Saturday, December 29, 2018

WWII New Year Aboard Ship

Lt. (j.g.) Gilbert Steingart
U.S.S. Ocelot, F.P.O. San Francisco
Sunday 31 December 1944, 11:55 PM

Dearest Eleanor,
Well dear, 1944 is almost gone but not quite forgotten. I'm afraid it has burned an indelible mark on the hearts of many ... After dinner I bought all the corpsmen a drink just as I did on Xmas. The movie tonight was "Song of the Open Road" which I had seen before but went anyway. After the movie we all pooled our resources and had a party--champagne, bourbon, rye, and even a little Southern Comfort. I took it easy because I wanted to be sure to see the old year out and the New Year in with you. I am plenty sleepy and a little high so I'm going to sign off. Without recalling past New Years Eves when we were together and very happy, I'm going to say good night my darling until tomorrow (or today)...
Lt. (j.g.) Gilbert Steingart
 U.S.S. Ocelot, F.P.O. San Francisco
Monday 1 January 1945, 7:35 PM

Dearest Eleanor,
And so begins a new year. First, I want to tell you a little more of the celebration aboard. After I finished my letter I intended to turn in, but no chance. The men had gotten hold of pots, pans, garbage can tops and the band's drums and were parading all over the ship making a most ungodly racket. Most of the officers were fairly well oiled. We all went up to the Captain's quarters to serenade him and wish him a happy new year. We probably awoke him so I doubt if he appreciated it. Then we returned to the wardroom for a snack and finally I turned in ... The movie tonight is "Should Strangers Marry" and the cast are all unknown to me ... Darling, do you remember New Years Day of previous years? Just lounging around because we were too sleepy and tired to go anyplace. I'd listen to the football game and maybe doze off before it was all over. Well, Sweet next year we'll stay home together and rest and listen to the ball game in-between (?)...
Good night Sweetheart, the movie is about due to begin.

Sunday, December 23, 2018

1944 Christmas Aboard Ship

Lt. (j.g.) Gilbert Steingart
U.S.S. Ocelot, F.P.O. San Francisco
Monday 25 December 1944, 9:30 PM
Dearest Eleanor,
     After the movie last night, "Kismet" with Ronald Colman and Marlene Dietrich I went to my room and finished "Strange Fruit." There were several parties on board but with you so far away I really had nothing to celebrate. So I went to bed early and awoke without a headache which is more than most of the officers did.
     Just had juice and coffee for breakfast. This being Xmas I didn't keep any office hours. By various and devious methods I got two quarts of grain alcohol and spiked the egg nog for dinner. The drink was so good that no one knew anything was in it until afterwards. The captain and the exec had one each and still don't know it was spiked. Further, just before dinner, I called all the corpsmen and a few officers. I gave each a shot. I bought the stuff in Pearl. Is it valuable! Right on our ship a quart of whiskey sold for $36.00. I was tempted to sell the three pints I had. However I preferred using a quart as I did today and save the rest for New Year's Eve. What is money anyway? I'm enclosing the menu and it was really good. All the food was set out buffet style, and we ate all we could hold.
     Spent the afternoon resting, reading and weaving. I'm going to make identical bracelets for you and our girls. At least I started something but I won't know until I'm further along. Anyway, we'll see.
     For supper tonight we just had cold cuts of turkey and ham left over with the necessary trimmings, but who could eat?
     After eating we had a good, old fashioned song fest. And when movie time came they just wouldn't stop singing until the captain came down to see the picture. The movie was a riot. It was the "Dough Girls" with Ann Sheridan, Alexis Smith and Jane Wynn. It is one of the most hilarious pictures we've seen and was just the thing to cap Xmas for men away from home.
     No mail today so I have little more to add. Dear, do you remember how in past Xmas nights, the whole family came over for a drink, to view of our tree and to see our two darlings. Next year business as usual for the Steingarts.
     Dr. Bushyager got a recording from home and I can hear him playing it now. His wife and little girl (five or six) both send him love. I don't know why you had trouble sending me recordings. A package with odds and ends can be sent and no one knows the difference. One thing, pack everything well, you should see how the packages look when they arrive. Most of them are marked and many have the contents falling out.
     Good night darling, how I would love to hold you in my arms and just kiss you once. Once? Well that would be a good place to start, wouldn't it?

Xmas Dinner Menu

Autographs on Back of Menu

Saturday, December 22, 2018

Ulithi--Armistice Day

NOTE IN ELEANOR'S WRITING: Received November 18, Postmarked November 12

Lt. (j.g.) Gilbert Steingart
U.S.S. Ocelot, F.P.O. San Francisco
Saturday 11 November 1944, 6:45 PM
My Darling,
     Here it is Armistice Day and here am I in the Navy several thousand miles from home. I didn't realize what day this was until I sat down to write and looked at the calendar.
     It is so hot here that when I don't have any work I just look for a place to light and "crap out," the Navy turn for loafing. In spite of that I've been doing more work and keeping busier in the past few days than I have for several weeks. Today I saw nine patients by ten o'clock, extracted two teeth, filled five cavities and treated two men for trench mouth. At ten I made a sanitary inspection tour of the ship which took me to 10:45. By then I looked like I had taken a shower with my clothes on so I went up to the bridge and relaxed until 11:30 at which time we have lunch. After chow I played a few games of cribbage and at 1:15 I went back to work. I saw three more patients--all for gum treatment.
     Honey, do you remember the heat wave we had when Linda was a baby? How we undressed her completely and put her out in her buggy on the porch? We even have some movies of her turning on her tummy with her fuzzy head looking up at us. After this war I'm going to take a lot more movies of all of us so we'll be able to look back together and enjoy the past.
     Well Sweet, I'm going to sign off now. Last night we had "Whistling in Brooklyn" with Red Skelton. I don't know what we have tonight but anything will be OK by me. Good night my darling, I love you
As ever,

Linda during heat wave. September 1939.

Thursday, December 20, 2018

At Sea--Roosevelt Elected

NOTE ON LETTER IN ELEANOR'S WRITING: Received November 17. Postmarked November 11
Lt. (j.g.) Gilbert Steingart
U.S.S. Ocelot, F.P.O. San Francisco
Thursday 9 November 1944 1:45 PM
My Dearest
     Here I am again. It's so blasted hot that I have a sheet of paper under my right hand and forearm to prevent this sheet I'm writing on from getting soaked from the sweat off my arm.
     I had an interesting experience today that I can talk about so here goes. I was talking to the doctor in sick bay when a young ensign who was visiting one of the patients saw my B'nai B'rith ring. He asked me what lodge I was a member of and it turned out that he is a Long Beach boy. He knows many of our friends. His name is Bill Spitzer and he is acquainted with Herman Stein, Mort Eisner, Bruce Stern, Dave Gindoff and Abe Weinberg. Isn't this a small world?
     Well, my Sweet, the election is over and Roosevelt is still president. We have a couple of "diehard" Republicans aboard and we've really had quite a time discussing politics and the future of our country. Personally I am happy about the results and do feel that our country will be better off than if Dewey had been elected.
     How is by you? I haven't received and mail since the last jackpot but I do hope to get another batch tomorrow. Don't worry about the irregularity of my mail, it just can't be helped. Anyway when I get back I'll have some interesting stories to tell.
     In the meantime, Honey, please be patient. My love for you is unending and you are in my thoughts always. Will write again tomorrow. Until then

Gil's B'nai B'rith ring has disappeared.  This pin is similar in design.

Friday, December 14, 2018

At Sea--Sanitary Inspection

Lt. (j.g.) Gilbert Steingart
U.S.S. Ocelot, F.P.O. San Francisco
Tuesday 7 November 1944, 5:00 PM
Dearest Eleanor,
     Hello Sweetheart here I am again. Because there is so little I can say I'll begin with I love you my darling. Since yesterday it has been raining on and off all day and night. My routine is unchanged with the exception of one additional duty. The doctor banged his knee so I've been making the sanitary inspection throughout the ship. It only takes about an hour. But when it's hot, going up and down ladders, throughout all compartments of the ship sixty minutes is plenty long. When I'm done I really need a complete change of clothes for I was soaked.
     That is all that is new. There is plenty to eat and I get plenty of sleep. There are some interesting things I would like to tell you but they will have to wait.
     I'm going to sign off now Honey and with write more in the morning. Good night and pleasant dreams.

Wednesday 8 November 1944, 11:15 AM
My darling,
     Good morning Dear, though lord knows what's good about it. It's been raining steadily since last night and the only thing in its favor is that it is cooler.
     As I didn't make the sanitary inspection, I've been doing dentistry all morning.
     Sweet, do you remember how when it would rain, you'd bundle the kids into the car and come down to the office to pick me up? Boy, oh boy, would I love to have that happen to me today. After this war, I'm going to be a changed man. All the little things that I took for granted will be looked forward to and enjoyed to the fullest. It takes a separation such as this to wake a guy up. I really never appreciated my blessings but believe me, from now on I will.
     Well dear, I'm going to close for lack of any more small talk. With all my love I am
Devotedly yours

Thursday, December 13, 2018

At Sea--Stinko

NOTE ON LETTER IN ELEANOR'S HAND WRITING: "Received November 18th Postmarked November 11th"
Lt. (j.g.) Gilbert Steingart
U.S.S. Ocelot, F.P.O. San Francisco

Sunday, 5 November 1944 5:45 PM
My Dearest,
     I went on liberty yesterday for the first time in two weeks and did I get stinko. In fact all the officers who went on liberty were in the same condition but it was really fun. Wish I could tell you more about it but "no can do." Anyway when we returned I poured myself into my bunk and there I stayed until 5:30 AM.
     I woke up with no hangover and a healthy appetite so I guess I didn't over do. Today the usual routine prevailed with one exception. We had an appendectomy at which I assisted and it does help to break the monotony.
     Well darling, I began to say that was all the news but then the lights went off. You see the ship is blacked out at sundown and so here it is Monday, 8:15 AM and I'm back to continue our visit.
     Boy, was it warm last night. Did I say warm? I should have said hot. I sat out on the bridge which is usually quite a breezy place and there was hardly a stir in the air. Further it was so dark that many were just groping around going from one part of the ship to another. Seeing as it was so warm I decided there was no use sitting around and I turned in.
     I got into my birthday clothes, turned the fan directly on me and fell asleep to wake up soaked. We had a regular pour down. The rain came in my porthole and really cooled me down. I was nice and cool for the rest of the night. However, when I awoke I was just as hot as I was when I turned in (in more ways than one!).
     Well my Sweet, I'm going to sign off now. Do you remember how nice and crisp and cold it was up at Mount Hood? I don't think I'll ever get enough cool weather again. Besides we'll need it cool when we are together again. Goodbye my darling.

Saturday, December 8, 2018


Lt. (j.g.) Gilbert Steingart
USS Ocelot, F.P.O. San Francisco
Friday 3 November 1944, 10:00 PM
My Dearest,
     Today I hit the jackpot again. After days of no mail I received twenty-two letters, all at one time. Sixteen from you, a couple from Libby, Ruth, Gilman, Manny, and the Fleishers. That was some haul. Three of the letters bear an October 9 postmark and looked like they had been soaked down. It is my guess that these letters were on that plane that went down between the States and some of our Pacific Islands. Anyway they were late but plenty welcome.
     I have arranged your letters chronologically and will try to cover anything that needs any comment.
     First Honey, I'm glad that you are getting out for a little recreation. As a matter of fact all your letters have a much more cheerful tone and believe me that does make me much happier.
     The mails are going to be very slow from now on until well after Xmas so be patient if you don't hear right on the dot. If you have anything to send on don't stall.
     I do wish I could see your new hairdo. So you think I'd like it? Well you know me so you can tell even if I don't see it.
     My throat cleared up quickly as did my cold and I'm in the pink right now. I am all through with my shots and their effects. It should be smooth sailing from here on out.
     I am looking forward to the book you mention. Do you think it is safe reading with so many sailors around? Ah Well, I'll let you know after I've read it.
     Those Xmas cards will never reach me in time so I may stow them away for next year and we'll sign both of our names to them. By the time you get this letter the package I sent should have arrived and I hope everything will be OK.
     The Halloween party sounds very nice and I'm very sorry not to have been there to see my girls parade around, play games and entertain.
     Nina's split up with Jack isn't all surprising. You could see it coming every time you saw them together. However I am surprised at her joining the WACs. Frankly I don't believe that it was purely a sex problem. She had her friends and ways: he had his and neither was willing to compromise and divorce is the result. After all no woman would suit me either after having loved and known you. By comparison the same probably applies in their case.
     Regarding the office accounts. Write or phone all who haven't made payment s in the past 30 days. If you don't get any response turn them over to the bureau. Pay particular attention to: Shelling, Teaham, and Mitchel. Go easy on Curry, Guber, and Mellick. Turn over Buchwalter right away. Accept the $20 from Solgado. We would only net $5 more if we sued and would have to wait for our money. In the future use your judgment. Too much time slips buy for me to advise you.
     I really missed Halloween and the kids. Though I wasn't there I was wondering what you were doing. I suppose I'll get a full report soon now.
     I hope you've sent in my correspondence course. It takes too much time to send it to you for typing, so I'll have to write it out longhand.
     Still worrying about money? Forget it and I shan't repeat myself again.
     I told you Mary and Wally would patch things up. I would have bet my bottom dollars. And by the way lay off the liquor. Give other gifts. Whiskey such as "V.O." is practically gone, so put it away and forget about it. Get Dr. White something at the Marbros. They have plenty of stuff for men. Just how far do you think a bottle of whiskey will go with just the family? Again I say leave it alone. I sound like a real drunk but good stuff is very hard to get and I'd rather not give it away.
     Sounds like you had a nice time with Freda and I'll drop her a note as soon as I'm caught up on my correspondence.
     Sounds like Dick and his band are really going places. Doubling with Tommy Dorsey is really something to brag about. I bet Ruth and Harry are really proud and they should be.
     About the rumor that I'm coming home on a furlough (really leave). I'm afraid it's just a rumor after all. So Ivie and Crossland are shipping out . Well maybe, I'll see them maybe. This Navy is really small when it comes to meeting old friends. McPherson was stationed with Jim but hasn't been there for several months. Guess Mrs. Schurr was a little mixed up.
     The party at the Beverly Hills Hotel sounds quite nice and when I get back we have a date to go there so put it down in you date book. You can fill the date later on.
     From what you write I'm never know my girls when I get back. I just hope they remember me if only just a little. Norma is really moving, right along and Linda must be quite a young lady now. I've been away now for a few days over three months and it seems like three years. I have a hunch that when I return I'll be back for good even if this war is still unfinished. I do think that my returning won't be too long from now.
     I've written to Edith about a watch and though I haven't heard from her I'm sure she'll take care of it for me. As far as what you are spending, I don't care Dear, go ahead and have fun. That's what money is for anyway.
     Well Darling, the invasion of the Philippines is moving right along. Though I am not involved in that action, all Navy ships and personnel in the Pacific area fit in the general plan and have their jobs to accomplish, each one small but all working to a common goal, a final and lasting peace after a decisive victory.
     It is now midnight and time I turned in. Honey do you remember my first weekend home after I had reported in San Diego? Well our next meeting will just make that seem like a couple of kids playing house and I hope it'll last more than just a weekend.
     Goodnight my darling, till tomorrow. I'll see you in my dreams.

Eniwetok Atoll

Eniwetok damage and airstrip

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

At Sea--Cool Spot

Lt. (j.g.) Gilbert Steingart
U.S.S. Ocelot, F.P.O. San Francisco
Thursday 2 November 1944 10:30 PM
My Dearest,
     Just another day of work. Saw patients all morning till 11:00 AM. Then I tried too cool off and freshened up for lunch. After chow I found a shady and cool spot on the captain's bridge and read a little of Thorne Smith's "Let's Face It." It is a murder mystery and totally different in style and content from his other literary efforts.
     Then it rained so I knocked off reading and chewed the fat with Hansen. In snatches I have also been reading Balzac's "Droll Stories" and find then rather amusing. At 1:30 some more patients and by the time I was through I was hot and sweaty so I went back to my room to freshen up and change for dinner.
     After that I played a few games of cribbage and now here I am. Quite an exciting day, isn't it honey? And that is the way they all are.
     Do you remember how impatient I always was to get going after dinner? Well honey when I get back you and I have lots of places to go to and things to do and see. Remember just you and me. Don't try to ring in any company on me.
     Well Sweet, I'm going to turn in now. I love you and need you and when I feel lonesome I take out your picture and then I feel better. Good night my darling.