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."
Hope You Received the Orchid Cosage
Lt. (j.g.) Gilbert
U.S.S. Ocelot, F.P.O.
San Francisco Thursday 30 November
1944, 9:05 PM
Darling, how was dinner tonight? I hope you received the orchid corsage I sent
you.I ordered it for the 28th (your
birthday) and I do hope it arrived on time.
Today I had
my first breathing spell.The ship whose
crew I worked on left.Now I just have
our ship's company to worry about.I did
receive an official letter today commending me on how I took care of the
men.I'd trade it any day for just one
kiss from you.
messing with those slides.I seem to run
into one obstacle after another but I'll lick it yet.
There was no
mail today so there is little we can discuss relating to your questions or
tonight was the worst I've ever seen.The East Side Kids in "Mr. Mugs Steps Out."There wasn't one thing good about it.There was a just fair Mickey Mouse cartoon
with it and even the Pete Smith short was poor.However, it did occupy one and a half hours I didn't know what to do
you remember when there weren't enough hours in the day for me to do all I
wanted to do?Now it's just the opposite.After the war let's revert back.We'll have so much to do there won't be
enough hours in the day or days in the week.Won't we have fun, you and I?
darling, I spotted a book of poems and I'm going to borrow it and see if I can
find something to express a little of my love for you.Until then--