December 9, 10, 12, 17 and 20, 1943. Dad writes several letters home. For the most part they are fairly short. The first and last letters of the batch were written from Topeka Army Air Base while the others were written from locations throughout Nebraska as Dad and others were traveling on official duty.
As he is preparing to leave Topeka on the 9th, he advises his sister, “If my letters come postmarked at some other place, don’t worry as I’ll wind up back here at Topeka. I’ll get a chance to see some more of our country only in the neighboring state. I’ll try to write you while on the go.”
It looks like the Christmas package from the family has arrived. He writes, “I have also received notice of an insured package awaiting me at the Post Office. Thank you very much! I’ll probably have more to say as soon as I get at it.”
A day later finds Dad writing from the Hotel Paddock in Beatrice, Nebraska. It is a quick one page handwritten letter “to let you know that I’m O.K.” He is traveling with “Lt. Jordan and two other guys…” Before leaving Topeka he picked up the package at the Post Office and reports “It was fine eating it on our way. …It sure was swell.” We know from the Temporary Duty Travel Orders that were in with the letters, that in addition to1st Lt. John L. Jordan, the “two other guys” were T/4 William O. Bishop and T/5 John J. Gay.
On the 12th he writes from the “beautiful service club” in Grand Island, Nebraska while listening to symphonic music on the record player. He says, “The base is very nice,” and says that he “saw many pheasants at one place along the road…”
He assures that, “Before returning to Topeka we will go to another place yet and I will write you form there…” but cautions “If I don’t answer any of your letters for the next few days it will be because they will be waiting for me at Topeka.”
On the 17th he is writing from Kearney, Nebraska, which he says, “…isn’t as fine a place as Topeka and I’ll sure enjoy getting back, but work is work.” He ruminates that “…it gets sort of cold here and it would be fine to be where I had my basic training last winter.” As you might recall form the early letters, Dad’s basic training was in Miami Beach.
About the box that he received just before hitting the road he writes, “We are just about finishing that box of sweets I got from mama and daddy and I sure enjoyed it.” Since he is traveling he won’t be seeing any letters from home until he gets back to Topeka. He closes this letter with the thought that he will “be spending the holy days of Christmas and New Year with your letters no doubt as I’ll be having quite a few to read at that time.”
By the 20th, Dad is safely back in Topeka and …”swamped with letters. I had 4 letters from you, 4 from Stanley and a box of sweets from Rita and Gene. I received your Christmas card and was very pleased. I received about 7 other greeting cards.”
Of the trip he writes, “It was comfortable riding in a sedan and Jordan got in some hunting as well. He had a .22 pistol and by the end of the trip a pheasant cock, and 3 quail were to fly no more.”
Dad’s thoughts turn to his niece and brother-in-law. “I hope this war ends before she [Terry] grows up enough to know that there is a war on. I do hope that Eddie can stay out as he has stayed out of the Army quite well and it sure would make it bad for him to be drafted in now.”
Dad also comments on the latest war news in a rather prophetic way. “I guess you were rather optimistic when Italy capitulated. I expected Germany to hold out as the Germans are prisoners of their own Gestapo agents. When the Gestapo cracks, Hitler might as well shoot himself. The war cost nothing for Hitler but it does cost death for German families, and terror of reprisals by countries under them, should they lose.”
As for his own prospects, “So far I have no idea when and whether we’ll be going overseas. We’ll probably stay on to fight the Battle of Topeka till the end of the war.”
Before wrapping up he writes, “I sure had a fine time reading all your letters.”