The mad scramble after Pearl Harbor

December 23, 1942

My Darling:

Got your letter the first thing this morning, and I was really glad to hear from you. I thought you were probably under the weather, or you’d have written sooner. I hope that you are feeling a lot better again, and I know that since you’ve had your teeth all taken care of, you’ll feel better in the future. I’m glad it’s all over, but I’m terribly sorry it caused you so much misery.

Darling, I’d give my left arm to have you with me for Xmas. That would make it the happiest Christmas possible for any person to have. You said, darling, that this time last year you were on the verge of marrying someone else. I’m so terribly glad that you didn’t go thru with it. I’m sure some higher power prevented it so as to keep you for me.

Darling, I’m sorry I mentioned the overseas business to you.* I should have realized that with your physical and nervous conditions would react unfavorably to you. But as I wrote, if that should happen, and you and I hadn’t a little more time together, I’d never be able to forgive myself. But with what happened today, we are sure of a little more time together, anyway. Because I’m being assigned here as adjutant of the 1st Squadron. So now, another change of address. It will now be —- Hq., 1st Training Squadron, CRTC, Fort Riley, Kansas. For your information, CRTC means “Cavalry Replacement Training Center. This is where Cavalry recruits receive their first or basic training. They usually spend at least 13 weeks here, and are then sent out to different organizations, such as to the 115th, for example.

The job I am now going into is a pretty big job for a second lieutenant just out of school, but I’m sure I can do it right.

It’s too bad I can’t be with you, my darling, now that you need me. I don’t think you are a baby, sweetheart. Really, I feel that you are a glorious person. You’re the sweetest wife a man could have, and I only hope that I’ll be able to give you part of the happiness you deserve. I can never love anyone else as I love you. So far, I have been entirely unworthy of you, but darling, I want to make up for that as much as is possible.

Hope you can get over to see Doc + Nell for Christmas. I have been thinking that people probably think I’m a pretty poor husband for not having my wife with me for Christmas, but really, darling, as long as you understand, I don’t care what the rest of the world may think or say.

Please give Nell and Doc my most sincere wishes for a Merry Christmas and a Happy and Prosperous New Year. They’re really grand people, and I feel that they are closer to me than many people of my own blood. They seemed to accept me without question; and knowing how they feel about you, I feel very, very proud that they have looked upon me with favor.

I’d like to meet Grandma Erb. Hope I can some day.

I got a Christmas card from Donna yesterday, and I got quite a kick out of it. You see, just before Pearl Harbor last year, I had some cards made with my name and the name of the organization on them. When I was home, I found them among the stuff I had sent home in the mad scramble after Dec. 7th. So I gave them to Donna to play with. She probably sent out quite a few of them if Mom would let her.

Margie, darling, if only I could be with you and hold you close, I’m sure we’d both feel very much better all the way ’round. After we do get together, I hope you won’t have any need for a shoulder upon which to cry, but if you do feel like crying, my shoulder is yours to cry upon.

I know they’ll be sorry to lose you at the office, but they won’t be as sorry as I would be if you didn’t come to me.

Sweetheart, when do you think you can be down here? I want to start looking for an apartment for us as soon as possible. We may have to take a room for a while, but I can always be keeping my eyes opened for something nicer, and if I know just when you are coming, I may be able to get an apartment right away. We’ll just about have to live in Junction City, because every other town near by is hard to get to. J.C. is close, and most of the men who have families down here live in J.C. We may be able to go to Topeka or Kansas City once in a while for a good time.

Darling, another thing. Be sure to bring your formals, because an officer’s wife needs one for parties, etc. I know one thing, here’s one little old second lieutenant who doesn’t envy anyone else for the wife he has. I have, without a doubt, the prettiest, sweetest, most completely adorable wife in all the world, and when I bring her to her first formal party here, you can be sure I’ll be the proudest one person on the earth.

I asked the lady at the P.X. to lay aside one of those Samson fortniters in the brown color. We may have to take another color, tho’. Is that all right? As soon as I hear from you, I’ll send it right out to you. OK?

I must start to close now. Write again soon, and remember that I’m very much in love with you, and always will be, forever and ever. My nerves dance, my heart throbs, my breath catches in my throat, and my very spine tingles at the thought of meeting you at the train. What a moment that will be! I love you Mrs. H., I love you. God grant that the time between now and our reunion may pass swiftly.

Good night, my beautiful, adorable darling. Please get well very soon, and come to see

Your devoted
Jim

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Do you remember Cochran? Well, he’s down here now, going to school. I’m going over to his place in Manhattan for dinner Christmas Day. Wish you were going with me, or rather, I wish I were going to McMinnville with you.

Good nite, again, darling.

Your loving husband,
Jim

*Ed. Note: Clearly, there’s at least one letter missing from the ol’ cedar chest.

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