History of World War Two Told Through Letters
In this letter, rumors are flying about what will happen next to Alex and his ship mates. This letter was mailed from Norfolk, Virginia in 1943. Alex mentions that he likes the Armed Guard and that the men hope not to be shipped overseas on boats. They were scheduled to return to Brooklyn but it seems that was all they knew. Alex warns Sylvia not to get her hopes up about his return. He closes his letter with a reference to sex. While Sylvia has repeatedly written some scandalous notes, Alex usually refrains from adding any of his own amorous remarks. He throws this in on the last line. Maybe I am imagining this because I am his granddaughter, but I think he was bashful in writing this because the handwriting looks, to me, smaller more difficult to read. Since rumors spread “like wild fire” (as always I am impressed when Alex uses English idioms) on the ship, maybe Alex feels like he could become the subject of the next round of chatter.
Dec. 11, 1944
Of course sure the butt “fly’s as tick [thick] as shit” that’s how we carraterize what is going on here now. Everybody is coming in with stories of one kind or another.
One rumor goes that all the arm guards will be transferred into the fleet. That as soon as we get to Brooklyn we will be shipped out on boats. That we will get a 48 hour leave as soon as we hit Brooklyn. Some say 15 days. That the whole base is crowded. That all who come back from a trip will get 15 days and the ship will get new crews. It is absolutely impossible to make sense on all the talk that is passed around. The prediction or another must come true so we all will say that we knew it ahead of time. Of course, no one here wants the fleet, we all like the arm guard.
Yesterday I dropped a little invention of mine on the mail line. I invented the fiction that all who come out of AG school will be sent out to the Amphibious arm 350 at the time. I said that a gunners mate 3rd class told me, and he was told a chief. Well today this same story came back in my own barracs heard that the captain of the station told the 1st class gunner mate, I almost was fooled myself that is how distorted the story became. I dropped in on the line where we wait for mail and all the gun crew captains are there so it spread like wild fire particularly because no one has any love for the Amphibious core. So tahts what scuttlebutt is and that is why I want to repeat, do not build castles in the air. In the last few letters I am emphasizing this not because there is any change, which you might suspect. So far everything is as was before, but there can be changes and I don’t want you to create illusions and then be disappointed.
For instance, they asked at the ___ (?) today 35 volunteers for KP duty. If they don’t get them, they’ll draft them from the ranks, and I can be just as much in the draft and get stuck here as the next guy. They are kept on the job for 3 months. You see if a similar accession would arise in Brooklyn of course I would not sneeze at it.
I am sorry about Frankie not being well, if I didn’t mention it in my other letter, I am sorry but I was thinking too much about coming home.
If you have the occasion to get the high chair from Sadie’s friend, by all means get it you can always place for the few dollars you have to spend. You are beginning to develop a bad tract, everything for Cookie and always Cookie first. You carry that further and you will find that no one will count anyone but Cookie. Of course that will bring other things in its wake you will be jealous of her and pauper her and so on. Next time. –
You to say, it was for yourself.
Mail your last letter not later than Wednesday, it will reach me here on Friday. Don’t wait for me at the station because I’ll be in ranks anyway and I can’t break out, and I don’t want to be tempted.
I love you darling. Kiss Cookie for me.
I’ll make love to you soon in the meantime kisses