For Betty, 1945 starts with her nephew's birthday. Joe Fairchild arrives in time for the birthday, though not for the birthday cake -- I assume he was on leave from the Navy. The Fairchilds left on the 12th. I think they stopped to visit in Chicago on their way to the East Coast. Also on the 12th, Betty mentions seeing Mrs. Henthorn (George Henthorn was Ang's tent mate for a while) and that she's now treasurer of the wives club.
Ang has his dates messed up throughout the month. I know from the group and squadron diaries that there are many stand down days in January, but Ang gets in missions 58 and 59 on the 4th and 9th. He reports that Arne Bylund (pilot of his first crew and first tent mate) and George Henthorn (also a pilot and Ang's 3rd tent mate) are finished and have left for home. On the 8th and 11th, Ang mentions he'll probably be going on R&R - headed to Cairo. He says he'll write when he gets there, but doesn't write again until after he returns from R&R.
Monday January 1. To late Mass. Jr. left about 2:30. Had Donny’s cake at noon. Joe arrived about 6:00. Good to see him. Bed 12:00
January 2. Worked hard today. Ugh. Everyone tired at home & office. Home in evening. Laundry etc. Took tree down. Bed 11:30
January 3. Another hard day—golly. No mail. To Marians for dinner—had real nice time. She drove me and luggage home. 11:30.
[Letter. Postmark 1-4-45.]
[12- crossed out; 1/3/44 crossed.]
Gosh, I sure am having trouble with that date—first the month and then the [date-crossed out] year (boy, I am having trouble). You’ll just have to excuse me—we have just finished eating some of the stuff we got for Christmas. I cleaned up last night—and he’s [Henthorn] cleaning up tonight—and being very obvious about it—if you know what I mean. Without saying a word, he is definitely hinting that I should help him. Ha, that’s a joke.
As I’ve told you, he’s all finished and is waiting for his orders—and is as happy as a lark. I sure get a kick out of him. This shack is a rat race—and I mean rats—millions of them, all over the shack. He’s even more afraid of them than I am –and you should see us when there is rat running around here—its really a scream.
The other day we decided to get a cat—so we got one—and it was biggest mistake of our lives. She lays quietly in a corner for hours until we completely forget about her. Then suddenly she smells a rat—and whoosh—she’s across the floor after him—and Henthorn and I hit the ceiling.
The other night she was up on the shelf sleeping—and I was on my sack dozing. I guess she smelled a mouse because she gave a terrific leap—landed on my stomach and shot across the room. If my hair is gray when I get home—believe me, it’s not the war that’s done it. God, she sure scared the daylights out of me.
I must give her credit for being quite a mouser though—she sure gets them. As soon as she gets rid of the mice though—out she goes. My old heart just won’t stand it much longer.
It’s a good thing she doesn’t stay here all night. She stays willingly all day but about 11 o’clock she starts raising hell until we let her out. I strongly suspect her of an affair with a big, black tom cat that belongs to one of the enlisted men. He (the tom cat) insists on getting out at 11 o’clock too—sooo. . . ! Oh well, as long as she catches rats.
I don’t think that you should send me too many more packages, darling. They take about two months to get here—and I really think two months will be my limit here—I hope. I know what you are going to say, so I’d better make a request anyway.
Please send me some magazines—film—and a few other things that I usually need.
Its getting pretty chilly in this part of the world—and I sure am glad I moved down in this shack. It’s nice and tight and warm. It really is comfortable.
I have 57 missions now—really getting up in this world.
I love you sweets---Love, Ang
January 4. Sure am putting in some hard days this week. To Higgins for dinner - finally met Jim. Lots of mail from Ang. Late.
Form 5. Jan 4, flight as navigator, B-25J, 3:55h
[FROM ANG'S FLIGHT LOG. MISSION #58.]
Motta Di Livezza RR Bridge
Heavy, Intense & inaccurate
2 ships holed
Did not drop
January 5. Worked like a dog today—sure am tired. Mr. S for dinner, so to movie with kids. So to bed late again.
[Letter. Postmark 1-9-45.]
It’s too bad the mail situation is screwed up on both sides of the ocean. From your last letter, it doesn’t sound like you’ve been getting your mail regularly either. Mine is beginning to trickle through two at a time—yesterday I got one (yours) of the 5th and one of the 25th. Oh well, as long as I get some.
Arne has left—I guess he’ll have his bambino on his knee pretty soon. He got all his orders sooner that he expected. I sure am glad for him. It was really getting him, sitting around here the way he was. That’s one of the reasons I’m so glad that we didn’t “start” a family before I left. I think I would be a raving maniac by now. On the other hand, maybe it would have been a good idea. You could have had the brat housebroken, etc, by the time I got back home.
By the way, that gives me another idea. Somewhere maybe you could find the time to visit the doctor and have yourself checked for things like that. I mean, could you have a baby—if you could, would it be O.K for you to have one---Oh damn it, honey-you know what I mean. I’ll be darned if I don’t think I’m blushing a little bit—how do you like that? As I’ve said, my plans are hardly concrete—but when I get home I don’t want to waste anytime—get me?
I love you darling—Love, Ang
January 6. Worked until nearly one PM. Marian drove me home tho. No Club but to U.S.O. Wrote some letters. Bed 1:00
January 7. Up about 9:30 and to 12:00 Mass. Took some snaps and had dinner at Bar BeCu. Wrote letters in evening. Bathed - bed at 12:00
Form 5. Jan 7, flight as "other", B-25D, 1:45h
[There is no mission listed in the squadron diary and note that this was not a B25J as usual. I'm guessing it was a practice flight on the same type of B25 they would fly to R&R in Egypt. See my photos below of me with a B-25D.]
[Letter. Postmark 1/10/45.]
Got yours of the 11 & 24 today. As I told you in the last letter, they are coming in two’s now. I guess they will catch up one of these days.
Henthorn has left me now too—he should be seeing you one of these days. Boy, it’s getting to be that I’m the old man of the squadron. I see them come and I see them go. Oh well, my turn will come one of these days. At worst, the war can’t last forever—or can it?
Don’t worry dear, I won’t try to surprise you when I come home. When I get to about 5 missions from finishing, I’ll write you and you can quit your job (with two weeks notice) and head for Chicago. It will take me about a month to finish those last five missions and get orders—and three-four weeks to get home.
It takes about two weeks for my letters to reach you—you give two weeks notice—and that gives you 3-4 weeks to get to Chicago. That’s giving us a large leeway—but as I’ve said before, I don’t want to waste any time.
I love you darling—Love, Ang
January 8. No entry
[Letter. Postmark 1/10/45. Letter misdated as '44.]
My conscience has been bothering me a little bit—so I guess I’d better sit right down and write plenty of letters. Boy, I guess I owe just about everyone. I guess I’m just a bad boy—that’s all there is to it.
I guess the doc feels that I need another rest—because I have been informed to get ready for another little trip. This time it’s off to Cairo and vicinity (Alexandria, Jerusalem? etc)—I hope! I don’t know just when I’m going but I thought I’d warn you so if you don’t get any mail for a couple of days, you’ll know what’s happened.
I don’t especially want to go on this trip—I’d rather stick around and fly—but who am I to argue. Oh well, I guess I might as well see as much of the world as I can while I’m over here. I doubt that I’ll have any desire to see any part of it outside of the city limits of Chicago when this war is over.
Cairo is supposed to be quite a deal—I guess just about everybody speaks English. There are plenty of night clubs (honest to goodness floor shows) and just about everything else one could desire. I should have a good time.
I’ve been saving my color film—and this should be a perfect place to use it. I guess when I’ve finished this trip, I’ll have seen everything this part of the world has to offer. Lets see, I’ve visited Casablanca, Algiers, Naples, Capri, Rome, Sicily—and now this trip. If I can get to Athens and the French Riviera someday, I ought to be an authority.
This war sure has done funny things to people—hasn’t it?
Darling, are you sure you are not overdoing it on all these activities of yours? You sound like you are being worked to death. I hate to say it (who am I to bitch about something like that) but your letters to me are falling off—in length and content. I was willing to let you go to work, and join all those other things you joined—but I do think you are overdoing it right now. There is no sense in wearing yourself out in trying to keep yourself busy. I’m not bawling you out, but, really honey, one good, long, long letter from you is worth a lot more to me than the 100-or 125 dollars you earn. I’m not telling you to quit your job or give up any of your activities, but I do think you ought to slow down a small dab. I guess you know what you are doing; I just thought I’d stick my two bits worth in this letter, because I have been worrying a little bit about you lately. I don’t know why, I just have—probably because you sound so pooped in your letters.
I’m sorry if I’ve hurt your feelings—I didn’t mean to—it’s just my fatherly instinct coming up.
I love you darling---Love, Ang
January 9. Am taking tom. off so worked hard today. Went down to show after dinner. Had a lovely birthday dinner for A[??unable to read].
Form 5. Jan 9, flight as navigator, B-25J, 2:45h
[FROM ANG'S FLIGHT LOG. MISSION #59.]
Palazzola RR Bridge
Center of Bridge
J.D. Smith, F.J. Gowiski
[The crew list (see Official Documents tab) was dated the 6th which was crossed out and changed to the 8th, but lists Smith & Gowiski as crew with Ang. The 340th history says no mission on the 6th and mission on the 8th was scheduled but cancelled due to weather. The order for the OLC can be viewed under the Awards tab.]
From Ang's scrapbook. Labeled "59" on back. I haven't found a target photo on the 57thBW site, but the 340th diary for this date mentions The "Palazzola rail bridge was also effectively bombed." The 486th BS diary reported: A mission today that paid all the way. Another bridge crumbled to the chant of “Gott in Himmel.”
January 10. Stayed home from work today while kids went shopping. They had company in evening. Bed about 12:00.
[Letter. Postmark 1/12/45]
I’m throwing my hat thru the door—please don’t throw it out---I promise to be a very good boy from now on. Ish-ish---my head is bowed and my cheeks are burning with shame—oh, woe is me!
I think you know what I’m talking about—if you don’t –I’m referring to that last letter of mine. It seems to me that I said something about your letters being short in “length and content.”
Ha-ha—of course you realize I was only kidding—ha, ha—of course you do—ha, ha. Oh me, I certainly wish I could recall it.
Today (Oh, why did I send that letter) I received (I knew I shouldn’t have sent it) four letters from you—date Dec 19 (6 pages) (Don’t be mad at me honey), Dec. 24 (7 pages) (You probably hate me by now), Dec. 25 (6 pages) (Just remember that I love you), and Dec. 31 (9 pages) (Please don’t divorce me, I’ll be good from now on.)
“Short in length and content”—ha! Do I feel like a damn fool. Maybe this shows why I try not to get excited or do things on the spur of the moment. I always regret it—it never fails.
As I told you, the mail was all messed up over here—it was not coming in the order it was sent. For about two weeks I got nothing but two page letters from you—and of course little baby Angelo felt that he was being neglected. Oh me, why do such things happen to me? Please forgive me sweetheart. I really do love you so very much.
It certainly was news—wonderful news—about Benny coming to see you. Just like an extra Christmas present. You must have felt like I did when I saw Bud over here. That ole crowd of ours is sure split into all parts of world—isn’t it? I’m going to drop him a line as soon as I finish this letter.
So Frankie made it home for the New Years. Doggone it, I think I’m even happier about the fact that he finally got home, than I will be about my own home coming. He certainly had a leave at home coming to him. And, as you suggest, it ought to do both of the Grand-mas a world of good. I certainly was happy to see that letter of his.
I can imagine how excited you must have been—seeing Benny and Jr. and knowing that Frankie was in the states—all at about the same time. You were probably jumping around worse than Donny. And then the phone call from Joe—wow, I bet that apartment is in an uproar. Come to think about it, I’m a little excited about it all myself.
I don’t suppose you meant that your mother might go to Chicago for good—did you? It certainly would be nice if she did—ha! Now don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t want you to influence her—not much!
Yep, Cahills mother gave you the right poop about how and when we quit. However, we usually have a pretty good idea about when it’s coming, so I’ll give you plenty of warning. Of course if Mother is staying in L.A. you’d better stay with her as long as you can and help keep her company. However, is she’s going to Chicago for a visit, you’d better pack up and go with her and stay there. I can just about promise to finish up before 1st of March, so you’d have to leave for Chicago by the time she got back, and that would be kind of silly.
I guess that’s all the poop for now.
I love you. Love, Ang
[Letter. Postmark 1/12/45. Letter is again misdated as 44.]
Or should I say goodbye darling—because I’ll soon be on my way to you know where. I’ll write as soon as I get there, and you should get a couple of letters from me while I’m there.
Do you know what—I’m a little excited about this trip. And the reason for it is that I’ll be able to see a good floor show (so the boys tell me). It’s kind of silly, but I really do have a craving for one. I’ll probably clap myself silly at the acrobats and roll in the aisles at the comedians.
I did write to Benny yesterday, and I also wrote to Bud—the folks—Corsons. My conscience was bothering me.
I got the orders for my D.F.C. today. I’m really beginning to get some color on my blouse—ha!
I love you darling—Love, Ang
January 11. Had to work hard today. To bank at noon for kids money. They’re leaving tomorrow. Helped pack in evening. 11:00.
January 12. Worked like mad today - dashed home then to station with kids. To Off Club with Mrs. Henthorne - very nice. I’m treas.!
Form 5. Jan 12, flight as navigator, B-25D, 8:10h
[Most likely the flight(s) to R&R in Egypt. The form indicated 2 landings and a total of 8 hours. In his book "Truth Flies with Fiction," Dale Satterthwaite describes his June 1944 R&R trip to Cairo and Alexandria. He says it's 1700 miles "as the crow flies" and mentions a segment from Benghazi to Cairo.]
January 13. Worked today but didn’t accomplish much. Out to U.S.O. but didn’t need me so to movie. Read in evening. Late.
January 14. To late Mass. Then downtown to movie. Mr. S. took us out to dinner. Did some sewing—To bed by 12:00.
January 15. No mail today—nuts. Marian drove me home. sure wish work would let up a bit. To bed by 12:00.
Form 5. Jan 15, flight as navigator, B-25D, 1:05h
[Probably Cairo to Alexandria. In his letters about the R&R trip, he says they were in Cairo for two days.]
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.