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If You Want to be a Gunner They Make You a Welder

Posted by on March 9, 2014

January 20, 1943. Dad reports a slow day during which they are being classified. He learns that he is being placed in the ordinance department and believes they will be assigned to the Air Corps. He is disappointed that he was not assigned to radio work, but instead is being classified as a clerk (stenographer) with automobile mechanic as a second option. He will be sent to a supply school for further training. He says, “Down here if you say you want to be a gunner they make you a welder.”

He comments on the lack of trees that he’s used to seeing up north and notes that it is mostly palms and coconut trees. He reports that he is sunburned and expects to develop a tan pretty soon. The guys that are with him from up north “the New Yorkers and coal miners (Pittsburgh) would prefer winter” and they miss the snow. Now that he is about 14 days into it, he says he is just starting to feel a little homesick. All the same he is eager to “get to a school quicker and get out of this drilling stuff.”

On the 24th Anna writes back (apparently to an earlier letter) that, “Mama got worried over the fact that you mentioned that they were going to train you to be a gunner or a bombardier, ” and that ,”I told her not to worry about that you weren’t sure yet what you were going to be trained for.”

There is not much news from home. The “Johnson boy is here on furlough”. While at home, although the baby is only four months old Anna says that, “Theresa Marie told me to tell you that she will hurry up and grow up so that she can write you and Stanley letters.”  The baby continues to grow and although “the doctor says that she should be fed six ounces she always beat him by half an ounce” eating six and a half ounces at each feeding.  Anna says, “If it wasn’t for her the house would be worse than a morgue.”

Anna also tells Dad that, “We are all fine and healthy and everything runs at the same pace. Nobody ever comes over and we don’t go out much.” “Last Sunday I went to the movies with Eddie (her husband) to see White Cargo with Heddy Lamarr.” Her review? “It sure stank and was such a mushy affair.”

Poster for the 1943 Movie White Cargo starring Heddy Lamarr

Poster for the 1943 Movie White Cargo starring Heddy Lamarr

She asks if Dad received the package that was sent and to write when he does get it. Commenting on the accommodations at the Fleetwood Hotel where the army has set up makeshift barracks, “Just think in what a luxurious hotel you are in too. Someday when we are rich you and we will be able to go down there and enjoy ourselves.” She closes, “I have no more to tell you so I think I will close my letter for now.”

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