|Gene, Santa Monca with girlfriends|
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!
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.
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