11 May 1943 – Letter from Dad to Mom

Letter or Postcard – Letter

Sender – Ralph Peterson

Recipient – Phyllis Peterson

Postmark Place – Red Bank, New Jersey

Postmark Date – 11 May 1943

Letter Date – 10 May 1943



My dearest wife and baby,

Hello sweetheart. How are my two babies tonight? Hope you are both swell. I am feeling good, even after my first day of school. Yes, I actually started school again today. It seems kind of funny after not going to school for so long. I start in the morning at eight and work until 11:30, start again at one and work until 3:30, then from then on until five we have to drill. All we do is learn a code over the telegraph. I would like to tell you what kind I do but it is all restricted, so no secrets must be let out. I think, but I don’t know for sure, that they check through most of the mail. And don’t send my camera here because they aren’t allowed on the post. This is one of the few posts that they won’t let a guy have a camera here. There is a lot of stuff here that they don’t want anybody to know about. I could tell you now but I have to wait until I come home, and after four weeks of school you aren’t allowed to leave the post. I will tell you all about it as soon as I can. There is one thing I can tell you. The main port, which is only six miles from here, was shelled some time ago. Some of the men have wound stripes. They might cross this out, but if they don’t please don’t let anyone else know about it. Let it be just a secret between you and me, right honey? Boy was it ever cold this morning. Must have been close to freezing. The coldest I have seen it since I left Wisconsin, but it seems better now at least. I am at least 400 miles closer to you. It isn’t much, but every little bit helps. There isn’t much to tell you about tonight, but I’m going to try and write you every night. I have a chance to go to night school for a few hours every night and get the jump on some of the guys, and I think I’m going to do it. It will help me out if I want to get a better rating. You would want me to do that, wouldn’t you, sweetheart? I think this is all for tonight, honey, so I will close until next time. Goodnight babies. All my love to the sweetest wife and baby in the world from Pappy

PS – Give my love to the folks and kiss Bonny girl for me.

Notes: Well Ralph doesn’t seem to have a great handle on this whole military secret thing. “I can’t tell you now, but as soon as I get home I’ll spill all the beans.” Okay. And I am dubious about the whole “a port in New Jersey got shelled” thing. A cursory check of online sources does not turn up any ports in New Jersey that came under enemy fire during World War Two. I think either someone was pulling the leg of a green soldier or he misheard the details of some other incident.

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