Raymond A. Bumgarner - Military Memories - WWII
Page 4 of 5; This Page -> 2nd Half 1945
Pfc. Raymond A. Bumgarner SN 38 578 538
HQ Co, 2nd BN, 397th Infantry, 100th Division
Created by Carol Bumgarner King email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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Memories Journal, Letters, Comments
Journal of "Military Memories" opened June 16, 1945 at Uhingen, Germany
Letters were written home to his parents and sister.
|Photos and Misc.|
|1945 - 2nd half||Photos that I'm guessing are during occupation , but dates are unknown--->|
|Jul 1-6, 1945||Journal – Same stuff. Very quiet Fourth. Ping pong tourney gets under way. Wether rainy most of time. Hike on 6th. “Here until March” rumor starts spreading. Chow very poor – always hungry.||
100th Division - Finale
|Jul 7, 1945||Journal – Moved out of Uhingen, to Leonberg. Rain. Rode with Forman, waited most of day at theater in Leonburg. Got nice house. Hauled beds, etc.|
|Jul 8, 1945||Journal – Unpacked, loafed, rested. Got PX ration – cigs, 12 candy bars.|
|Jul 9, 1945||Journal – Set up new sign shop, flooded with orders.|
|Jul 10-12, 1945||Journal – Painted signs, 8 hrs per day.|
|Jul 28, 1945||
Letter to parents and sis:
July 28, 1945
Tho' I usually wait 'till Sunday eve to do my writing, I'll do it on Sat. this time, because the time is just right for letter writing. It's raining out today, so we go the aft. to ourselves. I just got out of a nice tub of hot suds, and I feel like a million. The radio is playing some solid numbers, and I'm munchin' an O'Henry candy bar. And to top it off, the first sgt. just came up, slapped me on the shoulder, and says "Since you're next in line for a pass, I'm slating you for Paris the 31st - that's next Tuesday." "Paris?", I says, "I been there already". "Well", he says, "You have to take what you can get these days, ya know." "Okay, Sarge, I'll go.", I says. So I'm gonna see gay Paree again - har! Well, I should get more out of it this trip, than I did last time, because I'll know the "ropes" when I get there.
-----misc family stuff----
When I say busy, I don't mean working, altogether. Mornings, I paint signs and posters for first this lt. and that one - including movie announcements and USO shows. Sometimes I have to work on into the afternoon to get an "order" filled. But not often. My typical afternoon is taken up with swimming, sports, and such. ....
Then my evenings - they're usually taken up with a movie or USO show. We have one or the other every nit - night before last, for instance, I saw the great Jack Benny, and the "champeen" actress, Ingrid Bergman, in a big open-air stadium in Stutgart. Was quite a show. I had my G.I. field glasses along, and I really look things over - ha. We had a little rain while the show was on - heh - the stage was out in the open and the audience was under a roof - so the great Benny got his "ceegar" wet, but he stayed right in there, and so did Ingrid. I would've gotten their autographs, but I don't care for such much.
-----more family stuff-----
Speaking of postwar doings - I guess I never have said much about my postwar plans, have I? I've been doing quite a bit of thinking about it lately. I do intend to finish school and get a degree in engineering - electrical engineering. I used to think aeronautics would be the best field, but I see it won't. Electricity, especially electronics and radio, covers a lot more jobs & opportunities. So electrical engineering it is going to be.
So the good Bill is nor MR. Utton, eh? Well, well. These Air Corps Joes sure pile up the points. Too bad I didn't join it. But this deal may not turn out so bad, after all. (I kinda got a feeling we're NOT slated for the Pacific - unless sump'n unexpected happens over there. Sort of a strategic reserve, or something. I guess Murrel must be eligible for discharge, too - he's been in a lot longer than Bill, therefore should have more points. Maybe he's declared "essential" or something. And I guess if Richard is still alive he's out, or getting out, too.
Here's a request for you - please send me a pkg. of air mail stationery by first class mail. Stationery has suddenly grown scarce around here. We get a little in our PX rations, but not enough to go around. Speaking of PX rations, they've been pretty good lately. Every 2 weeks each man gets 12 candy bars, 4 pkgs of gum, 2 cans beer, 2 to 4 cokes, 14 packs of cigarets (I trade mine for candy, etc.) and such toilet articles as we need. Sometimes we get 1/2# cans of salted peanuts.
We had a battalion ping pong tourney the other day. I represented Hqs. Co., and won 2 out of 4 sets, which wasn't so hot. I don't get much practice around here.
O' yes, I got my Bronze Star Medal the other day. It's quite a fancy affair, too. I'll be sending it home, because we aren't allowed to wear 'em over here, for some reason - only the ribbon.
Well, it's nigh eleven P.M. so I must get some shut-eye, if I can keep the mosquitoes off. (Yeah, we got em - "mucho".) So good night and good luck. Here's my love and prayers, for each of you.
|Jul 31, 1945||Journal – Left for Paris on pass – boarded train at Stuttgart, rode ‘till next afternoon. Stayed at Hotel Suiser et Nice, Pavillion club annex.|
|Aug 1, 1945||Journal – Saw movie, loafed.|
|Aug 2, 1945||Journal – Shopped, saw “Casino de Paris”.|
|Aug 3, 1945||Journal – More shopping, saw Variety Show and “Folies Bergere”.|
|Aug 4, 1945||Journal – Saw “Yes, Paris”, left Paris aboard train at 8:30 pm|
|Aug 5, 1945||Journal – Arrived Karlsruhe about noon, waited, ate supper, stayed overnite.|
|Aug 6, 1945||Journal – Rode to Stultgart and back to Leonberg.|
|Aug 8, 1945||Journal – News of first atom bomb.|
|Aug 9, 1945||Journal – Russia declares war on Japan, second atom bomb dropped.|
|Aug 10, 1945||Journal – Division alerted for shipment home, to sail Sept. 10.|
|Aug 13, 1945||Journal – Saw “Kiss & Tell”.|
|Aug 14, 1945||Journal – Played first tennis of season.||
|Aug 15, 1945||Journal – Japanese surrender note comes through. War is over.|
|Aug 15, 1945||
Letter to parents and sis:
August 15, 1945
Well, today is about the greatest day in the history of the world - of OUR lives, at least - the end of World War II. I don't feel like celebrating and going on a wild spree like a lot of people are doing, but I won't say I'm not happy as ANY of them. I feel, as most of the guys over here do, like just lying back and relaxing - just taking it easy, enjoying doing NOTHING - except dreaming and planning, and trying to guess when we'll get out of this Army for GOOD.
And we're going home - or COMING home, I should say - quite soon now, according to plans at present. We've got our orders to sail the 11th of next month - to leave here, our PRESENT are on Aug. 24th, to board ship the night of Sept. 10. We should make port somewhere on the east U.S. coast about Sept. 16, go to a staging area for a couple days, and I should be home about Sept. 23 to 26 - depending on how transportation is and how long I have to wait for my papers. I have it from pretty reliable sources that we're getting thirty days plus travel time. The papers are made out already. I don't know whether I'll be furloughed from Ft. Bliss or from the port - I hear arguments saying both. If I get it from Ft. Bliss I won't have to be out 40 or 50 bucks rail fare. I THINK, myself, that the Army gives the men transportation to the center nearest their homes. I hope so.
The plans are always subject to change, of course, as I've said before. Some outfits have gotten as far as the docks here and had their shipping orders cancelled. I don't have any idea what affect the war's end will have on the present schedules, but it shouldn't slow it down any. I figure the only thing that might happen is that they'll hold the 100th here longer, in order to ship home some of the OLDER divisions that have been here longer than we have. But I hear rumors that we (the 100th) has a special mission in the States and have shipping priority over all other outfits. Ha! - I'm glad now that we WEREN'T one of the 8 occupational divisions - they're gonna have to stay here indefinitely - poor boys! But I'd better not crow too soon - I might get transferred to one of those 8; the Army is TRICKY like that.
Oh, yes - I've discontinued my allotment, since I won't be getting overseas pay any more after this month and I'll be needing some cash for my furlough.
O boy - just think - I'll be spending a month at home, than back to some nice camp to loaf around and sweat out a discharge. I won't mind sweating for a few months, just so I get out in time to go back to school next year. I have a feeling I'll be in uniform about 8 or 10 months yet. That seems like quite a pessimistic figure, but I don't think Uncle Sam is going to turn us loose very fast, after the first 4 or 5 million are out.
(Well, I must call a halt and change clothes - we're eating early so we can go see Mr. Bob Hope and company this afternoon, at the "Century Stadium". They're really treating us nice over here now.)
Now to resume. It's 8 pm, the show has come and gone, and I'm tired. We rode to the show in trucks, but afterwards we decided to stay in Stuttgart and fool around awhile, then hitch-hike "home". (We call our house "home".) We went to the Red Cross Canteen and filled up on cokes, coffee and do-nuts. We shopped around awhile, found most of the stores closed, and cam home - had to walk quite a ways before we got a ride.
Don't feel so happy right now - or at least not as happy as I was this morning when I started this letter. We just heard over the radio that the shipment shcedule from the ETO will be reversed within thirty days - that is, outfits full of high-point men will go first now. It named FIVE such divisions, that have been alerted for shipment - and the 100th was NOT ONE OF THEM. NOW I'm sweatin' out the BOAT. I can't say I'm coming home, 'till I'm actually walking up the GANGPLANK. But, as I said, the plans for our shipment are pretty well advanced, and I shouldn't think they'd stop us now. Our advance party (those going ahead to arrange for quarters) have already signed their furlough papers - thirty days, but I don't know when they are to be effective. That's a secret, I guess.
They say over the radio that 7 million men are to be released from the service in the next year, 5 million of them coming from the Army. That don't sound so good, because I don't think I'm IN the top 5 million. I've got only 39 pts. for sure, 44 possibly (if the 100th gets another campaign star - 5 pts), and they say that there are 5 million WITH 50 or more pts. - so I"M liable to be stuck in the army for a year or so yet. All I ask is to get out in time to enter the fall term at school next year, but I'm liable to be lucky if I make THAT I hope they change things a bit and let me out sooner.
Please don't expect me home 'till you know I'm in the States. We can't be sure of anything in this Army 'till it's HAPPENED. I'll try to write often and keep you posted, so you won't expect me too strongly up to the last and then be disappointed. But I'm wasting time - I guess - I shouldn't have to warn YOU against over anxiety, after all these years of experience with the gov't and its methods.
I still have my German .32 pistol. I turned it in today to company supply, for safe transport. HAD to, in fact they don't TRUST us with them. Several guys have shot themselves playing around with captured weapons.
Sis, I'd like to see how you're celebrating Victory Day tonite. Or better, to be there to celebrate it with you. Don't know just what we'd do, but we'd have plenty of fun - eh?
Thanks ever so much, Mom, for the cute little picture. That little bit of canvas brings me more of home than a million words can do. The boys all like it, too. They KID me ENDLESSLY about New Mexico, but they say it's pretty - ha! You should hear us when we get started knocking each others' home states - boy o boy! (They're always joking me about N. Mex. not having anyone smart enough to send to Congress - but, boy, I put a "lid" on 'em when Anderson made Sec'y of Agric. - ha!)
Well, time and space are drawing scarce, so must close up, I guess. Good nite, all - and God bless you!
|Aug 22, 1945||Journal – Tex transfers to AMG.|
|Aug 25, 1945||Journal – Signed up for courses in A E P.|
|Aug 29, 1945||
Letter to parents and sis:
August 29 1945
Boy, what a sultry day! Just got in from a formal parade in Stuttgart, where we had to stand for an hour in the hot sun with "ski" jackets, O.D.'s, & neckties, to see some French general get the Bronze Star. Then we had to parade around the square for them. Brother, we nearly melted! They always pick our battalion, out of nine others, to represent the division, because we're the BEST at it. Phooey! I'm sittin' here in my undershirt right now and I'm STILL sweatin'!
Got your letter of the 17th today, telling about your VJ Day "celebration" - ha. Your reception was about as gala as mine was. I was asleep when some guys cam STAGGERING in and said the war was over. I'd been expecting it, so I just says "At last.", turns over, and goes to sleep again. And the world looks exactly the same next morning - you couldn't realize AT ALL that it was all ended. Everyone took it quite calmly, and went on about his business.
Now, here's something you might be surprised to hear. I don't like it, but YOU might. I've been selected to teach a class in the new battalion school, in physical science! Can you imagine - me, a school teacher! I've tried to talk my way out of it, but don't know whether I can or not, ha! They seem to be hard up for instructors, and just because I've had a little physics, I'm elected. Lt. Forman said I may be used as a reserve instructor, or an assistant. They've got about 40 men picked as instructors, and that's about ten more than they need. It's to be regular classroom stuff - the men will have textbooks, regular 2 hr. classes will be held every day in each subject, and there'll be exams and lab experiments. The teachers will have to prepare and give lectures everyday, hold class discussions, prepare, give and grade tests, as well as keep 30 or 40 restless GI's interested and quiet. That in itself will be quite a job! But it would be DARN good experience, in talking before a group and acting as a leader of a bunch of men, as well as giving you a thorough knowledge of your subject, and experience in putting over your ideas about things.
But what I don't like about the job is the extra TIME and WORK it takes. Gosh, I've got to study my OWN courses, as well as the NEXT guy has. In fact, I originally signed up to TAKE the very course they want me to TEACH now. I can't convince 'em that I've forgotten all that stuff and need to review it. If I teach, I probably won't be able to continue my correspondence course, to say nothing of the radio course I signed for in the school. To heck with 'em - I ought to go on a strike. But they've got the poor private where he can't do a thing but take orders, so if they say "frog", you gotta JUMP, and if you DON"T, they yell "court martial!"
Such is life. Happy'll be the day when I can put on civvies again, and when somebody tells me something I don't like I can tell 'em where to head in. Boy, us pfc's are gonna be hard to get along with when they turn us loose, har!
I hear all sorts of rumors lately, but none worth repeating. I think some guys around here like to start "hot ones" just for the heck of it. Personally, I think we'll be over here for another three or four months, at least, and perhaps 'till the first of '46. Please, Mom, try not to be too disappointed about the hold-up. Just remember that I'm a very lucky guy; compared to most of the Infantry. All SOME mothers have left is a medal & a lot of sorrow. I'm quite alive, quite healthy, and quite happy. I'm out of all danger, and living a life of luxury over here. You just forget about the distance between us, and be sure you've got everything ready for my homecoming. I'll be along in due time, and I want everything ship-shape when I arrive. I don't mind the wait much. I've got the trip to make and you haven't. Uncle Sam can't turn us all loose at once, but I'm sure they'll get us out as soon as possible. Meanwhile, I'm living good, saving a little money, and remember this - the longer I stay in the Army the longer I'll be able to go to school on gov't time - so the time here isn't being wasted altogether.
No, I'm quite sure I won't go to Japan, 'tho I do have only 39 points. There's the slight possibility, of course, that I could be put into the Army of occupation over here, but I don't think that'll happen, either. There SHOULD be enough, lower than I am, to make the 270,000 needed.
I haven't mailed my medal yet - when we had the stir about shipping out, I let it go. Now I guess I'll go ahead and send it some day soon.
Well, with a fond goodnite, I say,
Love to all,
|Sep 1, 1945||Journal – Saw “Up In Central Park”.|
|Sep 2, 1945||Journal – VJ Day proclaimed.|
|Sep 5, 1945||Publication: "397th Observer 2nd Batalion"|
|Sep 22, 1945||Journal – Football Darmstadt, 19-0.|
|Sep 17, 1945||
Letter to parents and sis:
Sept. 27 - Thurs. nite
Dearest folks at home,
I've suddenly woke up to the fact that it's high time I was doing some more writing. didn't realize time was slippin' by so fast. But better late than never, eh?
Well, I suppose maybe you've seen in the papers that the 100th Div. is slated to remain here until spring, as temporary occupation or "close-out" force. All men with between 45 & 60 points are to make up this "close-out" force of 300,000, and that's ME, so it looks like I'm due to sit here for the winter, sad as it may seem. The "Stars and Stripes" says we're to sail anytime between next January and June. AND, since I've got 47 which puts me VERY close to the bottom edge of that bracket, it's liable to be CLOSE to June before I get home. It's quite disappointing, but that's THAT and it has to be faced & made the best of.
Our dear little section is being broken up at long last. Unnold, Motykers, and Thomas are being transferred tomorrow, to some outfit in France as "closing-out personnel". They've all got over 50 pts, and they think they'll get to go home sometime in January or February. I sure hate to see them go - after all we've been through together we've all come to think of each other as almost brothers. We've always shared each other's joys and sorrows and packages just like a big family, especially Unnold and I. Guess I'll get me a new room-mate now. Hope I don't get any of those new guys that I don't know anything about. Oh, well, Harner, Houck, Goulding, and I will still be together. But Goulding has 59 points, so he may be leaving soon. He's in an "essential" job right now.
Ole Tex is in a pretty good racket now. I suppose he's written you about it, Fae. He really likes to be in a position like that where he can make himself think he's a "big shot". But I wouldn't trade places with him, because he's apt to be kept over here a year or two - who knows?
Payday comes soon, again. I'll be sending all my pay home this time - I've got a purse full of cash NOW, and nothing to do with it. Might go on pass again some day and use some.
Heh - what do you think of the enclosed masterpiece of photography? Shows you where I've spent a lot of my afternoons lately. No, me undershirt ain't THAT dirty - it's made that color. And that's a fatigue cap, and not a "jail-bird Stetson". Haven't played much tennis this past week - s'been too cold to get outdoors much.
Our battalion school has been going pretty well. All this shifting of personnel recently has made it hard to keep the thing going, but somehow it has kept on its feet. I really LIKE the course in radio. I've learned more already than I learned in the course I took in college. I guess it's mostly ME that's different. My "learning capacity" has increased a lot since my enlistment. Maybe my experiences have actually done me GOOD - I believe that if I'd gone and ahead and finished school, etc., it wouldn't have done me near as much good as it WILL under the present circumstances. My Army life and battle experiences have hardened & matured my outlook - at least I think so.
Well, I have a slight headache, for some reason, so guess I'd better sign off and give my eyes a rest. Am waiting for a letter from you. And don't forget that Xmas package, h'm?
Love and prayers,
Heh - what do you think of the enclosed masterpiece of photography? Shows you where I've spent a lot of my afternoons lately. No, me underhisrt ain't THAT dirty - it's made that color. And that's a fatigue cap, and not a "jail-bird Stetson".
Clink link below to hear recording by Raymond shortly before his death about above picture.
|Sep 30, 1945||Journal – “Sons O’ Fun”|
|Oct 1, 1945||
Letter to parents and sis:
Oct 1st - Mon. nite
Excerpts from letter:
Our division commander is rumored to have said that we'll be home by the middle of Feb., perhaps as early as Dec. I hope he's right, but some strong changes will have to be made if we're to sail before the first of the year. Some outfits have been waiting at Le Harve for weeks now trying to get shipping space. If they DO discharge all two-year men, I stand a good chance of coming home in January or Feb. anyway. So, that makes TWO chances of gettin' home by Feb. But I'll not believe ANYTHING 'till I'm in sight of the USA itself.
I hear they're going to allow a certain number of soldiers of the 7th Army to hunt deer in Hermann Goering's private range this fall. I'd LIKE that - but the 7th Army is a lot of men, and I may not even get a smell of a chance. But I'm gonna have a TRY at getting a chance. That'd be pretty nice, wouldn't it - deer hunting in the mountains of Bavaria. Sumpin' to tell your grandchildren about.
Another deal I'd like to get in on is this GI University in England. They say they have the best staff in the world there, and a lot of the soldiers there for short terms don't want to go home - they love it. But it's once in a blue moon anybody in THIS blasted outfit that gets a good break like THAT.
Well, I've about "cried" myself out, So I'll close.
|Oct 10, 1945||Journal – Bn moved to Bod Connstatt.|
|Oct 12, 1945||Journal – Transferred. Left Bn. 0700, arrived 78th, 311 2nd Bn. 2000. Mailed rifle, Tex’s watches.|
|Oct 12, 1945||
Letter to parents and sis:
Bad Connstatt, Germany
Oct 12, 1945
Yes, things are beginning to happen to this outfit after a long time. Our battalion has moved, to a different area. But it doesn't make any difference to ME whether the battalion moves, or goes home, or WHAT - because tomorrow I'll no longer be a part of the 100th division. The wheels of the redeployment mill are grinding steadily away, and I find myself suddenly transferred to the 78th Inf. Div., which, I believe, is soon moving to Berlin on temporary duty there as a police force. It's at Kassel at present, but will be moving soon. So I guess I'm about to start off on a long series of moves and more moves. I hear that the 78th is in Category IV, to be sent home and de-activated.
The reason for my transfer is this - the division (100th) - is to sail in December, and is to be filled with men with 50 to 59 points. So, everyone with LESS than 50 "gets the gate", and that's me! The only one in our section now with over 50 pts. is the sgt., with 59, so we're all leaving the div., but him. But the SAD part of it is that we're all going to different outfits. Houck and Harner, my present best pals, are going to some AA Bn. It hurts to leave the old 100th, just when she's been alerted to go home. But such is the Army.
The first sergeant tried to make me feel good by saying that the 78th will sail right AFTER the 100th. I hope it's true, but only time will tell. And that's all I know about where I'm going and how. All I can say is that I HOPE to get home in January, or February.
Fae, I got your ten-page "book" today, and I never had a letter bolster me up like that before. It came just when I was needing some boosting in the "morale".
Well, I got a rifle in the mail at last. I ran across it just as we were leaving Leonberg yesterday, in somebody's closet where some GI forgot it. It's a pretty good rifle, but the bore needs some good scrubbing out and there's a little rust here and there. I didn't have time to clean it up much, as I only got it yesterday and mailed it today, amidst all the moving, etc. Pop, when it gets there, would you mind putting some oil on it - just a light coat over all the metal parts? I put SOME on it, but I don't know HOW it'll make it thru the damp ocean trip. But if you'll oil it up for me I don't think it'll collect much more rust. I don't know just what sort of ammunition it takes, but I suppose it's regular .30 caliber. You might try it out and let me know how it shoots. And I might send another one or two, from Berlin. (And I might ALSO send you a Russian rifle - ha!)
So Detroit won the Series. We had a lot of fun listening to the games and razzing Houck and the other guys from Chicago.
-----misc family chatter---
I'll write again as soon as I get the chance, and I'll send you my new address as soon as possible, of course. I hope that package of Xmas don't get sidetracked some place and get held up. Well, this is the place for,
Love and prayers for you all,
|Oct 13, 1945||Journal – Assigned to intelligence section.|
|Oct 15, 1945||Journal – S-2 school starts.|
|Oct 17, 1945||Journal – Give class on “Germany”.|
|Oct 20, 1945||Journal – Best “soldier” in company. Ha.|
|Oct 22, 1945||Journal – Horseshoe tournament.|
|Oct 26, 1945||Journal – S-2 school, I & E school, fold up.|
|Oct 29, 1945||Journal – First mail since transfer.|
|Nov 29, 1945||Journal – Moved to Vegesack, in school.|
Dec. 8, 1945
Hq. Co., 2nd Bn., 311th Combat Team
Letter to parents and sis:
Dec. 8, 1945
Dearest Mom and folks,
Just a little note this morning to let you in on a little secret. I got the package last nite - the candy, cookies and pecans, and I opened it up and dove right in - and so did the rest of the fellows. (But I still have most of the candy & nuts left.) I figured the package was all eats - so I decided I'd better not wait to open it. I shall keep that delicious divinity tucked away, and treat myself and my special friends to an occasional morsel of it. Don't know which made it, Mom or Fae or both, but I'm thanking you both with all my love. I regret I couldn't have sent YOU something as nice. I guess when you get this it'll be about Xmas time in old Mesilla Park - just save me a place in your hearts and minds and I'll be there in spirit - having as much fun as anyone.
Don't know yet what the plans are for our Christmas over here, except that there'll be a big dinner, a party, and probably church services. I suppose we'll have a "Christmas Carol" session one of these Sundays soon.
Last Sunday was rather regrettable - we have two new chaplains & last Sunday was their first joint service for this battalion, and they got the use of a nice big church with an organ & all. Then when the services opened, only one man showed up - me. I think it was the fault of the battalion sgt. major - he made a mistake in his announcement of the time it was to be held. It wouldn't have been so bad if it hadn't been for the fact that both the chaplains were new and were anxious to make a good impression at their first service. They both are captains, and seem to be pretty nice fellows.
Am not doing much these days - just standing four hour's guard every nite and laying around during the day. They won't release me from guard duty to paint signs, because of the pfc. shortage at the present. So I'll pull guard - 'till we get some replacements.
Well, shucks - can't think of anything to write. Guess I'm too sleepy-headed this morning. So I'll excuse myself with "Auf wiedergeken" - "I'll be seeing you."
Love, and thanks,
|Dec 13, 1945||Journal – Painted posters.|
|Dec 22, 1945||Journal – Birthday. Loafed all day.||
|Dec 22, 1945||
Letter to parents and sis:
Vegesack (Bremen Enclave)
Dec. 22 - 8:45 PM
Dearest Mom and folks,
Here it is, another milestone of my life, another year-mark in my book, and I guess I'll dash off a few lines to you-all tonite in commemoration of the occasion. Time I was writing, anyway. Mom's letter of Dec. 6, and the birthday card, cam yesterday, and Gm'a C's Xmas card came the day before. Whoa - I mean YOUR Xmas card & Grandma's birthday card! I'm sorry.
Well I certainly don't feel twenty-two years old tonight - I feel just like I did when I was 16 or 17, just an awkward adolescent kid. Well, maybe I'm not adolescent physically, but I feel more or less that way mentally. The was HAS matured me in SOME ways, but I still don't think of myself as a full-grown man, and I'm NOT. When my Dad was 22 HE was MARRIED and very much a man, right? But for me there's been a 2-year "hole" knocked in my life, and it'll be about 3 years long by the time I get back to where I was. So, tho I'm 22 years old I've actually lived on 20 years, in a way. Of course, these two years haven't been a TOTAL loss, but if things had stayed normal I'd now be through school and in a good job by now. But I guess there's no use crying about it.
I guess my Xmas will be rather dull this year. I don't know what sort of plans the Army has for the big day, but I figure I'll just go to church, eat a big dinner, write you a letter, and just loaf. I guess most of these guys over here will go out and get on a big "toot". Some way to celebrate Christmas, isn't it?
I think we'll be moving into better quarters right after Christmas. I hope so - I'm gettin' tired of this old schoolhouse.
All men with 50 or more points will be leaving the outfit soon. They're gettin' down pretty close to yours truly now! Maybe I'll be home in a couple months now if things go right. Let's keep hoping!
Well, I go on guard in 15 minutes, so I must get ready - birthdays or no, one must pull guard! Write often, & let me know how the house-building, etc., is coming along.
Goodnight to you all, with my love.
Your 22-year-old young-un,
|Dec 25, 1945||Journal – Xmas. Church, big dinner, guard, movie.|
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