Dear John (Roscoe)

John and Mark, circa 1942

John and Mark, circa 1942

Four letters were written on October 27th between the Yegerlehner family members. Roscoe wrote three of them. Not only did he write to Gladys but he wrote letters to each of the older boys. Today’s letter is the one he wrote to his oldest son John. At this point in 1942, John was twelve years old. Roscoe considered John to be the man of the house since he was the oldest male at home. This was not the first letter in which Roscoe made that point. As a reader, it is interesting to note the subtle change of tone in this letter.  Although we have heard many tales of Roscoe’s swimming and his collection of shells and coral along the beach, there is a different quality in his narrative when he describes it for John. Tomorrow, I will post the letter that was written to Mark. Amazingly, both the letters to the boys survived. To my mind, we have Gladys to thank for saving the letters from the trash bin or the carelessness of the boys.

Letter transcription:
Oct. 27, 1942
Dear John,
It has been some time since I’ve written to you but I was waiting until I had gotten an answer from the V-mail I sent you. You probably have answered that letter but things are in a mess as far as our mail is concerned but it will get straightened out before long.
You now no doubt have much extra work to do due to little Davie, that work which I would be doing – at least some of it if I were there so you see that places an extra burden due to your being the oldest male present. Does that sound pretty good or pretty bad. What I am interested in is that you conduct yourself in such a way that you will give mother less trouble.
Very often we have food that I don’t like well and I think of you and some of the food you don’t like but I eat it just like you do, so we are alike in some ways. That’s just kidding you.
You would get a big kick out of our swimming place. It is very fine and sandy and slopes very gradually out to sea, and that makes about any depth of water one wants. Only on some days when the tide is high the water gets very deep and maybe the next day it is hardly knee deep at

[page 2]the same place. Near the edge of the water there are lots of big rocks which are a little hard on bare feet that are tender but out some distance the sand is so fine it’s almost like salt. On days when the water is smooth I can lay there on the water and float like a bad of wind, but on days when the waves are high I get water in my nose when a wave comes along that coves one up. In between swims it’s fun to walk up and down along the water’s edge and pick up various kinds of shells & coral. Hope you have the box I sent you. They are really more beautiful when they are wet and the sun is shining on them. There have been some boys about your size out there swimming several times when we were there and they seem to get a big kick out of the water.
We have things pretty good here in some ways. Our post office is here, we have store, a barber shop, a taylors shop and about everything we need. Of course we can’t buy Christmas presents and lots of things like that but other things more needed are always available. Even to fine smelling hair tonic and good candy bars.
Well I’ve got to write Mark so drop me a line if you have time and let me know about all your activities.

© 2013, copyright owned and written by Deborah Sweeney

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1 thought on “Dear John (Roscoe)

  1. davidmadison1942

    I like the way he kept the tone of the letter very positive…as he did with the letters to mother. The news via radio and newspapers about the war must usually have been pretty worrying. He couldn’t have said much about the war because of censorship, but it was good he talked about swimming and shells. And, of course, John’s family responsibilities.

    “like a bad of wind, but on days when the waves are high I get water in my nose when a wave comes along that coves one up.” bad of wind should be bag of wind; coves one up should read covers one up


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