letters from my father – a postcard & letter 8

January 20, 2012


Postmarked January 24, 1944

Dear Grandmother & Granpee,

Do not ever send me things in glass jars, candy, cakes, chewing gum or money. I don’t need the money and we are not permitted to keep the other things. I am well & happy. Say hello to everybody, also my chickens write me soon.

Love Truman

Letter 8

Dear Granther & Granpee,

Today we went to church at 7:00A.M. It wasn’t very good but it was better than nothing. I just got back from washing clothes. I have received all all of your letters and have certainly enjoyed them. I had another shot yesterday and all of our arms are so sore we can’t move them. Last night the other guys went to  a boxing match but I had to stay back and sweep, mop, & wash the windows of our hut because I forgot to bring in one of my shirts from the clothes line. There is no use of you coming to seem me before I get thru, as the only time we can have visitors is from 2 to 4 on Sunday. This California weather isn’t what its cracked up  to be. Its so cold in the mornings & evening that you shiver. It rain about every other afternoon. There isn’t hardly anything you can send me. I already have more soap than I can use and there isn’t nay place to spend money as we can’t go to the P.X. while a “boot.” Don’t send me candy etc. as all packages are opened and these things are confiscated. However I would appreciate a razor as I lost mine and am supposed to have one. The boy who marches in front of me is very funny & is always out of step. I get to laughing at him and both of us catch hell. I had to have my picture taken last week and if I get one I’ll send it to you. We also had out platoon picture taken today. We ran the obstacle course last Wednesday. Its about 1/4 mile long and pretty tough. The Boon docks is the worst place. Its a big sandy, hilly plane. We have to run in the sand zig-zagging & crouching and fall flat on our faces in foxholes. We had a lecture yesterday morning on chemical warfare. We had to take notes & memorize them. My watch has held up very well and keeps good time. We had our transport packs inspected this morning. Mine wasn’t fixed very well and I got bawled out. I now have to clean my rifle for inspection tomorrow, memorize my general orders & clean my bayonet. So I’ll have to end my letter. I am sending my insurance policy.

Love Truman

In letter 8, Dad is definitely sounding more settled in and to some degree resigned to his fate as “boot.” He still sounds overwhelmed too, but less scared.

The postcard was so abrupt and single minded. I wonder if he was getting a lot of flack for the things his grandparents were sending them.

I also noted that Dad and his grandparents seem to have started a conversation about whether or not they will be able to see him before he ships out.  He says something about there being no use for them to come out there. Having read ahead through a bunch of  letters that come after this one, I know that this conversation about visiting, either him going home or them coming out there, will continue for a while. It’s an emotional thread to follow and I want to mark it’s beginning.

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