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Monday, March 28, 2016

Burnt Souvenir



Lt. (j.g.) Gilbert Steingart
U.S.S. Ocelot, F.P.O San Francisco
Monday 27 November 1944, 9:15 PM
My Dearest,
     Zowie, I hit the jackpot at last. Eighteen letters today. One from Libby, one from Ruth, fifteen from you, my Sweet, and a card that was on the ship that burned. I am sending it back to you. Keep it as a souvenir.
     Didn't do a lick of dentistry today. Instead saw the completion of the cross-indexing of the library. Then did some experimenting endeavoring to find a way to make some projector slides. We are going to have group singing before movies. Because we must not show too much light topside we are going to project the words on the screen. Well I tried to x-ray film and glass a million different ways and then I discovered that plain strips of paper with words written or typed worked best of all. We live and learn.
     This evening the movie was "Swingtime Johnny" with Harriet Hilliard and the Andrews Sisters. This picture is the poorest excuse for entertainment that we've gotten in a long time.
     Now to your letters. OK dear I'll promise not to skip any more days in writing. The reason I didn't hint about our departure was because censorship at that time was very rigid and even a suggestion would have been cut. Al had promised to write but we expected to see each other before I shoved off and maybe that is why he delayed in writing.
     No dear I haven't done any fishing. While we were underway we are moving too fast for trolling and because of something that happened here recently fishing won't be good for a while.
     That gadget I was making hasn't worked out so well but I got a new brainstorm so I'm going to try again.
     You do expect me to tell you a lot more than censorship permits. I can't even hint at arrivals and departures nor locate our whereabouts even by suggestion. Please be reasonable and don't keep asking for such information. Now that I've chided you for the n-the time I'll continue.
     I wish I could take some pictures but where we are now there are no such things as civilians. In fact even the natives have been removed. All we see all day and all night is Navy and more Navy.
     So Marty is up to his old tricks again. One of these days he's going to meet his match and there'll sure be hell a popping. I just want to be around to enjoy the fireworks.
     Sorry about the wrist watch. By now you have Edith's letter and you know the whole story. No dear, I haven't received any gifts as yet. So far very little in the way of packages has been brought aboard. The most recent letter I received took twelve days in coming and some of the mail dated back to the ninth so you see what mail is like out here.
     We'll be out for quite some time but there have been five transfers amongst officers since we arrived. I have a hunch that before long all of us that came out will return to the good old U.S. I've got my fingers crossed.
     I wish I could tell you about our discussions aboard but most is censorable and the rest is sex with a capital "S."
     Between your teaching and classes you seem to be filling out your time and getting a little pleasure out of it and I'm glad. Get it all out of your system. When I return you're going to have a new routine and it won't include classes and teaching.
     I'll send some more gum as soon as they break out some more Wrigley's. Some of the other brands are lousy.
     Letters are taken off of passing ships but only from fighting vessels that are on patrol and do not make any port for months at a time. These ships take on fuel, food, supplies and mail at sea. Thank God I'm in a better spot than that and in more ways than one.
     Dear, I did enjoy all those clippings and your poetry. Keep them coming. There is one thing you can send that I can't buy out here. Black rayon or silk socks (short). All they have aboard are cotton or wool and mine are beginning to run.
     From the sound of things, Linda and Norma are developing so rapidly that I'll not know them when I return. Well we'll get reacquainted and pick up from there.
     You seem to be having plenty of rain. We have rain here daily, but it never lasts long though it does pour. Still we ignore it and keep right on doing what we were doing.
     Hope you have fun at the race track and don't win too much money. I'm not going to say any more about lodge activity. You'll have to be your own judge there. As yet I haven't gotten my course or the letter you mention. Guess it is lost.
      Well honey, here it is 10:00 o'clock, time for lights out and I'm not half through your letters. I'm going to close this letter now and carry on with the rest of your mail in tomorrow's letter.
     Do you remember dear how I selected all your clothes? Now I can't do it. Well after the war that is one change we'll institute. Back to our old way of buying your clothes. Is it a deal? Swell
     Good night dear, I'm going to sleep much better tonight.

Love,
Gil