Perspiring Profusely

Lt. (j.g.) Gilbert Steingart
U.S.S. Ocelot, F.P.O. San Francisco
Monday 8 January 1945, 7:10 PM

Dearest Eleanor,       

        Well it was fair and "warmer" today.  For my money, it can rain all the time.  I've been perspiring profusely all day whether I was working or just sitting or writing as I am at this moment.   My day began as usual with my dental appointments.  At eleven I was through and I retired to my room to do a little reading.  I finished Bromfield's "Until the Day Break" and will choose another book tonight.

       After lunch I discussed ways and means for future welfare activities with the skipper.  Then I went to work on the other necklace.  They are both finished now and wrapped, ready for mailing.  I'm going to try to send them airmail if I can.  When you send additional chains try and get the real fine ones.  I do think they look better that way.  That repair job I did on the faulty chain isn't too good so I'd suggest that you have a jeweler put a good link in the clasp otherwise the kids will lose it.  I'd suggest the heavier chain for Norma.

        Last night's movie was lousy.  Tonight we have Abbott and Costello in "Lost in a Harem." That should be good for a couple of laughs.

        Darling do you remember when I would insist on your going to movies you didn't care to see?  Well after this I'll be satisfied to stay home with you and play house with no arguments.

        No mail again today so there is little more I can add.

        Good night sweetheart, I'll see you in my dreams.



Religious Services Called Off

Lt. (j.g.) Gilbert Steingart
U.S.S. Ocelot, F.P.O. San Francisco
Sunday January 7, 1945, 7:15 PM

Dearest Eleanor,

          Well here I am again.  Though today is Sunday I began with work as usual.  It began to rain about 6:00 AM. By 11:00 AM storm warnings were up and we took all our boats out of the water because of a rough sea.  Religious services were called off because of the hazard connected with small boats.  When it was too late to do anything about it, the sea quieted down and the rain stopped.  So I had a free afternoon.

          After lunch I censored some mail and began a book by Louis Bromfield.  I'm not sure of the title but I think it's "There is Always Tomorrow."  Anyway it is interesting and I'll probably finish it when I turn in tonight.

          When I got tired reading I went down to my office and finished one of the necklaces I'm making and it's a beauty!  Be sure that the chain you send me for yourself is plenty long.  Also if you can pick up a few chains suitable for bracelets send them on as well.  Really these shell necklaces and bracelets are quite expensive to buy.  I've been lucky to be able to find the shells that I have.

          I'm all caught up with my correspondence except a thank you to Ethyl which I will write immediately after this letter.  No mail today but I hardly expect any for a few days now.

          The movie tonight sounds lousy but there is nothing else to do, so I guess I'll go.  It is "Meet Miss Bobby Socks" with Bob Crosby and Bob Benchley.  I do hope it isn't too bad.

          Sweetheart, do you remember how on rainy days on Washington Street we'd build a fire and read and visit in front of it?  After the war in our new home I'm sure we all would enjoy an open fire on a cold night. OK?

          So long for now darling.  I love you more all the time (if that is possible).



New Year's Dinner Menu Enclosed

Lt. (j.g.) Gilbert Steingart
U.S.S. Ocelot, F.P.O. San Francisco
Saturday 6 January 1945, 9:40 PM

Dearest Eleanor,

          Got another stack of mail today.  Six from you, one from my mother thanking me for her Xmas gift and one from Libby thanking me for their gifts.  Also I got that comic book and the box of plastic for molding,  Now I'll see what I can do.  Your mail was marked the 23rd, 26th, 27th, and 28th.  Guess I'm just about caught up on all your back letters.

          Guess you're curious about Helen Dingey and D.G.  If you remember, about four years ago I had a patient who was pregnant when her husband died.  Well every year she has remembered me at Xmas.  I guess this is the first time I've missed.  Will have to drop her a note.

          About film, don't send any if you haven't already.  The way parcel post takes its time getting out,  who knows when it'd reach me.  Beside I have an idea we'll be on the move again soon.

          I'm glad you saw "Casanova Brown."  Now you know why I wanted you to see it.

          I did enjoy the pictures of the kids and I'll add them to my pin ups.  Got the chains also and got the bum one fixed up.  Should have both necklaces ready in a few days and I'll send them on.  How about another chain so I can make one for you also.  I've got enough matched shells after my last trip ashore.  And , by the way, these necklaces sold from $12 to $20 in Pearl Harbor and here at the officers' club they sell for as high as $30 so don't let the kids wear them when they're out playing.

          Yes dear I do enjoy the clippings and so do several of my shipmates.  Keep them coming.  How about the date on the pages from U.S. News so we can tell better about the news forecasts.

          Our glee club is dead for the time being.  Too many other things interfere with rehearsals.  However as soon as our routine permits we'll resume for our own amusement.

          Don't worry about when you get a hold of me.  Wait until I get a hold of you.  I hope you can take it! And don't worry about you or me changing.  We'll always be as before, a boy and a girl in love even with gray hair and what have you.

          About Sol, I thought you said he was a storekeeper.  Storekeepers are rated first, second and third class petty officers.  There is no such thing as a seamen third class.  As a Navy wife you ought to brush up on the grades of enlisted men and ranks of officers.

          "Since You Went Away" upset a lot of us too.  As I said before, even though it was a good movie it is not a moral builder and shouldn't be shown overseas.

          So you never saw a girl with a red tochas, well neither have I but what could I do without a full selection of colors.  I'm sending you a menu of our New Year's Dinner.  Add it to our collection.

          That last poem "This is My Beloved" by Benton was quite torrid and I liked it.  Send more please.

          Well you finally found out what you wanted to know.  My darling wife will always find out what she wants to know, won't she?

          The Officers' Wives' Club sounds alright but you know the Santa Monica "Elite" and remember the Women's Club.  However use your judgment and it might not hurt to phone Mrs. Gail anyway.

          So much for your letters of today.  Now aboard the Ocelot everything is serene.  We were to have another personnel and ship's inspection but it poured all morning and it was called off.  In the meantime I had called off all appointments in anticipation of the inspection so I had nothing to do all morning but read mail.

          This afternoon everybody, but me, went fishing--no fish.  Guess I'll have to show them how it's done.

           Tonight's movie was "Hey Rookie" with Anne Miller and the original soldier cast.  In addition there were a few skits stolen from "Meet the People."  All in all it didn't come up to the stage show.  Do you remember, dear when we saw it? It was at either the Belasco or Morgan and the war seemed so far away.  Bet if you were sitting next to me tonight, I'd have enjoyed the show a lot more.

          I have some more letters to write so I'll sign off now Sweet.  Goodnight.


New Year's Menu
One of the Pictures of the Kids

Box of Dried Fruit Crawling With Worms

Lt. (j.g.) Gilbert Steingart
U.S.S. Ocelot, FPO San Francisco
Friday 5 January 1945, 7:10 PM

Dearest Eleanor,

          Well it finally came, nineteen letters postmarked from the 17th to the 26th.  All from you, dear, except one each from your mother and mine and a card and letter from Libby.  Also, I received the B'nai B'rith Bulletin (straighten Pressler out on my address) and a box of dried fruit from Ethyl which was crawling with worms. I had to throw it out. Yesterday, I also received taffies from my mother.  They also were also in bad shape.  Any food that is sent must be able to withstand heat up to 140 degrees or it won't keep.  I don't know whether to tell Ethyl or not.  If I don't and just thank her, she might just go ahead and send me more.  I'll leave it up to you to tell her or not.

          We had "Dancing in Manhattan" recently, and we saw "An American Romance" in Pearl Harbor.  Props 1 and 2 only get my partial approval.

          Your pre Xmas days seem quite busy and the tone of your letters lead me to believe that you are feeling better, I do hope so!  My goodness, Xmas shopping, working at the Marbros, fretting kiddies at night, mice running around.  My! I wish I was there to help.

          Linda's dancing and scholastic progress doesn't surprise me.  After all look who her parents are (snicker).  Norma will pull a few surprises on you too, just wait and see.

          I'm going to the movie now and will finish writing after the show.  Until then


9:30 PM
          Hello darling, here I am back again.  The movie tonight was "The Man on Half Moon Street" with Nils Aster and Helen Walker.  A fantastic story but interesting.

          And now back to your letters.  I got the Shrader card and will acknowledge it tonight.  Of course Dave has been in the states a long time but remember Dear, wherever I am I'm safe.  When Marines shove off you can't say that for them.  They are strictly combatant.

          From the way you rave about the dolls they must be something.  I chose them from a catalogue. In fact I almost bought some furry animals.  Now I'm surely glad I didn't.

          No dear I don't recopy your "do you remember."  It's just a case of two minds with a single thought.  By the way figure two months for packages to reach me so don't be too impatient if either yours or mine seem overdue.  They'll all get there in due time.

          Yes dear, my corpsman is the same one that was aboard in Diego.  Cox is an ensign but should make j.g. next month.  Ambie is the engineer.  Right again Watson.  His appendix is gone and he is around and back on the job.

          I'm looking forward to my birthday gifts.  Are my Xmas and birthday gifts together or separate?  Anything to play with will be a swell change.

          I believe I've mentioned it before, but, if I haven't, I've shaved my beard but still have my mustache.  I know there is a ban on recordings, but nevertheless they seem to get through.  I'll be looking for them.

          Since when did you get an inferiority complex?  What ails you is pride and the hurt of the thoughtlessness of supposed friends.  Just wait until I get back.  We'll see.

          I'm really concerned about your mother.  Why doesn't she get competent medical advice and treatment or is she still worrying about who gets her money.  How about calling on her darling nephew for advice?  I do hope your next letters bring more encouraging news.

          Your description of the living room on Xmas eve with all the gifts and pictures are very vivid.  I can see it just as if I were there.  I do hope that you will never again be called on to describe Xmas eve to me.

          So Dave is still the expert photographer he always has been.  Let's hope something comes out with hands and feet and head all in one picture.

          Xmas day seemed to keep you busy and I'm glad the day passed quickly.  Wish all days would pass quickly for both you and me until we are once again together.

          That poem you sent about War Wives made a big hit and several officers want copies to send home just as you surmised.

          Well Honey, nothing more that's new.  That rumor still is the same and so I'm hoping for the best.

          Darling do you remember how we always planned everything months in advance?  Well we can continue doing that.  We're not going to let the war just change everything are we?

          Good night Sweet and pleasant dreams.  I know that after rereading your sweet letters I'll sleep and dream of you tonight




M&Ms AKA "Vitamin Pills"

Lt. (j.g.) Gilbert Steingart
U.S.S. Ocelot, F.P.O. San Francisco
Thursday 4 January 1945, 9:55 PM

Dearest Eleanor,

          Hooray!  I finally got some mail, one letter from you postmarked the 24th of December.  In addition I got a B'nai B'rith Bulletin and taffies from my mother.  Please darling, no more candy if you can help it.  The taffies are soft and gooey.  On the other hand the "vitamin pills" that you sent and the glazed fruit and nuts that Deb and Dave sent were swell.

          If I don't make complete sense, please excuse.  I went ashore today and drank umpty cans of beer and now I feel the least bit high.

          Today began as usual with my dental appointments.  I hadn't planned on going ashore but during luncheon a party was formed and I joined in.  We got back in time for dinner and after eating and chewing the fat I went to the movie.  The picture was "Music In Manhattan" with Anne Shirley and was good entertainment.

          Now to your letter.  I'm glad you got the corsage.  Better late than never.  What did you finally get for working at the Marbro?  I'd have told them off right then and there.  After all they would have paid anyone else so why not you?

          I'm not surprised about Dave.  As you know I predicted more or less what happened.  By the way, what happened with Dick?  Maybe I'll get the dope when I get the 20th through 24th mail.

          I can just see the Xmas tree in the window with the lights, gifts and my three sweethearts in front of it.  Gee, I wish I could have been there.  Well, next year for sure.

          Nothing more for now.  Hope I get more mail so I'll have more to write about tomorrow.  Good night my Sweet, I love you

Your husband,


Going Ashore

Accepted Navy Pastime Is "Bitching":

Lt. (j.g.) Gilbert Steingart
U.S.S. Ocelot, F.P.O. San Francisco
Wednesday, 3 January 1945, 7:05 PM

Dearest Eleanor,

          Still no mail.  It's a good thing no one else is getting any or I'd be plenty worried.  As it is, we all indulge in the accepted Navy pastime "bitching" about the mail.

          Worked this morning until 11:15 AM. Then I meandered around the ship attending to various items of no particular interest.  Had lunch and worked for an hour outlining a simplified statement for the wardroom mess.  Than I had it mimeographed, so that's out of the way now.

          In mid-afternoon I returned to my room and censored mail for about 45 minutes.  Then I undressed, showered and relaxed in my rack and read from "Get Thee Behind Me."  Before I knew it was 5:45 PM so I dressed for dinner.

          After eating we stood up on the bridge and enjoyed a brisk, cool breeze blowing in from the east.  We talked about everything and really said nothing.  There is nothing new that I can tell you but we are all hoping for some big news that should break in about three days.  However you'll probably read about it just as soon as we hear out here.

          Well Sweetheart, are you doing any more teaching?  Do you remember when we first got married, you taught and brought sandwiches up to the office for our lunch?  After this war we'll enjoy many a luncheon together but I believe we'd both enjoy being waited on in some nice restaurant.

          That's all for now darling, give my girls a big kiss for me.



Who Is B'nai B'rith War Service Chairman?

Lt. (j.g.) Gilbert Steingart
U.S.S. Ocelot, F.P.O. San Francisco
Tuesday 2 Janaury 1945, 10:15 PM

Dearest Eleanor,

          Hello darling, here I am again.  I forgot to mention in yesterday's letter that when I went ashore I ran into a Dr. Arnerich, who graduated a year before I did.  He is on a tender and has been out here for five months.  It's twelve years since I last saw him.  Yet we recognized each other immediately.  Guess we haven't changed much at that.  Oh yes, I shaved off my beard but I still have a moustache.  If and when I get some film I'll take a picture and send it on.

          Today was the usual routine.  Worked all morning in my office.  After lunch I worked on the welfare and wardroom books.  Then I read a little.  The book is "Get Thee Behind Me" by Hartzell Spence, and very good indeed.  I do believe you'd enjoy it.  I censored some mail, showered, and changed for dinner.

          After dinner we stood around on deck and enjoyed a most beautiful tropical sunset.  Such colors and cloud formations I have never seen.  Then I went below deck and tried my hand at some chess.  I think I'll read up on it and see what I can do.

          The movie we had last night was "When Strangers Marry."  I think I misquoted the title but it was just average.  However we had a good" March of Time" ("What to do with Post War Germany"), a community sing and a colored cartoon.  Tonight we had musical short, "The Show Boat," a fight picture, and the feature ("The Pearl of Death") with Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce--a Sherlock Holmes story.  Good entertainment but nothing to rave about.

          Still no mail.  I'm getting to the point where I don't expect any and just about that time I'll hit the jackpot.  I do hope so.  I'm anxious to hear from you and to know if you found out what you were looking for.

          Darling, who is War Service Chairman for the B'nai B'rith?  Please let me know, as I have a request to make of the lodge through him

          Do you remember when I was chairman myself and the money we raised every meeting for men overseas?  Well after the war we'll see what time will bring.  Frankly, I doubt if I'll be too hot on organization work though we may have to indulge in it for a while.

          Good night my Sweet, I'm going to hit the rack now and dream of you.



Ran a Higgins Landing Craft Aground

Lt. (j.g.) Gilbert Steingart
U.S.S. Ocelot, F.P.O. San Francisco
Monday 1 January 1945, 7:35 PM

Dearest Eleanor,

          And so begins a new year. First, I want to tell you a little more of the celebration aboard.  After I finished my letter I intended to turn in, but no chance.  The men had gotten hold of pots, pans, garbage can tops and the band's drums and were parading all over the ship making a most ungodly racket.  Most of the officers were fairly well oiled.  We all went up to the Captain's quarters to serenade him and wish him a happy new year.  We probably awoke him so I doubt if he appreciated it.  Then we returned to the wardroom for a snack and finally I turned in.

          Worked all morning on the mess statement.  It cost me $25 last month to eat and that was really cheap. 

          After lunch today a few of us went ashore.  Two bottles of beer was all I drank.  I just didn't feel like it.  Instead I hunted for more shells.  I have quite a collection now.

          The boat we were using was a Higgins Landing Craft.  She ran aground over some coral and we had a hell of a time trying to get someone to pull us off.  We finally got someone to do it and returned safely.  Of course there was no danger because we were close to the shore and there were many boats around.  Besides it wasn't deep or we wouldn't have run aground in the first place.

          The movie tonight is "Should Strangers Marry" and the cast are all unknown to me.  I'll tell you more about it tomorrow.

          I also brought a coconut back.  I'm going to polish it up and make a souvenir paper weight out of it.

          Nothing new today except more confirmation on the previous scuttlebutt.  We may be moving out of here even sooner than the three months I figured on at first.  Here's hoping.

          No mail again today.  I'll probably get a whole sack full when I do get some.

          Darling, do you remember New Years Day of previous years?  Just lounging around because we were too sleepy and tired to go anyplace.  I'd listen to the football game and maybe doze off before it was all over.  Well, Sweet next year we'll stay home together and rest and listen to the ball game in-between (?)

          Good night Sweetheart, the movie is about due to begin.




1944 Has Burned An Indelible Mark on Many Hearts

Lt. (j.g.) Gilbert Steingart
U.S.S. Ocelot, F.P.O. San Francisco
Sunday 31 December 1944, 11:55 PM

Dearest Eleanor,

          Well dear, 1944 is almost gone but not quite forgotten.  I'm afraid it has burned an indelible mark on the hearts of many.    

          Today began as usual. However I took no dental appointments today because I had several end of the month and year reports to make.  Besides that I took inventory of the wardroom's mess provisions and worked out a financial statement.  We've been eating like kings but I'll bet there'll be lots of "bitching" when the bill is presented.  However, if they don't like it they can elect someone else.  Either the food is good and expensive or lousy and cheap, so they can have their choice.

          This afternoon we had the usual Catholic and Protestant divine services.  After the services, I noticed schools of multi-colored fish swimming around the ship so I broke out some hooks and line and soon everyone who had time was fishing (even me).  We tried all kinds of bait--pork, beef, and bacon rind--to no avail.  I went back to the galley and got some canned salmon.  Talked the butcher into giving me some shrimp.  Tried shrimp but no luck and then I tried salmon. Still no luck so I left my baited hook in the water and scattered a handful of salmon over the water.  In a few moments the fish just swarmed around my hook and zing, I got a strike and brought in a beautiful Spanish mackerel.  That was the first fish caught aboard since we've been here.  One other was caught today and that was all.  "Happy New Year!"  How about a big kiss and hug?  Thanks dear that was swell I'm sure that when 1945 is ushered out we'll both be in a much happier state of mind because we'll be together.  Back to the fish I cleaned it myself, split it lengthwise, salted it down and put it in the refrigerator.   Instead of roast pork for dinner I and three other ate fish.  The fresh fish really tasted good.  Everybody is going fishing tomorrow.

          After dinner I bought all the corpsmen a drink just as I did on Xmas.  The movie tonight was "Song of the Open Road" which I had seen before but went anyway.  After the movie we all pooled our resources and had a party--champagne, bourbon, rye, and even a little Southern Comfort.  I took it easy because I wanted to be sure to see the old year out and the New Year in with you.  I am plenty sleepy and a little high so I'm going to sign off.

          Without recalling past New Years Eves when we were together and very happy, I'm going to say good night my darling until tomorrow (or today).



Peace and Love Will Be a Reality Throught This Battle Scarred World

Lt. (j.g.) Gilbert Steingart
U.S.S. Ocelot, F.P.O. San Francisco
Saturday 20 December 1944, 9:40 PM

Dearest Eleanor,

          I was sure I would get some more mail, but nothing materialized.  So all I can tell you is the same thing over and over again.

          We had an inspection of the personnel and the ship.  I went around with the captain and it was past 11:00 AM before were through inspecting.

          After lunch I had a couple of patients appointed so I did a little work.  Then I censored some mail.  We've had three new ensigns due on board for quite some time. They finally arrived.  Orders for the men they are to relieve aren't in yet so our officers' quarters are slightly cramped.  We have one in our room and one each in two of the other rooms.  I knew I should have gotten rid of that upper bunk some dark night (just kidding).  He's a nice chap, there is plenty of room and besides someone will leave and make more space again.

          Before dinner I showered and changed.  After eating I joined a few officers for a little chat up on the bridge.  The movie tonight wasn't entertaining but still an intensely interesting picture.  Title "The Master Race."  The featured players were all new to me except Ana Masson.  It's a story of a liberated village in Belgium, occupied by American troops until the end of the European War (wish that was a reality already).  See it if you haven't yet.

          No more scuttlebutt today.  Just another day, quiet and peaceful.  Hard to believe that men are fighting just a few hundred miles away.  Something big is in the offing, but what actually happens will be told to you almost as soon as we'll know out here.

          Sweetheart, tomorrow night is New Year's Eve and we are so far apart.  Do you remember how busy and festive past years were between Xmas and New Years?  Believe me darling, we should count our blessings. Though I am so far away from all those I hold so dear, in my heart you are all with me.  I know that in your hearts I am with you.  It just must be that 1945 will see the end of all such senseless separations and that peace and love will once more be a reality throughout this battle scarred world.

          But enough of that dear.  It is almost ten and lights out.  You see I write at the desk in my office and all lights except in a few officers rooms (including mine) go out at ten.  There is a regulation blackout here at that time.

          Goodnight my Sweet, I'm going to dream of you, our girls, and home tonight

Your impatient


Removed Another Difficult Impaction

Lt. (j.g.) Gilbert Steingart
U.S.S. Ocelot, F.P.O. San Francisco
Friday 29 December 1944, 7:25 PM

Dearest Eleanor,

          Finally got some mail today.  A letter from your mother, a card from Miss Earnest and four letters from you.  Your letters were postmarked--two on the 13th, one on the 19th and one the 20th.  I've already received mail from you for the 14th, 15th and 16th, so I'm expecting more mail for the blank period tomorrow.

          You mention the B'nai B'rith election being a surprise but give no issues.  How about a list of the new officers!

          I don't remember what the fur jacket cost, but it was around $55.  Looks like you made a good deal-if you collect.  That should be easy as long as she stays.

          Don't send any long socks.  If you can't find any short ones, I'll get by on what I have plus a few cotton ones that I'll buy.

          About the gardener--if the Jap will work more reasonably, I'd rehire him.  After all he was nice and efficient and probably after the war all gardeners will be Japanese again.  We might as well get back on the ground floor so to speak.

          If you didn't get the corsage on Xmas let me know and I'll trace down the money.  I'm glad the dolls were so nice.  Linda's cost $6.30 and Norma's $5.10.

          You mention an "enclosed Xmas card" for me to acknowledge but no card.  Maybe it'll come in one of the other letters.  Anyway let me know who it was from--just to make sure.  Thanks for Curry's address I didn't have it on my list.

          Today was just another day.  I removed another difficult impaction in but thirty minutes.  I'm really getting good at it.  Put in a few fillings and was through as far as my professional duties go.

          I finally got the carpenter to make up a ping pong table.  I bought the balls, paddles and nets in Honolulu and now we're going to have a contest with an award for the best players.

          The rumors I mentioned still come through unchanged so the hope for a return in a few months remains bright.

          It has just poured all day with short period of clearing off in between.  You've never seen such torrential rain in your life.  I like it though because it does make things cooler.

          The movie tonight is the "Cry of the Werewolf," with I forget who.  I must dash now though or I'll miss the second show.

          Darling, do you remember how I'd dash home from the office, gulp some food down and off we'd go to some early movie or something?  Just let me dash home.  I'd forget the rest of that routine.

          Goodnight Sweet and dream about three or four months from now.




Linda With Her Doll, December 1944