A MEMORIAL DAY SALUTE

A Memorial Day salute to those that served–and to those that currently serve in the Armed Forces of the United States of America.
We did our duty when called upon.

In my own experience–it wasn’t always without complaint. Truth shouldn’t be embellished, hidden, or ignored. War is playing for keeps. There are lasting scars–not all of them visible.

In humble remembrance, these mementos are of veteran family members from WWII and the Vietnam era.

dad's cousin
Dad’s cousin, MIA after the Indianapolis was torpedoed by a Japanese submarine. The Indianapolis delivered components for the atomic bombs that struck Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

dad wwii
My Dad with his “Deuce and a half” WWII truck on maneuvers in the California desert. If you look closely, there’s a lizard on the truck’s fender. Perhaps Dad adopted a new mascot?  Dad served overseas in China, India, and Burma.

uncle wwii
My Uncle Harvey US Navy WWII veteran, served in the Pacific Theater. My mother and Uncle Harvey had a close relationship, since they were the youngest members of the family.

my usaf picture
A picture of yours truly in my USAF uniform. I served during the Vietnam era.  I didn’t do anything special–served in the 322 CSG, Rhein Main AB, Germany.  To those that didn’t get a proper welcome–Welcome Back!

 

IN GOOD TIMES AND BAD TIMES (THEIR SONG)

wwii dancesThat’s all servicemen and women wanted–respite from harsh realities of war.  Reminders of home came in different forms–movies, USO shows, books, and music.  Music, sweet big-band music, assured that all was well.  There was still a place called home and someday this madness would end.

Nino Temple and April Stevens did a sixties cover version of “Deep Purple.”  Like, just about every aspiring guitar player, I aspired to master Deep Purple’s “Smoke on the Water.”  Coincidentally, the rock group adopted “Deep Purple” as their name.  My mother didn’t particularly like top-forty rock music–mostly ignored it.  Dad simply dismissed all rock music as “noise.”

It wasn’t cool for rebellious teenagers to like their parent’s music and vice versa.  Big bands and swing music characterized the previous generation just as rock did for my generation.  Mom mentioned that “Deep Purple”–as sung by Helen Forrest to the accompaniment of the Artie Shaw Band, was one of her favorites.  Then, she sang along with the April Stevens and Nino Temple version playing on my transistor radio.  She remembered every word–I was stunned!  This would remain our little secret.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

deep purple

“Deep Purple,” by Helen Forrest album cover

Lest my nostalgic bent get the better of me–I’ll get to the point.  What songs brought back memories for my parents?  Was “Deep Purple” their song?  Had my mother and father slow danced to the big band version of this song?  In my mind’s eye, I could picture the two of them, as they danced–gazed into each other’s eyes.  Promised their love would last forever.

Popular music of the forties wasn’t always about sweetness and romance.  Several popular tunes had darker meanings.  For example: “Flat Foot Floogie” and “Minnie the Moocher” were about unsavory characters.  The original title “Flat Foot Floozy” was changed to something deemed more appropriate.  There were several wonderful novelty songs, among them, “Three Little Fishes,” “Cement Mixer,” “Swinging on a Star.” The latter, my mother sang to me as a child.

My mother sang and played piano.  At family singalongs voice quality was secondary to enthusiastic participation.  It’s funny how music brings back memories–of people, places, events, moods–even smells.  “That’s What Friends Are For,” was written by Burt Bacharach and Carole Bayer Sager, for the Disney movie “Fox and Hound.”  The song is perhaps best remembered in a benefit performance by Dionne Warwick, Elton John, Gladys Knight, and Stevie Wonder during the mid-eighties.

–Keep smiling, keep shining
Knowing you can always
Count on me
For sure
That’s what friends are for
For good times and bad times
I’ll be on your side forever more
That’s what friends are for–

“For good times and bad times–I’ll be on your side forever more.”  Those words, described my mother’s giving spirit–she’d been a war bride, teacher, mother to four children, and a good friend.  These words comforted me, after her death in January of 1986–and applied to the greatest generation.  Through good times and bad times they pulled through.  Most importantly, they left the world a better place for having been here.

DAILY PROMPT: BOOKWORMS

“Grab the nearest book.  Open it and go to the tenth word.  Do a Google Image Search on the word.  Write what the image brings to mind.”

Photographers, artists, poets show us BOOKS.” 

“BATTLE”

battle ww2 peleliuA picture, from a dusty old book
Depicted war in the South Pacific
Some seventy years, had gone by
Since that day, when
The sun barely shone
Through smoke and debris
No birds sang, nothing was green
Only desolation and devastation
As far, as the eye could see

Two, battle weary
Marines, hunkered down
Cradled, weapons
Their, only true friends
Dared, anything to move
Somehow, through this
Apocalyptic madness
Why, were they still there
When, others had perished?
Sentimentality, wasn’t an option
Another day, among many
That never seemed to end

Ward Cleaver Didn’t Live Here

Clyde & his boys 1954 (2)A black and white picture depicted a visit to Grandfather’s farm.  The year, was 1954, or possibly earlier–earlier, because my younger brother, Jerry (on the left), appeared to be very young.  He was born in 1951, and I dare say, he couldn’t have been older than two.  My sister, wasn’t born until 1954.  I’m posed in the middle, appropriately, since I was the middle child.  My precocious big brother, George, went through a patriotic phase.  In pictures, he either saluted military style, or held his hand over his heart.  I was impatient, couldn’t stand still–wanted the picture-taking nonsense to cease.

Dad was a WWII veteran, a member of the “greatest generation.”  …Toughened by hardships of the great depression.  He was a man of principle with firm religious convictions–a born-again Christian.  We attended church regularly mid-week and on Sundays.  Dad was a strict disciplinarian based upon, “Spare the rod, spoil the child.”  The “rod of correction” was applied liberally to my backside during childhood.  My father’s conservative republican political leanings contrasted with my grandfather’s being a staunch democrat.

In the early fifties, dad felt called to the ministry.  We moved first, to Greenville, Illinois and then to Canton, Ohio.  Father took classes at nearby Greenville College in preparation for work at the “Volunteers of America” in Ohio.  Later, we moved back to Illinois where Dad resumed farming with my Grandfather.  There were several overnight trips taken, back to Illinois from Ohio, in our blue, ’54 Ford four-door sedan.  Dad drove the entire trip, my baby sister, Marsha slept in mother’s arms in the front seat; I slept on the floor behind the front seat; my brother George slept on the back seat; Jerry slept on the rear window ledge.  A service station attendant got a big kick out of this.  This, I realize, would be frowned upon today.

Clyde Planting corn in field just north of Hicks House.

Father seemed happiest when farming.  There was always an ever-present smile of satisfaction across his face.  During the years, he had several second jobs to make ends meet.  Mom resumed her teaching career shortly after we moved back to Illinois.  Dad, like others of his generation, was self-sufficient.  Mom, wasn’t always pleased with his utilitarian home repairs–form always followed function.  Our first decent place of residence, wasn’t realized, until we moved into Grandfather’s farmhouse.  It had indoor plumbing–unlike our previous three places of residence.  This seemed to especially please my mother.

Clyde & Dorothy Adam Family 1955

In this 1955 family portrait, my sister Marsha was just a toddler.  I’m on the front row, left, Jerry is to the far right, George is on the back row, center.  Our family life wasn’t anything like TV sitcom portrayals.  Mom didn’t putter around the kitchen in a starched white apron, while Dad relaxed in the living room with his feet propped up, waiting for the evening meal.  Mom and Dad’s responsibilities weren’t nine-to-five, Monday through Friday.  During the long days of summer, Dad didn’t get in from the fields, till sometimes eight or nine.  Mom balanced duties as a teacher, farm wife, household manager, and was mother to four children.  Everybody pitched in to help.  George filled in as substitute chef when mom attended night classes.  I doubt if the “Brady Bunch” could have kept up.  It was no wonder my parents were always tired.

On a cold January night in 1986, my phone rang in the early morning hours.  It was Dad, his voice quivered with emotion–as he searched for meaning.  Our mother, his lifetime companion, had been suddenly taken away.  The sense of loss overwhelmed, like a tidal wave.  Mom was a stabilizing force that held the family together.  Mom balanced dad’s rigidity–she was always the mediator.  Dad carried on as family patriarch, but never again found the same love and companionship.

My parents hadn’t always agreed on family issues.  Decisions made, whether popular or not, were always made in our best interest.  One fatherly admonition, “If I broke the law and landed in jail, I could stay there.”  The neighbors were alerted to watch for indiscretions behind the wheel–or anywhere else.  I was afraid of the consequences, should I get caught.  In the end, I knew that I was loved.  The years passed too quickly.  Dad contracted a terminal illness and passed away at home on October 27, 1995.  I’d, beforehand, had the privilege of telling him how much he meant to me.  His life was an example of strong Christian faith–as was my mother’s.

One of my favorite memories, is of him driving the family to church, sporting a gray fedora hat.  He never drove over fifty.  I guess he figured that God knew his intentions and would wait.  He was a strict disciplinarian, but had a softer side, observed on quiet mornings, when no one was around.  There he sat, gently stroking the fur of one of our many pet cats and kittens.  He stayed true to his beliefs, through thick and thin, right through to the end.

Perhaps Dad had been too strict–didn’t show enough affection?  Perhaps, this, or perhaps that, should have been different?  Heaven’s the only final authority that matters.  I wish he were still here, in good health, telling corny jokes and making horrible puns.  I’ve passed on the tradition.  His spirit lives on, within me–something reminds me of him everyday.

DAD’S WWII LETTERS: Chapter 24, Home’s Where the Heart Is, Post War Reflections

  • Editor’s note:  Cynical GI’s claimed “C.B.I.” [China-India-Burma] stood for “Confusion Beyond Imagination.”  My father headed home, further indignities didn’t matter.  The army became a blurred memory–the incredibly inedible rations, long duty hours, KP and guard duty.  Dad’s thoughts about his letters, “I know my letters make dull reading other than knowing that I’m alive and still kicking.”  He probably wouldn’t want his letters published.  These stacks of old letters represented thousands of “Pismo Petes,” “Harry Grants,” others with families that worried, prayed for good news–members of the “greatest generation.”

History of 115th Ordnance (Medium Maintenance) Company

History of Dad's Company 1

  • Questions:  I wondered if Dad [like myself] had recurring dreams of being back in the military?  Was the story about my father taking a Jeep from the motor pool to a picture show, and it being stolen, true?  There was no corroborating evidence.  Had he hitchhiked and taken a wild eighty mile per hour ride, from Chicago, in a Chrysler Airflow down Route 66?  That could have been true, since Dad was inducted at Ft. Sheridan, near Chicago.

Honorable discharge record 1945Dad’s discharge record

  • Questions answered:  The return trip took twenty-eight days compared to forty-one days for the trip over.  Dad arrived stateside June 22, 1945.  He was officially discharged at Ft. Custer, Michigan [near Battle Creek] on Oct. 1, 1945.  More questions–medical records showed Yellow Fever contracted in March 5, 1942–a year before overseas deployment?  Mom was five-foot two.  Dad was five-foot three?  …Records center screwups?  What happened to Dad’s campaign ribbons?  Fred Bratton, Dad’s army buddy, made several visits during my childhood.  When my mother passed away in 1986, Dad sought the company of his old army buddy.

Clyde at Chesterfield after war 1945Dad, at home, summer 1945

Clyde & Dorothy Adam at Chesterfield in 1945 after war.Mom & Dad at ChesterfieldFred Bratton & Clyde Adam stateside in 1945Dad and Fred Bratton stateside

  • Favorite pictures:  The pictures reprised below, captured the essence of my father.  The picture of Dad with an adopted dog mascot.  My father looked contented in the picture with his truck.  He was a stickler for proper maintenance of vehicles and machinery.  He wouldn’t accept excuses or shortcuts.

Clyde & dog in India

Clyde near his truck.

  • Similarities & Contrasts:  I had more in common with my father than I realized.  My opinions of military life were the same.  I shared his feelings of being left behind, while the world at home went on.  We served just about the same amount of time overseas.  That’s where the similarity ended.  I can never hope to understand what it was like–living in tents and bamboo huts in wartime Burma and India.
  • Man of his word:  My father was a man of his word in all aspects of life.  I can now, understand more fully, Dad’s refusal to join family camping outings–not even for picnics.  His response, “I camped more than I cared to in the Army.”  
  • Mementos: tucked away in the pages of his diary.  A souvenir inscribed Chinese 10 Yuan bank-note [mentioned in Chapter 22].  Some Japanese occupation paper currency.  A newspaper clipping announced his marriage.  The names and addresses listed below.

Claude A. Kinzel
Rt. #3
Long Prairie, Minn.

Harry Grant
825 2nd Ave. No.
9th St.
Staples, Minn.

Wm. Starr
126 Clarensdale Ave.
Youngstown, Ohio

Willard H. Wagner
167 Halstead St.
Harvey, Ill.

Kenneth Schwittan
3412 N. 10th St.
Milwaukee, Wisc.

Wedding Photo 11.14.1942From the Springfield, IL “State Journal Register

Carlinville, May 6, ’43–Mrs. Nancy Clark is announcing the marriage of her daughter, Dorothy, to Pvt. Clyde F. Adam, son of Mr. and Mrs. George Adam of Chesterfield.  The ceremony was performed Nov. 14, 1942, at Palmyra, Mo., by Rev. C. Dorris.

Mrs. Adam is a graduate of Blackburn College and for the last three years has taught Albany school near Chesterfield.  At present she is employed by Owens-Illinois glass Co. at Alton.

Private Adam was engaged in farming before entering the armed forces.  He is now serving overseas.   

Japanese Occupation Money (Front)Japanese occupation currency [front]Japanese Occupation Money (Back)Japanese currency [back]Noumea, New Caledonia visited by Clyde Adam en route to India 1943Picture of New Caledonia [port of call not mentioned in letters]

WWII Poem, clipped from “Illinois State Journal-Register” 

img018

In Remembrance:  Chesterfield, Illinois, population 300, was barely a spot on the map.  This little town with a big heart gave its finest young men and women–four, listed below, made the ultimate sacrifice.  Here’s a list of names inscribed on the veteran’s memorial in front of the Chesterfield United Church.

–John K. Flowers–Robert Jacoby–Leonard Stone–Earl J. Wheeler– 

img017From 12-1-1946 Veteran’s Memorial Dedication

“In memory and in honor of these eighty-three citizens of this community, who served the nation in the armed forces of the United States of America, the Daughters of Dorcas Sunday School Class of the United Church, solicited the willing support of the entire community for the purchase of the two white marble benches, which now and forever, shall stand on the church grounds, eternal symbols of the gratitude and high honor in which these names are held”  

  • Names mentioned in letters:  John K. Flowers, Harvey Crowder, Ansel Dowland, Wendell Dowland, Theodore Hall, Harold Huyear, Floyd Nixon, Eugene [Gene] Parker, *George Parker, Esther Parker, Armin Rigsbey, Leo M. Rigsbey, Russell Scott, Albert Wilson, Kenneth Woods
  • Afterthoughts:  The black tapestries embroidered with silver thread, a silver bracelet, souvenirs from a strange-named place called the Taj Mahal didn’t mean anything to me when I found them in Mom’s cedar chest.  They were mere curiosities to a young boy meddling where he had no business.  Now, they represent treasured memories from almost seventy years ago.
  • Memories of “greatest generation” WWII veterans will fade away–if we let them.  We all know what happened in WWII.  The enemies were defeated, the world was made safer.  It’s important to remember why.  I set out to tell the story of one soldier’s contribution to the war effort in jungles of India and Burma.  I’ve gained a new appreciation for his sacrifices made in service to our country.
  • Acknowledgements:  George F. Adam Sr., brother, for access to pictures, documents from Adam family archives.  Ray Parker, hometown friend, [son of *George Parker], for newspaper clipping with poem, veterans memorial information.
  • Other Favorite WWII Blogs:  notsofancynancy–father’s war experiences told from letters home, No. 23 Squadron–about an RAF Mosquito squadron, “Greatest generation” Life Lessons–story of an ordinary family trying to live ordinary lives during an extraordinary time frame…, Pacificparatrooper–Pacific war era information     

DAD’S WWII LETTERS: Chapter 23, Roosevelt Era Ends, V-E Day

fdr's death

April 15, 1945

I’ll answer your letter of March 25th now. Today was another Sunday with the afternoon off.

It was too bad about the death of Pres. Roosevelt. Truman has quite a job ahead of him, now. I sure hope he’s capable of doing the job.

I haven’t learned much about typing. There’s a lot of difference typing out an address and typing a whole letter. Dorothy knows how to type though, and if the necessity ever calls for it, she can do my typing.

I wouldn’t mind taking a short course on farming after I get out of the army and before I start farming. I could do that in the winter when I couldn’t do anything else. I could work and earn a little as long as I could, if I’m free during the summer and fall months.

I’m afraid that the 300 dollars I get when I’m discharged, won’t do much more than buy my clothes as I’ll have to have a complete outfit. Then, too, I’ll have to convert my insurance which will probably take some time. I think I’ll have it changed to 20 year pay and then the money would come about right for the kid’s education, if there are any.

I sure want to stay in the States when I get there, and I intend to do everything I can to get to stay.

Right around here I haven’t noticed many flowers yet. things were torn up so bad, that if there were any tame flowers, they wouldn’t be here now. Wild orchids grow in some regions around here.

I’m glad you got the birthday present in time since I sent money to Dorothy to have her get you something and it just got there a few days ahead of time. Sixty isn’t so old nowadays if a person takes care of himself.

By the time you get this letter, I think the war in Germany will be over. That should make quite a difference in everything. Maybe by the time I get home, things will be sort of loosened up back there.

Well, that’s about all for this time, I guess. Everything is fine over here, except the heat.

April 21, 1945

I received your letter of the 2nd a day or two ago, but I waited until my regular time to write.

Tonight is the kind of night when a person is glad he has a roof over his head. Otherwise he’d get rather wet.

I wonder if you are still having rains? If not, I imagine everybody is busy with gardens and getting ready for corn. It’s hard for me to realize that another planting time has rolled around. I sure hope that by next year this time I’m home for corn planting or nearby.

I guess I’ll get to see the crop this year anyway, even though I won’t get to see it put in. Maybe I’ll be there in time to run a cultivator a time or two. I want to eat some of that fried chicken. If you have any strawberries, put a few away in the locker so I can get a taste of them.

I’m sorry to hear about Mr. Sawtell. He was getting pretty well along in years, I guess. There have sure been a lot of deaths around Chesterfield since I’ve been overseas.tree grows in bklynI’m glad that you two get out once in a while and see a show. I’d think you could go a little more often as you haven’t so many responsibilities now. I saw “Meet Me in St. Louis” over here a while back. It was a fairly good show. I want you to go see the show, “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn,” because it’s very good. I read the book around Christmas and then saw the show about a month ago.

Uncle George and Aunt Minnie are pretty spry yet, I guess, if they still go to the show. I guess the “kids” take them. I don’t imagine that Greene or the other fellow living on the Gahr place, cares much about them carrying off stuff either, after giving up possession. It wold take a lot of nerve, looks to me like, for anyone to try to do that.

meet me in stl

If Uncle Val [Gahr] and Dowland haven’t any money now to pay for feed, they never will. They should have it now, if ever.

I’ll bet things are pretty around there now.

Bill Dams didn’t stay overseas very long, it seems like, but I guess he saw plenty of action while he was there.

I’ll close for this time. Hope you are well.

April 29, 1945

I have your letters of the 8th and 15th to answer tonight as they both came since I wrote you last.

I’ll keep writing you letters as long as I can, but I don’t think there’s any need for you to write me anymore as I more than likely will no longer be at this address when you get this letter. Now, don’t get excited about my coming home, as I don’t think I’ll be there before the last of June or the first part of July.

There sure have been lots of rumors coming over the air today, but so far most of them have proved to not have any foundation. The first thing this morning, we heard that Germany had surrendered and later found that they hadn’t, but had only asked for it. I don’t suppose it’ll be long, though, before they’ll actually be out of the picture, whether they ask for peace or not. There isn’t much left of Germany anymore that the Allies haven’t run over.

I was out to see Russell Scott this afternoon. I told that it would likely be the last time I’d see him for a while.

I’m surprised that you didn’t butcher any pork this year. It’s been a long time since you’ve never butchered a hog during the winter, hasn’t it?

There sure have been a lot of deaths around Chesterfield lately. I sure was surprised to hear of the death of Florence Reesor, as she was so young. Gertrude is going to be tied down now with those three kids.

So Clarence Dowland and Hazel finally got married. They sure waited a long time.

I hardly recognized Harold Huyear in the picture you sent me. I suppose after four years, one forgets faces that he wasn’t too familiar with. There’ll probably be a lot of people around home that I won’t know. Especially the kids that have grown up will be strangers.

I’m over the cold and sore throat OK now. I’m going to be awfully bad off if they can keep me from coming home.

It looks like Uncle Pete is having his share of tough luck now. He’s going to have a tough time of it this summer with no man if he’s still trying to farm the Wooley place.

May 13, 1945

Here it is another Mother’s Day in India. I believe it makes about the third one over here.

I’m sure sweating it out here as the weather is sure hot. I’m waiting for (censored).

I should be back in the States by sometime in (July). It’ll probably be hot back there too by then.

Well, now that the war in Europe is over, things should loosen up a bit back there in the States.

VE DayHeadlines announced V-E Day

Some of the luckier ones will get discharged, bit I guess I’ll be stuck for the duration. If I’d been in a combat outfit, I’d probably be getting out of the army by now.

I hope you have plenty of fryers as I’m going to want plenty of fried chicken.

I’m going to be plenty hungry as it’s too hot to eat here and I’ll lose weight.

I hope to be seeing you before too long.

Editor’s note:  That was Dad’s last overseas letter.  Exact details of his departure weren’t available.  Would things go according to plan?  After being away from home for so long, a little more inconvenience wouldn’t be a big deal.  Return transportation took time–probably less time than the trip over.  There’s more to come in the concluding chapter.

DAD’S WWII LETTERS: Chapter 21, Spring, Friends From Home

March 4, 1945

Here it is March and usually back there this time of the year a person on the farm thinks of farm work.  I wonder if your winter weather has let up?  This is the month usually for lots of wind.  Over here the days are getting where a person doesn’t need any blankets.  The flowers are beginning to bloom.  The vegetation seems to be coming out of its winter dormant stage.  Even though it’s green all winter, the vegetation doesn’t grow much, although the native to grow vegetables, etc.

This is my morning off and I had to work this afternoon.  Things were kind of slow though, and there wasn’t so much to do.  Last Sunday afternoon, Russell Scott came over and we had quite a visit talking over our experience in the army and of old times.  He lacks almost a year having been overseas as long as I.  He is a medic attached to another outfit–in other words he’s on D. S.

I received your letter of Feb 12th the first of the week shortly after your letter of the week before.

You’re sure having quite a time moving chicken houses and fences for your chickens.  I can’t see why you don’t slow on the chicken raising.  I think you’ve raised your share and it’s about time you took things easier.Dad’ll probably have about all he’ll want to do to keep the place going.

Forty dollars for 30 hens is a fairly good price.  I can remember when an old hen wouldn’t bring a dollar.

raising chickensRaising chickens

I’m surprised that Olin G. [Gahr] has lost interest in the farm.  I thought he bought a small place out there near the home place.  I understand he’s running a tavern now.  I guess a person can make money at that racket if he has the right location.  I’m a little doubtful about that now, though.

What did Gov. Green have to say about the returning veterans?  I sort of doubt though, if we can get ahead of those that have stayed behind as they’ve gotten their start during prosperity.

I would like to take a short course of schooling on modern farming methods the winter before I go into farming in the spring, if possible, and it doesn’t cut too deep into our savings.

It looks like the Government is going to make it possible for a returning veteran to borrow money at a reasonable rate of interest.  I’ll have to borrow some probably to get set up.  A person is going to have to get off to a speedy start in order to reap some of the profits before hard times come again

Dorothy and I can furnish our home pretty good, I think.  I don’t know, but I think the war will be over by the end of next year.  Of course it depends on a lot of things on how much longer I’ll have to stay in the army.

I’m doing all right with the exception of a cold right now.  I’ve put on weight during the cool season.  I don’t know how long it’ll last thought in the hot season.  Write.

March 9, 1945

Here it is already well into March.  Spring is just around the corner.  I’ll bet the farmers are beginning to think of their spring work.  the weather is changing here too in respect to heat.

Yes, in Feb, it was a little early to think of putting in an early garden.  The trees in the orchard must be getting rather few and far between, unless you’ve set out some new stock.  Is your berry patch still in existence?

I wish I could see the cattle before they’re sold, but that’s impossible this time.  Why don’t you take a picture of them and send it to me?

You seem to be doing pretty good with your hens.  They must be bringing in between two and three dollars a day.  Of course the feed has to come out of that.  A person doesn’t notice the feed so much when it comes off the farm, but if you buy it, it eats pretty heavy into the profits.

Russell Scott’s address would have helped out a lot, if I hadn’t already seen him.  I’ll have to go see him or I may not get the chance again.

There just doesn’t seem much to write about tonight and I’m rather tired, so I’ll close for this time.

I sure hope to hear something about coming home before long.

Oh yes, I got a letter from Mrs. Kallal yesterday.

March 18, 1945

I didn’t get a letter from you this week.  I had four or five from Dorothy.  From what she said, you were still having winter weather the last part of February.

I had a letter from Wendell Dowland and he’s in England.  He seemed to be seeing the sights and enjoying his stay there.

He wanted to know if I’d been there.  I guess he doesn’t know that I missed that a long ways.

I guess by now, you’re beginning to get the spring fever, as surely as the weather had gotten milder.  Here it is the latter half of March already.  You’ve sure had a tough winter this year.  According to tradition, there should be good crops this year.

spring flowersSpring flowers

I guess, unless it’s rained by now, there’s sort of a water shortage.  My buddy, Fred B. [Bratton] said that his home town (Arthur, IL) was having a water shortage and were thinking of digging a new well.

The weather is getting warmer here.  The days are getting hotter and the nights are getting warmer.  There still isn’t any rain, except a few occasional showers.  We sure managed to get where there was a long dry season this time.  It’s the longest we’ve been dry since we’ve been over here in Asia.  Some of these days though, it’ll start raining though, I guess.  I’m hoping to get out of here before much of that.

I’m figuring on getting home in 2 or 3 months.  I don’t know for sure, but I think I will.  I’ve been over here over two years now.

Things are going about the same here.  I hope they are the same back there.  Write.

March 19, 1945

I wrote a letter last night, but since I got yours today, I’ll write another tonight.

It sounds like you did pretty good on your clover crop last year.  You must have cleaned up somewhere, if you had to pay that much income tax.  Taxes are awfully high now I guess.  I guess the sale was what made your taxes so high this time.

How are you making out on the payments on the place now?  You must have it whittled down considerably by now.  You should do fairly good on the cattle this time as you had all that corn from the other place that you otherwise wold have had to buy.

One good thing , you won’t have so much to worry about this year with the other place out of the way.  You’ll still have plenty to keep yo busy, though.  Not having any hay will help out.  Although you won’t have any to feed next winter, unless you have plenty left over from last year.

You sure won’t have much corn this time.  It’ll make a lot of difference in the corn crib, too, unless you have a good yield to make up for the acreage.  Why don’t you sow a few acres of sorghum to help fill the silo?  You could get a lot more tonnage to the acre or you cold get a special corn silo.

I’m figuring on getting home sometime this summer to look around and see how things are going.  It’s about time I was getting back.  Looks like as it was 26 months ago today since I set foot on US soil.  I hope that I can get back before it gets too hot back there and here both.  It’s already getting hot here.

How’s the old car running?  Is it still in running order?  How are the tires holding up?  I suppose that you could get more if you needed them.  Dorothy got three and has another on order at the ration board.  I’ll probably be wanting to drive it some when I get my furlough.  It’s going to be a little hard to get enough gasoline, I guess, as I hear they give only a gallon a day to soldiers on leave.  That wouldn’t be enough to make a trip a day to Carlinville and back.  Maybe you’ll have some you haven’t used by then?  Ha!

Well, that’s about all for this time.  I’m feeling fine except it’s getting too hot.

March 26, 1945

Today I had KP and that’s over again for another couple of weeks I hope.  I had planned on going to see Russell Scott yesterday afternoon as I had off, but I couldn’t get the transportation.  It’s too far to hitch–hike in half a day.

I received your letter of March 4th a few days ago.  No, I guess it doesn’t make much difference whether I send my letters free or air mail.  A person might as well send them free and save the six cents.

I guess by now, you are beginning to have spring weather as it’s getting toward the last of March.  By the time you get this, the leaves should begin to come out on the trees as I believe they do in April.  I sure hope I get home in May, as that’s always a pretty month.  Everything is always green and the weather is nice.

So you are bothered with a stiff neck, too?  I get one, too, once in a while.  The climate over here gives a person colds and such.  I’ll be glad to get out of here.  A person doesn’t get the right kind of foods either.  There’s plenty of starches, but not enough variety of fresh vegetables and fruits.  We haven’t had other than fresh fruit for a long while.  I traded some cookies out of my PX ration once for four eggs and one was spoiled.  They’ve  gotten where they won’t accept anything in exchange, but cigarettes or money and they want a preposterous price.  The trouble is some guys will pay it and then they always expect it.  Consequently, I just do without.

I and another fellow visited a native village yesterday afternoon, and the natives were friendly.  They gave us a cup of tea and the head man showed us some pictures of his family.  We couldn’t converse with them as we couldn’t understand each other’s language.  He understood only a few words of English and we didn’t understand any Shan.  Their homes are made of woven bamboo and grass.  They moved out there in these places during the invasion.  They had bomb shelters to go to during the bombing.  I was all very primitive the way they live.

It makes a person appreciate the US after seeing how these people still live like they did 2,000 years ago.  As long as they don’t know any better, I guess they are contented.  In a way, they are more satisfied with life than the average American.  He sure can’t get as much out of life, though, living that way year in and year out.  There’s never any chance for betterment.  Someday, I suppose, they’ll improve as the world grows smaller and communication improves.

April 1, 1945

Here it is the fourth Easter away from home.  I wonder how the weather is back there?  It’s hot here.  I had intended on going to church this morning, but I have a sore throat and don’t feel like eating all that dust coming and going.  I can’t seem to rid myself of colds.  For a while, I wasn’t bothered with them.  My resistance must be down.  It looks like I’ll lose the weight I gained during cool weather before I get home.  I just don’t have much of an appetite during hot weather.  I was hoping that I’d get home before it got hot back there, but it’s getting to look very doubtful.

By the time you get this, the leaves should be out on the trees and the grass green.  That’s always a pretty time of year and a person feels full of ambition.  It sure isn’t like that here.

I received your letter of March 10th yesterday.  It and a V-mail from Getz was about the only mail I’ve gotten for about a week.

It seems like a lot of farmers are selling and cutting down on farming.  There should be a lot of farms to rent when the boys come home.  The first one there will probably get the best places.

When it comes to household duties, etc.  I don’t think I’ll want anything to do with it.  Anything that reminds me of what I’ve had to do in the army, I don’t want anything to do with.

Well, there just isn’t much of anything new to talk about.  The war in Europe seems to be in the final phase.

April 11, 1945

I’ve been waiting to write thinking I’d get a letter to answer, but since I didn’t. I’ll have to write anyway.  There’s nothing new.  It’s the same old thing going on day in and day out.  I know my letters make dull reading, other than knowing that I’m still alive and kicking.  There just isn’t anything over here to tell about.

Of a morning I get up, eat breakfast, go to work, eat chow at noon, go back to work at one, quit in the evening, take a shower, eat supper and then go to a show, if there’s one, or play a game or two of ping-pong, and then settle down to writing letters or reading.

One day last week, we had six girls and some male members of a USO troupe here for dinner.  That sort of broke the monotony for the day.  It was the first time since we’d been overseas, that we’d been honored by fair guests.  That night we saw the show they put on.  It was very good.  One of the fellows in the company knew one of the girls which was the reason we happened to have them here for dinner.

USO Photo taken 1943Dad’s third from right in the last row

Editor’s note:  Were any of the six entertainers recognizeable?  I couldn’t tell from the picture.

The cooks went to a lot of trouble and made up a very nice dinner with ice cream for dessert.  I think they appreciated it as I heard afterwards, that they remarked it was the best meal they’d had since they left the states.  it was the most elaborate meal we’d had since Christmas.

I suppose everyone is busy around there now getting their spring work done.  It must be getting nice back there by now.  It’s been quite a long time now since I’ve been home to enjoy the springtime.

It doesn’t look like I’ll get home before June or July and then, it could be later.  Some of the boys are already gone.  Some are just more lucky than others.

What kind of condition is the car in?  I’ll be needing some kind of transportation when I do get home.  Dorothy has been having lots of trouble with her car this winter.  After they get so old, they need so much work done on them.  Now, it’s pretty hard to get anyone to do things like that, no matter how minor they are.

Well, that’s all I can think of this time.  Write.