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The Censor Will Kill Me

Posted by on May 7, 2017

July 25 and August 1, 1945. Dad writes two letters home from Northwest Field on Guam. Stanley’s letters of the 10th and 16th, which included the news of the new baby’s name, have reached him, as have many other letters that Stanley has written in the last two weeks. He writes to his brother/family, “I know, Stanley, that you’ll enjoy being a god father.” As far as his brother-in-law is concerned, Dad writes, “I sure hope Eddie gets to stay in Albany and not out where I am. He’s doing more there in the states.”

Dad writes a paragraph about the facilities as they currently are on the base, “Since moving into our barracks area, we have no cleaning facilities other than a water truck that comes in the evening. This truck has about an 8 foot pipe with about 25 punched in holes. About 8 to10 people shower at a time, or rather have water squirted on them. We have hot and cold water; the hot water being just as cold as the hot. In other words we only have cold water, but the heat of this place more than makes up for it. Showering facilities are undergoing construction.”

On the first of August he writes a relatively long letter almost three unlined legal sized pages in small handwriting. He gets right into “life at camp”-type observations, “Well, here I am in bad need of a shave. ..I remain on Guam and not on Okinawa as Stanley might have thought from reading the papers at home.” He goes on to share news from Gaum before answering all of the letters that have come his way.  He’s been “…rushed at work and haven’t had a day off for about a month now.” However, the meals seem to make up for the workload as they “…have recently even outmatched those we had when in the U.S. Imagine two chicken dinners in one week.” As far as the shower facilities, “…we still shower under a water truck until our shower stalls are completed in the wash room. Sometimes I don’t know what is worse, sweat and dirt or a cold shower at night.”

Getting down to the task of answering Stanley’s letters:

In answering one of Stanley’s last letter from England (dated 15, June 45) in which Stanley mentioned sheep running around the increasingly deserted field, Dad writes that he’s “…seen a black pig, a wild one, run across the road from a jungle area towards our barracks. …Maybe it’s a boar; I don’t know the difference.”

In answering Stanley’s letter of 15 July 45, Dad engages in a new pastime – baiting the censor.  He writes about “Stanley’s trip to Lake George and ride on Mr. Martin’s Cris Craft.” This was the boat owned by Eddie’s boss that Stanley referred to as “a yacht” in his letter. Dad goes on, “It seems odd that while I write this letter, all the good times have passed.” He then inserts a parenthetical non-sequitur, “(The censor will kill me for writing such a long letter.)”  This comment is answered up the margin in a different ink by a different hand (presumably the censor’s), ”(I will not kill if you give me a ride in the Cris Craft) H.A.A.”

A wartime print ad for Cris Craft boats reminding potential buyers that the company is “100 % on war work now” and encouraging them to buy War Bonds as a way to save for a new boat when “wartime restrictions are relaxed.”

In answering Stanley’s letter of 17 July 45, Dad addresses the difficulties that Stanley has had with the mosquitoes. Dad writes, “Out here, there’s quite a few small flies and bugs but they don’t bother me much. I don’t bother with a mosquito net since moving into our barracks.” Referring again to the length of the letter, Dad jokes parenthetically, “(I’ll bet the censor is pulling his hair out now!) I’m not even halfway through.” To this there is a comment in the margin, “(Too bad I’m not bald headed) H.A.A.”

As far as answering Stanley’s letter of 20 July 45, Dad observes, “Stanley apologizes for his delay in writing me. If he apologizes I guess I should be on my knees begging forgiveness at the way I’ve transgressed.” He also addresses the transport ship he was on, “What I liked about the boat we came over on was the fact that we had a lot of freedom, slept when you wanted and came up on deck on your own. There wasn’t any of this sleeping in ‘shifts’ stuff which would have been inconvenient for the type of long trip we had to make.”

In answering the letters of 21 and 22 July 45, Dad comments that “Ann must enjoy being home now…and Stanley’s furlough is nearing an end. …His furlough seemed to run very much like mine did except for the birth of Judy. …It’s a coincidence that Judy was born on the same month her Uncle Stanley was. …How did the Christening go on the 29th of July?”

Before closing his letter he suggests, “Maybe I can send you some souvenirs from here like the package Stanley sent and received from Stratford on Avon. I’m still intent on getting some pictures to you as soon as I get the chance. I guess that about brings my letter to a close. …I covered quite a bit of ground.”

As if he hasn’t written enough, he adds a P.S. asking for socks (brown cotton) and noting that he’s “about 15 minutes short of 2 hours writing this letter.”

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