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Postmark: 03/27/1943

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

Mar. 26, 1943
Fri night 6:10

Dearest Mother,

   I just came back from mail call. I received two birthday cards, one from you and daddy, and the other from the kids. Mother I haven't much time to write very much now, because we're going on a night hike, we went on two already today, one this morn. and one this afternoon and now at 6:25 we go on another, but mother dear, I do have time to say thanks from the bottom of my heart, and tell the kids I said thanks to them also. I'll write you a nice big letter tomorrow telling you all about the hike tonight. One thing I'll tell you though that it's plenty muddy out, it's been raining all wk. The mud comes up to your shins. It's also really warm out, but sloppier than all blazes.

   Well mother I'll have to close now, I have to put on my combat pack and rain coat. Mother, please don't worry about me because I'm O.K. Tell every one I said hello, and tell Aunt Kate I'll write to her as soon as I get a chance to, also send me Uncle Dominic's address.

   Well mother, I'll close now with lots of love to you mother dear, daddy (and tell him I'm ok. and my leg doesn't even bother me at all) and the kids.

   Your loving son


Supplemental Notes, Quotes, and Anecdotes:

Childhood Serious Leg Injury

In this letter is dad's first mention of a prior leg injury that had apparently healed, but was serious enough to be a concern to his parents still. One of his stories while I was growing up was about the time that he had a serious lower leg injury while still a boy. I don't know if he ever told me whether it was his foot, lower leg, or both, but the injury was serious enough that the doctors at the local Altoona Hospital wanted to amputate his lower leg. His father (Francis) rejected that idea out-of-hand, and took dad to a hospital in Philadelphia, where they were able to treat the injury with no lasting consequences.

Try as I might, I cannot determine his exact age (or the exact injury) that he was talking about. The closest I can surmise is that it was probably between the ages of 16 and 18. This is because as late as 1937 he was still included in "perfect school attendance" lists published in the local newspaper, the Altoona Mirror, getting him to 7th grade. He was reported in the 1940 census to have achieved 8th grade level of education. Even though all of his siblings graduated high school at the normal age, he didn't, possibly because he had to stay at home while his leg healed. He did end up taking a special veteran's class in 1946 to get his high school diploma.

He talks about whether his leg bothers him a number of times in his letters in this collection, so it seems that the leg's condition was still a concern at about the time he was inducted into the army at age 19.

   - Jim Jr.


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