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Archive for July, 2011

I know, I know…I just posted a letter but hey, when you’re on a roll, you’re on a roll…So this is letter #30. Grandpa is still in the Philippines. Talks about “the Nips” shooting at him.

I find it so interesting how a government could intern it’s own citizens . What’s more interesting is those same citizens will fight and put their lives in danger even while their families are basically prisoners of the country they’re fighting for. Grandpa was a U.S. citizen born in L.A., his mother was “interned” at Rohwer, Arkansas while he was getting shot at by the “nips”. The NIPS! He in no way associated himself with the Japanese that were “the enemy”. He believed himself 100% a true AMERICAN, even when Japanese-Americans were treated with so much discrimination and hatred by their own country. Hopefully we as a country can learn from the mistakes made in the past.

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23 Dec. 1944

Somewhere in the Philippines

My dear Edith,

Just got back from a trip of several weeks to the other side of the island. It was good to get away from camp for a change but now it’s good to get back again. The place has changed. They’ve even put up showers and a mess hall where one can sit down in comfort
and eat.

We hitch hiked all the way back and it took us 10 hours. It was a rough , bumpy ride back.

On the other side we were bombed, strafed(1) and sniped at. The Nips were only a mile or less away and every night they threatened to break thru but they were nipped. One night they did get thru and came to within a 100 yards from where we were at. Every night we had some sort of an alert and so we didn’t sleep any too well.

The closest scare I had was when a twin-engine bomber came over and dropped two bombs about 100 yards from us. They were 500 pounders and the concussion shook the foxhole that I was sprawled out. The water was nice out there so we even went swimming a couple of times. It hasn’t rained for several days and it has been rather warm out here.

We slept under one of the houses. We dug a foxhole and strung up a jungle hammock. It was not any too comfortable in the sack but at least it was safe from any stray bullets that might wander out our way during the night. I couldn’t get to sleep very well, so I just stayed awake and counted sheep and thought about life in the states. I even
thought about you sleeping so comfortably on a nice soft mattress between clean sheets in that room of yours which you’d told me about. And I was thinking how
nice it would be if I were able to join you on that nice, comfortable resting place. But dreams—what good are they? It’s the real thing that counts. Come to think of it, is your bed a single or double? I’d hate to have to kick you out if it were just a single.

On the way back we went thru the mountains and was the jungle thick in some parts. I’d hate to be there alone at night. On the way we saw a lot of natives planting rice all the way. At least I won’t miss my Xmas dinner like I did my Thanksgiving.

It must be awfully cold out there now—and I don’t suppose you can go horseback riding. Well, Edith, do you need someone to keep you warm during the long winter days and nights? Just drop me a line and I’ll fly right over. Ain’t that just ducky?

Haven’t received that picture you were telling me about—but I guess it’ll come soon. I’m just hoping it’s not too long in getting here.

Well, do you ever have any thoughts about me? —If you don’t —why not?

Take care of yourself and be good.

Write soon and often. How about a long letter for a change?

Always,

Hit

P.S. What is Japanese name?

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perhaps these are the showers that grandpa talks about in letter #30.

Till next time (promise it won’t be today),

Stephany 🙂

FOOTNOTE:

(1) strafed is:  to be attacked with a machine gun or cannon from a low-flying aircraft

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Up to letter #29 to Edith from my grandpa. It’s Nov. 25, 1944 and he is now stationed “somewhere in the philippines”. He mentions staying in a truck for a week, learning the Visayan Dialect, cute girls and ack acks (anti-aircraft guns. I had to look it up in the webster online dictionary).  This is a pretty long one but worth the read, I think.

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25 Nov, 1944

Somewhere in the Philippines

My dear
Edith,

Here I am again. As you can see I’ve finally left old Dutch New Guinea far behind! Almost a month has gone by since last seeing those shores, but ah time really does fly doesn’t it.

It’s the rainy season out here and does it rain. Everything gets so muddy and it’s that gooey mud which clings to one like glue.

At present I’m stranded in town and have been for more than a week—that is why I’m writing this letter in pencil. We left camp one dismal, rainy day and came to town to take some gas and oil back and we barely made it there. It was too late to go back that same night so we slept in the truck that night. The next day we started back, but
the road out to camp had been washed out so we couldn’t go over it.

It’s been a nice day, although an uncomfortable one. Ever try sleeping in the cab of a truck? I mean two. Anyhow my back feels as if it’s going to break in two.

We were parked next to a Filipino home and the people treated us pretty well. They gave us hot coffee, raw and cooked bananas, Filipino rice cake and others. Every night we’d go up on the porch and shoot the breeze. Even tried to learn some of this Visayan dialect and can say a few things. It seems easy enough and if I were here long enough, perhaps gradually I’d learn how?

The town is nothing to brag about. Shops are open but wares of few and the streets are just a morass of mud. But there are some quite cute li’l gals around.

When it’s not raining it’s hot and sultry. The mosquitoes are plentiful and vicious and I’m covered with bites.

We have alerts every night and sometimes during the morning around breakfast time. Have seen several Jap. planes shot down in flames and it’s really a spectacular sight. But it’s really pretty at night when all the ack acks open up. The black sky is illuminated by the myriad red tracers and the orange bursts of the shells. Presently we’re parked right close to the strip so when the Jap. planes come over we can see them plainly. The many times that I’ve seen them they’ve been flying pretty low. Our camp site is pretty far away so we’re not in too much danger. At nights when the red alert would come off, we’d just lie in our bunks and watch the show.

Yesterday was Thanksgiving out here and I missed a turkey dinner because of being out here in town. Oh well, after all what’s a bit of turkey? Hope that you had your fill of that bird enough to take care of me too!

About the pics—I’m not angry at you about ‘em—I just wanted to let you know what the situation out here was—perhaps, I just put it all much too bluntly. As yet I haven’t received the pics that you sent me but am awaiting them anxiously. Only hope that they get here soon. You can bet that as soon as I can get a pic taken I’ll send it,
but don’t know when or where. Nothing is certain out here.

It must be getting really cold out there. Maybe you need a hot guy like me who’s been in the hot clime for so long to go out there and keep you nice and warm. Wouldn’t that be just ducky? Or are allergic to such things?

Haven’t been to the movies now for over a month and I’d probably be amazed at such things as moving pictures—it seems so long since I’d last gone that that is how I’d feel if I went to the movies again.

Have you gone horseback riding lately? Yes, guess it must be pretty chilly for that these days, huh? It’s been so long since I’ve gone that I’ve probably forgotten how. Anyways, if you have—are you in need of my expert massaging to take away the agony and pain
and restore comfort and ease? Let me know I’m always ready to oblige—Perhaps, I can give applications by mental telepathy—who knows? Do all the gals who work out there go riding too?

Well, take care of yourself and keep your nose clean and write again and tell me what’s what.

Always,

Hit

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from a girl (maybe from the Phillipines?) Back of the picture says "Lovely Mr. Okimura. Just a simple remembrance to you. Your sweetest friend, Cresencia. Please don't forget me and I'll not forget you. If you are worry look at my picture and you will be happy. god Blest you too."

back of picture says "our first camp in P.I." I'm guessing it's the Philippine Islands

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Until next time,

Stephany

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Just added some new links to the “timeline” page.

Also,so far, I’m up to letter 27 to Edith dated Sept 16, 1944. Grandpa is becoming such a flirt! Please check it out!

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Sept 16, 1944

Dear Edith,

Just got your letter and I was wondering why I didn’t hear from you for so long. I figured that you must have gone home on a leave.

I’m back up in Dutch New Guinea again and have been for some time. Been doing all sorts of work around the camp. Life is just slow and dull around here. Since I’m working out in the hot sun all day I’ve gotten very, very dark. And when I’m covered with sweat and grime I’m really like a darkie at midnight.

My, my you certainly are lazy huh? Answering my letters all at once.

Hear that Ted’s back in the States attending officers candidate school. Guess he’s just too busy with his studies!

Went on a trip today—boy, what a hike—the first one in ages and am I dead tired. But still have enough energy to do a little letter writing. Got all kinds of scratches all over me.

No, I don’t know Shuko Sato—where does she come from? Is she a nice gal like you too? Do you go horse back riding together?

It’s certainly hot out here and that old sun just beats down on you. It must be getting very cool out your way. Pretty soon, it will snow! Gosh, would certainly like to see snow again. Anyhow, it’s better than this old heat.

Since coming back here the place has really changed. It’s getting more civilized every day. They’ve even got a whole mess of WAC’s here but they’re up at HQ so we rarely see ‘em unless we happen to go up that way.

No more bathing in the streams now, ‘cause we’ve got showers. But still do my laundry in it. They’ve also rigged up a washing machine operated by a motor, but, as yet, have never used it ‘cause I hate to wash all at once so I wash ‘em as they get dirty.

Must be some life you lead—just reading and listening to the radio. You know I can just sit and listen to the radio all day but haven’t the opportunity out here. Maybe I’ll keep you company besides that radio one of these days.

It certainly must be nice to have a room all to one’s self. At least outside influence can’t bother you. But like us, we can’t always do exactly what we please because there are so many other fellows with different ideas. Oh well, when that day that I can call myself a civilian I’ll certainly make up for it.

Well, Brisbane is just like any other town of its size back in the states but it’s just a couple of decades
behind times—that’s all.

Nope, I’m not a jivester. Are you? Haven’t danced for so long I’d probably just step all over any poor unfortunate gal who’s willing to dance with me.

If I’d put you in such a bad way after that ride—I’d just give you my extra special massage and you’d feel spry in no time at all.

Glad to know that you had a good time on your vacation. I only wish I can when and if I ever get back. I’d probably be stuck and wouldn’t know what to do. I guess it’s really changed back there now?

Guess this is it for this time. So take care of yourself and write soon.

Just,

Hit

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Till next time,

Stephany

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I’m still here. Just got rid of the kids for the day so the computer is finally free. When do they go back to school again? 🙂

So, started working on the letters again and realized that Letter number 24 to Edith is dated July 16,1944 almost exactly 67 years ago. Reading grandpas letters, in the middle of this heatwave while scratching a mosquito bite on my leg,  I was really able to empathize with his complaints of the heat and humidity as well as the mosquito problem. At least we have central air, I don’t think I would last long without it.

Well, it is now Sept. 1944 and grandpa was somewhere in Australia a month ago and now is “back up in Dutch New Guinea”. I keep reading these letters and going “Really? Grandpa never mentioned that”. Makes me think about all the stories I have to tell my kids but never have the time. I started journals for each of the kids when they were babies with things about them that I find interesting and funny, maybe I’ll add things about my life so they can read them when I’m gone.

Since working on these letters, I’ve really started to think about what I’m leaving behind…I think there are a couple of things I might wanna get rid of before I go…;)

I’ll keep posting new pics and things as I go…(if I can get these kids off of the computer long enough!)

Steph

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