During World War II, my dad, Gilbert Steingart, served as a navy dentist. He wrote over 500 letters to his wife, my mother Eleanor. His duty in the Pacific Theater took him from San Diego to Pearl Harbor, Eniwetok, Ulithi, Leyte Gulf (Philippines), and Buckner Bay (Okinawa).
After my mother's death, Daddy wanted to toss the letters. I convinced him to give them to me instead. The letters are a memoir of a remarkable time. Most of the letters begin with the words "Dearest Eleanor."
105 Degrees In The Shade
Lt. (j.g.) Gilbert
U.S.S. Ocelot, F.P.O.
San Francisco Friday 24 November
1944, 9:20 PM
Here it is
Friday, a whole week has passed and still no mail.However I know that it isn't because you
haven't written.You see no one else has
received any either.All I can say of
the mail service out here is that it is lousy.
last night was "Star Spangled Rhythm" with Eddie Bracken, Betty
Hutton and the best of Paramount Stars.We saw it years ago together and now I've seen it alone.Tonight we had another oldie "Road to
Morocco" with Bing Crosby, Bob Hope and Dorothy Lamour.
just another day.The thermometer
registered from 97-105 degrees in the shade.I wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't read the temperature myself.This morning I turned out nine fillings, two
extractions and a gum treatment.After
lunch I took a boat over to another ship and arranged with the chaplain aboard
to conduct services on the Ocelot Sunday.He is Catholic and promised to bring along a Protestant chaplain as
well.I do hope it works out.
that there is nothing new or exacting.--just the same everyday routine.Gee, next week is your birthday and here we
are thousands of miles apart.Well, this
will be the as well as the first that we'll be apart.
How are my
girls doing?Do they still talk about
their daddy?By the time I get back I'll
be a total stranger to Norma and almost that to Linda.Yet she remembered Leon when she was much
younger and that is a happy thought.
Leon, he never did answer my letter and so help me. I'm really going to tell
him off when that opportunity presents.
Have you been
doing any more teaching?Are you still
going out for an evening?There are so
many things I want to know and I'm sure when that stack of mail does arrive all
my questions will be answered.
you remember those happy sessions on the studio couch in the Admiral
Apartments?Well, after the war, I've
got some new ideas we'll have to try out.You see I have plenty of time now to think about all the wonderful times
we had together and also to plan all the things we'll do in the future.
Good night my
Sweet.I'm going to close with loving
thoughts of days gone by.I love you so!