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).