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Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Pearl Harbor--Novocain

Lt. (j.g.) Gilbert Steingart
U.S.S. Ocelot, F.P.O. San Francisco
25 September 1944, 10:45 PM 
Dearest Eleanor,
     Is everything alright? No mail today and with Norma being sick I'm a little concerned.  I hope the morning mail brings the glad tidings that Norma is up and kicking again.
     This has been a busy day for me. I worked steadily all morning and afternoon up till 4:00 PM. In addition to ship's company I've been getting patients based ashore who can't get taken care of. As a personal favor to officer friends aboard I've taken care of several men based elsewhere. It is wonderful what effect a shot of Novocain has on a patient and how grateful they are for the little extra consideration.
     We finally got our movie equipment rigged up so that we can see pictures on deck. What a relief it was to sit and see a movie with a nice cool breeze blowing all the time. It has been much warmer lately and the stuffiness took all the pleasure out of seeing a movie. The picture tonight was "The Avenger," a British production, and good. A propaganda story about Norway before and after Nazi occupation.
     There are several changes to be made in my operating room which will make my work easier. We've been discussing the changes for the past half hour and now the plans are complete. Nothing more for now. I'll finish in the AM after I've gotten the morning mail (I hope). Good night dear and pleasant dreams.

Tuesday 8:15 AM
     Good morning darling. Hope you slept well last night. No mail again this morning and now I'm really worried. Hope the mail this afternoon brings me good news. In the past a day or two went by and then I'd get a whole stack so here is hoping.
     There really is nothing new to write about since last night except that I'm alive and kicking. Do you remember how you and Linda would meet me at the steamboat landing at Catalina and what a reunion that was every week? Well after this war when I come home that reunion will be our last. Then we'll always be together wherever we go.
     So long dear, I'll write again tonight. I do love you.

Your anxious

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Pearl Harbor--Aquarium and Beaches

U.S.S. Ocelot was the flagship of Service Squadron 10 (a floating repair and supply base). It would stay out of combat and only more forward after a site was secured and safe.

Lt. (j.g.) Gilbert Steingart
U.S.S. Ocelot, F.P.O. San Francisco
Sunday 24 September 1944, 9:30 PM
Dearest Wife,
     Just saw "Ghost Breakers," a typical Olsen and Johnson movie. I got a big bang out of it though you probably wouldn't like it.
     I hope Norma is better now. Didn't get any mail this afternoon except the service edition of the Outlook. However Sunday is a bad day for mail so I'm looking to tomorrow morning.
     Had liberty so after 1:00 PM mail call, Ambie and I hopped a bus with no destination in view. Went to the end of the line, took another bus and went on. This drive was along the beach and very scenic. Came back on the same bus and stopped at an aquarium of tropical fish. Wish you and the kids could see it. All sizes and such shapes; "nightmares" could describe some of the fish very well. Got back to the ship at 7:15 PM and so another liberty.
     Again dear, don't worry about me. I'll be quite safe. Our duties won't bring us into actual combat and I expect you'll be hearing from me more or less regularly.
     About Xmas cards--I am working on something now. If it materializes all the crew and officers will have Xmas greetings to send home free of charge.
     I played back Dave's record which had a personal message from him to bolster my morale (supposedly) and a cute story on the other side. As soon as our public address system is in operation I'll play it so the whole ship can hear it.
     As far as studying after the war is over, where I go will depend on what is available. How can I say now where I want to go when I don't know myself? Good night dear.

Monday 9:00 AM
     No mail this morning. I hope Norma is better. Got a letter from your mother and mine yesterday along with yours which I failed to mention. Here it is 11:00 o'clock and this is all I've gotten written. The next patient will wait until I'm through.
    Sweet, are you feeling better this morning? Hope you got a decent night's sleep. Do you remember how we went sailing on Lake Arrowhead and how scared you were? Well we're going again and let's try sailing once more. Maybe you'll have more confidence in me.
     I'd better close and make sure this gets off today. Bye Sweetheart until tonight.

Your loving husband

The Waikiki Aquarium
Founded in 1904

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Pearl Harbor-Ain't What She Used to Be

Lt. (jg) Steingart couldn't write about what was happening aboard the U.S.S. Ocelot. In August 1944 the ship arrived in Pearl Harbor as a barracks ship for 50 officers and 800 men. While in Pearl Harbor she was being converted to flagship of Service Squadron 10. The conversion included the addition of extensive radio and visual signaling equipment. Radio and coding rooms were being added in the superstructure, and berths for the squadron commander, staff officers, and enlisted men below.

Lt. (j.g.) Gilbert Steingart
U.S.S. Ocelot, F.P.O. San Francisco
Friday 22 September 1944, 10:00 PM
Hello Sweetheart,
      Just got back from liberty and now for our little visit. Nothing important this morning until mail call. Got a letter from you and a home recording from Dave, but I haven't been able to play it back yet. Hope I can tomorrow. After lunch the exec and I went on liberty together. We sat around and drank all afternoon and then went to the beach for dinner. After dinner we played some miniature golf and got a ride back to the ship with some marine flyers. And here I am.
      I wish I could take you to the dance at the "G's" but--well why say it? However dear, when this is over there'll be many dances. We always have and we always will go again together.
      Yes dear I am sorry to say the Ocelot "ain't" what she used to be and I won't be home for some time. What is the $29 storage bill for? You didn't explain. If you have anything you wish to send me send it on.
Certainly you are going to Chicago with me. You didn't think I'd come home just to leave again. Silly girl! And Grand Canyon is our first stop.
      Last night I wrote to the Aranoffs and the Bergmans. So two more off my list. And as far as Leon is concerned, he is right, but I wouldn't worry. Everything will be all right.
Nothing more for now Sweet but I'll be with you again in the morning. Good night and sleep tight.

Saturday 8:15 AM
      Good morning darling. Just had my juice and coffee and now for a few more minutes together. Just you and I. I had hoped for some-thing in the morning mail but no such luck. I'm sure there'll be some letters this PM. I hope you slept well, that our girls were good and also slept well. Gee, even to be awakened at night just to cover Linda or Norma would be fun.
      I have a pretty heavy program scheduled today. About five patients this morning and a couple this afternoon. That with some non professional duties should keep me busy today.
      You should be well on your way to being settled by the time you read this note. Hope you haven't worn yourself all to a frazzle but I know how you are when you begin cleaning and straightening. Maybe you've learned by now.
      Dear, do you remember the Coconut Grove and Freddie Martin, how we loved dancing to his music? Well Sweet, after this war it's you and I at the Biltmore, Ambassador, Slapsy Maxie's etc, etc.
      Goodbye for now. Will be with you tonight and who said I like to sleep alone?
Loving you always

What USS Ocelot was like on arrival at Pearl Harbor

One of the places Gil and Eleanor danced.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Pearl Harbor--Birthday Suits

Lt. (j.g.) Gilbert Steingart
U.S.S. Ocelot, F.P.O. San Francisco
Thursday 21 September 1944
Dearest Eleanor,
     Hello darling. Just came out from the movie and now we'll have our little visit. The picture, "Wing and a Prayer," was quite good but still not what the men want. Give them gals in their birthday suits or as close to that as you can. Then they are happy.
     This has been a quiet day. Did some work this morning and some after lunch and the rest of the time odd and end duties and chores. For one thing I placed an order for additional recreational games. I intend to install a complete card file system for our library and catalogue the books by title and author. The fleet librarian is helping out. It shouldn't be too difficult a job.
     Discussed censorship with the executive officer. A few items I purchased to send home won't be able to leave for quite some time. I did order something for you birthday which you should receive on the day and also I found something I think you'll like that I'll send right off. However some books for Linda, hankies and a charm bracelet will have to wait. Please understand dear. I can't just send anything I like as can shore based personnel.
     No mail today so I'll expect a couple tomorrow. I hope Linda is completely recovered by now. I still don't know what to get Norma. I can get some dolls from the Army Exchange. How about a suggestion. With no letter from you I have no question so--no answers.
     Do you remember the play "Lysistrata?" The spelling is probably wrong, but after the war when I come back I'll be in the same condition as portrayed by the returning warriors in the play and you'd better not try any holding out. Good night my Sweet.

Loving you as ever

Friday, June 8, 2018

Pearl Harbor-Xmas and Finances

Lt(jg) Gilbert Steingart
U.S.S. Ocelot, F.P.O. San Franscisco
Wednesday 20 September 1944
Dearest Eleanor,
     Just got back from liberty and found two letters from you. Got one from you this morning and also one from Linda. About gifts. I've purchased three books for Linda, a woven bag and coin purse for you and a charm bracelet. There are several reasons for my not buying a lot of gifts. First, they are mostly made in the U.S. and terribly overpriced even at ship service. Second the amount of money I draw won't go very far and I can't cash a check because I'm on a ship. I don't know what a fruit salad pin is but I'll find out. Jimmy is too far away to get together with and his liberty days and mine never seem to fall on the same day. Send me a $100 money order and I'll go to town. I'll select items and send them in one package and you can distribute same to members of family as you see fit. I bought some hankies. They as well as several items can't be sent by me until we leave here. I'll see what I can arrange. I still haven't heard from you about a watch for your birthday.
     Regarding the bank statement I can make two suggestions. Either a phone call or a letter sent by the local branch of the Bank of America under Mr. Lamb's signature might speed things up. The present balance is approximately $2750.00. It may be that the August statement has been forwarded to me since I wasn't in San Diego to receive it. It should catch up to me soon if that is the case.
     I got a New Year greeting from Manny and Etta and dropped them a note. I haven't heard from Deb and Dave in some time and answered Dave's last letter. You'd better check with Dave about filing a form to delay paying any income tax until I get back to the states. Go ahead and get your coat fixed. Of course I don't mind. I just wish I could say go ahead and buy a new one. We have the money but we'll be able to spend it and get more pleasure and satisfaction later when we are together. Go on a shopping spree, dear, and have as much fun as you can. Watch out for those hats though; you know me.
     Sweetheart as much as I don't like to say it Xmas will be a very lonesome day for me. I'm depending on you, though, to see the kids don't miss out.
     Nothing much to tell about my liberty today and we returned to the ship in time for supper. The movie tonight was "Falcon in Mexico." Not too good but still not at all bad as far as entertainment goes.
     Darling do you remember the picnics we went on in Ojai Valley. After the war you and I and our girls, too, are going there to enjoy a quiet day together. I wish I knew what to send for Norma. Can you make a suggestion?
     Good night my Sweet. I'll see you in my dreams.

P.S. Saw the proofs of my photos today and was greatly disappointed. So I only ordered three. Am going to try one of the quickie joints. I might be lucky and get a good one.

Example of a Fruit Salad Pin

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Pearl Harbor--Glamorous Wife

Tuesday, 19 September 10:15 PM
Dearest Eleanor,
     Hello my Sweet. Got your picture today and have been showing my glamorous wife off to everybody. One look at your photo and I knew I'd better get home soon or else.
     Since this morning I've been busy running around on some duties and that damned sun is hot. For dinner tonight our executive officer had two guests. One was a Jewish chaplain, the one who conducted the services here. Didn't want to go to the movie tonight because I had seen it before. "The White Cliffs of Dover. All through the picture I kept thinking of you. Do you remember when we saw it in Diego? Anyway I don't think it's the type of picture to show men overseas and from the Captain down all of us agreed on that.
     Well darling, on the day I stay aboard there is little to write about. Just routine and that is all. I did see the chap I sewed up and he looks swell. Nothing interesting outside of that. Will finish in the morning. Good night, darling.

Wednesday September 20, 1944, 8:25 AM
Good morning Sweetheart,
     Did you sleep well? I read the August Reader's Digest until midnight and then turned the light out. I had hardly closed my eyes when it was 7:00 AM and time to get up again. It seems the bugs were biting again last night. We all have a few welts to show for the attack but they must have just taken little nips out of me because I slept right on through.
     So you've got nothing to do at night but bathe and stay clean. Well I shower at least once every day because I have to. I perspire so much that I'd probably smell to high heaven if I didn't. I hasn't rained much here during the day but it rains every night and when I come out on deck in the morning everything is wet and fresh looking.
     My love, I'm going on liberty today. Will check the proofs of my photos, look around some more for those books you mention and then? Bye my Sweet, till tonight.

Loving you more & more,
Lt. (j.g.) Gilbert Steingart
U.S.S. Ocelot
F.P.O. San Francisco

Glamorous Wife
According to Linda (Gil and Eleanor's daughter), Eleanor sat for a photographer who did portraits of movie stars. The dress was beige with a magenta print. The clip on earrings were her favorites. The hairdo was done with “rats.” She always tried to keep her mouth closed because she was embarrassed by her crocked teeth.  After the war, Gil fixed her smile with porcelain crowns.  He was one of the first dentists to do that kind of cosmetic dentistry.

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Pearl Harbor--Telepathy

Tuesday 19 September 1944, 8:25 AM
Good Morning Sweetheart,
     I never believed in mental telepathy but I do now. Either Sunday or yesterday I recalled our visit with Belle and Charlie. In the letter that I received from you yesterday you did the same. On my liberty yesterday I went to a bookstore looking for something suitable for Linda and saw those books you mentioned in the same letter. However I hadn't seen the letter until I returned. There must be something to this telepathy.
     Worked all morning yesterday. Had lunch aboard and then went on liberty. Stopped at the Chaplain's Office to locate Wally and Al.  Wally is nowheres near here. Al is at a station some distance from the base but I'll arrange to see him soon. Then I went and had some pictures taken. Will see the proofs on Wednesday (tomorrow) and then will wait a week for the finished photo. Then I did the shopping I mentioned. By that time I was pretty warm so I went to the beach and had a cold drink. As I walked into one of the hotels another familiar face greeted me. You may remember the name, but I've forgotten. But you must remember the officer who lived around the corner at Diego with whom I tried to get together and share rides to the base when my schedule was changed. Well he just arrived on the 14th and was on his first liberty. He will be based here and seemed quite lonesome and lost.
     I hope Linda's stomach is completely settled now. If she has another spell take her to Harry Sieger's and have him check her over. Dear, don't worry about Leon's ideas. Though we are going places alright, our ship won't arrive until it is quite safe. I can't tell you why but believe me I know.
     Have to go to work now. Will write again this evening after the movie. By the way, saw Henry Aldrich in "Henry's Little Secret" last night. Very funny and refreshing. See it. Bye my sweet. Do you remember us and the Weinsteins at Arrowhead one afternoon in our cabin? After the war let's go back, but alone. I love you dear.

Your husband

Lt. (j.g.) G. Steingart
U.S.S. Ocelot
F.P.O San Francisco