V-Mail from my father, John W Kendall, Jr., to his parents in Kansas. My father was a Sargent in charge of the motor pool. He served in the 45thDivision, 157th Infantry of the United States Army.
Anzio Beach, Italy, May 12, 1944
Dear Mom, Dad & all,
I think I mailed you a letter this AM, but I got a V-note today from you so will write more. I got the letter with Lucy’s [cousin?] address. Thanks a million. Guess I will drop her a line. I sure got a nice sugar report from Hazel [wife]. Bless her little heart. She is so good & nice to write every day. I sure will be glad when I get back and we all can start living like real people again.
What is the news from over on that front? I think things are dead here at least, (no man’s land stinks) and I ain’t joking. We still live in holes around here. So, maybe things will turn for the better.
I got a letter from Rex [brother] yesterday or day before. He wants to get out of the States. Hope he doesn’t make it. Well must be going, so spank Sissy [little sister] for me (ha ha). Bye Bye.
Lotza Love, Tex
Italy, May 29, 1944
Dear Mom, Dad & Kids,
I got your V-Mail today, also a letter from Hazel [wife]. Glad to hear you are having nice weather now. We are too. But, if anything, we need a light shower to settle the dust. “Dust Brings Shell Fire”. That is the way the road signs read. I made a good guess when I made that ring1 for Sissy [sister]. I didn’t want it to fit the 3rd finger, left hand, because she might want a ring from a Griffin or Dody [neighbor boys] for that finger (ha ha).
Oh yes, I drank a bottle of good beer. It was made in Scotland. Everyone here gets it, but for us, dammit! I told Hazel to look for a nice place to dig a cave, because I have been living in one for so long I don’t think I can live in a house any more. From over there I expect the news sounds good, part of it is, but the big half is pretty sad too. But guess Jerry [Nazis] is suffering the most, I hope.
As long as they have wars some one has to die. The good Lord has had his arm around my neck. I only hope he keeps it there. At least I’ll do my part, or try. Bye Bye.
Lotza Love, Tex
Italy, June 1, 1944
Dear Mom, Dad & all,
How is every thing out that way? I am still OK and feel good except I have a bad case of spring fever.
We have had a few days of rest this last week, but never know when we will have to start on the push again. The news sounds good to me, but wish it was a lot better. I got a letter from Aunt Myrtle the other day. I got 2 letters from Hazel [wife] yesterday. She is OK. They [Hazel & her sister Doris]2have moved to a new apartment. She is practicing up on her cooking, so she can fatten me up I guess.
It rained here last night and this AM, is still cloudy, but that makes it cool. I haven’t seen Rome yet, but I hope to. Hope I can go to church in the Vatican City. We held services out in the opening today. When I get home the worst thing that anyone will have on me is singing too loud in church. I guess this will be all for now. So Bye Bye.
Lotza Love as always, Tex
1. The ring mentioned for ‘Sissy’ was made from the propeller of a ‘downed’ airplane (German, I think). He also made one for my mother, Hazel, which I remember seeing as a child. My father was a mechanic and had access to the tools needed to make parts for the jeeps he maintained. He may have had access to a metal lathe, but I suspect it more likely that the rings he made were done with more ordinary tools, such as drills and files. I never thought to ask him.
2. During the war, Hazel and Doris both worked in the clerical areas of the War Department, at least part of the time.
For those interested in WWII, the 45thInfantry Division museum is located at, 2145 N.E. 36th Street, Oklahoma City, OK 73111. A few additional letters that my father wrote are located on the museum’s web site.