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Expecting a Little Too Much

Posted by on January 16, 2016

March 21 and 24, 1944: Two letters home to Albany from Dad while stationed at Topeka Army Air Base with the 21st Bomb Wing. The weather in Topeka on the first full day of spring is varying widely. Dad gives his impressions of a U.S.O. show that was held on base, and he updates the family on the latest on the choir that he has joined on base. He also offers advice on how to act around the baby now that she is starting to repeat words that she hears.

Dad writes that he is suffering from a “head cold which I am sure will go away with the lousy weather we’ve had yesterday and today. It froze, rained, hailed, blew, sunshine, and did about everything within a period of 24 hours. Beautiful Kansas weather! …It’s spring now, but I guess we will, have to wait several weeks before we can really enjoy Spring.” By the time the 24th rolls around, Dad reports that his cold is subsiding and the weather is improving. “The sun is wonderful.”

In terms of on base diversions, “Last night we had a U.S.O. show and it was O.K. but nothing unusual. They had a dancer, some acrobatics and jokes. The also had singing during the show and the girl done alright but it wasn’t anything unusual because if they were exceptional, they no doubt could draw more dough at a night club and perhaps wouldn’t be coming around under the auspices of U.S.O.”

The choir that Dad has joined on base seems to be a bit underwhelming to him as well. Unlike back home where a music teacher is instructing the choir, the one on base seems to be a bit more informal. As Dad puts it, “The small choir they have here isn’t going as good as I expected it to, but perhaps it would have been better if we had some sort of professor who would devote part of his time from some church in Topeka and help us out. I guess that is expecting a little too much.”

Dad also writes that he is keeping up his correspondence with his brother Stanley as evidenced by the letters from Stanley that he continually sends home for safekeeping, including “a picture post card…which he must have sent me when he was in Buckingham.” Dad also writes that he sent his brother a “pocket chess game that I bought here in town” and that he is looking for some film that Stanley has asked for.

Post card image of Buckingham Palace from the postcard dad sent home with his letter dated March 21, 1944.

Post card image of Buckingham Palace from the postcard dad sent home with his letter dated March 21, 1944.

He goes on to offer some parenting advice and cautions Anna and Eddie that they have to be mindful of the words they have between themselves “seeing as how Terenia is picking up words here and there. When Terenia gets to where she understands a lot, I would advise that you cut out a little flattery on her and get her to do things in a way that she will understand they have to be done and that by doing such things she isn’t doing anything unusual and should not expect praise or be told how nice she is. Let her find enjoyment in playing with you people and kids her age rather than from false flattery, because later on no matter how simple a thing may be, she will expect it to be praised every time.”

Having fulfilled his brotherly duties in offering advice, Dad wraps up that since he has the day off, he will be “going into town with Steuve and Womack. We will probably get in some bowling.”

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