A 1943 Letter from John’s Dad, Written in the USO

Bowling Alley, c 1940s
                                                                         

By this time, Dad had made some friends and was participating in whatever social life was available to the soldiers at Battle Creek.  He was still in training for something none of them could yet fully understand.  Never having been away from home, Dad was very homesick, like many of his army buddies.  JB

1/17/1943 Battle Creek, Mich.

                                                                                                              
Dear Mom & Dad,

How are you? How is everyone there at the GREAT towns of Highland & Griffith and Hessville?  I’m writing this in the USO and I have no pencil so you probably won’t be able to read this.  I never could write with a pen.  Dad, I received your letter and I really was glad to hear from you.  I’m glad you are off the night shift for a while.   By the way, you know every time I come home, you are working 4-12.  Well, this time we will be able to put it over on the Inland Steel Co. You can’t be on nights more than 5 or 6 days and I’ll be home then, so maybe I’ll get to see you this time.  Are you going to go bowling with us?  I sure hope you will.  The last time I was home, Bonnie & I planned on going bowling with the gang and it sure would be nice if you could be there with us.  Say, you said in your letter that you have the office of Senior Warden.  I don’t know much about those different offices, but I do know that it is something to be proud of.  “Congratulations.”  I’ll bet you have plenty of work to do now, don’t you?

Well, Mom, how is the bowling scores now?  I imagine they re going up.  (They better be or I’ll catch up to you and beat you!  (Yes, Lord, if I get 45 I’ll be lucky, and there you are over the 100 mark).

I was supposed to meet Ray Canarrse here at 6:00 and he hasn’t showed up yet.  They are going to eat pretty soon so he better hurry.  

Well, this is the only piece of paper they have left like this, so I’ll close before I run out, OK?  Tell Bonnie I said “hi” when you see her or talk to her.  When I write to her I’ll tell her to tell you I said “hi” OK? (O.K.)

Bye for now, and I hope to see you in 16 days.
  
                                                                  Your loving son,
                                                                       Elwood

About John

John Bolinger was born and raised in Northwest Indiana, where he attended Ball State University and Purdue University, receiving his BA and MA from those schools. Then he taught English and French for thirty-five years at Morton High School in Hammond, Indiana before moving to Colorado. He spends his winters in Pompano Beach, Florida. Besides COME SEPTEMBER, Journey of a High School Teacher, John's other books are ALL MY LAZY RIVERS, an Indiana Childhood, and COME ON, FLUFFY, THIS AIN'T NO BALLET, a Novel on Coming of Age, all available on Amazon.com as paperbacks and Kindle books. Alternately funny and touching, COME SEPTEMBER, conveys the story of every high school teacher’s struggle to enlighten both himself and his pupils, encountering along the way, battles with colleagues, administrators, and parents through a parade of characters that include a freshman boy for whom the faculty code name is “Spawn of Satan,” to a senior girl whose water breaks during a pop-quiz over THE LAST OF THE MOHICANS. Through social change and the relentless march of technology, the human element remains constant in the book’s personal, entertaining, and sympathetic portraits of faculty, students, parents, and others. The audience for this book will certainly include school teachers everywhere, teenagers, parents of teens, as well as anyone who appreciates that blend of humor and pathos with which the world of public education is drenched. The drive of the story is the narrator's struggle to become the best teacher he can be. The book is filled with advice for young teachers based upon experience of the writer, advice that will never be found in college methods classes. Another of John's recent books is Mum's the Word: Secrets of a Family. It is the story of his alcoholic father and the family's efforts to deal with or hide the fact. Though a serious treatment of the horrors of alcoholism, the book also entertains in its descriptions of the father during his best times and the humor of the family's attempts to create a façade for the outside world. All John's books are available as paperbacks and Kindle readers on Amazon, and also as paperbacks at Barnes & Noble. John's sixth and most recent book, Growing Old in America: Notes from a Codger was released on June 15, 2014.
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