Saturday, February 25, 2012

I wonder where you are and if you are alright

April 8, 1945 (Sunday evening)

My Dearest Perry,

Yesterday was quite a full day for me, so I didn't get to write you, sweetheart. And I also forgot to mail the letter I wrote you Friday evening. Will you forgive me, Perry? I'll mail it with this one. Today was another foggy day and tonight it is raining. Yesterday was so beautiful. I wanted to go to the beach, but I worked all day instead. Evelyn came down and helped us out too. We have quite a lot of figurines to paint, but when these are finished, that will be all for awhile.

Mr. Taber says this work sells rather slow during the summer months and does not think he will need any more. So that means Viola and I will be looking for another job in a few weeks. However, Mr Taber wants us to come back again next fall when he will get more orders. He doesn't seem to sell much during the summer.

Gene visiting the ranch of a family friend
Perry, I haven't had a letter from you since last Monday. I know I'll hear from you soon tho. I guess maybe I'm spoiled--I receive your letters so often and regular that when a week goes by with no word from you, I nearly die. I miss your letters so much, Perry. I wonder where you are and if you are alright. Oh, my darling, I must hear from you tomorrow.

Mom and Dad are still looking for a house to buy or rent. Tonight Viola told Mother that her sister and sister's husband have bought a place and will be moving from their present place (which they rent.) So maybe Mom and Dad will have a chance at that place. It's all furnished for $40 a month. It's a cute little house with two bedrooms. I told you about my being out there with Viola one Sunday for dinner, etc. It's south of here quite a ways (below Manchester.) It would be an ideal place for Emily and the baby too.

But Perry, if they get the place, I think I will stay here at the apartments. Course I'd have one of my girl friends come live with me to help with the rent. But these plans are not definite yet. I really don't know what to do yet. Golly, Perry, I sure wish you were here. Sometimes I feel so alone and helpless, and I don't know what to do. You know you are the head of our family. Oh how I pray for that day when you will come back and really take the lead. I am so lost without you, Perry.

Today has been a very quiet day for me. I took a long nap this afternoon and read some--practically the whole Sunday paper. But mostly I've been thinking about you, Perry. I love you, dearest husband. Your devoted wife, Gene

April 9, 1945

My Darling Wife,

I know it is impossible for me to explain in this letter why it has been so long since I wrote you, but my sweetheart, if only you could know how I have thought of you, dreamed and longed for you. I pray continually that it will not be too long before I can be with you and talk with you and explain so many things that for now have to remain unexplained.

My darling, it has been an equally long time since I had any mail from you. I don't know anything about you or what you have been doing for the last month. It shouldn't be long now though before I can again start receiving those sweet letters which are the food for my soul.

Gene with her girl friends
You've never told me, or if so I've never received the letter, if you received the $50 I sent you and also the tithing. It has been so long since I've heard from you I hardly know what to write. I only know, my darling, that I love you with all my heart most sincerely. About the only things I can think about anymore are those things which we both so desire. It is because of these many, mutual desires of ours that I love you so much, my darling, and it is these things that will keep our love glowing all through life and even into eternity. And besides all this, you're just quite a wonderful little piece of flesh. I wish I could hold you in my arms to tell you that.

Goodnight for now, my sweetheart. I'm going to get back to writing regularly now. I love you, passionately. Perry

April 11, 1945

My Darling Wife,

My sweetheart, if I don't get some mail from you soon, I won't know what to write at all. Your last letter was dated about a month ago and a lot can happen in that much time. I think I'll hear from you soon now though. Darling, I have been just sitting here looking at your pictures again. I have such a longing to be with you again that that is about the closest I can come to you, that and memories.

The other day I went through all of your letters and picked out what I thought were the best and sweetest (it's impossible for me to save them all) and tied them up in a little bundle to wait until I get back. Then I am going to start me a scrap book and only include in it those things closest to my heart. I've been thinking up several ideas. It's sort of going to be a combination diary and scrapbook. I think it will start with August 12th, 1944. Is that date significant to you? It means about as much to me as October 13th.

My darling, I love you so much that sometimes it seems impossible to contain it all. I pray for the day when I can really prove it. I can't write much until I hear from you. I hope it's soon. Always, your affectionate husband, Perry

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Easter Day Invasion of Okinawa

Gene, Santa Monca with girlfriends
March 31, 1945 (Saturday afternoon)

Dearest lover husband,

Oh, Perry, please forgive me for not writing you yesterday. You were on my mind so constantly all day long, sweetheart. I helped Mother get the house all cleaned up for Easter and went downtown and bought Mother a pretty pink scarf to match her Easter bonnet. The mailman brought another sweet letter from you, which I read and reread and then dreamed over. Oh my dearest, I long for you so. You signed your letter, "Eternally Yours." Oh, I like that Perry. It sounds so wonderful.

Well this morning I received two more wonderful letters from my lover--they thrilled me so. After reading them, I started reminiscing. Yes, darling, I could see all those times when I tried to comb my hair while you watched--only you didn't just watch. You would put your arms around me and kiss me (or try too.) "You little monkey!" I love you. Then I remembered something else too-- (Interruption! Perry, a pretty little butterfly has just lit on my sleeve. Now my foot. Oh, he's flying all around me.) I must tell you where I am now before I go on. It's such a beautiful warm, almost hot day, so I'm sitting on the roof writing to you.

I'm wearing that sheer-thin little white blouse that I first wore when we went out that night last summer to see "Wilson"--remember! It's that date with you I've been thinking of. Oh, how breathtaking it was to have your arm around me. I was in love with you that night, Perry, but oh how my love has grown. I'm still in love with you but so much more, my dearest--so very much. How could I live without you?

I've been working on my little blue wedding dress, Perry. I made it a little bit shorter (looks better now.) This morning I boiled some eggs and dyed them different colors--just for fun--for Mom and Dad and me. Perry, I wish I could send you some. Golly, I hope you get those cookies I sent you about a month or two ago! They're in a tin box. Viola sent some to her boyfriend at the same time and he got them a week or so ago. He is also in the Navy on an APA somewhere in the Pacific. So maybe you will get them.

Guess maybe you are wondering why I am not at work or why I didn't work yesterday. Well, that's a story too. ha! We worked all day Thursday. Then Mr. Taber--the old man who owns the shop--made a lot of hints about us taking an Easter vacation and said now that the Easter buying season is over, he wouldn't be needing so much of this work now till later. We saw that he did not want to pay us for any more work for awhile. So Viola and I are pretty disgusted and of course will not go back for the remainder of this week. We are even wondering if we should just give it up altogether or not. Viola wants to get another job I think. Well, we shall see.

In the meantime, tomorrow is Easter and the weather is like summer. So I know tomorrow will be a fine day. I'm going to stay at Viola's house tonight. We are going to pack a lunch for tomorrow afternoon and leave early for Wilshire Ward in the morning to sing in the chorus. Darling, I'm sending you a ward news. It's yours, but they always come to this address tho I have given them your F.P.O. address too.

Well, guess that's about all for now, sweetheart. I promise you I'll write tomorrow too, Perry. I love you dearest. Eternally Yours, Gene

P.S. I just found this blue paper--didn't know I had anymore. Someone told me once that blue stationery means "I love you". Guess I'll have to try and get some more--ha!

World War II Events
April 1, 1945 - The final amphibious landing of the war occurs as the US 10th Army invades Okinawa. The following is a recorded memory Perry had of this time in his life:

"From Hawaii we went to the Philippines. Here we spent four months training, cleaning the ship and "swinging on the hook" (waiting around for orders). I wrote Gene almost every night. While we were stationed in the Philippines, we got orders to move with a squadron to Okinawa. The invasion of Okinawa was on April 1, 1945 where we landed troops on the beach. There were a lot of kamikaze planes. Fortunately for us, the destroyers and destroyer escorts shot them down for the most part before they could get to us. I do remember one that got through that screen and dove into the ship next to us. It made a huge gaping hole in the side. All I remember were the emergency bells ringing on it. We were able to disembark all of our troops and pulled out of there as soon as we could and went back and forth on the China Sea. Strategically Okinawa was a key island to control for the U.S. to launch a full-scale invasion on Japan."

April 1, 1945 (Sunday evening)

My dearest lover husband,

I'm home again now and Easter day is over. Conference is over and it was wonderful. Our chorus sang exceptionally well this morning. I was so thrilled sitting up there and I knew the music too. The prettiest song was "See Now the Alter Garlanded with Flowers." I think that's the name of it.

I stayed at Viola's house last night. When I got there, we all discovered that (Viola, Avanelle, and me) our Easter hats and gloves were the same color, fuchsia, sort of a wine color. It was so funny we just laughed. Perry, yesterday was the hottest day we've had so far this year. It was 87 degrees at 2:00 p.m. (about the time I was writing to you on the roof.) Well, so of course, we all thought today would be a bright, sunny day too. But when we woke up this morning, it was cloudy. And, Perry, it stayed cloudy all day and looked like rain every minute. Oh, I was so disappointed because, darling, it was too dark to take any pictures. So we didn't get to go to Forest Lawn. But I will try to finish the film this week.

Evelyn came over last night too (to Viola's.) She was all sunburned! Yes, she had gone to the beach Friday. I'm going to join her on a trip to the beach this week--if I get a chance. Oh, Perry, Viola's boyfriend sent her a white silk scarf and a Navy pillowslip, and guess what!! Inside the pillowslip was a letter he wrote her (not censored--cause it was "smuggled.") And darling, he told her so much: where he was, where they were going, and all about the Marine troops they took to some islands and some wounded one's they took someplace else. He told her about all the A.P.A. ships that he saw when they were at some islands about seeing one blow up--said it killed everyone on board except about two--and they don't know what was the cause.

She let us all read the letter. It sure was awful and exciting. It was about five or six pages long. He wrote it on March 16th or 15th. He was at Iwo Jima for one. He took an awful chance sending that letter, didn't he Perry? Would he have been courtmartialed if they'd found it? I would like very much to know where you are too, darling, but I don't want you to try to send me a letter like that--cause it's not right, is it? I'll just wait till my lover comes home to tell me all the places he has been. Till then, I'll write to him, and pray for him, and try to keep always busy so the time will not seem so long.

Sweetheart, last night I kept dreaming about you. (I dream so seldom.) Perry, I even pray for dreams of you, and this was the first time for so long. Well, darling, I had such a strong desire for you and in my dream you were lying there beside me--so close--but before you could love me, I would rouse up and know I was only dreaming and be so disappointed. It was quite tormenting and not exactly the kind of dreams I want. But Perry, you know there are a few certain days each month when I long for you most and want you so. Do you know what I mean, Perry? Oh, my husband, I love you so. I want us to have another honeymoon when you come back--can we Perry? The one we had was so "sweet and short."

Will close now, dearest, and go to bed. I want to get an early start to work in the morning. My prayers and thoughts are ever with you. I love you. Your own, Gene

April 2, 1945 (Monday night)

My dearest husband Perry,

Your letter of Sunday, March 25th came to me today and boosted my spirits considerably. You spoke so cheerfully, darling, and so surely. Oh Perry, you'll never know what your letters do for me. I try to remember things you say like, "I know that we have yet many such and even more joyous days for us." and "All of this seems so far away at times, but we have no other alternative than to patiently endure . . . the greater will be our happiness and reward in the end."

I love you, dear husband. You are so wise and understanding. My darling, why should I be peeved with my husband? I do not think it strange that you would not think to tell your folks the date of my birth--it's such a small thing. Darling, you are forgiven. Please don't fret about it or feel bad.

Golly, Perry, I didn't go to work today either. Viola called me this morning. She was sick at her stomach from eating something too heavy of the night before so didn't want to go to work. I called Evelyn and she wanted me to go to the beach with her today. So off I went on another holiday! (My, it's wonderful to be one's own boss and stay away from work when one pleases--ha.) It was a very warm day (except windy) and I got quite a sunburned. I enjoyed it so much. My first day at the beach this year. I took my camera, Perry, and finished the roll. so I'll be sending you the pictures soon. I wanted you to see me in my Easter outfit. If I can ever get some film again you will see me in it.

Oh, Perry, I'm so glad you can hear those good programs. Mother and I always listen to Richard Crooks too. That's one of my favorite programs. It comes on every Monday evening at 5:30 to 6:00 p.m. No, I don't think I know the song you mentioned, but it sounds like a beautiful love song. Yes, darling, I could tell from your writing that you must have been sitting in a cramped position, but I never have any trouble reading your letters--you write very well, Perry. I wish you could see my position right now too. You would laugh! I'm all curled up on the couch writing on my knees--hence these scribbles. Where do you sit when you write me, Perry?

Is it still hot where you are, Perry? Have you lost weight or gained since I've seen you. Please stay the same--if you have your choice. Aren't I silly. I must go to bed now, sweetheart, it's getting late for me. I love you, Perry. Always and always your own, Gene

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Last Night I was Dreaming

Sunday, March 25

My Darling Wife,

Gene and Perry on their wedding day
Today is Sunday and just three months since that wonderful day together last Christmas. My darling, I shall never forget that day, but I know that we have yet many such and even more joyous days for us. I received your letter of the 12th and I gathered from it that you might be just a little bit lonely and blue. My sweetheart, I'm sure nobody knows any better than I how hard it is to write when you haven't received any letters for a while. Please keep on writing as often as you can though, my darling, because as I have told you, your letters are my main source of inspiration, and there are times when of necessity I can neither send nor receive mail regularly.

120 pounds huh? Sounds like you have gained 4 pounds since I was there. I think you were 116 then. If you would gain 10 pounds more, people really would tease you. ha, ha. But then, as you say, there will be that much more of you to love when I come back, so I say go ahead and gain it. It would probably make you look better, but I shall always love you regardless.

My darling, I have an apology to make. All of my folks have written and scolded me for not telling them when your birthday was. They wanted to at least be able to send you a card. Are you peeved with your husband? Well I guess you should be, but what I want to know is will you forgive me. There are a lot of things for which I want to make amends when I come back.

When you said how you often wondered what you would be doing when I came back, I had to laugh that you had been thinking and dreaming about all of those things exactly the way I have. I often wonder just which thing I would prefer, whether you were at work, church, home etc. I have pictured myself walking in on you under almost every conceivable circumstance. I often think I would prefer to walk in on you when you were asleep so you would be in for a really big surprise when you awoke. Or else I could just pop in on you when you were alone and blue and sitting up trying to write me at one of those times when it is most difficult. I guess just to come back would be wonderful enough in itself. But it is pleasant to think of those things, isn't it?

All of this seems so far away at times, but we have no other alternative than to patiently endure it as best we can knowing that if we endure well, the greater will be our happiness and reward in the end. I'm listening to a rebroadcast of Richard Crooks program. I think the name of the program is "Songs We Love." I always used to listen to it and this takes me back to those times although this radio is rather noisy. He is just now singing "A Dream". We have the record at home and I often think of it because it expresses the way I always feel about you. It goes:
"Last night I was dreaming
Of you love was dreaming.
I dreamed that I held
You once more to my breast.
Your sweet tender presses and
Tender caresses,
Thrilled me and stilled me and
Lulled me to rest."
I'm not sure of the 3rd line so I inserted as near as I could remember. You probably know it. It's very beautiful. I'll play it for you when we go home and often when we get our own phonograph set I've told you about.

I've surely been in some cramped up and hard position to try and write this so I won't be surprised if you have difficulty reading it. Must close now, my sweetheart. I love you dearly. I can't tell you how much joy it gives me to know I have someone like you whose thoughts and prayers are one with my own. For these reasons, and hundreds of others, I love you--love you more than I could ever have loved anyone except you. Eternally Yours, Perry

March 27, 1945

Dearest husband Perry:

I received another dear letter from you today. You were rather blue. Oh, my darling, please know that I am thinking of you always and pray that you might receive each letter addressed to you. I ask the Lord to keep you safe and always that you can come back soon.

Dearest loves, your letters always come regularly to me. I most always get them 8 days from the time you write them. I know you can't always write me every day, but your letters do come often, sweetheart, and I love you so far that. You are so good to me, Perry. I also received a letter from Richard. He is still in Egypt. He seems to be seeing quite a bit of that place: Ciro, Alexandria, the pyramids, etc. But of course he misses his family too. He speaks as tho he and Emily will settle here in California after the war. He seems to have liked it here.

I think Emily will be coming out here sometimes next month. Spence Osburn and Avenelle Richards (she lives with Viola) have announced their engagement. They will be married in May in the Salt Lake Temple. Golly, just everybody is getting married it seems. I can't help but feel that I am the luckiest girl of them all tho cause I got the handsomest, sweetest, most wonderful man of them all. I'm so proud of him, and I love him more than life itself.

Perry, it seems as if the war will be over soon in Germany. That sounds so wonderful. Then maybe it won't be much longer in the Pacific either, do you think? Oh darling, how glorious it would be if you could be coming home sometime this year. Oh how I pray for that.

I must tell you who I wrote this week, Perry. I sent an Easter card to all your little nephews (and niece) including little Nelson and sent a small box of candy to Genevieve's children. I wrote a short letter to Hazel, Hope and June and sent a nice card to your grandmother and your two aunts--wrote a few lines on the back. I must write Genevieve now. I have just had a letter from her. Perry, I surely love your family.

Today Viola and I were making plans for Sunday. After conference Sunday morning, we are going to take our cameras and go up to Forest Lawn and spend the afternoon. Then I'll be able to send you a picture of me in my Easter best up there where you and I once spent a perfect day. Perry, I'm going to wear my wedding dress for Easter. Don't you think that's alright? The last time I wore it was for you in San Diego on Christmas. It's a special dress for special occasions. Goodnight sweetheart. I hope I can dream about you. Your devoted wife, Gene

P.S. I love you xxx xxx-(kisses)

March 28, 1945 (Thursday evening)

Dearest Perry,

You will probably get this card late, but I thought it rather lovely so couldn't resist sending it to you. My thoughts are all of you, sweetheart. Oh how I long for you Perry. There was no letter from my sweetheart today, but maybe there will be tomorrow.

Now I must go over to chorus practice--must learn that Easter song. The radio is playing such sweet, beautiful love songs. Wish you could be here enjoying them with me. I know how you love good music. Oh, I know all my sweet dreams will come true sometime. Your loving wife, Gene

Saturday, February 4, 2012

My darling, will you be the same when I come back?

March 21, 1945

My Darling Sweetheart & Wife,

I received three of your very sweet letters yesterday so I had better write now while I have the inspiration. It is only after I receive your letters that I feel like I could write good letters. My darling, you are so indispensable to me and my happiness. I love you with all the power I possess.

Darling, that was so sweet of you, about the ring. I'm sure I will like it very much, and I will be so happy for the day when I can come back to you and wear it all the time. I think it would be better that you keep if there for me, don't you? I don't want to take any chances in having it lost in the mail. Yes, it should be just about the right fit because my left knuckle is a little larger than my right. Thank you so very much, my darling.

I think it surely would be nice if your parents could find a place. Then you and Emily could live there together. But I know what enormous prices people are asking now days. My sister, Genevieve, and family have finally been able to buy a place with five acres of land. That will surely be good for them with their four boys.

Yes, sweetheart, you will still get your little necklace even if I don't get the glue and chains. It can always keep until I get back and then I will make it for you. What made you think it was going to be a necklace? Maybe it could be a bracelet or something else, you little "monkey". (I will never forget the time you called me a little monkey. Do you remember?)

I'll write about the film in a following letter. I hope it will work. It would surely help my morale out a lot more if my wife had some film so she could send me some pictures of her. I'm sorry, I forgot to mention about whether I had had my tooth pulled. I didn't mean to. The doctor decided to leave it in and see if it wouldn't come on in ok, which suited me fine. I hope it doesn't give me any more trouble though.

It's getting about time for me to stop now, my sweetheart. I love you so much, my darling, more than my power of expression enables me to tell you. I only long and dream of the sweetest wife in the world and of that day when I can be with her again and we can renew our happiness and do all of those things which we long to do together. Eternally yours, Perry

March 22, 1945

Hello my sweet wife,

No letters yesterday, but I am sure a hopin' for tonight. I got the three I received from you last and read them all over again to see if I couldn't glean some more from them. I was very complimented when you said my letters thrilled you and I wondered if they thrill you as much as yours do me. They make me want to say, "Ooh, ooh!" like you did that time, do you remember? I got a big kick out of that. I kept trying to say it the way you did but could never quite imitate you. All of those wonderful days stand out so vividly in my mind and it still thrills me to think of them. My darling, will you be the same when I come back?

Perry, age 16, standing between his parents with
sister, Venice, in car and husband standing behind car.
Taken during a trip to Portland, Oregon
Yes, sweetheart, I would like a piano too, very much. Only somebody ought to learn to play it. They are quite expensive furniture you know. As bad as I wanted to, I never did learn to play, which to this day and always will be a regret to me. My folks write me that they have the car fixed up and some new tires and told me to hurry and come home and use it. My mother said she had already been unconsciously thinking of things we could do. How I wished I could take wings and fly back there with you. Couldn't we have some wonderful times? Then we wouldn't have to depend on street cars and busses. Guess I hadn't better let my mind carry me too far away from the realistic now though. (PS, I hate street cars and busses though, don't you?)

I do do a lot of dreaming though. since I don't get much pleasure out of living in the present here, I am forever living in the future. And no matter what it is I am dreaming about, there you are right there with me, right along by my side. Do you remember the one time you said you always wanted to be by my side? Well, you are, even in all of my thoughts and dreams. Will close now, my darling, so I can write my folks and sisters. Always your affectionate husband, Perry

March 23, 1945 (Friday, 2:30 pm)

My dear sweet wife,

Today I received some more back letters from you. They were posted Feb. 14th, March 2nd and March 5th. My darling, you do write such sweet letters, but then that is because they are just like you--so how could they be different. I loved the one where you poured your heart out to me. I know what you feel and what you mean. I feel exactly the same way too, but I like to have you express yourself to me that way.

Portland, Oregon trip and Perry's first chance
to see the Pacific Ocean, something he sees
everyday during the war and longs for dry land.
It's good to hear that Dick expects to be coming back before too long. Grant says he expects to be home by Christmas too. Sounds like they are getting rather optimistic on that side of the world. The war news sounds better all the time so maybe they have a reason to. I hope we don't have another relapse.

Sweetheart, I have the same longings and yearnings that you do. It hurts sometimes when the things we want so badly seem so far away, but I guess we must have faith and patience to wait. Perhaps our prayers may be filled sooner than we now expect, but whenever it will be, I know they will be fulfilled abundantly. Yes, I do love Sunday afternoon naps too, but I think when I come back, you won't get to take very many. It will be like when you used to try to comb your hair. I will be teasing you or tormenting you, after I have had my nap of course--ha, ha! Do you think we will be happy in our "little crooked house"?--huh?

Please tell me all about the Gold & Green Ball and if you had a good time, won't you? I love you, my sweetheart. Always yours, Perry