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Sort of a Salesman

Posted by on November 14, 2015

February 12 and 16, 1944: Dad writes two letters home from Topeka Army Air Base while stationed at the HQ Squadron of the 21st Bomb Wing. Dad is looking forward to going home on his furlough and is dealing with it being delayed and its conditions being changed on him. He also writes to explain why he and his brother do not write more often.

He starts off by acknowledging Anna’s letter of February 7,, 1944 and offering “Best wishes to Eddie on his Birthday.” He notes, “Twenty-five isn’t too old and I guess it will only be a matter of months until you catch up to your husband’s age.” He also updates the family on his furlough plans with the dates now scheduled for February 18 through March 7, returning to duty on March 8. “That means 19 days and I hope it holds until I have gone home before someone decides to cut down the amount of days being allowed for furloughs. I got 4 days travelling time.”

He notes, “Today is Saturday and I’m listening to the Hit Parade. I get a big kick out of the Hit Parade myself. You got to ignore the silliness of some parts of the program and settle down to listening to the music and singing itself.”

Dad notes that in one of Anna’s previous letter he “got a reminder to write”.  Dad explains part of the cause and provides some insight into his duties while expressing some of the frustrations of being a mid-level Army clerk. “A good reason why Stanley and I don’t write often is that it is the only thing we do all day. It sure gets tiresome. At my place the Lt. either doesn’t know or doesn’t wish to bother with composition and I work practically like an author on written phrasing and making scripts of the letters which will pass the Adjutant’s approval. If I only had to do that it wouldn’t be bad, but the clerks I got keep on interrupting and today I asked one of the jerks why he couldn’t use his own head and get the work out. I guess I am rather impatient, but I would like to see all of them capable to depend on themselves.”

Dad continues, “If I could get out government letters like my letters being written to you, very informally, it would be much easier. You’ve got to be sort of a salesman to get your point across without offense to anyone. When I get back into a civilian concern it will be like nothing to get letters out, as you won’t have to worry about it having to be approved by strict standards and you can get what equipment and references you need without anyone trying to stop you and wondering why you can’t get along with what you got. Perhaps I’m doing a lot of griping, but I‘ve heard worse so I guess I can live through it.’

On the 16th Dad writes a short, one page letter, the main thrust of which is that his furlough “may possibly be delayed a couple of days…” He assures, “It’s nothing serious and I will get a furlough.”  He jokingly concedes, “…whenever I get home is like the weatherman making a report on the weather, you don’t know when I’ll drop in on you.” Other than that he comments, “I haven’t much to write about except that I am getting the stuff packed in case I get the furlough tomorrow as scheduled.” 

He closes, “Well, I guess that will be all, God Bless You all!” That is followed by a P.S.“No more travelling time is allowed. You only get 15 days furlough. Some guy must have squawked. Well, only a few guys were lucky enough to get travelling time.” 

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