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."
We Said Goodbye Four Months Ago. It Seems Like Four Years.
Lt. (j.g.) Gilbert
U.S.S. Ocelot, F.P.O
San Francisco Thursday 16 November
1944, 9:30 PM
last night I went to the movie and saw a very unusual picture, "Someone to
Remember."You must see it if you
haven't already.After the movie I
turned in and read until ten and then lights out.
morning as usual.After lunch I went on
liberty for the first time in about a week.What did I do?I drank a few
beers and just wandered along the shore looking for unusual colored shells and
pieces of coral.I brought back a pocket
full.Maybe I'll have a collection by
the time I return.There are many
coconut trees here and the nuts are lying just everywhere.So I picked up one and cracked the shell and
drank some of the milk and ate some of the nut meat.Some of the coconuts have been lying around
so long that they have sprouted roots and green shoots are growing out of the
nut itself.Wish I could tell you more
about this place, but so much for now.
tired, hot, and sticky so I took a shower and read for half an hour before
dinner.After eating I got into a small
blackjack game and after a whole hour I won about fifty cents.There must be an easier way to make money.
had another good movie, "His Butler's Sister."I believe we both missed it and it really is
the way it is.Somehow the days go
by.It is almost four months since we
said goodbye but it seems like four years.How I would love to spend an evening with my Sweet and our two little
darlings.Oh well, maybe it won't be so
very long when we'll have more than an evening together.
there is no more for now.Do you
remember how I used to write you when you spent the month at Catalina?And in between letters how I wanted to
telephone but you didn't have a phone.Now you do have a phone but still I can't call.Just wait until I get one I can use!After this war I'll keep the wires hot every
time we get separated for even a few hours.