Well, old top, I can’t exactly forget you

For some reason, Clarese and Chuck didn’t write from the middle of December to the beginning of March.  Or perhaps the letters were lost somehow.  Maybe I misorganized them.  Anyways, Chuck moved to Ft. Wayne, Indiana, away from Boise, Idaho, and Clarese, and boy does she let him know how she feels about this situation.  I have interspersed a few of my own comments and photographs into the letter-you’ll see the comments in red.  I particularly like her stationary this time:

March 4 1946, header

Here’s a brief synopsis on what I found out about the U.S. Cadet Nurse Corps:

  • The federal government established the program in 1943.
  • The primary purpose was to ensure a nursing staff large enough to man hospitals on U.S. soil and abroad during the war.
  • The program changed and regulated the way nurses were trained.
  • The end of combat in the Pacific halted the nursing program, but students enrolled before October of 1945 were allowed to complete their training (as in Clarese’s case).  These students graduated in 1948.
  • A total of 124, 065 students graduated from this program.
U.S. Cadet Nurse Corps Propaganda Poster

U.S. Cadet Nurse Corps Propaganda Poster

U.S. Cadet Nurse Corps Propaganda Poster

U.S. Cadet Nurse Corps Propaganda Poster

March 4, 1946

Monday eve

Dearest Chuck,

Golly was I glad to here from you and I am glad your home.  It had been a whole week since I heard.  Kinda wondered if that would be the last I heard of you.  But no and am I relieved.

I’m sorry if this letter will be scribbled so you can’t read it.  I’m as nervous as a kitten. Oh golly so much has happened since I wrote last I don’t know where to begin.  I shall take a few moments to reread your letter, especially the last of it.  I’m certainly glad you miss me.  So you miss me more than I can imagine.  Well old top I can’t exactly forget you.  I do miss you terribly.  And I’m almost afraid I’m a victim of circumstances.  Cause golly I miss you oh so much.  I’m sure glad you didn’t promise to wait till I graduate before you come back.  The sooner the better.

Didn’t I always vow to try and find some new clothes before you left?  I did look around but believe me darling I had no intention of buying some immediately after you left.  But I did.  Saturday morning I went down to see mom-of course we went upstairs.  We always do.  Well, I found a beautiful coral sweater (light orange).  It is a short sleeved pull on.  Looks real neat and sure shows off my ______________?  (She really did put the underscore blank in the letter. I’m not trying to censor it.) I looked at a beautiful green suit but it was just a little too tight.

Oh say darling, are you having any trouble finding any clothes to wear?  If you get in too big of a rut just let me know and you can have my plaid wool shirt.  It’s a 15 neck.  Now don’t be bashful.  I’d rather see you in that than running around naked-oh yes for goodness sakes-don’t wear your plaid too thin.  You were sure lucky to get those trousers weren’t you?

Say I did tell you Tina had an operation didn’t I?  Well grandma went right up there of course and she has been gone almost two weeks.  You know I shouldn’t say it but I’m glad she’s gone. Really you’d never suspect grandpa as the same man as when she’s around.  He’s so nice and easy to get along with.  We have so much fun together.  I think Granny just keeps him an edge.  Golly Tina’s been home for quite a while so she should be coming back.

Say things sure aren’t like they used to be by any chance.  Remember I was supposed to get my vacation in July well no more.  I went down to see Departee- to see what my schedule would be till next fall.  And here it is

On third floor nites (11-7) by myself for the month of March, part of April I’ll be in the lab and May, June and July in pediatrics with the little kids.  And then comes my vacation.  The month of August.  Still 28 days.  I guess I can still do a lot.  Bet we get together huh!

Guess mom hasn’t completely given up the idea of a car this summer.  She was down looking at the Studebakers.  May be will drive to the coast yet.  Gee that would be wonderful.  Be looking for you too.

Image courtesy of Michael Bodstedt.

Image courtesy of Michael Bodstedt.

Well.  I’ve had a date while you were gone.  With Jack, a kid I’ve known and gone with off and on for four years.  But honestly he was so dull and boring.  I refused a second date with him.

I got a letter from Cliff last week and he maybe home soon on leave but I sure won’t have much time to go out being on nites with lots of classes and trying to catch some shut eye so don’t worry.  And I got a letter from Frank last week.  Now that’s the first one since (illegible).  I once told him to quit calling me sweet names so he said the next time he did to send him a bar of soap to wash his mouth- I could think of nothing else to send him besides eats so I enclosed one.  Only he took it seriously.  Oh well-maybe we’ll get to writing again.  I haven’t written for a month. I understand he re-enlisted for another stretch over there.

I’m sorry I bore you with such talk but I want you should know everything.  I’m sorry I’m scribbling this so, honey, but I have to go on duty in 10 min and I want to get it off in the morning.

Since you’ve been gone, I’ve seen Jewell’s twice.  Was out there that long ago.  She said she was sorry you had to leave.  She thought you were awfully nice.  And then last Friday I was her down town so I went to dinner at the Hotel Boise and saw the show ‘Whistle Stop’ with her.  She’s sure wonderful.

Movie poster for 'Whistle Stop' featuring Ava Gardner and George Raft

Movie poster for ‘Whistle Stop’ featuring Ava Gardner and George Raft

I have hurt my wrist so am wearing it taped.  Guess I’m just weak all over with my morale support gone.  Please come back soon.

Oh say a week ago tonight mom, I and Codnie, Margaret and the kids went and to Caldwell to eat in the new Club Charles is working in.  It certainly is a beauty and we had such a lovely dinner- filet fried most deliciously.  He treated all of us then we stayed around the club a while then came home.

I’ve got to get ready now so will finish this in the morning.  All my love-surprised huh.


Hello my darling-Golly I meant to finish this earlier and send it off in the mornings mail but here it is only 11:15-too late so I’ll write some more.  When I got off this morning, I intended to finish it but I had a class at 11-where I’m at now-and I thought I’d better catch my three hours sleep.  You won’t mind.  Say wouldn’t want a date today would you.  I have the evening off-I don’t have to work tonight.

Say dolly-how are you coming with your lessons of all types that you were going to take?  Bet I got started before you.  I’m taking skating lessons now.  Golly and am I sore this morning. I went up last nite for an hour doing various turns.  And then after my hour of lessons I skated a couple of hours.  Sure am tired this morning. Well we’ve finished two more subjects last week but good fooled this week when we started three more.  Maybe it won’t be so bad.  I’ll average 60 hours a week this month.  And being as how we only are supposed to work, it gives me 12 extra hours a week and for four weeks it gives me 6 extra days.  So maybe if you come some day-I can take off a week.
Say boy-I’m bust.  Beg pardon, the only letter I got from you-you sent your love to mom.  Don’t I get any? You may send a small amount to your family but most of it I’m sending to you.

Say who came to Wichita to meet you.  Just your mom and Dad?  How’s Lewis-when’s he coming home?  How does the old homestead look?  Been showing the house off to anyone else (girls)?  How about saving a tour for me.  Golly I’m getting sleepy.  When we’re on nite duty we sleep in rooms in the basement and guess everybody forgot me.  So when class took up they sent some one after me.

Golly you know I do have part of my evenings-wouldn’t take me out?  Golly I do miss you and two years can’t go too fast for me.

Well this a screwy-I apologize and will try to do better nextime.  Write to me.

Like me?

Well I like you too.

As ever-


Further Reading:

Bodstedt, Michael. ‘Studebaker for 1946.’ Studebaker. 14 April 2005. Image. 7 August 2013 http://hem.bredband.net/b284654/project/1946.htm

Britton, Kathleen Emerson. ‘U.S. Cadet Nurse Corps.’ Rochester General Health System. 2013. Web. 7 August 2013 http://www.rochestergeneral.org/about-us/rochester-general-hospital/about-us/rochester-medical-museum-and-archives/online-exhibits/united-states-cadet-nurse-corps-1943-1948/

Harrow, Shirley and Elsie M. Szecsy.  ‘Digital Scrapbook.’ U.S. Nurse Cadet Corps.  2013. Web. 7 August 2013 http://uscadetnurse.org/scrapbook

Kalisch, Beatrice J. and Philip A. Kalisch. ‘Nurse-Girl with a Future.’ Nursing Outlook. July 1973, Vol 21 no. 7 pgs 444-449. 10 August 2010. Web. 6 August 2013 http://www.truthaboutnursing.org/images/kalisch/cadet_nurse.pdf

Petry, Lucile.  ‘The Public Health Significance of the U.S. Nurse Cadet Corps.’ American Journal of Public Health 33 (1943): 1353- 1355. Web. 7 August 2013 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1527450/pdf/amjphnation00701-0053.pdf

Petry, Lucile. ‘U.S. Cadet Corps Nursing Established under the Bolten Act.’ The American Journal of Nursing 43:8 (1943): 704-708. Web. 7 August 2013 http://uscadetnurse.org/sites/default/files/petry3456272.pdf#page=2

Robinson, Thelma M. and Paulie M. Perry. Cadet Nurse Stories: The Call For and Response of Women During World War II. Indianapolis: Sigma Tau Theta International, 2001. Print.

Willever, Heather and John Parascandola. ‘The Cadet Nurse Corps, 1943-48.’ Public Health Reports: Journal of the U.S. Public Health Service 109:3 (May-June 1994): 455-457. Web.  7 August 2013 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1403514/pdf/pubhealthrep00060-0153.pdf



Filed under 1940s, Letters, World War II

2 responses to “Well, old top, I can’t exactly forget you

  1. What a great idea for a post.

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