Thursday, October 22, 2009

WWII letters to Mom

Ruby Wasserman, the husband of one of Mom's best friends, wrote her from 19th Battalion HQ, USN TADCEN, Shoemaker, Calif. during the summer of 1945. Ruby was a Seaman 2/c and called himself a yeoman striker, meaning he was trying to move up in the hierarchy. He took training courses to learn to do clerical work "Navy style" as he put it, and be able to type 40 wpm without looking at his hands. This huge Shoemaker camp wasn't far from Hayward, CA, east of Oakland; it housed many battalions.

Ruby's letters talk about the wild celebrations after the US accepted Japan's surrender in August, 1945. He also yearns for discharge but must wait while the armed services calculate the number of "points" he has and the number he needs to qualify. Points are awarded for number of months in the service, number of dependents, etc.

His roommates are younger men who aren't working as hard as he to get ahead and "do not as yet realize that if they are kicked out of here they will be sent to sea." Ruby wants nothing more than to have his wife and child join him in California until he gets discharged--unless, of course, he gets out of the Navy soon and can return to his family on the East Coast. I skipped ahead and I know Ruby gets out in 1946, finally.

Putting all the letters in order, it seems Ruby wrote Mom every 3-4 days or so--not uncommon for friends during that period. At one point, Ruby's wife Sarah wrote Mom every other day and sometimes every day!

By the end of 1945, the letters will begin to talk about my father's appearance in Mom's life. Looking forward to transcribing those letters. Meanwhile, there are small hints of my Mom's life in these letters sent to her at the end of WWII, such as questions about her changing jobs or her parent's plans for a brief summer getaway.

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