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."
Novocain Has a Wonderful Effect on Patients
Lt. (j.g.) Gilbert
U.S.S. Ocelot, F.P.O.
San Francisco 25 September 1944,
alright? No mail today and with Norma being sick I'm a little concerned.I hope the morning mail brings the glad
tidings that Norma is up and kicking again.
This has been
a busy day for me.I worked steadily all
morning and afternoon up till 4:00 PM.In addition to ship's company I've been getting patients based ashore
who can't get taken care of.As a
personal favor to officer friends aboard I've taken care of several men based
elsewhere.It is wonderful what effect a
shot of Novocain has on a patient and how grateful they are for the little
got our movie equipment rigged up so that we can see pictures on deck.What a relief it was to sit and see a movie
with a nice cool breeze blowing all the time.It has been much warmer lately and the stuffiness took all the pleasure
out of seeing a movie.The picture
tonight was "The Avenger," a British production, and good.A propaganda story about Norway before and
after Nazi occupation
several changes to be made in my operating room which will make my work
easier.We've been discussing the
changes for the past half hour and now the plans are complete.Nothing more for now.I'll finish in the AM after I've gotten the
morning mail (I hope).Good night dear
and pleasant dreams.
Tuesday 8:15 AM
darling.Hope you slept well last
night.No mail again this morning and
now I'm really worried.Hope the mail
this afternoon brings me good news.In
the past a day or two went by and then I'd get a whole stack so here is hoping.
is nothing new to write about since last night except that I'm alive and
kicking.Do you remember how you and
Linda would meet me at the steamboat landing at Catalina and what a reunion
that was every week?Well after this war
when I come home that reunion will be our last.Then we'll always be together wherever we go.
So long dear,
I'll write again tonight.I do love you.