Going through the last boxes after my move this summer, I once again found the bin of letters my dad wrote to my Nana and Papa while he was serving in the Army’s Blackhawk Division during World War II, in both the European and Pacific Theaters. Each time I unearth them, I try to read a few of the 250+ letters. One day, I will make it through them all.
One of them caught my eye. Dad would always date the letter and give his location when he could. I will share his words and thoughts of this 19-yearold young man’s day. Written at the top was:
Somewhere in Germany, 4-3-45.
Dearest Mom & Dad, Everything is still the same. Yesterday I got the packages you sent to San Luis Obispo. They were beat up pretty bad. The cigs were mashed flat. There is no need to send cigs to me here. I am getting plenty.
We got paid yesterday in Marks. I am enclosing a 1 Mark note and alsoa2Francnote.I don’t know what we need Marks for we can’t buy anything. Today they are going to bring out M.O. blanks for us and P.T.A. blanks. I have about $20 I want to send home. Now I am getting $28.40 so I think I will take out 2 G.I. bonds. That will be $5 and then I’ll be getting $23 and that’s a plenty. Let me know when you get that P.T.A. for $100.
We turned in our overcoats and overshoes. It’s very mild here now. Raining a little today but it isn’t cold.
Yesterday I washed out all my clothes I had dirty. Got everything cleaned up now. Today I’ve got to get all my stuff concentrated so if we move out I can get it in a hurry. I don’t think we are going to be here much longer. This easy life has lasted longer than I expected.
This is all for now. Can’t think of anything else to say.
Take care of yourselves!
I love you, Leonard D. P.S. Send a few handkerchiefs and some cookies and candy.
A few thoughts … my grandparents sent him cigarettes but he didn’t need them because he had plenty! The military provided them and the catch phrase “Smoke ‘em if you’ve got ‘em” is mentioned on the armyhistory.org website. I then, had to look up to see what $20 in today’s money would be. The internet said about $289. I figured that M.O. was for money order and from what I can tell, P.T.A. may mean Primary Target Area. Maybe it is combat pay? I also checked to see what minimum wage was as well. It showed .30 per hour,
I weekly. see it, as Veteran’s Day approaches next Monday, November 11, I’d like to thank our military personnel for what they have done and continue to do for our country.
SUE BROWN is a columnist of the Pleasanton Express. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.