The Story Ends

December 2014

The Story Ends.  Early in 2015, I will launch a new blog.  It will chronicle my dad's service in the U.S. Navy from the time he volunteered for service. All the "Dearest Eleanor" letters will be published along with more photos, pertinent documents and memorabilia. 


On the advice of a preservation librarian, I'm scanning the actual letters.  I've completed the task for 180 of over 500 letters. 

Thank you for reading and commenting on this blog.  Posting has been a great pleasure. As a bonus, I have learned much about my parents and World War II.


Wishing all peace and love,
Linda Steingart Frumkes


Photo of me (Linda) and my sister Norma
Christmas 1944

90th Birthday



Saturday 29 January 1990

Friends and family gathered to celebrate Gil's 90th birthday. On the day of his actual birthday, he and his friend Sandy were on a trip around the world. His recollections don't jibe with the letters he wrote 55 years earlier. The story of the two typhoons had morphed into one. The following is a transcipt of conversation at the party:  

GIL:  January is a big month for me. I was born in January. Then in 1943 the navy called me, and I entered in January. Then in 1946 January, the navy was very very generous in allowing me to return to civilian life. January is a big month. Here I am in January again. If I'd waited another couple of days we'd be out of luck.  Anyhow. Maybe next year in January we can do it again.

GEORGE SEEDS JR.: Tell us a navy story.

GIL: No navy stories tonight

GEORGE SEEDS SR.: Tell us about the typhoon and how you got off the ship and all that kind of crap.

GIL: Navy typhoon.

DEBBY GINDOFF:  It's true.

GIL: It's a miserable story but you know we sailed from Leyte Gulf in the Philippines. We were  heading for Tokyo. Got to Okinawa. Something was the matter with the screw they said so we had to repair it.

QUESTIONER:  What kind of ship was it?

GIL: Well we were on

DEBBY:  A flagship.

GIL: A flagship? It was old freighter that had been converted to the flagship for the service squadron.  The damn thing  could go twelve knots when you had the thing wide open and then it would go for awhile and go phfft. We were under  repairs when we got the warning that we were having a typhoon heading for Buckner bay in Okinawa. Any ship that was able to get up steam they got out. Everyone who could get out got out.

We couldn't get out so we put anchors on one end of the ship and another anchor on the end of the ship. As the typhoon came in the anchors wouldn't hold.  We were torn lose. Then we started to go ahead. Anywhere the wind went we went.

They blew one way and other way.  Finally. The skipper knew, according to the charts, that a reef was there. So he figured we'd head up on the reef and we'd be  okay.  He headed up on the reef. The elements were not in favor of it, turned the ship around.  There we were sitting on a reef.  Every time the sea hit us we rolled back and forth .  Back and forth.

QUESTIONER:  Were you scared? Actually, I didn't know what was happening so I couldn't be scared.

GEORGE SR : Typical navy.

GIL:  This is not the end of the story.  The wind blowing blew in a little patrol vessel that had some depth charges.  The skipper of that ship wanted to get rid of the depth charges so he dumped them over the side.  And as our ship rolled back and forth, it rolled over and  it triggered one of the depth charges. That's not bad cause we're sitting on a reef.

The wind is still blowing and here comes an LSM (landing ship with troops on it) starts heading in and plows into the hole that was blown open and that cut us in half.

At that time the skipper called me up to the bridge and he said you and the medical doctor are abandoning ship and you are going over the side and going ashore so when casualties occur we'd be there.

I had on an old Mae West. I had to go down to the office. Got the medical records. Threw them over one shoulder and some other records over the other shoulder.

Went over to the rail and looked down.  There was a little raft big enough for 2 people.  The skipper wanted me and the medical officer to go down to that  raft. Well it was 60 feet down.  I had never gone down a line in my life.  I'll guarantee if you watched me you'd have said I'd been doing it my whole life. 

But anyhow as I started going down the ship  anytime the ship would roll over,  I'd look in at nothing but water.  When we got up I could see that raft again. Got down onto the raft.  This raft by some kind of a system they had they had shot a breeches buoy ashore and had raft tied to a line that was going to pull us to the shore, that was 100 yards or so.

The medical officer and I got into this was a foam raft with slats on the bottom.  They started bringing us in. Every time the sea would raise us up and put us down on the coral would work on the bottom. It didn't long before no bottom was left.  Our legs were hanging down in the cork raft.  Every time we went down we'd pick up more coral. The medical officer and I decided this is not a very good idea. So we got out of the raft, got a hold of the line and pulled us into the shore.

QUESTIONER: What happened to the boat?

GIL: Who knows? And that's my story.

DEBBY: Did you have any casualties to take care of afterwards? No casualties thank God.

Our ship was lined up with a whole bunch of ships that were all piled up together. the sailors were going from one ship to the next to get ashore. And I had a beautiful collection of seashells.  That was gone. Nothing else went.  This was something that appealed to the sailors, so they picked it up.

Anyhow. That's my story of being shipwrecked.

From Tribute to Gil Steingart
DVD (2003) by Verna Harvey Gindoff

Links to the original accounts of the two typhoons are below: 

TYPHOON IDA

Dearest Eleanor: World War II Letters: Typhoon Ida  http://steingart.blogspot.com/2014/09/typhoon-ida.html?spref=tw

TYPHOON LOUISE

Dearest Eleanor: World War II Letters: Shipwrecked http://steingart.blogspot.com/2014/10/shipwrecked.html?spref=tw

Dearest Eleanor: World War II Letters: The Gauge Went Out When the Wind Hit 130 Knots http://steingart.blogspot.com/2014/10/the-gauge-went-out-when-wind-hit-130.html?spref=tw

Dearest Eleanor: World War II Letters: Blow by Blow http://steingart.blogspot.com/2014/10/blow-by-blow.html?spref=tw





Return to Practice of Dentistry

After Thursday 20 June 1946
Guesstimate of date

Newspaper Clippings









Released at Midnight

Sunday 17 February 1946

Lt. Steingart's one month and 26 day leave expired at midnight. He was released from all active duty.

Dinner Dance

Sunday 6 January 1946
Guesstimate

Family Party at Earl Carroll's
Newspaper Clippings


"Earl Carroll's theater, 6230 Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood, California ... over the doors of the entrance Carroll had emblazoned the words "Through these portals pass the most beautiful girls in the world." An "entertainment palace", the glamorous supper club-theater offered shows on a massive stage with a 60-foot (18 m) wide double revolving turntable and staircase and swings that could be lowered from the ceiling ... Another major feature at the theatre was its "Wall of Fame", where many of Hollywood's most glamorous stars had inscribed personal messages on individual concrete blocks... mounted on an outside wall of the building."  Wikepedia





New Year's Eve

Monday 31 December 1945

New Year's Eve Photograph
 Eleanor and Gil 


Gay Holiday Party



Sunday 30 December 1945

Newspaper Clippings
Harry and Ruth Markowitz hosted a party for 250 guests 



Gay Evening

Friday 28 December 1945
Guesstimate of date

Excerpt from newspaper clipping


Photo probably at the Beverly Hills Hotel
From left to right: Eleanor, Gil, Libby Frug (Gil's sister), Nat Frug (Libby's husband), Deb Gindoff (Eleanor's sister), Dave Gindoff (Deb's husband) 



The Starlit Room in Hollywood opened in 1945 and featured cross dressing acts.


Christmas Gathering

Tuesday 25 December 1945

Newspaper Clippings

Christmas Dinner
and other parties




Linda and Norma in New Christmas Coats






Linda with Christmas Gifts



Linda and Norma together on backyard swing


Holiday Card




Telegram from Leon


Telegram from Leon to Eleanor.  Received 1945 DEC 10 PM 6 00

TB13
T.LF499 NL PD=WUX KN OAKLAND CALIF 10
MRS. GILBERT STEINGART=
          714 EUCLID AVE SANTA MONICA CALIF=

GILBERTS SHIP WILL ARRIVE IN SAN PEDRO ON THE SIXTEENTH SUNDAY WISH I COULD BE WITH YOU FOR THE HOME COMING LOVE TO LINDA AND NORMA=


          LEON..

On Way Home from Okinawa

Approximate Date
Sunday 9 December 1945

Newspaper Clipping

God Bless You Both

12 November 1945
Dear Linda and Norma,
          How are my big girls today?  Daddy is fine and is really trying and hoping to get home soon so that we can have a real, old fashioned "Merry Xmas" together.
          Bet it is getting quite cold now.  Be sure you are well dressed when you go out.  You must both keep well so that when I do get home we can go places and have lots of fun together.
          Goodnight now my darlings and God bless you both.
Love,
Daddy



Checkage

Saturday 22 December 1945

Orders Fifth Endorsement
Checkage

Affidavit

Orders Sixth Endorsement



Released

Friday December 21, 1945

Reported to Separation Center
and Released from Active Duty



Train Delayed

Wednesday 19 December 1945

Telegram to Eleanor
.S3996 9 TOUR=TW SANFRANCIECO CALIF 19 224F
MRS G STEINGART=
714 EUCLID ST SANTAMONICA CALIF=
TAIN DELAYED ARRIVE ON COASTER THURSDAY MORING AT 835=
GIL.
835.

Southern Pacific Train Assignment

Pullman Berth 





Orders


Tuesday 18 December 1945

Orders to proceed to Separation Center in Los Angeles

Telegram from Gil to Eleanor
S410 10=EUGENE ORG 18 230P
MRS G.STEINGART=
714 EUCLID ST SM=
WILL ARRIVE WENESDAY NITE AT TEN CHECK STATION FOR DELAY=
=GIL.


Southern Pacific Train Ticket 



Pullman Check was probably inside envelope




Portland, Oregon

Monday 17 December 1945 



USS Oconto (APA 187) arrived in Portland, Oregon

Orders

 Portland Hotel Club

Purchased Pullman Berth on train departing  from Portland to Martinez on December 18




Telegram from Anne Broudy

Sunday 16 December 1945


Telegram from Eleanor's cousin Anne Broudy, a school teacher, in Philadelphia.


S64 10+PHILADELPHIA PENN 16 1026A
MRS GILBERT STEINGART=
714 EUCLID AVE SM=

SO HAPPY ABOUT GILBERT HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ENTIRE FAMILY=
ANNE BROUDY.

Telegram from the Navy

Thursday 13 December 1945



Telegram to Eleanor from Navy. Received 1945 DEC 13 PM 3 16

Filed
S328 16 COLLECT=PORTLAND ORG 13 255P
E STEINGART=
714 EUCLID SM:
=OCONTO DUE PORTLAND EVENING 16 DECEMBER WILL REMAIN FOR VOYAGE REPAIRS FURTHER DESTINATION NOT KNOWN:
=NAVY PUBLIC  INFORMATION OFFICER



USS Oconto ( APA 187)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Oconto_(APA-187)

Dentist to Return

Approximate Date
Wednesday 12 December 1945

Newspaper Clipping