Hot News!

Friday, 30 November 1945, 3:30 PM
Dearest Eleanor,
          More hot news!  I checked into the receiving station this morning and I'm going aboard the APA 187 tomorrow at 8:00 AM.  I tried to find out when and where we would arrive, but all I could get was "I think."  Anyway this ship makes the run in sixteen days and will probably dock at Frisco.
          After lunch today I hitch hiked to the ship hoping to find some mail, but no soap.  When I got back here I found that someone had left me a couple of letters, one from you and one from Dave.  It was probably Pete Leslie who brought them.
          I'm too excited to write. Last night, I took some pills for sleeping but it was past 2:00 AM before I finally dozed off.  I got up at 6:30 AM, left the camp at 8:00 AM, and got here at 9:00 AM. 
          So you think I've changed and that I'm cold? My, my are you in for an awakening.
          I wrote in last night's letter what I wanted you to have for me when I arrive, but just in case the mail gets fouled up, I'll repeat.  See if I have a white cap cover and buy a pair of gold buttons for the gold chin strap on the cap.  I'll have everything else I'll need--even rubbers though I'd rather not use them.
          Oh heck what's the use I can't think straight now, so I'll sign off.  This is probably my last letter so sit tight and do nothing till you hear from me.

APA 187

Got My Orders

Thursday, 29 November 1945, 3:00 PM
Dearest Eleanor,
          Here it is.  I got my orders at NOB this morning.  They are dated December 1, but I took them over to the receiving station anyway and they accepted them.  I'm all packed and will check into the receiving station BOQ bright and early tomorrow morning. I'm expecting to get passage on a ship before the weekend is out.  Am I excited!
          I'll probably be able to write you again before I leave the island.  If possible I'll drop you a line when I'm aboard ship and have an idea as to my arrival in the United States and where.  However they may give me the rush act and this could be the last time you'd hear from me until I hit the states.  In any case my orders read "proceed" which means after I hit the United States, I have four days plus travel time to report for demobilization.  I don't know how long it'll take to actually get my discharge, but it shouldn't be over a day.
          As for clothing, I have enough to get home in.  I have all the insignia for my visor cap except for the pair of gold buttons that hold the gold chin strap.  Buy an inexpensive pair for me.  Check to see that I have a white cap cover.  I have black ties, socks, skivvies, and suspenders, so except for the gold button and cap cover I'm all set.
          Hope this afternoon's mail brings me a letter from you.  It's been several days since your last one and I'd love to hear from you once more before I shove off.
          Toyoko and Toshibo, the two native girls who've been sewing for me, are very unhappy to see me leave.  Even though she knew I would be leaving, Toyoko even cried when she watched me pack.  These people are very friendly.  I guess the Ocelot officers have been very nice to them so they do like us more than the regular officers based here.  Leslie took some snaps of them and will send me some prints eventually.
          That's all Sweetheart.  If you are half as thrilled and excited as I am, you'd better take some phenobarb when you go to bed tonight.
          I'll see you in my dreams and soon in my arms.

Toyoko and Toshibo

Happy Birthday Sweetheart

Wednesday, 28 November 1945
Dearest Eleanor,        
          Happy Birthday Sweetheart.  Though I can't be with you on this occasion I'm confident That next month I'll be able to kiss you and wish you a Merry Xmas.         
          Somehow I lost track of the date, so instead of today being the 27th, it is actually the 28th.  Just one day less before the first and the happy news that I'll soon be writing you
          Hope my last night's letter made sense.  I was feeling lower than usual so I had a few drinks too many.  The only good thing about it all was that when I turned in I went right to sleep and slept like a top all night. I haven't been sleeping well for the past week. I have a good mind to take another stiff shot again tonight.         
          Today has been just a normal day of loafing.  I've been reading an awful lot because that's the only way of killing time.  Tomorrow a jeep is available so I'll drive down to the ship.  Tonight's movie was "Love, Honor, and Goodbye" with Virginia Bruce and Nils Aster.  Amusing.
          I'm getting what little gear I have ready.  I salvaged my Valpak and think I can get everything I'm taking back in that one piece.  All I have is: my grey gabardine raincoat, several shirts and trousers, socks, skivvies, the kimono and a pair of black shoes.  Oh yes, my toilet kit too.
          That's thirty for tonight darling, so "nite, nite" and sleep tight.
P.S.    Tell my two darlings (yours too) that their daddy with be home for Xmas.
Another P.S. Here are a couple of Japanese bills, 5 and 10 yen.  Did you get the Philippine pesos and the occupation currency I sent you?

Medical Alcohol and Coke

Misdated should be Tuesday November 27, 1945

Tuesday, 26 November 1945, 9:00 PM

Dearest Eleanor,
          Another day closer to that day.  Today has been very quiet and uneventful.  No mail, no news, no excitement--yes, no nothing.
          I spent the day fooling around, reading and killing time.  We got a hold of a half gallon of medical alcohol.  It makes a swell drink with coke and ice.  No ice, but a swell drink anyhow.  By now you've gathered that I'm slightly high and you're right.  I am.  We had several shots before chow and then a few beers for chasers.  We went to the movie afterward and saw "The Cat and the Canary" with Bob Hope and Paulette Goddard.  Now we are back for a few more snorts and then to bed.  Anyway I'll sleep better.
          There was no mail for me today.  That makes three days straight running.  By now I hope you've received the claim check and several other letters containing "gook" money and Philippine "Peso" notes.
          Goodnight Sweet, even if you can't read this, it isn't important.

Raining? Pouring!

Misdated should be Monday 26 November 1945

Monday 25 November 1945

Dearest Eleanor,
          What a miserable day!  When I awoke this morning, it was raining.  Raining?  Pouring! And it poured all morning.  It let up before noon but by then everything was pretty well soaked.  Mud everywhere.  Well I had no place to go, so I stayed in my tent and read.
          Our native girls came back this morning, cleaned up the tent and did some more sewing.  So far they've finished three kimonos and are well on their way on a fourth.  We gave them some needles and thread last week.  Today they brought Leslie and me each a pair of wooden sandals.  They had them made for us at Ishihawa where they live.  The kimono and sandals will be for you on Xmas.  I do hope you'll like them.
          I'm reading Sinclair Lewis' "Dragon Harvest" and think you'd enjoy reading it.  Five more days to go and then I'll have a more or less definite date when you may expect me.  Can you wait?  I'm getting impatient and didn't sleep good last night or on the night before either.
          That's the dope for now.  Goodnight Sweet, keep everything on ice for a little longer.

"Gook" Girl Working on Kimono

Last Sunday on Okinawa

Sunday, 25 November 1945, 9:30 PM
Dearest Eleanor,
          My last Sunday on Okinawa (I hope).  Anyway by next Sunday I should know when I'm leaving and where I'll be going.  In the meantime we'll both need to be patient.
          I spent a nice, quiet, peaceful day.  Leslie and I had quite a talk this afternoon as to the effect this life we've been leading will have on us.  We've been laying around for so long that we've lost all ambition.  We talked about our prospects as civilians.  Of course, I know where I'm going.  It's amazing to see the number of men that have absolutely nothing to go back to.  So many of them came fresh from school and literally don't know what they'll do when they get back. Just the same they all want out.
          Tonight's movie was another repeat.  "Blonde Ransom," just a fair movie.  That's thirty for tonight.  Goodnight Darling, it won't be long before I'll kiss you goodnight instead of writing it.

Jittery as Hell

Saturday, 24 November 1945, 10:00 PM
Dearest Eleanor,
          Now that I have only a few more days to go, I'm getting jittery as hell.  So many things have happened to me that it's hard to believe that next week I'm to pick up my orders to return to the United States for release.  I can't think what could happen to change things, but I'll feel better when I have my orders in hand.
          Nothing much that is new today.  The decommissioning of the ship looks like it is weeks away.  It was to be December 1.  Dr. Law got orders to Guam for reassignment.  That's about all.
          My kimono is finished except for a belt tie which will be made on Monday.  The embroidery isn't too hot, but it'll do.  All I've done today is read, play cribbage and loaf around.
          Tonight I hit the jackpot.  I got six letters, three from you and one each from our mother and Libby.  When I hit the states, I'll have orders to proceed to the demobilization center in Los Angeles.  We can plan on going away after that is done.  The policy seems to be to send one back for release on a ship that makes port close to the mobilization center.  That'll be either Diego or Long Beach.  Anyway, we can't plan until I actually get my ship.
          You've taken me to task for not answering your questions and not writing more fully.  Well Navy procedure is peculiar to civilians.  It would take reams to explain a simple thing to you.  Besides you haven't been reading my letters too carefully either.  Command Service Division (CSC 101) left the ship in Leyte. The Service Division I've mentioned is 104.  But what's the difference now?  It's just so much water under the bridge.
          About finances, your bank balance is low.  As of November 15, I have $721 on the books.  That should be $800 by the time I hit the United States.  There'll be close to two months pay for separation leave plus $300, so that'll be another $950 approximately.  I do hope you've gotten the $410 claim check.  If that has gotten lost, it'll take months to collect on it.  Anyway, the money totals up to about $2,000 and that ain't hay.  Take it easy now, Sweet, you don't have to spend it all in one place.
          I've answered all the letters I've received.  I've written Deb and Dave since I've been ashore.  As for Ruth, she can wait.  I haven't heard from her in weeks.  She always did take here in writing so that's that.
          About an office set up.  Just for the fun of it call the local dental society and find out if any dentists are willing to have another dentist use their offices or work with them.  As I've written before S.S. White was the house I dealt with.  I did business with the American Dental Supply Company, but not much in the year or so before I went into the Navy.
          Hope Norma got over her indisposition and you've seen a doctor about yourself.  When I get back we're going to have fun and not be bothered with illness.  Are we? I hope not.
          As for your birthday, as I wrote yesterday the claim check is yours for a fur coat and what you will.  Wish I could be home to wish you a happy birthday in person.  But we'll celebrate Xmas together and that'll be something.
          Saw "San Francisco" for the nth time tonight.  Goodnight Sweet and happy dreams.

Approval for claim.  Eleanor's birthday gift check $410

Natives Wash, Clean and Sew

Friday, 23 November 1945, 3:45 PM
Dearest Eleanor,
          Another day closer to coming home.  Another week and I'll pick up my orders at NOB.  In a day or two after that, I should be on my way.  Some ships make the trip in fifteen days.  Others take as much as twenty.  In any case this Xmas will be a real merry one for us.
          These Okinowans are an interesting people.  Some native girls are sewing for three of us.  They are making kimonos for us.  Mine is all ready except for some Jap characters that will be embroidered on it tomorrow.  We gave the girls a few cans of rations and now we have four of them hanging around ready to do any chores we may have such as washing, ironing, sewing, etc.  Before they left at 4:00 PM they picked some flowers that look like daisies and arranged them in a coke bottle.  They don't speak English nor I Japanese, yet we are really getting to understand each other by sign language and facial expressions.
          You are probably curious about these natives.  Well, here is the arrangement.  They live in villages under the jurisdiction of the military government.  They are clothed, fed and housed without any money changing hands.  However they are supposed to work for the men stationed on this island.  They wash, clean and sew.  Their villages are "off limits" to all military personnel.  Trucks pick them up every morning and deliver them to the different camps by 8:00 AM.  They work here until 4:00 PM with an hour off for chow.  Then back to their villages. 
          In the northern end of the island, there is considerable fraternization.  We have a twenty-five man working party up there.  A few days ago several of the men were relieved.  Two of the "gook" girls broke down and cried when their "bed companions" left.  As for myself, I haven't been tempted to "go native" yet.
          Tonight's movie was "The Cheaters" with Joseph Schildkraut.  Now here I am.
          Goodnight Darling, I'll see you in my dreams.

 Natives Doing Laundry


 Off Limits Village

Confused Days and Dates

There is no letter dated 22 November 1945. Lt. Steingart confused days and dates for several days during the week of Thanksgiving. He missed writing a letter one day, probably on Monday November 19.


Misdated--Thanksgiving was on Thursday 22, November 1945
Thursday, 21 November 1945, 9:45 PM
Dearest Eleanor,
          Today is Thanksgiving and though we are apart I feel we have plenty to be thankful for.  I took a run down to the ship.  Every time I go down there and see the wreckage and rubble, I marvel at the few casualties we suffered.  Anyway, in another nine or ten days I should have my orders and be on my way.
          Of all the officers on the ship, only two were regular Navy men.  Though we all wrote the bureau for orders, those two are the only ones who have received orders so far.  Maybe it's a coincidence but it looks to me like another case of favoritism.  For me it doesn't matter, but as for the others, it is a little hard to take.
          Tonight we had a turkey dinner with all the trimmings.  For dessert pie and ice cream.  Before chow the captain of this camp invited us all to the bar for drinks on him.  Candy, chocolate and cigarettes were passed around after dinner.  It was an excellent meal and reminded me of happier days on the Ocelot and at home.
          After chow we hopped into a jeep and drove down to the movies.  The picture was "The Great John L" a story about John L Sullivan, the pugilist.  Now we are back in our tent and getting ready to turn in.
          Next week is your birthday.  This time I really got caught short.  I remember how on different occasions I'd put off getting you something until the last minute and how provoked you'd get at me.  Well Sweet, I do hope that his time you'll forgive me if you don't receive anything from me on your birthday.  It just couldn't be helped.  Tell you what though: you know that coat you've been hoping for.  Well, when you get my claim check you can claim it as all yours.  The check should be a fair start for the coat you want.
          No more for now Darling, so I'll say goodnight.  Pleasant dreams my love.
Yours forever,

Wreckage and rubble

"Gook" Girls

Misdated--written either Tuesday 20 November or Wednesday 21 November

Wednesday, 20 November 1945, 10:20 PM
Dearest Eleanor,
          Hello Sweet, here I am again.  Today has been very uneventful except that I hit the jackpot in the mail.  I received five letters from you and one from my mother.
          I'm glad you got a nice watch for your birthday.  I do hope that the watch or the defective part can be replaced.  I can tell that you really like it and know you would be disappointed if it couldn't be duplicated.
          If Sol is returning to Okinawa and due back in the states on December 21, his ship may be in when I'm due to leave.  It would be quite a coincidence if I got to return home on his ship.  Wouldn't it?  I'll see what I can find out.
          This time everyone is wrong about getting back for release.  I've presented my request and my orders will be ready on the first.  The policy on this island is to send men back sixteen days prior to discharge, so I'm sure to be on my way in about ten days.
          I hope the check I sent you didn't get lost.  It was for $410 and could be replaced, but it would be a nuisance.
          Tonight's movie was a feature and three shorts.  The feature, "Mystery in the Caribbean," was fairly interesting.
          We got hold of a couple of "gook" (native) girls.  They are making white felt kimonos for Leslie and me. Of course it is all very good handwork.  However who am I to judge?
          I sent home a package with some souvenirs and the picture album.  Hope it gets home by the time I get back.
          That is all for now Darling.  Goodnight and pleasant dreams.

Gook Girls

Eleven More Days

Misdated--written on Monday 19 November or Tuesday 20th November

Tuesday, 19 November 1945, 8:30 PM
Dearest Eleanor,
          This morning a jeep was available so Leslie and I ran down to the ship.  Nothing in particular to do, but we did kill the morning.  Covered with dust, we got back at noon.  However after a good hot shower and change of clothes I felt fresh and clean again.
          I spent this afternoon just reading magazines and lounging around.  Had a few beers before dinner and after chow, we went to the movies. "Dangerous Partners" and a Nazi spy story.  Not too good. Now here I am.
          In eleven more days I'll pick up my orders and get underway for home. Once I get my orders, I hope there won't be any delay getting off Okinawa.  Most everyone gets transportation within a day or two.
          That is the dope for now.  Nothing more to write about.  Goodnight Darling and pleasant dreams.

The ship--USS Ocelot

Twelve More Days

Sunday, 18 November 1945, 10:40 PM
Dearest Eleanor,
          Twelve more days to go.  That is twelve more unless I get orders in the meantime.  This morning three of us got into a jeep and headed north.  We left at 8:30 and got back at 2:30.  We had to get special passes to make this trip as the place we went into is off limits to military personnel.  The country is very scenic and the natives are very friendly.  We even ran into a few that talked a kind of "pigeon" English.  We crossed to the west side of the island.  In one of the many bays we got a good look at the China Sea with several sunken Jap ships.  At noon we stopped and ate the "C" and "K" rations we brought along.
          When we got back I was hot, tired, and dirty from the dusty road, so I took a shower and read until chow time.  I'm reading Jessel's "To Help Me" and find it quite interesting and amusing.
          After chow we went to the movies and saw "Bring on the Girls."  When I saw it on the ship, I said it was the best musical I've seen out here.  I still think so. 
          When I got back to my tent I found your two letters dated the 9th and 10th.  I hope you know what you're doing about an office.  Kalichman's space is okay, but because of the necessary alterations the building won't rent without a lease.  Then again I don't have any equipment.  You asked about supply houses.  I dealt mostly with S.S. White, but also there are some independent houses that I did business with.  I intend to follow through with the independents before I finally decide on equipment.
          Vice-Admiral Denfield (head of the Bureau of Personnel and in charge of demobilization) will probably receive numerous letters about members of the Ocelot crew.  Even if it doesn't help me, the others deserve a break.  Anyway a little investigation as to how things are run out here wouldn't hurt him.
          That is thirty for tonight.  Goodnight Darling, can you wait another month more for me?

          Scenes from trip north