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."
Aboard Ship Sunday Is Just Another Day
Lt. (j.g.) Gilbert
U.S.S. Ocelot, F.P.O
San Francisco Saturday 7 October
1944, 9:30 PM
Just saw the
movie aboard and here I am again.The
picture "Do It Big" was just fair entertainment.Jack Haley, Harriet Hilliard and Ozzie Nelson
were the stars.Now for a little visit.
since my last writing.Saw three
patients this afternoon and when I finished I played a few games of
checkers.It was pretty warm today and I
felt much better after my daily shower and change of apparel.
going to make something for you and the kids.Please send me the waist measurements of each of you.It will take time to make but it should be
done for Xmas.Don't ask what "it"
is going to be.Be patient now and be surprised
later (I hope).
How did your
new maid pan out?I hope she showed up
and works out OK.I meant to mention it
in this morning's letter but forgot.The
music you sent sure made good time. It was postmarked the 30th of September and
arrived here on the 6th.That is almost
as fast as airmail.Must have come over
on a pretty fast ship.
I should be
receiving scads of mail soon.I've
written Taylor, Gilman, Bergman, Vanetek, Deb and Dave, Ruth, Libby, Earnest,
Nina, Aranoff, Harry S., Davis and my cousin in Bell Harbor.We'll write Marty, Sam, Bill and Dave Katz
soon.I've written several more that I
can't recall just now but I'm doing a fair job.
Al and I have
a tentative date for tomorrow.After our
visit I'll finish this note.Until then
take it easy, Sweet.Now I'm going to
bed and dream about you and I after the war.
Sunday 8 October 1944,
Good morning Sweetheart,
Sunday, call for breakfast was 7:30 instead of 7:00.Otherwise, at sea or I should say, aboard a
ship, Sunday is just another day.
our welfare account was audited and then a book was set up for me to keep.I'm finding plenty to keep me busy outside of
my dental office.I am mess treasurer
now and have to collect the mess bill from each officer at the beginning of the
month.Then I have to pay for all food
and supplies we draw from the general mess and that is purchased from other
sources.Then I'm still trying to get
more books for our library without paying for them and that requires a lot of
running around.By the time I get home
I'll be a real chiseler and you know how I hate to ask for anything for
this is Sunday, the day we spent together.Boy wouldn't I like to get into the car and drive you and the kids down
the beach for a stroll.Then take Linda
and Norma to the merry-go-round.Do you
remember how scared Linda was the first time I took her on?Now she rides like it is an everyday
occurrence.After the war I won't be so
anxious to dash off and leave our girls at home.
I've got some more things to do.Will
write again tonight.I know you are
giving my regards to all so I don't have to ask you to do it.