Ang is back on Corsica, for what it's worth in terms of flying enough missions so he can go home. He flies his 43rd mission on the 20th and "training flights" on the 28 and 29th. There are "stand downs" from the 22nd through the 30th. Betty attends Officers Wives meeting and dinners, receives one letter from Capri, the box of gifts from Rome, is busy working but her letters that arrived while Ang was at rest camp must have been expressing many concerns because he spends alot of time trying to reassure her about his health and well-being. He mentions that Betty's mother has been staying at a hotel, which Betty has not mentioned. I assume that was due to the crowded conditions in the apartment before they "got" another apartment in the building.
Ang introduces her to his friend Tom Cahill, whose mother lives in the Los Angeles area and encourages Betty to go visit her. She does visit and then in 2015, I met Tom's niece Michelle! More on Ang and Tom later. I've noted missions they flew together on the Crew Sheets under the Official Documents tab.
October 20. Very damp this A.M. Another strenuous day. To Officers Wives Club in evening. Nice time—bed by 12:30.
Form 5. C-20, Combat flight as navigator, B-25J, 2:45h
[Crew sheet under Official Documents tab.]
[FROM ANG'S FLIGHT LOG. MISSION #43.]
Canneto RR Bridge.
No flak. Hit bridge.
Led Group. Capt D.L. Glade Dozier Woolcott
[The 340th BG flew 4 missions this date. Ang's 486th BS flew this one. The 340th diary recorded: "For a record breaking day the formations participating scored 100% for bombing accuracy and bombing efficiency."]
[Letter, postmark, 10-22, stamped “Passed by Base Army Examiner” and taped closed on the side with tape “OPENED BY U.S. ARMY EXAMINER.”]
Well, here I am back at the old stand. One nice thing about coming back here—the mail situation. There were millions of letters—well, at least a dozen. It still hasn’t straightened out yet—the mail, I mean. Some of the letters were from the beginning of last month—and a few from this month. However they are coming in a hurry once again, thank goodness. One of your letters was dated October. 11.
Talking about that particular letter—I am enclosing the last paragraph you wrote to me. Tch, tch- honey you should read your letters over—that part sounds awful. However, as I’ve said, all your mail hasn’t caught up yet and perhaps that is why I don’t know why you only have one “redeeming thing in your favor.” Tch, tch!
I packed up all the presents today and will send them off tomorrow. Just to get them straight. The blouse—the picture frame and the pictures (two that I had taken on Capri)—the portrait (made in Rome) are yours. The round pin (The man said it was silver, but since he couldn’t talk well, probably meant silver plated—but we’re lucky if its actually tin—but, according to price, should be solid god—oh well, its nice looking anyway) is for your mother.
The sandals, the tam, and the little pin (it’s a couple of dogs—and boys shouldn’t wear pins, but I’ve got it and I had to send it to somebody—maybe Peg can wear it) is for Donny. I bought a pin for Peg—but I can’t find the damn thing. Don’t say anything to her, and if I can’t find it, I’ll get one for her the next trip I make someplace.
There are also a couple of stones from Tiberius’s castle (from the floor) for our private museum. I guess that’s all, but be careful what you throw away—I’ve got odds and ends all over the box.
I love you my darling—Love, Ang
October 21. Up about 9:00. Did some laundry & odds and ends in apt. Saw “Winged Victory” -- very good. Read all evening. 1:00
October 22. To 10:30 Mass. Sewed in afternoon. Had late dinner and wrote letters in evening.
[Letter, postmark 10-23-44]
I’ve been going thru your letters trying to find something to write about—and so I guess this letter is mostly going to be answering questions.
First of all—please don’t worry so much about me. I’m not really in such bad shape—and I’m sorry if I’ve given you that impressions. When I’m down in the dumps and let you know about it, I guess I just don’t realize how bad it sounds to you.
Really, honey, I’m really pretty well off over here—and its not half as bad as some people think. I’m about as contented as a person in my position can be. What I really miss is you. If I could only have you near me—or if I was in a position to see you once in a while—I would gladly sweat out the war right where I am.
As far as army life goes—we have the best little set-up in the world here. There is very little “C.S.”—and everybody from the Major on down is informal as hell. I have finally found a place where a Bombardier or Navigator is as, if not more, important than a pilot. With the exception of missions, no one cares what we do (hardly)—we wear what we want (no neckties—even in Rome—not even to see the Pope)—the shack is pretty nice and the food is good.
Now, knowing me, do you think I could be anything but satisfied with a situation like that. so, please, when I start bitching to you—don’t take me so seriously. I’m no worse off than when I was away at school or at Santa Ana. Believe me, there is only one thing that puts me down in the dumps—and that’s the fact that I miss you so darn much—but I always get over it—at least for awhile.
Now to the questions. Yes Bob Merkel is the one you are thinking about.
I won’t feel badly about Arne going home—in fact I’m as glad as I can be for him. It must be hell to have an unseen son.
I think it would be nice for you to help at the Service Club.
Please don’t send the Kleenex—my cold is completely gone.
The only mail I’m getting regularly is Time—but it may be because of the screwed up mail situation.
I didn’t know you hadn’t seen the snap of you and Donny—in fact I thought you were the one who sent me one of them—Oh well!
Its too bad your Mother has to stay at the hotel—but I guess it does give her more rest. Remind me to thank her for watching over my interest—going to the hotel instead of you. Tch, tch.
As far as my dreams “way over here”—I’ll keep them until I see you—they are not to much different. I really don’t think that I have changed much. I suppose whatever growing up was needed has happened—but nothing drastic. Don’t take too much stock in these “expert” magazine writers. Very few of us have turned in to “killers” at heart—we haven’t become the hardened characters they have painted us—and we haven’t lost our little dreams or forgotten the decencies of life. Don’t worry I won’t get “discouraged and morose.” And combat is not the “awful strain” its cracked up to be—its just to our advantage to let everyone, especially the Squadron doctors, think so—then we can get home sooner—ha!
The stove was made of 5 gallon [the word “gas” was scribbled out here] can—and it has very few “limitations” (the can I mean)—believe me!
I love you darling—Love, Ang
P.S. I took the pictures out of the box and am sending them in this letter—you’ll get them faster.
October 23. Had a wonderful letter from Ang today. He’s at Capri for a week. To movies in evening. Mr S for dinner. 12:00.
October 24. Cloudy today & rainy in evening. Very busy at office. Mr. L. out of town. Read papers in evening & some typing. 11:00
[Letter, postmark 10-25-44.]
Before I forget, please send me a list of address of all my correspondents. I’ve lost my little book, and I sure am in a hell of a shape. Also a list of dates—birthdays etc. Woe is me, I sure do get in the darnest predicaments.
That fellow Wheeler I told you might call on you just got back here—full of excuses why he didn’t see you. He came to the house and you weren’t home—etc. Oh well—some people are like that.
I don’t have to much to write about today, so I’m going to fill in space with a cute little poem I read in a magazine. Its something on the order of the ones Peg used to recite—I’m sure she’ll like this one--
Wabbits are a funny wace,
The way they act is a disgwace.
You’d be surprised if you but knew
The awful things that wabbits do--
And often, too.
Cute, isn’t it?
We haven’t had any mail for a few days—the mail situation is sure in a mess. I haven’t even heard from Bud in a long time. Such is life.
I know this is a rotten letter darling—but I’m just completely out of anything to write about. I’m sorry.
I do love you very dearly, sweetheart—Love, Ang
October 25. Rather warm today—very uncomfortable. Another busy day at office - sure am tired. Wrote letters & did laundry.
October. 26. Dashed home from work and down to Rowena’s. Ang’s things arrived from Rome. Wonderful. Bed late.
[Letter, postmark 10-26-44]
Well, I’ve just finished writing three letters—Schrickers, Falls, & Kay. Theirs are the only letters I have with return addresses. In case someone bitches about my writing—please explain the circumstance. I sure get in the darnest messes. Oh yes, I also have Wally’s address—so I’ll drop him a line.
The weather is typical Chicago weather—you know the kind that makes you want to tear your hair out by the roots and scream. Oh well, the sack feels all the better for it.
Your mail is coming thru in 9-10 days again—glory be. However a lot of the back mail hasn’t reached here yet. for example, I have no acknowledgment that you know about the money I sent in. Just in case I’ll mention it once more—1900.00 bucks in two months.
Since then I’ve written a check for two hundred—and I’ll have to write another for 100 to pay off some debts. I guess that’s got it straight.
I’m sorry honey, I just can’t get a decent letter off in weather like this—I just can’t think of anything except that I love you very, very much—Love, Ang
October 27. Very warm today. Everyone thrilled with things from Rome. No mail! Wasted evening. Mrs Lewis in.
October 28. Alone in office today & very busy. Did some shopping - sure tired. Mr S for dinner. Peg & I home alone in evening. Bed 11:00
Form 5. T-28, Training flight as navigator, B-25J, 2:00h
[As noted, there were stand downs for weather at the end of October. But if the weather on Corsica allowed, they flew practice or training missions.]
[Letter, postmark 10-29-44]
Before I forget, and I have been forgetting for over a week, I want to give you an address and phone no. in L.A.
Mrs. Mary W. Cahill
2949 ½ Van Buren Pl.
Telephone Parkway 4294
That’s the mother of one of my buddies over here—and I thought you might like to get in touch with her. If she and his sister are as nice as he is—you should like them very much.
He is a bombardier—a lead bombardier—and we’ve flown together a few times. We were together at Capri too. When he found out that you were in L.A. he insisted that I ask you to call his home and go over and see them when you can. He says the “J” car will take you within a block of the house—just get off at Van Buren Pl. you might enjoy a visit with them—cry on each other shoulders or something—and maybe they can show you a few things about L.A. His name is Tom—she calls him Tommy. He’ll write to her about you. I hope you get along—because he’s really a swell kid.
One of my original enlisted men—Slocum, the radio man had a bunch of pictures developed and gave me a batch of them—and they are really beauties. However they all have planes for backgrounds and I don’t know how many, if any, the censor will let me send. I’ll see him tomorrow and see, however don’t be disappointed—I can always bring them home.
I’m not really as thin as those snaps indicated—I’m far from slim and I’m putting on a little weight again (woe is you).
I love you honey—Love, Ang
Undated photo of a seemingly random mix of people of various ranks and jobs. Posting it here because it shows Ang with several people he's mentioned, particularly Tom Cahill. Cahill is 2nd from left, top row. Ang is also in top row. Written on back: Anderson #2, Barnard, Savard, Marty, Nomland, Anderson #1 // Snoggles, Cahill, Faith, Whited, Me [Ang], Vail, Hoschar, Reagen.
October 29. To early Mass --slept all PM. Caught a cold somewhere and feel pretty awful. Wrote couple letters and bed 10:30.
Form 5. T-29, Training flight as navigator, B-25J, 2:15h
[Letter, postmark 10-31, so probably misdated]
8/29/44 [probably misdated] Corsica
I haven't seen the censor about those pictures yet--but I will tomorrow--so help me!
There are a couple of boys leaving for the states one of these days--and they both swore they'd stop in to see you (they live in L.A.) — so you ought to see one of them so don't be surprised if they pop in one day.
One is Wells Morris (that's in the right order) and the other is Art Nomland. Wells is unmarried and lives with his folks in L.A. and Art is married and plans to spend his leave in L.A. — they're both good pals and ought to give you a lot of poop---maybe even enough to satisfy your curiosity.
Another fellow may pop in if he gets out that way--his name (last) is Carroll--his first name is Garnett so call him Carroll--if you get what I mean. He's a bombardier (lead) and just about my best buddy over here. I'm sure you'll like him— he reminds me an awful lot of Frankie. He swears that his main ambition is to date you up---so don't give him too much opposition — it will do you good to get out — with him I mean — so don't get me wrong--see! I flew most of my missions with him so he ought to give you plenty of poop.
Boy it seems like everybody is going home. I'm really getting to be an old timer around here. I'm seeing them come and go. If only they hadn't put me in the lead and left me on the wing ship with Arne I'd be finished now too. Ah well, such is life — its happened so often that it so longer hurts so much when I see one of them head for the states.
I guess it's supposed to be an honor to be in the lead and it is true that you ride with the best, most experienced and safest pilots and we ride in a jeep while the other boys ride trucks----but! That was supposed to be sarcasm---but I should be ashamed of all my bitching---look at poor Frankie and others. If only Christmas wasn't so close I wouldn't mind.
Did I tell you I got a bunch of your boxes---thanks a lot for them. That was a clever idea hiding that bottle in the cracker box - but it almost backfired. I put the box in my suitcase so the mice couldn't get at it and started on the other box. It was week before I opened the box and found it. It's a good thing I didn't decide that I had too many crackers and to give a box of them away. Honey you're as clever as you are sweet and I love you very much.
I still haven't got the camera or the cigars but I guess they'll come through one of these days. I hope! I hope I get that camera before I finish my missions and miss some beautiful shots.
I love you darling—Love, Ang
October. 30. Stayed home from work today and in bed too. Feel much better - although still whoozy.
[Letter, postmark 11-1-44.]
Its taken me a full half an hour to get from the salutation to this first sentence. I sat here trying to figure out what to write—and it did me almost as much good as having a long, long talk with you.
It struck me that writing a long letter and pouring out my heart to you produced the same effect. You never said much in those talks—just tactfully drew me out and made me feel as if I knew what I was talking about. Its almost the same in a letter—and maybe that’s why I can write a better letter to you than to anyone else. Also, that’s another of the thousands of reasons that I love you so much. You’ve been handing out compliments so lavishly about me being the best husband in the world, that, since I haven’t yet called you the best wife in the world, (in a letter) an outsider would think something was wrong. I just take it for granted that you know that I know that you are. I suppose that is one of my failings in trying to be the best—taking so many things for granted, I mean. That is also the difference between us—I try to be the best husband and you are the best wife. I love you so very much darling.
I suppose that all sound very much as if I’m in the dumps and being philosophical (I wish that dictionary would get here) but on the contrary I feel very good—much better than the past few weeks.
Honey, I’ve turned into quite a bitcher lately, haven’t I/ (Its allright—the word bitch is quite respectable now—“Time” uses it every week) I’ve just been thinking over some of the letters I sent you and they must have sounded awful. I guess it sounded as if I were turning into the type of man I despise the most (“Waaaa, I want my mama” type).
I’m really not—at least I hope not! I really feel pretty good—and with the exception of getting pretty restless when I don’t have anything to do—I do quite well for myself. Its just when I start writing to you, you are, naturally, a little more in my thoughts than during the rest of the day. Well, I start missing you more and more and pretty soon I’m pouring out my misery to you. Believe me honey, its never as bad as it sounds, so don’t take it too much to heart. Its just something to prove my great love for you than anything else. (That sure sounds gooey)
Really, darling, except for a few short periods, I’m pretty doggone happy and contented and consider myself very lucky when I think of others. So please don’t fret about me. After all we should bellyache because I have to stay overseas for 9 or 10 months when there are thousands who are wondering if they might get home after 3 or 4 years.
Yesterday I got a whole bunch of letters — last months — Sept 18—20th—etc. It sure was funny reading it after getting about 20 of this months letters. Oh well, such is war and mail for the duration.
Before I start on anything else, I got last months bank statement. If I remember correctly, the balance was 2016 dollars or thereabouts. I’ll send it on tomorrow. I don’t know why they sent it to me. I did ask them for a statement of balance but I didn’t think they’d send me the regular statement. Anyway, they evidently got all the money—so everything is O.K.
You sure seemed worried in last months letters—about the money I mean. You probably have white hair by now from worrying. Just like I always said, money brings nothing but troubles, but it sure is nice to have troubles like that, eh what?
Don’t worry, honey, I’m not exactly a baby about money. I’ve lost money in my time, but I never carry enough around with me to really make a dent. As far as checks go, I’ve only got two left in my checkbook and I’m hoarding them. (I’ve used the others as scrap paper—making notes etc.)
You also seemed quite worried about all my drinking. Really, honey, its not as bad as it may sound. In fact, I’m considered a very moderate drinker around here. I doubt if I’ve been really drunk twice in all the time over here—and that would be a pretty good average even in the states. Five or six times a month (when the[y] get American whiskey) I go over to the club and have a few drinks—that’s not really so bad is it. As I’ve said before don’t take everything I say too seriously—remember that imagination of mine. I’m not, in any way, acting any worse than I did in the states, and I doubt that anyone there considered me a drunker or a rounder.
Now to get to my cigar smoking. We are rationed to three cigars a week—and I smoke them—just as I usually eat some of the rationed candy even if I don’t especially care for it. That’s about the way I feel about the cigars. The only reason I asked you for a box, was so that I could pass them out for my promotion. You have my permission to tell anyone that plans to send me some more that I don’t need any more. I promise you that I won’t stain my pearly white teeth with that nasty cigar chewing.
Now that I have so staunchly defended my character, I’d better go on to more material things. By the way, I don’t mean to be sarcastic and I’m not angry or even slightly perturbed—I just wanted to set the record straight so maybe you wouldn’t worry so much.
I got your mothers Christmas present today—the identity bracelet. I’ll write her a thank-you note tomorrow—it was very nice of her and I certainly do appreciate it.
I kind of pulled boner as far as the Falls are concerned. I wrote a nice long letter advising him to stay home and stay out of the army as long as he could—and then I get Is’ letter that you sent saying that he was as good as in. Oh well!
I got the Tribune “Wake” book and also the other one—Thanks, hon! I also appreciate all the clippings that you send me—especially about U. of Ill. It looks like our team is doing pretty well this year.
I have been sending all my packages first class mail—they shouldn’t take too long to get to you.
Well, hon—I think I’ve done quite well—about the longest in ages. As I said its almost as good as talking to you. I love you very much—Love, Ang
October 31. Went to work today and felt pretty good. Very dark day and drizzled in evening. To Off. Wives dinner and had real nice time. Bed 11:30.
Ang is sent to "rest camp" on Capri whether he needs it or not. The two letters he writes during that time are wonderful travelogues -- one written "half-drunk" and the other written "much soberer." He gets pretty mushy (or "gooey" as he phrases it) and mentions hearing "Night and Day" which we all grew up knowing as "Their Song." Betty, as always, is working. "They" get the apartment up the hall from them and move her sister and nephew to that apartment.
Form 5, A-12, Administrative flight as navigator, B-25J, 1:20 [flight to Capri?]
Thursday. October 12. Up about 8:30—Straightened house—then downtown with Donny & Peg. What a time. Napped in P.M. Ate dinner out. More about apt.
October 13. Sure was tired this morning. No mail since Tuesday! Worked hard again today. Packed a couple of boxes for Ang. Bed 11:00.
October 14. Alone in office today. Got our checks. Shopped for Peg. Bought some black crepe. Mr. S for dinner. Peg and I to movies.
October. 15. Sure didn’t get much done today. Cut out black jumper. We got the apt up the hall too. To bed at 11:00.
[Letter, postmark 10-16-44]
“Somewhere” on the Isle of Capri
Get that “Somewhere” will you? No matter where you are on this island—you’re everywhere. Its at least eight miles long and two wide—a tremendous place!
Don’t mind me if I sound a little jerky—I’m half drunk right now—but its still daytime and I’ve got lots of time yet to get completely plastered. I have to get that way to keep from going completely nuts.
Boy, what a place to send a man for a rest—especially a man like me. Its not so bad in the daytime—there is plenty of things to do to keep busy—Boating, swimming, fishing—sightseeing etc.
But, oh honey, the nights drive me completely crazy—this is the most “romantically” island in the world. Our hotel is halfway up on a mountain—and the view is wonderful—the sea on all sides—the mountains around us—oh well!
The hotel itself is very nice—good rooms—pleasant dining room (with music)—lovely dance hall—and a gorgeous garden outside of it. You sit there listening to the music until it brings back old memories of home and you—and then go into the garden to get away from it. Pretty soon the scenery (the wine helps too) sets the imagination running wild. The music drifts out and pretty soon I had no trouble picturing you sitting next to me.
About that time I start cussing myself out—and storm out of the hotel to get away from it all. Then I start walking—up and down all these little vine covered paths (the grapes are all off of them now). Ever so often the vines open up and you can see the moon and the sea. Then I remember how much you loved to stroll with me and—and oh hell, whats the use! Its inhuman, that’s what it is. The whole place was built up as a honeymoon resort—and it just stinks with love and romance. Again I say its inhuman to send a lovesick joker like myself to a place like this. Even Hitler wouldn’t do it.
You’ll have to excuse me now for a while—I’ve got to go out and take a boat ride. I’ll finish up when I get back--
- - - - - -
I’m back! Oh, my poor stomache. The water was rough and—oh well, just use your imagination. They took us all around the island—and now there is a plainly marked trail of spag & meatballs (my lunch) all around. What a mess—so help me—I’ll never take another drink—at least not until they fish my stomache out of the bottom of the sea and give it back to me.
- - - - - -
In case you didn’t notice it, there was a short pause while I read over the letter—Gooey, wasn’t it? How anybody can write like that—even when drunk—well! However, its too much work to tear it up and start over again so I’ll send it on. I guess it doesn’t hurt to get “romantical” once in while. However, if you show or read that stuff to anyone—you might as well put in the divorce papers at the same time—so there!
It really is quite an island though—and it does get under one’s skin after a while. I know I’d give anything I have to have you here to spend my week with me. There are so many things that you would love to see—and I can just picture the enjoyment you would get out of a place such as this—well, that’s what gets me. Then just as if you were standing in front of me, I can see that happy, satisfied look cover over your face as we’d sit in that garden and talk until the wee hours.
Wow, I’d better stop this stuff, or have us both in tears. Phew, I haven’t carried on like that since the first years that we dated and used to sit on the stairs. There I go again. I said I was going to stop—and I am, From now on its going to be very impersonal.
We really do have a pretty good time here. The Red Cross organizes quite a full schedule for the day—Boating, Fishing, snack bars, movies, and dances (4-5 Red Cross girls and 3-4 nurses —- 3 - 400 men).
And that reminds me—I have a confession to make. It all happened last night. I put my arm around her and clasped her to my bosom. We swayed backwards, forwards, and then sideways. I felt fingernails dig into my back, and then a masculine voice said “May I cut in?”
Pretty cute, eh? Its not mine though, one of the other drunks thought it up last night. What wine can do to a person—it even made me dance—all three steps. That’s when I was really high—but the next number played was “Night and Day”, and that took all the poop out of me.
I’d better close now—I’ve done quite well. I’m sorry that I neglected you the last couple of days—but I wasn’t in condition to do much writing.
I love you sweetheart—Love, Ang.
Damn it, I miss you!
October. 16. Had 3 letters from Ang today - finally. And some snaps too. Worked hard today. Out to USO in evening. Bed 11:00
October 17. Cooler today. Same sort of day at office. Another letter from Ang. Did laundry and ironed in evening.
[Letter, postmark 10-18-44]
On the Isle of Capri
Here I am again—still on the Isle but much soberer than when I last sat down to write. I guess I just wasn’t built to be a drinking man—at least not a constant drinker—my stomache won’t take it.
I guess I gave you most of the poop about the place in my last letter. We manage to keep busy, and somewhat enjoy ourselves. Yesterday, I went swimming, and then fishing in the afternoon. I’m quite a fisherman—I caught three fish. Of course one of them was kind of small, but the other two were big bruisers—at least three inches long—ha! In the evening we go to a show (real, upholstered chairs) and after watch the few dancers and listen to the music until the snack bar opens at eleven—have a snack and a drink or two and head for the sack.
In between we just stroll all over the island window shopping and observing the sights. There are hundred of little shops on the island. The people, I guess have always made a living out of the tourist trade—and therefore they practically all own a little shop or else work for the hotels.
Another funny thing—there are no roads as such—just little paths between the buildings—few of them more than five or six feet wide. Even after four days we are still discovering new paths and new shops by accident. We turn into a little opening that looks like a miniature path to the back of the house and it turns out to be one of the main “streets”.
Also all the hotels are up on the mountain sides—and how they ever got materials enough up here to build these large, modern hotels is a mystery to me—but here they are.
The way we get up here is by a “funicolare” (I thought that would get you.) It’s a combination elevator and streetcar—and a Rube Goldberg creation. Its built on a slant to fit the incline—I’d better draw a picture.
Its not run by electricity, by coal or anything else. There are two cars with a cable holding them together—one at the top and one at the bottom. When ready, the man at the top releases his brakes and starts down—and the cable draws the other one up. Simple, eh what?
There’s quite a bit to see on the island. The other day we went out to see the Blue Grotto. It's just a cave in the cliffs bordering the water. Not much except except the blue color the water has. If anybody could ever bottle that blue—he’d make a fortune. Its really out of this world—or something.
Also we visited Tiberius’s ruins. He was some goofy Roman Emperor that was afraid of his shadow and built a castle at the top of the mountain to be safe. It’s a big place—and proves that the Romans were hep to the art of living—20-30 rooms—gardens—swimming pool etc. The old geezer even had a private jail where he tossed his women when they talked back. If they still carried on, he just casually pushed them over the cliff. Maybe he wasn’t so goofy after all.
I guess that just about covers the island—should even satisfy your curiosity.
I’ve done a little shopping—but not to much. In spite of all the little shops, they really don’t have much to offer—they all carry the same stuff—which isn’t much. And even as much of a sucker as I am—won’t pay the prices they ask for some of their stuff. Besides it’s a problem to decide what to buy and for who. Every time I decide to buy something for one of the young-uns—I remember that there are about two dozen of them around so I give up. However I did get a few little items for Donny—a tam and a pair of sandals—he can use them when he awakes and has to go to the bathroom—ha!)
I also bought you a blouse for your birthday—real cute I think. You’ll probably have to buy a whole outfit to go with it—so go ahead and consider it your birthday present.
I haven’t bought anything for our two mothers yet, but don’t worry I’ll get around to it.
By the way, I cashed a check for two hundred before I came here, and I’ll probably have to bite into the account for another hundred. As I’ve said things cost a lot around here.
Boy, I’ve gone on a writing jag on the last two letters to you—imagine—six pages.
I love you darling---Love Ang
October. 18. We sure have been busy at office. Moved Peg and Donny tonight. Sure am tired & my legs hurt. Bed 10:30.
October 19. Another busy day at office—ugh! Bought some papers and stuff for Ang. Nothing much in evening. To bed about 10:30.
The good news about October 1944 is that Ang got some R & R — another day in Rome, and then a trip to Capri. The bad news was that the weather caused many stand downs. Some days it was bad on Corsica and other days over their targets. And so even when he was on Corsica, they weren’t flying many missions. The 340th Bomb Group only flew on 11 of the 31 days. Ang flew on two of his 486th squadron’s seven missions. On October 10th he writes that he thinks the flight surgeon thinks he’s “flak-happy” because he appears restless and jumpy. Ang tells Betty it’s because he’s bored, not because he needs R&R. If Catch-22 is applied, then perhaps he was, in fact crazy for wanting to fly more. If you think you're crazy and ask to be grounded, then you're not really crazy. But if you wanted to fly more missions because you're bored, then you must be crazy. Sounds like Catch-22 and time for rest camp.
Sunday October 1. Late Mass - did a lot of odds and ends around house. Had late dinner. Washed hair and wrote some letters. Bed 11:30.
Form 5. A-1, Administrative flight as navigator, B-25J, 2:05h [probably to Rome.]
October 2. Just worked half a day. Peg and Donny arrived home and we met them. Mr S here for dinner. Big to-do about his auto. Bed 11:00.
October 3. Worked pretty hard today. Turned rather warm in P.M. Did some laundry and wrote letters after B. Hope. Bed 10:30.
Form 5. C-3, Combat flight as navigator, B-25J, 2:55h
[FROM ANG'S FLIGHT LOG. MISSION #42]
Cameri RR Bridge
Heavy, Moderate & accurate.
2 ships holed.
[I don't have any "extra" information on this mission, but the 340th BG diary recorded the following: "Though many ships were badly shot up, some
flights having all ships holed, fortunately all returned safely. The missions were both very successful." The 486th BS diary recorded: "Another bridge mission - 100% accuracy yet the bridge escaped. Just one of those things."]
[Letter, postmark 10-4-44.]
I’m sorry for not writing the last couple of days—but I’ve been a little busy. Took another short holiday in Rome (one day) Didn’t do much—had a couple of good meals—a hot shower—a few drinks—and had a portrait (pencil) made of me I think its pretty good—I’ll send it on one of these days.
I’m enclosing a couple of small snaps in this letter. They should give you an idea of what our shack is really like—although we have closed it in for the winter now. Its too bad the mountains don’t show up in that one snap—they really are beautiful. In fact it’s a wonderful location—mountains to the rear and the sea to the front.
What do you think of our sign in front of operations—cute, eh? There certainly isn’t anything modest about us. The colonel actually takes it seriously though—says he can prove it. General Eaker sent him congratulations a few weeks ago—and told him that we were doing better now than even the B-26 groups in the theatre. And, as the colonel points out, the B-26’s had the record of being the most accurate bombers in the world. So, as he again will point out modestly, that puts the B-25’s on top. And then, with a blush of modesty, he will point to a great big chart on the wall which shows our group has all the other B-25 groups beat hollow. Two and two equal four—and that makes us the “The Best Damn Group There Is.”
He isn’t too far wrong though—even I must admit we’re pretty hot. We have really been running up a record lately for bombing accuracy.
I got a letter from Capt. Cots. He’s in France now, but he had been on Corsica—Its too bad I didn’t find out about him sooner. Oh well, such is life.
I love you sweets—Love, Ang
October 4. Not a thing new today. Work is rather heavy right now. Mother out to War Housing but nothing so far. Bed by 11:00.
[Letter, postmark 10-6-44]
I finally got a bunch of mail today—six letters and four of them from you—9th, 10th, 11th & 13th. It certainly takes a long time for them to reach me now. We hadn’t gotten much mail for over a week—and some damn fool started a rumor that a plane had gone down in the water with about 170 sacks of the island’s mail. Boy, you should have seen the faces around here. Oh, hum—such is war!
Really honey—you’re giving more excuses in your letters than even I do for not writing. I haven’t noticed—but if you’ve been a bad girl and not writing regularly you’ve luckily picked the right time. The mail is such a mess now—that I don’t know which letters I get—or what. If you know what I mean.
I guess I never did mention my boots—did I? I bought them in Natal, Brazil—and I sure am glad I did. They are very comfortable and easy to get in and out of. They’re just about worn out now and I use them mostly for “bed room” (get that) slippers. I wish I had bought 3 or 4 pairs.
“In solid with the wheels” is a new air corps expressions. “Wheels” are the big shots—“C.O.s” etc—and the expression means that you are on very good terms with the big shots.
You’ll have to pardon the writing—the sun has disappeared behind the hills—and I’m practically writing this in the dark.
I’m glad you liked the pictures I sent you—I did look rawthar air corpish in that one—didn’t I?
You’ll have to excuse my stopping now—but my eyeballs are hanging out trying to see what I am writing—and that hurts. Besides the boys are screaming for another poker player. By the way, It looks like my luck has turned this month. I’m not losing anything—but I’m certainly not winning. Oh well!
I love you, hon---Love, Ang
October 5. Coolish today—worked like a demon. Heard from Ang—since Monday. Wrote letters in evening. To bed by 11:15.
[Letter, postmark 10-7-44]
Well, I did me duty yesterday—I voted. My ballot came in yesterday so I went over and got it over with. Really, a very painless operation—besides it did me good to vote against a couple of my pet peeves that are in Congress. It really is surprising how seriously all the boys are taking this election—far more so than most civilians. If the bull sessions around here mean anything—Roosevelt and the democrats are in by a landslide in the Squadron. There are only two Republicans among all the officers—and you should see them take a beating in the bull sessions (I guess that’s the way its spelled).
The world series games are shortwaved to us every night—and it sure sounds funny to hear a ball game broadcast around 10P.M. Everything seems backwards.
I went to a movie last night—Red Skelton in “I Dood It” The picture was funny enough, but the way it was shown was even funnier. The man running the machine must have been new—because he sure screwed things up. When the picture first started it flashed on upside down—and I guess he didn’t notice because he left it on for about a minute. When the first reel was over, he put on the 3rd instead of the second and off we went. Then he went completely screwy and tried out 3 – 4 different reels before he found the right one. We saw parts of newsreel—a comedy—and a picture on social diseases before he finally got straightened out. Ho hum—I wonder where he got his bottle.
I also got an application from the U. of I. for those extension courses I wrote for. They don’t offer much of a variety—and I really don’t know what to take. It would be to difficult to get materials for a Economics or Acct. course over here. I guess I’ll take some of the easier course[s]—probably Business Letter Writing and maybe a course in Math or some science. I’ll decide one of these days. The[y] cost a lot more than I thought—15 to 30 dollars a course. Oh well, that’s not too much.
Arne has taken off for Cario [Cairo] on a rest trip. Its supposed to be quite a place—and I guess I’ll head that way one of these days. I told you that he had more missions than I had—well he’s got 60 now—and with luck he should be bouncing the young-un on his knee by Christmas.
I love you honey—Love, Ang
[The 1944 World Series was played in St. Louis, where Betty had lived for some years of her childhood and where some family still lived in 1944 (and still live in 2016). Here's a link to an interesting blog that talks about the series. http://launiusr.wordpress.com/2010/12/06/the-great-st-louis-streetcar-world-series-of-1944/]
October. 6. Six months today since Ang left. Ah me. Worked like a demon at the office. Peg and I to movies—bed about 12:30
October. 7. My day off [Saturday]. Did odd jobs in A.M. To meeting of wives at U.S.O. Read papers and wrote letters in evening. Dead tired.
[Letter, postmark 10-9-44]
I sent in my application to the U. of I. today—I figured I might as well get started before I changed my mind. I finally settled for two courses in Rhetoric. Neither one of them require much more than a lot of writing—and I always find time for a lot of that. It was the two easiest courses I could find—naturally! I hope I can dig up a dictionary somewhere.
By the way, they want a photograph of me for their files. I told them you would send it—so please get it off as soon as possible. Mention my name and the reason for it.
Division of University Extension
University of Illinois
an old one will do—just so they can see my face fairly clear.
This is just like starting college all over again—I wish I’d started sooner. Its going to be plain murder if I ever take a Econ. or Acct. course—I’ve forgotten most of it. Ah well!
I’m sweating out the mail now—it should be in soon, and I hope there’s plenty for me.
The weather is p.p. around here in the winter. Its very much like Chicago’s—and you know what that means. Poor Charley takes a beating—his side of the shack leaks like a sieve—right on his bed. You should hear him screaming in the middle of the night when it starts raining—Ha!
I love you darling—Love, Ang
October 8. To early Mass—and Communion. Did a little sewing & ironing. Read in afternoon. Had late dinner. to bed by 11:00.
October 9. Worked like a demon today. Golly we were busy. Donny got his first shots and was a little cross. Poor baby. Bed 11:00
October 10. Didn’t get much accomplished at the office today. Bot some things for Donny after work. Listened to radio—Bed by 11:30
[Letter, postmark 10-12-44]
Don’t mind me if I sound a bit crabby in this letter. I haven’t flown or done a darn thing for over ten days—and I’m slowly but surely going nuts. You know how restless I get when I don’t have anything to do.
I noticed the flight surgeon observing me lately—and usually that means a rest period. I certainly hope not—I’ve tried to tell him that what I need is some work and not rest—but he doesn’t seem to believe me. You know how jumpy and restless I get when there is nothing to do—it certainly isn’t a sign that I’m getting flak-happy. Ah well, such is life.
If I do go to rest camp—I hope its to Cairo, Egypt (I hope that’s the way its spelled.) I always did want to climb a camel and besides they say that there is plenty of American whiskey there. By the way, leave plenty of money in the bank, because if I go there it costs plenty of money and I’m just about broke.
By the way hon, I sent you the receipt for $200.00 that the bank sent me—I imagine that’s the one that is worrying you. It should have been included in last months statement. I will repeat once more—I sent the bank $1900.00 in the last two months—I hope it all gets there.
I love you darling—Love, Ang
October 11. Usual day at office—worked hard in P.M. Bought green wool suit after work. No mail—bed about 11:00. Off tom.
Joni Adams Sesma, daughter of Angelo and Elizabeth Adams. Ang served on Corsica with the 57th Bomb Wing, 340th Bomb Group, 486th Bomb Squadron. April 1944-April 1945.