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Postmark: 03/12/1943

Return Address:
Pvt. V. Misitano
Co K 342 Inf
A.P.O. 450
Camp Howze, Texas
U.S. Army

March 11, 1943

Dearest Mother,

   I received your letter today, (the one you wrote Tues.) and was very glad to hear from you. I'm feeling fine and hoping you are the same.

   Mom, I just came off K.P., I was on since 5:45 this morn. till now 8:30, and boy I never want to see a pot or pan or dish again.

   While I was working on K.P. I must have eaten about 2 pies and about 2 doz. bananas. Before we K.P.s quit tonight, the cook told us to get some apples and oranges if we wanted them, well you know me when it comes to something to eat ha, ha, well I have in my locker right now, 5 apples, 3 bananas, and I took 4 lemons for my cold, and if I thought that a pie wouldn't smash while being carried, I guarantee you I would have taken one of them too.

   Mom, did I tell you that I got a letter from Tony and Phil the other day, well I did and they both gave me some good advice which I'll use, and mom they both say that they are feeling fine, so mother as long as us three are O.K. don't worry about us, please mom, don't worry or get sick over us being here, because mother we have to be here till the war is over but that isn't the point mom, the point is, that as soon as the war is over, we'll all be home, and mother dear when we come home - Tony - Phil - and I, we want to find you in good health mom, so we can make you the happiest mother in the world, and mother, I mean it from the bottom of my heart.

   Mother, there's just one more thing I want you to know, and mom, that is, I'm real sorry for all the times I've ever made you mad or angry, mom I want you to forgive me for ever arguing with you, and mother I'm real, real, sorry about all the times I argued with daddy too. So mother you tell daddy that, and also tell him that when I come back, in fact when we all come back we'll make him and you real proud of us sons, and don't think that we won't come home mom, because we will.

   Well mom, it's almost time to get in bed mom, so I'll close now with a big good night kiss to you, daddy, and the kids and may god bless you all.

   I remain, mother dear,

    Your loving Son, always


Supplemental Notes, Quotes, and Anecdotes:

Hoarding Apples

   So dad's story about opportunistically hoarding food reminds me of one of my own favorite stories. It's 1964, my older brother Richard is in 11th grade of high school and on the cross-country team, and I'm in 9th grade and also running on the same cross-country team. I have always enjoyed running, still do, even though I've never been particularly good at it.

   Anyway, this is the summer of the Tokyo olympics, and the Olympic Torch is being run across America in the late summer before jumping the Pacific Ocean to Tokyo. As the torch was coming through Altoona, the local cross-country team was tasked to run the torch relay-style, with each runner taking it about a half mile. The distance we were covering to get to the next town (Ebensburg, PA) meant that each runner would get to take several runs with the torch. Evening overtook our efforts, and as night fell we were running the torch up a fairly steep mountain grade on the highway called Cresson Mountain. We were being carried to our starting points via the bed of a pickup truck, then left off to await the next runner and take our turn. We had a State Police car riding in front of and behind the runners for safety.

   So I'm dropped off halfway up Cresson Mountain, and as the pickup recedes in the distance, and I am left alone on the side of the winding two-lane highway, it is a pitch-black moonless night, without a single light visible in any direction. The torch is still several miles away from me. It is perfectly quiet...until it isn't. I hear what I think might be an animal in the field across the road from me, then quiet again. This happens several more times before it registers in my thoughts that what I'm hearing might be ripe apples falling from trees (it was that time of year, after all). I hadn't eaten since lunch time a number of hours earlier.

   Balancing my chances of getting into the black woods and back in time, I scampered across the road and gingerly made my way into the field with the apple trees, and found a treasure trove of freshly fallen fruit all around me. I quickly gathered up as much as I could stuff into the hand-warmer pockets of the old-style running sweats (a single pocket at the abdomen that you could put your hands in and they met in the middle). I planned on treating both myself and the other runners in the pickup truck as soon as I completed my torch run.

   As I'm finishing my gathering process I suddenly see the lights of the police cars coming around the bend much closer that I had thought they were. I zipped back across the road as quick as I could, just in time to take the torch from the next runner. It only took a few running steps before I realized the flaw in my wonderful plan - the sweatshirt was suitably baggy with a large pocket, but as I ran along my knees kept bumping into the hoard of apples in the pocket, and wayward apples started skipping out first one and then both sides of the pocket, bouncing on the road next to me and up into the grill and headlights of the trailing police car. The officer slowed down a little to protect his car, and I kept charging on and completed my run, but had a sum total of zero apples left by the time I handed off the torch to the next runner and got into the relaying pickup truck.

   Fortunately for all the runners, we were treated to a midnight dinner at a diner in Ebensburg before riding back into Altoona.

   - Jim Jr.


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