August 19-24, 1944. "Lucky Streak"
When I wrote about my Dad for his funeral booklet (which you can read under the About tab) I described him as a card player, among other things. By August 1944 he's mentioned playing poker several times, mostly as a way to kill time. But here in August, he talks about his "Lucky Streak" and starts sending money home to Betty. This money became the stuff of legend in our family. In the end, I estimate that he sent $2500 to $3000 by the time he returned home.
He also sent home some "foreign money" in one of his four letters from August 19-24th..
Betty's schedule is as usual but she notes that she received the snapshots Ang sent and that she received his letter with the news about his promotion.
In his 8-23 letter, we get a glimpse of Ang's experience of would come to be called "Catch-22" which in Joseph Heller's novel requires them to follow all rules, even contradictory rules and even if they have fulfilled the previous version of a rule. Also, if you think you're crazy and ask to be grounded, then you're not really crazy. He tells Betty he may have to fly up to 70 missions, depending on "what kind of act I can put on for the doc about that time." The increased number of required missions is mentioned in the August 20th entry of the 340th BG diary. There was some "grumbling" about this new order.
Saturday, August 19. Didn’t work worth a darn today. Home and then out to Rowena’s. For dinner & home late. Martha over. 12:30
Form 5. C-19, Combat flight as navigator, B25-J, 3:55h
[Crew sheet is under Official Documents tab.]
[FROM ANG'S FLIGHT LOG. MISSION #27.]
Montfaucon Road Bridge.
1. Center hit
2. North end hit
Heavy, Mod. & Acc.
3 ships holed.
[Letter. notepad paper. Postmark 8-20-44]
8-19-44 No dateline
Gee whiz, baby, did I hit he jackpot yesterday. I hadn’t got any mail for a couple of days—but I didn’t expect a deluge like that. Eighteen letters and 5 packages—imagine that. Letters from you—Jen—the folks—Brother and Uncle John (Giovanni he signs it)—and practically everybody else. Boy, oh boy.
Several of your letters were long ones—and all complaining of my not answering your questions—so here I go down the line as I got them.
1. Yes, I am keeping up on my letter writing—in fact I’m doing so well I even surprise myself.
2. Charley Vail is one of the navigators—and my housemate.
3. You don't have to worry about my getting tight too often. Its just a method of relaxing and every Flight Surgeon will recommend it..
4. “Lead missions” means leading a box of planes to and over a target.
5. I have 26 missions now.
6. Yes I have been getting your packages—lots of them. I sure do appreciate them.
7. The doctors came to the conclusion that I had a fever—period. That’s all that was wrong with me—Thank God!
8. My interest in Kay’s living in a trailer was very impersonal. You should know better than to think I had any ideas.
9. I have been getting some of your letters in 8-9 days—how have mine been arriving.
10. Yes—I have been to Earl Carrolls—I enjoyed the Bar Ritz more. And what did you mean by “and that’s the last time I go out with a bunch of women.”
11. I hope you have no troubles finding the Wheelers. The initials are D.V.
I’m sorry if my method of answering questions looks a little abrupt—I don’t mean it to be. I really did owe you a lot of answers and it was the best way of answering.
I’m sorry if I don't answer all your questions—but really there is an awful lot I can't talk about. You’ll just have to restrain your curiosity until I hit home base again. Then I’ll talk to your hearts desire—honest!
Please excuse me now darling—I want to answer boco letters or I’ll never get around to them.
I love you my darling—and I am hurrying—Love, Ang
August 20. Tom and I to Mass. Just read all day. Had a late dinner and then to movies with family. To bed about 11:00.
August 21. Warm again. Ugh. Got some snaps in Ang’s letter today. Sure good to see him. Made some cookies. To bed about 11:00.
Form 5. C-21, Combat flight as navigator, B25-J, 2:10h
[Crew sheet under Official Documents.]
[FROM ANG'S FLIGHT LOG. MISSION #28.]
Parma (W) RR Bridge.
[Letter. Postmark 8-22-44]
8-21-44 [no dateline]
I got your Aug 10 letter today—and I was glad to notice that you seemed to be in a very good mood. To keep you that way—I have a little surprise for you. I’m sending $500.00 (that’s right—five hundred dollars) to Fort Sam for our account.
I’ve had a lucky streak this mo—but I haven’t said anything for fear my luck would turn and you might become slightly peeved if my “earnings” disappeared. I did promise myself that I would send it off if my earnings reached the five-hundred mark. The last two nights pushed them well above that mark so today I tooled over the the post office—and here it comes. I’m not saying how much that “well above” is—just in case! If that hits the five hundred mark though I’ll send that too. However, I’m about due for a little trip to Rome—and that “well above” should just about cover it.
I hope you’re not seriously thinking of making a trip to Chicago in December. At least not for a short visit. I plan on making a little trip that way myself about then or shortly after. So, if I were you—I wouldn’t make any plans.
I sure was glad to hear about Ann—especially the boy part. I’ll have to send her a short note.
Hon, the “Time” magazine is coming now--so you can stop sending it. The others should follow pretty soon.
That’s about all, hon! Guard that “five hundred” with your life. That and what else we can save will buy us a car when I get home—then we’ll never have to depend on anyone else.
I love you sweets—Love, Ang
Let me know when Fort Sam sends you the notice.
August 22. Good news today - Ang wrote his 1st came through. Am so glad for him. Had hair cut and washed. Kay to Seattle.
August 23. Worked steady but not hard today. Marian called & they took me for a ride. Awfully nice. Bed by 11:00
V-Mail from Ang to Ann and Bill Goodwin congratulating them on their new baby. (courtesy Ann Henderson Goodwin Family Collection)
[Letters. Handwritten on typing paper, but also a typed version of the same letter. 8-23 postmark on envelopes. Stamped inside October 18 on the handwritten version and Oct 28 on the typed. No clues about why two versions, delay, or why envelopes opened and stamped in Los Angeles. I have transcribed the handwritten letter.]
Notice the paper—I managed to pick up a little out of operations.
I received your big package a couple of days ago—the “T” shirts etc. Gee, they sure come in handy—they really make my comfort complete. You know, hon, if the army was like this in the states—I wouldn’t mind being in the army the rest of my life. But it isn’t—so I won’t.
Talking about packages—I wish you would send me the camera and a few other things. In case I haven’t “requested” them—I’ll do it now.
Please send me a camera—and all the film you can get for it.
Send me a box of cigars.
Send me some air mail stationary.
and plenty of envelopes
I guess that’s all I can think of. Send the camera as soon as possible—because I have plenty of opportunity for some beautiful pictures—and I do want some record of my overseas life.
Write me the film size—and I’ll write to Uncle George and Goldsmith and see if they can’t send me some film.
I see you’re confused by some of my vocabulary. I’m sorry—we use that language so much around here—that I don’t stop to think.
Boco—is Italian for plenty
Cossacking—means what is implies—going around the country—having a good time.
I’ve got 28 missions now—and going strong—that means I’m almost half finished. I’m afraid I’ll have to go about 60 missions—maybe even 70 before I finish. It just depends on what kind of an act I can put on for the doc about that time. The trouble is that I’ve always been so darn healthy—that I’ll probably have to go the full distance. So far there is no sign that I’ve “had it” (nerves). When someone drops a book, I only jump ten feet—in comparison to some others who are kept busy jumping from one end of the island to the other.
I guess that’s about all for now darling—I love you, sweets—Love, Ang
[Letter. 8-24 postmark. 6 cents postage due.]
Don’t mind this short letter—its just an extra for today. I’m just sending you some of this foreign money I’ve been trying to keep. All it does is fill up my pocketbook or else get lost—so I decided I’d better send it to you. Hold on to it for me.
Gee whiz—two letters in one day—what am I doing.
I love you hon.
August 24. Mr. Latimer in for a [unable to decipher]—Less busy than yesterday. Almost had a flat! Wrote letters all P.M. To bed about 11:00
Form 5. C-24, Combat flight as navigator, B25-J, 3:05h
[Crew sheet under Official Documents.]
[FROM ANG'S FLIGHT LOG. MISSION #29]
Marseilles Gun Positions
Pattern Right On Guns
[verso: "Led. Glade"]
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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.