War Letters

Part 2 - Winter 1945

Friday, Jan.5, 1945 10:30 PM Charles to Phyllis

.Darling, Just finished a couple of rubbers of bridge and now I feel rested and relaxed. Marvelous what a shave, shower and game of bridge will do for you. Mr. Spoeri doesn't think we have much chance of getting any leave when we tie up. Gad, I wish they would tell us something definite for once. I'm in a better position than most because the Navigator gets all the plans, but trying to find out where a ship is going when is like high grade espionage.

We are out steaming tonight. Tomorrow morning we go back to where we were this morning and start one able again. By the time we get ready for an invasion our boats will be ready for the junkyard. Maybe some mail tomorrow. I love you,


January 6, 1945 Phyllis to Family

My Dears,

We are buried to our ears in snow, and the weather forecast for tomorrow is more cold and more snow. It will take us two months to thaw out when we once begin. My boys are so full of pent up energy from being in the house that there is no holding them. Luckily, our stairs to the second floor are on just the right slant to make ideal sliding. It seems that one lies either on one's stomachs or back and comes down bumpity bumpity bump, which is very exciting, and gets faster and faster, the more one practices. However, I observe that Buck wore through the knees of both legs on his overalls today. I only wish they could do a little of my coal shoveling. That is a good way to get rid of some energy --- of which I do not have an excess most of the time.

My mother received a picture of the Junior Grimms today. We are certainly a strung out bunch of cousins. Here I am 13 years older than young Harry, and 10 years older than young Grimm, so that I remember them quite vividly, whereas they can hardly remember me at all. Everything I remember about Bud Grimm reminds me of Bucky. I remember one time when they were here and he must have been about 5. They painted Boggen's walls with cold cream, and then flooded the place out by throwing water at each other. He had all the quiet little attributes of my own small son, such as flinging himself bodily on you and practically dragging you to the floor as a method of expressing affection. You know that they are really sweet sensitive little things underneath --- if you could only use an axe on them to find that sensitivity. Ah well, seeing Bud today I have hopes for Buck.

Charles is still sitting off the coast of California somewhere doing practice maneuvers. They now have their full complement of LCVPs and men and are pretending they are taking Tokyo. They have been doing this for some weeks now, and I think it would be boring. Just for variation, I take it, they do it at different times of day, different days. In his letter today he says, 'Tomorrow reveille at 3:15 AM, General Quarters at 4 A.M. set condition I able, invade the coast, with H hour at 6:50 AM, and it is my turn to take the deck tomorrow morning." For a while they were going out to maneuver each day and returning to port every night, but now they have been out since the 27th of December, and will not get back to port until January 10. Condition I able, I have never had minutely described to me, but I gather that everyone is standing around on tip-toe pretending that enemy submarines, mines, shore batteries and airplanes are about to pounce, and all battle stations are manned. His boat (the APA) puts over the smaller landing craft, and then has to hover around like a mother hen waiting to pick them up again. But don't rely on me for your military information, I am just trying to piece together the scraps I get.

Lois' romance is progressing finely, and they plan to be married on Feb. 24. They are then going to live upstairs here, and we are hoping to have an extra bathroom put in before that time. They are going to visit Bill's family on the 13th of January, and after that I guess there will be much wild getting ready for the big event --- on account of, I hear that it will be a real wedding. And quit hinting around, Annie, I assure you that you are to be invited.

My clinic work gets more and more fascinating. The new students have just come in, so the Dr's explanation of what he is now doing on each patient is elementary enough for even me to understand. Yesterday Miss Sweeney said to me, "Now don't feel you have to rush around, stay here and listen to Dr. G. as long as you like," Which I did. He is really wonderful, and I gather from Sweeney, who has been in charge of this section for years, that the boys who have Friday clinic are really in luck since he is a wise old man who has come back to teaching only for the duration, and he really gives the boys some wonderful talks.

I had a party last night ---- 12 females. Very nice. My husband reports that he has been blue for the past week. I have been even bluer --- in fact, I have reached such an unprecedented low that I have not written to Charles since Monday night --- me, who writes every day. I don't know what there is about it --- it sort of gets you down at times. I would just like to go off and hibernate until 1947. On which cheery note I shall bid you all good night, Love,


January 289 1945 Phil to Family

Today, at 5:10 P.M. Lois became Mrs. William 0. Golloway, Jr., in the living room of the residence of Mrs. A. L. Opper. Attendants were

Mrs. Opper and Mrs. Charles Bentley, guests were Charles and Thomas Bentley. Rev. W. E. Brehm officiating Minister. The bride wore powder blue with a corsage of gardenias, nobody knows or remembers what her mother and sister wore. Her young nephews were much interested and sat still as mice during the ceremony. Boggen and I are probably just about as overcome as the bride and groom ---- well, maybe not quite.

I had planned to write you a long and brilliant dissertation on my trip to San Diego, California, only to have that news superseded by the more exciting news of Lois' wedding. The wedding came as a surprise to me as well as to you. I knew nothing about it beforehand. I had taken the boys over to Pearl Schaeffer's after lunch and received a call to hurry home, which I did to find myself a member of the wedding. They seem very happy about the whole thing.

Now, about my trip. On Tuesday at noon I got a special delivery letter from Chas. that should have been here two or three days sooner, saying that he would be in San Diego, and could I come. I called the station to see what they could suggest about transportation, which was nothing, and I sent a wire to Charles, telling him to call me on Wednesday. On Wednesday I called Nan Alexander to tell her the news, and she immediately put Red on the trail of transportation. He called me at 11 o'clock to see whether I could be on the Chief at noon --- which was, of course, impossible. So pretty soon he called back to say he had reserved a seat on a coach leaving at 6:3O that night, and that he would come out and pick me up.

Such tearing around you never saw, but sure enough, I caught the train out at 6:30 PM. Reserved seat meant only that they had limited the number of tickets sold to the number of seats in the car, but getting a seat was catch as catch can. The car I was assigned to was a regular old fashioned day coach like the ones running from Chicago to Des Plaines -- only a toilet, no sink, in the ladies rest room. Fortunately there was a wonderful crowd of people in our car, most of them young soldiers returning after a 30 days leave. Some of them had been out two or three years and were now going back. The first night out a young soldier just back from Italy and I shared two whole seats. We turned them face to face and put our suitcases in the space in the middle and then slept across the seats -- his feet to my head, my feet to his head. When he got off in Kansas City the next morning he bequeathed me his towel since there was not even a paper towel in the rest room.

The first day out I was worried over the fact that I didn't know whether not Charles knew I was on this train, but luckily about two in the afternoon I got a telegram from Red Alexander telling me that Charles had called and would meet me.

That second night I was going to double up with another woman on two seats as I had with the soldier the night before, but on our way to the ladies rest room we passed a woman with two little girls, all trying to rest on one seat, our consciences bothered us so much that we gave them our double seat, and we shared their single seat.

After the first day the crowd was all sailors instead of soldiers, and a nicer bunch of kids you never saw. They walked the floor with fussy babies, they played with older children, and they made a couple of old ladies in the dining car line go back and sit down, saving their places for them. We not only had no drunks or rowdies in our car, but they kept those from other cars from wandering through and annoying people. The third day out a young sailor named Pedro Pezone, who believes that he is being guarded by his name saint, bought me a couple of meals and told me all about his love life and the nice little Italian girl he wants to marry.

That night I had a seat all to myself and curled up on it and slept soundly. We were five hours late pulling into San Diego. By the time we did reach San Diego you might have thought that I had scrubbed the train floors with my clothes. My fur coat took a terrible beating since it was used as a pillow, blanket, or what have you on all occasions. I met an awful lot of nice people, and heard very little crabbing. People really are nicer than anybody.

San Diego was very successful. Charles met me at the station, which was a good thing since the two wires he sent me telling where to call if he couldn't make it had never reached me. He had a friend take a scheduled watch, and he had gotten a hotel room by a stroke of luck, so everything was hunky-dory. He had Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday nights off from about 3 PM on, and although he had to be on board ship from Wednesday morning until Thursday noon, he was free from Thursday noon until Friday midnight, so we had a very good time, and the weather was simply something to write a poem about. His ship sailed Saturday morning early, and I took the 7:30 train up to Los Angeles. Visited with the Clarkes in LA from Saturday until Monday evening when I took the Challenger home. Everyone there is fine, Beth is expecting in June, Lucy looks wonderful, and Little Linda is very cute. The train ride home was uneventful, and the most exciting thing about the trip came when I called home from the Chicago N. W. station and Tommy answered. He was so coherent, and so excited at hearing my voice that I was thrilled to death. Both boys looked so different to me when I got home. Buck seems such a big boy.

I do not think I have anything else to tell you. Friday I went to my clinic, and yesterday we celebrated Buck's fifth birthday. .I made a pretty nice cake --- the other half of which came in very handy as a wedding cake this evening. We are all well, and we are all pretty excited about our wedding. Love to all of you,

Phi 1

Sunday, 28 Jan. 10 PM Charles to Phyllis


They suddenly called everyone back to the ship on Friday, and at 6 PM we pulled out and kept on going. At the moment we are way out here on the blue Pacific, all alone except for two old destroyers escorting us. So far the ocean has been fairly calm, although our passengers in the forward part of the ship don't see it that way. We pitch quite a lot and I understand that many of the passengers have been sick all over the place.

We have Marines, CBs, and other sailors, army officers and civilian workers aboard. You should see the masses of humanity on the decks and in the passageways. Certain areas of the ship are restricted to troops, including officers, so I have kept pretty close to the bridge most of the time. We throw everybody off the bridge who doesn't belong here. Yesterday we kicked off a Marine Major.

The night before we left Ryan and I tried to get tickets for the Menhuin concert and wound up with free passes for seats quite close to the orchestra. It was a swell concert too. Yehudi played a concerto by Ba.ch and Symphonie Espagnol by Lola. The orchestra played Beethoven's Coriolanus overture and Strauss' Til Eugenspiel's Merry Pranks. Pierre Monteaux conducted -- he is short and fat and pudgy faced - looks exactly like a walrus. It was the first good music I have heard in a long time and I really enjoyed it. Free too.

I think I should show my face on the bridge. I'll mail this now so that when you finally hear from me you will get more than one letter. Much love,


January 30, 1945 Charles to Phyllis


It's a beautiful day on the Pacific for a change. Until today the water has been quite rough and we have had high winds and rain most of the time. Fortunately it hasn't bothered me as yet, except that it makes me sleepy. These night watches are getting me down. Night before last I had only three hours sleep, last night 4. So this morning after breakfast I got a couple more and feel a lot better.

It is getting hot too. Our room gets that old locker-room smell when the four of us are sleeping in it. Starting today we don't wear coats in the wardroom, so that is some relief. The water temperature is 74 degrees which accounts for the stuffiness on deck In the wind it is nice and cool.

We had a nice little maneuver on Sunday. A man hurt his hand on one of the destroyers accompanying us, and he was transferred to our ship while we were both underway. It was very rough, and the Destroyer pitched heavily --- its decks were awash most of the time. The man was strapped in a basket, a line shot across to the DD, and the basket was fastened to the rope. They got him across all right, although for a moment it was touch and go. It turned out that he had one broken bone in his finger, the rest of the crushed hand being only bruised. That same night the doctors performed a successful appendectomy.

The other night I picked up J. Thurber's "My Life and Welcome To It" in the library, and have been reading it between watches. "Pocketa, pocketa pocketa.." I laugh so hard the tears flow whenever I read it. So far I have found no one else on the ship who had ever heard of him. You know how maddening it is when you read something good and try to get someone else to read it and can't. Well, the hell with them.

Trying to do any Navigation on board this ship is a chore. Everybody wants to get into the act. There is always a crowd around the chart table.. I'm going to set up my own chart table and run in competition with Mr. Spoeri if it gets any worse.

Much, much love,


Friday, Feb. 2, 1945 Charles to Phyllis


Here I am, far out in the Pacific, on an island the identity of which I may not disclose. I'll bet you are completely baffled. It is hot as hell in the sun -- nice and hot -- you would enjoy it. We came in yesterday morning. When I got up at 7 AM after 3 hours sleep, there it was, lying cool and green in this unbelievably blue water. The charts showed all the places with strange names you have heard about, and I must admit a certain thrill in seeing them. One landmark not commonly known except in the Navy is a large round, smooth mountain, elev 1205, known familiarly throughout the Navy as Lana Turner's left breast, or more commonly as Lana.

Never have I seen so many ships of so many different types in my life. This place is everything the papers say it is, only more so. After tying up to the dock I was OOD, and by adroit footwork managed to escape being crushed by the mob trying to get off the ship. They were just as eager to get off as we were to see them go. Within an hour after we docked they were all gone, baggage and all. These civilians had probably had a shock. They were promised free transportation on a Navy ship, but they didn't expect said transportation to consist of a small canvas bunk, in tiers of five, in the focsle of a pitching transport with no place to sit down, spending several hours of each day in a chow line.

I went ashore myself after lunch with three others. We took our bathing suits, but stopped in the city first to pick up some souvenirs. We looked for several hours, but wound up with nothing, so we went to that famous hotel at that famous beach, but arrived just too late, since the beach closes at 4 PM. So we tried to get a drink. No dice. So we looked for a place to eat, and after an hour found a Chinese place. By the kind of crowd that was there I would judge it to be the best Chinese restaurant on the island. A large place festooned with Chinese pictures and ornaments, opening on to a patio enclosed by a rock formation, down which tumbled a small stream --- very attractive. Then to the disgust of one member of the party we had a delicious dinner --- fried rice, fish with sweet-sour sauce, chicken chow mein, beef with mixed vegetables and some most divine chicken in sweet-sour-sauce. But no spring roll. Mr. Hammach, our 21 year old companion, would have preferred hamburger and mashed potatoes. After dinner we went into town under the foolish impression that we might get a drink, but everything had closed up tight at 6 PM. Couldn't even get a glass of beer -- nor a coke. So we came back to the ship.

Today we moved out into the bay and moored to buoys. We will probably have 2 more days here, after that on to the west. or the east, however you look at it. I wish 1 were home.

I am staying on board all day today. We are supposed to have liberty every other day. The rules of this place are that liberty for non-rated men expires at 1800, for petty officers at 1830, for chief petty officers at 2000, and for commissioned officers at 2200. it's undemocratic I know, but is probably tied in somehow with the regulations that force everything to close at 1800.

Mr. Wagenknecht just hit an ALNAV and is now a j.g. That makes me bull Ensign on the ship. Please do not forget to congratulate me. I am very touchy on the subject. [Men were promoted by time served, and since Charles was 3O before he went in, he is much older than many men of higherrank.]

This is my last sheet of writing paper. Goodbye for now. Be good. I love you and miss you. Kiss my big boys for me.

Much love,

February 4, 1945 Phyllis to Charles

My Dears,

On the way to writing this letter I have gotten myself embroiled in a book called "Corned Beef and Caviar" by the author of those other little numbers on how to live a glorified life on nothing a year, "Live Alone and Like It", and "Orchids on Your Budget." They are all fascinating little books, and I must say that the menus in "Corned Beef and Caviar had me drooling. Very few of the menus require much intensive slaving over a hot stove, but the most depressing thing about them is that they most definitely do not call for two small children in the kitchen while you are trying to run them up. The proportions given in this book, which is intended for meals for one or two people would be just right for me and the boys if I could be sure they would eat it. Now here is a meal that my children would eat:

    Mushroom soup
    Baked Egg with Cheese
    Green salad   Rusks 
    Raspberries, cream 

The only trouble with a meal like this is that unless it is served nicely it is no more interesting than any old lunch, and I do not find two small boys still in the spilling and eating with the hands stage very conducive to nice serving.

Yesterday was my clinic day, and in the course of my trip downtown I bought the Golloway wedding announcements, but don't hold your breaths waiting for them. They will take a month to arrive.

At the clinic I did my usual dirty work, and my usual standing around listening in. In the course of one discussion, the Dr. asked me, along with all the students a question which was stumping everyone. He was going around the room asking each student, and when he came to me, instead of skipping me, he grinned and asked me too. He is an awfully nice old guy, who bemoans with the head nurse the fact that the students really get very little instruction from most of the younger men who now make up the teaching staff. He is fascinating to listen to, and tells long anecdotes about his younger days when he was assisting men like Senn and Fenger. He enjoys every patient, even if they don't have anything very exciting wrong with them. He says that even the most ordinary seeming patient may have something you do not see once in months or years. I think that his students really enjoy his clinics. Furthermore, I gather that his condition for coming back was that he be given a ward at Wesley where he can treat the patients he sees. (Usually they are just diagnosed in this clinic and then referred to surgery) When he diagnoses a patient for an operation they are thereupon dated up for that operation and he does it and follows it through, and we get them back in clinic a few weeks later for post-operative examinations. At this moment the only patients at Northwestern who get this superlative service are our negro patients at the Friday clinic.

My sons have been as healthy as horses all winter. We have been taking oral cold vaccine since October, and I understand from my husband and from Time magazine that they do not work, but I will point out that this is the first winter in history when I have not had two or three colds, not to mention my sons who have spent most of their past winters in bed.

The newlyweds are in the process of really moving in upstairs, and we have just been talking. As a result I am entirely out of the mood for writing any more letter.

Love to all,

Tuesday 6 Feb. 1945 Charles to Phyllis

Darling -

Although there is no great change in my outward appearance, the fact is that I have just shaken the hand of Dennis Day! Yep, a short stocky Irish lad, very pleasant. Yesterday we had a show on deck with Claude Thornhill and his orchestra, the dancing team of Tommy Riggs, et al. Jackie Cooper played the drums as his contribution. Dennis Day sang about five songs -- he has a marvelous voice. There we were on a perfectly smooth sea, bright sunshine, cooling breeze, with nothing to do but listen to all that radio talent. It isn't quite what I had in mind as sea duty. All of these entertainers except Day are enlisted, and all day long they are hanging around on the deck in dungarees. Dennis Day is an Ensign. He has a good line of patter --- says that Jack Benny isn't really tight --he just seems tight because other people spend money.

Last night when it was so peaceful and calm I was ashamed of myself for enjoying it, but then I thought I might just as well relax and enjoy it now that I am here. If only I could get some sleep, though.

I am now in competition with Mr. Spoeri. I have my own chart table set up, have a quartermaster working with me, and now I don't feel like an outcast. Besides, it is the only way I can get experience in this business.

It is hot as hell inside the ship. At night we have blackout screens on the portholes and the fans don't pull much air through. Wish I could get a letter from you, but I know that I won't for a week.

Much love,


Saturday, 10 Feb. 45 Charles to Phyllis

Dearest -

There was no Friday. This is where the date changes, and we conformed to it at midnight last night. I am now a member of the Order of the Golden Dragon, and I'll send you my membership card for the scrap-book.

It is hot here ---- even in the middle of the night it is hot on the open bridge in short sleeves. Inside the ship it is stifling, especially at night when we put up the blackout screens.

I get very little unbroken sleep since my watches are so irregular --- or rather, occur at different times each day. The funny thing is that some people don't have a single thing to do except stand watches, so when they aren't on watch time drags on their hands and they get bored.

I am supposed to qualify as Navigator by June 1st. Every Officer is supposed to qualify for something by a certain date, and that is my date. I do not seem to be making much progress. My eyes must be failing me because Mr. Spoeri goes around shooting all kinds of stars that I can't even see. How can you shoot them when you can't even see them? This business of changing time zones has been most confusing. If the ship is actually in minus 12 zone and the ship's clocks are on plus 11-1/2 zone time, what time does the sun set, all data being given in Greenwich Civil Time? And do you use the same day, the following, or the previous day. Speaking of time, I just noticed that my watch had stopped, and soon I have to go to compartment inspection. That is a new wrinkle they just thought up to make life a little more disagreeable.

The sea is very calm. We do roll a little, but otherwise there is very little motion. At night it is interesting to watch the phosphorescence of the wake. Flashes of phosphorescent material is churned up by the ship, some of them as large as a football.

I have to go now. Much love to you and the boys, .


Sunday Evening, Feb. 11, 1945 Pphyllis to Family

My Dears,

The Bentleys are at present completely bogged down with colds. I kept the boys in bed all day today, while great moving and settling went on upstairs on the part of the young Gelloways. There are great plans afoot for a really super dark room upstairs, and Bill moved the big table up from the basement, and a chest of drawers out of one of the bedrooms. All of Chas' stuff is now set out there, and Bill is going to bring a lot of his things back from Ohio in the near future. I only hope that someone has time to work in that dark room. Maybe I will spend some of my leisure hours there --- when I get any leisure hours.

We are having warmish, but definitely damp weather, and it is playing havoc with my sinuses. I went down to my clinic on Friday, but I doubt that I was of much use. Will someone tell me why it has to be either 14 below or thawing? We have all taken cold vaccines this winter, and this cold does not diminish my faith in the vaccine. In the first place this is the first time in my life that I have gone until the middle of February without a cold -- and last year and the year before the boys had two colds before Christmas, and the period after Christmas was just one vast cold. Furthermore, it does lessen the severity of the cold. Even during the summer in Florida Tom's colds were horrid croupy sorts of things, with much temperature and hoarseness. This time they have coughed a little, but no temperatures or really stuffed up heads at all. This day in bed was used as a sort of preventative measures.

The Bentleys have just sent us the Harvard Classics, which we were offered long ago, but never had room for. I am about to go in for about of reading straight through them, since in spite of all the reading I have done I find that I have read almost nothing that they contain. I am at present in page 62 of the first volume -- Ben Franklin's autobiography. In those days if you owned three books and could write (you didn't have to be able to figure) you were something of a curiosity and notables came to look you over. He was a quiz kid, and he made the most of it. I am also reading Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr. who is something of a smarty-pants.

During the early part of last week I got four letters from my husband from somewhere in the Pacific, but silence again prevails. I also got a letter from the Treasury Department asking me for payment on our 1943 income tax, which we had deferred until March, 1945. Who would have expected 1945 to arrive so soon?



Dear Tuckers: That young trunk full of books was greatly appreciated, as were the two boxes of cookies. Weren't you the clever thing to think of putting up a box for each of them?

Monday, 12 Feb. 1945 Charles to Phyllis


We are underway again after a day on this atoll. After a month I will be able to write about this. The captain has now given permission to write about Hawaii. I don't suppose it is any surprise to you to know that I was there. We came in early in the morning, Diamond Head on the right, the island of Molakai on the left. On into Pearl Harbor, past Hickham Field with all the names that became famous on December 7, 1941. With so much activity going on it is hard to imagine the shambles it must have been that day. Almost all of the wreckage has been cleared, but here and there are buoys marking sunken ships that have not yet been raised.

A slight interruption while I ate chow and took star sights. Speaking of chow, it pains me to tell you that we had steak and strawberry shortcake with whipped cream tonight. As I watched the officers take 2 large steaks each I wondered what the folks back home are eating.

The navigation books always show star sights as plotting like this:

crossed lines

and your fix is then at the inter-sections of the lines. Mine always plot like this:


giving me 3 or 4 fixes, and obviously I can't be in all those places at once. What do you do in a case like that?

Yesterday afternoon I had just settled in my sack for some shut-eye when I got a message that Mr. St. Clair and I had been designated to take some signalmen and radiomen over to the beach for a soft-ball game. I rebelled at the idea, but finally went and had a swell time. I umpired the game, and only my rank saved me from a cracked skull. When the game was finished we were supplied with cold Pabst, and when everyone had drunk their fill they had another game. I gathered a good case of sunburn, but got to know the boys a little better. The signalmen are all in my division. It certainly did everyone a lot of good. Navy ships can now carry beer for consumption ashore. Splendid idea.

We have a new watch bill, and guess where I landed? As an OOD at night. Maybe that doesn't impress you, but there are only 5 officers that the captain will entrust the ship to during the night. I am the only Ensign, and there are several full lieutenants that the Captain won't have there at night. It is a big responsibility and it behooves me to do a lot of studying fast. Tonight is my first watch as OOD. I have the 4 to 8 AM watch. I'm just a little scared.

Much much love to you. Still no mail.


Thursday, Feb. 15, 1945 Phyllis to Charles


Four juicy letters came from you today just as I was leaving for Social Union with the boys, so I took them along and reveled in them during the meeting. They are all postmarked February 11, and considering the International Date Line, isn't that phenomenal time?

Mrs. Danforth just called me up to ask me to make salads for the Social Union meeting next week. We are going hot and heavy on a group for young mothers -- children to be brought and taken care of. Mrs. Brehm gave a good review of Yankee from Olympus at our meeting this afternoon. Met a charming lady named McCoy, who nearly rented this house. Mr. M. was the man who haunted my mother before it was decided that we were coming back. They now live just down the street a way. I like both Mr. and Mrs. Brehm, and I think that they are most unusual as ministers go. They are both bright, and liberal enough to be what amounts to raving radicals in this town, but they are tactful enough to maybe converts of a few people without actually offending anybody.

By the way, I must tell you that your sons go around telling everyone that we are going to have a baby, and if anyone presses them it all comes out that they mean that someday we are going to have a baby --after Daddy comes home. This all came up because they heard a lot of talk about Nan Alexander, and they decided that they wanted a baby too. I said that we had to have Daddy back again first --- which was O.K. with them ---- when Daddy comes home we will have a baby. But they are being a bit premature with their announcements. I have had half a dozen people come up to me and tell me about it and ask me if it were true.

I have begun to like B. Franklin after all. My God, the things that man did . He was not only a genius, but he had a barrel of energy. Also, he was a wonder at getting other people interested in his projects and getting them to do the actual work. That's no criticism, no one man could have done half that stuff.

Come home, come home,


Sunday, February 18, 1945 Phil to Family

My Dears,

Here it is on a bright and sunny Sunday afternoon, although the temperature is somewhere around zero. Do you suppose it will ever warm up and stay warm? We are finally getting over our colds. Bill.had an attack of cat fever last week, but has recovered. Boggen thinks she is coming down with the cold.

News notes:

Have been getting splendid mail service from my husband, but regret to say that he is not getting the same. They took a load of Navy entertainers to somewhere in the fighting zone. They had Dennis Day, Jackie Cooper, Tommy Riggs and a lot of others, and were entertained on board ship. Chas. is not getting enough sleep, but otherwise is enjoying himself so far. He has not gotten any mail at all since leaving the country. I only hope that what with this aerial bombing of Tokyo he is not going to be in on the invasion of Japan.

Boggen had a dinner party last night to celebrate a three week visit of Elmire Brown Morgan and 4 year old daughter, Elmire, and the departure on a two month trip by Margaret Longren. Present were Mr. and Mrs. C.W.M, Brown, Daughter Elmire, and granddaughter Elmire; Mr. and Mrs. Rollins An-Gove Seabury and Daughter Joanne; Mrs. Longren and Sister Miriam, Mr. and Mrs. William 0. Golloway, Jr.; Mrs. Charles H. Bentley and sons. A delicious dinner was served, all of the children acted like little angels, and all of them retired in good order at an early hour.

Mrs. A. L. Opper, Mrs. C. H. Bentley, and Charles and Thomas Bentley went down town on Wednesday last to celebrate St. Valentines day. They had luncheon at Fields, toured the toy section and purchased some spring clothing for the boys. A pleasant, but exhausting, time was had by all.

The newest member of the family -- Bill Golloway -- is considered a howling success by all. Since the departure of C. H. Bentley, this family of females has been in sad state for lack of anyone to repair a broken lamp, repair broken gadgets, lift things that need lifting, and in general is in need of a handy man. Now we have one that is really super-handy with things electrical --- including radios, praise be. He is also extremely popular with the boys since he has an apparently inexhaustible supply of patience, and is quite willing to do his repair jobs with an audience, and to explain what he is doing step by step -- even to the extent of letting said audience hold tools until needed, etc.

Aunty Lois has taken a vacation from her job for a few weeks to get herself settled in her new apartment. They have their living room pretty well in order, and Bill is spending this week-end fixing up a super-special dark room. At the moment he is wiring a big table so that enlargers, etc. can be used on it.

Mother Bentley is all set to come and visit us sometime in the spring, probably April, exact date not yet set. We are undecided as to just when to start housecleaning. We want to be through before she comes, but we don't want to start before we get in another load of coal.

Annie, your valentines were much appreciated. Those are the first handkerchiefs they have owned all to themselves, and there is much blowing of noses. They carried them to Social Union meeting the day they came.


Tuesday, February 20, 1945 Phil to Charles

Dearest Husband,

This was a dull day. No sun, but it wasn't really cold out. Our snow is almost gone. I did very little. Pearl called up and asked me to go to the symphony with her on Thursday, which I think I shall do. Dorothy Rittmueller's husband is leaving Great Lakes for the Pacific the end of this week, and she aid Pearl and Maryalice are coming over on Monday afternoon. Tomorrow is Social Union. This project for having children cared for is going great guns, and tomorrow we are having a meeting of just the youngmothers and children to see what we can work out for the year.

Marion Hodgins is hounding Maryalice and me to take a Girl Scout Troop, and I think that we are going to. I think that all this social unioning and girl scouting is to a large extent a waste of time, but since it is the best I can do, I am going to do it. I would rather, you understand, be becoming a doctor, or settling matters of state in Washington, D. C. I have little patience with people who just gripe because they can't do what they want, and end up doing nothing at all. Leading a bunch of girl scouts may be pretty small potatoes, but it is better than just sitting around shooting off my mouth and getting discontented. I wish that you would hurry up home so that we could begin to plan our lives again.

Having finished the first volume of the Harvard Classics I am now reading Socrates' Apology, and am about to begin Plato. May I say that this fellow Socrates is all right. Very readable stuff, I find to my intense astonishment. Of course, there has been all this talk about him for all these years, but I am never one to believe common gossip. The next volume is Milton's prose, which I do not look forward to, but I am determined to wade through everything on the theory that it will probably do me some good.

I love you very much and I only wish I could get a letter from you every day instead of in little bunches. I am following your route with much interest and think of all the interesting things you will have to tell us when you come home. I will stoke up the inner man on Plato and Emerson, and you can become the traveled man of the world, and together maybe we can educate our children.

Much love, I adore you,

February 27, 1944 Phyllis to Charles

Dearest Pud;

I cannot tell you how wrathy I get about your not getting mail. I think of rewriting all I have written and sending it to you, and then think of how dull it will be when the other letters finally catch up with you.

I went to a meeting of the program committee of Social Union today. Very delicious chocolate cake was served which I must try on you some day. Marion Hodgins called tonight, and sure enough I have a girl scout troop. Don't be surprised to come back and find your sons ardent girl scouts.

Your son Buck is turning out to be such a nice character that I could just hug him every minute, although I actually do a lot of screaming at him. He takes it so well these days that I sometimes feel that he is just being understanding of the old woman and her moods. He is really getting over his habit of sucking his finger. I now kiss him every time he takes his finger out of his mouth, or keeps it out for a while, and to my astonishment it works. I shall not be rash and say that he has entirely lost the habit, but at least he is cooperative about it now.

Tommy's jargon sounds like something that one of Thurber's maids might give out with. This noon he was telling us that "'Coy's buffer eat Tokyo." He said it over and over, and finally it dawned on me that what he was saying was that McCoy's brother read Pinochio. Which Hughesie is indeed doing.

oh, my, here comes Lois home and I am not in bed. Good night.


Wednesday, 28 Feb. 1945 Charles to Phyllis

Dearest Sweet,

Here is a letter I just censored, written by one of the negro Stewards:

Mrs. Lucile Lewis,

Dearest Love one,

While sitting town thinking of no one but you I thought I would write to let you hear from me. I am sorrow I have not wrote you but you know I have been so busy I haven't had time until this moment to write you. So I'll be brief, Darling, every time I close my eyes I see you I can't help it I'm in love with you an know one else. So will you keep me own your mind for my sake? Every moment of the day every day of the week when I am compelled to think I fine you on my mind. Darling I said I love you but love is too harsh a word for it so I'll continue to call it love until someone produces a word for the meaning I love you. So darling when you go to sleep think about me won'.e you for my sake So I'll be seen you sometime again soon.

Your lover.


The next letter was written by the same steward:

Miss Ruthie MacMeadow

Dear love one

While sitting down thinking of no one but you I though I would write to let you hear from me. I am sorrow I have not wrote you but I don't have very much time until the particlly moment. I miss you very much. Remember the last night we had together. It was the lovely time I ever had in my life and I enjoyed the lovely lady I was with it was you. Darling every minute of the day I think when I am compelled to think I fine you on my mind. Darling I said I love you, but love is to harsh a word for it. No man living or dead ever found a word for it. So I'll continue to called it love until someone produce a word to come up in the meaning I love you. So darling I'll keep on loving you so remember I keep you on my mind.

From your lonely one,


As Oliver Wendell Holmes said," he must be a poor creature that does not often repeat himself," and so I justify Boney. Moral: Never let your left hand know whose pocket your right hand is in.

Today was an ordinary sort of day in its beginning, but ended in a blaze of glory when John Benya brought me 3 letters from you. The Feb. 2 letter contained the Des Plaines bank name, so tomorrow I shall put in the change. I'll try to have it effective on April 1, but it may be too late now, I'll let you know if there will be a payless month. Tomorrow is payday, but between mess bill, cigar mess bill and paying for that watch there won't be a great deal left over. I trust you received the $40.00 money order I sent you on Feb. 15.

Went to the movie tonight and it poured. I came inside and took off my clothes. The movie is almost over, and in a minute or so they will call for security reports. I must dress and report to the exec, "Navigation Department secure, Sir, and I am deeply in love with my wife." That is the most miraculous feeling -- to be so thoroughly in love with someone, and to know that you love me too, I think of the cartoon of the two love birds, the male screaming to the female "you're mine, do you hear, mine!"

We have a dog on board. Every morning he musters with my division. I'll be seen you again sometime soon,

Your lover,

March 1, 1945 Phyllis to Charles


Yesterday being a divinely balmy day we did some work in the yard, and I shifted one half a ton of kindling from the middle of the garage to a pile in the corner. This little chore was considerably lightened by the fact that I composed a little essay entitled, "What my high-school athletics have done for me in my middle years," while moving it all. One half a ton of wood is considerable wood, just in case you are not aware of it, and it is all in mill-ends and odd sized small pieces. So I practiced pitching (underhanded) tossing into the basket, both from down around the knees and from the shoulders, and occasionally even passing the ball between my legs, I was surprised at my skill. By the time the pile was higher than my head there was a space about eight inches wide between the pile and a shelf, so I tried lobbing the pieces into this crack, and finally got it filled up. This was considerably less trouble than trudging with armloads would have been, and a lot more fun . Then I swept the garage and collapsed.

Today I struggled around to the income tax man again with our last two year's returns and my little notice, and I have just about decided that it will be less trouble to pay the damned thing since we signed it as a Joint return. We also have, clipped neatly to our copies a little slip which states in large red letters, "This is to be returned with your 1943 income tax blank." He pointed this out to me with a slight snort. He also seems to think that if I can scrape up the cash I might just as well pay it. All in all I cannot seem to get out of it -- so that is what is going to happen to that nice 45 dollars you sent me. Isn't that sad?

Not that I am one to gossips but there are evidently newlyweds and newlyweds. My brother-in-law is home 4 nights a week from 6:30 until 10, and Saturday and Sunday all day. On the four nights they have dinner, and then they take a walk, work in the dark room, move furniture, and any number of odd things, none of them exactly what we did practically any odd moment we found ourselves alone during the first few months we were married ---- unless my memories of our more robust honeymoon are verging on the dream state.

Your son Charles is progressing fairly well over the rocky road to learning his alphabet. He can recite it, but now the task is to get him to recognize the letters. This is more of a trick than you may imagine. We do all sorts of things, we practice on the typewriter. We have made our own alphabet book. We try picking out letters on every sign we come to. But I cannot say that we are whizzes at it yet. I have also made 20 large cardboard squares with spots on one side and numbers on the other, so that we can match either spots with spots, spots with numbers, or numbers with numbers for the numbers from 1 through 10. He seems to enjoy this game, which we play by spreading the cards out on the living room floor. We let Tom join in when he is so inclined.

I am glad to hear that you are not at Iwo, but take care of yourself wherever you are.


PS: Are you sure my letters are definitely not censored?

1 March, 1945 Charles to Phyllis


In a couple of months you will be financially independent because I changed the allotment today. This is all on the basis of my becoming a j.g. on April 1, so if it turns out to be just another April Fools joke I shall be in the soup. On April I (or shortly thereafter when the allotment is received) the Mdse Natl Bank will receive $150.00 as usual, On April 15th, or a few days after, the Des Plaines bank will receive half of $225.00. I couldn't start the allotment any earlier. On the basis of your present budget that should enable you to get along, and may even leave enough to spare to buy a bottle of wine.

I got hold of a copy of Time for Feb. 19th and read it this morning. Time seems quite hopeful about the outcome of the Crimean Conference, and I hope they are right. This is the first thing I have seen about the meeting and have been wondering what the hell went on. Last night before the movie started I was sitting next to Lt. Davies, a former school administrator. He had this to say,"I sure hope they fix Germany and Japan this time so they can never start another war. If they don't and we have a war 20 years from now, I'm damned if any kids of mine will ever fight. They .talk about Russia and England ---- why neither one of them could put an army in the field if it weren't for us. And yet they tell us what to do."

I almost cried when I heard this chain of logic. If there is another war 20 years from now it won't be because England and Russia failed to show good faith, but because ignorant fools like Lt. Davis think the U.S. can get along in the world by ignoring England and Russia. People go around thinking up reasons why we can't get along with England and Russia and breeding hate right when we are cooperating more effectively than any powerful nations have ever cooperated before. What do you call this but "getting along." Russia and England are certainly more predictable than we are, and I don't even concede that Russia and England couldn't put an army in the field without us. I remember Stalingrad, and the Battle of Britain. I wonder how we would have stood up under similar conditions. Suppose it had been Pittsburg instead of Stalingrad? The military ramifications of modern warfare are legion, and to say that we are fighting Russia's battles because we are supplying material is the oversimplification of a simple mind. How can you measure a million lives against a billion dollars worth of equipment?

Enough of that. Tokyo Rose is on the radio. Picked up and rebroadcast by the U. S. radio. How do you like that? First they broadcast the news from San Francisco, then they broadcast the Tokyo news, which has us pushed back almost to the Rockies. We have definitely lost Iwo according to them. We shall see.

Much love,


March 2, 1944 Phyllis to Charles


After re-figuring my debts, etc. for the month of March, with two insurances coming up, I decided that I could pay that income tax after all, so I have now composed a neat little letter to the Collector of Internal Revenue explaining all, and asking how I can straighten it all out. Not that I think I can, but I may delay things for a month or so, by which time I may be a little flusher.

Went down to my clinic today, and also did a little shopping. Bought myself a pair of shoes, and bought the boys berets and socks and pajamas. No luck on underwear. Not a bit of children's underwear to be found in Chicago.

Your package came today and was a howling success. I had told Boggen you were sending her the bridge set, which she likes a lot. I think that the pocketbook is very handsome, and I am pleased to say that it came through without a scratch. The boys were, as usual tickled with their presents. Buck took his and opened it and went off into the dining room by himself while Boggen and Lois and I were examining the other things. Pretty soon he came back with such a red face and such a wide-eyed look we knew something was wrong, and he said, "Here, Mommy," and gave me his pin. Before I looked at it I said, "What's wrong, honey, did you hurt yourself?" He didn't say a word for a minute, and then he began to cry as though his heart would break, and he turned the pin over and said, "I only wanted to open it," and cried and cried --- he had broken the little pin off the back. I felt so sorry for him. We went right out and glued it back on, and I think it will stick, but honestly I never saw anyone so crushed. It makes me sniffle when I think of it.



Saturday March 3. 1945 Charles to Phyllis .


The reason you received candy from my Mother is that the last time she sent me some I told her not to send anything else, but when she felt she had to buy me something she could do it but send it to you and the boys. I was afraid after I wrote it that she might take it the wrong way, but apparently she didn't. So really that's my candy you are eating. Hope you enjoyed it.

So you figured out where I was last month. I knew you would. We can now talk about Pearl Harbor and before in our letters, so you don't have to keep it to yourself. We didn't get to see much of Hawaii--- palm trees, sugar cane, lush vegetation. It is an armed camp, and like all the other camps in the world. Diamond Head --- what does that conjure up in your mind? The langorous romance of a Hawaiian moon? The soft singing of bronzed swimmers and grass-clad maidens? It pays to advertise. They have the same moon you have in Des Plaines --- full, 1st quarter, 2nd quarter, new, etc. ---- You know what it means to the Navy? The beginnings of civilization, where you can get beer, eat in a commercial restaurant, feel that YOU are that much closer to being in the states. It is like Hollywood, Florida, on a larger scale, given to exploitation of the tourists who travel abroad at their own risk. Honolulu is honky-tonk, where hamburgers and milk shakes are in popular demand, and the busses are jammed with commuters going to Waikiki.

I had the duty last night from 8-12 and this morning from 8-12. Nothing much happened. At night we move up to the bridge. The movie screen hangs down from the forward part of the bridge so that while on the bridge we can hear the movie, but can't see a thing except the bolt of light pointed at you.

Yesterday we knew where we were going, but today all bets are off and not even the Captain knows.

Remember I once told you about reading a letter from a guy to his wife, saying nasty things and getting himself worked up as he wrote? I think I read the sequel to it yesterday ---- at least I censored a letter of abject apology and humble pie. Apparently said wife was smarter than he, and in a few well chosen words set his mind straight. He had apparently suggested that she was not a model of faithfulness. He quoted sentences from her reply which showed that instead of becoming indignant and vitriolic she had patiently pointed out the danger of idle thinking, especially while living for long periods with exclusively male companionship. The moral of this is, said the Red Queen as she ordered another execution, two-fold: (a) never let your mind indulge in idle, malicious thinking when it concerns the one you love, and (b) never underestimate the influence of the Ladies Home Journal.

Your ever-loving husband, who doesn't deserve all the wonders a 50 year old minister who was just getting a start in Elkton bestowed upon him one January Day.

Love, Chas.

Wednesday, March 4, 1945 Charles to Phyllis


I should hate to have it said that my literary efforts were devoted to describing my weariness. Still, I am tired, having been on the bridge almost continuously from 7 AM until 9 PM. My legs feel as if they will fall apart, and my feet have almost lost all feeling. I'm certainly going to have policemen's feet when this is over.

Last night I had my troubles on the watch. The ships were in column and we were to make a turn. The Captain came out and as usual started giving orders, as he usually does in a night turning situation. I thought he had taken the conn, but aparently he hadn't. We suddenly discovered that we had swung way past the course the column of ships had taken and we were far out of position.

Later in the night, through a series of incidents too involved to explain we overtook the ship ahead. We are supposed to maintain a distance of 600 yards. All of a sudden we were so close to him that he turned on his stern light. I swung out so there would be no danger of hitting him, went to 2/3 speed, sent for the Captain, who misunderstood the message, finally got him out by saying that I was in trouble. The Captain decided it was the fault of the ship ahead, but actually it was due to a misunderstanding between me and the engine room, one which I should have caught. Fortunately, however I took all the actions that should be taken, such as showing proper lights, so the Captain had nothing to scream at me about. Before it was over we were alongside the other ship instead of being 600 Yards behind him. It is not a comforting feeling, I assure you. If only we had brakes on this ship.

Tonight I have no watch, happy day, so maybe I will live.

I love you,


Wednesday, March 7, 1945 Charles to Phyllis


We are taking casualties aboard -- Marines from Iwo. I can't tell you much about them, but we are to take them to hospital somewhere. There are both stretcher and walking cases, and many of them. They are so young, and some of them are so battered up. But more about them later when I find out how much I can write.

We gave all our boats away today -- left them here in the boat pool. So now we have to go somewhere and pick up boats besides transporting the wounded. So far a while at least you can put your mind at rest so far as danger to me is concerned. Obviously we aren't going to sail into Tokyo with our cargo.

Today a liberty party was sent over to the beach. I didn't go, being in the standby section, and those who did came back burned to a crisp. Ryan brought back coral, shells, hermit crabs and a mass of flora which now festoons our room. The beach is all coral no sand at all. It is an atoll as you may have guessed. Swimming is dangerous because of the treacherous current. A boy from another ship was drowned. Life is cheap out here.

Good night, my love,


March 9, 1945 Charles to Phyllis


Last night when I went up to relieve the deck I found that the Captain had taken the conn and was eating the head off the OOD for having the ship 800 yards off station. The hapless OOD was wringing his hands, and the Captain was wringing his neck. Finally he brought it back on station and I took the conn. From about 8:15 until ll:30 I kept it on perfect station, but when my relief appeared I suddenly got a range that put me 200 yards ahead of where I should have been. That is what makes you want to jump over the side. During GQ W. Spoeri is OOD and I am JOOD. Usually the ship is out of station and Mr. Spoeri is just about to bring it up when he has to take star sights, whereupon the Captain gives me hell for being out of position, since at that point I am OOD. This morning, however he caught up with Mr. Spoeri and gave him hell, while I reaped the glory for bringing it back on station. At this point the Captain and I are having confidential chats about how many RPMs are necessary to hold position. We shall see how long that lasts.

The marines seem glad to be aboard. Not only are they heading away from the shooting, but they say it is the first ship they have been on where they are treated as human beings. Some of them tell harrowing tales of Iwo, 8 inch shells dropping on an airfield covered with CBs; an LST loaded with gasoline and ammo being hit by a shell and disintegrating; the boy with an arm blown off looking for his arm so he could recover his wrist-watch; the boy with the hand shot off who found it and chopped off the finger which held his ring. Stories like that make our crew glad that they are aboard the dear old USS Granville.

Another monthly Alnav just came out. In another month, if all goes wells I shall be a Lt. J.g. Magnanimous of the Navy, what? I would give anything for a long cool drink of lemonade, or bourbon, or something. We haven't had ice aboard for a long time and I sure miss it.

One of the casualties on the ship went through the Saipan campaign unharmed, and went into Iwo in a tank. His tank was knocked out by a direct hit, killing outright all of the occupants but him. He got out of the flaming tank, and finding himself without a scratch made a bee line for the nearest American line. Just as he reached the line he tripped, fell on his face, broke his nose. Casualty:

All my love,


Sunday, 11 March, 1945 Charles to Phyllis


It must be 120 inside this room tonight. Really, it is unbearable. Tonight I have the mid-watch and GQ is at 0530. 1 hope that my guardian angel is with me again tonight and keeps me from ramming the ship ahead.

The marines on board seem to be enjoying the trip. They are relaxing as hard as they can. They are provided with cots and are all over the decks. They are given cigarettes, cigars, ice cream, and just about everything available. They look like a bunch of guys who are enjoying a hard earned rest.

You may remember my telling you about a Lieut Pearson, who has succeeded in alienating everyone on the ship. Today he wrote a report to the Captain re Ensign Bridges for insubordination and provocative language, and the Captain has confined Bridges to his room for a period of 5 days. I understand that the Captain is upset about it, more on account of Pearson than Bridges. He is gradually getting convinced, as everyone else is, that Pearson is mentally unadjusted for his job. P. is head of the beach party which is in charge of landing troops and supplies on the beach, and the news that the entire beach party was wiped out at Iwo Jima did nothing to improve his outlook. I'm sure that in the actual situation here that Bridges was provocative, but a rational man would not have gotten in the position of placing an officer on report. I just helped Bridges write his reply. He had drafted a long letter refuting the charges, etc. but now he has a conciliatory, short, detached reply.

By the way, our second stop after leaving the states was Kwajalein, an atoll in the Marshalls. Taking that place must have been something. In the first place, it is not more than 2 feet high, and each of the islands is tiny. It must have been hand-to-hand fighting all the way.

But more about that later,

Much love,


March 13, 1945 Phyllis to Familv

Dear Folks,

We are having the most wonderful spring weather. It is like something out of a story book. The boys are out all day long to take advantage of it.

My husband now has a boatload of wounded from Iwo, and has dropped off his attack boats, so for the time being he is nice and safe. Also, he has finally gotten some mail.

While we are talking about the Navy, I must report that I had a sad experience this month. My navy check usually hits the bank about the 3rd of the month and I make out all checks soon after that time. Yesterday I got a notice from the bank that I had overdrawn my account, so I immediately called them up to ask how come, only to learn that they had received no check since February 1st. Charles has talked about changing from our Chicago bank to the Des Plaines bank, but he said that it might be too late to make the change by April 1st. On the off chance that somehow it did go through I called the Des Plaines bank, but no, they didn't have a check either. So I don't know whether this is merely a mix-up due to the fact that they have heard from Chas and are making the change, or whether the check has gone If astray, Alas and Alack, within the next few days I will be getting cross letters from insurance companies, public service and telephone companies, and all sorts of people. On Friday I shall go over and see the Navy and try to check up on all this. will you tell me what I would be doing if I didn't live next door to Boggen? Furthermore, will you tell me why the bank didn't get curious about not receiving a check this month after having received one for each of the past 8 months? Very strange,

I am now the leader of a girl scout troop. Marion Holdgins called up about a month ago and asked Maryalice and me to take them on. We have as nice a little group of 13 and 14 year old hellers you ever saw. Maryalice and Dorothy are both co-leaders, and I have few illusions about why we were asked to take this group who have been trouble makers for years.

They are just about what we were like at that age, and I guess Marion was just hoping that maybe like can cope with like.

We had our first meeting two weeks ago with 11 there, and our second meeting last night with 19 there, so evidently they like the idea and us. But how are we going to keep them busy and interested7 And, I feel old. Do you know that my girl scouts were not even born when I was doing my girl scouting? In fact, they weren't even born by the time I had outgrown scouting. So I can talk like an old timer, or Dan'l Boone himself in giving ancient history about scouting and camping in these parts.

Boggen is sitting here trying to find out something about Palestine --- she has to give a talk on it at her study group next Tuesday. Have I ever told you that she is now a Deaconness in the First Congregational Church of Des Plaines, Illinois? That is really one for the books. Next time she goes out on a binge with one of you, you ought to remind her of it. She sends the message to her sister and brothers that they should come to see her soon. In fact, if you don't come before the end of April you may miss seeing Mr. Golloway entirely since who knows where he will be after the first of May.



14 March 1945 -- Charles to Phyllis


Ever ride in an open boat in a rough sea? I did yesterday going over to the officer's club. I wore the jacket to a foul weather suit, but as it turned out that wasn't enough. The water came over the boats in sheets, and in a couple of minutes I was soaked from the hips down. My shoes had seven inches of water in them. We were a sorry looking bunch of officers, but after a few drinks no one cared much. The ice machine broke down so we drank whiskey and warm coke, or warm beer, and said we enjoyed it. After about 16 beers John Benya and I walked down to the ship's service, a 2 mile walk, where I thought I might be able to buy a birthday present for you. But no luck -- they sold candy and cigarettes and a few necessities of life. So we went back to the club and drank some more. I exaggerate.

Ryan and Smith were, or pretended to be, drunk when they returned, and life was pretty miserable around here last night. While I was taking a shower Ryan threw cold water on me, so of course I had to retaliate, and soon everyone was 'wet. Then Cole got in it, and soon the room was a shambles. Ah, youth! I rinsed all my clothes in fresh water to get the salt out of them you will be glad to know.

Take care, I love you,


March 16, 1945 Charles to Phyllis


I have just finished Mr. Pickwick, and a very good book it is, as the goat said when he ate the last volume of the Encyclopaedia Brittanica.

In our young lives we have made and lost a great many friends in our wanderings. Many of them we shall probably never see again, others we may in time know even better than we knew them before. Just think of never again seeing the Coops or the Auers, or the Jones or the Benedicts, or the Mitchells. I hope that when we do settle down we are in proximity to friends whom we really like. And settle down we will as dull as that sounds. Do you remember when you and I used to scoff at the thought of being married, of the idea of being a suburbanite, in short being unexciting. Maybe I'm getting old, but the idea of settling down with my wife and family now seems glorious.

We didn't leave again today, so the check was mailed this morning. Another conference is taking place this afternoon, so perhaps we may leave tomorrow.

I am at a great disadvantage in trying to buy you a birthday present. There is one you will surely get from me, but I wanted to get something just a little personal. I can at least send you all my great love, and hope that on your next birthday we will have a celebration attended by myself. When we reach more civilization I will send you an un-birthday present anyway, as a token of my undying love.

Later -- we are underway at last. So this won't be mailed until the 21st when we get in.

Your lover,


March 18, 1945 Charles to Phyllis


How is my chickadee this morning? Here it is 9 PM, 12-1/2 hours earlier than Greenwich. So it must be about 3:20 AM in Chicago. Tomorrow, Monday, will occur twice for us. How would you like to have 2 Mondays? I wish we could have 2 paydays, but the Navy doesn't work that way. I can hardly wait to reach our destination, which will be on the 22nd. We have been assured that our mail is being held for us there, and there must be tons of it since nothing has been received since we left Pearl Harbor.

We can now talk about our 4th stop on the way over. This is how it went: Pearl Harbor, Kwajalein, Einiwetok, Saipan. Einiwetok is much like Kwaj --- large ring of small coral islands, flat no vegetation, no attractions. We anchor in the lagoon which the ring of islands forms, which is practically open sea. That is why the boat riders get soaked.

Saipan, now, is a large island with mountains and everything. Saipan hasn't been held so long and there are many mementos of the fights: Jap cannon, blasted pill boxes, bomb craters, blasted trees. You probably read about the struggle for the sugar refinery where the Japs made a stand. It is now just a mess of twisted steel and rubble. Garapan, formerly a populous city, exists no more. A chaplain who is attached to a Marine Division there drove some of us around in a jeep and pointed out the sights. He said that we had tried to get the Japs to evacuate Garapan, to save it, but the Japs refused and it had to be leveled. All over the island are concrete houses that were blown to bits. The natives have been gathered into compounds, declared out of bounds for GIs, and they have resumed farming. Apparently the natives did not thrive under Jap rule and they were glad to see the Americans come in. They are mostly Molos, with some Chinese and mixed races. The Army has built some housing projects for them --- nothing but rows of chicken coops, but much better than what they had before. Some of them still live in their huts, four sticks supporting a grass roof, dirt floor. The natives seem clean, sturdy and thriving.

We visited the cliffs where so many Japs committed suicide. These are sheer cliffs rising about 1,000 feet straight up. Here and there are ledges, surrounded by white splotches, where American shells tried to pick off snipers, Nearby are cliffs hanging out over the ocean -- rocks below. If there weren't so many apparently authentic reports it would be hard to believe the suicide stories. Hundreds of women, clasping their babies in their arm, combing their hair, then plunging over the cliffs. This is at the northern end of the island. Off the southern end is Tinian, another famous spot for suicide. That is where the LSTs with Jap speaking Americans stood off the shore and with loud bull-horns pleaded with the Japs not to jump. You will remember reading about the civilians huddled into caves by the soldiers, being shot down when they tried to get away. Hardly any were taken alive. They found caves full of civilians shot down by their own soldiers. Those were bloody days.

You may also recall the episode of the counter-attack by the Japs on Saipan, where the Army was supposed to have fled and the Marines saved the day. I don't believe the full story has ever come out, but apparently an Army Division was holding a certain line when the Japs made their all-out Banzai charge and overran the army line. What happened then is not clear, except that the Army unit was lacerated, torn to ribbons, tried to withdraw, only to be cut down. There were hand-to-hand struggles on the breakwaters Finally the Marine artillery unit came up and saved the day. There is still a great deal of bitterness about the affair. The Marines are bitter because the Army tried to run instead of holding and repelling, the Army because the Marines claim to have saved the Army and seem to assume that they would have held their ground if they had been in the same position. Whatever really happened it was a close call for the invasion forces, and although the Japs lost more men than we did in their Banzai charges we still measure our losses in absolute figures. Saipan was very interesting to visit. The newspapers report that it is being used as a B29 base, but they do not mention that the officers club has one of the longest bars in the world, finished in a prefabricated veneer.

Well, so much for Saipan unless I think of something else interesting.

My navigation is coming along fine, thank you. We had a movie on the use of the sextant yesterday, and I learned a few tricks. Both this morning and this evening I took star sights and got fixes the same place as Mr. Spoeri got his. So I feel a little better about that, having been a dope about it all this time.

My good friend, Henry Cole, walked in after lunch and presented me with 2 sets of j.g. bars what he had just purchased. A little premature, but very generous of him. I have been driving him crazy all day with puzzles like the three men with black hats, and what color is yours, and, "Brothers and sisters have I none, but that man's father is my father's son." I find that people from the East invariably respond "himself." Apparently the riddle went through the east many years ago and the answer was learned by rote, but unfortunately it is the wrong answer.

Say, do you expect me to write to you all night? I never will get your book read, let alone get any sleep.



March 21, 1945 Phyllis to Charles


It pains me to tell you that you have an honest wife. My Uncle Charley just sent my sister Lois a wedding presents and today I received a check for $50 from him for my wedding present --- delayed, he says. I returned it to him this evening, telling him that unfortunately for me he did give me a wedding present seven years ago -- half of our silver, remember? Well, I didn't say, "unfortunately for me," but that is the gist of what I told him. And now we don't have $50. extra dollars. Oh. well. easy come, easy go, I always say.

Your son Buck needs a psychiatrist at this point. He insists on trying to kill someone --- anyone. He snaps scissors in Tom's face, he rides his bicycle in the street. Today he got Tom in the basement in that un-cemented room and poured several shovels-full of dirt all over him. I made him sit in the corner. Next I looked out the door upon hearing screams and found him swinging a metal scooter around his head aiming at Leeta McCoy, and I brought him in. A little later Douglas McCoy appeared dripping tears and gore -- Bucky had thrown a heavy wooden airplane he had made from some fire-wood at Douglas and cut his cheek open, about 1/2 of an inch from his eye. So I put him to bed and left him with one Mrs. Morosick while Tom and I went to Social Union. When I came home he seemed subdued, and I let him go out, and half an hour later, Leeta and the Hasselman's were calling frantically, and there was Buck deliberately beating in the windows of the garage. What to do?

We had a very successful Social Union meeting today. 78 people, children included. The game we played was quite successful and people did get to know each other a little better. All in all, everything is working out quite well. Why don't you come home and see all this activity?



Friday, March 25, 1945 Charles to Phyllis

Dearest wife;

Today I went on a tour of the island and had a very nice time. We saw a lot more of the scenery I described to you a couple of days ago. We saw field after field of pineapple, and twice as much sugar cane. We stopped at a camp they have here for officers' recreation. It is on the ocean, and that's where I got thinking of Hollywood. Anyway, we went swimming and shell hunting through the coral. It was nice and relaxing, but you shouldn't begrudge it because when we get underway I work. And we saw a hula dancer (the silliest damn thing I have ever seen) and a blow hole, where the waves beat against a rock and the water blows through a hole in the top of the rock. Really, we saw some beautiful scenery, but I can't describe it to you because I am tired. I bought a picture of a large Mormon temple for the scrapbook, but getting out of the boat someone tried to help me by grabbing the paper I had it wrapped in, and the picture fell into the water.

Hula dancing is not for me. In the first place they wear too much clothing, and in the second place the symbolic waving of the arms is lost on me. I would rather see you slither across the floor in a nightgown, headed my way. Oh much rather.

In one of your letters you talk about staying in personnel work when the war is over, and I had come to that conclusion myself some time ago. But I shall keep my mind open for any other opportunity that might come along. I would like to make some money, and I'm sure I never will in personnel work.

Where I made my big mistake (and this is strictly entre-nous, I wouldn't admit it to another person.) was in asking for sea duty. Then I cut my throat: I still hate the thought of going through the war without doing any sea duty, and if I do get back maybe it will not have turned out so badly after all. Next week, when I am a jg. I shall start putting out feelers. But all day I have been morbidly brooding about Hollywood. What a perfect set-up we had. I'm sure that every man in the Navy would give his right eye to change places with me then. And If I couldn't have stayed in Hollywood, I should have contacted my Washington friends and gone there. Being in the swim means a lot --- I used to scoff when you said that, but I know it is true.

No one in our room was aboard today, so there is a stack of mail on our desk a foot high waiting to be censored, and we had better get to it if other people's wives are going to get mail.

I love you,