DAD’S WWII LETTERS: Chapter 19, Cherry Pie Dreams, Christmas Venison

Nov. 27, 1944

I received your letter of Nov. 6th. It’s getting hard to find time for my correspondence.  I usually write your letters on Sunday if I have one to answer, but this time I just couldn’t squeeze yours in as I had some laundry to do after supper.

I’ll bet the old ears of corn are really bumping into the wagons back there now, unless everyone is finished shucking corn and I doubt it very much.  I imagine that you folks have yours about finished though.

It sounds good to hear someone talk of canning fruit.  We get canned fruit, but no near as much as I could eat, especially during hot weather when I don’t eat so much of other things.  Our usual fruit diet is pineapple, fruit cocktail, peaches, pears, apple sauce or apple pie and occasionally cherry pie.  I hope you have some cherries all canned just waiting to be made into a nice, luscious pie.  I have hopes of eating some of those home cooked pies before too many more months.

cherry pieFreshly baked cherry pie

I never did learn to eat sweet potatoes.  They have them once in a while for chow.  Neither can I go for these dehydrated spuds.  This dehydrating process is a failure as far as I am concerned.  I’ll take my food prepared the old-fashioned way.  It’s possible I might get to eat some of that beef.  It’s been a long time since I’ve had any good corn-fed beef.  I sure wish that I could have seen the twins [calves].  I’ll bet they were cute.

Your hens are making a few dollars for you now.  Forty three cents a dozen sounds better that twenty.

I guess Uncle George hates giving up the place.  He’ll sure miss the farm chores although, I guess Aunt Minnie will find enough for him to run him ragged.  Next summer they’ll probably take care of all the neighbor’s gardens.

Dorothy said that she took the kids out to the Pitman sale for dinner.

I’m surprised to hear that Floyd and Nellie [Rigsbey] are moving off Bill’s place.  I’ll bet that Bill is upset.  I suppose they wanted a better way out.  Is little Bill old enough to go to school already?  Maybe they’re just getting set.  What’s Clarence Dowland doing now?  I heard that Myrtle was in the hospital.  She was always so healthy looking and full of pep.

Yes, I voted, but I don’t know whether it was legal or not, as one of the fellows from Chicago got his ballot back today.  I sent mine to the county clerk,so that may make a difference.  Anyway, I tried.

I had a surprise today in a letter from Ab [Albert] Wilson.  He was in Belgium when he wrote it.  He didn’t say anything about anything there, but just inquired about Dorothy and old times together that we naturally think of while we are far away from home.  I had written him a letter and he got it while he was still in England.  He seems to be getting around quite a bit.  In that respect he’s doing better than I.

I’m expecting some of my Christmas packages any day now, as some of the fellows have received theirs already.

It’s getting close to bedtime, which seems to roll around awfully fast.  So, I’ll have to close for this time.  I’m well and hope you are both the same.

V-Mail Christmas Card to Mom from Burma 1844Dad’s V-Mail Christmas card to Mom

Dec. 4, 1944

I received your Christmas card and your letter of Nov. 14th.  I wrote a letter to Gene Parker using the address you sent me.  I also heard from Ab Wilson last week and I answered his letter.  He was in Belgium when he wrote the letter.  He didn’t say much about anything over there, but just talked about old times and discussed some of the fellows in the service.

Editor’s note:  Ab [Albert] Wilson, was Mom’s cousin.  When we visited the Wilson farm as a child, the place seemed beset by tragedy.  His father, Bruce Wilson, passed away, leaving his mother a widow.  Ab Wilson returned from duty in Europe after the war, lived with his mother, never seemed to make a go at anything.  The house and farm slowly deteriorated, until their deaths.

I’m glad to hear that you’ve been having nice fall weather.  That should give the farmers a chance to get their corn out of the field.  I suppose when the weather does break, it’ll really be rough.  How’s Mr. Kallal getting along?  Ed mush be having a time trying to keep things going.

I’ll bet that it looks quite a bit different around the house there now, with those trees cut out.  I imagine it does make it quite a bit lighter inside the house.

You don’t need to worry, as I’m still interested in farming and intend to do some of if I ever get out of the army.  Even if I should get out during the middle of a year, I imagine that I could find plenty of work to do to keep me going until the following spring when I could rent me a farm.

I expect I’ll need plenty of help when I first start in for myself because it’s been so long ow that I’ve probably forgotten a lot of things and I can use some advice on a few things.

It looks now like I’ll get home for a furlough sometime the fore part of the year.  If things don’t change a lot between now and then, I’ll probably have to go over for another two years.  That part I hate to think of.

I haven’t heard from Dorothy yet, since she received the flowers.  I’ve been expecting to hear of it.  I received an anniversary card which was awfully sweet.  (Of course I’d think so).  From your description, it sounds like what you ordered should have been a nice bouquet.

Dorothy told me she wore glasses now.  She kept talking about that she thought she needed them and I told her by all means get them, it she needed them, because a person should take care of their eyes when they’re young.  I have to depend on my glasses all the time now.  My eyes bother me too much if I don’t wear them.

It sounds like the horses you’re working must be awfully cagey.  I’ll never forget the time the old gray and black mares of Uncle George’s ran away with me one fall when I was shucking corn.  I was lucky to not break anything.  You should have a nice lot of corn if you haul from the other place.

I hope you’ll excuse my scribbling this letter as I’m writing it rather hurriedly in order to get it done before bedtime  We had a meeting tonight and after that, I had a chance to get my haircut.  Barbers are hard to find over here at the present–anyway, the tools are the scarcest.  I certainly needed a haircut as the hair was growing down my tail bone–as you used to say.

Hope to hear from you again soon.

Dec. 10, 1944

This is a nice peaceful Sunday morning.  We get Sunday mornings off instead of afternoons.  A person can sleep now all morning if he wants to, but I’d rather get up as there is always something or other i have to do.  I was on KP yesterday and I had enough time to wash out some things.  We can hire our laundry done by some natives, but if a person has them wash everything, it doesn’t pay.  It runs into too much money.  They don’t do a very good job on white clothes and often times lose handkerchiefs and socks.  Consequently, I wash out the socks and handkerchiefs and sometimes shorts myself, and let them wash coveralls, shirts and pants that are dirtier.

I got Christmas cards from Aunt Catherine and Aunt Mary T. [Trill] this week.  Uncle John and Aunt Catherine are in Jefferson City, Mo. now as the card was postmarked such.

I received your letter of Nov. 19th this week.  So Clyde Lee is a baker now?  I had the impression that he was a supply sgt.  I don’t know why I thought that, except for what someone said in a letter.  It seems that store clerks turn out to be cooks when they get in the army.

It seems strange for some of these young guys to be getting married, but they’re getting at the age now where they do such things.  Howard, Bob Kallal, & Peachy [Edwin] Leach will be 24 their next birthday.  They are six years younger than I, and that’s hard for me to realize that age is creeping up on me.

I’m glad to hear that you almost finished with the work.  I guess it’s been a good fall to get things done.

It sounds like there are going to be lots of farms for rent next spring.  I wonder where they are going to find renters for them?  It looks to me like all the farmers now have all they can handle without taking on any more.  If i get home next spring on furlough, I wonder what chance I’ll have of working my way out of the army, and back on the farm.  It looks to me like, they are going to have to let some of the men out to take up the farming that the older men are retiring from.  If they don’t, they are going to have lots of farms laying idle pretty soon.

Editor’s note:  Farming wasn’t mechanized, it was still labor intensive.  Draft animals were widely used.  It was no wonder those on the home front felt the additional strain.

Olin Trill has quit Uncle Pete to start trapping.  Some people don’t realize that there is a war going on.  Some day though they are liable to realize it, especially if it lasts another two or three years, which it looks like it might do.  Uncle Pete is going to have his hands full, looks like.  If he should have a sick spell again, he would be up against it.

P. S. Dorothy went wild over the roses.  Thanks a million.

rose bouquet

Dec. 17, 1944

Her it is Sunday morning again and is a nice day as usual this season of the year.  I just got back from church service which we had in our mess hall.  It is the first time I’ve gone since I’ve been up here.  It’s the first time we’ve had church in our own area.  I should be able to make it every Sunday now.

I received your letter of Nov 27th in yesterday’s mail.  John Flowers is the first loss of the men in the service from right around home, I guess, as I’ve never heard of any others so far.  I’m sorry you don’t hear from me regular.  I write every week.  I’ve been hearing from you weekly now for quite a while.  I’ve gotten several letters from Dorothy this week, but for about two weeks before, I only got one letter and a card from her.

I got a Christmas card from Aunt Katherine and Uncle John.  I also got cards this week from the Hounsleys (both) Mr. & Mrs. Bruce Wilson [Ab Wilson’s parents] (they attached a note saying it was about time I was coming home), and from Aunt Mary Trill.

Dorothy sent me the picture this week of you two standing by the new brooder house.  She said that she had sent it to me several months ago, but I guess the letter got lost as I never received it.  So she sent me another, and this time I got it.  It looks like quite a fancy brooder house.  You both look about the same.  Mom, you’re not getting any thinner and you, Dad aren’t getting any fatter.  Ha!

img011

Grandma’s new brooder house

You are probably having genuine winter weather now.  I wonder if you’ll have a white Christmas this year?  Yo;u should have the cribs bulging with corn now.  Is Uncle Val buying corn for Dowland?

I’m glad that you got to go to a nice turkey dinner for Thanksgiving.  It would have been kind of lonesome if you’d had to stay at home.  I hope that I can be home next year at that time.

It seems strange to think of Ed Kallal as a family man, but I guess it happens sooner or later to everybody.

If Uncle George moves the brooder house to town, the next thing they’ll start raising chickens again.  Aunt Minnie will find some excuse to do it.

We just had mail call, but I didn’t get anything today.  I can’t be fortunate every day and get mail though.  Mail call is one of the most important events of the day over here.

I’m sure getting homesick.  I have high hopes of getting back there in the spring.  That’s the best time of year to get back there, only I believe I’d be satisfied to go anytime.

It’ll be chow time in about forty minutes and I’m sure hungry.  I could sure go some nice fried chicken with cherry pie for dessert.  A nice juicy steak would sure taste good.  I don’t know what there is for chow, but it sure smelled good while ago when I walked by the kitchen.

So long for this time.

Dec. 25, 1944

Merry Christmas!  It is almost over for another year.  I started out the day with sunrise church service.  Then I had lb reakfast and worked till noon.  I had the afternoon off.

I did pretty good today on mail.  I got four letters and five cards inclluding your card and letter.  I had cards from all three Horn girls and one from Kallals.  It made me feel full of the Christmas spirit.

We had Deer meat for dinner that some of the boys killed while out hunting.  Tonight we had canned chicken and ham which sure tasted good.

According to reports, you must be having a white Christmas back there along with some cold weather.

I’m glad to hear that you got your standing corn out of the field before bad weather started.  It sounds like you are gong to have everything full of corn by the time you are through with the shock corn.  That’s what looks good on the farm though–all the cribs full of golden corn.

Stock cattle must be awfully high now.  It’s going to be sort of a gamble unless the price holds up good in the spring.  Your hogs should bring a few dollars when you sell them.  I guess you’ve bought corn to feed them.

You say you have four horses and mules to feed.  Do you mean you have two horses and two mules or four horses and two mules?  I didn’t know you had any mules.  I hope that you can hang onto four of the best ones until I get home in the spring (which I hope to do) and find what I can do, or whether I’ll have to go overseas again.  I’m hoping that I can get out of the army and take up at home where I left off.

I’m in good health and am sweating out the remainder of my time over here.

Write often.

PS:  I don’t remember whether I told you or not that I received your package and thanks a lot.  I got one from the farm bureau since.

Jan. 1, 1945

Here it is a brand new year.  I have high expectations of this year.  I’m planning on doing something that I haven’t done in over two years and that is coming home.

I didn’t get a letter since your card and letter.  I postponed writing this a day, thinking maybe that a letter would come today, but decided I’d write anyway.  I try to get off at least one letter a week and more if I happen to recieve another letter in the meantime.

Tonight is show night, but I didn’t go tonight as I’d seen the picture already.  I see quite a few shows just to pass the time.

There is a show somewhere around almost every night.

From reports and letters from back there, you must be having real winter weather now.  I read reports of a blizzad htat swept across form the east coast and caused some damage.  It must be like one of the winters we had befor I came in the army when a big snow came awhile beore Christmas and the weather stayed cold and there was at least a month that the snow never melted off.

I’d sure like to see a winter through back home like that again, although it is awfully inconvenient to do farm chores.  It’d be nice though just to be there.

Since I’m figuring rather strong on being home in the spring or early summer, I’ve been wondering what chances I would have in getting out of the army and getting settled back on the farm.  I know that I can’t find out anything until I get back there, but I want to have the stage all set so that I can go into action immediately after I hit the States.  I won’t have any time to lose, because in some cases, the boys are being whisked right back overseas immediately after getting their furloughs.

What I want you to do is to find out if anything can be done about it.  Maybe the Farm Bureau could advise you.  As soon as I hit a camp back there, I’m gong to see someone that can advise me and see what they advise.  I can’t see coming back overseas for another two years, and then if the war is over having to figure on starting out on my own.  By that time, I would have in six years of service and I certainly don’t want to make a career of it.  It doesn’t seem right that some should have to devote all their time while others don’t devote any of it to the service.

Things are the same as ever over here.  There’s nothing new that I can tell you.  I hope that you are surviving the winter weather in good shape.

Editor’s note:  When was the war going to end?  Every soldier wanted the answer, nobody with a lick of sense was going to ask.  Soldiers didn’t call attention to themselves.  The army did what was convenient for the army.  Excessive griping would be met swiftly with extra duty, or gems of wisdom, “Don’t like it?”  “Then, go to the chaplain and have your TS, (tough s**t), card punched!”  It was better to keep quiet, hope the war ended sooner, rather than later.  Letters home were Dad’s only sounding board.

Author: warturoadam77p

70 year old married retired communications worker with three grown children, transplanted from the Midwest to the sunny Gulf Coast.

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