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Letter number 33

 So, I’m approaching the end of my grandfather’s letters to his penpal Edith. As far as we (my  family and I) know he never met Edith face to face. It’s kind of sad that they wrote to each other for about 3 years at least once a month if not more and never took those horseback rides in the moonlight that they joked about. Seems like Edith’s letters and whatever other letters he received while stationed in the South Pacific were a great distraction to him and kept him connected to what was going on in “the states”. This is letter number 33 to Edith, grandpa is still stationed in the Philippines. Mentions not seeing any Japanese planes for a couple of weeks.

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29 Jan. 1945

My dear Edith,

Received your most welcome letter several days ago but was so busy that I couldn’t find time to write.

Since coming here, we’ve been moving around so fast and so many times that it’s not even funny anymore.

The last camp site where we were at was really a honey. There was a wide stream almost knee deep and we were camped along its banks in a bamboo grove. We were there several days and it was just like a picnic – we didn’t do much but go digging for those little baby clams in the river bed or go look for a deeper spot to go swimming in. It was so serene and peaceful out there that you wouldn’t think that there was a war going on – it was that quiet. And at night it was nice and quiet too – so that we were able to get a good nights rest and have some good, pleasant dreams of you back there in the states.

That was the life – you’d have liked it if you were out there. In back of us there was a sugar cane crushing mill – one of those mills turned by a couple of caraboos or water buffalo going around in a circle.

But we’ve moved up and sho’ got a lot of work to do. Until a couple of days ago we were right between our artillery and the yabas – and we did hear the shells whistling over our heads from both sides. Our lines have pushed forward again so we don’t have ‘em whistling over, but they’re still pretty close to us and each time the guns go
off it makes me jump – no matter how many times I hear it. But one thing the guns don’t wake me up once I fall asleep. In fact practically nothing awakens me.

It’s the dry season up here, and it’s sho’ dusty – but which is better mud or dust? Up around this stretch they have some very good roads and it makes traveling easier – however the majority of roads are just broken down paths. It’s only sprinkled a few times here for just short intervals and that’s all.

I guess you folks know more about the war situation than we do. We haven’t had any news for a long time – we only know what happens right around us.

One thing, we haven’t seen a Jap plane in the skies for two and a half weeks – so it’s not too bad for we ‘uns on the ground.

Where we’re at now the terrain is much different from before – no more jungles, and is that a relief. So you think that you’d get lost wandering around? I’d take you up on that offer to guide you thru the jungle, but I’m afraid I’d get lost too! And if I could don’t you think I’d just stray into the jungle and not bring you out until you paid
up your ransom? Who knows? Woo! Dangerous guy ain’t I?

It’s nice out here – warm during the day and night – but it gets freezingly cold between 5 and 7 in the morning and that’s all. Being out here it doesn’t seem possible that it could be very cold anywhere else. Need a comforter?

Why don’t you let the cricket be after all they say that it’s good luck to have one on the hearth. What’s a little chirping? That out to make the place more lively!

Haven’t much time to read any books – Well, I’ll be closing for now so until next time be good and take care of yourself. Thanks a lot for the long letter – enjoyed it very much – and I hope you keep it up. Write soon.

Always,

Hit

P.S.
Enclosed you’ll find a set of Jap. post cards I picked up out here. Nothing much but something.

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Found this postcard in grandpas scrapbook. Maybe this is similar to the postcards he sent to Edith. Unfortunately she did not leave the postcards in the envelope with the letter.

Till next time,

Stephany

p.s Grandpa mentions “yabas” in his letter. I’m having a little trouble finding out what “yabas” means, but I’m thinking it’s the “japs”. Let me know if any of you can figure out what “yabas” means. Thanks! 😉

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oh so lonely…

Letter number 31 from my grandfather to Edith his “penpal” really gives an idea of how lonely it gets being a soldier away from family and friends as well as the opposite sex. Poor Edith, what she must be thinking getting this letter from my grandpa. He’s been away for almost 3 years now and must be getting really tired of being away.

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27 Dec. 1944

Somewhere in the
Philippines

My dear Edith,

Just wrote to you a couple of days ago, but since I received your air mail of Dec. 7 last night I thought I’d better write you again, as you seem to be getting angry or anxious because you haven’t been getting my letters. My don’t tell me my letters mean that much to you!

It’s nice to get an air mail from you for a change – I think it’s more personal than a v-mail—don’t you think. Enclosed is a cartoon which should interest you no end!

Cartoon enclosed in letter # 31 to Edith (click on photo to enlarge)

Catch? Besides, my dear Edith, when you do send me an airmail the sweet aroma emanating from the pages really gets me down, and it makes me want to be back there with you and enjoy the sweet scent in person instead of by this long distance method. However, all this just keeps in my mind that someday I may be able to cuddle up and snuggle up to someone like you. Perhaps, you don’t approve my saying things like this. But, gosh, thinking of pitching woo and making whoopy and doing all the things I’m always thinking at least keeps my morale from flagging. Anyhow, if you know how to take care of yourself what harm is there in it?

No, I haven’t been reading any book’s, I’ve been kept too busy. About the only things I read now are the news bulletins and summaries if and when we do get them and
which is not very often.

They’ve got movies down the road once in awhile but never go to ‘em ‘cause I’m not in the mood. Besides the movies they do send out here aren’t very good. Besides I’d
rather have some nice person for companionship if I do go – like you! Would you care to join me?

Now that there’s no more riding for you – I’ll bet you really miss it. As for myself I haven’t gone for so long that it just doesn’t matter anymore. Remember, we have
a date to go on a moonlight ride when and if I can get out your way! Right?

It must get pretty cold out your way –  gosh, I’d certainly like to be out there to keep you warm! Or don’t you want me to. Bet, when you go to sleep these days you’re bundled up in a whole mess of blankets? You won’t need ‘em with me around, I’ll betcha. Gosh, braggin again.

Amazed at the things I write? Maybe I’ve just been over here too long.

Haven’t heard from Ted for so long that I don’t know what’s what. In fact I don’t even know what his address is. Have you written to him since he returned to states?

Say, I haven’t received those pictures you said you sent me yet. The mail between Oct and Nov seem to be stuck someplace. It’s not only with myself but it’s true of
everyone here in camp I suppose it’ll catch up with me. I hope so.

Did you have a nice Xmas? We had a nice dinner, and I tried to make up for the Thanksgiving dinner I missed, but I just couldn’t do it. We just took it easy
on that day.

Be good and take care of yourself – and as they say, if you can’t be good, be careful.

Always,

Hit

P.S. Don’t I make you scared to see me? That I might try and make a good girl like you not good? Don’t worry it’s all talk – it’s just this staying away from things for so long that makes me feel as I do. Write soon and often.

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Till next time,

Stephany

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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 thought this was an interesting letter to Edith. Grandpa talks about his “off” time in the South Pacific, fishing and “near-death” encounters with sting rays and sharks.

May 2, 1944

Dear Edith,

It must be grand back there with spring there and too , love must be in the air for you! But out here it’s hard for one to think that spring can be anywhere else because it is perennially hot out here. Just got back from a trip and we had a marvelous time. The boys fished and caught a 7 ½ foot shark, a barracuda, tarpon and red snapper. On the
outward trip I got seasick, but felt better on the homeward voyage. I scared a sting ray from it’s sleep while I was wading in lukewarm, knee deep water and going to the row boat. It was about 3 or 4 feet wide and only about four feet from me. It startled me and after it was past I thought of where I’d be if I’d walked 4 feet to my left instead of where I did travel. A few moments later a shark came toward the lieutenant but everyone hollered and he jumped into the rowboat and the shark seeing that his meal had eluded him took off the other way. That is about all the highlights. I haven’t gone riding for ages now. I doubt if I’ll even be able to hang on. Perhaps you can teach me all over again? Perhaps, I’ll get sore down there too. Got a lot of liniment? Ever go riding in the moonlight? I never have but it must be swell. You just need a good massage to take the stiffness out. If you still get stiff from riding I’ll be glad to give you an expert massage. Have you heard from Ted lately? It’s been months since I’ve last had word from him. Be good and take care of yourself.

Always,

Hit

I had to “google” tarpons because I’ve never seen one….here’s a picture…BIG FISH! (and they were in a row boat, fishing)

Tarpon (aka Big fish to me! ) 😉

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Letter 15 to Edith. Grandpa mentions a few books in his letters as well. I'm going to start another page with the book titles that he's read.

 

He also sent one of these to his mom while she was in Arkansas. I'm not sure if he drew the pictures or not but his scrap books have a lot of little pictures so maybe he did.

 

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