May 4, 5 & 6, 1943. Two letters home from Dad written over three days while he is at Smoky Hill AA Base in Salina, Kansas. In the first of the two letters he thanks his family for the Easter greetings that they sent and reports that that his barracks bag has finally caught up with him. Apparently it had been at Smoky Hill for the past 4 days, “but in a different warehouse”.
He is heartened to hear that his family managed to have a nice Easter feast despite rationing “instead of letting yourself down just because there’s a …war on and Stanley and I can’t be home when we want to”. He comments that “When you described the Swieconzka (blessing of the Easter baskets), I felt right at home”.
Dad provides a little more insight into the Army’s plans for him. “I am in the General Supply Section presently of the Ordnance but I will get moved around to find out the paperwork of the other two sections – Munitions and Automotive. Now that I can’t get radio as it would necessitate transfer, and that they will not do, in a few weeks I am going to ask to be sent to automobile mechanic school and that is part of Ordnance so they should send me there.”
Apparently he tried to transfer out earlier but he did his job too well. “At Salt Lake City I got around pretty well with the officer of Air Corps and was gonna get transferred, but I ran into my boss the Ordnance Officer, and looking at my “excellent” mark at Savanna he wouldn’t let me go.” He reflects, “Although I kick a lot I know I have a gold-bricking job. I pass the stuff to the man who passes the stuff to the man behind the gun.”
He offers his prayers that his brother-in-law Eddie continues to get his deferment from the draft but comments “The automotive branch would be just the spot for Eddie.” He also comments on a few other items.
- Regarding cousin Vincent’s dental work “I am not very surprised…as they do slice them up pretty well”
- Regarding Theresa’s being taken to church for Easter it “made a big smile on my face. I would have like to seen her there…the little angel.”
- Regarding a note he received from Joe Damusis “That fellow was the finest I ever met. Exactly like me or Stanley in practically all respects…like a brother”
In his second letter he comments on the weather in Kansas. “Since I was here there was no rain and the papers here carried stories about it but tonight we have a fine thunder-storm under way. We do have slight dust storms once in a while. Presently it is hailing like anything and lightning. I believe the people of Kansas will get enough rain after this storm.” By the next morning “the storm went away in the night and it is a nice breezy day.”
He reports that on the 5th he had guard duty for three hours in the afternoon. “Not much doing, just watching the gate.” He comments “A gun sure commands respect. I had a .30 cal. rifle.” He goes on to write, “It was an odd experience with a young squirt stopping older fellows for their passes to the place.”
He continues to think about his future after the war. He is “looking into the opportunity for more schooling… There are supposed to be some educational opportunities after you have been in the Army for 4 months…the type of work I am doing will not be of much help to me should the war end, and I will chose a course with trade to it.”
He notes that back home they should be experiencing the “warm weather coming around” and that it “won’t be long that the flowers will be out and papa will be able to sit under that cherry tree again.” With rationing in effect he asks that his family not buy him any candy or other treats “for which you would have to give away points” offering “If you want candy I can get quite a boxful at the PX and send it to you” as rationing does not seem to affect the military.
Signing off, he asks his sister to “Give mama the best I could wish her and papa as well as their daughter’s daughter the Sunshine Angel.”