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Working the Swing Shift

Posted by on January 7, 2017

March 28 and 30, 1945: Dad writes two letters home. Both are typewritten and rather short by his standards (one and a half pages and one page respectively). With every day that passes, he gets closer to being deployed overseas.

On the 28th he is “working the Swing Shift here, 4:30 PM to 12:30…it gives me a whole night’s sleep (I can even sleep late in the mornings – 10:00 and 11:00 AM), and gives me a whole day to take it easy.”

He writes about going into town and remarks, “It wasn’t bad in the Town of McCook, for it is strictly just that, a town. They’ve got everything you don’t want to buy and are short on what you would like to get, like office pencil sharpeners and two-hole perforators. The weather was perfect, the trees were budding, the grass was greening over the countryside. …I’m sure glad that I am lucky enough to still be around in the USA to see another Springtime. …McCook has some brand new schools, and its streets are quite wide, which gives a drunken guy a better chance of crossing the street; the cars can get around him a lot better. …I went around different blocks, up and down the streets, trying to lose myself, and even with my poor sense of direction …I couldn’t possibly lose myself in that town. …The people…are very friendly and I have to give them a lot of credit for that.”

As far as life on base, he writes, “The McCook Army Air Field Band has been visiting us in the Mess Hall quite regularly, I guess, trying to perk us up or something. When they play swing music, it’s OK, but when they start them martial airs I can see that old gang plank staring me in the face. I used to worry about everything, but it didn’t do me any good, so I just worry about what is good for me and try to take advantage of various opportunities.”

While his letter on the 28th was relatively relaxed and breezy, his letter of the 30th is all business as he writes about sending things home because “when we get to some other place I might not get the time to send it home…”

He details that he is sending home “some stuff in a small box which will be mostly a couple of undershirts and one white towel and an OD cap. I’ve received what I should have and…almost all is the OD green, sort of a dark khaki… I’m pretty well stocked up…and I’m keeping  several other things which will not make a big package, and it will be a lot easier for me to carry same with the rest of the stuff they gave me. If I need anything I will not hesitate to write you for it.” He also details the he is sending a money order home for some of his pay and furlough rations.”

With March 30 being Holy Friday (or Good Friday as we know it), he adds a P.S. to his letter that he has “attended Holy Thursday and Holy Friday services during the day and plan[s] on attending Holy Saturday services. I’ve also fasted today and will tomorrow till noon.”

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