Monday, September 12, 2011

Amanuensis Monday: Reassignment, The Italian Navy, and The World Series

Amanuensis: A person employed to write what another dictates or to copy what has been written by another.

I continue my project to transcribe family letters, journals, newspaper articles, audiotapes, and other historical artifacts. Not only do the documents contain genealogical information, the words breathe life into kin - some I never met - others I see a time in their life before I knew them.

I began this project back in February of 2009, and since then, many others have joined in on the meme.  Why do we transcribe?  I provide my three reasons in the linked post.  You may find others.  If you participate, feel free to leave a link to your post in the comments.


This week, I transcribe a letter my grandfather, Martin Deutsch (1907-1991) wrote to my grandmother, Myrtle Van Every Deutsch (1900-1951) on September 12, 1943, while he was stationed overseas.

Sunday, Sept 12, 1943
APO 606

Dear Sweetheart:

I’m trying to think up some inspiration in order to write. In thinking so hard, you’ll note that I forgot to insert the salutation, which once before I had forgotten and heard about it right promptly. However, it’s in (the salutation) and so I’m safe. The weather is cloudy and rather humid. It isn’t too warm, and there is a good breeze blowing. But I feel rather disinclined to do anything, even though I can’t blame it on the weather.
There still is nothing definite about my reassignment, or at least nothing concerning a change of station. We do know for certain that my Hq is folding up in the middle of next week and from then on I’m part of USAFIME, but will stay here indefinitely until further orders. With the reorganization we’ll have a lot of work before things will function smoothly. I’m afraid that it’ll take mails much longer in transit, and it isn’t so very good right now to begin with. The last letter from you was Aug 31st, which is at least 12 days from time of writing. It used to be not more than 6 or 7 days from date of postmark. 10 or 12 is more normal now, and even that is irregular.

Last night we played bridge from 7pm to 2 a.m. Maybe that has something to do with my lack of vigor. I was way ahead in the early part of the game, but had very poor luck towards the end and barely broke even. Tonight I think I’ll go to a movie. A couple of nights ago, the British put on a musical show for us. There were three men and three women in the cast. They come around occasionally in troupes something like the ones our Special Services arranges for us. Unless there happens to be an unusually good star with them, like when we had Jack Benny and Martha Raye, they aren’t so good. Still they attract crowds if only there is one white woman among them. I think the girls with the show deserve a lot of credit for they have to do with a lot of roughing. There aren’t many modern conveniences for their accommodation, and, during performances, the audience doesn’t hesitate to try to boo them off the stage if the act doesn’t go over. I talked to one of the girls in the show and she said she likes her job. She has a chance to see the world and, regardless of how they feel about the act, there are thousands of men to every girl who would be glad to see that they had a good time.

The war news is certainly encouraging. The radio says this morning that 22 warships of the Italian Navy has pulled into Malta. Just think how much difference it’ll make to add 22 warships to our side and take the same number away from the enemy at the same time. That makes a swing of 44 warships really in our favor, that we can now use against the Japs. I don’t imagine that the Italians have any objection to fighting the Japs, where they might hesitate to fight against their former German allies. Christie has a bet that the war in Europe will be over by the end of this year. He’s lucky as hell even though he bets on anything. I hope he’s wins this bet if he never wins another.

I just see in todays news report that the World Series starts at New York on Oct. 5th. The first three games will be played there and the rest of them, regardless of the number, will be played in St. Louis. No doubt you’ll see some of them, but you needn’t take pictures of the tickets. Someone gave me a copy of some excerpts from letters regarding service men’s alottments, which I’m enclosing for you. Love to you and the children.



1) During the war, soldiers were often not allowed to include their location in letters home -- they were only allowed to indicate their Army Post Office.  The identification of those post offices has since been released.  APO 606 was Accra, Gold Coast. [Source: Numerical Listing of APOs January 1942-November 1947 - I originally found this pdf at the 7th Armored Division website]

2) USAFIME stood for "United States Army Forces in the Middle East"
3) Unfortunately, Christie didn't win his bet, and the war in Europe lasted a couple more years.

4) The Yankees won the 1943 World Series, 4 games to 1, so there would have been two games in St. Louis. 

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