Another nickname for Ruth—Boots—or maybe Walt is just trying them out to see if one sticks. Last letter it was Rufus.
What a difference a desk and pen make in legibility (says the transcriber).
From the home front, Walt writes about Ruth meeting some more of his aunts, his mother’s sisters. From what I have gathered on Ancestry.com, I think Walt’s mother had eleven siblings, so it’s not surprising to me that some were more likable than others.
A lot of the letter describes the Service Club facilities, although the things offered there seem to create homesickness as much as anything else. Music was very important to this generation, but it surprises me that the waltz was so popular among young adults. In my mind, it was the era of swing and big bands—obviously, I didn’t have the whole picture.
A transcript follows the letter images.
Feb 8, 1942
Sun. Morn. 8:30
Dearest Ruth:—or “Boots”.
Well I got your little cartoon to day—a little late—but funny—Y’know this is another Sunday—Another day that I get more (
lonel) lonesome then Usual Partly because it’s Sunday—Partly because there is nothing to do. And the other part is just the same as any other day—altogether it makes it three times as bad. Boy am I sore—Yesterday was inspection day and when I was cleaning up around my bed I broke the crystal on my watch.
Well, if we ever get a payday I’ll go into Junction City and get one. If I can’t—I’m going
to ship it back to you—You ought to be able to get one there.
just) took it off and put it along aside you picture in the little box I keep it in—and there she ticks. Boy you’ld be surprised how much I miss it—I pull my sleeve up and,—no watch.
I don’t know whether I told you this before or not but none of us have been able to leave this camp until yesterday and then we had to recite the General Orders to a (
Lieut) Lt. in order to get a Class A. card.
I didn’t leave anyway.
You know—Here is something else maybe you’ld like to
know—this is a dry state. The only thing they have to drink is 3.2. Bah!
Evidently you must of met two or three Aunts—Unh?—How do you like Aunt Grace—I like her—But Aunt Hazel and I never did get along very well—Ha. How did Mom act.—Did they [illegible cross out] have anything to say. I suppose you’ll tell me before you get this.
A lady back home sent me a comfort kit—Ha—Mom wrote and told me I was getting it and I didn’t know what it was Ha—Well anyway, it contained—About 10 or 12 safety pins—thread—needles—
buttons—A gospel of St. John or St. Somebody—I forget right now—but I am going to it anyhow.—It has a couple of cards an envelope, a package of razor blades,—A cake of “sweetheart” soap—Very appropriate Unh?—Oh yeah—Some cards from the W.C.T.U.—Which I didn’t need as long as I’m in this state. Ha. (Crossed out sentence—might be a version of the next sentence)
I just now—extended my arms to their full lenth of a foot or two and gave a H— of a big “yawn.” Pardon me but I just got up a little while ago. Just loaded my pipe—so will write some more.—
Remember me telling you about Bert Hawkins—well I got the nicest card from his wife and him. Kind of comical—yet
there is some feeling behind it too—You know.
It is very cloudy to day and a speck or two of snow has fell, there is more on the ground and right now I can’t even see any in the air—but (
it) I think maybe it will snow before the day is over.
I] I’ve been going to write a card to Beach—but I just haven’t found time. that sounds funny—but it is the truth.
We fellows expect some hard work this coming week—and probably a sore behind the front of our anatomy—Ha—I can feel it right now.
So you want to learn to shoot
a rifle [illegible cross out] Unh?—Well I reckon maybe I can teach you—I just helped teach 6 or 7 fellows—And
our my squad had one of the highest scores in the troop. Pretty good Unh?
Jack Bennett and I expect to (illegible cross out) (illegible cross out) go to church this evening—I hope so. I haven’t been to church yet.—Wish I could go with you.
The other night, (
I) the night I said I rea wrote ( six) six letters—I heard about the last 10 words of the “Anniversary Waltz.” And was mad because I didn’t hear the rest—there was a radio in a room next to the reading room. That is where the radio was—I would like to hear “The Blue Danube” again. Well “Honey”—I’ll see you later today.
Oh yeh—Y’know—since I came out here I’m the (
bigest)( darnest) “darndest” candy man you ever saw—It must be because I use up a lot of energy or ( sompthing)—something—But I actually get hungry for it.
I guess I’d better quit—after I write so long—Every other word has to be scratched out.
Well see you later
x xxx xxx
Feb. 8, 42
I’m at the Service Club. And since they have the paper, pen, ink—etc. I (
thought) think I will write a few lines.
The setting is more like it should be in as much as there is music like we used to listen to. It is coming over the ether by means of a “Nicklelodian” or something Ha.
There is a lot of noise, but from where I am sitting, I can pick out the music clear as a bell—It is as if we were at a night club and you aren’t here—That is always the trouble, you aren’t here.—Except in my heart and you never leave there.—That is a big help to me.—Knowing I have someone like you behind me.
Y’know Honey I’ve a notion to try to go to officers school—I’m not sure yet—(
but) as I told you before—But if ( I) things keep on going O.K.—I might take a crack at it. Tell me whether you’d like to have an officer for a sweetheart.
They have a library here—I think maybe I’ll read some or if they have any good music I might listen to it and dream of the sweetest, little, girl in the world—I don’t know why I persist in saying little girl—Ha.—Anyway I still think your the sweetest little girl—The most lovable girl (
I ever) I’ve ever seen—and ever hope to see.
This service club is rather a nice place—they have ping-pong—A piano—library—Restaurant—Music box—Ha—Writing desk at which they have every thing except a stamp—Although right now I can’t find an envelope—Il mail it along with the rest of the letter. O.K.? O.K.!
Okay—Men!—Ha, fine ting! Unh!—You there—me here—Yeh—a
n fine ting!
[sketch of a musical bar with notes]
I came down here with a nice fellow, named Jim Goddard—from Cal. a good guy—He is another “squad leader”—He would like to go to officers school too. “Bing” is on the box now—
I don’t wha He is singing The Anniversary Waltz—Just finished—What a shame. When ever I hear a waltz I ( t) always thing of the prettiest waltz I know—She walks and talks, She’s beautiful, She loves me—I love her—Altogether “The Waltz of Waltzes“
Well I see you,
To my wife
x (— — — . . .) x
[The letter contains a newspaper clipping of a poem about Russians fighting off Hitler with their cavalry.]