Plumb Crazy

Addr: Miss Marjorie Hayne

Salem, Oregon
Febr. 22/42

Dear Marge:

Here it is, barely 8:30, and I couldn’t wait any longer to start a letter to you. I say “start,” because I’ll probably be interrupted about eleventeen times before I get finished.

We sure had a wild time last night, didn’t we? I really enjoyed it myself, but it seems that I should have shown you a much better time. Just the fact that I was with you was enough to assure me of a good time. I can’t think of anyone else whose company I could enjoy as much as I do yours. No matter where we went, or what we did for entertainment, I could always have a good time in your company. But I would rather like to show you a little more fun, and one of these days I’m going to be able to get a little more time off, I hope. A person as sweet as you deserves more than a fellow in my position can give her, but I’ll do my best. I still feel sorta guilty about breaking up your plans for the week-end, but I really can’t honestly say that I regret it. See how selfish I am about you?

Marjorie, you know I couldn’t have seen you without having recognized you, because since the first time I met you, you’ve been on my mind almost constantly. When I’m down town, I observe all the worthy citizens very closely, hoping that perhaps your boss may have sent you down after some paper clips, or spotted paint, or something. The State of Oregon doesn’t know how lucky it is that I don’t work in their office building, because I’d most likely be down visiting the liquor commission most of the time. (And not that I’m especially crazy about liquor, either.)

It sure hurt to have to get out of that auto and walk inside the gate last night. Guess I must have said “goodnight” a dozen times. Finally just had to walk away quick-like, because it was getting harder to leave every minute.

Everyone who knows you around these parts certainly thinks you are grand. As far as I can find out, you’re just about the most popular young lady who has ever met the 115th. Jim Hopkins is certainly proud to have been with you as often as he has, but he informs me that he hasn’t been with you nearly as often as he’d like to be. He seems to have taken quite a tumble for you, though he realizes that it’s not exactly the wise thing to do under prevailing conditions. In the first place, a girl as sweet as you undoubtedly has hundreds of masculine admirers, which doesn’t leave a guy like Hopkins much of a chance. Secondly, they the way things are now, he isn’t even sure that he’ll be anywhere near you for very long. We may be here for 24 hours, or six months, who can tell? I can think of a dozen good reasons why I shouldn’t let myself feel the way I do about you, but common sense tells me one thing, and my heart tells me another. Until three weeks ago, girls didn’t mean a whole lot in my life, and speaking generally, they still don’t. But speaking specifically of you, I can’t honestly say that. The first time we had a dance, I danced twice with you, neither time for very long, but from the very moment we started dancing until right now, you’ve been part of my thoughts everywhere I’ve been, and no matter what I’ve been doing. Your little blue hanky always brings to mind how beautiful you looked at the Chemeketan party. I keep thinking I should return it to you, but so far, I haven’t been able to make myself part with it. Please be sure that I can never knowingly, or of my own free will, do anything to hurt you, but war being war, and duty being duty, anything is liable to happen to cause a sudden change in any plans we may have made for an evening.

I know this letter will probably sound awfully silly to you, but I was sorta silly before I met you, and am even more so now. I think I better close now before you think I am plumb crazy. Will call you today, and see you Tuesday. Give my regards to Judy, please.

Love,
Jim

“Hello”

Addr: Miss Marjorie Hayne

Salem, Oregon
Febr. 18, 1942
8:05 P.M.

Dear Marjorie:

Got your letter this morning, and this is the first chance I’ve had to answer.

Forgot to tell you that I received and enjoyed your valentine. I really can’t understand how a little valentine could bring such a thrill. You can’t realize how it thrilled me. The valentine, as well as a certain little blue hanky are with me at all times.

I was down town today, right at noon time, so I drove by the State office building, hoping to see you. There were girls going in every direction, but I couldn’t see Marge, and I drove clear around the block, too. It’s awfully disappointing to come so near, and yet not get to see you.

Really, little princess, I get an awful thrill out of your letters, and got even a greater one out of talking to you on the phone the other night. So far, regimental headquarters hasn’t objected to people calling in, and I can call out on the phone in the riding hall. There’s always quite a line there, but anytime I can get a chance to call you, I sure will do it. Of course, I don’t want to wear out my welcome.

I’m almost certain that we’ll be free for the dance Friday, so I’m hoping, hoping, hoping that you’ll be there. Please don’t disappoint me.

Now, to answer your questions. First, I’ve been in Salem since the Saturday before we met. How long ago was that? In the army, as it is now, it’s very hard to keep track of time. If I recollect correctly, I landed here just before the first of this month, which would make my residence here about three weeks old. (2) Yes, I was at Fort Lewis before coming here to Oregon. We left the fort the day after war was declared, and went to Corvallis, where we stayed until we moved here to Salem. On account of a certain little princess, I’m sure glad we moved up here.

Third: The 24th of February will be my first anniversary in the service. Before enlisting in the 115th, I was one of those insurance men. I was assistant manager and janitor or an agency at home. There were only three of us there, the boss, myself, and another fellow. We handled all lines of insurance but life. As for my part, I took care of renewals and collections mostly. Did part of the bookkeeping, too, and part of the janitor work. When the draft came up, I decided that I may as well go with my own home-town boys, so I enlisted in the 115th, and here I is.

Like you, I also enjoy all of Johann Strauss’ work. You spoke of the beautiful gowns worn in the days of Strauss. They couldn’t compare with your little blue gown. And there weren’t any girls as sweet as you in those days.

I’m glad you enjoyed the roses. Wish it could have been orchids.

Please let me know the definition of a buccaneer. And you may have noticed it but I was in a sort of a purple fog all the time I was with you, so I really don’t remember whether or not you gave me the definition of an icicle, so whether you did or not, it will be necessary for you to tell me again, if I’m to be enlightened upon that subject.

Since the last dance, there have been a few more added to our our organization, and perhaps there won’t be as many girls as before, so I’m afraid I’ll be the one who has to worry about getting to dance with you. You know, when it’s as it was last time, the girls will dance with anyone, but if there are less girls and more soldiers, the girls can better afford to be choosey. What I really hope is that the girls and boys come out even. Any time I get to spend with you will be pure delight, I can assure you.

I must close now. Write as soon and as often as you can. See you Friday night, I hope. I’ll be thinking of you, as I have ever since meeting you.

Sincerely,
Jim

Double Rainbow

Addr: Miss Marjorie Hayne

(9207-9205)*

Salem, Oregon
Febr. 12, 1941**

Dear Marge:

Another letter from the little princess today! Boy, am I lucky! I’m really enjoying this friendship of ours, although I’m sure it would be more enjoyable, at least on my part, if it didn’t have to be carried on by mail. Wonder if a writ of habeas corpus would get me out of here?

You don’t know how much I’d like to say that I could be with you Saturday night, but it’s impossible for me to plan on anything like that. In the first place, I’m not sure I could get out at all, and am morally certain that I wouldn’t be allowed out that late. The only reason we got to stay the other night was that we were all together, and were practically the only ones away from camp. They couldn’t allow me to stay out that late without allowing others the same privelege. Therefore, I reluctantly suggest that you invite someone more dependable than I. Thanks a million for the invitation, and it’s awfully hard to decline, really it is.

Yes, I saw the double rainbow yesterday, and since you mentioned it in your letter, I’m afraid that every time I see a rainbow from now on, I’ll think of you. Not that thinking of you is unpleasant, but the fact that it’s so far between meetings. To be perfectly frank with you, I’ve had a certain little blonde princess on my mind more often during the past few days than is good for me. You may think me forward in telling you that, but it’s fact. I wish I could see you more often, and that I could be near where you are for a long time to come, but the present situation is too uncertain for a person in my position to plan ahead as far as Saturday night. That’s why I say that I think of you too often.

Glad you had a nice day for your holiday. I did get out of camp today to go down town and buy some stock for our store here, and I thought of you as I drove past the capitol. Had I remembered that today was a legal holiday, I’d have called you, but I didn’t want to call you while you were at work. Wish I weren’t so dumb! When I do get a chance to get out of here for an evening, it will most likely be on short notice, as everything seems to be around here. This confinement can’t go on forever, even though it’s been nearly that long already. At least it seems that long. So near, and yet so far, dad-blame it! As someone said, “It goes on and on like this, and then it gets worse.”

You say you are a music lover. So am I, although I’m not a musician by any stretch of the imagination. Can’t even read music, but I sure like to listen. My favorite piece is “Tales From the Vienna Woods.” Saw “The Great Waltz” three times, just to hear the part where they played that. I like nearly every kind of music, but not in large doses of any one kind. About the only kind I don’t care for is Hawaiian. Got too much of that as a kid when we had a phonograph. My dad played those Hawaiian records until all the rest of the family grew to hate it.

Perhaps I could throw a little light on my background without boring you too much. I’m from Casper, Wyoming, the eldest of a family of four children. Three girls and one boy. I’m 24, my oldest sister is 21, and her name is Marjorie Ann. Then there’s Lois, age 15, and Donna, age 3. Donna is really the beauty of the family, at least she was about a year ago when I last saw her. She has dark hair and eyes. We couldn’t tell the color of her eyes, because sometimes they looked like a deep blue, and then at other times they were decidedly brown. She has the most beautiful eyelashes anyone ever saw. Marge works at the telephone company, giving wrong numbers, Lois goes to high school, and Donna stays home and helps (?) Mom. Donna’s not old enough yet to know better, so she thinks I’m pretty swell. Guess that’s enough about the tribe, so will drop that subject.

I hope your mouth heals up all right after the battering it undoubtedly received at the hands of your dentist. Boy, do I hate to go to a dentist! How about you?

Must close for now. Hope to see you again soon, and it can’t be too soon to suit me. I know you’ll have a good time at the party, and thanks again for asking me. You’ll never know how much that “ask” means to me.

Goodnight, little princess,
Jim

*Editor’s Note: I’ve no idea what these numbers mean. They’re hand-written at the top of the first page, in a different color ink from the rest. Probably completely unrelated to the content, but I promised to transcribe letter-for-letter, though, so here they are. Also note that Jim’s spelling error in para. two is his, not mine.

**Editor’s Note: Oops, Jim goofed again. It’s actually 1942.

A Blonde In My Eyes

Addr: Miss Marjorie Hayne

Salem, Oregon
Febr. 10, 1942

Dear Marge:

Got your letter just a few moments ago, and if you felt a bit guilty on account of neglecting your study on first aid to write, you shouldn’t feel that way, because your writing to me was a form of first aid. I’m certainly thankful that you did take the time to drop me a line, because it sure seems like an awful long time since Saturday night. That was the night I got a blonde in my eyes. And if you think you “enjoyed yourself Saturday night! ––– Well, the enjoyment you had just couldn’t compare with mine. I nearly died while waiting for the dancing to start. I did enjoy the program, but not nearly so much as the dancing. I didn’t get to dance with you nearly as much as I wanted to at the dance Friday night. In fact, I don’t think I could ever dance with you enough. That Sgt. Hopkins sure stuck close to you that night, which suited him. Y’know, he tells me that he has carried a certain blue handkerchief with him ever since that night.

We didn’t do any dancing after we got home, but I relived some of the moments of the evening. I’d like to do that more often. I mean to be with you, dance with you, talk with you.

I shouldn’t mind so much the restriction on passes were it not for the fact that I’ve met you and want to see you and be with you. Don’t know how long it’s going to last, but I sure hope they loosen up soon and let us out for evenings. It does seem kinda silly to be corresponding with a person who lives but a few blocks from where I sit, but right now, that distance might as will be many miles.

I’m glad you enjoyed my letter, and let me assure you that yours was gratefully received. I’ve already read it twice, and undoubtedly will read it many more times before it wears out. And, believe me, I’ve enjoyed it. Even if it weren’t such a nice letter as it is, I’d have enjoyed it, because it’s from you.

You remember I told you that you looked like a little princess? Well, the more I think of it, the more I feel that way. I like the way you talk, the way you carry yourself –– oh, I could rave on for hours saying nice things about you, but I think I’d better save some of them until I can tell you personally. Wish I could have taken you to the show Sunday night, but Sherman was right, war is —-.

I’m certainly glad you answered as soon as you did, because I thought of you hundreds of times since Saturday.

Must close now, as I have to write home, or they’ll be a-thinking I was shipped to China, or someplace.

I hope to see you soon, very soon. At least, to be able to call you. I’ll be thinking of you, and hoping to see you again soon.

Sincerely,
Jim

Boy Meets Girl

Addr: Miss Marjorie Hayne

Salem, Oregon
Febr. 8, 1941*

Dear Marjorie:

’Twas just as I thought, I was unable to get away to call you today, and I’m stuck here for tonite, so I thought I’d drop you a line. Somehow I want to communicate with you, and inasmuch as I can neither see you nor phone you, a note will have to do. I have a lot to say to you, but not being what you’d call proficient in the art of letter-writing, most of it will have to wait until I see you again.

Speaking for myself, I really had one grand time last night. Of course, all of the boys who went had a lot of fun, but they couldn’t have had as much as I, because they didn’t stay as close to you, so they couldn’t have such an enjoyable evening as a certain fellow named Hopkins.

I know I told you this last night, but it can stand repeating, because I know the words I spoke were inadequate to describe how nice you looked. The most beautiful girl present, and wearing the prettiest clothes. That is a hard combination to beat. There is no doubt in my mind that you’re the only person who could wear that dress and make it as beautiful as it looked on you. On any other girl, it would be a pretty dress, but on you, — well, it’s a creation.

After you left last night, I found that I was a kleptomaniac, because your little blue handkerchief was still in my pocket. And such a beautiful fragrance it carries! Please, little lady, what is your brand of perfume? Whatever it is, I certainly like it. What’s the sense of beating around the bush; I like everything about you, believe me. Jim Hopkins, I’ll have you know, considers himself the luckiest person alive just on account of the fact that he has had the pleasure of meeting you and spending an evening in your company.

I’ve been thinking that perhaps you may believe that I’ve overstepped the bounds of propriety already by expressing my opinions of you, but hope that if such is the case, you’ll forgive.

I hope to be able to see you often, but you and Uncle Sam have a lot more to say about it than I. Even though he may see fit to allow me to be away from the fairgrounds, our being together depends a lot on you.

Guess I’d better close now, as I have some work that needs doing, and you’re probably bored stiff, providing you’ve read this far. So, hoping that both you and my uncle will see fit to give me a break, I’ll say

Goodnight,
Jim

Sgt. James R. Hopkins
Hq. Troop, 115th Cavalry
Salem, Oregon

 

*Editor’s Note: It’s actually 1942 at this point. I guess Jim still isn’t yet accustomed to writing the new year.