Letter to a younger brother

Lester, on right, with his sister Frances and younger brother Wallace. About 1928.
Lester, on right, with his sister Frances and younger brother Wallace. About 1928.
Wallace, the addressee of this letter, was my dad. Years after 1942 he wrote this about his brother, Lester. “Although Lester was seven years older than me, we were friends and played together some. He was slight of build and was a friendly kind of person. One time when I was in grade school and it had rained a lot during the day, Lester brought a horse for me to ride home so that I wouldn’t have to walk in the mud.”
In this letter, Lester responds to one that Wallace had written him. A junior in high school, Wallace was fascinated by the technology of his time: radios and electricity. Lester encouraged this interest in his younger brother.

Ford Motor Company

Dearborn, Michigan

Friday the thirteenth February, 1942

Dear Wallace,

I will start to answer your letter this morning though I don’t have much time.  I just finished washing my ditty bag so as to have it clean for inspection tomorrow.  Saturday morning is always inspection in the navy.  Friday is field day which means that we clean everything up extra well.  We will do that tonight after chow when we get back from shop.  We don’t go to school on Saturday so we usually have a little free time.  Half of us are supposed to get liberty tomorrow but it isn’t my half.  I am supposed to get liberty next Saturday.  So far I haven’t been outside the gates up here yet.

Did you go on war time?  We did of course but I don’t mind it. We still get eight hours sleep, sometimes.  Last night the U.S.O. put on an entertainment for us.  They had singing, dancing, acrobatics and a speaker, the kind that makes up his talk as he goes along.  He was very good.  Boys in the crowd gave him different topics on which to talk. Then he made them into a rhyme & sang about them.  Here is part of the list they gave him:  Hitler, Mussolini, McArthur, Japs, Capt. Kelly, Mr. Ford, Submarines, Pearl Harbor, Hedy Lamarr, Fox deluxe (a beer), U.S. Navy & others which I don’t remember right now.  Try making those into a rhyme.  We called him back for an encore & he made up rhymes about the ladies in the front.  I bet they could have choked him.

I didn’t get this finished this morning so will continue this evening.  Field day is over and I had a watch from 4 to 7 so I missed out on the work.

How are you getting along with your radio work?  I believe it would be a good idea to learn all you can about it because if you have to enter the service, it would probably qualify you for a pretty good job.  It won’t hurt anyway.  Write again.


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