Today I found a letter written August 30, 1945, and postmarked in Lincoln, Nebraska. The writer is no one I know, so I checked with my mom and my aunt to find out the story. My mother’s mother and father lived in the little town of San Marcos, TX at that time, having moved into town from their ranch some years before. During World War II, Gary Air Force Base in San Marcos was full of new service members being trained and deployed. There were not a whole lot of apartments or boarding houses in town, and when a service member needed a place to live with his wife, he would often inquire at a local church about where he could find accommodations. My grandparents, like many other families in town, had a series of these service members and their wives living with them for two or three months at a time. The service member would pay rent for “room”, which means a room in which to live. They rarely had “board”, which means meals included, so they would eat at local restaurants. Several of these service members living with my grandparents over time were quite congenial, and they wrote regularly after moving on to a different place. My aunt recalls one particular couple, Tony and Anita Caniglio from Florida, who were very friendly. Tony would take the Alexander kids swimming in the Comal River rapids in the nearby town of New Braunfels. My aunt really loved the Caniglios!
The letter I found was written by Lt. Dan A. Honig, Jr. He mentions frogs several times, and I think that the Alexanders had heard some frog stories from ‘back home’ from Dan while he was living with them. Some of his comments are clearly tongue-in-cheek, so it is evident that the man had a sense of humor. By the way, he mentions “gray flannels” at one point in the letter. What he meant by this was ‘a gray-flannel suit’, which was a standard men’s suit that he would have worn in a business situation. Clearly, Dan was longing for the days of being a civilian again, instead of a service member wearing a uniform. He also mentions ‘Rufus’, who was the Alexanders’ son in the service in W.W. II. Here is the transcript of the letter sent from Nebraska:
I am still up here in the “cornstate” and sweltering in this “corny” heat. However, it isn’t quite as hot as Texas.
The wheels are starting to roll on discharges now, and everyone is busy trying to be first out. I am in an eligible catagory [sic], but I still need about 2 1/2 months more. I hope and somewhat expect to be out around the first of the year. It will be a great thrill indeed.
Gloria and Bev are at home and in good health. The new baby will be born in late November and it would be too foolish for her to trek up here. However, I do fly home every weekend that I have the oppertunity [sic] to do so.
I am working in an office now in connection with discharges. It at least gives me something to do during the day. I am also taking a college correspondence course in “Business Management, Policies & Methods.” I manage to keep pretty busy. I play too much bridge; but I have to in order to fill up otherwise boring evenings.
Did any of you ever find a little cromium [sic], silver knife in the yard, or in the house? I lost it the nite I was packing the baby bed. It was a swell little knife.
As for those frog pictures, they are forthcoming. I misplaced them somewhere; but they are really classics. They are the biggest frogs in the world; and we don’t use “fake photography” to show them
Isn’t it great news that the war is all over? Boy, I am really happy about this. I hope Rufus gets home real soon.
I surely would like to spend a day or so out at your ranch this early fall; I bet it is beautiful.
You are right, Mr. Alexander, on the reason I have not sent you a frog. You know how bad the shortage of stock cars is.
Well, here’s hoping Rufus and I can wear “gray flannels” soon. I must get hunting and fishing. Of course I have to wait on frog hunting until they release some 105 mm. shells so I can kill them. If I only would them with a deer rifle, they are very dangerous when wounded.
Love & happiness to you all.