Rather Pixilated

Fort Lewis, Wash.
April 28, 1942


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,

*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.

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