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December 12, 1943

DEAR JOE: Remember Iowa in the winter, the first real sharp stunning cold that nips your ears suddenly and turns the ground to iron? We’ve had it. It came Monday evening with a little flurry of snow that was dry and coarse as sawdust. Late in the night the cold moved in from Minnesota. It was 21 below up there. Down here it drove the thermometer to 9 below. In the morning, windows were crusted with frost and floors creaked under your feet. Down on the street the wheels of the milk wagon rang. And nobody much was about for a while. Lots of coffee was drunk at Constantine’s and Tierney’s. And shoppers seemed discouraged. But then the sun came out. And people talked about the cold but didn’t mind. Sort of glad it had come. Time for it to be here with Santa Claus and Christmas trees peeking out of every window. When you are in Texas where they shoot off firecrackers to celebrate Christmas, tell 'em about Iowa. Tell ’em about old fashioned sleigh rides and toboganning, and the sliding that kids do, going belly buster down the hills, and about the cold that comes in the night and turns every river into an endless shining boulevard where skaters race and turn with incredible grace and speed. And the snow, remember how beautiful the snow can be. It’s your Iowa and I guess you have a right to remember it and remember its beauty even in Texas or Florida or California—all the native sons and the Texas Rangers and the Florida realtors to the contrary notwithstanding.

HOME TOWN. Helen Becker, who is taking nurses training in Des Moines, was home over the week end . . . The Moose will hold their annual state rally here in March . . . Mrs. Don Hatch is Beta Sigma Phi’s Fort Dodge entry in the sorority’s annual sweetheart contest. Last year year in the same contest, Brian Aherne picked Mrs. Marie Johnson as Iowa’s sweetheart . . . War has speeded marital crack-ups. Eight couples are seeking judicial surgery in the present term of court—with or without anesthetic . . . Glenn Beebe of Duncombe and Louis Schuster of Fort Dodge were named among the nineteen Iowans selected as this year’s Master Swine Producers. They will receive medals . . . It’s costing us more to live at home now as compared with last year. The guys that keep the index say only five points more than a year ago. I guess it just seems like more . . . Everyone is having a Christmas party. The Catholic Daughters, the Legion Auxiliary, the Townsend Clubs, the Kiwanians and many others. Add Ingleside Club, V. F, W., the F. D. Garden Club, Eastern Star, etc., etc. . . . Everybody is talking about the flu. So far it’s not much more than a rumor in Webster County. What we have seen has been very, very mild . . . The high school had its annual Christmas program last Monday evening . . . No permits will be sold in the liquor store during the holidays except to service men and women. The liquor shortage is acute or something. Last. week when whiskey could be purchased, only two brands were listed on the board. This is “no-whiskey” week . . . Ed Klapka has been elected a director of the Federal Home Loan Bank of Des Moines . . . Mrs. Sigfried McFarland is in the hospital as the result of an accident. She and her husband had a collision in their car with a local bus . . . The schools close today, Dec. 17th, for Christmas vacation. Lots of the boys and girls have jobs this year clerking in the stores . . . The public school at Gilmore City burned to the ground Tuesday. School was in session when the fire broke out about ten o’clock in the morning. The principal, Mrs. Elmore Edgington, who stayed to see that all the children were safely out of the building, was trapped and burned to death . . . Oscar J. Johnson, a farmer living southwest of Stratford, died last Sunday of a heart attack . . . Bob Sternitzke and Don Weishaar, both still in high school, have qualified for the army air corps and will be called for training when they reach eighteen . . . Walter Ruge, still in high school, has qualified for the navy air corps. He will not be called until he has finished his high school course . . . A couple of last year’s Dodgers are playing basketball in the big leagues this year. Floyd Magnusson is on the squad at the State University and Dick Muhl is a reserve at Dubuque.

ON FURLOUGH. Robert Johnson, S2/c of Dayton from Farragut, Idaho . . . Glenn Christians, petty officer 3/c of Moorland, from Brooklyn . . . Pfc. Leo Johnston, from Camp Gordon Johnston, Fla. . . . Don Rodenborn, S2/c from Great Lakes . . . Suzanne Peschau, S1/c from Norman, Okla. She is an aviation machinist’s mate . . . Pvt. Robert Nugent, from Camp Hood, Texas . . . 1st Lt.

Morrie Haskell from Washington, D. C. He is with the medical corps and has been taking training in athletics and recreation . . . Lt. Jack Childers, from LaGuardia Field, New York. He was the pilot of a bomber in the S. W. Pacific for 18 months. He was invalided home with malaria . . . Corp. Wilford Peterson from Iowa City . . . Corp. Kurt Chalgren from Marysville Air Base, Calif. . . . Lt. Virginia Riggs from Finney Army Hospital at Thomasville, Ga. . . . Dr. Paul M. Kersten is home. He has completed his internship, has a commission in the army reserve, and is awaiting his call . . . Lt. Austin Hogan was home on a furlough for a few days from Camp Roberts, Calif. He is on his way to Camp Blanding, Fla. . . . Sgt. Earl (Bud) Bock is home. He broke his neck in an accident in North Africa. Lately he has been receiving treatment in Battle Creek, Michigan. He’ll be here a couple of months . . . Corp. Elmer D. Toothman from Waycross, Ga, . . . Robert R. Cleveland F1/c, from Norfolk, Va. He’s been on sea duty for most of a year . . . Pfc. Keith Rowley from Buckley Field, Colo. . . . Kenneth J. Quinn from A.S.T.P. at Salt Lake City . . . S/Sgt. Hilbert Kehm from Buckley Field, Denver, Colo. . . . Pvt. Floyd Peterson of Harcourt from the air base at Lincoln . . . Lt. Chas. Atwell from Duke University. His wife has been ill at the home of her parents, Dr. and Mrs. S. B. Chase . . . Capt. Robt. Leighton from Camp Polk, La. He is recovering from a broken knee cap gotten on maneuvers.

HAPPY LANDING. Sgt. Raymond Brown of Dayton, somewhere overseas . . . Corp. Donald Manguson of Dayton, in Australia . . . S/Sgt. August Struhar, somewhere in England. He’s radio operator and waist gunner on a Fort. His brother-in-law, Sgt. Earl Goodman, is an M.P. in England, Gus is looking forward to a family get-together. His brother Sam is a mess Sgt. at Halloran General Hospital at Staten Island, and John, also a sergeant, is in the Canal Zone . . . Pvt. Fauncey Beminio in New Guinea. He is a switchboard operator with the army air forces . . . Pfc. Harry Jahn, Jr., somewhere in North Africa . . . 1st. Lt. Cole McMartin, erstwhile news man at KVFD, in England . . . S/Sgt. Richard Johnson somewhere in Australia. He’s with a bombardment outfit . . . S/Sgt. Hubert Hood of Clare in Australia.

HERE AND THERE. Corp. Rodger Olson has been slightly injured somewhere in the Pacific. His brother Ronald is in the army at Pittsburg, California . . . S/Sgt. Ted Pallos is back in this country. He left Fort Dodge with Co. G, but was discharged later because he was over 28. Then he was called back to service. Since then he has been in Ireland and North Africa. He will be back in Fort Dodge soon. In a wire to his folks, he says he is feeling fine . . . Grant Monson of Barnum has returned to duty on the west coast. He was home quite a while after being rescued from a shipwreck in which his boat was run down by a sub chaser. The boat is now repaired and Monson is back on duty. His brother is with the marines at Camp Gillespie, San Diego . . . Dog tags this year are being made of a soybean plastic. Dog in Des Moines the other day ate his. Seemed to like it. Same thing happened to soybean plastic auto license plates in Illinois last year. Hogs ate ’em . . . Donald Long of Dayton is a prisoner of the Japs. His father heard from him the other day. He is well . . . Medal Shower. It happened to Lt. Lowell Ponsness of Badger. The army awarded him the Silver Star, the Air Medal and four oak leaf clusters. About the same time they made him a first lieutenant. He pilots a Liberator and is stationed somewhere in North Africa . . . Lt. Robt. Baughman has been seriously wounded in action in Italy. No details so far . . . Corp. Geo. M. Haire is in England with an evacuation hospital after a year spent in North Africa and in Sicily . . . Robert A. McCormack is back home with an honorable discharge from the army. He went in September . . . Donald Sinnott died Sunday morning at the Great Lakes Naval hospital. He had been ill for several months . . . Pvt. Henry “Bud” Trost, with the U. S. Marines, was in on the taking of Tarawa or Makin. He was in New Zealand until Oct. 28. He is on the move again and may be on his way home . . . Lt. Nancy Sittig saw the show, “This Is The Army,” recently in London . . . Lt. Wm. Fennessy is back at Roswell Field, N. Mex., instructing student officers in bombardiering.

SICK CALL. Glenn Orr S1/c, is in Oakland Naval Hospital waiting to come home. He’s been in the S.W. Pacific almost two years . . . Pvt. Thomas Gody, back from Schick hospital in Clinton,

for the holidays. Tom was hit in both legs and in the side when a fragmentation bomb exploded near his boat as he was landing at Licata, Sicily. The German Stuka that fired the shell was shot down only seconds later. Wounded in July, he has been in hospitals ever since. In the station hospital in Algiers, he met Roscoe Gunther of Fort Dodge, who has since been discharged from the army because of his age, and Donald Knutson of Badger. Tom is getting along well and will return to Schick hospital for more treatments after the holidays.

WEDDING BELLS. Ellen Peterson to Donald F. Wheat at the First Methodist Church in Fort Dodge, December 9th. Wheat, a marine corps sergeant, was in the S.W. Pacific for some time. He reports to El Toro, Calif., for re-assignment the first of the year . . . Charlotte Woolsey to Capt. William Gratt Newman, of Dewey, Okla., at Hill Field, Ogden, Utah. Newman was awarded the Silver Star, D. F. G. and the Air Medal with four oak leaf clusters while flying in North Africa . . . Anne Bailey and Edward Kail of Chicago, in Washington, Dec. 18th . . . Dorris Spittal to Harold Rohrer, in Kansas City, on December 6th. Harold is a petty officer 2/c with the navy stationed at Memphis, Tenn. . . . Margaret Ryan and Lt. Bob McTigue, in Fort Dodge, shortly after Christmas . . . Virginia Mavarre of Ypsilanti, Michigan, to Sgt. Lee M. Peterson of Gowrie, in Gowrie, December 14th, After a short honeymoon, the groom will report at Salt Lake City, Utah. He is with the air corps . . . Helen Norine of Gowrie to Ensign Harris Magnusson, in Rhode Island, Dec, 20th . . . Mildred Leola Siders of Iowa City and Lt. Richard O. Sternitzke of Fort Dodge, in Medford, Ore., Dec. 5th . . . Mary B. Waite of Glasgow, Ky., and Capt. Olaf L. Larson of Fort Dodge, at Davis-Monthan Field, Tuscon, Ariz., in November . . . Mrs. Marie Wheat to Chief Petty Officer E. R. Bockert at Fort Dodge, Dec. 12th. Bockert is stationed at Olathe, Kansas.

COMMISSIONED. Alice Bechtelheimer as a 2nd Lt. in the army nurse corps. She has been the Webster county nurse for the last couple of years. No replacement until after the first of the year. Maybe not then, Nurses are scarce . . . Paul V. Hogan, 2nd Lt. in the Marine Corps at Corpus Christi, Texas, as a flyer. His brother Bob is also a Lt. in the Marine Air Corps. He’s at Miami for advanced training. Brother Raymond, the youngest of the Hires is an aviation cadet in the Army and is at Jefferson Barracks.

PROMOTED. From 2nd to 1st Lt., Willard W. James. He is in the Army Medical Corps as an administrative officer at Camp Atterbury, Ind. . . . “Bud” James Gormally, now in the S. W. Pacific, to 2/c petty officer after the victory in the Gilbert Islands. Bud was in on the invasion of Africa at Casablanca. He is a radio man . . . Daral Constable to machinist’s mate 2/c . . . From 2nd Lt. to 1st Lt., Florence O’Boyle and Madalyn Mary Clark, at Schick General Hospital at Clinton, Iowa. Both are graduates of Mercy Hospital in Fort Dodge and entered the army about a year ago. They took their basic at Fort Riley.

SCOREBOARD. The Dodgers threw the matmen from East Waterloo all over the place. Final score: Dodgers 35, East Waterloo 3. Same evening the Dodgers took on North High of Des Moines in a close one. Lost again, 82 to 30. Pray scored 9 points, Sells 8. Price of Des Moines got 12. That makes it three up and three down. Two of those games the Dodgers have lost by just one basket. Barnum 31, Sacred Heart 26, Koll got 13 points for the Irish. Saxton was high for Barnum with 11. Dayton took Pilot Mound the other night 26 to 22, making it four straight for Dayton. Stratford got an easy win from Gowrie, 51 to 31. Ericson of Stratford got 28 points. Lanyon took Harcourt, 26 to 25, handing Harcourt its first loss in seven starts . . . Burnside took Lehigh last week 36 to 30. The reserves played most of the game for Burnside after a commanding lead of 31 to 11 had been established in the first half.

COME AND GET IT. Sarah Schafer, former Fort Dodge and now club hostess at the U.S.O. in Tampa, Fla., has issued a special invitation to all Fort Dodgers in that area to have Christmas dinner at the club. Please Phone H-1985.

THEY MET. They met in New Guinea, Corp. Sid Haase and August Anderson, Jr. of the Merchant Marine. When Sid came home from a trip to supply base, he found Anderson sleeping in his bunk. Anderson’s ship was in port and he knew Sid was there. They met in England. Brothers, Lt. Wilford and Pfc. Peter Rodenborn. Wilford, who has been in England more than a year, married an English girl, Elsie Cooper of Manchester, on July 8th. Pete arrived in England a few months ago. He met Wilford and his new sister-in-law at the wedding of her brother, who is a pilot in the air force at Shaw, England.

YOUR LETTERS TO US. Pfc. Willard R. Klein, somewhere in Italy: “Every once in a while I wake up in the morning thinking my old buddies from Company G are there beside me. I transferred into this company last July. Since then we have seen Tunis, Bizerte, Sicily and now we are in Italy. On your request program please play ‘When Day Is Done’.”

T/Sgt. Earl J. Johnson, APO Shreveport, La.: “Just a note to let you know how glad we are to receive your weekly ‘Letter

From Home. I say ‘we’ as both Joe Sullivan and myself read it so one copy does double duty . . . So Verne Hale is selling the 1944 stamps for next year now? You know that makes me a little homesick as I miss standing behind the counter handing out the plates up in the motor vehicle department to all you car owners.”

A/C R. E, Schwendemann, U.S.N.A.S., Pensacola, Fla.: “I showed the ‘Letter’ to Ed Peschau today and he wondered if you would send him a copy. I believe Lee Holdren would like to receive it also.” (Yes sir, we'll do that and very gladly. When you find a Yank from Webster County who isn’t getting the ‘letter’ let us have his name and address, and he’ll become a war-long subscriber.)

A/C Paul A. Martin, Greenville, Tex.: “It’s really been swell to get your letter from home. It gives a little pleasure to life in this place they call Texas. You know that place where the people think Texas doesn’t belong to the U. S., but that the U. S. belongs to Texas.”

Harlan Williamson, Ph. M.1/c, U.S.N., Sands and Pearl St., Brooklyn, N. Y.: “Tell all the old gang hello and that my wife and I are wishing them a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Thanks again for the fine letter you are sending.”

Sgt. Richard T. Zimmer, USMC, San Diego: “I am playing in a dance band led by Dick Jurgens, I met a girl here in the Marine Corps that I went to school with, Elizabeth Oxley. Bob Brinton is here. He is in Headquarters and she is with motor transport.”

A/C Robert E. Jensen, Garner Field, Uvalde, Tex.: “The thing I’m going to miss most is the snow. They celebrate the day here with firecrackers, so it'll seem more like July Fourth . . . I’m not griping, because a lot of boys are on various battlefronts . . . All I ask is that while you all are celebrating you'll think of all us away from home who would give anything to be there with you . . . Take care of things and keep the old home town in good shape so that we won’t be disappointed when the last shot is fired and we all come home.” (Bob, you're in our hearts and thoughts all the time and there won’t ever be much to celebrate until you do all come home.) * Corp. John Steib, Jr., who used to sing at KVFD, writes back: “I hear a lot of chorus and glee club singing on BBC. They have some good glee clubs but we (John is writing to Frank McTigue and refers to the Fort Dodge Civic Glee Club when he says “we”) can hold our own against any of them. We would get plenty of competition from the German and Russian clubs. They are very good. The Germans have a heavy bass section while the Russians have everything.” John is somewhere in Italy. He and “Buck” Walter Vargason, “the handsome lonesome cowboy,” were together for a time in North Africa.

S/Sgt. Alvin Fry, APO, Los Angeles, Calif.: “We're not stationed but rather forgotten in the Arizona desert miles from a highway, 85 miles from Yuma, 35 miles from Mexico. I feel for you in northwest Iowa. Down here the sky is not cloudy all day, as the temperature lazily lingers around a summery 80 degrees. ‘Aristocrats,’ we spend our summahs in Oregon, wintahs in Arizonah!”

Pfc. Richard E. Johnston, AAAF, Amarillo, Texas: “Everything a G.I. loves and holds dear is in his old home town. Never a dream of the future, never a memory but what Fort Dodge isn’t hand in hand . . . I’ve been in with the entertainment department here at the field. You might be interested to know that our gang includes Cal Tinney (former Mutual commentator), Bob Pfeiffer (announcer at WSUI), and sometimes Freddie Bartholomew. Everyone just a swell guy.”

And there they are, guys and gals, quotes from letters from everywhere, your thoughtful heartfelt letters, you who were such a little while ago our next door neighbors. And other wonderful letters have been received from Pfc. Robert C. Knudson, Kingman, Ariz, . . . Ch. William T. Paden, Capt., Tinker Field, Oklahoma City, Okla. . . . Pvt. James A. Fairbanks, Fort Taylor, Key West, Fla. . . . Pfc. Frederick Miller, Fort Dix, N. J. . . . Pfc. Arnold Block, Camp Van Dorn, Miss . . . . Ensign F. J. Barry, Fort Schuyler, N. Y . . . . Ralph Stephan, up in Michigan . . . Corp. R. R. Rule, Army Air Base, Birmingham, Alabama . . . and V-Mail Xmas cards from Lou Carroll and Sgt. Darrell Zenor in North Africa . . . and other Xmas cards from Sgt. Cecil Julius, Dodge City, Kansas, and Sgt. O. C. Duckett, Shreveport, La.

Joe, next week I’ll be writing this letter a day or two before Christmas. Your Mother and your Dad, your sisters and brothers, your wife or your sweetheart, your youngsters, if any, and your friends and neighbors and everyone that’s ever known you,—we'll all be wishing for you then what I'm writing now—that old, old wish, the very, Merriest of Christmases and a New Year full of hope and happiness and peace—May God keep you well and bring you safe home to us soon,

Your home town scribe,


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