Letters from “This Godforsaken Hole”

May 6, 1941,

It’s so warm again and no rain.  I had another letter from Jakey again today.  It felt so good.  Freda Grockmal read our palms and told us what the stars had in store for us-at club tonight.  We adjourned to the Moonlight and we had cokes and exchanged experiences.  All the way home cars kept stopping to give us rides-army boys, etc.

Babu what do the stars have in store for us?! You can’t leave us hanging.

Jake’s letter:

May 3, 1941,

Dear Emily,

     Well I finally got to visit the great metropolis of Tuscaloosa.  We left the port at 4:00 and were back by 8:00.  I bought some ink, postcards, etc and went to a show-W.C. Fields in “Bank Dick” on feature only.  

     I wonder if you remember what I asked you to do on Mother’s Day.  I’d be willing to bet you remember but just in case you forgot send her some flowers.  I’d send you the money but I have to pay an insurance of 6.60 and that will just about break me.  (There I go talking finance again.)  As soon as I get my 75.00 less deductions of approx. $15.00 for uniform 6.00 for goggles, etc. I’ll send it to you.  I’m still being a pain in the neck even though I’m 1200 miles away.

     After I got through writing to you the other day one of the boys decided he would like to write to you also so I’m enclosing a letter which he wrote.

He’s quite a boy.  I saw him twice in Tuscaloosa this afternoon and each time he had a different girl.

I was able to take some pictures this afternoon and as soon as I get them back I’ll mail them to you.  I’ll mail you the negatives too because I have no room to keep things here as the officers do not allow us to keep personal effects in any other part of our locker except the small personal compartment.

It’s only a day since I wrote you last but I want to remind you again to please be a good girl and write.  I bet you’re pretty tired of reading this statement by now.

Everything is very quiet in the barracks right now.  It’s just 9:30.  Only 4 boys are here counting me and two of them have gone to bed.  I haven’t had a beer for five days now.  Tuscaloosa is dry as a bone.  Some of the boys went to the midway about 18 miles from here where beer is sold but I think it’s a good idea for me to be just as dry as Tuscaloosa.

There are no inspections tomorrow (Sunday) until 7 PM and we can sleep till 10:30.  But I’m going to be a good boy and go to church at 9:30.  Even so I will sleep quite late considering we get up at 5:20 every other day.

My electric shaver broke down today but I think I can let shaving go for a couple of days until I can get it fixed.  I’ve been writing my letters pretty erratically so if you have any questions just stand at attention, say “question, sir” and I’ll put you “at ease” and you can “shoot with the question.”

Take good care of yourself and don’t do anything I wouldn’t do. 

Your “Peaches,”

XXXXXXX

X    Jake       X

 XXXXXXX

It’s amazing to hear how vulnerable Jake is willing to be with Babu about his care for her, about how lonesome he is, even about his finances.

But what about this boy who has also written Babu a letter? Has that letter been lost to time? Oh, no, it is not. It is right here. Ladies and gentlemen, I’d like to introduce you to Gene.

May 2, 1941

Dear Emily,

It’s a beautiful evening in Alabama, the stars are twinkling merrily; all the brighter because of thoughts of you, my unknown beautiful blonde bit of effervescing loveliness.  Although I haven’t seen you I’m sure, from descriptions, that you must be absolutely gorgeous, the acme of feminine pulchritude.    In the same manner Mr. Roosevelt says, “I hate war” I say, “I love blondes!”  

I trust that you don’t think that i am being presumptuous in writing this noble epistle, but truly, I’m a forlorn individual, stuck in this God-forsaken hole 1245 miles away from home and I just don’t know any girls at all.  My fair goddess will you drop me just a line so that I can say that I’ve had a letter.

Please disregard all the many errors and gross penmanship as I am in an extreme hurry.  Until I hear from you I will remain forever yours with truest love and affection, 

Yours truly,

Gene

Oh my goodness. What I don’t know is if Babu – the fair goddess – deigned to return a letter to this Gene.

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