The first few letters that arrived in Kentland from my grandfather are not dated. It makes it somewhat difficult to put them in order, especially the first couple, since they were saved in the same envelope. I believe that this is the first letter my grandfather wrote once he arrived in the South Pacific. Although it was written at the beginning of September, my grandmother did not receive it for a few weeks.
My grandfather clearly was trying to tell my grandmother something about his location via the “family code”. According to military records that my grandfather filled out in 1946, Cub 13 was located on New Caledonia. I have also been in correspondence with a Naval Historian, André B. Sobocinski, from the Office of Medical History. According to his records André wrote me , “Cub 13 was a small advanced base hospital located on Ndeni, Santa Cruz Islands in the northern part of the Solomons… Cubs served populations of less than 50,000 [troops]. Both units contained medical components.” My genealogy training tells me that I should give more credence to the earlier statement made by my grandfather in 1946. He had firsthand knowledge of where he actually served. Since he specifically names evergreens and irises, I think that perhaps my grandparents must have given code names to the different islands in the South Pacific. I think it significant that he is in New Caledonia and he mentions new iris plants. The inclusion of the month October also seems important. Of course, my speculations could be completely off the mark. What do I know? According to family legend, when my grandmother received the letter revealing my grandfather’s whereabouts, it sent her into labor. So possibly this is the infamous letter I have long heard about.
Mrs. R.S. Yegerlehner
Have been having three meals per day with an extra bread butter and onion sandwitch at night. Also, a good place to sleep at night.
Every body is in pretty good spirits but of course we miss our daily news paper and the frequent news reports. Although we have gotten some news each day-enough to keep up with the times.
I haven’t received a letter since way back when but maybe that will be different now at least I hope so, and I’ll try to write more often as time goes along.
Hope you and the boys are ok. Needless to say I think of you lots. You write the
(page 2) Folks as soon as you get this and I’ll write them later.
I hope you haven’t tried to work too hard on the lawn this since I’ve been gone but as we previously planned. I think those nice evergreens would certainly add lots and during Oct. new Iris are due to be set out. These two things should be done this fall if at all possible rather than in the spring.
Many of the boys here didn’t know how to play Euchre and now since I’ve taught them we have lots of fun and it helps pass away our spare time.
In case I don’t get to write before your birthday I’ll be thinking about it and hope that I can do better by then. I suppose the boys will be in school again
(page 3) before long.
We all think of our families often and say a wee little prayer each night that everything will be ok. Just like Joe Palooka in the funny paper. My very good friend’s name is Walsh and I call him “Knobby” but he has lots of hair and can’t be compared with the Knobby¹ in the funny paper.
I write in my diary every night but you’ll have to wait until I get home to read it.
I’ll write more often from now one so solong
Lots of love,
P.S. Received some mail today
- Knobby Walsh was Joe Palooka’s boxing manager.