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Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Happy Valentines, 1943

My father is 91. My mother, 90. It seems appropriate today to publish to the world a letter written from Acra, Gold Coast, Africa on Valentine's day, 1943. He dates it as 1942, but history tells us otherwise. Note from the envelope he not only wrote the letter but censored it as well!

Sunday, Feb. 14, 1942

My Dearest Valentine—

I can hardly realize that it is Valentine day again. Neither can I realize that ME. is three months and two days old. I started you a letter on her birthday and about that time I was interrupted so will have to start over. I was busy, hon, really! I was away at the time.

I told you in the last letter that I was going on a trip for a few days. I have spent nearly ten hours in the air in the last three days, but have had a lovely time seeing as much of Africa as I can even though there is usually so much haze it is hard to see the ground especially from 1,000 feet. The trip this afternoon was much nearer earth so I got to see some real jungles. Darling, it’s really beautiful from the air. You can see nothing but a mass of green for miles then there will be a river curling around or a very small cleared space with native huts and trails that you can trace for a short distance into the jungle radiating about four points from the village. It doesn’t take long for a trail to be lost in the growth for you can tell it’s very very thick even from the air.
The villages, where the growth has been chopped away and worn off until only the ground shows, look so clear, but from experience they stink like the dickens.
Going, we cut across country and were over land all the way. Coming back we followed the shore line for a time then for an hour or so were over water and unable to see land at all.
I had been told not to expect anything at the place I went, but was again pleasantly surprised. It would be a sorry place to live long, but for a visit it was very nice and the food was excellent. It’s much hotter there for it is surrounded by jungle and there is no sea breeze as here. The barracks are not near as good as ours, but the follows are grand and helped me every way they could. The food was (still) excellent and we even had ice cream which is something in Africa. Went to a picnic where American beer and barbecued pig was served. It was good also.
If you step off the road there, you are in real jungle. I didn’t have time to step off!
This morning I completed my mission and started waiting for a plane. I had just about given up and had started to sleep the afternoon away when I got a phone call that if I could get to the airport in ten minutes, I could come back. I was at least two miles away and my grip was in another part of camp, but here I am at my home (?) again.

I’m a little tired and sleepy, so will quite this time and write again tomorrow.
Love you bestest,

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