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The Value of Knowing Something More

Posted by on October 11, 2014

June 22, 1943. Dad writes home. He acknowledges receipt of his sister’s letters of the 16th and the 18th. The letter of the 18th is in the “archive” but the letter of the 16th is missing. From Dad’s letter we get an idea of what Anna has been writing. Apparently, Theresa Marie is starting to try to say a few words. Dad mentions that he is “glad to hear that Theresa-Marie is making some voices which sound like Dada and Mama.” He counsels, “…if you think, Ann, that you are spending a lot of time on her now, just wait till she starts to talk and will want to know everything.”

He is sending along the letter that he received from Joe Damusis. He mentions that Joe is now a Corporal and that “other fellows who were with me at Illinois are almost all Corporals or Sgts.” You can sense his frustration at still being a PFC when he writes “I certainly am getting stuck.”Even though he was a rating coming up, his boss (Sgt. Ball) told him there is another fellow (Cpl. Mann) coming in to take the place of a corporal who was just transferred out.  Apparently the new corporal is in line for a promotion. As Dad says, “…that screws me up plenty. …I am PFC indefinitely and I’ll have to keep on pulling dirty details like Room Orderly and KP.” It is mostly because of this stagnation that Dad has applied for ASTP.

As far as ASTP, Dad assures Anna that if he is selected for radio school he will have a leg up on the theory part of the course. “I have so many radio magazines and booklets here that I know the Theory quite well but what I need is actual experience in setting up a radio.” He goes on to state that while building and repairing radios is one thing, “You need theory to do research work and that has been my ambition.” He laments that after expressing his enthusiasm for radio “ASTP probably wills stick me with Languages, should I pass at all.”

Dad also shares his thoughts about the benefits of having a technical training when times are bad and to “learn something with which you can create rather than do mechanical office work as people are going to grab at each other’s throats for these office jobs requiring no knowledge. Only the best can survive and draw a living wage in times of depression.” He goes on to pay a debt of gratitude to his parents. “Papa had that trouble during the last depression but in his case he was up against the fellows born here, and he certainly did alright in bringing us up even though he came from Europe and didn’t have as much schooling as he always wanted us to get. All my education and including high school and business college I owe to mama and papa. …they always know the value of knowing more than the other fellow. They found that out through actual hard experience.” As far as coming home on furlough versus going to ASTP, Dad reflects that it is a matter of “putting up a week against the rest of the years.”

Dad is aware that his life is taking him in a direction other than that his parents might have wanted. He makes this point in the context of writing about a new priest in the parish. “When mama and papa go to see Fr. Harzynski’s commemorating his first Mass, I am pretty sure that they wish they could have one of their sons doing the same, but whatever vocation God gives you to follow carries its place in this world and will have an effect on our later life above. Maybe our children will unexpectedly devote their lives to serve God.”

Other items he comments on:

  • He is glad to hear that Billy is recuperating.
  • He is still enjoying the pictures of Stanley and the baby, especially the one with the cherry tree behind them.
  • Based on Anna’s description of Joe Miller’s letter Dad says “I presume that the Navy isn’t too bad of a place.”

He wraps the letter with, “until I write more to you I am your son, brother and uncle.”

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