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Donald F. Rodawig Papers: Transcripts - MS 1048

Donald F. Rodawig Correspondence - July 23-31, 1944

July 23, 1944


I forgot to include 3 rather interesting camera shots. In the earlier days here during a bombing raid a shell exploded in a cemetery and uncovered many graves. In one view you can see the date 1908 when this body was buried. The other is a panorama of a city over here. The building in the foreground is a 5 story structure that used to be an industrial school which now is being used for a hospital. I think I have mentioned the cemetery in a previous letter home.

I hope these get home in good shape for I want to keep them


July 23, 1944


Dearest Suzan

Your sweet letter arrived today and was glad that you still consider me your best boy friend.

You have some mighty interesting projects on the farm. I dont believe you have told me the names of the lamb and the Banta mother. The bond that you are receiving at the end of the summer will be a nice gift for all the hard work you have done.

Honey in my last letter to you I mentioned the fact that I was going to attend a concert given by Lily Pons and her symphony conductor husband. Andre Kostelanetz. I spent the most enjoyable 1 ½ hours of entertainment that I have seen over seas. As you probably know she is one of the worlds most famous Coloratura soprano. She sang a number "Caro Nome" and hit the high note of a flute which as I understand is the highest pitched instrument that is known. The audience was simply spell bound. Her Choice of numbers were ones that have always been popular with Americans. If an opportunity ever presents itself I want you most certainly to attend. I am enclosing the program and also some of the Rome pictures. Bill will collect them and keep them together for me.

Love Sweet


July 23, 1944


Dear Don

I am sending you the balance of the pictures that were taken on the recent Rome trip. I surely hope that they all come through in good shape for I am rather proud of them

We are very busy at the hospital again, last nite we had an emergency operation, a penetrating knife wound of the stomach. We have had a lot of unusual surgical cases of late. Each case presents a problem in differential Diagnosis and with all these experiences you can certainly add to your diagnostic accumen [sic].

I can hardly wait to hear what news you have regarding the medical course that you have written about - I am so happy that you have decided to take up medicine. It is not a particularly successful profession from a financial standpoint, but it does offer one an opportunity to serve people and from this you will derive a lot of personal satisfaction and pleasure.

Good Luck.


July 26, 1944


Dearest Mary

You have heard of the Scotchmen who is so tight that he wont invest two stamps for separate letters. Well that's me! thought I would drop you a little note included in Dons letter.

Have you heard any thing from your letter to the Commandant of the 7th Corps Area regarding Don's eligibility for the medical course? That is foremost in my mind these days and as soon as you hear one way or another please let me know.

Was the childrens XRays requested or did you think it would be a good idea since the opportunity was available? I am sure by now that they are all healthy. Lord knows you have spent enough time with their diets and have always insisted on enough rest. From recent pictures they all look mighty healthy.

Of late I have had a lot of surgical consultation work to do. I always have had to do this in the hallway but now I have sectioned off a ward and have quite a nicely compact little office with a hospital bed which I can use to rest when called over during the nite or when on O.D. duty.

By the way the pictures I have sent to mother were scenes of Cassino and the building is our hospital - look in the back ground and you will see Mt Vesuvius.

Love to you Dear



July 27, 1944

52nd Station Hospital

Dearest Mary

I did want to say a few more remarks about letter writing. I know and fully appreciate just how much responsibility that I have placed on you when I went away to the army. On the other hand you probably don't know just how removed our lives become over seas. You have some out let of your emotions with the kiddies I have none. I have talked this over with many of the officers and we all agree that word from home is the only stabilizing influence and thoughts that we have. After a hard days work some times 16-18 hours I can thoroughly relax by writing a letter home. If you don't get letters then thoughts creep into your mind that your family has forgotten or don't care I just want to discuss this whole thing frankly for I want you to realize that I do not have temper tantrums any more - the army has changed all this. Again I want to say the only measure that I have of your thoughts and feelings toward me is the letters you write. If it is only a few then things must have changed since I have been away. I sincerely hope not. Devotedly Roddy

July 1944

52nd Station Hospital

Dearest Mary

your sweet encouraging letter of July 14th arrived today and will say that it was most welcome since I haven't heard from you since July 6th. This type of living over here is most nerve racking (I know you understand what I mean) I haven't in the least varied from the type of life that I promised you I would lead over seas. In fact I got quite a kick out of the fact that the nurses call me "Poppy". I have just concentrated on one thing - "work." At times it is quite difficult but I thoroughly believe we are over the hump as far as over seas service is concerned and I am planning and hoping that Don's fortune teller friend is correct about when I can get home. The medical profession has been asked to contribute a lot to the war effort but I believe it is fool hardy to keep us over so long that we have our efficiency especially when there are so many who haven't served over seas. At least honey we wont have any regrets for not doing our share. Perhaps in the next few years we will be looking back on this period of our lives considering it as a bad dream. I don't believe there is an hour of the day that I don't think about you and the children lets try to be optimistic Sweet! Devotedly Roddy

July 28, 1944

52nd Station Hospital

Dearest Mary

Your letters of July 15 arrived today and will say that I am quite disappointed about Don's chances in getting into the Springfield training program. I do not feel that we should push the West Point appointment - in the first place Don will not like the regimentation of the Army and secondly credits obtained at West Point do not the required basic sciences that are necessary to enter medicine. I don't want to use this as an escape mechanism for although we would hate terribly to have Don enter the army we don't feel that he is any better than the millions of others who are now serving and it would give him a terrible inferiority complex in later life to have this shoved into his face. I would follow every lead that would be only following a career that he had planned for himself I am sure that I will be home before he will have to go in and perhaps can arrange an assignment with a hospital unit in the event that nothing comes from our present plans. Most of our patients now are boys between 18 and 20 - a mighty healthy lot and the army has done a lot for them I love you sweetheart and miss you so much and hope we can get together and talk all these things over soon, Roddy

July 31, 1944

52nd Station Hospital

Dearest Mary

Received your letter July 21 1944 this morning and will answer it at once. I wouldn't get too excited about President Roosevelts predictions as it may be a strong political move. There is considerable discussion over here about our election ballots and there is so much red tape connected with it that I will not plan to vote this year. There are so many things that I would like to write about in this connection but I fear that the censor would not deal too kindly with it.

Just keep up your spirits dear this is rapidly coming to a close over here - I am firmly convinced of this but as you know they will be the army of occupation and further medical care needed for the remaining troops, that it is difficult to determine a guess just when we will get home but we are all hoping to get a fair deal. I would like to see a limit put on over seas service, for after so long a time you lose a lot of your initiative and efficiency which is needed to do a good job. Earlier in the war when there was a lack of shipping space naturally we couldn't expect anything but now with plans for a world wide army that will require men to stay away from home for along periods of time we justly feel that some of the men who have been constantly in the States just take their turn at foreign service this will be arranged I'm sure for our government has done a grand job to date Devotedly Roddy (continued)

52nd Station Hospital

Dearest Sweet (continued)

We have a young army that had to be organized from the ground up and as time goes on many existing inequalities will be ironed out. I still believe that we owe a debt of gratitude to our infantry and combat troops who have done a magnificent job and I only hope that they wont be forgotten in post war plan I feel I have contributed my little to the war effort have had comfortable quarters, good food, good entertainment and have been in hospital work in a rear echelon throughout the war. Rightfully the fellows who have been risking their lives should have first chance at rotation home. Our hours have been long and tedious and after a little you cant work to the maximum of your ability - I will be home after not too long a time and we will have a mighty happy reunion and there isn't one hour of the day that I don't think about you. Looking back over this separation in the years to come it will seem like a bad dream. I want to get out of the army with a strong mind and healthy body for there is a big job ahead of us and I refuse to worry my head about small petty things.
All my Love Roddy

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