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.

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.

June 1945 Letters Transcribed ✅

The few letters of June 1945 have been transcribed, with recurring themes: restlessness, waiting for a promotion to captain, the desire to come home coupled with concern about how to make a living, and the rainy season.

May 1945 Letters Transcribed ✅

The nine letters of May 1945 have been transcribed. Mostly Walt talks about whether to stay in combat and wait for that elusive promotion to Captain or come home, now that he has over 300 combat hours. It’s an increasingly difficult choice when he sees his friends both getting promotions and going home.