The Food Is Swell--No Ration Stamps Either


Lt. (j.g.) Gilbert Steingart
             U.S.S. Ocelot, FPO San Francisco
             Tuesday 5 December 1944, 9:55 PM

My Dearest,

          Hello Darling, I never thought just a letter from home could make me so happy, especially when that letter is from my Sweet.  I got eight letters, five from you, one from my mother (card), one from Libby and one addressed to the chaplain. I pinch hit for the chaplain because there isn't one.

          Libby seemed concerned about me because she hadn't heard lately but she should receive my last letter soon now.  The one addressed to the chaplain was from a worried mother about her boy.  She hadn't heard in three weeks. He really has been writing.  Anyway in the morning, I'll get a letter off reassuring her that all is well with her son.

          Not let's get back to us.  Leon is slightly mixed up about his ships. An APA is a transport used to bring men up in attack.  They aren't called even that any more.  Now they are AP with the last "A" dropped.  The innards of the ship are the same as any troop transport.  Anyway don't worry we aren't that nor are we participating in any invasions.  I didn't say we weren't going to the Philippines.  I said we weren't there.  If and when we get there things should be well under control.  Spitzer was with us until his ship came in and then he left to join his outfit.  For a while we had many officers aboard and were quite crowded. As I explained it was only by accident that we got to talking.  Just a day or so before he left.

          The size of the ship is still the same, it always was a fairly large one and with a lot of men aboard sanitation is vital, hence the thorough daily inspections.

          Yes dear, Lt. Samuels is no longer our captain and the exec will be the skipper from now until relieved, not temporarily.  I gave Samuels your phone and he may call collect although I doubt that he will go to all that trouble. I didn't tell you sooner lest you'd hang (?) around anticipating a call that never materialized.

          Yes, we all enjoy movies.  Right now, I'm soaked.  It poured as usual just in the middle of the picture.  It was "Invisible Stripes" with Raft and Bogart.  At least five years old but good and we got a kick out of it.

          We'll probably be here for some time but there is no telling.  A few victories and off we go to new places.  I doubt whether we'll go back to the Hawaiians for a while.  As a matter of fact the next time I see that place will probably be on my way home.  Guam isn't our locality but we're not very far from it.
          OK Sweet that jewelry ensemble is a hit.  I now have $149 to my credit and my food bill for this month is paid.  Unless I run into some unexpected civilization, by the time I get home, I should have quite a wad saved up.  Don't worry about my uniforms, they are well cared for and they still fit.  As a matter of fact the khakis are size 36 and my greys were 38.

          The food is still swell.  We have large refrigeration space and carry enough fresh food to last three months or more, depending on how many we have aboard.  In fact we could get along fairly well for 6 months without taking on any addition supplies.  Yesterday we had chop suey and noodles for one meal and creamed chicken for dinner.  Today we had meatloaf and beef stew.  For breakfast you can have all of hot cakes, eggs (any style), French toast, sausage, bacon, fruit juice, powdered milk (when cold it tastes OK), canned whole figs, toast, butter and coffee.  No ration stamps either.  We make our own ice cream and the cream pies the bakers make are the best I've ever eaten.  I can see your mouth watering and it's really the way it reads.  In spite of it all though what wouldn't I give for one of you home cooked meals!

          Catching up on correspondence seems an endless job. Xmas greetings will have to take the place of many letters this month.

          Go a little south dear and see what you find.  Who cares what Sylvia thinks?  I'll take you as you are and how I'll love it--and you will too.  I hope.

          I hope I'll be home by summer. Thirty days leave spent at Lake Arrowhead sounds well.  Make plans to go there anyway and with a little luck I'll join you. I can dream can't I?

          I do hope Dave gets sent to officers training but frankly I doubt whether he will.  It is a long story but from what many ensigns have told me he just isn't eligible.  Don't say anything to Deb or him about it.

          Gosh, my clothes are wet but there is plenty of sweat mixed in with the rain.

          Forget about a Xmas job.  Are you crazy?  Waiting on people for eight hours in a Xmas rush is a lot different than teaching school and don't forget you still have two darlings at home to care for.

          Today was just another day.  Worked in the morning.  After lunch I censored some mail then the skipper, Cox (my roomy) and two other officers when ashore for a couple of drinks.  The club didn't have any beer so we drank cokes.  At three they serve whiskey for an hour but there was such a mob that one drink apiece was all we tried to get. Then we returned to the ship.

          Well, what a long winded letter! A fifty minute visit. What a swell one.  Dear, do you remember how we'd always recount the day's events when I came home from work?  After the war let's continue with that too.

          Good night my love, my darling.  I love you with all my heart and soul.

Devotedly

Gil