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."
Friday the 13th--Treated 13 Men
Lt (j.g.) Gilbert
USS Ocelot, F.P.O. San
Francisco Friday 13 October 1944,
This has been
another busy day for me.This is Friday
the 13th.I examined and treated 13
men.If only I were superstitious I
could begin worrying right now!
afternoon's mail brought a letter from you, one from Ethel and a card from my
Mother.Mary was all wet and in more
ways than one.They seem to be a sore
spot with you so I'll not mention them anymore.
Now for the
quiz program. The Mess Treasurer collects
the monthly mess charges from officers, pays for all food and supplies drawn
from the ships commissary and submits a statement monthly of the status of the
officer's mess.What a mess! Just
couldn't resist the pun.No I didn't run
in Al accidentally.Yes darling I now
have plenty of music.In addition to
what you've sent I chiseled a couple of song books from the local welfare and
recreation office and also purchased a book in a music store.Regarding John York: If you just turned the account
over to them call them and tell them the account has been paid and to forget
about it.However, I believe they have
had the accountfor some time and you
may have to pay them 25% for collection.However, when I left they still owed me some money so you won't need to
send them any payment.What you wrote
about Jules is typical of the Army.They
need dentists and yet the dentists they have do everything but dentistry.However as for Germany fighting on to the
bitter end, did you read where Lloyds of London is giving 4 to 1 odds that the
European war will be over by November 1?
not surprised about Dick.Keeping the
hours he's been keeping and the things he is doing certainly doesn't do much to
keeping a fellow fit.Yet I venture to
say that Ruth and Harry will probably not do much about it and after a couple
of weeks Dick will drift slowly back to his old routine.I hope I'm wrong but that is my guess.
I've just about run out now.One more
item.The movie tonight was
"Rainbow Island," with Dorothy Lamour and Eddie Bracken and very
do you remember the El Dorado and our singing in bed before turning over?Bet the neighbors thought we were drunk.Maybe we were drunk with happiness.After this war we must try that routine again
if we can without waking the kids and the maid.
Good night my
darling.I'm going to close this letter
tonight because I have lots to do tomorrow morning.I love you.