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An Education is an Education

Posted by on August 3, 2014

June 2nd & 5th, 1943. A few letters home from Dad as he is settling into things in Topeka.  On the second, he is in town and writing the letter from the YMCA-USO in Topeka. He mentions that the song “Sing Me a Song of the Islands” is playing on the jukebox in the USO and recalls seeing the movie of the same title at The Strand theater the previous year. He notes that he is sending three postcards of Topeka home with his letter acknowledging “I probably have quite a collection of postcards at home but I can make an album of them someday and have a reminder of these days.”

Post card that was sent home in Dad's letter dated June 2, 1943 showing an aerial view of Topeka Kansas.

Postcard that was sent home in Dad’s letter dated June 2, 1943 showing an aerial view of Topeka Kansas.

In acknowledging the news that Joe Miller is now in the Navy, Dad says that Joe was lucky not to get drafted into the Marines. He is also willing to let bygones be bygones with Joe as he now stands with him in service to their country, “Now that he is in the same boat with Stanley and me, I take back most of the uncomplimentary things I might have uttered against him. I do hope Eddie writes him letters as I am sure that Joe would appreciate the same as Joe Miller will feel pretty much down for about 3 weeks.” He also urges his sister to “drop Joe a line or two especially in the beginning of the service.”

He writes that “the beautiful month of May has passed” and he is not surprised that his brother in law Eddie “has the urge to fish again.” He mentions that he was glad to have the letters and newspaper clippings that Anna sent him as he was able to read them during the trip from Smoky Hill to Topeka on May 31. He also expresses a certain amount of disbelief in reading the news that his niece is about to get her first teeth commenting, “She was quite small when I left home, and may she become as beautiful as her mama when she grows up.”

On the 5th he notes that it was his day off and that he finally got into town to get his ticket to the Jeanette MacDonald concert. The ticket cost $1.12 (the equivalent of $15.44 in 2014 dollars) and his seat is to the rear of the main floor to the right center of the stage (seat NN 8). He has already arranged with the clerk who handles scheduling not to be on K.P. the night of the show.

He mentions that as he types his letter of the 5th it is 7:00 on a Saturday night and only himself and the CQ (soldier assigned as Charge of Quarter to watch the barracks) are around and very little is going on other than passing the time listening to the radio. He writes that he had CQ duty the night before and recalls that “It sure was dismal sitting in the building alone like I used to do at Interstate [Plumbing & Supply Co.] when working overtime.”

He passes along that he will “try out for the ASTP [Army Specialized Training Program] after all as soon as I find out who has charge of such things. If I don’t make the grade I will see about Ordnance OCS [Officer Candidate School] using my education at Savanna as a backing.” He notes that the plan would work best when he is stationed in one place long enough to take the required courses and that while he is in the throes of taking the courses he would have to defer any furlough that he might qualify for. In the end, he holds that “It is the uncertainty of the future that baffles me but an education is an education if I can only get it.”

Well, that it from Topeka for now. I leave you with Betty Grable singing “Sing Me a Song of the Islands “ from the 1942 movie of the same name.

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