Cerro Gordo County Iowa
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Situation Well in Hand Say Tom Rye and William Cross
"The marines have landed and they have the situation well in hand."
That was the message brought back to Mason City Wednesday from two local members of the marine corps expedition that landed in Iceland July 7.
Letters arrived Wednesday from Thomas RYE and William CROSS, the first word received from either since they made a mysterious stop at Charleston, S. Car., June 17, after going through the Panama canal from the marine base at San Diego, Cal.
"We sure have it nice - winter in California and summer in Iceland," wrote young RYE to his father, Carl RYE.
"We finally got to where we were headed, Iceland," wrote CROSS to his parents, Mr. and Mrs. William T. CROSS, 233 Sixth street southeast.
Both RYE and CROSS indicated they were having the time of their lives among the glaciers, geysers and girls of the northern island.
"The girls are really beautiful up here, but being as how I haven't had liberty yet I can't say how they act," said RYE.
Both boys are enjoying their contacts with the English.
We are real friendly with the British soldiers and go over to their canteen quite often," said CROSS. "The English soldiers don't make near the money that we do. An English private gets about $1.75 a week, where a private in the marine corps gets about $7.50.
"The British sure have some stories to tell. Many of them were at Dunkirk and in Norway. They sure had some hell from the stories they tell."
RYE tells of inviting a "couple of English soldiers to eat with us and they said it was the best chow they had since last Christmas, so compared to them we live like kings."
"Iceland is a funny land, half of it still covered with glaciers." RYE continued. "There are about 12 active volcanoes on the island.
"The natives here all talk Icelandic. They are mostly all of Scandinavian descent and they followed after their country's name; they really give us icy stares. Of course, the marines will crack through the ice, I hope.
"They have some funny customs here. For instance, they have a six months living together as a trial before they get married and if at the end of that time they don't like it they both go their ways. Divorce costs about 25-cents.
"In little houses about (censored) there are about 16 people live there. They don't make much distinction when they go swimming together in the hot water springs as they both go in the nude and think nothing of it."
CROSS informed his parents he did not know what part of Iceland they occupied.
"We are restricted from going to town and we can't go more than two miles from camp," he said.
"We live in little huts that the English turned over to us. It is real nice where our hut is situated. A swell stream runs right by the front door. The creek is full of salmon and trout, but we aren't allowed to fish it."
CROSS sent his parents a five kronur bill to show what the Icelandic money is like. Six and a half kronur, he explained, make a dollar. Prices in Iceland, he said, are exceedingly high.
"I tried to get a pound note from a British soldier last night, but he couldn't let me have it," CROSS wrote. "They are afraid the pro-nazis will get it and cash it in for the gold it is worth and send it to Germany."
Transcription by Sharon R. Becker, April of 2012
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