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The Betty H. Carter Women Veterans Historical Project

Letter from Jean Holdridge Reeves to parents, 1945

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Object ID: WV0383.4.008

Description: Jean Holdridge Reeves tells of cleaning and maintaining her club. She also describes the Australian officers' club, recreation activities, a "prettiest girl" contest, a dance, several bands, and tea. Reeves also comments on the inventiveness of the men on base, and mentions a battlefield.

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: Dearest folks,

Maybe this is #10 or perhaps it should be #11 but anyway it’s a letter. Betty and I are very busy since we started to work. The club is shaping up very nicely with the aid of a wrecking crew, paint, and the usual elbow grease. The thing that we get that you don’t have is lots of male help— for free. With the spray gun they pained the store room, our refrigerator, and the back walls white, the coffee bar and trimmings are red. Where the work shop used to be we are making a cabinet effect with a little bar across one corner for battery acid (powdered lemon mix). Then we’ll have tables with red and white checked table cloths— 12 of which I made today. My next project is to make some couch covers— first got to get the couches made out of cots, old blankets, etc. Tomorrow night will be opening night for us with a Valentine Celebration. Going to have a pin up contest to choose the best looking girl there a fellow who used to be an MGM artist will make a sketch of her in Valentine form. For refreshments we’re having ice cream and cookies. I’m supervising the making of 20 gallons.

Saturday night we got to the dance late due to work. The five or eight couples make sort of a gruesome appearance but we have a lot of fun out of it. Betty and I have been dating two fellows who are good friends so we sometimes go to Toni’s quarters for snacks. This night they surprised us with potato chips.

You would love to see the way these men have improvised and the things which they build for themselves. Out of a piece of tin, a piece of wood and a couple screws he had a potato skinner that could be easily attached to the knife.

Friday night I had steak, corn on the cob, fresh tomatoes and lettuce with the usual additions to the meal. Crab meat cocktail too. After that meal we were invited to the Australian officer’s club which was designed to seat 300. Upon completion they find it doesn’t hold that many comfortably but I believe it’s large enough. The band pit really is built on a sort of stage with walls decorated to remind you of a bathroom— blow fish, coral and such with pink and green predominating. The natives who wait tables wear green lap-laps with pink, green and white flowers in them. Overhead the dance floor are punkahs made of a heavy material with paintings on them. These very from native scenes to figures of men and women. A band plays several evenings a week and five course dinners are served at 7:00. Naturally they have afternoon tea. This can afford to be elaborate because this will be a permanent set up for Australians.

One of the worst battle of New Guinea was fought here but of course we can’t tell just what it has done to the town.

There is a beach not far way but the sand flys are very bad. They made me have festered places all over my legs. If I wear [unreadable] lotion I don’t believe they’ll bite so I must try that next time.

I’m going to be needing another bathing suit so I asked Ruth Cheno to get me one in Chi— sent her money too. Sometime I would appreciate your sending my shorts, however. We wear the brightest things possible when of[f] duty.

About the literary Guild. You do not have to send that form back to Carson’s each month even though it says you are to do so. They go ahead and order 1000’s of them. I don’t believe I had any books to my credit before leaving but I may have had a couple— think they will notify you where there are 4 and you are due a dividend. If you want to buy that Edna Ferber book you can still do so at any time. You can always buy any book on their list at any time for $2— Carson’s we’ll mail the books any place. You can read them first if you want to.

Did you open my Christmas present from Willard? You told me about the barrettes but never commented on the other.

I’m sorry to hear about John Bibler’s death. Say, I had a scare yesterday when they called from the ARC Field office and asked me to pick up a communiqué. Went over shaking for fear something had happened at home but got 16 letters instead. Most of them were Christmas cards. Moe and Bill sent me $5— for Christmas. Guess you forgot to enclose the birthday card from Mary Jane. Had one from Bard Store— guess she is in Jacksonville, Fla. Dune and Dilly are in Florida now too.

Your letters are coming right through. Your Jan, 25 the one came a couple days ago saying that you had just heard from me.

This has gone on for a long time now so guess I’ll stop write someone else awhile.

Thinking of you lots these days, Jean