Ang's January 1945 R&R trip to Cairo and Alexandria lasted 12 days, during which he did not send any letters! So he spends some time apologizing and then makes up for it (maybe) by writing very newsy letters about the trip. He finally was able to use his camera with the color film and I have a few of those photos here, as well as a number of B&W snaps.
He finally flies Mission #60 on the last day of January! (Only 6 more to go!) He's quite mixed up on dates, again, so I'm glad to have the envelopes with postmarks.
General Knapp visits on the 31st to dispense medals.
Betty was busy with her regular activities, but notes a few special things like her mother's birthday, and the installation dinner as treasurer of the wives club. Interestingly, instead of just noting going to a movie, she specifically notes seeing "Winged Victory" which she already saw in October.
Tuesday January 16. Three letters today - 57 missions! Shopped at noon. Sewed some and ironed in evening. Bed 11:30.
January 17. Worked hard, but not so steady today. Shopped in 10¢ store at noon. For shoes—no luck. Sewed all evening.
January 18. Another swell letter today. Shopped after work for Mother’s coat. To dentists today. Ugh. Bed by 11:15.
January 19. Met the old officers from club & had dinner. Very nice evening—big plans being made. Bed late—sure tired.
January 20. Worked today -- told ARL that I was leaving. Looked for pattern - no luck. To Marg Tribbings for dinner - nice time. Bed by 1:00.
January 21. Up about 10:00 & to late Mass. Wrapped A’s packages and wrote some letters. Did some sewing too. Bed by 12:00.
January 22. Cool today - almost like rain. Shopped - but no luck. Had four grand letters. Ang has DFC. To bed by 11:00
January 23. Worked like a demon today. Took shoes to have dyed. Out to see “Winged Victory” and very good. Bed by 1:30.
Form 5. Jan 23, flight as navigator, B-25D, 1:00h
[Perhaps flying back to Cairo from Alexandria?]
January 24. Another busy day at office—ugh. Shopped at noon--& after work. Cut out black suit. Yum. Bed 11:00.
Form 5. Jan 24, ____ flight as navigator, B-25J, 3:55h
Form 5. Jan 25, ____ flight as navigator, B-25J, 4:45h
[These two flights recorded on the Form 5, were probably part of the return to Corsica from R&R. The 486th BS diary reported on the 25th, "The Cairo plane returned today with its complement of utterly exhausted, physically weary and morally broken men" and I assume Ang was on that returning plane.]
[Letter. Postmark 1/27/45. I assume this letter is misdated and should be 1/25/45.]
Dearest- - -
Now – now – I know you hate me -- -- and that I’m probably a divorced man by now - - - and that you never want to see me again - - and twelve days without a letter is a long, long time – but honest—I really couldn’t help it. I know this sounds corny, but it’s the truth – the army didn’t have a postal service at the place I’ve been. Of course I could have written from Cairo, but only stayed two days, and I thought I’d let things slide until I got to Alexandria—and then it was too late. All I can do is say that I’m terribly sorry, because I know how you must have worried and sweated me out.
Just to prove I was thinking of you all the time, I kept a pretty accurate account of all my goings since I left here—sort of a running diary. It will probably take a couple of letters to tell you all about the trip—so I guess I’d better give you a general account of it first.
We spent two days [in] Cairo – saw the pyramid-sphinx—wonderful food—several nightclubs. Spent 8 days in Alex—wonderful food and lots of nightclubs—What a town—a second Chicago—honest!
Well, here goes the blow by bow account. Before I start, I want to say I had a wonderful time—the best since I left the states. The man who writing this is completely exhausted—but very satisfied and contented.
Arrived in Cairo rather late—so didn’t do much. We all felt rather like the farmer on his first day in the city. All the permanent boys at the field were dressed—ties, neat clothing etc. Quite a contrast with our leather jackets, open necks and unpressed clothing. It’s a good thing that none of those rear echelon A.T.C. heroes made any cracks because we were in a mood to punch a couple of noses.
It’s just like back in the states—plenty of “chicken stuff.” The big sign warns us that ties will be worn, superiors will be saluted, no flight clothes worn off the flight line (remember Columbia), blouses will be worn after six, etc. After the way we’ve been living on Corsica, its enough to drive a man nuts.
After a couple of hours of red tape & “C.S.” we finally grab a truck for town. We were really amazed at the town—it’s really very nice—but confusing—beautiful buildings & filthy Arabs—a 1942 buick and a stinking, horse drawn two wheel cart—beautiful, modern women & veil covered Egyptian hags—oh well, enough of that.
We pulled up before the Grand Hotel and immediately there were a dozen arabs hanging all over it.
“Hey, Yank, me carry bag.”
“Hey, Yank, me official guide.”
“Viva la Yanks…”
Finally the M.P.’s drove them away and the hotel’s porter took our bags to our room. The hotel wasn’t the best in town, but was nice and clean—and it looked like heaven after our shack.
There was a button next to my bed, and after some argument we decided to push it to see what would happen. A few minutes later the “bell hop” knocked on the door. Did he have any whiskey? Sure thing! And a few minutes later he walked in with a tray of scotch whiskey. That was promising sooooo- - - could we have some ham sandwiches? Sure thing, boss!- - And he brought up honest-to-goodness baked ham sandwiches (with lettuce & tomatoe—on Rye bread.) That was the first baked ham I’d sisnce I left the states—they sure were good.
We decided, since it was rather late, not to go out. But, we did keep the “bell-hop” running until the wee hours of the morning.
I get a kick out of that expression “bell hop”. This character was a dark-skinned, always grinning, always bowing boy. His attire consisted of a fez, a nightgown, and a pair of sandals. He seemed to understand our English, but all we could get out of him was “sure thing, boss” and off he’d go. He sure took good care of us though.
This letter is pretty long already so I think I’ll continue tomorrow—and that is the pyramids etc.
When I got back here, I had 18 letters waiting for me—what a land fall. I’ve been reading like mad all day—and do I love it. I’ll answer some of them in future letters.
I love you darling—very, very much. Love, Ang
January 25. Worked hard today - again! Picked a pin out for Mother from J.J. Called Chicago - Kay’s - talked to Frankie!
[Letter. Postmark 1-28. This letter was typed--see image. Probably misdated as well.]
Please excuse the typewriter – I’m alert officer tonight, and I might as well do something to keep myself busy – it takes just twice as along with a typewriter.
Before I start my adventures, I want to get one thing straight, and that’s the business of loaning money to the kids. I’m going to paddle your hind-end when I get ahold of you---what are you trying to do do – make me feel like a Simon Legree? It seems to me that a long time ago I very clearly stated that at any time, any place that any member of either of our families needed help, you should give them as much as they need. God knows that includes Peggy and Joe and my only nephew. Honey, sometimes you---Oh well, ‘nough said before I really get mad.
And now kiddies, back to Cairo and what happens to little Angelo---. At nine o’clock the “bell-hop” (I still get a kick out of that) strolled in and served us coffee in bed – this is the life. By the time we finished breakfast, they announced that the cab was ready to take us on the tour.
First they showed us the churches and temples – then we headed for the pyramids. Frankly (you know me) I wasn’t too impressed – they look like a bunch of stones and rubble to me. Oh well! At any rate there are seven of them and the sphinx. We rode around the area on camels—smelly creatures and awful rough riding. I used my whole role of Kodak-color film there, and we should get some good shots of me on a camel, pyramids, and sphinx.
From there we went to the brazaar (market place), where they tried to sell us everything, including the nightgowns off their backs.
“Hey Yank, you wanna buy “channel #5” – you wanna buy ---?”
All I bought was a leather purse and some trinkets for you. I’m glad that’s all I got now, because the “channel #5” turned out to be Woolworths special –and at five pounds (21 dollars per ounce) –wow! Some of the fellows really got stuck.
That evening we went night-clubbing at the “Troccadero” –not bad, almost as bad good as some of our second-rate clubs. We had steak and it was pretty really good – and they had some good scotch so we really made a night of it. A little later the “B” girls swarmed around the table. Do you want to dance Yank – Yes, some of us did – buy me a drink, Yank – O.K., what will you drink – Champaign – Did you say champaign – Hey waiter, bring a bottle of champaign – Did you say two and half pounds – good God, man –that’s ten bucks ---never mind, babe – you’ll drink beer and like it.
We all got drunk and really had a good time. Three of the fellows had girls, and as it turned out all three of them were Greek. When they didn’t want us to know what they were saying, they spoke in Greek. You should have heard them cuss the boys out when they wouldn’t buy them champaign (am I spelling that right). And you should have heard them discussing the “finer” points of their respective men – and how much they were going to charge the boys to stay the night with them. Boy, even I was blushing and I had a hard time not saying anything.
Just before we got ready to leave, I called the waiter over and started to talk to him --- in Greek. I’ll never forget the looks on the faces of the “girls” --- you should have seen their eyes bugging out, and looking at each other trying to remember what they had said to each other. I’ll bet I laughed for a solid half hour. Gosh it was really funny. They were so astounded that they could hardly talk. At any rate they only charged the fellows half of what they had decided on in Greek. I guess I should be ashamed of myself, but I must say my Greek came in very handy all through my vacation. Greek is practically the second language down there, and Alexandria is practically a Greek town.
There isn’t much to say for the next day – we just toured around town sight-seeing. We spent the evening touring the night-clubs -- The Troc, Arizona, Dolls, and a few others. The floor shows stink, but we really got a kick out of them. Most of the girls were fat and ugly, but there were a few beauties. There were several really good acrobatic acts. The bands are pretty good second raters. The whiskey fairly good, and the food delicious. We got stinko—naturally!
I guess that’s enough for tonight – tomorrow it gives with Alexandria.
I love you darling –
January 26. Had dentist appt today. Met Mom and JJ for dinner and a show. A very nice evening. Bed by 11:45.
January 27. Worked today. Met Mom & we shopped. Exhausted so napped in P.M. To movies with Martha. Bed by 1:30. Very tired.
Form 5. Jan 27, ____ flight as navigator, B-25J, 1:05h
[I assume this was the practice flight Ang mentions in his 1/27 letter. He starts the letter on the 27th and finishes it on the 30th, saying "I had to go on a practice mission for a couple of hours—and it would up lasting 3 days."]
[Letter. Postmark 1/31/45.]
I’ve just discovered that I’m a day behind in dates again, so just push the dates on the last two letters up a day. I don’t know why I get so screwed up on dates—it’s probably just that I have no reason for keeping track of them—I guess.
In one of your last letters you said that you had made no plans for my homecoming on my birthday—and you are a very wise girl for it. Frankly, this trip of mine has set me back considerably, and I can’t see how I can make it by then. Of course, the way the Russians are going, the damn war may be over by then. Just don’t give up hope sweetheart, I’ll make it home one of these days.
Frankly, if I didn’t love you so much, and if just the thought of seeing you again didn’t make me almost crazy, I doubt that I’d have any desire to get to the states before the war ended. Don’t be alarmed, it’s just that I got a look at what the states are like while was at Cairo—wearing ties and the rest of the “C.S.” and it almost scared me to death. I sure go for this free and easy life. As I said before though, don’t be alarmed—free and easy life or not, I’d still give anything I have for a few minutes with you.
I was interrupted at this place and here I am again—three days later. I had to go on a practice mission for a couple of hours—and it would up lasting 3 days. Reason and place are military secrets—but I can say it was a hell-hole—and I almost froze to death. When I got back, I had your letters of the 13, 14, 15 & 16th. So you are now a treasurer—nice going honey! I’m really proud of the way you’ve been carrying on. If I have ever said anything (and I have) about giving up any of your activities—I’m sorry—I only thought you might be wearing yourself out. You seemed so happy and contented in those four letters—that I had to laugh out loud—in pleasure and relief. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again—it really is wonderful the way you have taken my being over here. It makes everything so easy for me, and—oh well, I’m just very pleased and proud with, and of you—and I love you, I love you—really I do—you’re a sweetheart. Doggone it—I’ll say it again—I love you!
(Once more) I love you honey—Love, Ang
January 28. Didn’t get up til late and to late Mass. Went thru’ trunk then sewed in P.M. Wrote letters in evening. Had dinner out. 11:30
January 29. Didn’t work very hard this day—Had installation dinner—very nice time. To bed by 11:30.
January 30. Payday—at long last. Worked steady but not hard. Wrote letters and did laundry. To bed by 11:00
January 31. Worked awfully hard today—and steady too. Had a Board meeting at Ruth Fl..i..s [Flinn’s?]. Rained all PM
Form 5. Jan 29, ____ flight as navigator, B-25J, 3:10h
Form 5. Jan 29, ____ flight as navigator, B-25J, 1:40h
Form 5. Jan 30, ____ flight as navigator, B-25J, 1:20h
[See Ang's 1/27 letter. Nice that he got credit for these flights. Too bad we don't know where they went! These might have been a training mission for new crews who were arriving.]
Form 5. Jan 31, ____ flight as navigator, B-25J, 3:55h
[FROM ANG'S FLIGHT LOG. MISSION #60]
Rovereto Gun Positions.
Chaff. Heavy, intense, & Accurate.
5 planes holed.
2 men injured.
Hit bridge in center.
G.A. Horton, G.P. Davis
[The two injured men were on a different plane. From the 486th BS diary: "Again a mission to Roveretto in the Brenner Pass. Unfortunately two men were struck by flak – Lt. Eddy and Sgt. Kingsbury – We are very unhappy to report such bad news but we wish them the best possible recovery. Bombs were dropped directly across the R.R. bridge and the Sq made 100%. Lt. Harbough had his hydraulics shot up and had to land tail dragging. He used excellent judgment when he saw he could not stop at the end of the runway by revving up his right engine to spin completely about, thus averting an accident off the end of the field."]
[Letter. Postmark 2/2/45.]
It’s taken me an hour to get past the “Hi Hon” –too many interruptions. In regards to one of your questions—yes, I do have my folks address as your address. I’ll have it changed in the morning.
The picture I enclosed was taken by the squadron photographer. I look kind of rugged, don’t I—and that mustache looks even worse. However it’s in full bloom now—the ends are beginning to curl up—it will really knock you for a loop when you see it. Yep, I’ve decided to keep it, until you see it. Now, don’t get excited, I’ll shave it off immediately after that. Personally, it’s getting to be a nuisance—it gets in my coffee. I’ve spent so many hours dreaming and thinking of the look on your face when you saw it, that I’ve swore I’d put up with it until then.
By the way, the general decorated me (and 50 others) yesterday—I got the D.F.C.—Air Medal and 5 clusters—that’s not bad for a starter. They’re real pretty like—I’ll send them to you tomorrow with the purse, trinkets and souveniers that I picked up in Egypt.
I love you darling—Love, Ang
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.