Monday, June 20, 2016

Merchant Marines

 Lt. (j.g.) Gilbert Steingart
U.S.S. Ocelot, F.P.O. San Francisco
Wednesday 17 January 1945, 6:35 PM
Dearest Eleanor,
     Well I did it again today. This morning I got the National Jewish Monthly and the American Dental Association Bulletin. This afternoon I got six letters from you, marked 4th, 6th and 8th. Also a nice letter from Harry. And best of all I got the recordings of Norma's and Linda's voices and yours too. Sweetheart it really was good to hear all three of you again. In the future cut the records a little deeper. There is an adjustment for it on the cutting head. With the needles we use out here the home recordings are easily ruined when shallowly cut.
     Now to your mail. No I didn't send cards to Krause or Kramer. They're not on my list and I've just got to draw the line somewhere.
     I don't recall the exact bank balance in the Santa Monica Bank account, though you could check it by the day book from my office. In the back there is a perpetual balance carried forward. I do think however it was around $2,300. Check it and let me know. How about taking $1,000 out from the San Diego bank and buying a series "G" bond. That is the same type we bought with the $2,000 from my office equipment. It is negotiable so it can always be cashed in and 2-1/2% interest is better than nothing.
     The signatures on the menu were those of the officers and crew, though probably several missed signing it. All the drawings on menus and greetings originated from my office. My corpsman is quite clever and when we get together we always get something nice out.
     About the liquor dear, I would have felt like a 24 karat heel to bootleg some of it to one of the crew. Sorry I can't agree with you on that point but it isn't important, really.
     Scuttlebutt still is the same though a month has been added to the original three that I heard of at first. Still I'd bet money that I won't be out longer than a year at the most. Keep your panties on. You'll have plenty of time to get ready when I get orders to return and then will there be a hot time in the old time! Wow!
     You mention three letters written on the 5th but I only got two. Bet I get another stack tomorrow. This mail is hard to figure. One of you letters tells me about records you're sending me and the records got here the same time as the letter. Yet one came air mail and the other regular mail.
     I see my guess about the Seitz home was correct. We'll still have a "real" home after this war and you'll be real proud of it. Just wait and see.
     The box of fruit and nuts Deb sent were glazed and very delicious. My roommates and I enjoyed it to the last crumb. The "vitamin pills" arrived in excellent condition but I still have most of them. You see, we can get chocolates and candies, so it's not as novel as the fruit.
     The Mary, Willie and Wally story is nothing new as far as I'm concerned. Surely you knew what was going on too.
     If Dick thinks the Merchant Marine as a job is better than the Navy he is in for a rude awakening. They may not have the strict discipline but Merchant Marine ships usually take part in invasions and are easier marks than Navy ships because they don't carry as much armament as a Navy ship would.
     Today has been just a routine day. Worked all morning examining and filling teeth. I've made a survey of the crews' health records and found 83 who hadn't received treatment in the past six months so I'm calling them all in, 10 per day.
     After lunch I went over to a nearby ship and bought a pint of ice cream for a dime and did I enjoy it. Then I looked after some library, welfare and mess duties that had been awaiting my attention. By then it was 4:00 PM so I undressed, showered, censored mail and read until 5:30. Then I dressed for dinner, ate and here I am.
     I forgot to mention that we had pictures of the whole ship's company taken yesterday and every man will receive a copy. I hope that the chief censor will allow them to be sent home.
     "Wilson" last night was good though it was slow in places. Tonight we have "This is the Life" with Peggy Ryan and Donald O'Connor and its rated 4.0.
     Well darling I've been writing now for forty-five minutes and my fingers are getting tired. Do you remember in the good old days when you were my social secretary and did all my writing for me? After the war you will receive you reappointment for life.
     Good night Sweet I love you and miss you and look to the day when we'll all be one again.

Impatiently,
Gil



A Recording



Christmas Menu originated in Gil's office

Signatures on back of Christmas Menu