Rather Pixilated

Fort Lewis, Wash.
April 28, 1942

Darling:

Another long day without seeing or speaking to the sweetest person in the world. How are you, sweetheart?

We’ve sure been busy here. Cleaning and painting and fixing up here + there. It really is quite a task, believe me. And all the time I’m working, you keep coming back into my thoughts. My, but you are persistent! First thing you know, you’ll have me falling for you.

I wish I could think of something interesting to tell you in my letters, but what we’re doing right now is not the least bit interesting to me or to any of us here. It’s just plain, hard, dirty work. It wouldn’t be so bad if I knew I could see you after work was done, but the way it is, the day seems to be at least 100 hours long. Never in my life has time dragged so. Usually, when a person is very busy, time flies. Or when a person is in the company of one like you. Remember how the hours and minutes flew by whenever we were together? That seems awfully long ago. By the time I get to see you again, I’ll probably have aged so you won’t know me, even if you were to see me tomorrow. Please, little princess, what have you done to me?

I don’t know what I’d have done were it not for your picture. That, darling, is my most treasured possession. I sure got a kidding all day yesterday and today, because one of the fellows picked up your picture and the light hit it just right, showing lip marks where I’d kissed it. I always thought that people who acted like that were rather pixilated, or something; and I guess I am somewhat in a stupor myself, all on account of having met you, darling, the sweetest, loveliest, most adorable person who ever walked this earth. My only regret about the time I spent in Salem is that I didn’t just take more time to see you. Of course, I’d have dropped a little behind in my work, but I can always catch up on that. (Doggone, grabbed the wrong bottle of ink!)*

Wish we could be together in Salem right now. It’s 8:10, just about the time we’d get started walking. Salem, to me, will always be one of the most beautiful places on earth. Some day, we’ll have to revisit our bridge and relive the moments we spent there the evening of April 3, 1942. How many times I’ve already thought back to that night. You’ll never know how long it took me to say what I said that night. Even then, I didn’t get out all I wanted to say, and I imagine I was rather awkward in my speech. Wish I could have made a pretty speech which would live forever in your memory, but it seems all the pretty words and phrases I tried to say to you stayed inside, and the words I spoke were just plain, ordinary, everyday words which never could tell you how much I love you or how badly I want you for my own. Please rest assured that I do have pretty things to say stored up inside me, and someday perhaps the words and phrases may tumble out in the proper sequence to adequately express my thoughts, my feelings, my adoration of you. The poem has not yet been written, nor the song not yet sung which could express all my love for you. Please try to imagine how deep my affection runs. Please try to imagine how swiftly my heart beats at the thought of you, what dreams of our future dance through my imagination. No matter what I say or how much I say, it still seems woefully inadequate. You know I love you with all my heart. You know I can never love another. I realize that you know this, still I feel compelled to speak of my love, to write of it. That, I suppose, is the way of men in love. The words are there to be said, or written; the thought which motivates the words will not allow those words to remain unspoken or unwritten. I hope and pray that the words I have spoken and written to you will find their way to your heart, to cement our mutual feeling, to give us something to bridge the gap between the present time and the day when we can start making our dreams come true.

Darling, I’ve tried again to express myself to you. Please keep a spot in your heart for me, for you have taken mine completely, absolutely and permanently.

I must close now. Be very good. Say “Hello” to everyone for me. Write as soon as you can find time to do so.

With all my love,
Jim

*Ed Note: Each of Jim’s letters appears to have been written with a dip pen, as the ink is refreshed frequently. Today’s letter starts in blue ink, but suddenly switches to black halfway through the last sentence of this paragraph.

Ten years since last Thursday night

Fort Lewis, Wash.
April 26, 1942

Darling,

Here I am again, wanting you more than ever before. More than I ever believed I could want anyone or anything. If only I could see you or speak to you. I’ve wanted to call you on the phone all day today, but being not short of funds, but entirely lacking same, I was unable to do so. As soon as I get paid, I’m certainly going to call you.

I don’t know whether or not any letters you may write, or have already written, will reach me before the rest of the troops get here, because the A.P.O. is still forwarding mail to the organization. Your letter(s) will probably go right back to the troop, and be sent up here with them when they come. So I don’t expect to hear from you before the balance of the organization gets here. But that can’t stop me from loving you and writing to you.

Each time I hear the song, “Miss You,” I nearly choke, and there seems to be a conspiracy afoot, because every time  turn around, someone is playing or singing that. Right now, they’re playing “Night and Day,” which is just about as bad.

Sweetheart, if we had a dollar for each time I’ve thought of your in the past ten years since last Thursday night, we’d be able to buy our home and all our furniture.

We’ve really been busy since arriving here. Cleaning up the place, painting, etc. I wish at the end of each day, I could go home to you. Some day, and I hope soon, that will be. (A couple of the boys from Salem just left a bunch of letters, but I found none from you, so will continue this to the best of my ability.)

Please try to realize that I can never express my love for you in written words. You mean so much to me that words can never fully express my feelings.

Your picture is before me right now, as it is a hundred times each day. Every time someone asks who it is, I have to tell them all about you. Guess they must wonder how I rate a girl like you, as I sometimes do myself.

I must see you again, soon, because I don’t know how long I can stand being away from you. Please think of me often, and pray that we don’t have to be separated too long. I’m jealous of everyone in Salem on account of you. Jealous of the Jensens, + Edna, because they get to see you every day. Jealous of your associates at the office, for they get to spend their working hours near you. Jealous of everyone who sees you or passes you on the street.

My prayers are that we be allowed to be together soon, and permanently. That I may be capable of giving you all the happiness you deserve. If I fail in that, it won’t be for lack of trying.

I hope to get your new picture soon, but the one I have now is the most beautiful and lovable picture ever put on paper to date.

I must close now. Be very good, and try your best to learn to love me as much as I do you. One-tenth as much is more than anyone, especially myself, could ever deserve; but I can dream, can’t I?

Give my regards to the Jensens, Edna, Loretta, and all. But to you, Marjorie darling,

All my love,
Jim

Ed. Note—This letter has a bit of shorthand hidden inside the envelope flap. @HeatherJoyLove and her mother, Tammy Miller, have been kind enough to translate it thusly (with some assumptions made where the paper is ripped and because shorthand is a personal thing compounded by handwriting styles):

“Hello Darling, I couldn’t help telling you just once more that I love you now and forever. Please don’t let anyone [anyone] steal you from me. Your [Jim]”

Fort Lewis, Wash.

Fort Lewis, Wash.
April 24, 1942

Darling:

Here it is 9:15, and I find myself writing to you, of all people. All the way up here, I thought of nothing else but you and our plans and dreams. The moment we reached here, I was ready to go back to Salem, and each moment that passes only makes that desire stronger. Knowing and loving you as I have has certainly made a softie out of me. How this has happened to me, I’ll never know. I have your picture before me now, and I can’t count the times I’ve looked at it since last night.

Right now, Salem seems to be a million miles from here, but it seems that you must be near me, even though I can neither see nor touch you. Knowing that you are waiting for me really gives me a lot to anticipate. Please don’t let anyone steal you from me, ever.

Do you know what they just played over the radio? Yes, you guessed it, it was “Miss You,” and you’ll never realize how much I do miss you. I can’t even start to tell you.

I’m having a terrible time writing this, because I can’t think of anything to say without repeating how much I love you, and I can’t find words expressive enough to convey my full feeling. You know, of course, you’ll be on my mind constantly. I’ll write often, you know I will.

With all my love,
Jim

Couldn’t Dim The Moon

Salem, Oregon
March 31, 1942

Dearest:

I got your letter this afternoon, and I’ve read and re-read it I don’t know how many times already.

I’m sorry you were alone and had the blues. If only I could have been there, I’d certainly do my very best to chase the blues away.

You asked if I had heard any recent rumours about our moving out soon. Well, I hear at least one new one each day, but I don’t put very much stock in anything in the way of rumours any more, because 99 times out of a hundred, nothing develops. Please don’t let them bother you, because as you say, it has to come sooner or later, and we have to face it. Let’s don’t let the thought of our being separated interfere with our happiness, because you know that no matter how far away I may have to go, or how long I will be away, I’ll love you more and more each day, and there can never be anyone who can make me forget you.

Yes, I do like picnics. Just Monday, we were out in the country, and it was such a perfect day, that I fairly burst just thinking of how nice it would be if we could have a picnic. We went by your office on the way out, and came back down Center Street just about noon-time. I stuck my neck out of the truck trying to see if you were around anyplace, but no luck. You wouldn’t have known me anyway, because I was absolutely caked with dust. It was about an inch thick all over my face.

I stepped outside just before I started writing, and saw the most beautiful moon. The clouds were scooting by; but they couldn’t dim the moon. I just wondered if perhaps you weren’t someplace looking at the same moon.

I sure hope you can get home this summer. Your parents couldn’t help but miss you terribly, because I know how I miss you just for a day or two. They’re mighty lucky people to have a daughter like you.

Sweetheart, the lights are just about to go out, and I have a million more things to tell you. They called off the alert today, and I’ll call you tomorrow, probably even before you get this. Please keep praying for us. Keep your chin up, and please don’t worry about our being separated. They can never separate us spiritually, even though they may do it physically. Keep working on our pillowslips, etc. and perhaps we’ll need them sooner than either of us may realize.

 

Good night, Sweetheart,
Jim

P.S. – I love you.

Ed. Note—This letter has a bit of shorthand hidden inside the envelope flap. @HeatherJoyLove and her mother, Tammy Miller, have been kind enough to translate it thusly:

Darling I love you in every moment. There’s no one else in the world as sweet as my Marjorie. Please try to love me just half as much.