One of Ruth’s Letters

Just posting that the first and longest of Ruth’s letters is posted. Over 30 pages long, because she doesn’t have Walt’s mailing address yet, it’s a good introduction to the lives of family who waited at home while their loved ones went to war.

The whole thing ends with this kiss

Ruth’s Letters

After finishing transcribing all 359 of Walt’s letters, I fell into a winter slump. Let’s call it a vacation. I’ve crept back into transcribing by working on those two pilot logs (log1, log2), and now I’m starting on Ruth’s Letters by scanning them and filing them into folders—I hate that part.

Walt mentioned a few times that he was returning her letters for the scrapbook she planned to work on (but never did). Most of her letters were bundled into envelopes, except for four that were returned to her in their original envelopes. She might have picked those up when she went out to visit him. The last bundle is dated 26 July 1942. Walt doesn’t head out to Texas until November, so it’s unclear why the returning ended in July. Nevertheless, that’s all there is. Walt and Ruth would be together after December, so there was no need for letters in 1943. The war obviously made it unlikely that Walt could return any letters received overseas. Beyond that, I don’t know what happened to the idea of the scrapbook, even though there is a large one with photos of other soldiers in it.

My scanning plan is to scan all of an envelope’s contents into one PDF. For the transcribing, though, I’ll do that one letter at a time, with each letter page in JPEG format. Bear with me.

While there is nothing new to read, imagine me scanning and organizing.

What’s After the Letters?

Currently, there are 402 pages on this site. The blog itself is one continuous page, and then there are title pages and resource pages, and so on.

Three hundred fifty-nine of those pages are letters from Walt—359!

::deafening applause::

But that’s not the end. I still have those packs of Ruth’s letters to be sorted and scanned and transcribed. They are without their envelopes, so I am hoping each one is dated, and that maybe they were returned in order. I will start by scanning and posting them before I do any transcribing, though.

There are other items that might be of interest, such as Walt’s pilot’s log book, and of course documents from the government following his death.

Stay tuned to the blog for updates about where the site goes from here.

August 1945 Letters Transcribed ✅

The letters from August 1945 have been transcribed, and that marks the end of the letters from World War II. August begins with Walt’s squadron moving to the Ryukyu/Okinawa Islands and ends with the Japanese surrender after we dropped the atomic bombs. At the end, Walt is a little lost, probably wondering what he will do now that this 4-year period of service is coming to an end.

July 1945 Letters Transcribed ✅

There are only seven letters in July 1945, but they begin with the long waited for news of Walt’s promotion to Captain. He gets a chance to visit the front line with the infantry, but by the end of the month, his squadron is headed out for another location, where he expects to be pretty busy.