‘I Thought War Was a Glory Then’

My Uncle Vin Mauro, older brother to Babe. From the context of the larger photo from which this head shot came, I am guessing this was taken between 1960 and 1962.

This is one of the only letters I have that Babe wrote to someone besides his parents. This is addressed to his older brother Vince, who was in the Navy, but had not been for very long. I’m not sure how long. It was addressed to Ad. Cad. V. Mauro, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and dated July 2, 1944, with a postmark of July 6, 1944.

Dear Vince,

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

I meant to write this letter a long time ago, but I never received your address until today. All the other addresses I received were wrong and I received quite a few of them.

I suppose you are wondering how come this letter is typewritten so I’ll tell you. I pick up a good Italian typewriter here and I am planning to send it home to Bib for his birthday. Right now I am praying that it gets there all right.

Mom never told me that you finally met THE woman, but I’ll say it’s about time. She did tell me about you passing all your exams, though and I’m sure glad to hear that.

I received your picture and you looked swell. As a matter of fact, all of you looked swell and I hardly recognized Rosemarie. I always show those pictures to all the Italians just to hear them say how nice you all look.

Believe it or not, I’m glad it won’t be any less than 9 months before you get your wings. I wish that you could stay there for about 9 more years. Then I might get a chance to see you before you take the trip somewhere.

Right now a lot of people are watching me and I might make a few mistakes so you will have to excuse them until I get more practice. Besides that, there is someone playing an accordion and I am trying to keep in time with him, which I cannot do. Anyway, some of the keys on this thing are different than the ones on our typewriters and it takes a little practice to get used to the change.

You must have heard about Bib going to Boys State for the H-Y this year- didn’t it surprise you? Personally, I never expected anything like it from him. You see some of the letters he writes me. They look like a little Baby’s scribbling only not as neat. They wouldn’t even let one of them be photographed because it was too sloppy. I reprimanded him about it several times already so he shows some signs of improving.

So you liked my pictures, eh? When I sent them home, they asked me where the steel helmet was because they said they couldn’t picture me over here without one. When those pictures were taken we were in a rest area and we had no use for steel helmets there.

Bib writes from home that Steve, who used to live across the street from us and who came over the same time I did is now home, why I do not know. Anyway, he knows where I am right now and won’t tell anyone for which I am very happy.

You just met your woman, but I have been writing to a couple that no one knows about yet. As a matter of fact, I have been writing to them ever since Camp Wheeler. One is a cousin of a fellow named Joe I used to pall around with while I was there. The other is a friend of his who used to live next door to him. I have a picture of his cousin, but I do not know what the other one looks like yet.

Well, Vincent, it’s about time I closed this experiment with a thought that has been in my mind for many months now. When I was home I was only kid, but now I feel like I was old all my life. I thought war was a glory then, but I know different now and I don’t even think of being or doing more than is necessary just for a little glory. Don’t get me wrong, because I don’t mean I wouldn’t do my job whatever it is.

That’s all for now even though I don’t want to stop.

PDF: ‘I Thought War Was a Glory Then’

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