This letter was written on June 15th 1945 by Ben Gasiewicz. He wrote it from California to his sister in Lackawanna, New York. It was written while he was in the United States Navy and stationed at Point Montara, California on the U.S.S. Caperton. (A Flecher-class destroyer)
Well how are things at home and in the country? It looks like I’ll have to depend on you now to let me in on what is going on. Virge used to do a swell job of reporting but now that she’s getting married, who knows what she’ll be doing. This is what I’m writing to you for. I want you to draw some money from my account and give it to them as a wedding gift. What do you think of $30.00? Is it enough? Incidentally, while I was home on leave, Gene gave me $25.00 as extra traveling money. Will you draw out $25.00 and pay her back. It’s a little bit late but assure her for me that I really appreciated everything. Let me know as soon as you have done these things so I can neat finely.
It’s been a long time now since I’ve had copy of the Lackawanna Leader, and since this is an excellent way of knowing what is going on at home, I’d appreciate it sent to me weekly. You can get some kid in the neighborhood to pick up copies for each of the days, every Thursday at Dam Polske. They have a stock left there weekly.
Oh! Yes, one more thing, how is the popcorn situation around Hamburg? If you can get a couple of pounds of the big yellow seed, how about sending me some every once in a while. We have a good hot plate in plot and can pop our own.
How is dad feeling lately? I heard he was sick for a while. Did the Boss go to Canada this year?
I had a picture taken a short time ago in Honolulu, while walking down the street and I’ll send it home shortly. It ‘aint too good but it’s informal and that is the kind I like best.
We had in the past week transferred to the states for staff school, the finest officer the ship had. He was always cool and knew his stuff. Lt. g.g Parks was his name and I spoke of him while home as the officer from Washington, D.C.
Aside from that everything else is under control but I must say that free time is as scarce as sunshine in the winter. We eat well and I’m in the best of health. Our officers and crew are unbeatable and now have 2 more Jap planes to our credit.
If you see Stan Pictnowski tell him I’m still waiting for a letter. Hello to mom. Shelly. Answer soon.
We’ll my first question is, “How is the popcorn situation in Hamburg?” I’m not sure why, but I just love this line? It almost sounds like the name of a movie. Introducing, The Popcorn Situation! (A 1940’s story about a girl a sailor and a big popcorn heist in the suburbs of Buffalo… Anyway, I like it and it made me laugh. Ben sure had a lot of instructions for his sister and some of them not too easy. Like sending the weekly paper; that would be quite a job to keep up on.
I also think one of his last remarks was very interesting. “Our officers and crew are unbeatable and now have 2 more Jap planes to our credit.” The war had not yet ended. I’m guessing they shot down or captured the Japanese planes. It’s illuminating now to hear this voice from the past talk about his war victories and count them. It was the world they lived in, the world they survived in. It brings the reality of a war to a simple letter written to a family member. It makes you wonder what it was like living through a world war, and having a family member personally involved in it.
Here is a link I found for the ship Ben was on: http://www.navsource.org/archives/05/650.htm
The Lackawanna Leader no longer exists, but I found a link to site where you can read the old papers: http://fultonhistory.com/my%20photo%20albums/All%20Newspapers/Lackawanna%20NY%20Leader/index.html