Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Scuttlebutt Unreliable


Lt. (j.g.) Gilbert Steingart
U.S.S. Ocelot, F.P.O. San Francisco
Saturday 2 June 1945, 7:15 PM
Dearest Eleanor,
     Hello Sweet, I hit the jackpot again today. I got ten letters in all, eight from you and one each from Deb and Ethyl. Outside of that today was very uneventful. I worked all morning and didn't get to read my mail until after lunch. Then a few of us went ashore and got back at 6:00 P.M. and now here I am.
     I really was disappointed about missing Sol. As an enlisted man it is pretty hard for him to get around but if I had known the ship he was on (and I would have if I'd had the name), it would have been a simple matter for me to make the run. Of course it would be nice if our ship would make the states once in awhile, but I really wouldn't care for duty on an APA. They are always in there when the going is tough and they have plenty of casualties. Don't say anything to the "Gs." You see even Sol didn't know he was going back to Frisco when I did. I can find out about others but not about myself. Oh, well!
I've never given up about getting back soon. However so much of the scuttlebutt is unreliable, I don't mention stuff unless it is well founded. Don't worry, I'll ask for Long Beach and I'm pretty sure to get it.
     What do you mean my course grades should be 4.0? Don't worry I won't flunk and anything above 3.9-- is excellent.
     It is getting close to movie time so I'll secure until later. Don't go away. I'll be back soon.
     9:45 and here I am again Honey. We had an excellent movie tonight. It was "Conflict" with Humphrey Bogart, Alexis Smith and Sidney Greenstreet. Now back to your letters.
     Bet I know the photography place Wallie is taking over. Do you remember the young Jewish fellow who took some pictures at Linda's 4th or 5th birthday party? He is married to a shiksa and is in the Army. It all ties up very nicely.
     Your news of Iz Goldman is interesting. By the by, you sent me Simmy Marcus' address once and I misplaced it. Also Vic Spitzer's. How about sending them to me again.
     Cox is my roommate. He is married and has three kiddies. He has been in the Navy for about ten years and is a lieutenant (j.g.) with a permanent rank of chief yeoman. You see after the war all men's rank will revert back to what they were at the beginning of the war or when they were first commissioned if they came in after the war started. Peacetime promotions are very slow. Of course invite him over. He still hasn't left here. Lord alone knows where his relief is.
     I love your ideas about our new home. They certainly are not too crazy.
     Yes I went to a lot of trouble for my shells but it was lots of fun and the effort well worth the results or vice versa.
     Linda seems to be spending lots of time on her dancing and it sounds like she is getting quite good at it. Gosh it's been so long now since I've seen any of you that I wonder if I'll know how to act when I get back. I've really been living in the present and try not to think of the past or future. Thinking of the past brings back many loving memories and thoughts but also makes me homesick and blue. Looking to the future makes time drag, so it's just today. Tomorrow will take care of itself.
     I do love you Darling and while all those couples you write about are together, we are far apart. That is, far apart physically, yet you are always in my thoughts.
     I'm all writ out for tonight so I'll sign off. Goodnight Sweetheart, until tomorrow.

Yours alone,
Gil

Sol











Monday, January 30, 2017

What Budget?



Lt. (j.g.) Gilbert Steingart
U.S.S. Ocelot, F.P.O. San Francisco
Friday June 1, 1945, 4:00 PM
Dearest Eleanor,
     This morning I hit the jackpot. I got thirteen letters, eight from you, two from Deb, and one each from Libby, your mother and mine. However, I was busy all morning. It was noon before I had a chance to read any of them.
     Now to your letters. They were all written prior to the one I received Tuesday and cover the 15th to 18th inclusive. I'm glad that Norma is about over her illness and pray that Linda will escape catching it.
     You didn't draw down too pleasant a teaching assignment this time, did you? Oh well, the school year is about over and every dollar helps towards balancing the budget. Don't ask me "what budget?"
     Sure wish I had a camera of my own. This is a swell place for taking pictures. Send on any film that you can get and I'll borrow a camera. Even some 116 film will do.
     Sorry dear but even out here we don't have all the pens we need. I only got the Sheaffer through some pull. Besides $6.50 is too much for a gift. Remember please, my total income is only $300 per month. Take it easy we'll need plenty of surplus when I discard my blues and set up in practice again. What do you want me to do? Put you on a budget like someone else we know? Sorry to say it but you don't seem to realize that you're spending too much and expensive gifts are one place to cut down.
     Talking about candy and diets. You know I have practically all the "vitamin pills" you sent me and also the salt water taffy from my mom. I seldom eat any sweets though I do drink a coke two or three times a week.
     I'm glad you found my fountain pen. I know it wasn't a very good one but they are hard to get.
     It's hard for me to understand anyone saying "gosh it's nice and hot." If I never see hot weather again, I'll be satisfied. At this moment the back of my shirt is soaked with perspiration.
     I've had my say on the fur coat dear. However, if you've still got your heart set on it, you can have $100 cash for our anniversary. My reserve is down to $275 now and I'd like to keep it around $300. One never can tell when he'll need money in a hurry.
     Your mention of Monskey reminds me of an article in the April 7 Colliers called "Repelled and Miami Beachhead." Special mention is made of it in the B'nai B'rith Bulletin.
     When you get your budget worked out I'd like to see it. I know things are high but still you're spending over $300 a month means that you're spending as much as before I got into the Navy. How do I figure it? Well we ran $500 a month then including payments on the house which you aren't making now. Then we spent no more than $150 on amusement together so you figure it out. I hate to harp on money but I'm getting a little worried when you say than soon there won't be any surplus. Remember I have about $100 a month for insurance, too and there'll have to be a surplus to pay that until I get rolling again. Don't tell me we have bonds. Those are savings and should stay so. I really feel that with the $50 increase I'm expecting this month, you should be able to get by without using up too much from the bank account. Bet Ruby doesn't spend that much a month. She still has a few friends and you can do it too. I've had my say about money and I won't talk about it again.
     Let me explain how the ALNAV works. The Navy Department sends out a message to all ships and stations saying advance to lieutenant all line and staff lieutenant (j.g.) with date of rank January 1 to January 31. Individual names are seldom mentioned. We won't get the ALNAV out here until around the 10th.
     Sweet I am enclosing a $100 check for Norma's birthday bond and incidentals. Please don't feel badly about my harping on our finances. I do love you and I know you aren't willingly squandering money, but I also know how big hearted and generous you are and I'm not there to apply the brakes as I used to.
It is 4:55 and I must shower and change so I'll sign off. Goodnight Darling until tomorrow.
Love,
Gil
P.S. The movie tonight is "Eadie Was A Lady" with Ann Miller. Don't know a thing about it.
Gil

Sheaffer pen  
$6.50 is too much for a gift.














Sunday, January 29, 2017

Little to Censor

Lt. (j.g.) Gilbert Steingart
U.S.S. Ocelot, F.P.O. San Francisco
Thursday 31 May 1945, 9:45 PM
Dearest Eleanor,
     Hello Dearest, here is that man again. Today has been a very ordinary one. I worked steadily all morning and after lunch saw three additional patients. Then I went to work on the wardroom books which balanced out OK for the first time. After that I censored some mail and finished the mystery story I was reading. By then it was five o'clock so I shampooed my hair, showered, and dressed for dinner. We had a very pretty sunset tonight. It sure looks good to see the sun setting behind some mountains for a change. Then I went to the movie. The picture was a comedy mystery, very light and slap-sticky. It was "The Adventures of Kitty O'Day" with Jean Parker. Oh well we can't have a good movie every night; there were a few laughs in it.
     No mail again today. Gee it's been a whole week now since I got your last letter. Hope the mail situation gets squared away soon because I sure miss hearing from you and knowing that you and the kids are well.
     One thing I have noticed is that there is very little letter writing going on now, not many letters to censor. However when our mail does catch up with us, there'll be plenty of mail to censor--you bet.
     This is the rainy season out here (thank God). It doesn't rain hard and doesn't interfere with any of our work or operations. However the skies are cloudy and overcast and so it is cooler. I've noticed an interesting phenomenon. We've seen it portrayed in the movies and it seems unreal. Looking out onto the jungles in the hills, big clouds of steam can be seen rising up. At first I thought it was low hanging clouds until I was straightened out on that.
     In this place we are having many new and interesting experiences. I'll try to tell you as much about them as I can. There are lots of souvenirs available and as soon as I can, I am going down to one of the villages and do a little trading with the natives.
     No more for now Sweet, so I'll sign off. Goodnight honey, I'll see you in my dreams.

Love,

Gil


Censor Stamp












Saturday, January 28, 2017

Japanese Invasion Money

Lt. (j.g.) Gilbert Steingart
U.S.S. Ocelot, F.P.O. San Francisco
Wednesday 30 May 1945, 10:15 PM
Dearest Darling,
     Hello Sweet, how is my Eleanor tonight? I've had quite a busy and interesting day. Of course to begin with, I worked on patients all morning. After lunch I took the liberty party ashore. We had over one hundred men go, so we got an LCI to take us over and came up on the beach just as you've seen it done in the movies.
     After I got the men squared away I decided to go over to the officers' club. It seemed very close for all there was separating the club from the enlisted men's area was a great big rocky hill. Well they told me there was a trail winding around the rock and so I started out. It had been raining and the ground was quite muddy and in a couple of minutes I found myself in real jungle surroundings. The brush and trees were so thick you couldn't walk except along the trail which ran along the bank of the muddy stream. There were big gnarled roots and large rocks. It wasn't easy going. Believe me I can appreciate a lot more what some of our boys went through in the jungles with full packs on their shoulders and death hidden behind each tree. Anyway after about fifteen minutes the going got easier and in another few minutes I was back on the beach.
     I found a group of officers from the ship there and had a couple of drinks with them. Then several of us took a walk along the beach. We found a family of natives living in a small hut on the beach. The whole hut wasn't any larger than our den, yet the family consisted of a father and mother, two teenaged boys, two teen aged girls and one girl in her twenties. The teenagers looked fairly clean but the rest of the family, the surroundings and the hut itself were filthy. Tied up alongside of the hut was a sow with two pigs and two scrawny looking chicks. They speak English well enough to be understood and I'll have some very interesting stories to tell. I did pick up several denominations of Japanese Invasion Money and expect to get many other souvenirs in this area. At 4:15 I went back to the enlisted men's area via the jungle and rounded up the men. At 5:00 PM we boarded the LCI and returned to our ship. I showered and changed and was just in time for a late dinner.
     The movie tonight was excellent. It was "Animal Kingdom" with Ann Sheridan, Alexis Smith, Jack Carson and others. Be sure to see it. You'll enjoy it.
     There was no mail again today. I understand that due to some mix up all our mail that arrived here was sent back to our last stopping place. I suppose it'll be weeks before some of it catches up with us.
     No more for now Darling, so I'll sign off. Goodnight Sweet, I do love you and miss you.

Yours for always,
Gil


After the liberation of the Philippines, the Red Cross came in to help out. They obtained Japanese Invasion Currency notes, and punched 2 holes in each one. These hole-punched notes were distributed to the military as souvenirs.





















Natives in front of hut












Friday, January 27, 2017

Not in Okinawa


Lt. (j.g.) Gilbert Steingart
U.S.S. Ocelot, F.P.O. San Francisco
Tuesday 29 May 1945, 10:45 PM
My Darling Wife,
     Look Eleanor, you tell Ethyl I'll write soon. Began today as usual and worked all morning and from one to two this afternoon. I went ashore this afternoon. It was a treat to be on some land with mountains and trees. There is a very beautiful officers' club here and the natives are hired to wait on table and tend bar. However I didn't do much drinking, instead I walked along the beach--yes looking for shells. I found quite a few that are different from those I already have. Several miles away by boat there is a fair sized town. The skipper of one of the LCI's (Landing Craft Infantry) has promised to run me up there someday next week.
     I'm drawing $175 on the first and will send on $100 for Norma's birthday. The rest will go to pay my $30 mess bill and for any souvenirs I can find.
     When we got back to the ship I was expecting a stack of mail but there was only one lonely letter from my Sweetheart. Guess it'll take a few days before our mail is properly rerouted.
     We had an excellent movie tonight. It was "My Reputation" with Barbara Stanwyck and George Brent. Be sure to see it. I know you'll like it.
     Now to your letter. Please don't worry about me. I'm perfectly safe and I'm not at Okinawa. You must be mixed up or else you were tight (tsk, tsk) when you wrote. The letter is dated May 20 yet the postmark is Mary 19. Now how could anyone mail a letter a day before it is written? Ah sweet mystery of love.
     Sounds like you are having quite a full and busy program. I wondered about Brownie. Her Xmas card was returned to me so I assumed she'd quit.
     The kids do sound interesting. I'll have plenty to make up to the when I get home and I will. That is a promise.
     Gosh, Honey, it's now ten months since I came aboard. Do you remember our last weekend before I got my orders? We went to La Jolla dinner dancing, and we were like two happy kids. Remember how we stood on the stone wall watching the grunion run? Well Sweet soon this nightmare should be over and we'll begin just where we left off. The only trouble will be that we'll have so much catching up to do to make up for what we lost but we will.
     No more for now Darling, so goodnight. May all you happy dreams soon come true.

Love,
Gil

Gil in Leyte
Is this the Officers' Club?











Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Arrived

Lt. (j.g.) Gilbert Steingart
U.S.S. Ocelot, F.P.O. San Francisco
Monday 28 May 1945, 10:00 PM
Dearest Eleanor,
     Awoke this morning and the sea was as smooth as glass. Thank goodness it was overcast or this would have been a hot day. As it turned out it was comfortable.
     Took care of several patients this morning and even saw two after lunch. The rest of the day I spent around on deck, the navigation bridge, and the signal bridge.
     The place we are at now should provide a more interesting liberty than our last stopover. Here's hoping.
     The movie tonight was "Crime Incorporated" a new picture and quite good. It starred Leo Carrillo, Martha Tilton and others. We also had a couple of shorts.
     Tomorrow I'm hoping for a big stack of mail. I mustn't be disappointed. Gosh it's been just I few days since I last heard from you and it seems like weeks.
     Nothing more that's new or different. Please don't worry about me. I'm as safe here as I have been ever since I left the states.
     Goodnight Sweet, I'll see you in my dreams. Love and kisses to all my three girls.

Yours as ever,

Gil


Leyte
Mushroom Island







Monday, January 23, 2017

Holiday Criuse


Lt. (j.g.) Gilbert Steingart
U.S.S. Ocelot, F.P.O. San Francisco
Sunday 27 May 1945, 8:15 PM
At Sea
Dearest Eleanor,
     Hello Sweet here I am again. After I wrote to you last night I went up to the wardroom and read for a while. Then I heard it raining and I made a dash for my room because my ports were open. By the time I got there my bunk was soaked. Rather than break out my room boy I changed the linens myself in the dark. You see it's rather difficult to blackout the room and still have it cool and airy. So--no lights when underway.
     Today has been another beautiful calm day at sea. The Pacific is like a great big pond. I really haven't seen any rough seas on the Ocelot. I'm glad because when the Pacific does boil up she is plenty rough.
     Being underway and being Sunday I had the deck in my office painted and secured for the day. So you see today has been another day on a holiday cruise. What did I do? After breakfast I went up on the bridge and visited for awhile. The captain invited me into his cabin for a cup of coffee. Then I strolled around on deck. Thus the morning passed.          After lunch I censored some mail and found a cool spot on deck and read all afternoon.
     After dinner a group of us went up on the fo'castle, watched the sunset and told "sea stories." All in all we had a lot of laughs. Now here I am.
     The desk lamp vibrates from the motion of the ship and it's bothering my eyes. Besides there isn't much more to say so I'll sign off.
     Goodnight Sweetheart until we meet again tomorrow.
Love,
Gil

U.S.S. Ocelot






Sunday, January 22, 2017

Black Clouds

Lt. (j.g.) Gilbert Steingart
U.S.S. Ocelot, F.P.O. San Francisco
Saturday 26 May 1945, 7:45 PM
At Sea
Dearest Eleanor,
     Another day at sea and as far as I'm concerned this is a real holiday. I did work all morning. As a matter of fact I placed sixteen fillings, but after lunch I had nothing to do but read, talk, and take it easy. After dinner we went up on the fo'castle but didn't stay there long. The pretty sunset was quickly obliterated by black rain clouds and soon it began to rain. It is raining hard but there are tremendous flashes of lightening constantly illuminating the sky.
     There is little else to tell. I had my usual breakfast of fruit and fruit juice. It has been so hot that I even passed up the coffee. For lunch we had pineapple and prune salad, roast chicken with fresh frozen creamed peas and mixed fruit pie for dessert. For dinner we had fruit salad, soup, steak and ice cream with chocolate sauce and cookies. No wonder I'm having trouble keeping my weight down.
     For lack of anything better to do I'm reading a Charlie Chan mystery. It's too hot below decks in the afternoon to work on the novelties I'm making. However things should be much more comfortable in port.
     How is my Sweet today? Are you still irked at me because of my cold (?) letters? If you could see what I wake up with every morning and take advantage of me (or it) you'd be warmer and so would I. There will come a day!
     No more for tonight Honey so please be patient and understanding because I do love you and only you even if I don't repeat myself every day.
Loving you as always,
Gil



U.S.S. Ocelot
negative






Saturday, January 21, 2017

No Mail No Movies

Lt. (j.g.) Gilbert Steingart
U.S.S. Ocelot, F.P.O. San Francisco
Friday 25 May 1945, 9:00 PM
At Sea
Dearest Eleanor,
     This has been a typical peaceful day on the blue Pacific.Though it is quite warm there is a gentle breeze blowing and if one can find a shady spot it is quite comfortable. I still find my room the best spot to "crap out."
     I worked all morning just as usual. The gentle roll of the ship didn't bother me at all. I was able to work as fast as when we were in port.
     I spent this afternoon reading and loafing. I finished "Pastoral" and think you'd enjoy reading it. It is very light but enjoyable.
     After sunset tonight, a bunch of us sat up on the forecastle and talked until just a few moments ago. Then I went up to the wardroom, had an orange and a bowl of cold fresh frozen peaches. Yum, yum where they delicious. Now here I am.
     Being at sea there wasn't any mail nor will there be any movies tonight. So there isn't much more to say.
     Do you remember the moonlit ride we enjoyed up at Lake Arrowhead? Well as I was sitting out on deck tonight with the bright full moon above I kept thinking about those happy carefree days. Hope that we'll have more like them real soon.
     No more for now dear, so goodnight and pleasant dreams.
Loving you always,
Yours alone,
Gil

U.S.S. Ocelot





Thursday, January 19, 2017

Japanese War

Lt. (j.g.) Gilbert Steingart
U.S.S. Ocelot, FPO San Francisco
Thursday 24 May 1945, 7:15 PM
At Sea
Dearest Eleanor,
     Hello Sweetheart, I really hit the jackpot his morning. I got eight letters from you and one each your mother and Uncle Mike. However, I was busy with patients all morning so it was 11:30 before I got a chance to read my mail.
     After lunch I read a little from the book "Pastoral" and took care of another patient. Then I went up on deck and enjoyed a nice refreshing breeze. Gee what a difference it makes. My room, which always was the coolest one in the ship, is even cooler now. Bet that tonight, I have to use a sheet and maybe the spread too.
     At 5:15 I showered and changed for dinner and after chow went up on the fo'castle and watched another beautiful sunset. A full moon was out and you could follow its silvery path on the sea clear out to the horizon. Pretty and comfortable as it was I left for our little daily visit. The four officers who were with me wondered what I could possible write every night. However I do try to say something interesting.
     Now your mail. The letters were written Saturday. Sunday and Monday 12, 13, and 14. I'm tickled to hear that Norma got along so well with her illness. You do seem to be kept fairly occupied and that is well. The place "Tropics" brings back many happy memories to me too. When I get the novelties that I'm making for you and the kids finished, I'm going to make one for Ethyl. The Leavys have really been nice to you. As for your darling (?) sister Ruth I shall make no comments.
     You recall my prognostication of the Japanese war and now you are reading that others, who should know, say more or less the same thing. Let's keep our fingers crossed and pray.
     Jack Taylor's experience as a German prisoner is horrible. However I wasn't too surprised because I had read in an April issue (I don't remember which one) of Time a recount of the different German prison camps. I understand movies were taken and are horrible and gruesome. I wouldn't recommend that you see them.
     Who does Linda take after? You're no artist and neither am I. I'm just as proud of her as she is herself. I've been neglectful of my letters to the kids. I'll write one tomorrow and try to write regularly after that.
     Don't know why you had to give our mothers gifts after I told you I had sent something. Something small from the kids would have been sufficient. One place you can cut down on--gifts.
     Just keep on planning Sweet. Every plan we ever made was carried out and those you make now will be sure to materialize after this war is over.
     I know Mothers Day was not a happy day for you but on the other hand we shouldn't complain. After all the whole family is well and the men who are away from home are all safe. And by the way, don't you worry about me. I've got a soft touch here. As far as fighting the war goes, I'm pretty safe all the time.
     Now Honey, don't you chastise me for not writing a real love letter. You should know your old man by now. I'm just saving up all my love for you for the time when I come home. If you recall I never even had a line when I was single. I always did think that action spoke louder than words. Of course I miss you Sweet but I feel better not pouring "salt on wounds." In another few days it'll be ten months (it really is seems like ten years) since the day we said good-bye. So--be a good teach and when I get back you can keep me after school and give me some extra coaching.
     So now I can't even dance with any of the women on Harry's side of the family. OK but I won't take the divorce threat seriously.
     Yes I get the B'nai B'rith Bulletin. As a matter of fact I got that and a Southern California State Dental Bulletin yesterday.
     Of course you can have a new fur coat. However as I've said before, I'd rather you waited until I got back before you got one. OK?
     Darling, I've been scribbling now for forty-five minutes and my writing is progressively getting more illegible so I'd better sign off.
Goodnight my Sweet until tomorrow
Yours alone,
Gil

 U.S.S. Ocelot
negative
















Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Perfect "V"

Lt. (j.g.) Gilbert Steingart
U.S.S. Ocelot, F.P.O. San Francisco
Wednesday 23 May 1945, 9:45 PM
Dearest Eleanor,
     Hello Sweet, here I am once again. Today has been a most uninteresting day. I worked all morning at a nice easy pace. Censored some mail after chow and then back to work. I knocked off at 2:30 and paid a visit to the barber. Then I took a book, went up on the fantail and took a sun bath. Before I knew what had happened the afternoon was gone and it was time for dinner. After eating we stood out on deck, talked, and watched a most unusual sunset. In addition to an array of vivid colors a perfect "V" was formed in the skies. If I were superstitious I'd say it foretold a new great victory for us. However unusual skies are usual here so I won't say a word.
     We had an amusing movie tonight. It was "The Town Went Wild" with Jimmy Lydon, Fred Bartholomew and Ed E.Horton. We also saw a couple of shorts. We usually have them along with the feature but I skip writing about them.
     There was no mail so there is little more to tell. I am reading "Pastoral" by Neville Shute. Though I've only read a few pages I know I'm going to like it.
     I'm enclosing a list of Navy terms, many of which I use in my letters, probably to your mystification. The Flag had a bunch of new officers report aboard. For a joke, one of the old timers passed this list out to them. The terms are really part of our everyday vocabulary. A wall is always a bulkhead and floor a deck. In fact bed, ceiling, stairs, floor and other common words are actually becoming foreign to me.
     No more for now Honey. If you don't hear from me for a few days don't worry. I'll see you in my dreams.
Love,
Gil