War Letters
Part I - 1944

On October 8, 1944, Charles left for Seattle, Washington, and the two little boys and I settled down to live at what was then 1221 Prairie Avenue. We were fortunate to have a pleasant house to live in two doors from my mother, and in a neighborhood I had grown up in.

The war in Europe was still going badly, but hope was in the air. The Russians were beginning to hold their own against the Germans although at terrible, terrible cost in life and suffering. Better than a 20,000,000 Russians lost their lives, and the countryside was laid waste. The Allies were fighting their way up Italy at a terrific cost in lives, and England was still being pounded by the Luftwaffe. D. Day had begun the reversal of war, and during the time of these letters V.E. Day was finally to take place, and the entire strength of the Allies could be turned to the Pacific war.

Charles went from Seattle to sea in the Pacific, and these letters are those he and I wrote to each other. I was able to save far more of his than he could save of mine since he was shifted around, but there are more than enough letters, some of them those I wrote to the Bentleys and my aunt and uncle. I have cut the letters drastically and omitted many, but I am afraid this portion is still far too long. Anyone who wants more can look at the originals.

October 110 1944 -Charles to Phyllis


Just checked in an hour or so, so I don't yet know what goes on.

Our train was on time, believe it or not. Got a cab with four others, and after a furious ride through town the driver set me off a mile from where I was supposed to go.

So, leaving my bags I trudged down to the Pre-Commissioning School, and went through the process of signing papers, leaving orders, etc. Then I went to the Head of Department who was, to say the least, shocked to see that BuPers had assigned me as Ass1t Navigator with no previous sea experience, but finally he gave me a sheet containing my schedule.

1. My ship will assemble on 10 November 44.
2. Afloat training begins on 5 December.
3. My course will be as follows:
Oct. 16-17 Gas Defense, on this station
Oct. 18-25 CIC Tactical Radar at Whidby Islando Washington
Oct. 28-Nov 2. San Francisco for Loran training
Nov. 4-11 Back here for Navigation class all day.
Nov. 1-2 Fire-fighting school at Manchester
Nov. 13-25. officers training course.

That is as far as the schedule goes. I don't know what happens between November 25 and December 5. Maybe we have time to sleep it off.

Just took time out for lunch. A delicious repast. Soup, steak (large, 2 if you wanted) mashed potatoes, peas and carrots, ice cream and cake, coffee. For the exorbitant price of#30 e,. You heard me.

The Ensign who checked me in said I would have to stay at the Frye Hotel downtown, which has been taken over by the Navy. Before leaving, however, I found that there is a BOQ here on base, so I went around there and they had space, so here I am. We have to muster at 0755 and 1315 every day, and I hated the idea of coming from town every morning that early.

This is pretty good. Two in a room in double deck bunks, washstand and desk. Haven't found the head yet, but I will soon. Haven't seen my roommate either. His name is M. J. Balliers and he seems to come from Amsterda, N. Y.

There are a lot of advantages to living on the base. It looks as if I will have free time, although I have to remain on the station, and I'll be glad to have someplace to go. They have a movie here, ships service, and all that, so I am fairly well set up.

Tomorrow I have to take the 3-hour test we gave in Hollywood. I could have brought along a copy, but deliberately did not. Liberty is from 1730 to 0755 on weekdays and from after Captain's inspection (about 1700) Saturdays to 0755 Monday morning. This is a pretty big station. I don't know how many are here, but the buildings spread all over the place. Most of it is new. I think I am going to like it, but will know better when the classes start.My address is now:

BOQ PreCommissioning School

U.S. Naval Station

Seattle 99, Washington, DC

October 12, 1944 --- Phyllis to Family

We are still in the midst of painters and muddle, and the weather has become so chilly that what with open windows on account of the paint smell, our little temporary gas burner is no longer adequate, and I had to light the furnace this morning. I cannot say that so far I have turned out to be a cracker-jack fireman. I really wish that we didn't have to have the windows open at just this moment since Tommy has one of his laryngeal colds and sounds as though he is going to expire momentarily, and the chill doesn't help him a bit.

You should see our beautiful cream and white kitchen, and the boys room which is painted yellow. This is really a nice house, and it is wonderful to have a place big enough to spread out in. We have collected bricks to use in place of andirons so that we can have a real fire in our fireplace, and we hope Cousin Harry will do something about getting us some woods His mother complains that he is untidy. We cleaned up his room and moved furniture into it on Monday. and he moved in on Monday evenings completely redecorating it to suit himself. On Tues. afternoon I went up to make his bed and tidy, but no, he had made the bed and straightened up, and such a tidy room I never did see. Furthermore, he retires into it for hours and plays the radio or solitaire and seems happy. My children torment him to death for an hour or so around supper times and he rides Bucky on the back of his bike, which delights Buck. I can send you no news of my husband as yet.

Friday, Oct. 13 ---- Charles to Phyllis

I took the Officer Classification test today -- 3 hours of it, and now have more sympathy for those I used to give it to. That and another test took all morning.

This afternoon I attended my first muster, and then had an interview with the interviewing officer. I'm not sure just what that accomplished if anything --- although he was a nice guy. He lives here in BOQ, and of course we had common interests and friends. I will probably see more of him.

My ballot came today, but no other mail. Probably it has been caught up in the general snafu at the post office. I can't believe that you would forsake me so soon.

As I understand its when the ship assembles, it means that all the enlisted men are assigned and placed in one barracks. The officers are then under direct command of the C.O. We muster at the barracks and have duty every so often. Then we are shipped to Astoria on the commissioning date and pick up the ship as well as the boats (LCVP 9) and the boat crews and officers. Then we go to San Francisco for a couple of days and then to San Pedro for inspection, and then out. It looks as if it will be next May before the 147 gets anywhere, although apparently I won't be in any one place very long. It looks. though, as if I will be on board the ship before Christmas.

Saturday, Oct. 14. 1944 --- Charles to Phyllis

Here it is Saturday night and what are you doing? Something interesting I hope. That's more than I can say for myself.

Last night I went to see "Since You Went Away" with a fellow named Wassermano, a PhD from the U. of Illinois. The picture was a 3 hour struggle, but mighty well done. I don't recommend it for you unless you feel you would like a good cry.

Today was quiet. We attended a recognition movie in the morning but the other two classes were called off. After lunch we saw a film on China -- a super job that should be shown to others outside the armed forces. Some of the shots of Nanking were gruesome. They were taken by an American Doctor and smuggled out. Then we hung around for inspections and the Captain surprised everyone by actually looking at us, and then pronouncing us very sloppy. No one took the inspection very seriously, and I guess we really were a mess, compared with the enlisted men who were polished up but good.

I find that the steak we had the first day I was here turned my head. Since then the food has been very bad --- not even worth $.20. We eat in the general mess where the food is cooked in large quantities and you know what that means.

Tonight I am going to the movies again --- this time to see "Till We Meet Again," just to pass the time.

This will be my last Saturday here this month, Next weekend I will be on Whidbey Island and the following one in San Francisco

Sunday, Oct. 15, 1944 Charles to Phyllis

Here it is Sunday and I don't feel like doing anything in particular. Haven't done anything all day to be frank. I am going to fly to San Francisco, and I wrote to J. Coop to see if she can get a hotel room for me there. The school is on Treasure Island.

Tomorrow morning I have Gas Defense, whatever that is. Probably how to use gas masks and things.

Have to go eat now. Brother Wasserman hasn't had anything to eat since breakfast and is waiting for me.

By the way, I read in the paper today that Libra husbands make perfect lovers. Did you say it's too bad I didn't learn that before? There's always one SOB who doesn't get the word..

Friday, October 20. 1944 ---- Phyllis to Family

For two whole days I have not had a letter from my darling. He is either out on a bender, or he has changed over from air to regular mail, and the post office has not yet caught up with me.

I have just come up from feeding that rapacious beast in the cellar. I have become a keen furnace man, but it seems to me that there is something not quite nice about keeping a fire in the house. Here is this enemy of mankind., a captive that I keep cooped up in a cave. I go down two or three times a day to feed it, and I, at least, go down 6 or 7 more times a day just to look at it -- to see whether it is happy, and whether it needs to be opened up for a little air. or should be shut up tighter because it is feeling obstreperous. I shut it up tightly at night. You just wait and see. The great God Moloch is going to get mad at of tethering up one of his offspring like that. Sometimes it snarls, and sometimes it just broods and threatens to go out. It doesn't like me, I can see it in its eyes.

We got our Sears Roebuck Christmas catalogue today. We really go over it with a fine tooth-comb in our house. (Charles: observe how I automatically hyphenate that word. It is still some odd thing called a tooth-comb to met just a particularly fine specimen).

The only thing that Bucky is really sure that he wants so far is one of those cheap Borden's milk wagons and its horse. He has the simplest desires I ever came across for Christmas. Last year it was just a tree and candy. This year it is a milk-wagon. What I would like to get him is one of those swing and jungle Jim arrangements if I can manage it. He needs something to work out a little energy on. Also, he still has a hankering for roller skates, so if we can possibly collapse those you have, Annie, maybe he can use them in the spring.

In some ways it is very handy to come back where everyone knows you. This afternoon I went uptown to buy some vitamins for the boys, and being rather low in the pocketbook, I thought I would make use of the refund check from Florida Power and Light. I had never really looked at the check until I got to Muenches', and then discovered that it was made out to Charles. I was crushed, but Mr. Muench just said, "Oh. forge his name to it, and if it comes back I'll let you know." Also, Sears hasn't returned my priority for a stove, but I have been using a stove from Parobeck's for almost a week now. I have been calling Sears with no results, and how can the hardware store get another stove without my priority?

Furthermore, Clarence Senne came across with half a ham this afternoon (Mother is having the Van Sickles over the week-end.) He has a nice little store across the track that Mother never uses because she usually has to go uptown for the bank or Red Cross, or whatever when she shops, but it is just dandy for me since I drag two kids and two bikes wherever I go.

Beth Clarke and Daughter Linda were at Mother's for lunch today. Linda is a cute little thing, and looks a lot like Al Clarke. Buck was old Lord Chesterfield himself, pulling out Beth's chair and holding it for her, and taking Linda for rides around the block in his wagon. He was simply divine all afternoon the day we all went to Brookfield Zoo too. Beth is going to have nothing but good to report about him when she goes back to California, which is fine. She has never seen him in one of his off moments, although I must say that he has been remarkably pleasant, cooperative, and well behaved for weeks now. Maybe he is ill. Nonsense! he is a remarkable child.

Young Harry has promised to go out and get pumpkins for my kids tomorrow to make jack-o-lanterns out of, and I have promised to make pies out of the innards. I still do not have an icebox, and I keep my perishables in the basement in a laundry tub full of ice. I do not dare keep more than one quart of milk on hand for fear it will spoil, so we are forever trotting over to Boggen's for more.

I think Harry would like to eat over here, but he wants he-man food for supper when the kids are ready for a boiled egg or Rice Crispies, so he goes and eats corned beef at Boggin's. As soon as I can keep enough milk in the house he might just as well have breakfast here since I make cereal anyway.

October 25, 1944 Charles to Phyllis

We arrived back here in Seattle at 4:00 this afternoon after a bus ride that took us through every village between here and Whidbey. When I got back I found all your lovely letters waiting for me, and another batch when I returned from the laundry. I am now rereading them in sequence.

I notice you had money worries. So do I. As a matter of fact, I am now in debt, but will come out all right if I get paid tomorrow as they promised. I shall try to collect some per diem also.

But look here ---- it was only $35.00 that I took --- right? Or is that just your way of balancing your books? I'm pretty sure I only took $35.00 although we did spend some on Sunday night. However, I haven't cashed a check and will not. I think it is pretty low of the Navy to have held up payment of my voucher for bringing you to Hollywood for 4 months now. Besides, they have all of my original orders. But, we trust it will come through some day. And, by the way, if you ever get stuck in an emergency and have to borrow money, see the Navy Relief in Chicago. I contribute to it, and they will loan you money without interest. I'm sorry to leave you so destitute, but maybe we can keep the wolf from the door if the Navy cooperates.

I have been looking all over for bracelets for the boys, but no luck. I'll see what I can do in S. F. for the boys and for Dad. Maybe I'll buy something for you also. I'll try to get a picture taken, and I would like very much to have a picture of you and the boys. In re a present for my father ---- did you know that the Atlantic Monthly is a dandy magazine? Get a copy of it and see if you think he would like it. Go over it with a tooth-comb, and you can use a tooth-brush too, if you like.

I am overjoyed to hear that you got a stove. How are you doing on the icebox? I am not so keen on an expenditure for a new icebox if it is very much because after the war you will want to scuttle it for an electric refrigerator. If the old one in the basement is any good be wise to use it until something good turns up. [With Harry's help I did lug the old oak ice-box up out of the basement and used it for the duration of the war. The Lunds delivered ice and came in every other day to refill the darned thing, . Hughes McCoy eventually drilled a hole in the floor and ran a tube from the box down to a pail in the basement so that the eternal drippings went down there instead of into a pan which constantly over-flowed over the kitchen floor.]

I sympathize with you for all the physical work you have in tending the furnace, but I do think you would rather do something like that, which taxes your mechanical ability rather than tat or knit. Frankly I think you are in your glory when you find you can conquer the furnace.

Not to be lugubrious, but I was thinking of what would happen to you if something should happen to me. Financially, I mean. These are the assets:

  1. 1. National Service Life Insurance $100000(Premiums for this are deducted from my pay. In case of my death write to the Veteran's Bureau or see the Red Cross.)
  2. 2. Metropolitain Life Insurance $100000 (Was this a 5 or 10 year policy? It has to be renewed sometime. Better check it.
  3. 3. Northwestern Mutual Policy 3,300
  4. 4. Northwestern Mutual additions to my policy. They tell you how much on a green slip every quarter. Better save them. At the moment I think it is something like 200
  5. 5. Retirement Fund. I have about 450in there now, but it earns interest. Write to the U. S. Civil Service Comm, or call Joe Connor, Regional Director in Chicago.
  6. Total $231,950

This might carry you along for a little while anyway. Will you d me a favor and type this out and attach it to my will? Oh, yes, another thing: the Navy will pay a 6 months gratuity in the event of my death, based on base pay plus sea pay, but not subsistence and rental. Thus if I die as an Ensign you will get $495 (10% of $1,800 plus 10% of sea pay, and if a j.g. you will receive $550.



Which looks like a tidy sum. Don't worry chum, I'm not going to be killed. I'm coming home. I mean that. I just thought you should have it all written down somewhere just in case. Anyway, I am coming home some day because I love you too much to let anything happen.


October 26, 1944 Phyllis to Family

I have just spent approximately three hours hashing over the old subject of how you can teach some kids to be the way they aint with little Harry. Of course during that time he went out and got two 'one in a million" milk shakes, and I baked a cake for Tom's birthday tomorrow, and straightened the house, but in between and all around we have been having a wonderful discussion..

I carved out two very handsome pumpkins this morning -with extra-special fancy faces on them --- and tonight I discover that someone has hacked all the teeth out of one of them and gouged a few dimples into its face. Cleaning out pumpkins is just about the messiest job I know of, and I cleaned out enough of the insides to make three or four pies. We are also saving some of the seeds to olant to raise our own pumpkins next year.

We are having almost deliriously beautiful weather. Warm, hazy, sunny, smoky October weather. The coloring of the leaves has been unusually nice this year. and by now the weather has become something everyone is talking about.

It just dawned on me that although little Harry is almost too warm upstairs I don't want my fire to go outs so I went down to put some coal on it prior to checking it for the night. Boys have I become the fireman --- especially since the lesson from the coal man who came to find out what was wrong when it went out during the first few days. It turned out that the weather was just too warm and we were just keeping too small a fire. It was so warm outside that there was no draft up the chimney.

I want to make a frosting for Tom's cake yet tonight,, and that is keeping me from concentrating on this letter. My unfortunate husband hasn't been getting his mail, and so far as I know the last letter he received from me was written on October 12. I have been writing daily, and it is a most irritating feeling to know that you are writing and yet are not in contact. However, he returned to Seattle yesterdays, and maybe he finally got some mail.

You may all be interested to know that I have heard from Mrs. Clulow, and that Mr. Clulow is now in the hospital in Washington, but is much better, able to be pretty much on his own, and writing cheery letters to his wife. The Dr. reports that he may be O.K. by Christmas.

Friday, November 3, 1944 --- Phyllis to Family

Guess where I have been all day? Down on the south side with son Buck. For something like one month and one week we have had perfectly divine weathers but today, of course, it rained. We got started before it really began to rain, and so we continued. We went down-town on the 9:2O train, took the bus over to Michigan Avenue, and the IC down to57th Street. We had already planned to buy Tommy a book with the dollar Annie sent Bucky on Tommy's birthday, so we walked up 57th street to Woodward's Bookstore. There we bought Tom "Farmer Jones Animals" and "Pokey Little Puppy" after which Bucky browsed in the children's book section and I browsed in the rest of the store for half an hour, after which we walked by our old apartment -- and Bucky honestly picked it out as the building we lived in, and remembered which doorway we went into. Then we went up the Midway and into International House, where we had lunch. We sat across from a Japanese girl and a Lieutenant in the Military Government School who were talking Japanese, which intrigued Buck, and they paid quite a bit of attention to him. It was now pouring rain, and we were unable to call on the Donovan's since Kathleen was in bed with the flu, so when it slowed down to a drizzle we hiked up to the Museum of Science and Industry.

Buck was set on going down in the coal mine, so we went and bought tickets and climbed up to the platform where you take the elevator. We were squashed in with about 40 people in a pitch dark elevator, which gave him cold feet9 and he began to cry so we got ignominiously out again, walked back down and went over to the trains. We talked over telephones which repeated your own voice back to you, and into a telephone which showed up your voice in a quivering light beam, and worked a telephone which showed how the dialed number worked all those complicated gadgets. We whispered in the whispering gallery, and screamed in a sound-proof room, and again in a normal one, and then again in the sound-proof one. We rolled that peculiar cone up-hill, banged the 1st ball that relays the impact to the 12th ball, bounced the ball on a stream of air, and went through the street of the 1890s. We went to the nicolodeon which was a flop since he didn't see the point to the movies where everything flickered and people jumped. We saw people peeled slowly like a grape so you could see first their muscles and then their viscera, etc., and then we looked at the embryos. We saw all the plows (although what we really looked at was the horses ) and we looked down from the third floor to the basement to watch the pendulum swing -- the one that proves that the earth turns, or whatever it is that it proves --- and then we had a milk-shake. Then we went back to the trains and I gave up and sat down and said "The hell with the sign," and just turned him loose and let him run round and round the Santa Fe Exhibit of model trains. He climbed off and on all the old street cars, autos, trains, etc., although I did have to go and be a fireman while he was engineer on the cab of the locomotive exhibit while he turned all the wheels and pulled all the levers and leaned out of the cab window screaming "ding dong, whoo whoo, chuff chuff, etc." I finally dragged him out protesting. So we went back to the IC and downtown, over to the bus, and so to the Northwestern station where we had ice-cream at Eitells and decided not to take the 4:35 since it was already 4:03 and the train was packed, but waited a few minutes and got on the 4:55 where he ran up and down the empty coach turning all the seats the wrong way, and so to Des Plaines and home in the rain. We changed our clothes, and since it was chilly went down and emptied out of the ash pit all of the contents of the firebox which had been dumped there day before yesterday,. I built a fire, we had dinner at Boggin's, after which we came back here and read "Farmer Jones Animals" and "Pokey Little Puppy," and Bucky went to bed. After which I read "Farmer Jones Animals" and "Pokey Little Puppy" to Tommie again and put him to bed. I am tired.

Monday, November 6, 1944 --- Charles to Phyllis

Enclosed is a small something for you. There will be more in about a week. I do not know how this got to be $49.00 instead of $45.00, but I do know the Navy never overpays anyone.

Well, after leaving my orders for endorsement I finally got over to the Head of the Navigation Department and found that my ship had assembled on the 3rd, a full week ahead of schedule. Get Bentley out of the States by Christmas is their motto. I caught up with them at a lecture given by a bombastic big mouth conceited son of a bitch from the Severn River trade school. Then I went over to our barracks and after a wait met the executive officer who seems to be a pleasant, soft-spoken gent. Then on to Navigation class. All the time it was raining hard, the mud was ankle-deep, mixed with oil in places and I wondered why I had picked that day to put on a freshly cleaned palm beach suit. We mustered indoors at 1 PM and, since I was the only officer in the N Division, I had to take the muster. By the time the OOD called for reports I had finally located my division, but fortunately a chief petty officer had taken the muster. Then they asked me to take a detail of 4 men over to a building and bring back some confidential material for the ship. Really I am just a babe in the woods when it comes to that sort of thing. But since it was so sloshy we didn't have to do any smart marching, I got the stuff and finally got back to Navigation Class.

The Navigation class is nothing to rave about. There is no formal teaching. You merely get a lesson, work it out, then go on to the next lesson, If you can't do it you either go and ask the instructor if he happens to be there, or figure it out for yourself. I did the latter today since it was supposed to be elementary and I didn't want to show off my ignorance too much. There are about 7 taking it at the moment, everyone at a different point.

November 11, 1944 ---- Phil to Family

While shopping yesterday Clarence talked me into buying a utility beef steak -- which either was not genuine utility beef, or else he had hung it up in the attic for a good long while, because it broiled beautifully. To go with it I had purchased some lovely mushrooms, we mashed some potatoes and we had Lord Mott french style green beans, and even my sons had two helpings of everything. All in all, this has been a good day. Got two letters from my husband.

Clarence is a very good butcher, and furthermore he has things that others don't have, or else hoard for their oldest and dearest friends. I got a half a ham there yesterday which Boggen and Little Harry and their guests are going to eat tomorrow at noon. He and a fellow named Bill Reiter, who was a year behind us in school have a little store on the other side of the Soo Line tracks. The kind of little store that carries everything imaginable in the smallest possible amount of space, it is, in fact the kind of store you think of finding at the cross roads out in the country. Both Bill and Clarence at this fairly youthful stage have already taken on the mien of "characters," both in appearance and action. Neither is any older than I, but Bill has white hair, is tall and thin and a bit stooped, and Clarence is bald and short and fat. He still looks just as he looked at 12, kind of like a good-natured chipmunk. I rather think that they are successful, and prospering mightily from the crowds in there every afternoon. and the number of huge orders that Bill lugs out to deliver every time I am going by. This is a good thing, because Clarence in the 7th and 8th grades was a good natured but downtrodden soul. He was being raised by old Grandma Senne on the very farm Boggen and Charlie and Dick were born on way out at Algonquin and Mt. Prospect roads, and after doing farm chores walked all the way in to West Division School every morning. He was always out at the knee and elbow, slightly unwashed and unkempt, and always in trouble. Whether it was his fault or not he always got the dickens for any trouble that went on --- I can vividly remember the day when Mr. Robson broke one of those big heavy school rulers on him, and then banged him with a geography book. He didn't even cry, which raised him in our esteem, and he didn't tell -- maybe he didn't have anyone to tell, come to think of it.

Charles' ship has been assembled a full week ahead of schedule and they are to go out on their shakedown cruise a full week ahead of time. My son Buck is having some trouble over all of this -of course, I have no idea of just how much he has grasped about Charles' going away, although he can point out on a map where Daddy is, and I would have sworn that he already thought that his daddy was on a ship. But when I read him the last letter he wept and said he didn't want Daddy to go on a boat. I attempted a little reasoning, and he said, "But you said he was coming back sometime." I attempted to reassure him, and he finally stopped sniffling, but as he went off he looked back and said, "Yeah, but when?"

My fire needs tending, and tomorrow is Sunday School. My mother is going to Wichita on the 24th of this month, and I trust Charlie Grimm will come to see us.

Sunday, Nov. 12, 1944 Charles to Phyllis

Sorry I couldn't talk longer this morning, but at $3.15 a shot I really couldn't. It took all the change I had as it was. But it was worth it to hear you and the boys. I was sitting in Navigation class Saturday working on something I had never seen before, but which is supposed to be fundamental for a Navigator, when the instructor returned and informed me that Lt. Comdr. Meyer wanted to see me. He is supposed to be head of the Navigation department but is actually in charge of officer training and detailing. They can't give him that title because Comdr. Jack Frost, that pompous ass, has the title of Training Director. So I went over to Meyer's office and was informed that the Assistant Navigator of the 171 had been transferred to another ship as Navigator and it was necessary to transfer someone to the 171,and since I was making out pretty well in class, I was It. Meyer told me that the crew of the 171 would finish its afloat training on Tuesday and that I would leave with the crew then for Astoria. I was a little upset, frankly, not so much at the idea of shoving off, but because I wouldn't get in the Navigation training. We have a nice group of officers on the 147 and I was just getting to know them. But then I decided,, what the hell, the 147 would probably be sunk and the 171 will have steak every night, and maybe the boys on the 171 will turn out to be lifelong friends. Since it is inevitable I might just as well relax and enjoy it.

The exec wanted me to stay with the 147 until I left and I agreed. So I had to stand inspection with the 147. I'll enclose the slip that we give commands from. "Raise trouser ---- Raise." is a good one. The CO of the station made the inspection and put half of my men on report for one reason or another. He went over each one carefully and told me I had been too lenient in inspecting their haircuts, because many of then had hair more than the 2 inch maximum. They had all been to the barracks barber that week, but apparently the barber hadn't had the word. Neither had I.

Fortunately I don't have anything at the laundry, but it is inconvenient moving just now. For one thing I'll have to start all over on getting per them reimbursement when I get to Astoria. Then I'll miss the 15th payday, and my previous original orders are still in Washington awaiting payment on the voucher for your travel to Hollywood. and that probably never will catch up with me.

You had better not try to send me a Thanksgiving package, and pray that a Christmas one will reach me. Since it will not be for long, please send your letters air-mail. I'm going to send a suitcase filled with things I don't want after I get to Astoria, By Tuesday I should have a better idea of what the future holds.

I love you and miss you and my dear sweet little boys.

Monday, November 13, 1944 ---- Charles to Phyllis

Another change: instead of going to Astoria tonight I go over to the pier this afternoon at 4 o'clock and get on the training ship to join the crew of the 171 for afloat training. It will leave at night, go out for maneuvers, and be back Friday. On Friday everyone disembarks and we get on a troop train that will take us to Astoria. From then on the plan is as before. I'm probably better off getting a little afloat training so I won't be a complete idiot when the 171 is commissioned. There will be 3 complete crews aboard, so it will be crowded, but you can't help learning which way is aft, and all that.

Last night 3 of us went over to the movie and saw Ann Sheridan in "The Doughgirls." Instead of the usual grade B Sheridan glamour, it turned out to be one of the funniest pictures I have ever seen. I laughed so hard the tears rolled down my face, and it isn't very often that I think a picture is funny

.The mail orderly on the 147 is going to try to get whatever mail I might have here, so maybe I will get a letter from you today.

Monday, November 13, 1944 Charles to Phyllis

Here I am aboard the good ship Lycoming, APA 155. I came aboard at about 4:30 this afternoon, met the officers, had chow, and at 5:15 I had to stand a watch, of all things. Sort of a JOOD watch, looking at liberty cards of enlisted men. It was bitter cold out there, and of course I had a grey suit on. Me, with all the warm clothing a man could want, and I always wear tropical gear in cold weather.

This is a big ship. The officers I have met so far are pretty swell. I like them better on first impression than the 147 boys. Somehow I feel that everything is going to be all right.


Spent all day on the bridge today, assisting with the Navigation. The crew that was on last night left this morning and a new crew came aboard, among them Stroud, my TI roommate. He was on the bridge all day too. Had to stand up the whole time, and I'm pooped. My feet are screaming. Furthermore I drew a watch from 4 to 8 tomorrow morning, but it will be stood in the wheelhouse where it will be warm, I hope.

So far everything is very much under control now I am glad I was transferred. There is a hell of a lot I have to learn yet, but that will come in time. There is something about shipboard life that I like. As you probably know, when we are at sea we are on watch 4 hours and off 8, but during the off hours we have collateral duties in addition to sleeping. So everyone is busy most of the time.


Yesterday we were at Port Townsend and beyond having gunnery practice. This morning while at anchor we put over all the boats and later put them back on the ship. It's a big job doing it with 26 LCVPs.

Yesterday I was assigned to navigate the ship coming into anchor. The Navigator of the ship was supposed to be there to help, but at the last moment had something else to do, and I was alone. I had seen it done once before, but was certainly not prepared to do it alone. I wasn't in charge of the ship, understand --- the officer of the Deck was conning. Through talkers I received bearings on various objects and plotted them on the charts letting the OOD know the course to steer and the distance to the anchorage. But instead of getting simultaneous bearings the quartermaster was reading them too slowly so I got crossed positions. Anyway, we overshot the mark by 100 feet. That wasn't too good, but being my first time, and since I really didn't know how to do it, it wasn't too bad. Better luck next time.

We got back to Seattle at about 4 PM this afternoon, the mail clerk came aboard and I got a lovely letter from you. I wish I could send you more money, and I will as soon as I get my per diem, but the transfer means I won't get the per them for another month.

November 17, 1944 Phil to Family

Today I gave my first Friday afternoon to the Northwestern University Medical School Clinic -- the Montgomery Ward Gynecology Clinic. I sterilized gloves, draped ladies for examination, tidied up after doctors, and listened with my mouth open as they discoursed to their students on the patient on the table. Not rousing good fun, but extremely interesting.

Had a letter from Mother Bentley asking what we wanted for Christmas. I suggest bathrobes for the boys, they need them. Also had a letter from Annie who doesn't like my calling her 6 foot 4 son "Little Harry" -- he's Little Harry to us, though, chum. Showed Buck some pictures of Harry as a baby, and Harry aged about 4, and of me and Charles as children. He thought it was the funniest thing he ever heard of, and howled with laughter. I cannot decide whether he was embarrassed
or unbelieving -- probably both.

November 24. 1944 Phil to family

To begin with, my husband's new address is:

Ens. Chas. H. Bentley
USNR USS Granville -- APA 171
% Fleet Post office
San Francisco, California

Charles has not been getting my letters, although I write every day. The only one he has had in more than a week is the family letter I mailed a week ago Saturday. I hope that this situation is now straightened, and that he gets the last few tomes I wrote to the last address. If this one gets through to you, my pet, be content with the knowledge that I wrote, and maybe someday they will catch up with you.

His ship was commissioned with all attendant pomp and ceremony last Tuesday, and I suppose that by now he is all established on board ship. I am longing to hear some details. He finally managed to get his picture taken, to my great relief and will have a copy made for his Mother. I am afraid that pictures are all that the Bentleys will get from the younger Bentleys this year, since that will be what the boys and I are sending too.

Boggen should be arriving in Wichita at this moment, and I hope she survived her trip in good shape. I went to my clinic this afternoon, leaving Mrs. Graupner with the boys, and I must say that next to Boggen, she is the most successful sitter I have ever had. The boys don't even bother to say goodbye to me when she comes. She took them uptown this afternoon and over to her house, and everyone was having a good time when I came home. She is nice and calm and placid and does them good.

The clinic was peaceful and quiet and I managed to make myself useful. But, speak to me no more of sterile rubber gloves. Me, I pick them up after the Drs. drop them on the tray. I wash them out in cold water, and then sterilize them. After which I take them out, wipe them off with a towel (just an ordinary towel) and then fill them with air and squeeze them through my hands to be sure that they don't leak. Then I dip them in a shoe box full of powder which has been sitting on the window sill for months, turn then inside out, and then fold them up and wrap them neatly in little squares of tissue paper. By the time I have handled them 15 or 16 times they are about as sterile as my shoes. They are, at least, nicely cleaned off after the last person they were inside of. The same applies to the instruments. I fish them out of the sterilizer and wipe then with a towel (the same towel) and put them on a shelf where they remain until they are carefully picked up with a forceps and put into a basin and taken back into the examining rooms. I wear a nice yellow uniform, and I suppose I look official, or at least I hope so. I have to get the patients up on the table, and drape them and get them into the approved position. I feel sorry for some of the older ones. They are scared to begin with, and I suppose they have had their troubles for a long time, and then the Dr. and about 15 students overhaul them and discuss them and similar cases over their prostrate bodies. Then the Social Worker has to wheedle or bully them into going into the hospital for whatever treatment they need. From their expressions they look dubious. I suppose if you have been getting along with a tumor for the past 10 years you figure you can get along with it a little longer.

We had our Thanksgiving Dinner over here. and we now have the remains of the bird to dispose of. I can't decide whether to give it to them again tomorrow night, or to wait until Sunday. (Them, in this case being the boys, Harry and Lois.)

Sunday. 26 Nov. 1944 -- Charles to Phyllis


Censorship has started on our ship, at last, as you can see. (Charles had to sign every sheet of his letter --- officers censored their own letters as well as those of enlisted men.) The regulations are a bit hazy, but we shall see what gets through.

Last night I had the duty -- from 4 PM to 8 PM, and again from 4 AM-to 8 AM this morning. It has been raining intermittently for some days. but last night it let up some and I didn't have to stand in the drenching downpour we had on my first watch. I get so tired of standing up. Not only do I stand for 4 hours at a stretch while on watch, but I stand all day up in the chart room. And me with only one pair of shoes.

There are now 4 of us in our tiny room. When one person sits at the desk no one else can get in the room. I've never seen anything so crowded except sardines.

We have dinner every night in blues, Some of the fellows have their wives here and bring them aboard for dinner. Just before dinner anyone walking out of the shower room is liable to walk right into someone's spouse. Most of them are sweet eager young things. Ah, to be30 again.

I haven't done much yet. I'll probably be educational officer in charge of the training program for enlisted men. So far it has meant struggling with about a thousand booklets and storing them in lockers. They haven't caught up with me for censoring as yet, but they will soon. One of my roommates told me of a letter he censored from an enlisted man who was afraid he would get into trouble for sleeping with his aunt. Censors, however, shouldn't talk

Give my big boys a big hug for me. I get heartsick when I think of them.

December 1, 1944 Phyllis to Family

This has been such a successful day that I feel on top of the world. Went downtown on the M15 instead of the 11:19 to try to get some shopping done. I got more done in my hour and a half than one can usually do in a full day with the crowds as they are. It was just one of those days. I went down primarily to buy bathrobes for the boys with the money Mother Bentley sent them. Went to the basement and found nothing at all presentable. Went over to the boy's section and the girl at first said, "Not a thing,' and then asked how old the child was, and lo and behold, she had one, just one, nice Beacon cloth robe which had been returned. I then went to the shoe section and got slippers for both boys, and then upstairs to the 4th floor to the children's section to look for a robe for Tom. A supercilious gal showed me a lovely thing for $9.95, at which I balked, so I looked at a sale rack, and came out with a nice navy blue flannel robe with white piping for $4.95. Just what the Dr. ordered. Then to the toy section, and what to my wondering eyes should appear but a large red jeep with wheels that screwed on instead of being held on with lousy wooden pegs, and a nice sturdy dump gadget, both decidedly out of the ordinary and very sturdy. Since I had been commissioned by Aunty Lois to buy present for each of the boys they were duly purchased. Stopped in at the record section to look at their trash heap (they keep a whole pile of incomplete children's sets and odd records, among which I often find treasures ) and what did I find but the missing middle record of "Little Black Sambo's Jungle Band." which Bucky plays a thousand times a day. Then down to the Book section where I bought a book for Kitsy and Jingles Curtis, and one for Staton Bentley. Now, not since a year before the war has it been possible to cover so much territory in Field's in so little time. It just happened that as I came up to each place a salesgirl was just finishing with someone else, and in each case I found just what I wanted. What could be more beautiful. I an a new woman.

From there I went singing over to my clinic, where I could not resist telling everyone how wonderful I felt. Whereupon Miss Sweeney said it was a good thing because she was taking the afternoon off, everyone else was busy, and as far as she could see I was going to handle the clinic single handed. My jaw dropped and another nurse remonstrated that the tables were not even made up. Sweeney said she didn't care, it was her special afternoon off and she was going come hell and high waters. Mrs. Bentley was the most efficient thing she had ever seen, and she bet I could make a hospital bed, and I knew what to set out, and I could figure out the patients' records, and here were the keys. Miss Ohmstead (the supervisor) could figure out something else if she didn't like my doing it alone. So I took my keys and went down and surveyed the scene. (Now listen, I have been there only twice before, and the first time I trailed Sweeney like a puppy-dog and saw what she did, but the second time all I did was sterilize and pick up ) I opened all the cupboards I could find, found linen which I lugged into the four booths, filled the basins with speculums, tenaculums, dressing forceps and rubber gloves. I took them into the booths, made up four tables, set out sterile jelly, cotton swabs, slide covers, salt solution, towels, leggings and sheets. I found someone to show me how to turn on the sterilizer --- and about this time Miss Miller came up from surgery to see how I was getting on, so I asked her where I could find the patients' records, and what I did with them, which she showed me, and then she had to go back to surgery. I sent three patients to the John and then put them up on the tables and draped them. I corralled four students to take histories on four new patients, and then, since the Dr. had started to work I got three more patients and had them go into the dressing booths to be ready to climb on the tables when the first three climbed off. After which I had nothing to do but clean up each booth as the Dr. finished with a patient, prepare it for a new patient and get her up on the table, get the gloves and instruments ready to be sterilized and into the sterilizer, round up more patients for the dressing rooms and trot for more instruments when the Drs. wanted them. Sometime around 3 o'clock Miss Miner and someone else reappeared and wanted to know whether things were going all right, and what could they do. Since I was a trifle busy I told them they could get a batch of gloves out of the sterilizer and dry and powder them, which they did. Next week I shall be relegated back to drying and powdering gloves myself, but I want it to go on record that this week I, me, ran the clinic, while two registered nurses, heads of their own departments, tended my sterilizer. We had 18 patients this afternoon, 10 students, and two Drs.

Tonight we had waffles for supper. Sunday Lois is bringing home a sailor she met at the Service Men's Center for dinner. Everyone here is 0, K. except that we would have been in financial difficulties if Lois hadn't gotten paid on Friday, To my great chagrin I had a check bounce the other day --- and since it was to pay for Chas.' insurance I rushed up to cash in a war bond, and quick sent them a cashier's check.

Took the boys down to see Santa Claus on Tuesday, and they both enjoyed it in spite of standing in line for some 45 minutes and to my astonishment Tommy marched right up and shook hands with him, told him his name and his wants (not a word of which Santa could understand) He wants a 'choo choo, dang dang; canny and a dun.' I hope Boggen is bringing back that choo choo dang dang so I can see how it works before young Harry leaves.

December 9, 1944 --Phil to family

Today Boggen returned from Wichita. Her train was four hours late, so she didn't arrive until after four this afternoon. Since we had all been invited to Margaret Longren's for dinner we have not had time to hear the Wichita news. I brought the boys home right after supper, and was just sitting here in a daze when Bill and Lois came in. Bill is going to spend the night here. but I didn't expect them to return until much later. However, they have returned to eat peanut butter and crackers in front of my fire -- which has just been lighted. Love is in bloom. Makes me feel like an old, old woman, and makes me miss my Charlie very much indeed.

I can now report that Chas. is definitely at sea. When I didn't get any mail for four days I suspected that they had left Oregon, and sure enough. I got one dated Dec. 3, in which he said that he had been at sea, although he couldn't say where he had gone from or to. Now I have received nothing since then, so I suppose that they are now on their way to California. The next silence will be a long one, I fear.

As I suspected, I was reduced to the ranks at the clinic this week. Even so, I overheard a lot of interesting things. We had the nicest looking mother and daughter in. I took her history. The daughter had been in in January because she had suddenly stopped menstruating, but nothing could be found wrong with her. She came in again in July, and it was decided that she should have some thyroid and some shots, which she did -- still no results. Now she was having some very strange symptoms indeed, and guess what was wrong with her this time? She was pregnant! She is just 15, and I sure did feel sorry for the mother.

Thomas Is beginning to talk so much more and so intelligibly that I really wish that you could all see him. He is short, but he is the stockiest sturdiest little thing you ever saw. Although he is 10 inches shorter than Buck his chest measurement is only 1/2 inch less than Buck's. Buck is heavier boned, but slenderer. We are all agog about Santa Claus, of course. It is very exciting to wait for Christmas with two little boys.

Thursday, 14 Dec. 44 Charles to Phyllis

Two lovely letters from you tonight. You must be writing several times a day. I always get at least one letter per day.I am agog at the word about Lots and her new romance. Already I like Bill, probably because you describe him in such a favorable light. I hope the thing flourishes. He is getting good training at the R.T. school. R. T.s are hard to come by in the Navy.

Just to get the record straight. While I was Educational Officer I was responsible for the whole ship. As division Officer I am also educational officer for my division. I just had to get rid of that Educational Officer job, handling a thousand training booklets for the ship. My day started with a quarterdeck watch from midnight to 4, sleep from 4 to 7, on the bridge from 700 to 12, CIC watch from l2:20 to 1400, bridge from 1400 to 1530, chasing around on division matters until 1745. Dinner at 1800. Tonight I have liberty but I'm too tired to think of going ashore. It is now 8:20 PM and I'm in my sack.

As Division Officer I don't just take care of odd jobs. Every morning we have quarters for muster where I have to take a muster of the men. Mine is the largest division on the ship -- about 65 men, and at least half of them are always on watch. After struggling through the muster I run down to where the Exec takes reports and act for Mr. Spoert, who is always too busy to be there. I have to make up the Watch Quarter and station bill, which shows where every man is during all conditions and emergencies --- Condition I (battle) 1A (debarkation) 2 (potentially dangerous waters) and 3 (normal steaming): life raft stations for each man, and about 10 special bills such as sea details, fire bills collision bill, etc. ad nauseum. This has to jibe with their liberty schedule. which is nearly impossible. Almost every day something new comes out: life jackets must be stenciled, helmets painted, special working parties arranged for. It takes time. I like that part of it, though -- the platoon officer type of thing. Every week I have to have an inspection made of about 20 different parts of the ship. Tomorrow I have to get in a list of men recommended for promotion.

To answer your direct question. I am not going to get any leave around Christmas. I had one boy today who wanted 12 days leave to go home to see his new baby and he was turned down cold. Nobody is going to get any leave.

My eyes are so heavy I can hardly hold them open. Tomorrow is another day Just like today. All love

December 16, 1944 Phyllis to Family

Since our furnace has been acting up again I have discovered why Abraham Lincoln was a studious lad. Although I got up at 4:00 this morning to try to get the house warm it was still so cold when we got up that I lighted the fireplace, which we dressed in front of, and which the children played in front of most of the morning. Let me tell you that anyone who lived in a house entirely heated by a wood-burning fireplace was studious In his leisure hours, or nothing. As long as you are batting around working you are all right, but since the only really warm area in the house is about 3 square feet immediately in front of the fire there is nothing to do but read a book, or write on a shovel a la A. Lincoln. It would make even Buck comparatively calm to live under these circumstances.

I have also discovered an asset in the wood-burning fireplace. Someone has to haul in the wood. This job has been given to son Buck, and he worked himself into a fine sweat in below zero weather this morning toting in 10 good sized logs. When I ordered this wood they quoted me prices by the ton, and I gasped and said I only wanted it to burn in the fireplace not to smelt steel, but they said that is wouldn't really be so many logs since each one weighed about 30 lbs. Well, I don't think ours weigh 30 lbs., but they weigh nearly 20 lbs, and one at a time is my capacity and Bill's too. So Buck had quite a struggle. How that 40 pound tike can heave 20 pound logs around, I do not know, but he enjoys it. His trouble is that he doesn't like to make too many trips, so he puts 3 or 4 on his little wagon, and then (a) he cannot budge the wagon, and (b) they continually fall off. Since he doesn't know any swear words he makes them up as he goes along, and he stands there screaming,, "You smelly log, you pig log, you stinky thing," in a high rage when they fall off and he has to bundle them back on. He had one log on his wagon this morning that he couldn't carry up the stairs, and that made Boggen stagger when she carried it in later on. He comes in after 20 minutes of this sort of thing quite at peace with the world and willing to let Tommy alone for about half an hour afterwards. He has such an excess of physical energy that he should be living on a farm breaking horses. On the other hands the excitement of knowing that he is going to a party, or that someone is coming, or any change of routine wears him out so emotionaly that he is just a limp rag. He is ready for bed every night long before Tom, who takes life as it comes. They go to bed at the same time, and Buck is dead to the world inside of 3 minutes and Tom is still going strong 45 minutes later, and is up an hour earlier in the morning.

They went to the Christmas party at the Church this afternoon. Buck, as usual, half hysterical both before and afterwards. Tom's reaction was just as when he went to see Santa Claus. Not a bit shy. He takes off his coat, finds something he wants to play with, and then he plays with it, and the hell with the rest of the crowd. When they bring on the ice cream and cake he gets up, finds a place to sit down, and then he eats, Boggen went to get him, but he was still eating, so he just said, "hello," and went on eating until he was done, and then and then only he was ready to go home. Buck had a fit about who got what favor, and whether he liked it better than his own. Tom takes his favor, and its's his favor, and he likes it fine. If Buck has eaten his candy in one fell swoop, Tom divides his with Buck and enjoys what is left. What a character -- I only hope he hangs on to it. On the other hand ---- if he decides he is not going to do something neither hell nor high waters can make him. There is none of this nonsense about eating just one more spoonful for Mommy. If it is his turn to do something it gets done, and no mistake, or such screaming and stamping and general hoo-rah you never saw, be it in the kitchen or in the middle of Marshall Fields. You can shush Buck up or persuade him to go quietly, but you can't shush or persuade Tom if he thinks something is his due. Beating him up only increases the furor.

Remember Mr. Clulow? Had a letter from his wife today, and he is now out of the hospital and living at home, and is just fine. Since he hasn't been discharged he can't go back to work, so he is working in his workshop at home turning out rocking horses, doll beds, sleds, swings, etc. for Christmas.

We have a lot of snow and some really cold weather. We all miss young Harry, who left last Wednesday. Now, who will carry out my ashes every Sunday night?

Lois got her diamond tonight. We are expecting a wedding in February. Her prospective groom is the Bill to whom I have referred several times. A nice chap, from North Canton, Ohio, now at Navy Pier. Aren't you all surprised?

December 21, 1944 Phyllis.to Family


We are up to our necks in making Christmas cookies, fruit cake, and I am going to make a plum pudding when I finish this. I don't think it will be as good as Mother Bentley's because it won't have any brandy in it, but I hope it will be good. The old shoe man across the tracks tipped Tommy's shoes for me today and wouldn't let me pay for it, said it was a Christmas present, so now I have to do him up a box of cookies. Both Tom and Buck wear holes in the top of the toe of their shoes because they crawl around so. Most shoe men won't fool around with that sort of thing, but he puts neat little leather tips on them and they look like new.

Maryalice and I are going to have a party here just after New Year's to get all the gals together for a gab fest, and I have been calling people the last few days. As I remarked when in Florida, all things are comparative. Adelaide can't come between Christmas and New Year's because they are doing something every single night, and she is mad because she will be so tired. Dorothy, whose husband is at Great Lakes, is mad because he gets home so seldom -- only once or twice a week, and she can't do something every night. Pearl, whose husband is in Tucson at Indoc School is worried for fear he won't get home before Christmas, although she knows he will get home on leave sometime over the holidays before beginning his new duties. That leaves me at the end of the string, not doing anything any night, and when is Charles going to get home anyway? Now, I should know someone whose husband has been gone for a year or two and who still has no prospects of getting home. Well --- it could be Irene Peterson, who will be at the party because George has been in England since last August, and he is in the Air Force! or Alice Hollatz, now that I think of it --- Hank is with the Engineers on Leyte, and Mary Suster's husband is with Patton. My goodness, if I think of anyone else I shall be quite cheerful.

Boggen isn't feeling very well today, another one of her gall stone attacks, or whatever they are. I hope she is better by Christmas. Bill will be here for three days, so we will be having quite a celebration. The boys are counting the number of nights until Santa Claus comes. Buck is all set to stay awake and hear the reindeer. We are picking out stockings to hang, and we have our Christmas trees and we all went to the Candlelight Service last Sunday.

If I am going to get that plum pudding made I'd better get at it. Have a nice holiday and don't eat too much. We are going to Boggen's for Christmas Eve, and will have Christmas Dinner here. Don't you all wish you could be with us?


Sunday 24 December 1944 Charles to Phyllis


As Penrod said, "Well, this hasn't been a day!" It is now9 PM and if I stay awake for 2 more minutes I'll be surprised. Let me tell you about it.

Yesterday we had a big inspection, then put out to sea and went through battle drills as part of the inspection routine and got back in port in the afternoon. I had liberty and since it was to last until 10 AM the next morning decided I would go to LA. So I packed my shaving kit and shoved off on the 5 PM liberty boat and caught the Red Car to Los Angeles. It was 7:30 by the time we got there although it was supposed to take only 45 minutes. I had decided I would call the Clarke's, and if they weren't there call the Fishers, knowing that either one would put me up for the night. This would work out fine because Mr. Spoeri had asked me to pick up some stuff from the Port Director's office in San Pedro, and not get back until Noon. My first difficulty was in finding a place to phone, and once I found one with a fairly short line, no one answered at Clarke's and the Fisher number had been disconnected. I got a sandwich, and at 8:2O called the Clarke's again. This time they were home. Beth said she was having some people in and that Charles and June would be there, and to come on down.

Well, it was 10 PM by the time I reached their place. There were about 8 people there, all of whom I knew, and we talked and talked. The only significant things I remember are that both Edith Holman and Beth are expecting, Charles and June are down for a week and both look fine. Charles particularly is a great guy and already is obviously a tycoon in the making. Lucy is almost snow white, Beth and Art are still Beth and Art, and I saw Linda at last. My God how that girl can talk. She told me all about her trip to the zoo with Buck and Tom.

As always happens, just as I was about to go they broke out the food, and I had to stay. By then it was 1 o'clock and Beth figured out a new sleeping arrangement which provided for my sleeping with Linda and Art, but no one, including myself, was enthused, so I said I had better return to the ship. Charles and Art then drove me to the Watts station at 103rd St., and at 1:40 AM the train came. By stopping at every crossroad we managed to stretch the trip out so that I finally got to the Navy landing in Long Beach at 2:45, only to find that a heavy fog had set in and no boats were running. They had a waiting room for officers that was filled when I arrived, people sleeping all over the floor. Finally at about 6 some boats came and I managed to get a chair and had an hour's sleep, and at 8:10 AM arrived back on the ship. I crawled into bed at once, got up for lunch and again started out for Pedro to get the Navy materials but because of the inaccuracy of everything spent the afternoon chasing myself around from one pier to another. Then with nothing accomplished I got back to the ship 20 minutes late for my 4 to 8 watch, from which I have just been relieved. Now I have to get up at 3:20 AM tomorrow morning for the second part of the watch.

They have rigged up the ship's announcing system to play Christmas carols, which are grand if you don't have to stand watches and sleep. The Chaplain doesn't stand watches. Bing Crosby is singing Silent Night, so it could be worse.

Well, it is still only the night before Christmas and maybe I'll feel better tomorrow. I had a most wonderful letter from you today. I'm sorry I haven't written more to the boys, but believe me I don't have time to wash my face half the time. Now here I am rushing through another letter to you and I haven't even told you how much I love you.

I said I love you,


December 30, 1944 Phyllis to Family

My Dears,

1944 is almost gone and I dare say that everyone is devoutly glad to see it go. Let's hope that 1945 finishes off this war with a bang.

The lovers are at present busy in my basement developing some film that Bill took on Christmas Day, and then they are going to print up some old negatives that I have been wanting to do for some time. Lucky me, they want to practice photography, and I want pictures printed. What a happy combination. You should see the dandy equipment Bill has. He has to use some of our stuff because he hasn't everything at Navy Pier with him, but most of our stuff looks like a hay-wire rig beside his things.

I bought the snappiest number in a dress that you ever saw, but Boggen and Lois screamed like panthers when they saw it, so today I took it back and got a neat brown and chartreuse number. Nice, but not nearly so Heddy LaMarrish. Oh well, I don't have any place much to wear it anyhow.

Christmas around here was, as you may have expected, a hectic affair, what with two small boys and a pair of lovers. The boys are infatuated with the trains that the Tuckers sent, but which are pushed around day in and day out without benefit of track. They have stood up under 10 years of use from H.J. and R. C. Tucker, but I cannot guarantee that they will stand up for 10 more years under two more small boys. The hangar is another wonderful thing. It is used for everything. All small toys are stored in it, and it is then lugged around from place to places and from this house to Boggen's. Bucky got a horse swing which he uses a great deal, but which I expect to brain Tom at any moment. Both boys were well nigh unto hysterical for days before Christmas as well as after, and we ate so much candy that we are now on a no candy at all basis for a while.

You will all be glad to hear that we seem to have conquered our furnace and we are warm all the time. I may even say that we are too warm a lot of the time. But with the thermometer around zero that is an error on the credit side.

Love to all