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Like Rip Van Winkle

Posted by on June 17, 2014

May 1 & 2, 1943. A letter from Dad to home written over two days.  He is writing on a Saturday night at 8:00 PM from Smoky Hills Army Air Base in Salina, Kansas and notes the he is listening to the Hit Parade on the radio. He has been in the Army for four months now and reflects on all of the changes happening back home in Albany. “When I and Stanley do get home someday it will be like Rip Van Winkle coming back to the village after being asleep 20 years in the mountains, as there will be many old faces gone and new ones around.”  As if to back up his point, he references the recent wedding of Dzikas and Christine Gilder and the passing of Great-Uncle Green as “proof of how these last few years plus a few more will bring about many changes.” Of Great-Uncle Green he says, “He carried quite a bit of history with him after living so many years, and it was a pleasure to have known him because I liked him very much.”

As far as his barracks bags which went missing when he arrived in Salina, he says, “My barracks bags were supposed to be here today as the Transportation Officer told me so but the express shipments come in Monday so I should have them by then.”

He also says this about his daily schedule, “We are supposed to work 7 days a week but on Sundays I understand there isn’t much doing. This Sunday I am room orderly and just see that there won’t be too much trash around the barracks. Everybody gets the job on different days. Once a week you are supposed to pull a detail as guard, K.P. or room orderly.” Dad observes that “I have it very easy in Ordnance in comparison with the work the other units do around here. They aren’t as strict here as at Salt Lake City and I may be here a very long time.

He goes on to write that “the coal strike which we hear about on the radio is sure a lousy thing. The soldiers are just ready to break these up if given orders.” He also reflects “Things look pretty dark now in the war as well as with you folks at home even if l don’t hear too much about the rationing.” This comment is particularly interesting in that Dad mentions rationing in a letter that he is writing at 8 PM Central Time while his sister is writing a letter to him at the very same time (9 PM ET on May 1, 1943- see previous post) in which she is detailing how the family is coping with rationing.

He continues to keep his niece in his thoughts. “I presume that Theresa-Marie is growing into a fine young lady and has learned how to say mama and papa. I am glad to hear that she keeps daddy busy and fills in mama’s empty moments”

He closes with, “Let me hear about you and may God bless every one of you at home and Stanley!” He then adds the P.S. “Being on this side of the Rocky Mountains makes you feel a lot closer to home.”

A clipping of a Sad Sack cartoon from Yank magazine that Dad enclosed with his letter of May 1 & 2, 1943.

A clipping of a Sad Sack cartoon from Yank magazine that Dad enclosed with his letter of May 1 & 2, 1943. If viewing this on the website, click on the above image to see the full size clipping.


Yank cartoon here

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