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Richard to Alice: 25 December 1944 (letter 1)

December 24th, 2009 · 1 Comment

Pfc. Richard
Co. G, 2nd Bri., 1st Mar.
c/o F.P.O., San Francisco, California

Dec. 25, 1944

Hello Sweetheart,

This is the day….Christmas Day 1944.  My first Christmas out of Indiana and our first Christmas – you in Indiana and me thousands of miles away.  Not a very merry Christmas.  Yesterday was Sunday, as you know, and Christmas Eve.  As far as the weather was concerned, it was a nice day; but to me, it was not a Christmas day.  It was clear and very hot.  It was so hot, I decided to go swimming.  It was the first time in almost 2 months that I have been in the water.  I haven’t been able to figure out yet whether it did me any good or not.  Two of the fellows in the tent were going so I went with them.  There is only one place around this part of the island that we are supposed to swim.  It’s a pretty nice place. I do wish it had some kind of a sand beach though.  The corral [coral] and shells are so easy on bare feet.  They have a walk built about 20 yards long.  At the end of the walk is a diving board and a diving stand.  The stand is approximately 7 feet high.  All around are various corral formations.  Where the diving board is, the water is between 15 and 20 feet deep and very clear.  It really is beautiful.  There are 2 under-water tunnels that I know of formed by the corral.  They are about 10 feet under the water.  They really are pretty.  I just can’t describe the place to you, you’ll have to see it for yourself.  After we finished our swim, we went up on shore and lay down on the grass.  Incidently, that is one of the few grassy spots on this part of the island.  You know how one dreams of a paradise in the South Seas, well, I was thinking about that as I lay there.  By over-looking the tents and trucks, and all the fellows around there; and by substituting sand for corral on the th beach and a house for a tent, that would really be the paradise.  I was laying there on the grass in the shade of the coconut trees looking around.  In front of me was the clear blue ocean with a small sail boat aimlessly gliding along.  Across the water were two small islands dressed in their tropical greens.  On my left there was a small knoll over-looking the ocean.  It was the perfect spot for a house.  A little work and the place would be perfect.  But in stead, it’s just a place for a large group of Marines to cool off.  With the present surroundings, it isn’t very romantic.

I had something rather queer to happen to me after I got back to the tent.  I leaned once over for some reason and water started dripping out my nose.  Then it would stop.  I put my head between my knees for a little bit then straightened up.  The water just ran out then, it didn’t stop at dripping.  That lasted for almost a half hour.  It was the funniest thing.  The water would start running out my nose.  It didn’t have any pain connected with it in any way, it just tickled.  It must have been my sinus.  I did quite a bit of swimming under water and the pressure must have forced the water in.  That’s the only thing I can think of.  I didn’t get any water up my nose or swallow any.  I guess my head’s cleaned out any way.  That’s something.

I went to the show last night.  It was a good picture, “The Conspiriters.”  After the show, a couple of the tents in the company were full of guys singing Christmas songs.  There was also a group of carolers that went around over the island in trucks.  They had a bank band with them.  It was beautiful music.  I was listening to the music and thinking about you, Sweetheart, when I went to sleep.

That’s how I spent Christmas Eve.  This morning the Recrel Recreation Officer has a few contests with cash prizes.  There was an equal number from each company in the Battalion that participated in each event.  I didn’t go but I can name a few of the events for you.  They had: horseback fight (one man on another back), sack race, grenade throw, tug of war, 50 yard dash, relay race, 5 or 6 matched boxing bouts, and blind boxing.  The blind boxing was pretty good so I hear.  They put the gloves on 4 blind-folded men and put them in the ring.  If one of the guys got off by himself, they fixed him up.  They had a glove tied on a long pole and would hit him.  Naturally he would think it was somebody near him and he would beat the air to ribbons.  Since the fighters couldn’t see, they didn’t know what the score was.  Our fighter didn’t here the bell ending the fight; and when a Capt., who is in charge of the boxing team, started to take off his blind-fold, Bolanos started hitting him with for all he was worth.  He didn’t stop slugging until he could see who it was.  I guess it was pretty funny all the way around.  Oh yes, I forgot to mention one event.  They had a pie-eating contest with chocolate pie.

Well, just got back from our Christmas dinner.  I’ll send you the menu.  It was very good.  I had all I wanted and I didn’t make myself sick.

Well, Santa Claus just came.  We had to stand in the hot sun for almost a half hour then we got our presents.  This consisted of 6 cold bottles of beer, a package of chewing gum, 2 packs of cigarettes, and 1 cigar.  I sold the beer, and I tried one of their cigars.  I like cigars but not this one.  The Wrigley’s Spearmint gum is good though if you chew it.  I don’t chew very often.  We were supposed to get 11 bottles of beer apiece.  We paid 50¢ for 5 and they were to give us 6.  Well, they were very generous, they gave us the 6.  They were afraid somebody would get drunk I suppose.  Well, it made some of the boys mad.  They were planning on getting drunk.  The only trouble is that in stead using half-way decent beer, they now have to use Aqua Velva.  In case you didn’t know, that is a product put out by the Williams Co. and was originally supposed to be used as after-shave lotion.  However, of all the Aqua Velva on the island, I think I would be safe in saying that 95% of it is used internally in stead of externally.  I can’t see how they drink it.  I tasted it and that was enough for me.  That is the extent of my drinking since I left the States.

This afternoon there was a Softball and a Football game.  The games were announced over a loud-speaker system.  I was with Pop G. in his tent and listened to the games.  Pop had a jig-saw puzzle and we spent most of the afternoon on it.  We finally got it together though.  We had something a little different for chow tonight.  It was almost a picnic.  We had hamburgers, donuts, and grapefruit juice drink.  It was served outside and really hit the spot.  The donuts were baked last night and you could hardly chew them, but it was a good meal for a change.  I’d rather like to have on like that every week.

I’ve only received one letter from you since I last wrote.  I guess they are on the way.  I hope so.  I received a nice Christmas card and note today.  Guess who it was from?  That’s close but not quite.  It was from Alma Jean, Bill, and Billie Jean.  Jean wrote it of course.  Bill was in Rhode Island at the time but she expected him home for Christmas.  Bill was in the invasion of Europe and now he expects to come out in this direction.  In her note, Jean just talked about Bill.  He must be getting along O.K.  She says he weighs 160 lbs.  He must be getting enough to eat anyway.

Well, about half the company is drunk now and are they raising hell!  I can hardly hear myself think.

Talking about Jean & Bill made me think of something.  Where is Lois & Jim now?  Is she with him or at home? or is she out of the States also?  Oh yes, while we are in that neck of the woods, I have a little news about our friend – - – one Al T.  He’s in V-12 there and I here hear he thinks it is pretty tough.  And – - – it is now Uncle Al.  His brother Bill & Hilda had a – well they had a baby.  I can’t remember whether it was a boy or girl.  Did you know Bill?  I can’t remember whether he got a furlough or not.  I know you know of him.  You don’t have to talk to Mr. or Mrs. T. 5 minutes until you know of him.

Well, Sweetheart, Christmas is almost over.  I know I’ll feel better in the morning than most of these guys will and I think I have enjoyed it as much if not more than they did.  I have enjoyed it as much as I could without you, Sweetheart.  I love you with all my heart.  This is supposed to be one of the special days of the year but I’m saving the special part for the day I see you.  That will really be the special day.  I know I’m not looking forward to it any more than you are, but it seems like it.  My imagination is good but I can’t see how you could look forward to that reunion any more than I am.  I love you, Sweetheart.  This is our first Christmas – our first Christmas away from each other.  I hope it is the last but I’m afraid that there will be one more.  It won’t be my idea.  One Christmas – or one day – is too much to be away from you, Sweetheart.  Of course, we can’t expect to be together all the time, but there are limits to our being separated.  I want to be with you all the time.  I don’t care if I never see another person, I just want you, Sweetheart.  When I get back to where, to a certain extent, I can do as I want to, there will be just the two of us.  I hope you won’t get tired of seeing me, because you are going to see a lot of me one of these days.  I want to hold you in my arms, and look at you, and kiss you, Sweetheart.  That’s what I dream about.  I also try to imagine what it will be like to sit down and eat a meal with you, Sweetheart.  It’s rather silly, but I was just trying to decide where it would be best for me to sit at the table.  I know I’d have to eat; and if you were sitting across from me, I would just sit and look at you.  Then I thought – that won’t do, maybe we had better sit side by side.  But that wouldn’t work either.  I could touch you then.  I guess we just won’t eat.  Those were rather foolish thoughts, weren’t they?

Good-night Sweetheart,
      I love you with all my heart.
                  Pleasant Dreams.
                              ‘Nite Sweetheart.

Richard to Alice: 25 December 1944 (letter 1)

Tags: film · food · music · Richard & Alice

1 response so far ↓

  • 1 Patrick // Dec 25, 2013 at 11:03 AM

    Very nice. Merry Christmas!

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