Letter or Postcard – Letter
Sender – Ralph Peterson
Recipient – Phyllis Peterson
Postmark Place – St. Petersburg, Florida
Postmark Date – 28 April 1943
Letter Date – 27 April 1943
My dearest wife and baby,
Hello, darling. I got three letters from you to answer. I didn’t have much time to write to you yesterday, but I will try and make up for it today. I am writing this in the forenoon and I am going to send it airmail so you won’t miss a day of getting my letters. I know how I like to get them and I hope you like to get my letters, too. Yesterday I was on duty but today I just don’t have nothing to do. In between times yesterday I got a nice sun bath, but there wasn’t much time in between times and today I am staying in all day and trying to get a letter wrote to my two sweet girls. You said something about that you would like to work down at Chapmans. Did you mean that or were you just fooling? Let me know next time what you meant by that. You must have plenty of work at home with Bonny girl without going out and working someplace else. I don’t want you to go out and work, but if it would make you happier and you want to I suppose it will be all right. Let me know what you are going to do. I hope you don’t want to, honey. So you have some company up home now. Don’t tell me that she come all alone. I remember how you said that she always brought a lot of stuff along. It is probably a good thing, as I suppose the house is full enough as it is. For cripes sake don’t go down and stay at her place. You will always seem more at home if you stay where you are now. That’s the only place I can call home and that’s where I want you to be when I come home. I have always said that the day we got married was my happiest one I ever had, despite the flat tires. But I think, or I should say I know, that the day I come home and see you waiting for me will top all of them. I would just as soon give up a whole year’s wages if I only could see you, even for a few minutes. I am getting so damn lonesome for you that it is just awful. Gee whiz, honey, I was hoping that I would be the first one she would smile at. But I am glad you was the one she smiled at instead of anybody else. But you wait until I start making her smile and I will show her how to use her little arm like I did Wayne. Don’t worry about me being changed. I will be the same always. The same little bashful boy that I was ever since I met you. Now I bet you won’t believe me when I say I am bashful. You know how I was when I was going with you. I wouldn’t kiss you unless you asked me to. Or is that a little bit too thick? About writing to Clarence, I don’t care if you do. I know he would like to hear from you. He told me he would. Him and I always got along pretty good he must think a lot of Bonny, too, as he always tells me a lot about her in his letters. Just keep on writing to him because I like to get letters and I don’t think he is any different than any other soldier. Don’t worry about me getting jealous. I know who you love. I trust you honey. And besides, Clarence has a Phyllis of his own to look after. Gee whiz, baby, the way you tell me about Bonny girl makes me all the more crazy to see her. I remember how you used to dress Wayne up and how nice he looked, but this is yours and my baby and I bet she looks just twice as sweet as Wayne did. And with you holding her I know that is the sweetest picture I could ever see, and I want to see it real soon. I got a Easter card from my Aunt Clara yesterday. You know who that is. The one I bought the car from. I mean the place we went to get it. Now I will have to drop her a letter or a card, and I thought she had forgot all about me, but I guess she hasn’t. I know my Uncle Charlie and Irene has, because I haven’t got even a card from them, and I sent them a nice card. I don’t give a damn whether they write or not. They give me a raw deal, so it isn’t going to bother me if they write or not. I don’t suppose it is nice to talk about your relations like that, but I just can’t help it. I can’t think of much more now, honey, but will write more tonight so you won’t miss a day. All my love and kisses to my sweetest wife and baby from your soldier Daddy
PS – Give Ma and Pappy my love and tell Aunt Agnes to write. Here’s a return kiss for Bonny. The rest of these are for you.
Notes: Probably one of Dad’s longest letters to date. Interesting that Mom spoke of going to work at Chapmans, which was the Berlin-Chapman Foundry where her Dad worked for a time, at least. To my knowledge she never went to work there, but later in life she did work at various jobs, including W. T. Grants in Daytona Beach and of course our family bakery in St. Augustine. At this point I have no clue as to who the mystery house guest was so I won’t speculate. Of course Wayne is Wayne Leigh, son of Mom’s sister Marian and her husband Donald. As he been noted elsewhere Dad lived with them for a time, and Wayne’s sister Sharon tells me Wayne was Dad’s favourite. She also told me Dad taught Wayne to put up his little fists and fight, which may be what Dad refers to when he talks about teaching Bonny “how to use her little arm like I did Wayne.” Clarence was Dad’s oldest brother. His Phyllis was Phyllis DeGolier, who he would marry later in 1943. Clara was the next older sister of Dad’s mother. Clara married Jim Peterson (no relation to Dad). Not sure why Dad was so surprised she wrote as he did retain contact with his Mom’s family after she died in 1930. Charlie Hansen was the next younger brother of Dad’s mother, who owned the bakery in Wautoma where Dad worked before the war. Irene was his wife. They must have patched things up over the “raw deal” Dad refers to, because Dad came back after the war to work for Charlie until Charlie died in 1953, and then continued to run the bakery until Dad and Mom moved the family south to Savannah in 1956. Aunt Agnes almost has to be the younger sister of my Mom’s Mom. I think she lived in the Oshkosh area most of her life. She was married several times in her life, so I’m not sure who she was married to at this time and thus not sure of her name. It may have been Olson or it may have been Reddin.