Not Many Letters to Censor

Lt. (j.g.) Gilbert Steingart
U.S.S. Ocelot, F.P.O. San Francisco
Thursday 31 May 1945, 9:45 PM
Dearest Eleanor,
          Hello Dearest, here is that man again.  Today has been a very ordinary one.  I worked steadily all morning and after lunch saw three additional patients.  Then I went to work on the wardroom books which balanced out OK for the first time.  After that I censored some mail and finished the mystery story I was reading.  By then it was five o'clock so I shampooed my hair, showered, and dressed for dinner.  We had a very pretty sunset tonight.  It sure looks good to see the sun setting behind some mountains for a change.  Then I went to the movie.  The picture was a comedy mystery, very light and slap-sticky.  It was "The Adventures of Kitty O'Day" with Jean Parker.  Oh well we can't have a good movie every night; there were a few laughs in it.
          No mail again today.  Gee it's been a whole week now since I got your last letter.  Hope the mail situation gets squared away soon because I sure miss hearing from you and knowing that you and the kids are well.
          One thing I have noticed is that there is very little letter writing going on now, not many letters to censor.  However when our mail does catch up with us, there'll be plenty of mail to censor--you bet.
          This is the rainy season out here (thank God).  It doesn't rain hard and doesn't interfere with any of our work or operations.  However the skies are cloudy and overcast and so it is cooler.  I've noticed an interesting phenomenon.  We've seen it portrayed in the movies and it seems unreal.  Looking out onto the jungles in the hills, big clouds of steam can be seen rising up.  At first I thought it was low hanging clouds until I was straightened out on that.
          In this place we are having many new and interesting experiences.  I'll try to tell you as much about them as I can.  There are lots of souvenirs available and as soon as I can, I am going down to one of the villages and do a little trading with the natives.
          No more for now Sweet, so I'll sign off. Goodnight honey, I'll see you in my dreams.

Japanese Invasion Money

Lt. (j.g.) Gilbert Steingart
U.S.S. Ocelot, F.P.O. San Francisco
Wednesday 30 May 1945, 10:15 PM
Dearest Darling,
          Hello Sweet, how is my Eleanor tonight?  I've had quite a busy and interesting day.  Of course to begin with, I worked on patients all morning.  After lunch I took the liberty party ashore.  We had over one hundred men go, so we got an LCI to take us over and came up on the beach just as you've seen it done in the movies.
          After I got the men squared away I decided to go over to the officers' club.  It seemed very close for all there was separating the club from the enlisted men's area was a great big rocky hill.  Well they told me there was a trail winding around the rock and so I started out.  It had been raining and the ground was quite muddy and in a couple of minutes I found myself in real jungle surroundings.  The brush and trees were so thick you couldn't walk except along the trail which ran along the bank of the muddy stream.  There were big gnarled roots and large rocks. It wasn't easy going.  Believe me I can appreciate a lot more what some of our boys went through in the jungles with full packs on their shoulders and death hidden behind each tree.  Anyway after about fifteen minutes the going got easier and in another few minutes I was back on the beach.
          I found a group of officers from the ship there and had a couple of drinks with them.  Then several of us took a walk along the beach.  We found a family of natives living in a small hut on the beach.  The whole hut wasn't any larger than our den, yet the family consisted of a father and mother, two teenaged boys, two teen aged girls and one girl in her twenties.  The teenagers looked fairly clean but the rest of the family, the surroundings and the hut itself were filthy.  Tied up alongside of the hut was a sow with two pigs and two scrawny looking chicks.  They speak English well enough to be understood and I'll have some very interesting stories to tell.  I did pick up several denominations of Japanese Invasion money and expect to get many other souvenirs in this area.  At 4:15 I went back to the enlisted men's area via the jungle and rounded up the men.  At 5:00 PM we boarded the LCI and returned to our ship.  I showered and changed and was just in time for a late dinner.
          The movie tonight was excellent.  It was "Animal Kingdom" with Ann Sheridan, Alexis Smith, Jack Carson and others.  Be sure to see it.  You'll enjoy it.
          There was no mail again today.  I understand that due to some mix up all our mail that arrived here was sent back to our last stopping place.  I suppose it'll be weeks before some of it catches up with us.
          No more for now Darling, so I'll sign off.  Goodnight Sweet, I do love you and miss you.
Yours for always,

Also, after the liberation of the Philippines, the Red Cross came in to help out. They obtained Japanese Invasion Currency notes, and punched 2 holes in each one. These hole-punched notes were distributed to the military as souvenirs. 

Natives in front of hut

Not in Okinawa

Lt. (j.g.) Gilbert Steingart
U.S.S. Ocelot, F.P.O. San Francisco
Tuesday 29 May 1945, 10:45 PM
My Darling Wife,
          Look Eleanor, you tell Ethyl I'll write soon.  Began today as usual and worked all morning and from one to two this afternoon.  I went ashore this afternoon.  It was a treat to be on some land with mountains and trees.  There is a very beautiful officers' club here and the natives are hired to wait on table and tend bar.  However I didn't do much drinking, instead I walked along the beach--yes looking for shells.  I found quite a few that are different from those I already have.  Several miles away by boat there is a fair sized town. The skipper of one of the LCI's (Landing Craft Infantry) has promised to run me up there someday next week.  
          I'm drawing $175 on the first and will send on $100 for Norma's birthday.  The rest will go to pay my $30 mess bill and for any souvenirs I can find.
          When we got back to the ship I was expecting a stack of mail but there was only one lonely letter from my Sweetheart.  Guess it'll take a few days before our mail is properly rerouted.
          We had an excellent movie tonight.  It was "My Reputation" with Barbara Stanwyck and George Brent.  Be sure to see it.  I know you'll like it.
          Now to your letter.  Please don't worry about me.  I'm perfectly safe and I'm not at Okinawa.  You must be mixed up or else you were tight (tsk, tsk) when you wrote.  The letter is dated May 20 yet the postmark is Mary 19.  Now how could anyone mail a letter a day before it is written?  Ah sweet mystery of love.
          Sounds like you are having quite a full and busy program.  I wondered about Brownie.  Her Xmas card was returned to me so I assumed she'd quit.
          The kids do sound interesting.  I'll have plenty to make up to the when I get home and I will.  That is a promise.
          Gosh, Honey, it's now ten months since I came aboard.  Do you remember our last weekend before I got my orders?  We went to La Jolla dinner dancing, and we were like two happy kids.  Remember how we stood on the stone wall watching the grunion run?  Well Sweet soon this nightmare should be over and we'll begin just where we left off.  The only trouble will be that we'll have so much catching up to do to make up for what we lost but we will.
          No more for now Darling, so goodnight.  May all you happy dreams soon come true.


Bet You Were the Best Dancers

29 May 1945
Dear Linda and Norma,
          How are my big girls today? Swell!  Mother wrote me about how well you are doing in dancing school.  I'm truly sorry that I have to miss the show.  Bet you were the two best dancers.
          I have been pretty busy lately but I have collected a lot of pretty shells and one of these days I'll send a boxful home for you.  There'll also be some other surprises as well.
          I'm really proud of how nice you are and how well you are behaving.  Keep up the good work and I promise that when I come home we'll have lots of swell times together.  Goodnight and God bless you.

Arrived in Leyte/Memorial Day

This blog, Dearest Eleanor, is being reposted at  WWII Navy Dentist tells Gil's story from the beginning and includes additional memorabilia and photos. 

Lt. (j.g.) Gilbert Steingart
U.S.S. Ocelot, F.P.O. San Francisco
Monday 28 May 1945, 10:00 PM
Dearest Eleanor,
          Awoke this morning and the sea was as smooth as glass.  Thank goodness it was overcast or this would have been a hot day.  As it turned out it was comfortable.
          Took care of several patients this morning and even saw two after lunch.  The rest of the day I spent around on deck, the navigation bridge, and the signal bridge.
          The place we are at now should provide a more interesting liberty than our last stopover.  Here's hoping.
          The movie tonight was "Crime Incorporated" a new picture and quite good.  It starred Leo Carrillo, Martha Tilton and others.  We also had a couple of shorts.
          Tomorrow I'm hoping for a big stack of mail. I mustn't be disappointed.  Gosh it's been just I few days since I last heard from you and it seems like weeks.
          Nothing more that's new or different.  Please don't worry about me.  I'm as safe here as I have been ever since I left the states.
          Goodnight Sweet, I'll see you in my dreams.  Love and kisses to all my three girls.
Yours as ever,

Another Day on a Holiday Cruise

Lt. (j.g.) Gilbert Steingart
U.S.S. Ocelot, F.P.O. San Francisco
Sunday 27 May 1945, 8:15 PM
At Sea
Dearest Eleanor,
          Hello Sweet here I am again.  After I wrote to you last night I went up to the wardroom and read for a while. Then I heard it raining and I made a dash for my room because my ports were open.  By the time I got there my bunk was soaked. Rather than break out my room boy I changed the linens myself in the dark.  You see it's rather difficult to blackout the room and still have it cool and airy.  So--no lights when underway.
          Today has been another beautiful calm day at sea.  The Pacific is like a great big pond.  I really haven't seen any rough seas on the Ocelot.  I'm glad because when the Pacific does boil up she is plenty rough.
          Being underway and being Sunday I had the deck in my office painted and secured for the day.  So you see today has been another day on a holiday cruise.  What did I do?  After breakfast I went up on the bridge and visited for awhile.  The captain invited me into his cabin for a cup of coffee. Then I strolled around on deck.  Thus the morning passed.  After lunch I censored some mail and found a cool spot on deck and read all afternoon.
          After dinner a group of us went up on the fo'castle, watched the sunset and told "sea stories."  All in all we had a lot of laughs.  Now here I am.
          The desk lamp vibrates from the motion of the ship and it's bothering my eyes.  Besides there isn't much more to say so I'll sign off.
          Goodnight Sweetheart until we meet again tomorrow.

Black Clouds

Lt. (j.g.) Gilbert Steingart
U.S.S. Ocelot, F.P.O. San Francisco
Saturday 26 May 1945, 7:45 PM
At Sea
Dearest Eleanor,
          Another day at sea and as far as I'm concerned this is a real holiday.  I did work all morning.  As a matter of fact I placed sixteen fillings, but after lunch I had nothing to do but read, talk, and take it easy.  After dinner we went up on the fo'castle but didn't stay there long.  The pretty sunset was quickly obliterated by black rain clouds and soon it began to rain.  It is raining hard but there are tremendous flashes of lightening constantly illuminating the sky.
          There is little else to tell.  I had my usual breakfast of fruit and fruit juice.  It has been so hot that I even passed up the coffee.  For lunch we had pineapple and prune salad, roast chicken with fresh frozen creamed peas and mixed fruit pie for dessert.  For dinner we had fruit salad, soup, steak and ice cream with chocolate sauce and cookies.  No wonder I'm having trouble keeping my weight down.
          For lack of anything better to do I'm reading a Charlie Chan mystery.  It's too hot below decks in the afternoon to work on the novelties I'm making.  However things should be much more comfortable in port.
          How is my Sweet today?  Are you still irked at me because of my cold (?) letters?  If you could see what I wake up with every morning and take advantage of me (or it) you'd be warmer and so would I.  There will come a day!
          No more for tonight Honey so please be patient and understanding because I do love you and only you even if I don't repeat myself every day.
Loving you as always,

At Sea--No Mail--No Movies

Lt. (j.g.) Gilbert Steingart
U.S.S. Ocelot, F.P.O. San Francisco
Friday 25 May 1945, 9:00 PM
At Sea
Dearest Eleanor,
          This has been a typical peaceful day on the blue Pacific.  Though it is quite warm there is a gentle breeze blowing and if one can find a shady spot it is quite comfortable.  I still find my room the best spot to "crap out."
          I worked all morning just as usual.  The gentle roll of the ship didn't bother me at all.  I was able to work as fast as when we were in port.
          I spent this afternoon reading and loafing.  I finished "Pastoral" and think you'd enjoy reading it. It is very light but enjoyable.
          After sunset tonight, a bunch of us sat up on the forecastle and talked until just a few moments ago.  Then I went up to the wardroom, had an orange and a bowl of cold fresh frozen peaches. Yum, yum where they delicious.  Now here I am.
          Being at sea there wasn't any mail nor will there be any movies tonight.  So there isn't much more to say.
          Do you remember the moonlit ride we enjoyed up at Lake Arrowhead?  Well as I was sitting out on deck tonight with the bright full moon above I kept thinking about those happy carefree days.  Hope that we'll have more like them real soon.
          No more for now dear, so goodnight and pleasant dreams.
Loving you always,
Yours alone,

Prognostication of the Japanese War

Lt. (j.g.) Gilbert Steingart
U.S.S. Ocelot, FPO San Francisco
Thursday 24 May 1945, 7:15 PM
At Sea
Dearest Eleanor,
          Hello Sweetheart, I really hit the jackpot his morning.  I got eight letters from you and one each your mother and Uncle Mike.  However, I was busy with patients all morning so it was 11:30 before I got a chance to read my mail.
          After lunch I read a little from the book "Pastoral" and took care of another patient.  Then I went up on deck and enjoyed a nice refreshing breeze.  Gee what a difference it makes. My room, which always was the coolest one in the ship, is even cooler now.  Bet that tonight, I have to use a sheet and maybe the spread too.
          At 5:15 I showered and changed for dinner and after chow went up on the fo'castle and watched another beautiful sunset.  A full moon was out and you could follow its silvery path on the sea clear out to the horizon.  Pretty and comfortable as it was I left for our little daily visit. The four officers who were with me wondered what I could possible write every night.  However I do try to say something interesting.
          Now your mail.  The letters were written Saturday. Sunday and Monday 12, 13, and 14.  I'm tickled to hear that Norma got along so well with her illness.  You do seem to be kept fairly occupied and that is well.  The place "Tropics" brings back many happy memories to me too.  When I get the novelties that I'm making for you and the kids finished,  I'm going to make one for Ethyl.    The Leavys have really been nice to you.  As for your darling (?) sister Ruth I shall make no comments.
          You recall my prognostication of the Japanese war and now you are reading that others, who should know, say more or less the same thing.  Let's keep our fingers crossed and pray.
          Jack Taylor's experience as a German prisoner is horrible.  However I wasn't too surprised because I had read in an April issue (I don't remember which one) of Time a recount of the different German prison camps.  I understand movies were taken and are horrible and gruesome. I wouldn't recommend that you see them.
          Who does Linda take after?  You're no artist and neither am I.  I'm just as proud of her as she is herself.  I've been neglectful of my letters to the kids. I'll write one tomorrow and try to write regularly after that.
          Don't know why you had to give our mothers gifts after I told you I had sent something.  Something small from the kids would have been sufficient.  One place you can cut down on--gifts.
          Just keep on planning Sweet.  Every plan we ever made was carried out and those you make now will be sure to materialize after this war is over.
          I know Mothers Day was not a happy day for you but on the other hand we shouldn't complain.  After all the whole family is well and the men who are away from home are all safe.  And by the way, don't you worry about me.  I've got a soft touch here. As far as fighting the war goes, I'm pretty safe all the time.
          Now Honey, don't you chastise me for not writing a real love letter.  You should know your old man by now.  I'm just saving up all my love for you for the time when I come home.  If you recall I never even had a line when I was single. I always did think that action spoke louder than words.  Of course I miss you Sweet but I feel better not pouring "salt on wounds."  In another few days it'll be ten months (it really is seems like ten years) since the day we said good-bye.  So--be a good teach and when I get back you can keep me after school and give me some extra coaching.
          So now I can't even dance with any of the women on Harry's side of the family.  OK but I won't take the divorce threat seriously.
          Yes I get the B'nai B'rith Bulletin.  As a matter of fact I got that and a Southern California State Dental Bulletin yesterday.
          Of course you can have a new fur coat.  However as I've said before, I'd rather you waited until I got back before you got one.  OK?
          Darling, I've been scribbling now for forty-five minutes and my writing is progressively getting more illegible so I'd better sign off.
          Goodnight my Sweet until tomorrow
Yours alone,

Perfect "V"

Lt. (j.g.) Gilbert Steingart
U.S.S. Ocelot, F.P.O. San Francisco
Wednesday 23 May 1945, 9:45 PM
Dearest Eleanor,
          Hello Sweet, here I am once again.  Today has been a most uninteresting day.  I worked all morning at a nice easy pace.  Censored some mail after chow and then back to work.  I knocked off at 2:30 and paid a visit to the barber.  Then I took a book, went up on the fantail and took a sun bath.  Before I knew what had happened the afternoon was gone and it was time for dinner. After eating we stood out on deck, talked, and watched a most unusual sunset.  In addition to an array of vivid colors a perfect "V" was formed in the skies.  If I were superstitious I'd say it foretold a new great victory for us.  However unusual skies are usual here so I won't say a word.
           We had an amusing movie tonight.  It was "The Town Went Wild" with Jimmy Lydon, Fred Bartholomew and Ed E.Horton.  We also saw a couple of shorts.  We usually have them along with the feature but I skip writing about them.
          There was no mail so there is little more to tell.  I am reading "Pastoral" by Neville Shute.  Though I've only read a few pages I know I'm going to like it.
          I'm enclosing a list of Navy terms, many of which I use in my letters, probably to your mystification.  The Flag had a bunch of new officers report aboard. For a joke, one of the old timers passed this list out to them.  The terms are really part of our everyday vocabulary.  A wall is always a bulkhead and floor a deck.  In fact bed, ceiling, stairs, floor and other common words are actually becoming foreign to me.
          No more for now Honey. If you don't hear from me for a few days don't worry.  I'll see you in my dreams.

Over the Side

Lt. (j.g.) Gilbert Steingart
U.S.S. Ocelot, F.P.O. San Francisco
Tuesday 22 May 1945, 10:30 PM
Dearest Eleanor,
          Hello Honey, how is my one and only tonight?  Last night after the movie I showed the doctor the salami and though he could see nothing wrong with it he thought it would be safer not to eat is, so over the side it went.  Then this morning I happened to mention it to the butcher.  He said it was okay and that salami is a smoked meat and keeps indefinitely.  Now dear, can I prevail on your good nature to send me another one?   In order to protect the casing he suggested that you dip the whole thing in paraffin wax, wrap it in cheese cloth and dip it in wax again.  How about it? Do you think you can fill the order?  However if it's too much trouble don't bother.  I'll get by very nicely without.
          After last night's movie I spent some more time on my course.  It is now finished and ready for typing up.
          Today began as usual and I was busy all morning.  After lunch I censored some mail and read for awhile.  At 1:30 I saw another patient and then I let someone talk me into going ashore.  We got there at 3:00, had a few beers and returned to the ship at 5:15.  Then I showed, changed clothes, ate dinner, played cribbage and went to the movies.  The picture was a musical western with Roy Rogers, "The Lights of Old Santa Fe."  It wasn't too good but still it had more entertainment value than "None But The Lonely Heart.
          There was no mail today so I hope to get a few letters in the morning.  I've told you so many times that I'm just repeating myself now, but if you don't get any mail for a few days don't worry.  You can draw your own conclusions as to why.
          That's thirty for tonight.  Goodnight Sweet and I do love you and I mean YOU.
Yours forever,

USS Ocelot in Ulithi Lagoon. The salami went over the side.

The Salami Was Mashed Up

Lt. (j.g.) Gilbert Steingart
U.S.S. Ocelot, FPO San Francisco
Monday 21 May 1945, 7:15 PM
Dearest Eleanor,
          Hello Sweet, here is that guy again.  I've been worrying about Norma ever since I heard yesterday that she had the chicken pox.  However today's mail brought me the news that her case is a light one.  Now I'm hoping that Linda doesn't get it and you forget about the whole deal in just a few days.  The mail came this morning and brought me four letters all from you.
          I was busy with patients all morning and after lunch I censored a batch of mail.  Then I joined a group going ashore and played volley ball all afternoon.  Wow, am I tired.  Bet I sleep well tonight. 
          No cribbage game tonight so I came down to my office and found a package that came this afternoon.  I guess you didn't take me seriously when I said pack everything well.  The box was coming apart and the salami was all mashed up and the casing on it broken.  It looks and smells OK but I'll not eat it until the doctor OKs it.  Lord alone knows how long the casing was broken.  However the cans that came with it are swell and are just what I wanted.
          The movie tonight is "None but the Lonely Heart" and should be 4.0. 
          Now to your mail. I see you've been teaching again.  You must be OK or you wouldn't get all the calls that you're getting.
          I'm glad you enjoyed the evening at Ruth's and met some interesting people.  So Ruth was expecting you to help her along on a gift for your mother. "Ain't" that too bad.  I didn't realize that I was getting such a good buy on the perfume.  I paid $9.00 for your bottle and $4.50 for both mothers' gifts.  Don't tell anyone because I don't want to be bothered buying stuff for anyone else.
          Talking about wallets, see if you can pick me up a book of celluloid containers for cards and snaps to fit into my wallet.  The one I got in San Diego is shot.
          I'm not surprised about the new incident at the Corsos.  Bet Willie and Wallie are working (or should I say playing) together especially if Wallie has an apartment.  I guess you were right and I wrong.  Stay away from that outfit as much as you can.
          Well Honey, no more for now. It is time to go to the movies.  Good night Darling, I'll see you in my dreams.
Yours alone

Chicken Pox

Lt. (j.g.) Gilbert Steingart
U.S.S. Ocelot, F.P.O. San Francisco
Sunday 20 May 1945, 10:15 PM
My Darling,
          Here I am again.  Today being Sunday I did take it easy.  I slept until 7:45, dressed and had a cup of coffee.  I went to work at nine and quit at eleven.  Then I went up to my room and censored a stack of mail.
          After lunch several officers went ashore, but I was too lazy to go along.  Instead I went to my room and read a magazine for awhile.  Cox (my roommate) and I played cribbage for an hour and knocked off when they brought us some mail.  I got two letters from you and one from Bob Jaffe.
          I took the letters and my magazine and went up on the poop deck where I stripped down, read and got a little sunshine.   Boy was it hot!  And not a breath of air.  Thank God it always cools off in the evening so a guy can get some sleep.
          We had a turkey dinner tonight with all the trimmings.  Then I went up to the Captain's cabin for our nightly cribbage game.  We quit at 7:30 for movies.  The picture was another repeat, "San Diego I Love You." Not good but still not bad.  Now here I am.
          Your letters were both marked May 11.  I do hope Norma's chicken pox doesn't bother her much and that Linda doesn't come down with it too.  Most of all dear, don't let it throw you.  That type of illness is annoying but not serious. By the time you get this note I hope it's all over and forgotten.
          I'm glad you have definite plans now for a vacation. August will be much nicer than July.  Go ahead and have the house painted in June.  I don't believe I'll be lucky enough to get home by then.  However I'd never let a little paint or confusion bother me--no matter what.
          After I'm through writing I intend to spend an hour on my correspondence course.  I should have #7 done in a day or two.  I have a couple of letters to write but they'll have to keep for a couple more days.
          Gosh dear, as I lounged around today my thoughts were constantly of you and the kids.  Wondering what you were doing and if the kids were both well.  That's one thing about being busy all the time--a fellow doesn't have too much time to feel sorry for himself or get homesick.  However it can't be helped.  I do love you and can't help missing you and our girls.
          Well, guess I'll secure for tonight.  Goodnight Darling, until tomorrow.
Your lonely,