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Straight From the Heart Words

Posted by on July 7, 2014

May 12 & 14, 1943. Dad writes a few letters home. Things are pretty much the same “Get up in the morning, eat, exercise, go to work and that’s about it.” With his recent assignment to the 21st Wing he really has not been doing much …just pretend I am busy. Sometimes I take the bicycle and go the different headquarters pick this up or that or deliver something.” The next day he will be reporting to his old unit (the 376th) until things pick up at the 21st Wing.

The weather in Salina has been “very cold and dreary…with slight rain. It seems like autumn instead of Spring.” He apologizes for the poor penmanship as his “fingers are kind of cold.”

As will be happening at Ephrata soon where Stanley is stationed, “the WAACs have moved in on us.” They came into camp the night before. There was a dance at the Recreation Hall and “beer was flowing at the PX”. Dad skipped the dance to get some sleep. As far as the WAACs presence Dad writes “I heard today that the WAACs were restricted for 30 days” and comments “I still have my old belief that they will never replace a man in the Army.”

He goes on to respond to some of what Anna has written in her previous letters. He asks after mama and sends his wishes and prayers that she recovers from her tooth extractions soon. He also writes of how much he enjoys hearing about his niece commenting, “You and Theresa-Marie do a lot to take our place, and I’m sure that Eddie is pretty well attached to the family. God knew what he was doing when He gave Theresa-Marie to you. She certainly has an appetite like her papa.”

He returns to the topic of life on the base. “This is some base. We have dogs and cats running around. Just now a small dog tried to see what I was writing. Yes, the dog is inside the barracks.” He also complains “the barracks aren’t as clean as the others I’ve been in, and are sure sloppy.  I clean around my bunk as well as I can… I do hope the inspections get strict. The stricter they are the healthier it will be.”

On the 14th he reports that he continues to report to the 376th for the time being. While there he can learn “some of the procedure of Ordnance… as well as keep up to date on the new gov’t regulations, as they always have something new.” He also writes that “They are trying to get fellows to take out insurance to the full amount of 10,000 instead of 5,000 like I have. They can’t force you but just try to stress the importance. Let’s have your idea if you want to say anything.”

He writes that the night before he saw the Don Cossacks again. If you recall, he saw them when he was stationed in Miami in February. In Miami he saw a chorus under the direction of Serge Jaroff. This was a different troupe, the General Platoff Don Cassock Chorus. He writes that “they sang ‘Dark Eyes’ in Russian, ‘The Volga Boatman’, ‘Legzenka’, ‘Don Cassock War Dance”, and they had the knife dancer. They also sang ‘Wieczerni Dzwon’ (Vespers Bells).”

Press clipping from the base paper dated May 10, 1943 promoting the  USO show featuring the General Platoff Don Cossack Chorus.

Press clipping from the base paper dated May 10, 1943 promoting the USO show featuring the General Platoff Don Cossack Chorus.

As he moves on in his letter his thoughts return to his family, as always. “I certainly hate to hear of Stanley’s situation as it seems that he may see Poland. …when I go through some bunk I will think of Stanley and I will know that I have ma’s courage and pa’s muscle to back me up… I hope the war comes to a quicker end… I do hope and pray that Eddie remains behind.”

He wraps up his letter with the following P.S. “In case I start using big words I just want you to know that I bought a dictionary for a quarter. It’s the same kind by the same company that makes those pocket edition books… it has quite a bit of information. Don’t worry about my letters, I will use straight from the heart words and will put on no airs… I prefer to be plain but smart for my own good.”

I leave you with a Youtube video of a Cossack chorus performing “Lezginka”

Finally, since references to the WAACs are starting to appear more frequently I’ve provided this link where you can learn more about the Women’s Army Auxilliary Corps.

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