Never Say Never

In between transcribing the letters from 1944-45, now that I have that ton of 1942 letters behind me, I look around the site and make little changes that need to be done to keep all pages on the site up to date. I see that I’ve declared in some places that I have no plans to transcribe some letters from friends, but I’ve changed my mind about that. I just won’t do it until all of Walt’s and Ruth’s letters are done.

One of those is the long letter from Charles Garner. I started rereading it, and he actually gives a little timeline about Walt’s training and location in 1943. For example:

Pitt & I first met in September, 1943 at Dale Mabry Field, Tallahassee, Fla. I was just newly married & if I remember correctly, you & he had not been married too long.

We went from Tallahassee to Thomasville, Ga. & from there back to Tallahassee. It was not until this second trip to Tallahassee that I became close to Pitt. There—Pitt, I , Rule, Conny Fagerland, DuBost, Franklin, & Marty—separated ourselves into one group & drew cards against other groups to see if we could go overseas. There were six groups of seven apiece & all wanted to go. But—we won or lost—as the case may be & were sent to Meridian, Miss. There the seven of us became as one. We drank, cussed, fussed, fought, gambled, flew & studied as one. Call it “Esprit De Corps” or by any other name, but whatever it was, we seven had it. And, we enjoyed ourselves. We were all young then, both in age & experience. Those of us left are now young in age. I have a picture of us taken at Meridian which I look at every so often & recall the times we had. This picture fairly glows with youth & eagerness.

. . . .

From Meridian we went to Savannah, Ga.

. . . .

From Savannah we seven went to Camp Stoneman, Calif.

. . . .

From Stoneman, we seven went to Hamilton Field at San Francisco & there Rule, Marty & Fagerland left ahead of us & went to a different Sqdn.

There’s more; it’s a long letter, and I will quote from it again before it is all transcribed, but these excerpts help fill in where Walt went for stateside flight training in 1943. From Ruth herself, I remember hearing something about Florida and California, but stories were not really a part of our lives; she kept most of it to herself. I lived in Georgia from 1997-99, but never heard Ruth say anything about her or Walt having been there. But she did leave the letters.

1943—Flight Training, No Letters

December 1942 ended abruptly with a letter promising more. We know Walt was in San Antonio to begin flight training, and we know that he and Ruth married on Christmas Eve. Everything else is speculation until 1944, when the letters start up again.

I can only conclude that there were no letters for 1943 because Ruth stayed with Walt until he was deployed overseas, even though he had done his best to talk her out of staying or working in Texas. The letters in 1944-45 are addressed to Ruth in Youngstown, Ohio on Evergreen Avenue, not the Breaden Street where she lived with her parents in most of the 1942 letters. Did her parents move? Was she living alone in a house or apartment? Was she working again? Maybe some snippets of information will give us a few details about 1943.

Or did Walt go to California or someplace else for flight training as some men did, and did Ruth accompany him?

My daughter discovered in a box of stuff that she had Walt’s identification card, issued in October 1943, so I’ll be making a little trip her way to see what else she might have. Here’s a photo of the card, which does not list an address or location:

I’m going to pick through my photos and documents again for any evidence of where the flight training took place and any other bits related to 1943 before I begin those war letters from 1944.

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