This letter clarifies my suspicions from yesterday’s post (letter to Mary on May 7th) that the reason he and his pals are not excited about the end of the war in Europe is they’re afraid they’re going to get shipped out to the Orient. He wants more than anything to go home, but figures he’s probably still going to have to spend another year or so in the Army.
He’s become quite the sports fanatic however – and I’ve included the copy of “The 79th Variety” subtitled “Recreation Gains Momentum”. It appears the Army is shifting its focus from war to sports as a way to keep the guys busy (until they know what to do with them?) – or just busy? not sure! And on the second page a whole article devoted to the ping-pong tournament, praising my Dad as the winner!
Oh yes, Dad got promoted to Sargeant!
9 May 1945 letter
Dear Dad, Well, it’s over. We’ve been looking forward to this for a long time, and yet, now that it’s here it really doesn’t seem so much. I think that if this were all it would be different, but we are still up in the air about what is going to happen to us, and are sweating out the possibility of the Orient (as is everyone over here) so how the hell can we be very excited about a little thing like VE day?What we all want most is to get home to our families, and then if we are the luckiest guys over here (hand=written: and do get a chance to go home) it looks as tho it will be six months to a year before that happens, so as I say, every one was pretty calm about the announcement. A few of the boys got pretty plastered last night, but they are the ones who would get plastered VE day or no VE day, so it doesn’t count.
I am sending on a couple of papers which may interest you. One promotes me and some other guys (now if I can just figure out how to put my stripes on my summer underwear….) and on the sports page of the other you will see where I won the ping-pong tourney! Boy, when these Neibauers get going you can’t stop ’em (but it takes too damn long for them to get started!) I’m also doing fairly well at horseshoes, although we haven’t started a regular tourney of any kind yet. Today we went down and played our first soft-ball, and boy were we lousy! But I think with a little practice we mill be able to whip together a fair team. Later on we plan to have games with our Ens. The past few day have turned into real summer, and we have been running around in shorts, and in just two days I have the beginnings of a very good tan. Our CO gave us from yesterday noon until this noon off to celebrate VE day, but someone had to be in Message Center this morning to receive the stuff from the Bns, and get the Messenger off to Army, So I got up this morning as usual (there weren’t too many of us who were able to get up this morning at all )! I played about 15 games of horseshoes, five games of volleyball, 7 games of ping-pong and three games of badminton yesterday, and several more games of horseshoes and a softball game today — s , man, ah’ m really ready for bed tonight.
Send my very best on to Harold
also Rene and Aunt Mag
Love to you, old droopy drawers as ever, your son