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Moon over Miami

Posted by on March 6, 2014

The next correspondence is a pair of postcards that Dad sent home from Camp Upton. The message is relatively brief, “I am sure of leaving this camp,” and, “Please await a new address from me which I will send you surely.” To Anna, he asks, “Give the little girl my regards and tell her I intend to see her before she goes to school to give her some advice on Latin & Algebra.”

The next letter is dated January 16 – 17, 1943 and is written from A.A.F.T.T.C., Basic Training Center (No. 4), 595 Technical School Squadron (Sp.). Flt E., Miami Beach, FL. After a 36 hour train ride over two nights he finally arrived and has been consigned to the Fleetwood Hotel for five days. He says “I feel a lot closer to Stanley by getting into the Army Air Force Ground Crew, and as you know, I am in a non-combatant force.” The change of climate will also take some getting used to as “I’ve been freezing at Camp Upton for 6 days, but I will probably melt here for 18 days.” He is still hoping to get into radio and stenography. He goes on to specify that, “We were told to write letters in English.” It appears that the Army does not have any censors in Miami Bach that read Polish.

I’ll let Dad tell you the next part:

"The place down here is exactly as Stanley used to describe it. The sea, moon, palms, nights; it is just like the picture "Moon Over Miami" which we once saw in Technicolor. I feel as if I am dreaming as if I were in the Army and not actually living it, for how can I believe myself that I am getting up around 6:00 o'clock in the morning, dress quickly, make my own bed. I will still prefer to forget all this business and live my own life. You can tell mama that I am not as nervous as I used to be for I get enough sleep, and that no army is too tough for me."

“The place down here is exactly as Stanley used to describe it. The sea, moon, palms, nights; it is just like the picture “Moon Over Miami” which we once saw in Technicolor. I feel as if I am dreaming as if I were in the Army and not actually living it, for how can I believe myself that I am getting up around 6:00 o’clock in the morning, dress quickly, make my own bed. I will still prefer to forget all this business and live my own life. You can tell mama that I am not as nervous as I used to be for I get enough sleep, and that no army is too tough for me.”

They are on the 8th floor of the building, but are still able to clearly hear the orchestra playing in the ballroom. He says, “It’s wonderful down here…the scenery is indescribable with coconut trees, palm trees, etc..” … “All of this adds to the could-be-appreciated splendor of Miami Beach. Someday when we all get back we can plan on seeing this place in a trailer but we shall plan when the time is ripe and when the grapes of wrath are not sour.” In another part of the letter he says, “The breeze is marvelous and all that is happening to me seems like a dream which I hope does not turn into a nightmare. I am prepared for anything, though.”

Postcard Image of Fleetwood Hotel with location of Army "barracks" indicated.

Postcard Image of Fleetwood Hotel with location of Army “barracks” indicated.

From a security standpoint, although the Fleetwood Hotel is “quite the place” the facility has been battened down. There are blackout curtains on the windows and no cameras are permitted among the enlisted men. He also advises, “Whatever I write you, keep it inside the house…You can tell anything provided you think twice before doing so.” On the culinary front, the food “isn’t as hot as I’ve heard others say it to be” but “we had one banana apiece”

On Sunday the 17th he reports that restrictions were lifted and he was able to go to Mass. He signs off, “May God bless you all and keep you in His care and with best regards to Theresa-Marie, the little pappoose.”

I leave you with the trailer for the 1941 movie “Moon Over Miami” which is referenced the excerpt from Dad’s letter above.

 

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One Response to Moon over Miami

  1. Vivian

    Great so far, John. The additional sites for information is very interesting also.

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