January 12 and 17, 1944. Dad writes two letters home from Topeka Army Air Base. He is back in Topeka after a few days on the road on Army business. Dad acknowledges receiving Ann’s letters dated January 4 and 6, 1944 and eventually gets her letter of January 10th but not before sharing his own unsolicited thoughts about Frank Sinatra. He also shares his opinions about the latest movies at the base theater and the news that Russia is moving into Poland. He also has his own big news about a promotion that finally came through, and spends some time reflecting about the fact that its been a whole year since his basic training in Miami Beach.
He is writing the letter dated January 12 as he is in the barracks with the rest of the guys listening to President Roosevelt on the radio. Dad notes that Roosevelt “appears rather irritated by the money-mongers in Washington.” Dad continues, “I don’t blame him since people of that type do exist. They plan to get rich at someone else’s expense.” On doing some research, it appears that the speech that Dad is referring to is Roosevelt’s January 11, 1944 State of the Union Address which the President gave from the White House as he was recovering from the flu and his doctor would not permit him to go to the Capitol to give the address to Congress.
Dad also has his complaints about the movies that are being show on base. “The movies on the Base are beginning to stink again. …Hollywood spoil[s] the pictures by too much bullshit propaganda. We know the enemy is bad but why stick it in every picture. The only good thing in the movies nowadays is the presentation of the news and color cartoons. After that, it is torture to sit through the feature presentation.”
Dad mentions Frank Sinatra, this before he would have received Anna’s January 10th letter with her less than enthusiastic review. “…they showed a preview of Frank Sinatra’s picture. The soldiers here, since Sinatra isn’t in the Army, don’t go much for him, and when Sinatra was singing in the movies, they were making the ‘swoon’ noises and laughing to beat heck.” Dad has equally harsh things to say about Sinatra’s fans. In an uncharacteristic comment, Dad writes, “The girl who actually swoons when he sings should be tied to a bed post.”
By the time the 17th rolls around, he has received Anna’s January 10th letter and comments further on the Sinatra matter, “I saw the picture Higher and Higher with Frank Sinatra, and I agree that Sinatra has a pleasing voice but I still don’t understand why the women screech over him.”
On the 17th he has an announcement to make, “Well, I finally caught up with Stanley as today…one year since being at Miami Beach, I have made Staff Sgt. I knew it was coming my way but I preferred to wait until it actually happened before writing you about it. …I’m glad I made Staff Sgt. Now when Terry grows up, you won’t be able to say ‘Unk Toni he made Sgt.,but Unk Stanley, he made Staff Sgt.’” The notice of Dad’s promotion is here.
Dad comments on the latest war news. “The Russians finally got into Poland but they don’t admit having entered into Poland, as yet. I guess that’s their way of saying that Poland is only that part which Germany had when she divided Poland up in this war.” In another part of the letter he writes, “The sooner this war gets to be over with the better it will be for all of us except the war profiteers.”
He closes with a reflective thought. “One year has passed since I’ve been in the Army and when I look back at them boot camp days at Camp Upton and Miami Beach, it sure seems funny to recall all those experiences. Perhaps someday I’ll get a chance to cross some stretch of water to add to my so-called ‘adventures’. At present I am getting a lot of experience along automotive lines.” He continues, “When we were little kids, airplanes were quite a novelty and to visit an airport was an exciting trip for us. Now them motors put me to sleep some nights.”
If you are having a bout of insomnia, here’s a video of a B-29 starting up its engines to see if it help sooth you to sleep.