June 1942 Letters Transcribed ✅

I’ve finished the letters from June 1942, which end on the 27th with news of Ruth’s impending visit to Manhattan, KS. Then there’s a pause in the letters until July 10 when Ruth is returning home on the bus. Maybe we’ll hear a little about the trip after the fact.

I often use these posts to reveal something stupid I’ve done in the transcribing or something I’m trying to figure out. Today, I’m just admitting that I don’t often know when Walt means a capital or lowercase T/t—and maybe he doesn’t know either. So I’ve taken the approach—oh, hell, there’s no approach. I just put down whatever I think at the moment.

The Wizard Behind the Curtain

Don’t pay any attention to pages of letters that show up before previous ones have been filled. For example, the March 1942 page where one letter is posted in the middle of the month. I had been working on it when I realized it was misdated. I found its mate in March, with the same incorrect date, but matching paper and a content reference. Both had clear March postmarks. Rather than try to keep it as a draft, it was just easier to create the March page and post it.

Advice: Don’t read letters out of order if you want to read them in order.

Some Letter Sleight of Hand

If you’re looking for the first three letters that were listed under January 1942, their dates were corrected and they were moved to February 1942.

If you remember back to when you used to write checks for things like your landline phone, you know how easy it is to keep writing the previous month or year a ways into the next one. I think that’s what happened with these few letters, and I’m sure I’ll run across it again. Walt gets all the way to the end of January and keeps writing, correctly changing the day but keeping the previous month.

Meanwhile, I’ll finish January before moving on to the rest of the February letters, trying to catch any mistakes like that in advance.

Cleaning up my pronoun references

I took a breather after finishing the letters from Korea, and am getting ready to go back to January 1942. I’ll open pages to the public by month and not make you wait for a whole year’s worth, since it may take a long time to go through the hundreds of letters from the 40s.

pronounYesterday, before moving on, I went back and cleaned up my pronoun references in those opening blurbs that I wrote to summarize the main themes of each letter. I was using he throughout, meaning the author, knowing it sounded odd to begin that way without a prior reference, but assuming you knew I meant the author. It was personally difficult figuring out what to call the author, so I deferred until that section was all done. I finally decided on my father to replace the first he in each blurb, and I hope you agree that it sounds right and clears up any confusion. If you think that was an easy decision, you would be wrong.

It will be easier to write about the WWII letters, calling the author and his sweetheart Walt and Ruth, back in that time when I didn’t exist.

An Invitation to Readers: Letters from Korea Open to Public

I’ve finished transcribing the letters from Korea and made them available to the public. All the pages are open to comments, although I must approve all comments before they are published.

Let me say a word about my transcribing methods/choices:

Mostly, I want the letters to be readable, so I did not, for example, indicate where words are misspelled—I just assumed that readers would understand what word was meant and that I probably know how to spell them correctly. I don’t think there are any cases where misspellings affect understanding.

The author often corrected his own misspellings, usually by putting parentheses around them and then crossing them out. I did include those in the transcriptions, just for an accurate picture. I don’t think they affect understanding, but in some cases they show how the author changed his mind in a sentence.

A few words were illegible, like the name of the silk scarf purchased in Tokyo, and some words that were completely scratched over with ink. Rather than skip over them, I did write illegible in square brackets.

And about all those dashes. I wrote a blog post a while ago about the colon + dash in so many of the WWII letters: “the dog’s bollocks, you say.” But it doesn’t stop there. There is a dash between almost all the sentences in these letters, even if a period is used. At some point, I had to make the decision of whether they should be represented by a hyphen or a dash and whether there should be spaces around them, as it may look in his handwriting. I decided to go with dashes with no surrounding spaces, just for consistency and my sanity, and because dashes do grammatically separate complete sentences—just not so often, please.

My own mistakes: I noticed that I often typed food for good, and while I think I caught them all, please let me know if you spot one I missed. My father often wrote tho for though, sometimes with a period indicating an abbreviation. For some reason, I started typing an s on the end, resulting in thos, so correct me on that as well.

If you aren’t interested in old war letters, please refer them to your friends. You can find a link to the letters from Korea here https://pittmanlettersproject.com/the_letters/ or individual links here https://pittmanlettersproject.com/the_letters/1951-2/