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Lena B. Rees & James L. Carter Family Papers: Transcripts - MS 964

Robert Allen Carter Correspondence - April 1943

April 1, 1943

Dear Mom,

Received your Sunday evening letter, Dorothaes + a letter from the McLaughlins. I surely would like to see a picture of Gene Ann beside another baby to see how small it is. Skeet said she told Annie to keep it at hospital till it weighs 7 lbs.

The Lind boy was in one grade of mine at Clenion Street School and I think he has been in the Navy over a year + could be aboard for 1 1/2 years. Of course that don't mean a continuous trip abroad. Our chief was talking today about subs + PT boats + so far thee has only been four or five U.S. subs sunk in this war. Im afraid I won't know what I'll get into until I get to New London. I guess they are picking men for PT boats also. They use same torpedo as sub. I don't care white only 50% extra pat mean as hole lot.

Subway get 50% extra for going on sub plus 20% when on duty aboard. While the boats just get 20% for duty afloat. For either one if I make it I'll get training in signaling, radio, signaling + navigation + what not else.

A torpedo rating is the hardest rating to get, they say.

Was surprised + sorry to hear about Betty Krabill. Its awful to say + maybe Im hard but am glad she is relieved by death she had a very very hard life.

Want to get a hair out now so will close for now. Would just as soon not bother with packages I can get everything I need with the enception for a box of fudge as you mentioned. Guess Ill ask for my Nicoragua's afterall. I mean those shoes I got through Annie. Can use them alot I think.

Till later
Bob

April 4, 1943

Norfolk Va
Sunday April 4, 1943

Dear Dorothae,

Thanks for the card + Freds letters. Were very interesting and received them April first at noon. Received a box of cookies from Aunt Carrie which was appreciated by the boys. Thanks a lot for the Esquire enjoyed it very much, passed it on.

Wilda is quite a cameraman I sure wish I had a picture of gene beside Christine (but towards the impossible if possible). Skeet said she would send some pictures.

Have only two more weeks of study on torpedos depth charges + bombs + loafing I heard the report that we start wearing whites April 15. They will feel comfortable but am leary on keeping them clean.

Just found how to get to Breezy point guess Ill try + get there this week. Have said a lot but have never gone anywhere + done it.

We have new orders whereby we can sleep until 7:30 AM on Sunday + the meals are changed accordingly. This morning I started on my washing at 8:30 after chow + hung them out at 10:00. A large flying boat went over then only 200 ft above I surely looked large. Am beginning to recognize a torpedo plane + a trainer by sound need a sheet to learn their names.

Spent my last dollar to go to town + see a movie yesterday. They had a government film by the signal corp. maybe you saw it. Didn't spend all my money but loaned it. Pay day is Monday so will have it then. I always carry a $20 reserve but never touch it.

Friday night the guy in the next bunk said "Cramer just bought a pack of cigarettes from somebody + paid cash for them." Sat noon had cholkolate pie with a 1" thick toping of beat egg whites + marshmello. Going to chow now so will close
Bob

April 6, 1943

Norfolk Va
Tuesday April 6, 1943

Dear Mom,

Am still at Norfolk & will send mail from the same place, meant May 1 when I go to New London. You can count on that for sending mail.

Read in the paper about Bob Flack. Think I'll try and look him up through his wife by finding where she works. I tried monday evening to look up Biglow but couldn't without barracks number. Went to the regular section of N.O.B. and saw the large air station then saw the piers where all the ships are docked.

Ive seen lake boat as large as the ships I saw. Its something to see the large merchant ships but don't make me particularly interested. Like to watch the tug boats.

Sunday six torpedo planes went over just clearing the trees by our barracks. They surely a sight.

Don't remember but has Christine got a middle name or not?

The boy in the next bunk has a radio now so listen to it. It took two weeks to get permission to have it. He had to go before the Captain, have the radio inspected & a tag made out which gives him permission to run it.

Will have one more week of studying torpedo then. Will have a week on directing the fire of torpedo & the lost week will do nothing but help clean barracks & loaf around.

Close for now

Bob

April 7, 1943

Norfolk Va
April 7, 1943

Dear Mom,

Hope you didn't get yourself sick scraping paper from the walls. Don't think you should do it. I thought sure I had mentioned that I received your cookies. They tasted real good but were broken up a bit. Had a practice air raid the evening I received it + ate cookies standing by my fire hose in the school building. Just received card from Dorothae.

It sounds like Warrens school must be pretty hard. I certainly don't want to stay in the Navy 20 years. The duration will be long enough wait. Im afraid something will happen that I wont get to Michigan. Ive postponed it several years now, wasn't sure but guess I would like it up there.

In my class of 24 only 2 mates are older than I, one is 16 years old. Getting to where Im one of the older boys.

Am returning the clippings you mailed. Would be interested in the other articles if you can just ship them in an envelope.

Maybe I shouldn't have mentioned about the submarines because I wont know if I'll pass the tests for it.

My mate in the next bunk has a friend in new london at sub school + said there is 8 brand new subs just waiting for crews so if do pass will probably get a new sub. They are air conditioned, have sun lamps and have washing machines. so is a lot better than some ships.

Dont think Ill get a leave until after finishing sub school + then not sure. Sometimes they give delayed orders + you go home until they have a berth for you.

My tow got sore but got it fixed + packed with cotton so is ok. Am going to dentist shortly to get my teeth checked. Don't have any trouble, instructor said we ought to. Will close for now.
Bob

April 8, 1943

Norfolk Va
April 8, 1943

Dear Dorothae,

How are you after a short vacation? Im ok but getting excited + anxious with only three weeks to go. Of course I would want a furlough would like to see the complete kitchen + the bed room + you all + the new additions.

Dont think Ill get a furlough before New London. A mate across the hall has a camera so think I can get a picture to send you. can send a record home for a dime but cant think of anything to say. If I do think of something will send one. Get them at the Navy Y.

Had a U.S.O. show on the station last night so went and saw it. It was real good. I wrote mom I tried to see Bigelow but can't without barracks nbr. Now that mom wrote about Bob Flack would prefer to look him up as I know him.

Am planning to find the office address of the red cross director + see if I can locate the Flacks. Was going to do it this weekend but think I'll postpone it. My closest mate is going to Newport Va. guess I'll go along to see the place and go for the ferry ride. Reach Newport by Ferry from N.O.B.

Am spending my last pay on a suit of white and some new shoes. When I get to New London think I'll make an alluance + let the Navy send it home. Can be sort of saving it then + still have plenty. Keep me from getting extravigant.

My closest mate is Kenneth Canfield from Grand Rapids, Mich. He does a lot of fishing + hunting around Bass Lake, Mich. We always study our lessons together.

Anna Townsend sent me a card just like yours when I first got here.

Will close for now.
Bob

April 11, 1943

Norfolk Va
April 11, 1943

Dear Dorothae

Not much to write about so am just droping a line to say how are you. Went to Norfolk yesterday + went to the Field Director of the Red Cross but knowone was there so I probibly wont find out where Bob Flack is.

Regarding the letters on the envelope most of the guys around here put them on so I did to see if you could figure it out. SMRLH stands for "Sailors Mail Rush like Heck."

Didn't even notice the return address on your envelope. Threw it away right away.

There is fine goods shows this coming week on the station which I haven't seen. Ordinarly they don't have first class pictures. All for now this is more or less a continuation of Moms letter.

Bob

Norfolk Va
April 11, 1943

Dear Mom,

Sunday morning and just finished my laundry. Not much to write about. Received my shoes Saturday noon so am lounging around in them. Bought some white socks to wear during the week but have to wear black when going out of camp or inspection.

Went to Newport Va Firday night with the guys in the next bunk. One is engaged + went over to buy a ring. Went over + came right back. It is a 40 min ferry ride to Newport Va. Newport is a small town.

Had personal inspection yesterday Captain walks around + looks at every body.

The three French sailors just walked in + woke up a guy they know.

Have to study for final test which is a week from Wednesday. Will close for now.
Bob

April 12, 1943

Norfolk Va
April 12, 1943

Dear Mom,

Am studying all this week for our final test which comes a week from Wednesday. It is very stormy looking this evening in fact it rained + hailed very hard for about 15 minutes at 6:00 PM.

Layed around all day yesterday + played some catch with a baseball. Have a stiff arm but Ken Canfield showed me a lot about catching.

I didn't mention it in my last letter but I got called by the Captain during inspection Saturday. Guess I wasn't standing straight. He told Lt. Bass (officer in charge of torpedo school) to work on me but they won't. Am watching out though how I stand.

Weather is clearing up now. Sun is shining now + is only 7:00 PM

Was in a snapshot sunday if it comes out good will send one.

Was going to get one in my dungarees alone but a guy that didn't own the camera was taking then + it was his film. Don't think I'll be able to get another so maybe Ill get a photo up town.

Don't think I ever mentioned but all the guys call me "Weasel" haven't figured why but don't mind.

About time for lights out so will close for now
Bob

April 13, 1943

Norfolk Va
April 13, 1943

Dear Mom,

This is breaking a record for me, a letter a day for three days. They are pretty low in news content though and this letter is not exception.

Received for test all day getting little studying done. Had weekly drill today as usual. Every tuesday we march for twenty minutes for practice. Had rice + turnips for chow with ice cream + cake. The weather is warm + the trees are beginning to form shade. Think Ill play a little ball later then go to the show.

When was the picture which you sent of "Tom" taken? Yes a small folder for the pictures would be very handy.

I packed my toe + have forgotten all about it because it is well. It wasn't my shoes. Hadn't cut my toe nails regular + socks pull on it. Will watch it hereafter.

April 14

Played ball longer so didn't get this mailed. Am in class doing nothing while part of the class are in the shop taking depth charges apart. Will be my turn this afternoon.

All I can think of for now.
Bob

April 16, 1943

Norfolk Va
April 16, 1943

Dear Mom,

Am writing in school haven't any thing to do. That is I think I know it all. I learn it to a certain point + don't seem to study to get it perfect. I am in a dumb class I guess have highest average 3.74 out of 4.00.

Went to the dentist yesterday will be taken care of a week from friday. They make appointments only. My teacher has bee keeping after me since I first asked him when to go to dentist.

I don't believe I ever told you about my instructor Mr Kremensky. He is shorter than I, one of the smallest chiefs here but he is better than the rest.

He hates the Navy so is a little more practical than other chiefs who try + act tough.

Had to wear a coat the last couple of days, being very chilly but is beginning to warm up today.

Guess I'll try + look Mr + Mrs Flack tomorrow. Stayed in camp two weeks straight + it gets pretty tiresome. Time is passing slow now because am not kept busy.

Think I'll wait till I get to New London to get a picture taken Unless I would happen to see a studio shop tomorrow. Don't care to get one.

Not much else to write about so will close for now.
Bob

April 16, 1943
Norfolk Va

Dear Dorothae,

Hope you are in good health. As for a sun tan I don't have any yet in fact it is quite chilly here now. Usually gets chilly here nights + is chilly whenever we have muster at 0800 on the parade ground.

Me having the "measles" couldn't be a war casualty or loss because they still get steel wooling + K.P. out of me.

Took the ferry trip it is a short one. Can see a lot of ships docked from the Ferry. My ferry trip, I think, was really across the mouth of the James river in the corner of Chesapeake Bay. I had a much larger ferry trip when I went to the upper peninsula of Mich. with Ray + Anna.

In the Navy a post is called a station. I go "ashore" when I go to town.

Can get all the laundry done I want except blues for 50 ¢. Can have blues sent to cleaners. Blankets cost 25 ¢ a piece.

Could see Cheaspeake bay from the ferry but am pretty far from the Atlantic.

Have plenty of money and get payed again next week. Have done extra duty for other boys + have made several dollars that way.

Are you kidding? how could I forget Kinker, used to run errands for Dr Pennel quite often.

Its about time you wrote a good full letter. Your letter is "the girl friend letter" I receive from home.

All I can think of to write about so will close for now.
Bob

April 19, 1943

Norfolk Va
April 19, 1943

Dear Mom,

Have received bouth cards which you sent. I received a letter from Billy Mattram, I had sent him pictures of airplanes.

Im afraid your expecting to much of the snapshots so will promise to get my picture taken upon reaching "New London." Skeet hasn't sent any pictures as yet.

Norfolk is a fair sized town + I can go three nights out of four but all I do is walk the streets when I do go. Only go weekends + see a show or go to church. I go + hate to come back right away, so just take a walk. Once I walked half way back to camp which is about 8 miles.

Dont make any scrap book, they are silly sentimental things, the ones I made; just collected dust.

Went to town to Navy Y, looked on a map + found "The Flacks" right off. They live in a very beautiful residential district but only have a very small room. That was Saturday. They invited me to come to Church sunday, yesterday at their church. There is a small ME Church close by them which they go to. It is very new + nice but only holds about 300 people. They took me to dinner then we picked up Bill Duffield + went to the piers to look + the ships. Also went to young peoples meeting in the evening. There house is within walking distance of my school 1 1/2 miles.

Just received a letter from Ray + Anna, no special news.

Tomorrow is pay day.

USO show on station in half hour so will close for now
Bob

April 20, 1943

Norfolk Va
April 20, 1943

Dear Mom,

Am in class waiting for school to take. Got paid this morning + they passed out pamphlets on "War Bonds."

Am wondering what you think about buying war bonds through an allotment. The only reason I would like to do it is that I am absolutely sure of saving that money. The way it is now I go to town + spend all of my money on shows.

Another man was saying something about them not being paid back on time regularly but they are in time.

Was paid $24.00 so have $50.00 in my pocket so will send some of it home. Do you think I should bank my money instead.

Thought also if I bought a bond a month I would have less money + could buckle down enough to bank $20.oo a month. As now I have no system.

Enclosed is pamphlet I received

Please rush your opinion of saving all my money in warbonds.

Time for school to take up so will close for now.
Bob

April 23, 1943

Norfolk Va
April, 23, 1943

Dear Mom,

Am doing nothing now but help clean the 'barracks'. Went to the dentist this morning. He gave me no fillings in my two worse looking front teeth, + said they were ok for sub duty. I asked him if anything could be done about them but said all could do would pull + have a bridge put in later.

I kid with another shipmate in the final test + the school average for highest mark. Got 3.83 out of 4.00 on final test + a school average of 3.73.

Am mailing $25.00. Have marked in my books banked $20.00. Five is your Easter present.

Don't bother to send any mail next week at all. Hope you have answered the letter regarding the war bonds. Think I'll get one a month.

Have gone out the last two nights to a house within walking distance. It used to be a parsonage but is used by the church for serviceman It is a very small place, only about a dozen men go and we play cards + all kinds of games. Its better than the barracks + doesn't cost anything because so close.

Will find out tonight but think it is the Ep_____, the church Fred's mother goes to.

11:40 Just received the fudge + nuts it surely tastes good. Don't know Muman address so thank her for the nuts for me.

Time for chow now so will close for now. Fish today alough we can have cold meat it we don't like fish.

Norfolk Va
Sat. April 23, 1943

Dear Dorothae,

Have finished my washing and am laying in the saun. Had my last inspection here. Am enclosing a couple of snapshots.

The place I mentioned of going to the last three nights is called the "Hospitality House" run by the Church of the Good Sheperd. The house used to be a parsonage + the church is behind it. It looks like a very small chapel.

Received an Easter card from Uncle John + Aunt Carrie, also yours + mothers cards.

Am on duty today but get off 1000 oclock tomorrow morning.

Time for evening chow + I can't think of anything more to write about so will close for now.
Bob

April 26, 1943

Norfolk Va
April 26, 1943

Dear Mom,

Received your letters regarding the war bonds. I like the idea of just an allotment to you except you will have to bother to buy the bonds. Will use that system and will mark the results in my book when you acknowledge the receipt of the allotment.

Went to the dentist Friday noon. Believe I told you about it. Had two fillings. It only took five minutes.

The Flacks just moved to a new place. It is only a 10 min walk from Bob's place of work. Haven't been there yet but Sally said they can do their own cooking now. Will tell them what Dorothae said.

I walked to church sunday layed in the sun some + went on the Ferry with two mates + went to the show at New Port Didn't think till just now that it was Easter I wouldn't have gone.

I knew it was Easter but didn't realize it.

Received the pictures this noon. thanks a lot.

Tell Jim that was a good idea about the suit + thanks alot.

Will close for now all I can think of.
Bob

P.S. Didn't go back aboard for noon chow from Sunday church so went to a drugstore + they had ice scream had three dippers.

April 29, 1943

Dear Mom,

Just a line for now. Nothing to write about. Have been doing a little work in the morning & then laying around the rest of the day. Got a letter from Skeet \r & Joe with a picture of Thomas Joseph also of Joe & one of Skeet. Has been a slow week with nothing to do. Will be glad when I get settled at New London & kept occupied by school. Had a storm last night. It rained very hard. It is clear today but a little chilly though. Will close till I get to New London.

Bob

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