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."
Thirty Officers and Crew In Sick Bay
Lt. (j.g.) Gilbert
U.S.S. Ocelot, F.P.O.
San Francisco Tuesday 21 November
1944, 9:20 AM
how is my sweetheart today? The mail service out here is lousy.I haven't had any mail now since last
Friday.Here is hoping I get some this
sure booming in sick bay yesterday.We
never did find out what it was but about thirty of our officers and crew turned
in with nausea and diarrhea.However
after vomiting several times they got rid of whatever was causing their
discomfort and this morning all is quiet and peaceful.
We had a very
good movie last night, "Summer Storm" with George Saunders and Linda
Darnell.See it if you can.
I took out
two impactions this morning.One was
rather simple but the other was a bear.It was buried deep in the jaw bone and I had to split it into two pieces
(the tooth not the jaw) to remove it.I had
expected several patients from another ship this morning but they didn't show
up.Hence I have time to write in the
middle of the morning.
is in a hell of a mess once more.It is
open for only one hour a day and by the time the men get through browsing you
couldn't tell where "a" ends and "z" begins.
Excuse the interruption;
I've been busy with patients from 9:30 until 11:30 and then chow.Now we'll continue our visit.About the library--I spent a couple of hours
there last night getting everything straightened out.And then I noticed my watch had stopped.I don't know what's wrong so I'll take it
over to another ship where there is a watchmaker and try to get it fixed.In the meantime I have my Bulova to fall back
aboard this morning so I'm hoping there'll be something for me.Am I perspiring!I have a towel right handy and use it after
almost each sentence.
you remember how tight I got at your graduation party?That seems so long ago.Actually it is only twelve years.Guess a lot has happened since then.Well dear, after the war we'll be together
again and forever.
So long honey
with "lotions of love" (a la Winchell) I am your loving