Pearl Harbor Makes the Base in San Diego Look Like a Pigmy


Saturday 26 August 1944

Dearest Eleanor,

          Just received a letter dated the 24th, so mail is not always slow.  You ask several questions and here are the answers.  I've already written about the last night out in Diego.  When I go on liberty here I usually go with the chief engineer "Ambie" Hansen.  He's a lot of fun.  Forget buying anything for me.  I'd rather travel light and if I need anything I'll get it wherever I am.  As far as the temple is concerned, do whatever is the most economical and convenient.  Of course I want Linda to go to Sunday school.  As for visiting Jimmy, I still don't have his address and wrote Libby for it.  I'm trying to locate Alvin K. but this place makes the last base I was at a pigmy in comparison.  I'm well, and if I had you and the kids with me there isn't a thing more I'd want.  So much for that.

          Since I've been aboard I've gained 12 pounds and now I'm going to lose it.  Just got a call so will finish later.

          Here I am back again.  Yes, I'm on a diet as is Ambie.  No bread, butter, cream, sugar, potatoes or dessert.  If either of us catches the other cheating for the next week he loses $10.00.  Guess I'll get along.

          Liberty has been changed.  Instead of being off every other day from 10:30 AM to 10:00 PM, it is now every 3rd day.  Guess it could be worse.  My next liberty is tomorrow, Sunday, which is a poor day to shop.  However next Wednesday I should be able to do lots of spending and will my three girls be surprised.

          Well my Sweet I'm really tired now.  I forgot to mention that I worked out with a medicine ball just before I began this letter.  So--bye honey till tomorrow.  I love you and look forward to the time we'll be together again.

Yours forever,

Gil

Number of Days It Takes for Mail to Get to Pearl Harbor from Santa Monica


Friday 25 August 1944, 4:30 PM

Hello Sweetheart,

          Here I am again.  What did I do the last night in Diego?  Well we met at the Playroom of the Grant and drank until 11:30 and then some Chinese food and back to the ship.  This, being my second letter to you today, makes an average of one a day since we shoved off.  Be patient and you'll probably receive them all.  I received some postmarked August 17 and 18 before others dated a week prior.  You just can't tell about mail nowadays.

          Darling as soon as I know anything that I can tell you I will.  In the meantime be patient.  Had quite a busy day today doing dentistry but nothing more to write about.  I'll send those gifts along as soon as possible.  When you are on a ship, any item that tells where you are can't be mailed until after you've left--so they'll be mailed the day we leave.

          Missing my three girls more and more every day.  I am

Your husband

Gil

Dole Pineapple Cannery


Friday 25 August 1944,  8:45 AM


 

 
Dearest Eleanor,

          Went on liberty again yesterday.  Went over to the dental clinic and met Jackson.  We had lunch at the Officers' Club and are planning to get together one day next week.  Met some of the officers of our ship and went out with them.  We returned to the base and did a little elbow bending at the Submarine Officers' Club.  Then we returned to the ship.  It was about 8:45 PM then, and we hadn't had any dinner so--we went into the galley and I concocted an omelet of catsup, Tabasco, Worcestershire sauce and eggs.  We ate every bit of it so it must have been, at least, edible.

          A few of us recently visited the largest pineapple cannery in the world.  I drank ice cold juice and ate sliced pineapple until it came out of my ears, but I still like the stuff.  The tour through the plant takes one hour and I was impressed by the cleanliness of it all.  Every bit of the pineapple is used, even down to the shell which is used as feed for cattle.

          Well dear, nothing much else to tell.  I took out a couple of juicy impactions and surprised myself.  Even though I haven't done any real surgery in months everything went smooth and even the patients survived.  Right now I'm waiting for an anesthetic to take effect.  The patient says it is really numb so I've got to go back to work.

          Bye dear till tonight.  I love you and miss you.

Your own husband,

Gil

Liberty in Honolulu


Wednesday 23 August 1944, 11:00 PM


My Darling,

          Went on liberty yesterday.  Joined the Officers Club for $1.00 and got a ration of whiskey.  Had lunch there and ran into Barney Silver, Leon's friend.  Bummed around downtown, had a few drinks, did some window shopping and returned to the ship. We really got pie-eyed, played the accordion, sang and raised hell until I literally poured myself into my bunk.  Today I have what is known as a hang-over, but a good one.  However I'm not sorry. I felt like it and I got it out of my system now--yep even the alcohol.

          Worked all morning on some men from another ship and saw three patients this afternoon as well.

censored

Will tell you all about it tomorrow.  Got three more letters yesterday and three today.  You say I sound homesick--well why not with you and the kids so many miles away.  I have some gifts in mind for you and the kids but may not be able to send them until we leave this place--censorship! Wish I could say we are returning soon--so far we are waiting.  As I wrote you before, several weeks may elapse before anything happens and then where we go is still too remote to even hazard a guess although it looks like we'll be heading west.

          Gosh honey, as I sat out on deck and looked at the millions of stars in the sky and felt the cool breeze blowing in from the hills, I went back to past years when we enjoyed beautiful spots together.  Dear, when this is over we'll enjoy many, many such things together.  I wish I could just pour out of these pages the love I have for you in my heart but you know me--all I can say is I love you! Repeat many more times.  Not enough room.

          No darling there is nothing I need that I can't buy here.  There are many large department stores and a large Sears.  Sell the Plymouth for whatever Bob gives you. Within reason, of course.  Heard the war news this evening and things are really popping.  Maybe this will be over even sooner than we dared to hope and I'll come home to stay.  Anyway, there's going to be a hot time in the Steingart domicile when I return.  Wish I could save all your letters but room is something there isn't much of.  You save mine and I'll use it as a refresher when I return and tell you all about things and such.

          Good night my Sweet.  I'll see you in my dreams.

Your loving husband,

Gil


P.S. Had to cut out where I was going on liberty.  You might know where I am as if you didn't.

Gil



No Cat Fever, No Seasickness, No Loving


Monday, 21 August 1944

 

Hello Sweetheart,

          How is my Darling today?  When mail came today I hit the jackpot. Twelve letters, one from Deb, one from Mother and ten from my Sweet.  That with the three I got last night just about makes up for all the days I've missed.

          Listen honey, you don't have to worry about me.  No cat fever, no seasickness, and yes, no loving.  But we'll make up for the last later.  Don't worry so much about money.  Just don't spend it on nonsense.  What you need however buy.  We'll get along.  As for the lot in Brentwood, I'd forget it unless it is dirt cheap, which it probably is not.  Remember such things as taxes, assessments for improvements, etc.  You say Harry has something big on and you want to invest some money.  We probably could spare a couple of thousand dollars but I'd rather put the money into something that we could turn into cash fast if it became necessary.  However, write me more about it and we'll see.

          I'm glad to hear that Linda and Norma want hula skirts for hula skirts they shall have.  I've been looking, but the type of pin you want still is marked by its absence wherever I've looked.  I'll surprise you with something you'll like though.  Wait and see.

          Honey, I would have phoned but as I explained in yesterday's letter it was impossible.  Sweetheart you know how effusive I am (not).  I do love you and miss you.  More than you can imagine even with the companionship of the men aboard.  Companionship which you seem to miss must be gone after.  I'm sure when you get into our house next month you'll find it will be easier to do the things you'd like.  Please honey, don't get discouraged.  People are not interested in the troubles of others.  Until school starts and even afterwards, if you are not too occupied, get back into organization work.  You liked it once, even with the ulterior motive behind it, and you'll enjoy it again. Get out and meet people and they'll remember you.  Stay home with your pride and hurts and you'll stay home all the time.  (This is a lecture--take it to heart).

          Enjoyed those pictures of the kids and yourself but I bet I get a better one of you soon.  I'll send you one of myself as soon as possible.

          To Linda: Daddy enjoyed your note.  You bet you'll take piano lessons when I get back.  I'll sit and listen and enjoy your music.  I miss you too honey, just as I miss Mommy and Norma. And when I come home we are all going to have lots of fun together.  Be a good girl and help mommy with her work and help her take care of your baby sister too.

          Eleanor dear, I wish I could remember about the $10 you mention.  I gave you some money but I had so much on my mind that I paid very little attention to how much you had.  Use your judgment, though I am sure that Rabbi Lifschitz is not in error.

          It's getting late and I must turn in.  Good night darling and pleasant dreams.  I am with you always.

Love,

Gil

Wagon Wheels Restaurant in Waikiki


Sunday 20 August 1944

Hello Sweetheart,

          How are you today?  Gosh I wish we had been together today.  I had liberty and went ashore with three of the officers aboard.  We had lunch at a place called "Wagon Wheels" and enjoyed a very good meal.  I went ashore without expecting to have much fun. But Mr. Cox, one of the officers, knew some people and we visited with them.  They were very gracious to us and we had a very pleasant afternoon.  We killed about a fifth and a half of scotch and a pint of rum and when we said good bye we were feeling pretty good.

          We then returned to the ship and I found four letters for me, three from you my Sweet and one from Libby.  She didn't say much and didn't send Jimmy's address and after missing a letter from you two days straight I read and reread all you said about what you and the kids are doing.

          Gee darling don't set your heart on my returning real soon.  Maybe we will, but the way it looks now it won't be right away. Fact of the matter is we'll probably be here for several weeks and it may be a couple of months--who can tell what will be doing then.

          My Sweet, I do love you and miss you and what wouldn't I give for big goodnight hugs and kisses from our little ones, but I'll have to wait.

          Goodnight darling.  I'll see you in my dreams.

Love,

Gil

Lt. (j.g.) G. Steingart

 

Ship's Personnel Aren't Allowed to Make Phone Calls


Saturday 19 August 1944

Dearest,

          Just another day.  Kept pretty busy this morning taking care of men from one of the ships here that doesn't have a dentist.  Nothing much doing outside of that.  We're just waiting to see what happens next.

          I suppose you've wondered why no phone call.  Well if one is based on the station here phone calls are permitted, but ship's personnel may not make any phone calls so that is that.

          Tomorrow is Sunday and I'm going on liberty at 10:30 AM.  That is the thing about sea duty.  When one is at sea he is on duty 24 hours a day 7 days a week.  But when we hit a port, conditions being favorable, liberty is in a sufficient amount to satisfy most of us.  You see, I have every other day from 10:30 AM to do as I like and nothing to do and no one to do it with.  Gosh I wish you were here.  I'm going sightseeing tomorrow.  I should be able to see plenty in a whole day and then when this war is over we'll come here together and I'll really be able to show you around.

          How are my girls?  I've been wondering what I could send them.  Maybe as I look around I'll get some inspiration.  And what would you like (besides me)?  I'm going to wait until I hear from you before I buy anything foolish.  Really, I'd rather buy something you particularly want instead of some useless souvenir.

          Sweetheart, don't worry about me.  I'm well and safe.  This separation certainly isn't going to allow us to drift apart.  No as long as we have those ten happy years behind us, two darling little girls to love and care for and a whole life to live after this war is over.  Just start making plans now and write me all about them and then will we enjoy life!

          Well darling, time for me to turn in.  A big hug and kiss for you and another one for each of our little ones.  Good night and pleasant dreams.

Loving you always,

Gil

Only One Hotel Open in Honolulu


Friday 18 August, 1944, 10:30 PM

Dearest Eleanor,

          Hello my Darling.  I went on liberty today and don't care if I don't go again for some time.  Really the mess one has to wade through to get onto a bus or cab, into a bar for a drink, or into a cafe for a bite is simply awful.  The redeeming feature is to sit in the open patio of the only hotel open now and enjoy the cool ocean breeze and watch natives ride the breakers.  As I sat there I couldn't help but think back to our month at Catalina not so long ago when the whole gang sat out in from of the St. Katherine's without a care in the world.

          Well dear, before I headed into town, I went down to the dental clinic hoping to see Dr. Jackson.  He had just reported in this morning and was away from the clinic getting himself squared away.  I left him a note and will try to see him later.  Just as I was leaving, Jerry Shapiro, a pharmacist mate who was stationed at Diego when I reported in there, greeted me. So we talked for awhile and off I went.

          I received a letter from Ruth and my sweetheart (guess who she could be) yesterday but nothing today.  I better receive a big batch one of these days or else.  Forget the temple membership.  After this is over we're going to do more things as we like and to hell with trying to please everybody else.  I enjoyed those snaps you sent me but where is the one of yourself?  Buy a roll of film and have someone shoot some and send it to me pronto.

          You asked me several questions which should be answered by now.  I'll bet the mail man staggered to the house just loaded down.  As for things I need, there isn't anything I want (that money can buy), that I can't get here.  Just send me your love and I'll send you mine and we'll both save it all up till we are together again and then??

          From the way things look now we may stay here for 2-3 weeks or more and then on to more new places.  Right now it doesn't look like will be returning to the states for awhile but that is today.  Tomorrow everything may be changed again (I hope).

          Good night Sweetheart till we meet tomorrow because I do feel I'm with you when I sit down and write.

Love,

Gil


         

Officers Contemplating Changes to the USS Ocelot


Thursday, 17 August 1944

Hello Sweetheart,

          How is my darling today?  I did not get any mail on Tuesday when the first batch was brought aboard.  I had liberty yesterday from noon until 10:00 PM but did not go until after dinner because of some unexpected chores that came up.  I'm glad I didn't leave because I finally got a letter. The underlining of the "a" means just one from you.  In addition I got the Pendleton newspaper with Dick's picture in it and the dental bulletin.  I guess you didn't think I'd get to my destination so fast and wrote a lot of letters via regular mail.  If so I'll probably get a whole batch all at once.

          I wish I could tell you where we are going next.  In fact I wish I knew or as a matter of fact I wish the navy knew.  Now everything is up in the air and we all have our fingers crossed.  We had several officers with "scrambled eggs" looking us over contemplating some changes but who can tell.

          Went on liberty last night and because we started so late we didn't get much chance to see the city. Maybe we'll have better luck on Friday.  We saw the hotel I've named our "beer drinking club" and the beach.  It was beautiful.  Mr. Hansen was with me and we enjoyed just looking around.  We stopped in for a drink, a thick chocolate shake, and a couple of civilians insisted on paying the check.  After six o'clock hard liquor and beer are rarities here.  They tell me that before six you stand in line for it.  Not me.

          Well dear I'm glad all is smooth at home and that the kiddies are well.

          If you haven't done so yet get Al Klein's address and send it to me "post haste."  We may be here for some time and I'd like to look him up.

          I hate writing letters and except for our daily visit I'm going to do very little except in response to any I receive. Tell Linda I enjoyed her note to me and that she and Norma and I are going to really have a whopper of a time when I get back.  As for you, dear, keep everything on ice and we'll really have unfinished business galore to take care of when I do get back.

Bye my Sweet
Yours as ever

Gil

P.S. Just as I was addressing the envelope I got two letters, one from Ruth and one from you, my Sweet.

Gil
 
 
Special WWII Hawaii Currency


 

 

Pearl Harbor, Hawaii


Tuesday August 15, 5:00 PM

Dearest Eleanor,

          I was hoping to go on liberty tonight and see the sights.  It's five o'clock but no word about any liberty tonight.  They tell me the bars here close at 6:00 PM and there is a 10:00 PM curfew.  It may be scuttlebutt, but I'll know by tomorrow.

          This place really reminds me of Catalina.  After my first liberty I'll be able to tell you more about it.  The color of the sea certainly is interesting here.  It goes from a deep blue to green to light green to a white which in the distance looks like beach sand.

          The day is warm but there is a cool breeze that has been blowing constantly.

          Yesterday I had to rewrite several letters because of some insignificant items and I hardly know what to say that would be of interest and would pass the censor.  However they can't stop me from loving you and missing you or even writing about it.

          Some mail was brought aboard but so far none has been distributed.  Guess they are sorting it.

          Well Sweets guess I'll sign off with love to you, Linda, Norma, and the rest of the gang.

Gil

No Movies


 
 Tuesday 14 August 1944, At Sea

Dearest,

          As I sit down to write I find that all I can say is a repetition of what I have said in my earlier letters.  Work, eat, and sleep, with a little recreation in the way checkers, gin, rummy, acey ducey, and walking around the deck is a good summary of my daily routine.

          I was a little busier in my office today and saw eight patients.  I also spent about an hour finishing up the cataloguing the books in the ship's library.

          Finished a murder mystery last night and am beginning another today.  Movies are not shown at sea as a matter of security.  In case of an emergency it is felt that all the men aboard should not be congregated in one portion of the ship--so no movies.

          It is now almost time for supper so I'm going to shower and change shirts as I've done lots of sweating today.

          I'll see you in my dreams.

Love,

Gil

 

         

Zigzag Course


UNITED STATES NAVY
 
Sunday 13 August,1944, At Sea

Dearest,

          Sunday is just another day at sea which means the same routine as always.  Eat and work and eat and sleep.  Plenty to eat, very little work and lots of time to sleep.

          Ate the usual breakfast, had steak for lunch and cold cuts for dinner.  Except for a few patients this was an exceptionally quiet day.  We happen to be ahead of schedule so that instead of a straight course we have been zigzagging all day stalling for time.

          Not much more to say my Sweet except I love you and miss you and my two girls a lot.  Goodnight.

Gil

Concert by Ship's Band





UNITED STATES NAVY
        

Saturday, August 12, 1944, At Sea

Dear Eleanor,
 
         Just another day at sea.  Up as usual at seven, showered, dressed and had breakfast.  Worked for a couple of hours, visited on the bridge and looked at ships looming up of the horizon guessing their identity, or trying to, before they got close enough to really tell.  We've had company all day, another ship on the same course and evidently due at the same place and time as we are.
         After dinner of spaghetti and meat balls with salad, iced tea, and chocolate cream pie, we had a concert by the ship's band.  They really sounded pretty good although they don't have much time to practice.
          Upon conclusion of the concert I returned to my office for more work.  When he was in civilian life, one of my patients was a patient of Dr. Frankel.  Small world isn't it? After that Dr. Bushyager, the medical officer, Mr. Hansen, the chief engineer, and I retired to the "chief's" quarters and with the accordion indulged in another hour or so of music (?).  Then a fried chicken supper and another visit on the bridge.  It has been plenty warm today and it is a little cooler up there than in most parts of the ship.
          Well for a guy who had nothing much to say I did all right.  I'm sure looking forward to our next port and to the letters from you my Sweet and I'll bet I get several from Linda too.  By till tomorrow.
Love,
Gil




         

Played Accordion


Friday 11 August 1944, At Sea

Dearest,

          Another quiet day.  Had a light breakfast and then stalled around until 10:30 for the weekly inspection.  Saw a couple of patients then and three more after dinner.  We eat dinner at noon and supper at 6 P.M.  Dinner was a Salisbury steak with all the trimmings.  For supper we had asparagus soup and breaded pork chops with all the trimmings.

          The sea has been like glass and sailing along as we are, one completely loses all track of time and even the war seems very remote.

          Last night a few of us get together and borrowed an accordion from one of the men aboard.  I had a lot of fun playing it.  It's quite a simple instrument to play if you know piano.

          Well, my Sweet, we should be at our destination before many days more.  We've been moving along rather slowly because we're ahead of schedule.

          The last two days we ran into several squalls.  It rains for a few minutes and then we're out again and the sun is shining.   The nights are really black and going from the ward room to my room is like playing "blind man's bluff."  I extend my hands and grope along until I find the door knob.

          So dear it's really hard to find what to write when one writes every day but I do love you and really miss you and the kids.

Goodnight dear 'til tomorrow,

Love

Gil

Library a Mess


Thursday 10 August 1944, At Sea

Dearest,

          This has been a busy day.  I had five extractions plus several treatment cases and a couple of fillings.  As one of my duties I have charge of the library and it is a mess.  We have several hundred books without any catalogue of them and they are just thrown willy-nilly onto the shelves.  So I had a couple of men detailed to alphabetize and list the books and after they got through I had to go back and do it over again myself.  The dummies alphabetized the books on each shelf and so we had duplicate copies of books on several shelves.  However it'll be squared away by tomorrow and then it will function smoothly.

          Other than that there isn't much to tell.  We are ahead of schedule and so we're barely moving along.  I still am eating three meals a day but no bread, butter, cream, sugar, or potatoes.  Still I am consuming too much.  Guess I'll just have to skip a meal now and then.

          Well it's time to turn in.  I really sleep soundly and if the mess attendant didn't call me every morning I'd probably sleep right on through.

          Darling, when I get back we really are going to make up for lost time.  Until then, take it easy.  Give my girls a big hug and kiss from Daddy.  Goodnight!

Your Sweetheart,

Gil

Lt (j.g.) G. Steingart

Inspected the Hospital Portion of the Ship


UNITED STATES NAVY
 
Wednesday 9 August 1944, At Sea

Dearest,

          Another quiet day.  The weather is balmy and the sea is smooth.  I'm thankful for the clouds in the sky else it would be plenty warm.

          Not much activity for me.  I worked for a couple of hours this morning.  After a light breakfast and after making a routine inspection of the hospital portion of the ship, I found I had the rest of the day to myself.  So I walked down passageway, up a ladder and down to another passageway several times around the ship just for the exercise.  I visited with the watch officers on the bridge for awhile and then retired to my bunk and read a magazine short story.

          Are you keeping busy?  Do my girls ask about their Daddy? Tell them I miss you all so much and that we'll spend all the time I have together when I get back.

          So sweetheart, I'll sign off till tomorrow.

As ever

Your loving husband,

Gil

Lt (j.g.) G. Steingart

 

Corpsman Painting My Office


Tuesday 8 August 1944, At Sea

Dearest Eleanor,

          What a beautiful day.  I wish you could enjoy it with me.  It is warm and sunny and the Pacific with its gorgeous blue is as smooth as a great big pond.

          Not much doing in the way of activity.  They finally finished messing up my office and now my corpsman is painting it.  I hope to be back to work tomorrow.  Bought some shirts and trousers and a slipover sweater for nights when it's cool out.

          I'm going to miss a few meals.  I'll bet I've already gained 5 pounds and I'll be darned if I'll keep them.  Been trying to get someone to work out with the medicine ball but no takers.

          Well, my Sweet, when this is over, you and I will have to take a cruise together.  Just think, you and I away on a holiday and it won't be long you'll see.

Bye Sweets,

Gil