May 22 & 24, 1943. Two more letters home from Dad. The letters about Stanley’s first furlough have finally made it to him. He comments that he “read the part of the letter where Stanley made his entrée in to the house on the first morn. Stanley sure got changed by the Army…I guess Stanley didn’t get much sleep on the train, for if he had he would have been the same Stanley.” Dad reflects on his own experiences and observes “Sometimes I feel like I am living the Life of Reilly and then at other times I feel like Peter the Tramp.” The Peter the Tramp reference is an odd one so I did a bit of searching. I am going with the assumption that he is referring to the main character in a popular comic strip of the time as opposed to the title character of an unremarkable 1922 Swedish film that is notable only as being Greta Garbo’s screen debut. In the movie, the Peter character joins the Army and ends up marrying a rich lady. To my knowledge, the marrying rich part never happened to Dad.
To close the loop on the insurance conversation, Dad assures Anna that they are not required to increase the amount of coverage, so it sounds like he will not be raising his.
It looks like certain shortages are affecting the guys in the Army, at least to the extent that there are things that they are looking to purchase off base, as the following anecdote illustrates. “I tried to get a harmonica around town but they are all out. That goes to show you the shortage. In fact, our insignia buttons are not issued by the Army and we have to buy them, and then in the stores we hear sob stories that we are getting the last of the crop and all that baloney.”
Dad also mentions that they have a mascot on base. “We have a beagle hound who wears a dog tag of ‘OSCAR’ and lives in barracks 807½ which is a dog house kennel outside of barracks 807.” Dad mentions that from time to time Oscar roams around inside their barracks and will hang out with whoever gives him attention.
He also mentions, “We have a hand phonograph in this day room at camp. First they broke the gramophone and now they broke the rest of the records. We got a piano here, too. I’m wondering what will happen to it.”
After a slow start, it looks like the work is picking up at his new assignment. “I have plenty of work to do at the office now… I take my time and although I don’t get all of it out I try to do a good job. Slow but sure.”
He wraps by asking about things back home. “How does Theresa-Marie feel now that she has met all of her uncles? She is going to have plenty to remember. Tell Mama and Pop that I am thinking of them and that I still like them as ever. I am not forgetting you, Ann & Eddie plus my niece or your daughter. God bless every one of you.”
On an unrelated matter, below I am posting a scan of a Sad Sack Cartoon that was sent home by Dad in one of his letters in May of 1943. If it is too small to read you can click on it to go to a larger view of it in your browser.