Sunday, December 12, 2010

6/20/1953 Sadie Erwin to Jeannie Dahlstrom

Sadie at P.O. Box 44, Enumclaw
Jeannie at 907 29th Ave S., Minneapolis

Dear Jeannie,

Your nice letter came yesterday and I was very happy to hear from you, and to hear you girls are having such a nice time.

I have intended writing you and Ruthie a letter all the week, but each day is so full I have kept putting it off for another day.

We are still having a lot of rain, and it is not hot here. You will be glad to come home and sleep under a blanket at night.

Aunt Ruth, Gary and I went down to Bellevue, Thursday. Aunt Stella gave me a permanent. My hair is real curly now.

Your mother, Daddy and Gail came home that day from their fishing trip up at Neah Bay. We had some of the salmon your mother caught. It was oh so good.

I have another old nickel for you. When you come home will come down to see you. Perhaps we can meet your train. We miss you girls a lot, and the house seems funny with just Gail there.

Grandpa and I plan to go up to the cabin after work tomorrow if the weather is nice. We will be thru work at 5 o’clock. Aunt Helen said they might come up tomorrow too.

Give my best wishes to your Grandma and all the folks there. I’ll write again before you leave.

Much love to you and Ruthie,

Grandma Erwin

12/13/1944 Jim Erwin to Gladys Dahlstrom

Jim in India
Gladys at 9007 S. Elizabeth, Chicago

Dear Gladys,

Just returned from a twenty-one day furlough in Calcutta. Had a wonderful time. Like all leaves, hated to come back.

Was able to buy cokes, ice cream, steaks, fried chicken, seafood, everything a guy would want. My buddy and I went together. Two other fellows from the squadron came down a few days later so the four of us really had a time of it.

Your nice big package and lovely letter was waiting for me here at camp. Am really tempted to open the package but will wait until the twenty-fifth. Packages from mother and Elizabeth came too. I’ve got letters stacked high and don’t think I’ll get to answer them all in time for Christmas. If you get this, and I hope you do, it will just make it.

In mother’s last letter she said Cully has signed up and is playing now. Bet he is happy about it too. This is probably his last season so hope he has a wonderful one.

Vi wrote a nice letter to me and also sent a card. I’ll write a letter to her right after the holidays. I’ll never forget her playing “Wedding of the Painted Doll” on the piano. That must have been about ten years ago.

Don’t doubt that Wally is sick of his station. He certainly has been there a long time. He would be glad to be there tho once he was sent overseas. Hope he won’t have to leave.

We do have a couple of towns fairly close by but don’t go in very often. Once you’ve seen one of these small towns you’ve seen them all.

It’s getting so cold in the evenings, it’s hard to remember how awful hot the summer was. Imagine we’ll know again in a few months.

This is short Glad but must write to Stella and Helen yet tonight. Thanks again for the nice package and all of you have a very merry Christmas.

With love,

10/21/1944 Jim Erwin to Gladys Dahlstrom

Jim in India
Gladys at 9007 S. Elizabeth, Chicago

Dear Gladys,

A nice letter came from you today. A V-mail came some time ago so will answer them both now.

After supper this evening we played football until dark. Usually play every night. Just got out of the shower when the water went off. Made it just in time.

We’re living in a new area now and it’s really sharp. Believe it’s the best on the field. The tents are in good shape, electricity, a day room and the grounds are clean.

We get a full day off a week now so make good use of it. Tomorrow afternoon three of us are going out hitchhiking and look for a good place to eat. We did the same thing last week. Ate three meals inside of an hour.

By now Cully should have gotten the contract he wants. This year you won’t get the trip out of it tho. Hope he has a good year and doesn’t get banged up much. Hockey is a rough game and plenty of the boys get hurt all the time. Cully is more capable of taking care of himself now than he was before. If everybody thinks rightly, he can come out unhurt.

You both must have enjoyed your little vacation in Minneapolis. Wally was probably very happy to see Cully too.

Where does Vi & John live. They seem to get to Chicago three or more times a year. I haven’t seen Vi for about nine years but bet I would recognize her anytime, anywhere.

Don’t worry about me liking what you sent. It’s a big bother for all of you in the states to even have to send a package. I mean that Glad. People feel as tho they must send something and do. We really have everything we need. The few things that I do need, mother can always get and send.

Furloughs are just a short way off and hope to go to New Delhi. Hope I can find something nice for you. These small town merchants just raised their prices again because Christmas is coming and the soldiers will be sending things home. They really are terrible. Even when we pay them half of what they ask, it’s more than what we would be paying at home. I tried to buy some toothpaste in town the other day but it cost $1.20 in American money. The merchants will all be able to retire after the Yanks get out.

We can vote if desire to. I feel the same as most do. All the politicians boast what they’re going to do for the veterans. They’re just using us for the goat. Either party, doesn’t make any difference. We just want to get home.

Mother should know very close to where we are now and she’ll let you know. If one of my recent letters went through, she will know within fifteen miles. Can’t hardly get much closer than that.

The rains have let up, malaria season is practically over. The food is much better now and getting along okay. Haven’t gambled for months and have quite a bit of money saved. Hope the war ends within the next year and will be seeing you all soon.

Love, Jim

7/24/1944 Jim Erwin to Gladys Dahlstrom

Jim in India
Gladys at 9007 S. Elizabeth, Chicago

Dear Glad,

Would have written sooner but didn’t have your new address. Dad sent it to me a week ago. A letter from mother came, she mailed it while in Chicago.

Since you have bought a home, you’ll probably stay in Chicago for a long time. Are you going to sell the cabin now?

We are attached to a Combat Cargo Squadron. The planes are up all day so we have to work nights. We start work at six, eat at midnight and then go home when we are finished. That usually isn’t before breakfast time.

There is a fairly good sized town about 35 miles from here but I haven’t been to it yet. In mother’s letter she said that you would rather have me buy things for you, instead of sending the money I owe you. That’s okay with me. The only thing is, Glad, these Indians have raised the prices way up. Perhaps articles were cheap before the Americans got over here, but they are a long way from it now. I’ll do the best I can tho. There is probably some things you have in mind you would like to have me try to get, so I’ll wait until I hear from you.

This field is up close to a mountain range and not too far from Burma. They say it’s only 20 minutes flying time from where they’re fighting. Planes go pretty fast so imagine it’s quite far away. We haven’t had any excitement here and don’t expect any.

Rumors are out again that we are to move once more. Think we are going into China after the monsoon season is over so if we move now, it will probably still be in India.

The news sounds good and hope the war in Europe will be over this year. Maybe this other deal will be over soon after and maybe we could be home for Christmas in “45”. That would be okay.

Will close for now and hope to hear from your soon. Say hello to Cully and the children.

With love,

3/10/1944 Jim Erwin to Gladys Dahlstrom

Jim at Lakeland Field, Florida
Gladys at Hotel Guyon, Chicago

Dear Gladys,

Received your letter this evening and was glad to hear from you again.

Yesterday we had a big inspection. Had officers of all different rank here from the Inspector General’s office in Washington. Everything went over okay and they were well pleased. They told us that we would turn in our field equipment at P.O.E. [point of embarkation] so we won’t be going into a combat zone.

I saw in the paper recently that the Hawks were up in third place. Mother told me about Cully winning another hat [hockey hat trick]. Was glad to get the clipping.

We all got cards to fill out for change of address. When we leave this field, our P.O.E. address will be added on and mailed. Wrote one out for you so when we go, you’ll get it and know we’ve left.

I asked one of our officers if he knew how soon we would be leaving and he said we would be here for a week or so but wouldn’t know how much longer. Our first sergeant said we would be here for payday. Don’t know which is right. Most likely neither one knew.

Sorry to hear Cully got his draft call before he was able to get into a defense job.

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