‘Well Spent Time; I Have Gained Valuable Experience Though It’

I don’t know where this came from. It was included with this letter. I’m not sure why Babe would have sent it to his parents. I need to do some research. I’m guessing it’s from The New York Times (‘The Times’ is referenced), but I’ll have to check.

Dated July 3, 1944; postmarked July 6, 1944. The letter included the small newspaper clipping that you see here illustrating the letter. This is a second letter written with a typewriter he bought in Italy. For the sake of this transcription and to make reading easier, I’ve corrected typos as I indicated I would here

Dear Folks,

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

I received a letter from Vince today and I was very happy to hear from him. He informed me that he finally met his one and only woman. He seems rather happy over his transfer to Pre-Flight school, but I’m afraid I cannot share his glee. The people around here seem more hospitable than the people in southern Italy, although the southerners were abused a lot more than the northerners.

Today, we stopped at an Italian house and the people treated us better than most people down south. We had a big dinner with them and all the wine we could drink. Another place we went to the people wouldn’t let us go, they insisted that we take all the fruit we could carry and all the wine we could drink with us because they had waited so long for us to get there.

The first thing they did when we got there was to kiss us on both cheeks and say “Bona Americano.” Of course, we enjoyed that very much, but it would have been much better if the women had kissed us too.

I am still waiting for those packages to arrive as I am getting very hungry for some good things to eat.

I expect to be sending you a package or two pretty soon. One of the packages will consist of small souvenirs such as alarm clocks, pocketwatches, German equipment, and this beautiful Italian typewriter I am using to type this letter. If I were sure of this typewriter getting home all right, I would gladly discard all the other souvenirs I have.

I sure got a big surprise when you informed me that Bib was going to Boys’ State for the H-Y this year. It was the farthest of all my expectations. As a matter of fact, I still find it difficult to believe that he is president of the bloody club.

You will have to excuse the writing since I haven’t had much practice lately having acquired the typewriter just recently. However, I am well satisfied with my progress thus far.

With the 1st sergeant we have here, one cannot help but to improve his vocabulary, a feat which I am trying desperately to perform.

That last sentence brings to mind a thought that I would like to transmit to you. When and if this typewriter reaches you, teach Rosemarie how to typewrite. If you start teaching her now, she will become quite adept at it when she gets a little older. Thus she will have the advantage over other people she goes to school. Then you can brag about how smart your Rosemarie is for so young a girl. I only wish that these thoughts were based on actualities rather than on dreams.

I started this letter on July 3, but it is now July 4, Independence Day, and in exactly 10 more days it will be my first anniversary overseas. It isn’t a long time, but it is well spent time and I have gained valuable experience through it — experience I hope to use to advantage some day.

I read in one of your letters that Steve, across the street, had come home, but wouldn’t tell you where I was. For God’s sake, don’t let that worry you for one minute because he probably doesn’t know where I am anymore anyway. Besides, I can tell every time you worry about me by your letters, and I don’t want you to worry.

Well, I just about reached the end of my rope, but I started this letter with two pages and I am going to finish it with two pages if it takes me all night.

I am going to stop now for a little while to make a sip of coffee, which I hope will bring back my memory long enough finish this letter, anyway.

Although I have had my sip of coffee with crackers, jam, and cake to boot, I still don’t see any visible recurring effects of my little snack. Unforeseen circumstances command me to close this letter earlier than was first expected, but I will say this, though, it is much better short that nothing at all, isn’t it?

Send me some candy and cookies, s’il vou plait.

Love and Kisses to all,


PDF: ‘Well Spent Time; I Have Gained Valuable Experience Though It’

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