World War II Letters: How to Earn Points, Gee Whiz!

Like the other soldiers during WWII, Dad kept careful track of the points he had accumulated in hopes of returning home after the war.  I don’t know if the Navy and the Army used the same point system, but for army I believe some point examples were:

1 point for each month overseas. 
5 points if you received the bronze. 
5 points for any additional medal 
5 points for the purple heart. 
12 points for each child under 18.

Note Dad’s use of the then popular phrase, “Gee whiz!”  I think it disappeared after the 1940’s.  The only place I hear it now is in movies from the 1930’s and 1940’s.  I was wondering what American slang phrases are now popular that will also disappear in time.  There are so many, but here are some I came across:

I went to the beach to “catch some rays.”
I “goofed up” on the math test.
We have to “hang tough” on our decision.
Hey, “what’s going down?”
This job is “pure gravy.”
That food tasted ” yukky.”
Bob is a real “couch potato.”
His girlfriend is a real “airhead.”
Who’s bringing the “booze?”

Oct. 3, 1945

Dear Mom & Dad, * Vi,

     How is everyone there at home?  I sure hope everything is going alright.  I haven’t written to you lately, because I was waiting for your new address, but in the letter I received from you today, you hadn’t moved as yet.  I’m sorry, honest.

     Gee whiz, I thought Eddie was sure of coming home.  I hope they take him, though he’s short 1 3/4 points.  I want so much to hear he is home with Marge and Ronnie.  I hope and pray he makes the grade.

     Well, the latest rumor is that I am going to get four of those battle stars we were gypped out of.  If I get them, that will be twenty points more and I’ll have a grand total of 69 points.  There has been a lot of trouble on the count of those.  One time I was supposed to have 51 or 52 points but ended up with 49 over here.  Some fun.  Anyway, IF I get those this month, I’ll be home for X-mas, but remember I said “if.”  I know now I’ll be home when the baby is born.  That helps an awful lot.

     Thanks a million for sending my request box.  I haven’t received it yet but it won’t be long.  I’ll sure be able to drink some of that Pop-Ade.  The boys too.  I gets so darn hot here that when anyone goes fishing and gets a fish, all they have to do is clean it and put salt on it, and eat it.  It’s already fried.

     Say Mom,  do you mean to say you have won $160 already at bingo?  Egads!  That’s a small fortune.  How about loaning me five?  No change?  OK, I’ll take the ten!!  I’m just kidding, I don’t need any money.  If I ever do need any money, Mom, Bonnie will send me some.  Thanks just the same.  If I ever needed money and didn’t ask her, she would be hurt.  She’s sure a wonderful, sweet little wife.

     Well, there isn’t much I can write about this island or anything else, so I’ll close.  Tell everyone I said “Hello” and to write.  Did Jesse & Bee get my letter?  I guess they didn’t.  Bye for now.  Take care of yourselves.  God bless you and watch over you.  I miss you terribly.

Your loving son,

p.s.  Please don’t tell Bonnie about this possibility of us coming home by December or X-mas.  If we don’t get more transportation from Guam and Tinian, we may not get there in time for X-mas.  I want to be absolutely sure before I tell her, OK?

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 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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