June 28, 1943. Dad writes home and notes that it is a special day as he opens his letter, “I can think of no better way to spend my 20th birthday then to write you and Stanley a letter.” He says that he still gets “a lot of enjoyment” out of looking at the birthday cards and the pictures that his family sends to him. He will be sending the cards and pictures home to his sister “for filing and safe-keeping until we get someday to read all what we received and sent at one time.” At the time that Dad wrote that, the thought that someday one of his children would be reading it 70 years later was probably the furthest thing from his mind.
He notes that he has just received a letter from his brother Stanley that included birthday card, stating that it came “at an opportune moment.” Dad also reflects on the news that Stanley “has taken his place among the ranks of …hard boiled sergeants” noting, “When we do get home I will certainly have much to kid him about, because if you have seen the movies and listened to the radio, the Sgt. is portrayed as a tornado.”
Dad also notes that his boss, T/SGT. Ball, has been accepted to Officer Candidate School and should be on his way in a few weeks. The recent news has made T/SGT. Ball easier to get along with as Dad reports, “Me and him seem quite friendly and he seems to be alright today.” There is also word that Dad will be put in for a rating “as soon as possible”, so a promotion may be coming his way soon too. Even so, Dad writes, “regardless of whether Sgt. Ball leaves or I get a rating I still do not intend to pass up the educational opportunity of ASTP should I make out very well in it. Should they try to make a Doctor out of me or put me in languages I probably won’t be interested too much in it and might stay here. I do hope to wind up in engineering.”
Lately he has not been sleeping too well and is “a bit grouchy but now I am resting up a bit and taking care of myself.” He says that even though it is “lights out at 9:00 PM that does not mean that you are in the bunk sleeping at that time.” He apologizes for not having much to say in his letters and tells his sister, “…perhaps you try to suggest what particular things you would like to know about my life in the Army outside of wanting to know how I am getting along as that is understood. I am doing fine and will be doing better when I get to be a Corporal as I won’t have to do K.P.”
As far as how he is doing, he seems to be settling well into Army life. He writes, “I still doubt whether I could enjoy myself more at home at the present time than being in the army as I am now. You see Stanley is in the Army and most of the fellows around my age are in the Army and you have a lot of fellows to talk to. It is here in the Army that you find the fellows who used to make the streets a bustling busy sight during the day and the night…”
He closes the letter with a paragraph in which he thanks his mother and father for everything they did along the way to help him “attain this good old ripe age of 20 years.” Instead of typing it all out here, I’ve posted the excerpt and closing of the letter below. Click on the image below for a larger version.