Hitler and Hirohito

Ft. Lewis, Wash.
May 29, 1942.

Darling:

I have to knock this off in a sort of a hurry, so will use the typewriter. Here we had another week end all planned, and the army fixed it up for us again. There you see what being an army wife¹ is. I never knew about it until about 4:30 this afternoon, because I worked all night last night, and slept all day, up until about 4:00. I knew if I waited until later to call you, I would most likely have to stand in line at the phone booth, before I could get in touch with you. There are still some of the boys waiting out here now to make or finish calls, and it’s now 11:00.

Guess this alert is going to last for several days, and may cover next week-end, too, so I guess the best way for us to get together is for me to come down to see you, providing I can get a pass to come down that far. After the alert, I hope to be able to get free, as this new job I have is not so confining as the other was. Being away from you has been hard enough without having two disappointments such as have occurred over the week-ends. I’m not sure whether or not they would have let you in the gate here at the post, but even if they did, I would hate to have you come all that way and not get to see anything but the Fort. That is the reason why I think the best way for us to get together in the future would be to have me go to Salem, because I’d sure hate to have you come clear up here only to find that something like this had happened.

I want to see you so much that I can taste it,  but I want to be able to spend some time with you when I do see you, so my coming down looks like the best bet. They had a regimental dance planned for tomorrow night, and I don’t know whether they are still continuing with their plans or not. I’m afraid that even if they do have it, there will be an awful shortage of girls, because most of the fellows were like me, and called their dates off.

I talked to George after I made the call, so he knows all about it. He was as disappointed as I was, but there’s nothing we could do about the situation. I know one thing, if I don’t get to see you soon, I’m gonna go nuts, so pray that I will be able to get down there soon, if you want me to keep what trace of sanity I still have.

I’m now working in the same department as Carl, (Duke), T.P., Cochran and Dalley. Quite a crew, is it not? I volunteered to work last night so I could be sure that I didn’t catch it tonight or tomorrow, but the way it looks now, I might just as well have let it go. When I do get to come down there, it will probably come all at once, and I’ll have to wire you just before I leave, because something like this can come up so suddenly that it just wrecks all the plans of weeks. Something like this makes me so mad I could bite nails, and still there is nothing I can do about it, and the only ones I can blame are Hitler and Hirohito. Lord knows I have grudge enough against them already without building up any more. If I ever meet them, I’m sure gonna get even in a big way.

I’ll write more tomorrow, but I wanted this letter to get out of here in the morning, so you would get it Monday. A letter written tomorrow, wouldn’t get out of the fort until Monday morning.

There isn’t much more I can say tonight, except that I love you. Please try to keep on loving me a little, even though circumstances seem to be plotting to keep us apart as much as possible. Guess all we can do is hope for an opening, and take advantage of it when it comes. Good night, darling.

Lovingly,
Jim

IMG_9150

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Ed. Note—This letter has a bit of shorthand at the end of the otherwise typed letter. @HeatherJoyLove and her mother, Tammy Miller, have been kind enough to translate it thusly:

P.S. I love you darling. Please try to love me just 1/10th as much as I love you. Give my best to the Jansen family.

Your loving husband²
Jim

 

¹,² No, they’re not married. We’ll chalk this up to Jim “playing house.”

An obstacle we hadn’t seen before

Fort Lewis, Wash
May 4, 1942

My Darling:

What do you think? I got a letter from the sweetest girl in the world today! You don’t know how much of a thrill it is to get a letter from you. And it was such a nice long letter, too.

The picture, I repeat, is super. I’ve shown it to nearly everyone in the 115th, and have made them all jealous. It’s been years since last I saw you. Wish we were together tonight, there’s so much I want to say to you. Things I’ve told you before, but never can seem to say often enough or in the right words to convey the full extent of my feelings. At least, that’s how it seems to me.

I sure hope you can get up here or that I can get enough time off so that I can get down to Salem or reasonably near there so that we could be together.

Sweetheart, when you speak of working on our pillowslips, the warmest thrill seems to run through me. I can’t imagine anything which would be more fun than to be with you, shopping and looking for things with which to furnish our new home.

All I have heard from home is the local gossip, what the family is doing, who is my sister’s current boy friend, etc. Donna sure likes Sambo, the Easter rabbit we sent her. Mom always asks about our plans and she approves of everything so far. She’s quite all right, Mom is. She and I always manage to get along with each other. My Dad and I are always growling at each other, but it’s only because we both like to growl. My folks always kept pretty strict supervision over me, but they’ve never been unreasonable with me, and I usually did things pretty much my own way, providing I wasn’t too much out of line.

As far as furloughs are concerned, there certainly aren’t any being handed out around this outfit except in cases of sickness in the family or something of that sort We can always hope for something better, though.

Darling, you mentioned the evening you spent alone. The evenings I spent alone with you have been the happiest times in my life. Guess we’ll never know how many miles we covered on foot, will we? And then the evenings we just stayed in the house, talking and dreaming, and generally enjoying just being together. Those were the days, or I should say, nights. I really felt so contented just to be with you, to speak to you. To tell you how much I love you. Two people who so thoroughly enjoy each other’s company can feel that many of the problems usually faced in married life are overcome before they ever get a chance to materialize. I really deep down in my heart, believe that we can smooth out our religious differences without any difficulty. Here’s what I want you to do, if you will, Marjorie, darling. Please go to your own pastor, tell him what the situation is. Ask him to advise you. Marjorie, I really believe that people who make a study of religion, who really know religion, and who are the least bit broad-minded on the subject of religion, such as a pastor of a church as large and as widespread as yours, are the people we should consult. I intend to take up the matter with a priest at the earliest possible moment. Both your family and mine are bound to be a bit one-sided in their judgement of the situation which you and I are facing. I feel that we both love each other too much to let religion, or I should say difference in religion, come between us, if we settle the matter once and for all before we marry. We both know that certain members of any religion are very narrow-minded concerning any other religion. You and I are two young, normally intelligent human beings, very much in love with each other. We fell in love so quickly, so overwhelmingly, that we let ourselves be blinded temporarily to anything but our own affections. Now we have come to an obstacle we hadn’t seen before. I believe that you and I can, and will, be happy together, no matter how we decide to conduct our religious affairs, but to doubly insure our happiness, I believe that we should do all in our power to iron the whole thing out before we step into marriage. After all marriage is the most serious thing any person ever does. While a minister or a priest devotes his life to saving souls, people who marry devote their lives to serving God by bringing forth children, and educating them to the purpose that they may in turn grow up, find mates, and bring forth other children, and so on. Ministers of the gospel feel the call from God to guide us, to teach us to conduct ourselves properly before God, to see that our children and grandchildren are reared in such a manner as to make them pleasing to God.

It seems that I rather got off on the well-known tangent there, but please ask your pastor to help us, as I shall mine. Please also, as I do, ask God for his guidance, and we needn’t worry about our future happiness. However we decide to do in the matter, I believe will be the right way to do it. We shall overcome this obstacle which seems to loom so large before us at the present time. Asking you to marry me is the most serious thing I have ever done, to date. Marrying you will be our next serious step, so let’s be sure we’re stepping on the right foot to begin with. I want to make you happy, remember that. Next, I want happiness myself. The two go hand in hand. We must both be happy if either of us is to be so. Our respective pastors are ordained to serve God by, among other things, helping people such as you and I. Let’s take advantage of their services. Don’t you think I’m right when I say that?

I must close now, darling. Please don’t ever feel that by opening the subject of our difference in religion has caused, or will ever cause me to love you any less. To keep our love constant, we must always be frank with each other. We must always approach our mutual problems with honesty and with an open mind, thinking not only of ourselves, but also of our families and others who love us and want us to be happy. Your being frank and outspoken in the matter only makes me love you more. I believe that after we consult God indirectly through our respective pastors, and directly, through our prayers, that He will guide us, and we shall have removed the only obstacle of any importance we have yet faced.

I love you more than I can ever say. The way I have written you in this letter should prove that to you, because I’ve never known anyone with whom I’ve discussed such a subject. Please continue to pray for us, as I shall.

Write again soon, darling.

All my love, forever
Jim

Latest news from the front

Fort Lewis, Wash.
May 2, 1942

Darling:

Just a note is all I have time to write tonight. They’ve really run the legs off me the past few days. We’re supposed to be here for a rest, but precious little rest are we getting. They’re about to drive me nuts, and no fooling.

I sure wish I could see you soon, but I don’t see much hope, because from all I can gather, passes on week-ends are only given from Saturday noon till 1:00 A.M. Sunday, and then we can get passes from reveille Sunday until 1:00 A.M. Monday. But the cut in the middle sure ruins any hope of getting as far away as Salem or Portland. Of course, we don’t know definitely as yet just what the score is on passes, and we may be able to get longer ones. Sure hope so, because I’m not going to like it if we have to be separated too long. It’s really been too long already.

Duke and Cochran told me they saw you at 12:23 P.M. today, which is the latest news from the front. They got here late this afternoon.

You know, sweetheart, I’m kicking myself at one minute for not asking you to marry me sooner, so that we could be married before I left Salem, and then the next, I’m glad I didn’t, or should I say that I’m glad we didn’t get married and then have to be separated. Looking at it from my own point of view prompts my first thought, and then, thinking of your side of it is what makes me think that it’s better we didn’t marry. I really don’t know how to regard the situation. I do know, though, that you have made me the luckiest person in the world by promising to be my wife. When you wrote that I needn’t worry about someone else’s stealing you while I was away, it gave me more of a thrill than you’ll ever realize. How could anyone as sweet, as lovely, as charming as Marjorie Haind ever promise to wait for a guy like Hopkins, is beyond me, but I’m certainly not going to let her change her mind if there’s anything I can do to prevent it.

Loving you has become the greatest part of my life. It has brought me more happiness than I can express. It has also given me some severe heartaches, such as seeing you walking the other way after k we had kissed each other goodbye. Each time I saw you, I was in heaven from the time I left the fairgrounds until we had parted again for the night. Then I really hit the earth with a thump, only to be exhilarated again at the mere thought of seeing you the next day or the next evening. Since I met you, I’ve been up and down like that continually. Then the night we parted at the gate when Lillian’s friend took us out, will always be remembered. I felt as though we had sorta snitched a little time from someone.

I must close now, as they are gonna turn out the lights on me. Be good, sweetheart. Say hello to all from me.

Lovingly,
Jim

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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:

To My Marjorie Darling – I love you more than I can ever say.

Scared the baby half to death

Ft. Lewis, Wash.
A May 1, 1942

Darling:

Got your letter and your picture just a few moments ago. You don’t know how I’ve been on pins and needles to hear from you and to get that picture. I don’t really know how to describe the sensation I felt when I opened the folder and saw you in your little blue gown. It seemed to be you standing there in person. Darling, I love it.

As soon as I can get away, I’ll have my picture taken especially for you, as the one I had taken last as a civilian is in the possession of my folks, and I tried to get it from them a couple of weeks ago with no success. So I’ll have one taken as soon as possible. The last picture I had taken was the best ever taken of me, and that scared the baby half to death. The picture I really want most to pose for is our wedding picture.

Just as I thought, your letter came to Ft. Lewis and then went back to Salem to come up with the troop today. It’s years since I saw you anyway, and waiting for over a week for a letter is pretty hard for a fellow in my condition to take. A letter from you is worth waiting for, though.

We didn’t have a bad trip up. It rained, or rather just drizzled all the way, but the worst part of it was thinking that each mile took me farther from you. I don’t want to make you feel conceited, but being away from you is very much against my grain.

Darling, I want to put in my share towards our silverware, but I’m not sure how to do it. Should I send you the money to get another piece or so, or should I send it to the jewelry store? Please let me know in your next letter.

Getting back to your picture. I carry it in the same pocket as I have your blue handkerchief. Right now, however, I have it before me. The folder fits my pocket perfectly. What kind of perfume did you say it was that you were wearing that night? The night of the Chemeketan party. You said that you hadn’t been able to get it there, and I thought that perhaps I could get some if I ever got into Tacoma.

Sweetheart, I have to close now. Write me soon again. You know that you’re always in my thoughts. I’m hoping that perhaps there will be a letter from you tomorrow. Give my best regards to all the J’s. I’ll call you as soon as I can after payday, which should be Monday.

Goodnight, darling.

With all my love,
Jim

P.S.—Of course I’ll let you know if we move unless it is too sudden, which I don’t think will happen if + when we do move.

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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:

Sweet Dreams Darling, You know I love you and I have thought of you ever so often.  The sooner I get to see you again the happier I will be.  Love Forever, Jim