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Donald F. Rodawig Papers: Transcripts - MS 1048

Donald F. Rodawig Correspondence - June 1-12, 1944

June 1, 1944

6/1/44
52nd Station Hospital

Dearest Family

Received 4 swell letters from you today May 14, 16 and 18th and was very glad that you had a nice birthday. Phine had written me more of the details about you wanting to call me long distance and how you had invited the whole crowd over for Sunday evening when you were to call. That could have been swell honey, but perhaps a short furlough home might be more beneficial! It [sic] swell of our friends to look after your welfare in my absence.

Your letter of the 18th was a little discouraging and of course I was disappointed in Don's misfortune. It is lessons like these that are hard to take but any one who is successful must be in a position to take these knocks on the chin. As I have said repeatedly our family means more to me than anything else and Don knows now that he can always get sympathy and understanding from his brothers, sisters and parents. I have always tried to instill this in the children, to have a high regard for me and other so that in times of hardship they can all stick together like glue. As the years go by there will be many more problems to solve and if so all have confidence in each other we can always get good sound advice. I have always felt that the unjust criticism that I had a few summers ago was nothing more than a jealous competition. Don I will tell you this, just how bravely and manly you meet these problems and disappointments to a great extent will depend how successful you will be in later life. Devotedly Dad (continued)

6/1/44
52nd Station Hospital

Dearest Family continued

There is so much unfairness and the army and you can really get kicked around but in spite of all this I just refuse to lose my individuality. There are many in the army who haven't received their just dues, through mishap or some ones failure some men havent received the proper recognition but the true test of a man is one who can meet these reverses in the proper spirit. There has been a thousand instances when we all would have liked to quit and gone home, but just sheer pride and determination has kept us going forward. The point of all this conversation Don is two fold (1) I want you to buckle down in school next year, work and play harder than ever before and cooperate with Stanley in every way. Take this defeat in a gracious manner (2) You have a wonderful opportunity when the going gets rough to evaluate just how much your brother, sisters and parents mean to you. You all have honorable qualities and of course many bad ones and it is just necessary that you must over look irritating things that happen among yourselves. I love each and every one of you more than words can tell and I wished that I could be home with you to help carry my share of your burdens. I just dont want any one to say that any of you cant "take it" In my absence. I am counting on all of you to give mother your best cooperation and in this you wont be letting me down. Devotedly Dad.

June 6, 1944

June 6 1944
52nd Station Hospital

Dearest Mary,

Your letter of the 26th arrived today, our mail has been coming through much better of late and of course this is very gratifying for we all feel much closer to home with late up to the minute news. The war news is so encouraging and with the successful opening of the western front we dare not venture to guess when we can all be home. In retrospect I am very happy to have had this opportunity for I know full well I couldn't feel right about being home when my services are so badly needed over here. We have a great number of Iowa boys to care for in our hospital at the present time, they are certainly prime specimens 18-20 years old and I get such a kick out of them. They just long to have some one talk to them about home. In most instances I always know some one from their home town. We plan to have a little gathering at the Red Cross tonite to welcome some of the new members of our staff. The subject to be discussed "When are we going home?" Devotedly Roddy

June 6, 1944

6/6/44
52nd Station Hospital

My Dearest Wife,

Have been thinking about you all day this morning over the radio came the news that the big push is on and I know that you must have spent a good portion of the day at the radio listening for news flashes. This is the day we have all been waiting for and we pray to God that all goes well for with its success or failure will depend to a great extent the direction of the war. Some how every one is more relaxed now that it has actually happened, we have all awaited for this day. Let us hope that it will not be too costly in men and equipment.

We have spent another busy day in the O.R. and by another 2 or 3 days should be pretty well caught up on work that is now in the house. More new men have come in today so we can have more leisure time I hope for at this pace. You wouldn't last long. Love you Sweet heart and lets hope for an early end to this war. Devotedly Roddy.

June 9, 1944

6/9/44
52nd Station Hospital

Dearest Mary and Children,

I am so damn tired that I can hardly move tonite after a hectic day in the operating room I find myself Surgical O.D. and have just completed making rounds over the entire hospital. Fortunately I haven't any scheduled work in the O.R. tomorrow. Capt Black one of the men on the surgical service is being transferred to a field outfit and this will place more work upon each of us. We have a lot of men on detached service but they are not accustomed to our routines and are of little value and as quickly as they are oriented they are called back to their units. We have many visiting men who are interested in maxillo facial cases and come to see how these cases are being managed. It is interesting how they can build new jaws and construct new chins, noses etc. of course this is not very practical from my standpoint but will have a basic knowledge of the management of these cases. They have so many other complicating wounds

continued Love Roddy

6/9/44
52nd Station Hospital

Dearest Sweetheart continued

That requires general surgical attention that we are kept busy from that angle and of course can see just how the maxillo facial problems are managed. We had one boy with the entire lower jaw shot away and we are going to be able to send this boy home in a presentable fashion. Innumerable disfiguring scars have been excised and large skin defects closed with skin grafts, Z plasty's and secondary closures. There isn't a day goes by but what my association with other men hasn't contributed some worth while information on general surgical fundamentals. I just hope that I will be satisfied with the amount of surgery we can get at home for after working for 18 months on a very active surgical service with many serious cases, the kind of surgery we get at home will seem mighty small. At least I will feel more than qualified to manage most any type of problem with the exception of brain surgery continued

6/9/44
52nd Station Hospital

Dearest Mary continued III.

I sincerely believe that the people at home will have more confidence in my ability after this war experience and perhaps will be called in more and more on a consultant basis. I truly miss the general practice end of medicine - especially O.B. cases and of course will always be happy as long as we are succeeding in a financial way. I thoroughly believe that we can make more clear money in Spirit Lake than in a larger city. We have as many private surgical cases as a busy Surgeon in the city but lack the advantage of the large surgical practice in a city hospital with indigent patients and this is where the city offers the greatest advantage. I just don't want to go to seed after this experience and I am sure that I wont. We will just have to develop our hospital so our boys can become active partners - wont that be something. Devotedly Roddy

June 10, 1944

6/10/44
52nd Station Hospital

Dearest Mary

received swell letters from Don and you as late as May 29 1944. It certainly seems that you have made a wise investment in buying the lake shore lots and farm. They will undoubtedly increase substantially in value after we have built. Honey I am leaving every thing up to you, if in your own mind you feel that the additional lot will benefit our property then I would by all means make the purchase but from your description the most valuable addition would be the north lot and this would actually be the spot that we would build on. If for an investment purpose you desired to buy the South one then you could control the property and sell to when you desire. The other possibility would be if any of the children would [set up] in Spirit Lake they might want to build a home adjacent to ours and this would be a nice nucleus to start from. Of course this would mean an investment of $4000.00 in lake shore lots. The main things is that I want you to be happy and have entire control of the plans for our new home which rightfully you should have. Devotedly Roddy

6/10/44
52nd Station Hospital

Dearest Wife (continued)

You have acted so wisely in all your dealings that I would hesitate to make any suggestions. I am firmly convinced that we should not quibble too much about expense in building a home especially when you have to spend the major portion of your time there as long as we do not involve our selves too deeply in a financial way. I would like to have a substantial sum laid away toward our home as I have suggested. If building ever opens up and labor is available you might see what the appropriate cost will be.

Don's work sounds mighty interesting and he should make and save a nice profit this summer all the children will have nice profitable projects to work on so you will have a very happy time. It would [sic] wonderful if I could make it home later in the summer. The war news is really encouraging and we will hope and pray for a break. All my Love. Roddy.

June 11, 1944

June 11 1944
52nd Station Hospital

Dearest Mary

This has been a rather quiet Sunday I am caught up with y work and things are settling back down to normal again. Several of the officers, Levinson, Bird, Fletcher and Cleaves left for a rest camp at the seashore for a few days much needed vacation The surgical service will have an opportunity to take a few days off later in the summer when the work is not too pressing.

I have thought a lot about those lakeshore lots and if taxes are not too high on them it probably will be a worthwhile venture Since the boys are going to study medicine it is quite likely that one of them might live in Spirit Lake and it would be nice to have them close by for neighbors I can kick myself a thousand times for not taking advantage of the opportunities afforded me on Lake Okoboji at an earlier date. We just have to live and learn. Finally we will get into a set up that is almost ideal from a family standpoint

I am glad that you are all settled for the summer and now for goodness sake don't work so hard, relax and enjoy yourself.

Love Roddy.

June 11, 1944
52nd Station Hospital

Dearest Mary.

I just didn't get every things said in the other V Mail so will continue on another.

There are so many little things that I would like to discuss with you and of course this is our only medium, for the present at least. Has or will there be any lifting of building restrictions in the near future? I am still a little anxious to get our home started and if you were to use this as a farm home perhaps it could be worked out. After the war is over there will certainly be a big building spree and the cost and scarcity of labor will continue for 2 or 3 years and if we could get started early, it might be worthwhile - We could contract the whole affair like Phil and Alice did and we wouldn't get caught with extra costs. Do you plan on a stone, brick, or wood structure? You might write a few of your thoughts along the line and I might pick up a few ideas out here that might blend with yours. This home we are too [sic] build will be your big moment and I want to please you.

Love Roddy

June 12, 1944

6/12/44
52nd Station Hospital

Dearest Pampy

Received your letter today dated June 2, 1944 Don't you think that is excellent time for a V mail clear from Iowa? I would certainly like to be home so we could go swimming together, I think it is nice that mother is taking grand Dad and grandmother out to dinner - Are you going along? What do you plan to name the baby calf? What is Susan's pet lamb's name? You surely should get rich pulling burdocks at 4 for a penny - What are you gong to do with all that money honey?

Just between you and me I get awfully lonesome to see you all, and when I get home we will all take a nice trip or perhaps a little vacation out on the farm Who is your girlfriend now? And may I ask who is your boy friend? Of course I am your best boy friend buy who is second best -

Write often Sweetheart
Daddy

June 12, 1944

6/12/44
52nd Station Hospital

Dear Don

This has been a day devoted to writing to each of my children and this letter will arrive time for your 17th birthday (June 26th). I believe that you have developed a lot both physically and mentally this year according to mothers letters. You have been my candidate of her wishes and have put forth a special effort to cooperate in every way. Phine writes me that you have been a perfect gentleman at her house and that you and Nancy have had many good times together last year. I think you have chosen a fine friend in Nancy and am glad that you have had pleasant time together. The fact that you have had an excellent year with the B.B. team, and will develop into a real star next year pleases me to no end. You had had good grades in school and your position this summer makes me think that you are really on the ball! Keep up the good work fellow! I am always thinking of the time when Bill you and I can practice medicine together. Happy Birthday Dad.

June 12, 1944

June 12 1944
52nd Station Hospital

Dear Bill,

I am hoping that this letter will arrive on your 12th birthday (June 23). I would like to be home to wish you the best for the coming year and I still have hopes for being able to see you yet this year. I would like to send you a nice birthday present but you have expressed a desire for a army tent, mess kit etc and after the war is over we will get you a complete outfit so we can go on over night hikes and sleep in bedding rolls and all that goes in Army life. I am mighty proud to have such a fine boy as a son, you have been thrifty, cooperate well at home with Mother and the children and have done well in school. I am planning big on you and me being partners - not only in the chicken business. But in the hospital after you have finished your medical education. Would you like to do this Bill? Best Wishes for a happy Birthday Dad.

MS 1048 - Donald F. Rodawig Papers | List of Transcripts
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