8 May 1942

The discussion of pens continues from the last letter. That made me wonder about the types of pens soldiers might have available in 1942. It looks like fountain pens, possibly ones with internal pump fillers instead of cartridges, were most likely used. I can’t tell from the writing in Walt’s letters. Here’s some interesting information about pen materials during the war: World War II and Its Effects on the Fountain Pen

Although the ballpoint had been invented much earlier, they did not become common until after the war. Perhaps Walt will mention filling his pen with ink at some point.

When making an analogy to explain his understanding of how to play piano music with feeling, Walt talks about being a craneman, so perhaps this is why he was living with his aunt in Ohio, close to all the industry in Youngstown, which was a big steel town.

But about the piano playing, I have nothing to say, except that remembering having to take piano lessons (because my mother wasn’t able to as a child) gives me a stomach ache.

This is the General coming to visit Walt’s location: General Ben “Yoo Hoo” Lear.

A transcript follows the letter images.







May 8, 1942

Hello Ruth:—

Looks like this pen is starting out in high gear again.

Your new song is pretty much O.K. I like it. When I read them it is just as if you were writing it to me—I guess you are—unh—I didn’t say exactly what I wanted to but I guess it is allright tho.

As for your piano playing—I know you could play like you want to if you want to—Don’t get me wrong, I’m not telling you to practice and work on it—because it would take a long time as you say. But I think (it) I can tell you why—(I may be wrong too)—and another thing, I know I couldn’t do it—I don’t have the ambition so therefore I don’t blame you any.

The way I’ve got it figured is this—Y If you were playing a classical


piece that had some feeling to it—you would have to feel it, live it while you were playing—It would have to pass from you to the piano.—Get it.—I think that is why I made a fast craneman (braggin!) Once I got in one and started to run it, a devil seemed to possess me—I just had to run it faster and faster and better and better—I think in a way it is a good (then) thing I got out of one as eventually I would of hurt someone—I think it is a good thing I didn’t get to fly—(S) I would have taken it to seriously—I think!

But—If you would live music to play it like you and I like it I don’t think you would be the same type and kind of girl you are, and


Honey—I like you best as you are—Not that I wouldn’t like to have you play—I would love it—I love music that has feeling to it (in it.)—I guess that is why I love you—You are a beautiful piece of music—only you are alive. You remind me of one [above line: all] of my Waltzes—thats funny, but it is a compliment.

I would like to know where Dave Bair is stationed—I could write him and see how he is getting along.

As for slacks—Well—all the corn fed girls I’ve seen out here (on the few trips I’ve been into town) have been wearing slacks—No good in town—I like to see them when they are clean—nice silk ones or similar—and at home or on a tour—hike—joyride or like that,—but I don’t think I would like them in the downtown section—unh?



We had a nice day—hot—hope it continues—

There was a bulletin [below line about spelling of bulletin: (I dunno)] on the board today, it said that there would be no special furloughs issued (this) for Memorial day or for the 4th of July.

It looks as if our hopes are vanishing. I get pretty blue when I think of it, If I don’t get a furlough this summer I sure will be disappointed.

We are having a parade and review tomorrow—General Ben Lear is supposed to be here—Some nuts unh? Ha.

Well Honey—I have to press a shirt—So

Until Tomorrow

Goodnight Sweetheart

I Love You

x Walt x (- —- —)



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