a mean spirited man so I’m not sure where the attitude comes from. “Old Earl” refers to Earl Olson, the first husband of Mom’s sister Virginia. With all due respects to any of his family that might see this, by all accounts he was a piece of crap. I haven’t transcribed it yet, but one of Mom’s letters probably recounts the details Dad refers to here. Earl was a full 20 years older than Virginia. His work required him to travel. One trip would take him to California and for whatever reason he said he would take Virginia with him. She was thrilled, looking forward to the trip with great anticipation. When the day of departure arrived she came down dressed in traveling clothes with her bags ready only to have Earl look at her and say, “Where the hell do you think you’re going?” He left her at home and went on the trip alone. Perhaps there are mitigating circumstances we will never know, but I do know Virginia was a good and kind lady that never deserved such treatment. Somebody should have kicked Earl’s ass. The good news is that eventually they divorced and she met and married Herman Arceneaux from Louisiana, the good man that Earl was not.