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The Betty H. Carter Women Veterans Historical Project

Letter from Jean Reeves to parents, 1945

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Object ID: WV0383.4.005

Description: Jean Holdridge Reeves describes her social activities, including dances, visiting Bettie, and her surprise birthday celebration.

Creator: Jean Holdridge Reeves

Biographical Info: Jean Holdridge Reeves (b. 1920) of Marion, Ohio, served in the Pacific as a member of the Red Cross from 1944 to 1946.

Collection: Jean Holdridge Reeves Papers

Rights: It is responsibility of the user to follow the copyright law of the United States (Title 17, U.S. Code). Materials are not to be reproduced in published works without written consent, and any use should credit Jackson Library, The University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

Full Text: Jan. 27, 1945; New Guinea.

Hello Folks,

It hardly seems that I’ve been here two weeks already. Of course with all that has happened sometimes it seems like several months.

Thursday two Army officers took me down to see Bettie. She and Connie and Elizabeth have a tent in a WAC area close to their office at the Red Cross. After a pretty good dinner we all went to the beach and the ocean where the sand is almost pure white. The palm trees bend out over the sand and water to make a perfect tropical setting. Out a bit from the shore was a coral reef which broke up the surf rolling is at a rapid pace. We sat out there enjoying the moon playing around with the clouds until the hour of dancing arrived. The club to which we went was large but not fancy or well decorated. Think it was used as a mess hall during the day. The dancing was good anyway with a colored band doing the honors. During all this the rain had started pouring down and the open jeep— both sides and top— was so damp it was almost swimming time and night swimming is against the rules. We hovered under raincoats and hats and slide around in the mud.

Back at Bettie’s place the mud stomping really started. Slush! Slush!

We managed it to the latrine and back with no lights to aid us but another new experience was there awaiting me. From the supply depot they had gotten me a cot and mosquito netting. Cots have no mattresses and Bettie shared her sheets but I was too tired to care about the laundress. Fatigue and the attempt to keep my arms and legs from the net’s edge made me uneasy for awhile. Soon fell asleep, however, and slept and until nine when it was suddenly very hot. Several of the fellows from here brought me back up so that I could go to the air corps dance at night. Someone had done a beautiful job of pairing us off.

These pilots have a Hawaiian type club which they only finished on Christmas day. The roof had been woven by some Hawaiians who had also helped there in the proper usage of bamboo for decorations around the windows and wall. They had a great time fixing up a powder room which was cleverly done too. The music was in keeping with the club and setting.

Guess you know what day this is. Just had to break my date with Lottie to go down to see Bettie again because they had made surprise plans for my dining with the admiral. Another girl and I are going because it’s her birthday too. These fellows had lots of food to take to the beach tonight and I hate not going with them. They were so sweet and never do I have any more fun. What wonderful sense of humor. I was thrilled to death with their presents- a whole box of candy bars (24) a carton of gum and a jeep hat. All this handsomely wrapped in brown paper adorned with a fancy birthday card. It could only in New Guinea. Wish you were here to help celebrate too. Just head there was a letter from home and when I went to get it the girls had forgotten to bring it. Oh Dear! Maybe tomorrow. I certainly would like to hear and know what you’re doing. Melissa implied that you were moving but didn’t say where. It’s kind of a funny feeling to not know where you are but I know you’re all safe and happy and what more could I ask?

The bathing suit is coming along fine and will be finished tomorrow in time for 11:30 swimming or else. It’s such a beautiful blue— wish I had some of that material.

Did I ask you to send me some food? Those small cans of spreads, etc [unreadable] should pack well. You might put my name and APO number on each thing in a package because packages are often smashed when they come in.

Well, dearies, guess you were both happy and sad about 25 years ago today but I hope I’ve been a credit to you. Thinking about you and loving you as always,

Jean Holdridge, ARC