Monday, March 15, 2010

Letter 199- May 30, 1945

May 30, 1945

Dear Mudder and Dad,

This morning I got to thinking about how long it’s been since I’ve written you a letter and I’ve got to say that it made me just a little ashamed. I guess that I’ve been too interested in going to the movies, swimming and so forth. What even makes it worse is the fact that I’m receiving your letters now within 7 days. According to the “Stars and Stripes” it’s flown all the way now and service may be even quicker now. Yesterday I received mail from you post-marked in North Hollywood on the 22nd. That’s really traveling.

Everything is about the same as before here. Yesterday we got shots—no yellow fever, and now ma (southern accent) left arm is stiff as a board.

They’re letting Jerries out of the camps by the thousands now & what gets me down is that the officers all are allowed to carry pistols and every 50th. enlisted man can carry a rifle. Sometimes I wonder why the hell I fought.

I hate to think of some of our boys getting murdered some dark night by those very same weapons.

We have a swimming pool in our company area now and yesterday I took a swim. It was nice but the weather is still a little too cool.

I found something very interesting yesterday or rather the day before. I took some papers out in a vacant lot to burn and on the ground I saw a brown little leather change case. It was in miserable shape and as I picked it up to throw in the fire it was heavy. When I opened it I found a odd assortment of old coins, the oldest of which dates to 1671—no by God, a little brass coin here in front of me says 1624—321 years old. I’ll put it in the letter. Several of the coins date back to the Napoleonic Wars but the most interesting of all is an American “half-dime” dated 1857, and again there is a Civil War “brass” Indian head penny. You’ll note that the coin I’m sending you was clipped by some 17th. Century crook. He probably ended up on a noose.

In front of me now is a half a dozen or so letters from you I need to answer. Oh! Oh! I guess that thing you’re most interested in is if and when I go into the Pacific. There are rumors galore but we’ve been told to settle down as we may be here for a long time. Good, huh?

Right now I can hear the radio down stair raving about the blasting of Yokohama. Evidently “allies ist kaput” both in Tokyo and Yokohama.

If this keeps up all the Japs will be sleeping in their rice paddies by the late summer.

Well, that’s about –30—

Best Love, Bill


  1. Note: The odd assortment of old coins is one of the very few artifacts that survived along with Bill's letters. As a teen I discovered the coins and was fascinated by the collection, and like my father found the 1857 "half dime" of particular interest. Unfortunately I lost track of the coins but still hold a faint hope that they are "buried" somewhere in my mother's house.

  2. The coins are the stuff of a novel. Who lost them? Where did they come from? Where did they go?

  3. I remember wrapping each individual coin in tissue paper and putting them all in a plastic film can. Perhaps a hundred years from now someone will look down to the ground, see a pile of coins surrounded by disintegrated plastic, pick it up, see a coin marked "1624" and wonder, "Who lost them? Where did they come from?


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