Letters Home

August 6, 1943

My Dearest:

Received your letter just before going on guard tonight and it kept me warm in the cold rain. My blood was running hot. Seriously, though, I was very glad and happy about it; since it was so much sweeter and encouraging, as well as reassuring, than the previous one which was so matter-of-fact and different from the way you usually write. And, my Dear, the picture was just too good to be true. It seems I’ve just been talking to you.

When I read your account of that night at the lake by the air port, I’ll admit my throat contracted and I had to get off that train of thought. I can think of you just so long and recall just so many memories and then I have to get off the line of thought. If I didn’t I would soon be cursing Alaska and saying I couldn’t stay here any longer. And that will never work; for we both know I will stay here longer because I have to. It is you that makes this place so lonely; yet it is you that makes it bearable. Or rather, my memories of you. When it seems most unbearable, I think of you and build dreams of what our dreams come true will be like. When I think of you, the ocean seems wider, and days longer. For, Darling, you can never guess how I long for just one look at you, or the yearning that gnaws at me day and night. It is made bearable by the thought that it is my duty to stay here, or wherever I may be sent. And that you would expect me to be loyal to that duty.

Maybe, My Love, you have wondered if I am so loyal to duty, why have I not advanced. I can’t explain it all. But they once chose between me and the fellow that works side by side with me. Since it was a draw, and my partner had more service than I, he got the corporals rating, and rightly so. But twice in the past week I have refused to accept the same rating. All I would have to do is move my bunk about thirty yards and become a communication corporal. Though it would mean a little more money, and money that we could use for that “little white house,” I can’t accept it. I’ll stay a private for the duration or be fair in accepting anything else. To accept, I would have to transfer to another battery. Every man in that battery is my friend. There are men there who want that rating. So you see, if I should transfer to it, every man in that battery would be my enemy. And they would be justified. So, I guess, you will just have to bear along with a private until such time that a rating opens up in my own section and my own battery. Do you agree with me?

Dear, you said for me to keep on smiling for you. Goodness only knows how I’ve tried. I’ve done so even when I felt there was no more laugh left in me. There is so much loneliness here that I try to keep mine camouflaged. Ha. A fellow told me the other day that if my morale broke, it would be the end beyond a doubt. Poor guy, if he could have seen behind the veneer that covered my sad and weary thoughts, how different he would have talked. Keeping my troubles to my self and sharing theirs is all I can do for them. It isn’t that we don’t have morale, far from it! I guess we have about the best out. It’s just that some days seem to be so long and lonely, but other days we are crazy enough to be happy here.

I told you in my last letter, of which I’ve lost count of the days since I wrote it, that I was pretty busy and that it would be over and done with the next day. But, alas, for me, it ended today at three P.M. So I’m burning midnight oil to write this letter.

My Darling, the sleepier I write, the longer I get. So I shall close for now.

May God bless the girl I love,

Yours always,

Raymond

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