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."
Played an Amusing Card Game Called Football
Lt. (j.g.) Gilbert
U.S.S. Ocelot, F.P.O.
San Francisco 1 October 1944, 10:15
darling, here I am again.This has been
just another day aboard.Saw four
patients this AM and spent the rest of the morning and most of the afternoon
making up some routine reports due the first of the month.Showered about 4:30 and then went topside to
relax.Played a game called
"football." It was quite interesting.A board is marked off like a field and a 52 card deck is used for
determining the plays.After you decide whether
you wish to pass, run, or kick you turn up the next card in the deck and then
look on a chart which gives you the result of the play.For example: I chose to pass and turned up
the 3 of diamonds.Under pass, the 3
diamonds shows a gain of 6 yards.Catch
on?Really is quite amusing.
I've ordered additional
recreational material for the crew and will pick it up in the morning.By the way we had a very good movie aboard
today, "She Loved a Soldier" with Paulette Goddard.It is quite cool and comfortable sitting on
the fo'castle, and I must say I am enjoying our movies much more since they are
being shown topside.
How are you
getting along with Tante and Dolores?It
doesn't sound to be working out as well as you had hoped.Really, as long as they don't promise to be
permanent, I'd keep looking.You recall,
when Edna came to us the situation was no better than it is now.You never can tell who will turn up.Anyway it still is your home, not theirs and
such things as parties for Dolores seem to be expecting a little too much.However, you're the boss and you'll have to
make the final decision.
Linda's feet these days?Is she back at
dancing school?What about Norma?What does she do to pass the time away?Besides yours, I wrote five letters last
night. Soon I'll be all caught up.Nothing more for now.I'll finish
in the morning after mail call.Good night
Sweet, pleasant dreams.I love you.
Monday 2 October 1944, 9:30 AM
darling, hope you slept well.Read until
after midnight last night and slept soundly until I was awakened for breakfast
this AM.Nothing new to tell about this
morning.The mail didn't bring anything
but a New Year greeting from Temple Beth Shalom on a Uniongram form signed by
Nan Goldman.Am I surprised!Guess I'll have to acknowledge it.
Sweet, do you
remember the night we spent up at Timberline Lodge on Mount Hood?After this war we'll go to other winter
resorts and enjoy the snow.Boy,
wouldn't I like some now.Have work to
do now dear, so till tonight so long.