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."
Glad the Party Was Pleasant
Lt (j.g.) Gilbert
USS Ocelot, F.P.O. San
Francisco Saturday 23 September
1944, 9:50 PM
Came out of
the movie a few moments ago and here we are together for a few moments
anyway.The picture was Phil Baker in
"Take It or Leave It."Very
little story to it but very good entertainment value.See it and it'll give you a lift.
must face it.I won't be home for a long
while but really I'll be quite safe.I
can't tell you what our ship is going to do but believe me we'll be as safe as
we have been up to now.
I wrote to Sieger
and White several days ago but haven't written to the Vaneteks because I've
been hoping to see Al and then I plan to write.
about Norma.I do wish you would call
the doctor immediately when the kids get sick instead of waiting to see.You know how nice Harry is and I'm sure he'll
be glad to do what he can.
Glad to hear
the party was at least a little pleasant for you.I know how much you dreaded going and I'm
really glad it was at it was.Just goes
to show you must go wherever there are people.Honey, if you stay at home and wait for a call everyone will forget
about you.That is the way people are.
"Out of sight out of mind" (all except you and I).Talking about the food you had reminds
me.I've been watching my diet and have
lost about eight pounds.Am trying to
lose eight more and with this hot weather we are having it should be easy--no
As long as
you've been having trouble with your periods again why don't you consult Harry
about that too.I hope you are not
neglecting yourself.I remember when you
were plenty thin and I also remember that you didn't feel as well as you did as
when you were around 128 pounds.I don't
like my women thin and you know it so young lady don't lose too much.
I wrote about
Rosh Hashanah Eve.The next day I was
getting ready to go to the service and had couple of emergency
extractions.By the time I was through it
was too late so I just skipped it.
I don't know
whether the Captain will go to the Yom Kippur service, but the executive
officer and I have already made plans to go to Kol Nidre.
quarters will probably not be as roomy as they were but I think they'll be
cooler and believe me out here that is important.As for Jim Frug, don't think he'll be home so
soon.I bet it'll be another six months
before he is transferred back to the states.At least that seems to be his opinion and he ought to know.
I am worried
about Norma and am looking for tomorrow's letter with anxiety.And please dear again I say take care of
yourself.I don't like the tone of you
letters.Sound that you are just letting
go and you mustn't for your sake and our girls.Please reassure me in your next letter.
remember how upset you were when we had to leave the El Dorado and you thought
we couldn't find another apartment?Well
everything tuned out OK didn't it?After
the war when I am settled in private practice we'll be planning our new home
with all the things we've always wanted.As usual we won't listen to anyone and we won't be sorry.
It's 10:20 PM
now and it's time I turned in.Good
night my Sweetheart, please take better care of yourself and don't worry about
me.I'll be OK. I love you dear.