January 19, 1943. Dad is settling into Army life in Miami Beach and his taste buds are adjusting. He is “getting along fine” and “the food here is at times somewhat better.” The big news of the day is that in the afternoon they got their gas masks and an extra summer uniform complete with summer helmets. He was also part of a group that was sent for medical tests for aerial gunner, bombardier and other flight operations. Despite the testing, the results of which he will know in a few days, he is still hoping to be assigned to the radio unit of the ground crew. He once again asks if there is any word from his brother Stanley. He reports the war news as reported in the Miami papers as Berlin continues to be pounded by allied bombs, Rommel is on the run and the Allies are 50 miles from Tripoli.
Even with all that is going on, he still has time to wax poetic and reflective as evidenced by the following paragraph: “Meanwhile, the dusk of evening is preying on the sun and the full moon is eyeing its way through the gold crimsoned clouds of nightfall. The azure blue of the sky is hazed by the 10 minute old sun shower producing a greyish tint to mix with the purple and reddish brown clouds beyond and before the gold tinted ones. The palms bow before the winds majesty and the sea at the horizon is greenishly glazed resulting in an eyefilling panorama. (I feel kind of poetic as I certainly would in a world of such proportions as this and having to face alone, unafraid and self-guided the turbulancies of this cursed world, but Stanley has done it and many others, so please don’t worry about me. Just pray as I cannot devote as much time as I would like to unless I offer all that I do to God.”
Anna writes back on the 20th after receiving Dad’s first letter from Miami Beach (dated January 16 1945, see Moon over Miami post). The big news is that she received a 6 page letter from their brother Stanley. He is now at Oxford University in Oxford, Miss for a 5-8 week course and expects to be made a Corporal soon. She notes that, “When daddy heard that Stanley is going to be Corporal his eyes shone and he smiled so satisfied and even Mama smiled happily.” Anna also reports the “Billy” is home on a 10 day furlough and that he expects to be sent abroad. She hopes and prays that the same is not in store for her two brothers.
Anna relays that Stanley wrote that the “Southern girls are so nice and like Yankee boys”. Ever the protective older sister, Anna’s comment was, “I don’t know which way they are so nice but I told Stanley to watch out for those ‘Southern gals’.” On another front, she informs Dad that she sent $15 to the Marrianhill Missions to offer up 15 Masses for their parents 25th Anniversary. She notes that in their own church $15 would only get them three Masses.
A suitcase is headed Dad’s way with a few of the essentials he requested his family send (shaving kit, underwear, handkerchiefs, towels, etc.). Also included are some sundry items, “thread, needles scissors and candy”. In response to Dad’s comment in his prior letter about writing everything in English, Anna assures him that she reads everything he sends to Ma and Pa slowly and explains everything to them. It is important to note at this point that Ma and Pa are first generation Polish immigrants with limited English Language skills. I remember when I was a teenager and we used to visit them in the 1970’s Pa spoke English fairly well, but I really don’t remember Ma speaking English too much.
Theresa Marie will be 3 months old this coming Monday, the doctor came for her checkup and she is fine. She weighs 13 pounds and “goos and coos and makes all kinds of squeaks and squeals.” She hardly ever cries.
She wraps up with, “You bet we are thinking about you fellows all the time. You just left and we are looking forward to the day when you both will come home for at least for a visit. It would be better if you would come to stay for good.”