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Going to Town

Posted by on March 30, 2016

June 24 and 27, 1944: Dad writes two relatively short letters home in the days before his 21st birthday on June 28th. He is still stationed at Topeka Army Air Base and is serving with the 270th AAF Base Unit (SW).

He writes that he had recently attended a “party for an officer of our squadron who was leaving us…” Apparently there have been numerous parties as Dad writes “With all he beer we’ve had around here lately, you sure get sick of it… The beer contains 3.2 alcohol and you have to practically drown in it before you can get drunk, but I’ve seen some fellows get drunk and a day ago I had to help one get into the barracks to his bunk.” From a historical perspective it is important to know that although Prohibition was repealed in 1933, the state of Kansas maintained its status as a “dry state” until 1948. Since, despite the efforts to some servicemen, 3.2 beer was deemed to be a non-intoxicating beverage, it was permitted to be sold in Kansas.

His thoughts turn to his cousin Eddie Morawski and his upcoming wedding. He notes that “it is kind of odd to see and hear of Eddie Morawski engaging in actual warfare at the front.” He tells his sister that she “should have a fine time at Cousin Eddie’s wedding, especially Polish style. As for Stanley and me, we’ll have to get together after the war and celebrate it then.”

Weddings aside, Dad relays an anecdote about something that happened on base. A warning here that the following paragraph is rated PG-13. “A day ago (I was told this by a fellow who saw it and was on the bus) the bus came to base with fellows returning from town and as it was passing through the WAC barracks, in full view of the bus’s lights and regardless of the bus slowing down, there was a soldier and a WAC just going to town…she with her legs in the air. Do not judge all WACs by that one, though. There are some very nice and decent WACs as there are soldiers. Don’t spread the story. I just wrote to let you know that I was not that soldier… ”  I wonder if Anna skipped over this paragraph when she was reading and translating the letter for mama.

Dad mentions that he received a letter from Joe Damusis and that as far as the idea of getting a pass and getting together with Joe, he will “…think the proposition over and see what arrangements we could make.”

He writes in his letter of the 27th that “…this is probably the last letter you’ll get from me writing as a 20 yr. old. The next time I’ll be 21, voting age. I still have that card ‘Request for a War Ballot’ but what I can’t figure out is ‘Do I have to register?’ …there’s too darn much string and red tape that I don’t understand. I guess I’ll talk it over with the clerk in the Wing Judge Advocate’s office. I know him very well.”

He also mentions that he received a notification form the Post Office on base that there is a package waiting for him that came from Albany. He writes, “I didn’t have time to get there today as I received the notification after 5PM today. Tomorrow is June 28th and I’ll go see what there’s to it. No doubt it must be from you…and when I get it I’ll give you further details.”

Before closing he writes, “I wish I had more to write about but I just haven’t anything…on my furlough. Excuse this short letter then.”

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