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First USO show at 30th CA

First USO show at 30th CA

First USO show to come here. Cold Bay, 1942

First USO show to come here. Cold Bay, 1942

Images from Alaska USO shows, Spring of 1943.

(Source: vilda.alaska.edu)

May 21, 1943

Alice, My Darling:

At last the long expected mail has arrived, and I got four of yours! They were dated April 29th to May 6th. And they could never have come at a better time. I was beginning to feel sorta low. Those pictures ended that, however. they were just too wonderful for words.

Very little of the landscape in the pictures was familiar to me, but I did recognize the buildings behind you and Sybil.

Sweetheart, you spoke of not being able to write long letters. Of course I like long letters, but I also realize the time element these days, as well as a lack of news. When you can’t write a long letter, just write a letter. Your handwriting means very much to me. Even a few lines with your name signed to it. As long as you keep saying you love me, it means everything to me. Your every little thought and action means more to me than you will ever know.

You said you were depending on me and trusting in me. My Love, I will try never to fail in that trust. I loved you when I knew there was no response on your part. Now that we have a mutual love, that love has increased. I have been tried. If I were ever going to forget you, I certainly would have done so since I’ve been here. That, alone, has been enough to convince me that it was neither music nor moonlight that made my heart skip a beat when I saw a vision on a stairway. That was Fate, not Chance.

You spoke of hearing “You Would Be So Nice to Come Home To”. That is the number one song here and she, Dinah Shore, is the number one gal. I never hear the song without thinking of you. That is my dream. I am always dreaming of the time when you will be at the end of my day, my better half and inspiration. When that time will be, no one knows. We only know that in the end we will come out victorious. There is not one doubt in my mind as to that. All we can do now is trust in God and America. But as long as you are waiting, I have two victories to win, for America and you.

No, Dear, I have not written Nina and have no intention of doing so. I couldn’t see the advantage of writing to her. I liked her and she was lots of fun when she was Neil’s girl. She never was anything more than a friend, or barely more than acquaintance, to me.

You said you thought I had been sick. Dearest, I have never been so healthy. Sometimes I wish I could get sick; for there are nurses up here now and it wouldn’t be so bad to have their soft hands rubbing your feverish forehead. Ha. I have seen two or three of them, but they tell me some of them are quite young and pretty. Oh, yes, I guess I told you that two girls came by here with a U.S.O. show. One of them once danced for Hitler.

Alice, I told you that I was going to send you a photo. They were not so good; so I am going to try again. Maybe these next will be better. But, My Dear, you must not be feeling well! To pay 5.50 to get a picture of me enlarged!?

By the way, we can get anything we want, now, without approval. You only have to present this envelope and this request. So you can send me that photo now. I will be anxiously awaiting it.

I’ll try to have one made within the next week. My love and best wishes to you.

Your devoted,


December 14, 1942

Dearest Alice:

It seems to be my red letter day. First I get your letter, the first one I have from anyone since Nov. 17th. Also, I saw a woman, in fact three women. They were the first I had seen since we got here some months ago. If I were permitted to say how many months ago, you would see the enormousity of such event. They were with a U.S.O. show that is touring this area.

You asked me if we have any recreation or any place to go at all. The answer is an emphatic “no”. Our diversion is what we can do without deserting our post or shirking our duty. If we want to take a hike, we can usually do so. Or for recreation we can play ping pong, read, or play poker. My recreation is reading. That was all right until I grew tired of it. I grew tired of it because I didn’t want to read the same books all over again. Ha. I took up hiking, but twenty miles is a long hike and about all I can do in one day. I have seen all that is in twenty miles of here. We aren’t allowed to go hunting, besides we are not permitted to leave camp alone. One shot will not stop one of these bears around here. If the bear is very close it would take at least two rifles, firing simultaneously and making crack shots to down him in time to prevent a disaster. One can not go on an overnight outing because it is too cold, besides other reasons.

You say I don’t say anything about myself. Well, there just isn’t anything to say. I was never in better health than I am now. Even if there was some contagious and ravaging disease here I couldn’t tell it. But there is no danger of that happening. I have seen less illness here than ever before. I guess the outdoor life agrees with us.

Gee, you said you wished I could come to Dallas; and that we would go dancing. Sometimes I wonder if I’ll ever get to dance again. I remember so vividly that last time we danced. But unlike you, I have danced since then. I don’t believe anything could ever stop me from wanting to dance. For dancing is a medicine to me. It will ease an aching heart, or it will dull the memory of things that are better forgotten. When I feel good, dancing makes me feel better. So you may guess that all the things I miss, dancing ranks pretty high on the list. And dancing with you would be my utopia.

Dear, you mentioned the two phrases in my letter. It is best that some things never be told; so I’m glad you didn’t understand them, for I have wished that I had never put them in the letter at all. I guess I just remembered too well the last time I saw you. though I knew my affection was not welcomed and that some day you would say “Go fly a kite,” I was quite let down and felt as if I were never to be happy when you just smiled and, in a friendly way, said we were going different directions. I saw you later that day, but I’m sure you didn’t see me. As for that last pledge in Callan, “Wherever I am, whatever you may do, you can believe me, I will be someplace, awaiting your slightest beckon.” You can never say “no one cares”, for I will be on hand for that. I made one mistake that, had it been carried out, would have wreaked havoc, not only for me but Grace. I like Grace, she is a good girl. That isn’t enough for the thing we planned. So I still thank God that she met Summers. Marriage has always meant a life time job to me. It still does, regardless of how many disappointments I may find in it. A divorce can never find a place in my life.

Dearest, I wonder if you really mean all you put in your letters. I can not doubt it, for you have never been a coquette or deceiver. I only hope you didn’t write it as a matter of form. You signed the letters in a different way than ever before. Gee, but it thrilled me!

Just got your Christmas card and the photographs! Hurray! My day is complete. It is indeed a red letter day! How can all this be happening to me in one day? They are lovely. The one where you had let your hair down is my favorite. I always wanted to see you with it down. But you never gave me that pleasure. But you have said we would start all over. After the war is won. That is the term I would add to the treaty when it is signed, “just another chance.” I will be everything that you want me to be. I will be patience and devotion itself.

Yes, Alice, I have been trying to send you some pictures. Some have passed the censor here, but they have to pass a second censor. I have not got them back. So maybe they are on the way to you. But some that I sent, and didn’t get back, never reached their destination; so I can not definitely promise you will get them. Anyway, I am trying again this time and will keep on trying till maybe some day, you will get them. If there is not one in this letter, you will know the censor objected.

There is so much I could tell you if I could only see you, but alas, I can’t. So I will close for now and write again soon; and hope you do likewise.

Under present conditions, my only Christmas gift or greeting can be my best wishes for you.

With all my devotion,

Shorty Gowen

P.S. Just got still another letter. Mama and Nancy “ride” to town together - on foot. Nancy is well and still living with Pat. Ha. They and Mama live together.