05 August, 2012

05 August 1945

438th AAA AW BN
APO 513 % Postmaster, N.Y.
5 August, 1945      0950
My dearest fiancée –

It’s Sunday morning and I’m here at the Dispensary having just completed sick-call. I’m waiting for my jeep to get back from the hospital so I can go back to our quarters. On Sunday we spend most of the day around the house.

Yesterday was quiet – and a few of us did the unusual thing by going to the movies in the p.m. – 1500. We saw “The Woman in the Window” – E.G. Robinson and J. Bennet. For ability to keep us interested – it was good – and besides, there was nothing about the war in it – and that fact alone made it easy to take. Darling – you’ll have to be careful to ask me to go to the right sort of movie after I get back and movies with war backgrounds are not the right sort.

Well in the evening we didn’t have a darned thing to do. No one felt like getting dressed up particularly – so we just sat around our O.D’s. Then someone produced some gin and fruit juice and we decided to celebrate Christmas – last year – because the German breakthrough had interfered considerably with our ability to enjoy that day. We celebrated – sang, yelled and generally tied one on. I was one of the few at breakfast this morning because I’m rarely affected the next day, but I guess we’ll all rest, relax and probably play some Bridge later on today.

My detachment is gradually thinning out, dear. First – just after V.E. day – I lost one boy. I don’t remember if I mentioned it to you – either thru an accidental shooting or by suicide. Since then I’ve lost two excellent men – over 40 and tomorrow I lose one of the men who was in my original cadre – one of my twins. They’re being split up for the first time in 5 years but it can’t be helped. This boy has 108 points and he’s getting out on that. And we’re losing our first officer tomorrow, too – a Lt. with 135 points – just think of it! He’s been in a long time and besides has two kids – for 24 points. Boy oh boy if he’d only let me have 3 points to bring me up to 85. That’s supposed to be the critical score for officers to keep them with their unit and allow them to leave this theater for reassignment to the States. Below that it is said they can do anything they want with an officer – but one thing has come out from the Chief Surgeon’s office and that is that no medical officer with 75 points or over – will go directly to the Pacific – so that’s one thing we don’t have to sweat out.

By the way – I read with surprise your note about a Dr. Alpert being located at 387 Essex St. That used to be Dr. Bean’s house – before he sold it and went into the Navy. There have been a couple of Doctors in and out – since – but this one’s a new one on me.

387 Essex Street, Salem, MA, USA
From Google Maps

I wonder if that Tobe Friedman is one of the Friedman girls I knew of. At any rate – I don’t know this Alpert fellow – but I’d like to know how he stayed out of the service – or how he got out – if he was in. But you’re right, darling – I’m not afraid of the competition one bit. Surgery or no – I think I can come back and pick up a decent practice after awhile. I’ll take my chances against most of the other young men in town. And with your love and help and understanding – we can’t miss, can we, dear? Remember that I love you dearly and I have even more of an incentive to make good than I had before. So the others better watch out – I’m going to give them a run for their money. All for now, dear – love to the folks – and

All my sincerest love,


about a Mother in Hiroshima
the Night Before the Bomb

The following excerpt comes from Hiroshima, written by John Hershey. It was first published in The New Yorker, 31 August 1946 and then published by Penguin Books Ltd. in November, 1946. The book was written from interviews of six people who experienced the bombing of Hiroshima on 6 August 1945.

"Hiroshima" in The New Yorker
At nearly midnight, the night before the bomb was dropped, an announcer on the city's radio station said that about two hundred B-29s were approaching southern Honshu and advised the population of Hiroshima to evacuate to their designated "safe areas." Mrs. Hatsuyo Nakamara, the tailor's widow who lived in the section called Nobori-cho and who had long had the habit of doing as she was told, got her three children – a ten-year-old boy, Toshio, an eight-year-old girl, Yaeko, and a five-year-old girl, Myeko – out of bed and dressed them and walked with them to the military area known as the East Parade Ground, on the north-east edge of the city. There she unrolled some mats and the children lay down on them.

They slept until about two, when they were awakened by the roar of the planes going over Hiroshima. As soon as the planes had passed, Mrs. Nakamura started back with her children. They reached home a little after two-thirty and she immediately turned on the radio, which, to her distress, was just then broadcasting a fresh warning. When she looked at the children and saw how tired they were, and when she thought of the number of trips they had made in past weeks, all to no purpose, to the East Parade Ground, she decided that in spite of the instructions on the radio, she simply could not face starting out all over again. She put the children in their bedrolls on the floor, lay down herself at three o'clock, and fell asleep at once, so soundly that when planes passed over later, she did not waken to their sound.
CLICK HERE to read Hiroshima in its entirety online.

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