October 17 and 21, 1943. Two letters home from Dad who is stationed at Topeka Army Air Base with the Headquarters Squadron of the 21st Bomb Wing. Dad reports that he had CQ duty last night and has the day off. This gives him a chance to catch up on his letter writing, He acknowledges that he has received two letters from home recently and he sets out to answer them. He also mentions that he has written two letters to his brother, one at the Cut Bank address and one to the overseas APO address. For mid to late October, the weather in Topeka is “quite warm…what you could call Indian summer. The fields are turning into bronze and orange brown color and you can notice that autumn is in her best dress.”
He writes about his experience on the rifle range, where one gets the sense that he feels he could have done better. “Outside of what training in sighting and prone firing at Miami Beach…we had no other instruction and you can imagine the different sitting, kneeling and standing positions there were. It was kind of windy but I am going to read up on the right positions and make out better the next time.” He also notes that when he and his brother get home after the war his brother-in-law Eddie “can count on two more well trained hunters.” With a touch of bravado he writes “…the Japs are safe as long as I stay on the firing range.”
Dad is finding resources on base to keep his mind occupied too. “I’ve been taking books out of the Base Library and they’ve got a neat assortment. I’ve just read the book ‘Of Men and Music’ by Deems Taylor. Deems Taylor is the guy who was a commentator on those Saturday noon opera hours and was the cause of you either shutting the radio off, or my successful repulsion of [your] attack, forward thrust or any of your flanking movements in order to get at the radio dial.” Younger generations who may have seen the 1940 Disney movie Fantasia may remember Deems Taylor as the on screen narrator of the film.
Regarding other on-base diversions, Dad writes, “On one of the U.S.O. shows around here a guy sang his presentation of ‘I Can’t Give You Anything But Love’. He pretended he was singing to his baby child and sang how he couldn’t give anything to the baby but love, and if the baby was hungry, he’d have to wait until mama got home, because he couldn’t give it anything but love.”
Dad addresses a few of the items in Anna’s last letter noting “I don’t know what kind of a contraption you got for my god-child to make her stop kicking those blankets off herself…it sounds similar to a chain and ball to keep her in one place.” As for the need to repair the bells at the church he comments “At the rate Fr. Ostrowski is going…do you suppose the outside of the Church will be rebuilt yet? It’s just as well that the Church wasn’t built bigger, because our parish has diminished greatly with the advent of the new generation.” He also makes a comment “I remember when we didn’t have a radio, how much we depended on the on the bells to set our clocks on the right time.”
With the baby’s first birthday coming up in a few days, Dad asks, “Well, has Theresa begun to walk by herself and to talk nonsense? There must be a great difference in her from what there was a year ago.” Dad also notes another one year celebration that is coming up. “Tomorrow the Wing is going to celebrate its 1 year existence and I’ll probably be around there. At pay day practically everyone put in a dollar and tickets were made out. The affair will take place on the Jayhawk Hotel Roof Garden in Topeka with the Base band being there. Only our squadron and their girls will be allowed.”