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."
Rigging Up a Soda Fountain
Lt. (j.g.) Gilbert
U.S.S. Ocelot, FPO San
Monday 18 Dec. 1944,
Finally Darling.Today I got two letters from you.They were postmarked the 6th. I should be thankful
because I was the only officer to get any mail for the past five days.
seems too far away and you reactions just don't seem to matter.After all as important as the work is right
now it seems so unimportant.
So Ruth is
"off" again.Well you know
what I think, so why waste paper and time repeating myself.After the war there'll be plenty of trips and
we'll take them all together and many with our girls--not leave them at
home.I don't suppose Ruth ever thought
that Babs might enjoy such a trip--but then she never did before either.
Gosh I wish I
could see the little paper ships and help pin them on the Xmas tree.Well I'll do it next year--is it a bet?
the excitement about Dick getting a PO rate.Sol's store keeper rate is a petty officer rating but then it sounds
better to say petty officer than "mate."What will it be `1st, 2nd 3rd class or
chief?Or will he wind up holding the
bag?Remember how hard Dave and Sol
tried and they were more qualified than Dick.After all there is a war and even the Coast Guard is in it.I'll wait and see but don't be surprised to
see Dick in an "gob's" uniform.It would do him a lot of good.On
the other hand a little money (hush! hush!) and some drag will go a long way.
City," by Elmer Rice and it is quite interesting.
I do feel
just the least bit mellow tonight.We
had the movie "Since You Went Away" and even I shed a tear or
too.Frankly, thought it is an excellent
movie I don't think it is any kind of a morale builder for men away from family
and home.What we need out here is
something with a laugh and not a tear.But then, maybe I'm all wet.
about the "floating hotel" you sent sounds interesting but couldn't
be much.A ship of any size at all
should be able to berth a lot more than 700 men and even the Ocelot has what
his hotel has with the exception of the soda fountain and I'm working on that
now.I just bought eight gallons of coke
syrup from a supply ship and the engineers are rigging up an apparatus to
charge water.Ice cream is next on my
list and we'll have that daily darn soon.
fountains do you remember in the good old days when we'd stop at "Thrifty's"
for an extra thick chocolate shake?I
can hardly wait for the day when our whole family jumps into the car to drive
down for a drink after dinner.
Good night my
darling, my sweet.I wish I could seal a
little of my love in this envelope for you.