The Company Has Adopted Some Dogs Named Red and Hootch

In an earlier post, I mentioned that Babe had apparently been promoted. He doodled this, the stripes for a T/5, on top of this letter.

In an earlier post, I mentioned that Babe had apparently been promoted. He doodled this, the stripes for a T/5, on top of this letter. So far, this is the only time he’s hinted about getting the promotion. Maybe it wasn’t a big deal?

Dated April 30, 1944; postmarked May 4, 1944, with a notation, “Missent to Mount Vernon, N.Y.” The postmark is one year to the day before Babe is killed in Italy.

Dear Folks,

I am well, happy and safe and I hope you all are the same.

I told you about that pipe you sent me getting lost, but now I have another just like that first small Medico I bought. It’s a good little pipe, but I have no filters for it or pipe cleaners.

I’m glad Vin got home again and took some pictures. I’ll be expecting them soon.

By the way, I didn’t get a letter from Joe yet, but if I did, as I already told you, I’d guarantee to find him.

We are having nice weather here now. it’s good and hot all day and cool at night.

I received a few of your letters plus one from Aunt Helen. I haven’t written to her in months, but she wants me to ask for something so she can send a package. I haven’t decided on anything I want yet because I have enough junk now. Besides, don’t forget the flint and wicks with the cigarette lighter plus plenty of fluid.

In one of your letters you mentioned a cat, but I never knew you had another one. I suppose he sleeps curled around Bib’s neck as usual, eh? I have a little pup that sleeps with me. She’s a cute pup with long, but smooth reddish hair, so we call her “Red.” Then there is another that belongs to the whole company that we call “Hootch.” She’s just about to have pups herself and the place will be swarming with dogs.  “Hootch” is an Arab dog from Africa, while “Red” is Italian. I’ve never seen either breed before, but they’re small even when full grown.

Tell Bib for me that he doesn’t have to stop writing when he writes half a V-mail. He can write all the way down to the bottom. Just because it says to write from twelve – sixteen lines, he can still finish the page. He ought to wait and first write one V-mail half as much as he writes now and put twice as much in it. That way, maybe he can put in all his punctuation marks, capitals and finish his sentences to take up the rest of the space.

That’s about all I have for now so I’ll be closing.

Love & Kisses,


PDF: The Company Has Adopted Some Dogs Named Red and Hootch

The Only Photograph of Babe That I Know of Is On This Page

I have no other photographs of Babe.

The next letter I will transcribe is something of a capper to a series of letters that have all mentioned photographs. Babe asks for photos of his family. His family, apparently, has asked repeatedly for Babe to send home photos of him. They have even made some sort of “threat” to go around Babe, possibly, and seek photos from other sources. It’s hard to tell.

But this next letter actually had some photographs in it — five of them.

Babe will describe each of them, and they all seem to be in a silly or humorous vein. The photographs didn’t survive along with the other letters, however. I don’t have them and as far as I know, nobody does.

In fact, the more I work through these letters, the more amazed I am that virtually no photographs of Babe exist beyond the one that appears on this page. I wrote long ago about how that photograph had gained something like iconic status in my mind, as it held a prominent position in my grandmother’s house all the years we would visit her.

In this day of instant photography, when everyone carries a camera phone and the silliest of life’s moments are cause for a gallery on Facebook, it’s hard to imagine a time when a photograph would be so precious.

But that photograph in the upper right side of this page is it. My mother inherited so many of the keepsakes from my grandmother when she died — things like these letters, his ribbons, badges and patches, for example — that if there were any other photographs of Babe, I would think I’d have known about them by now.

None of my mother’s family is left anymore. I have an aunt who was married to my Uncle Bob (known in these letters as “Bib“). I can consult her, but again, I’d have thought by now any other photos of Babe would have come to light. I also have some cousins — the children of my Uncle Vin — that I could consult. But I’m skeptical they’d have anything.

‘Make Up Your Minds About How Long Vince Was Home’

My grandfather (Babe's father) worked for the New York Central Railroad; Babe mentions it in this letter.

Dated Jan. 24, 1944; postmarked Jan. 26.

Dear Folks,

I am well, happy and safe and I hope you all are the same.

I received a few letters from you all yesterday. One was dated Dec. 29; the other Dec. 30; and another Jan. 6 I also received a Christmas card from Mr. Morgan, dated Dec. 21; a letter from Uncle Martin dated Nov. 21; and one from the Bullard Co., a Christmas card from the gang.

That just about winds up the news roundup of the week.

Why don’t you all make up your minds about how long Vince was home? One of you says 24 hours, the other says two and a half days, and the other says three days. Read more of this post

Taking the Time to Scold His Brother for Poor Grammar

Royal palace in Caserta, Italy. Creative Commons licensed photo from Flickr user Allibito.

Dated Jan. 10, 1944; postmarked Jan. 13.

Dear Folks,

I received a letter from Bib today dated Dec. 10, 1943. I noticed one thing in particular about his letter. Namely, the amount of mistakes he made in his grammar. As an example of his carelessness, I will point out two of his many mistakes. He wrote, “It was tied score” when he should have written, “It was tie score.” He also wrote, “he has wrote” when it should have been “he has written.” If he doesn’t show considerable improvement in his grammar, I shall have to write to Miss Drum and tell her to push him a little better.

I haven’t heard from Vince in a long time, but I suppose a letter from him is on the way.

I was talking to an Italian today and he would be pleased with the idea of the United States taking over Italy after the war. He thinks all of the people in the United States are millionaires, hence the probability of the same status in Italia should his desire be expressed.

I’ve seen more sun here now that it is winter than I have seen when it was summer. The weather has been pretty good here, considering what it should have been. It gets warm during the day and bitter cold during the night, so we have no trouble sleeping.

That’s about all I have to say in this brief note, so I’ll close now.

Love & Kisses,


Aunt Mary’s Christmas Fruitcake Arrives in Time for the Holidays

When I was growing up, I always looked forwarded to receiving my great-Aunt Mary's Christmas fruitcake. I have no patience for people who don't like fruitcake — because they haven't had my Aunt Mary's. I still miss it. It was moist and delicious. It looked something like this, but it had nuts in it too. Reading this letter feels like creating another connection to the past with my Uncle Babe, because I didn't know that Aunt Mary had sent him fruitcake too.

Dated Nov. 28, 1943; postmarked Dec. 17. I had my letters out of order, so this is transcribed out of sequence.

Dear Folks,

I am well, happy and safe and I hope you all are the same.

I received a letter from Bib today and he mentioned something about me asking for you to send me some reading material. Well, if you get this before you receive the air mail letter in which I asked for a package, or before you mail the package and only then, send me some interesting books of any sort.

Don’t make a special package of it because it takes too long to get here.

I also received a package today from Aunt Mary. It contained a fruitcake or some kind of cake and toll house cookies. That finishes things. I don’t care if I never get another package now.

That’s all folks.

Love and kisses,


PDF: Aunt Mary’s Christmas Fruitcake Arrives in Time for the Holidays