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Donald F. Rodawig Papers: Transcripts - MS 1048

Donald F. Rodawig Correspondence - September 10-October 9, 1944

September 10, 1944

Sept 10 1944
52nd Station Hospital

Dearest Sweetheart

This has been a wonderful Sunday, just have lounged around and this afternoon took a long walk. When I hear of experience of Suzan getting caught in the barn with the two [horses] fighting - it scares me stiff. Then with Bill down with a sore throat and temp, Don away with the car and all the chores to do - that really is something for you to worry about. You have been so brave through out this whole affair You have a long rest due you upon my return and I fully intend that you shall get it.

I went to the stage show "The Barretts of Wimpole Street" starring Kathryn Cornell and Brain Aherne. I might state that if Robert Browning in private life was the ardent lover as he was portrayed to be by Brian Aherne - he was really something Brenda Forbes who played in Mrs Miniver was also in the cast and turned in an excellent performance. The movie actors guild cooperating with the Special Service section of the Army have certainly given freely of their talents to the boys in service. God how I miss you Roddy

September 12, 1944

Sept 12, 1944.

Dearest Sweetheart

There was an excellent resume of the Italian Campaign in the Stars and Stripes paper this morning and I thought you might enjoy seeing it so will send it along. Your letter of Sept 2nd arrived this morning which is excellent time. There seems to be no difference between V mail and Air Mail and an occasional real letter is quite a thrill - for some reason it seems a bit more personal.

Was so happy to learn that Carlisle La Doux is being sent home for a short holliday. No doubt the family are quite thrilled over the prospects of a nice visit with him.

Yes dear, we will have a grand time together but as far as special plans that isn't at all necessary. You know just to get one good look at you will be all that my heart desires.

I believe that this war will be over in the not too distant future - I have so many different personal stories about the war that I have gotten from the combat boys - so many things that you dont actually read about in the present accounts of the war that you will like to hear about.

The kids apparently are well clothed for the school season. I can imagine that there was a considerable cash out lay - but that is such a small consideration when you think of what a grand family we have.

Received letters from Bill, Sandra and a nice note from the LaSalette seminary thanking me for the papal blessing. The Father mentioned what a odd B.B. player you were Don and said that he would certainly like to coach a fine basketball team like Spirit Lake had last fall.

I love you. Devotedly,

Information for Dr Smith
Donald F Rodawig
Spirit Lake Iowa.
Born Feb 10 1905 Saybrook Ill.
Studied Medicine University of Iowa graduated in 1930.
Interned Henry Ford Hospital 1930-1931
Surgical Residency Lucas County Hospital Toledo Ohio 1931
University of Vienna Oct 1938 to March 1939 General Surgery
Married Mary Elizabeth Ellis Mercer
Missouri July 17 1926.
Specialize in General Surgery.
Examiner for Equitable Life Insurance Co,
New York Life Ins Co, Equitable life
Insurance Society of United States
Co owner and operator of the Spirit Lake Hospital with Dr Phillip Scott Spirit Lake Iowa.
Entered Army Service May 1942. as a Captain Promoted to Major Feb 29 1944. holding the position of assistant chief of Surgery of the 52nd Station Hospital.

September 15, 1944

52nd Station Hospital

My Dearest Wife

I have a day off so thought I would travel up to Rome for the weekend to see Hugh. There were a few things that I particularly wanted to see and perhaps I can get some of the glass ware that you wanted. - I will try at least.

We haven't been too busy of late and the Col is very liberal with time off as long as we have our work in shape.

We are living quite well now - Our weekly ration calls for 4 bottles of beer with 4 Coca Colas and about once each month we are issued 1 qt of Bourbon. The food has been excellent especially this summer when the menu could be supplemented with fresh vegetables.

There isn't much of interest happening now but will probably have more to write about when I return from Rome. We are all wondering about our disposition but sincerely hope the war will be over before that comes to a head. Affectionately Roddy.

September 17, 1944

Sept 17 1944
52nd Station Hospital

Dearest Sweetheart.

Do you remember the picture you sent me in a swimming suit at the cottage (last August a year ago) that you sent me - Well I left it with Hugh to see if he can hate it enlarged and have an oil painting made of it - of course not in the swimming suit - only from the shoulders up and perhaps an impromptu summer evening gown. I dont know whether this will work out or not but will leave this to Hughs judgment. It was such a grand opportunity and I know how pleased you would be if we could have twin oil paintings for our bed room. Wont that be something?

I returned to my station today after a very pleasant visit with Hugh. He had a very close friend that manages one of the transient hotels in Rome and since the hospital is on the edge of the city, made arrangements for us to have a room down town. I must say it was as well managed as any hotel in New York with all the room service and bars that you would associate with a first class hotel. All the food was G.I. issue but the Italians if given the proper kinds of material can fix up ordinary foods into a very appetizing dish. The food was served by Italian waiters that had been employed before the American occupation. (continued) All my Love Roddy.

Dearest Sweetheart (continued)

When you travel to another city you have orders directing you to that station and upon your arrival you present them to the billeting officer who assigns you to a hotel and your meals are served there - all this is no expense to you as the American government has taken over many of the hotels for this purpose. But if you know someone you are much more apt to get better quarters. Of course the senior officers have the best selection. The hotels primarily are rest centers and the authorities try to make them as attractive as possible. Many of the officers returning from the front will get their first hot bath and good food they have had in days. The American Red Cross has taken over huge buildings and offer a variety of services including sponsored tours of the city, days at the beach, shows, wrapping service for gifts, snack bars, game rooms, reading rooms, and various other aids. They try to offer an environment as close to home as possible and have succeeded in every way except overcoming the lonesomeness from being away from your family and as you can well imagine there is only one cure for this disease. Let's hope that our pictures come out well and that you get the china set and pictures that I have sent you

I love you

September 20, 1944

Sept 20 1944
52nd Station Hospital


You wont be hearing from me for 2 or 3 weeks but I dont want you to worry. You know how quickly things come up in the Army. You are only a small component of a vast picture and are moved from spot to spot on a big checker board.

I am really thrilled about all this for if there is anything that helps it is a change of environment. You really get stale staying in one place for too long

We have so much to be thankful for with our fine family, they have all stayed well and happy during my absence and I am constantly thinking of the happy times we will have together upon my return home. Things have gone so well that the end of the war will come quite soon I believe and then we will hope that I can come home to you. Your sweet letters have been swell and have carried me over many a rough spot. I dont believe that I have ever really appreciated you to the fullest extent until now. You are true blue and a yard wide and I consider myself very fortunate to have such a wonderful wife. Be of good courage and keep your chin up will write as quickly as I can. With all my love to you Roddy

October 9, 1944

9 Oct 44
Dear Don

How goes--here about the same Presume by now you are getting pretty well organized. Fletcher went to 459th about the time you left & may leave in a few days to go back home. The old man put Dave in for your spot shortly after you left, but haven't hearad from it yet. Hope I get Fletcher, there was talk of replacing you in grade, but Parsons went to bat on that.

Weve been busy as can be. Got a lot of sev. Stuff from France about 10 days ago & have been working all day long--I'm about caught up, but still have some pretty sick boys. Manning has been up & down with a lung abscess & we sent him to 300 a few days ago--hope he does ok. Bieman got orders, permanent change of assignment back to the States a few days back, don't know what the deal is.

All else goes as usual, even the rain. Foster was transferred to 3rd Gen & the eye man from there cam here--all of a sudden. Our C.O. is at 45 Gen with athletes foot--Pancreas is acting up.

Write & let me know how things go--Sincerely Bonemeier

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