Tuesday, April 5, 2016

33) A Letter From Betty- July 22, 1944

This is the first letter I have from Betty to Jack. As you know from reading his letters, in which he mentions the dates of letters he has received from her, she was writing to him several times a week. It would be great if I had more of her letters. As you know from my previous post it is likely that most of her early letters were destroyed when some of the 9th squadron's personal gear was hit by Japanese aircraft on Hollandia. It is clear from reading Jack's letters that I don't have all the letters she wrote even after the Hollandia incident. Perhaps they were lost or purposely thrown away. It is also possible that they exist and may turn up some day. Unfortunately when my parents died my siblings and I each took some of the letters, splitting up the collection.  I believe that I retrieved most of the letters for this project but I am in hopes that more will be found some day.

You might be confused that Betty's letters are out of date order from the sequence of Jack's letters, but I've tried to fit her letters in when I thought he must have received them. I partially based this on his own listings of the dates of the letters he had received from her.

July 22, 1944

Dearest Jack,

I’ve mailed you two miniature copies of the Courier. Stewarts have them published and give them away every Friday.   It will probably be quite a while before you get them cause it says to send them regular mail so I did. I was afraid it wouldn’t go air mail.

I’m playing records and writing. Right now I’m playing records from Sigmund Romberg’s Album. They’re wonderful.

Last night I went to a hen party and had loads of fun. A lady here in Crescent Hill had five of us in to meet a girl who’s visiting her from Idaho. She’s an awfully cute girl.

Monday night I went out to the hospital at Ft. Knox. The fellows really appreciated our coming out.

It’s really nice not having to work on Saturday. I have been working. It’s something to do any way. I’ve been trying to get into first, overseas Red Cross work, and then Red Cross work in the States, but the age is 23-35. That gripes me.

Now, I’m playing “One Alone”. It’s so wonderful. I love it.
Can’t think of any more. Bye for now.

Yours, as always,

  1. Stewarts---Stewart Dry Goods Co. was a large Louisville department store
  2. Sigmund Romberg--- 1887–1951, Hungarian-American composer, educated in Vienna. He came to the United States in 1909, played in restaurant and cafĂ© orchestras, and soon had his own orchestra. He wrote the score for the musical The Whirl of the World (1914), and followed it with more than 70 operettas. The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition. 2001-05.
  3. "One Alone"---From the Broadway Musical "Desert Song" (1926)
(Sigmund Romberg / Oscar Hammerstein II / Otto Harbach)

I have heard all you've been saying
Yet I will love in my own way

Lonely as a desert breeze
I may wonder where I please
Yet I keep on longing
Just to rest a while

Where a sweetheart's tender eyes
Take the place of sand and skies
All the World forgotten
In one Woman's smile

One alone, to be my own
I alone, to know her caresses
One to be, eternally
The one my worshipping soul possesses

At her call, I'd give my all
All my life and all my love enduring
This would be a magic World to me
If she were mine alone

One alone, to be my own
I alone, to know her caresses
One to be, eternally
The one my worshipping soul possesses

32) Libby hasn't quite been forgotten- Aug. 9th 1944

APO 920 = Base H, Biak, Dutch New Guinea

Somewhere in Netherlands Indies
August 9th, 1944

Dearest Betty,

Well here I am again with a short report of the general situation. I have not been able to keep up on answering much mail the past week. I know you will understand how it is. I received three grand letters from you this week. I wish I could write to you every day. Your letters were dated July 2nd, 8th, 15th.

You must have had a swell time in the country. Did you spend all of your time reading “Gone With The Wind”? Good book, you should have read it a long time ago. I am glad to hear that you are working down at the store. Every girl should get some business experience. Making contact and dealing with various types of people will always be a great help.

Honey I sure enjoy the picture you sent. Why don’t you get some more pictures taken and send me several. I sure approve of your trips to Fort Knox. But please don’t fall for some smooth line and disappoint me. Glad you can cheer up the fellows in the hospitals they sure deserve it.

You said that it wasn’t your place to tell me what the score is with Libby. Darling the way I feel I would rather hear it from you than any other person. How or why doesn’t make much difference, but I would like to know just what you have found out. No one else could have more right to tell me than you.

I will probably never be able to explain to you how much you letters mean. It isn’t just the letter it self that counts so much. Even if you only put “All my Love, Betty” on a piece of paper, it is still a great comfort to know that back there some swell girl like you is thinking of me sometime besides when she is reading a letter from me. Keep those thoughts and letters coming my way. Please take these things I have been writing to you seriously. I really mean them from way deep.

Today I did all my wash and quite a wash at that. Three towels, 2 jackets, 5 pairs of pants and a handful of socks. We wash with rain water that we get off the tents. We also bath in rain water. It sure cleans your hair and makes it soft and smooth.

This afternoon we got a load of crushed white coral for the floor around our tent. Sure makes a difference with a clean white floor.

I am making a frame for your picture so it will keep better. I won’t let any thing happen to it.

Well that is about all for now. And please keep in touch with my folks and they will be glad to see you as often as you can come.

I will go on dreaming of the day some time soon when I can be close to you. Please remember that. I’d love to hold you in my arms again and be able to hear you say you still love me.


  1. Gone With The Wind---The novel by Margaret Mitchell was first published in 1936.  It was a bestseller from the start.  The movie was released in December 1939.
  2. Fort Knox Dances---During the war service support groups such as the U.S.O. sponsored dances at Fort Knox.  I think that girls were chaperoned and went by bus from Louisville to attend the dances.  Betty was of short stature, just a tad over 5 feet tall, and she said that all the short men would line up to dance with her, many of them of Puerto Rican descent.
  3. Collecting Rainwater--- Obtaining fresh water on Biak was a continual problem.  A coral island, its interior was covered in dense tropical forest.  Many of the streams ran through underground channels and so collecting rainwater must have been essential.
  4. Geiger & Ament---This was the jewelry store in downtown Louisville run by Betty's grandfather.  Betty's father was also involved with the business until his death in 1940.  Betty's mother Emma worked at the store and from time to time Betty and her sister Anne worked there also.
Ad from the Courier Journal May 1944