Letter from LeGrand to Wife and Son, November 3, 1945
[Written en route to Japan aboard the USS Admiral R. N. Coontz, to his wife and son, Walter, in Logan, Utah.]
3 Nov 1945
Dearest Wife & Son,
This is another day that this dad of yours has been on this ship. Nearly two weeks now. And is the time ever beginning to drag out slow.
They had a little bit of excitement out here yesterday P.M. about supper time and again this day a little bit afternoon or dinner. The radio or radar business spotted a mine at each time. Now that the war is over they stop the ship and fire the guns till they either set the mine off or puncture it so it sinks. The one this noon only took a few shots to set it off like a fire cracker. But the one last evening was persistent and had to be shot full of holes. They take time out to sink all the mines they run up against now that the war is over because some ship might run into it at a later day.
Well we should be pretty near land by now. About 1500 miles. Or abt. from Minneapolis to Seattle. Only the ships don't cover as much or many miles per day as a train or bus covers. 450 is about an average of what we have been running from noon one day till noon the next day. This is a terrible life to be mixed up with. Believe me the darn business they have that they call beds won't even be still of a night or day. Just a constant sway from one side to the other, then up and down from head to foot, then a vibration of the fly wheels make a continuous up & down effect that makes it rough. And when all the motions are mixed up at once a fellow has a rough life.
You know there is a lot of fellows in this old world who believe in a double standard of morality. They go around talking of how quick they would leave their wife if they knew of her stepping around with other fellows, but they have big long stories of the parties they have been on in different parts of the world. Lot of fellows have even talked up among themselves that they are about to go wild for what they might find when they hit the 1/2 mark of the journey. Then the prophets in the olden days spoke, "Oh, thou wicked and perverse generation," "Generation of whores, vipers, etc." ... What would they speak to the people of the U.S.A.?
Now I have been down to chow. Ate some spaghetti mixture they had also some fruit cocktails. Mixture of fresh peaches, pears, grapes and the beauty of the whole thing I had access to all that I could eat or all I wanted.
So far this deal of cook has been OK for the simple reason I have been able to have fruit nearly all the time.
After supper they had a movie & I was able to get in. They had some mystery picture & they showed the first reel and broke the machine down. I sat for 30 minutes for them to fix it & got tired. Now about 45 minutes I hear the noisy thing running. Well I'll just forget about the movie now. Every time I get in the smoke filled joint I get a headache & the machine breaks. So I'll let the old boys who like to sit in their own filth enjoy the picture and use the time writing to my little wife and boy I have been figuring things out a little bit these last few days.
And if my figures come out right you will receive these writings about the time that you are in the hospital this time. That is in case everything goes on about the same as scheduled or the way the Dr. figures.
Walter will be over to Rozella's playing with Suzie and the kids. Rozella sure will have her hands full won't she.
The Red Cross put a bunch of boxes on the ship at Seattle when we was there. Now they passed us out a sack apiece. The sack was sewed in the order of a waist apron. [Includes a drawing of the item.] There is a sack about 18 inches square and the bib about the same size tucks inside and can be carried on the same order as the bag you made for me.
This bag is made out of the same ugly green color as those work clothes they issue us in the Army. In the bag they had a few tokens of remembrance. This note book. Envelopes. Pencil. Checker game. Candy. Reading book. Box of smoking tobacco. Shoe laces. Shoe shine cloth. Razor blades. and a sewing kit. All for nothing. Just a token of remembrance.
This is the longest letter that you have ever received from me. Here it is going on seven pages. Say, speaking of long letters. Who was it that we wrote that good long letter to from Montana? It seems that it was your folks then it seems that it was written & sent to Dad. I just can't remember for sure. Well maybe I'd do well to sign off for this evening. According to my watch I have only been writing 10 min. since supper. But every day the ship's time is turned back 1/2 hour at 6:00 P.M. so we have 5:30 P.M. and 6:00 P.M. twice every day. One day we turned our watch back 1 hour and one day last week we crossed the International Date Line—and lost one full day. It is hard to figure out but the Army does all my figuring for me now days. So they are racking their brain over that.
One thing my Dear, remember I love you Erline and Walter. Keep smiling. And one day before long—By a year from now Johnnie Dough boy will come marching home to stay.
Postmark not evident on envelope
Pvt. W.L. Whipple 39943825
Co. C. 1 Inf. APO 21355
% P.M. San Francisco, Calif.
Mrs. Erline A. Whipple
265 North 3rd East