November 13 and 17, 1943.Two letters home to Albany from Dad while he is stationed at Topeka Army Air Base. Dad writes about his plans to see the Don Cassocks again, he gets into town and does some bowling, writes about the possibility that the will get a furlough and he answers a question that Anna asked in her last letter.
Dad is writing his letter of the 13th in the Squadron Orderly Room. The orderly room is essentially a grouping of desks where the administrative and clerical business of the squadron is done. He notes, “Today is Saturday and not much different from any other day as long as you’re in the Army.” He has received the letter that Anna wrote on the 9th which included the news that they received a playpen as a gift for the baby. Dad comments, “It won’t be long when Terry will learn how to climb out of it.”
Dad and a friend when to see the Don Cossacks under the direction of Nicolas Kostrukoff at the Topeka High School Auditorium. His friend got the tickets for free. Dad writes, “The school is beautiful and up to the most modern standards.” This is not the first time that he has seen them, and was disappointed in relation to other performances. “The Don Cossack’s didn’t reach that booming climax that they generally were able to attain in other towns that I have seen them in. There really was a lot lacking and I didn’t think much of their singing of certain passages. They did sing Wieczorny Dzwon (Evening Bells) and of course it appealed to me.” The video below is not the Don Cossacks, but it will give you an idea of what the song Evening Bells sounds like.
Separate from his trip into town to see the Don Cossacks, Dad went to town to do some bowling “with the Corporal and Pfc who work for me. First game I bowled I had 153. Then I kept on slipping the other two games.”
Dad writes about the possibility of getting a furlough to come home for Christmas. “…that’s out of the question. I won’t be due for another furlough so fast.” If you remember his last furlough was in August 1943. A Christmas furlough would be on only four months later. He goes on to make an interesting statement. “By 1945, I am sure we’ll all be in a position where this damn war will be over and times will be more promising.” Although the news may not be what the family might want to hear regarding a furlough, he writes to calm some of the family’s other concerns. “As far as my crossing the pond is concerned you can forget about it and I think that possibly I might get in another furlough before anything does come up.”
He also writes a little more about his job. “I’ve had it pretty easy on the job as Automotive Clerk. I’ve got a good system set up, and have eliminated letter writing to a very small degree. It’s swell to have to take no shorthand or any typing like I did in civilian life. I don’t intend going back to it as far as some Corporation or Company is concerned…”
Dad also gives some insights into how the organization is structured. Apparently Automotive falls under Ordnance. “According to the latest news Ordnance is to be in the Air Corps itself with no distinction as to lapel button, or the ball and flame, or as to braid on the hat. Several shuffling changes are being made and maybe they may decide soon as to how we stand here. Don’t do any good to worry as I’m wondering whether anyone can size up this Army situation completely.”
Finally, dad answers a question that Anna had posed in her last letter. “The term brown-nosing means the color of your nose when you are sticking it in someone’s rear end for special favor. Well you asked me for the meaning!”
He closes, “I just can’t think of anything to write so I’ll mail out this letter. God bless you and protect you!”