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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: WV0383.4.042

Description: Reeves has had an adverse reaction to a round of booster shots and has had her luggage lost. She recounts that Tom has yet to ship out, and that if his promotion to major goes through, will have to stay for quite some time and be ineligible for some GI Bill benefits. He continues to ponder his post-war options. Of note is Reeve's description of running across upon a former POW from her hometown and how it made it her feel to serve him.

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,

Early Monday morning and work again. Yesterday was to have been my day off. Tom was here but Helen was ill with a bad cold and rather than have it hang on Betty + I took over. Well, Tom slept until 9:30 and by the time he got here for breakfast it was leaving time me.

Planned a trip to Mt. Arayat where there are two swimming pools which supposedly are very lovely. As every Sunday so far it rained. We did have a short ride to some hills close by, however, before the floods came. Took a few pictures and hope to get some more— maybe some of Manila ruins this week.

Gene and Gert have gone to Baguio, the Manila’s better class resort. Takes a couple days to do it easily. Some lovely silver filigree work there. There is Baguio linen here— doesn’t appear to be real linen but as yet no one has been able to explain what it is. Heavy and with a hand-woven appearance.

Our business here has increased because I'm the only unit in operation. The mobile unit which I first used was being used to feed the POWs who are going through— none of them today though. We have no paper cups to use on the clubmobile that we’re operating at Base Operations. Such is life.

Sept. 20

Much ashamed of myself for not finishing this for by this time it could have been half way to you. I had booster shots Monday which knocked me out. Started with the shakes about 7:30 so to bed. Worked my early shift from 5:30 to 11 and went to bed Tuesday getting up only for dinner and a few minutes to watch a girl dress for a wedding. Spent 4½ hours waiting for a ride to Manila yesterday and when it took so long finally decided to stay there all night. Tom brought me back for work this morning.

Don’t you think we’re lucky that Tom has stayed close so long? He is on 24-hr. shipping notice but sometimes I wonder if he’ll ever go. They are doing absolutely nothing now but racking their brains trying to figure out means and methods of keeping their men occupied. Classes each day and about 3 hours of all types of exercise.

Tonight I’m sweating out a call from Tom about his majority. Although I’ve never been very enthusiastic about the idea it would have been nice in certain ways. Now, however, he definitely doesn’t want it— 15 more points needed to get out for field grade officers and he only has 71 now. That would be hopeless. He got an inkling last night that his promotion had gone in again. I hope he has been able to stop it today. Certain privileges of the GI Bill of Rights are taken away from field grade officers and no mustering out pay is allowed. The $50 a month wouldn’t compensate for those eagles. He has about decided to go back to school to brush up again and probably will if he can work some along with it. Last night he said he figured it might be a mistake to go back to N.C. State but, of course, right now couldn’t decide where else to go. Mentioned Iowa or Ohio State with the comment that I’d no doubt enjoy living close by all of you for a year. Yes, it would be swell. This decision will rest pretty much with him, I expect, because only he knows what he really wants to go or can decide when his mind gets more used to the civilian idea. All along I’ve encouraged the idea of a year in school because he has already forgotten so much technical knowledge.

What a ramble— you must get tired of hearing Tom, Tom, Tom.

Mother, thank you for the snaps & hooks. Very handy gadgets. Now that it’s all over with, money refunded and I find myself living equally as well as before I’ll tell you what happened en route to Clark Field. Some place my duffle bag was lost— we feel quite sure that it was right at Nadzab— never loaded on the place although everything was supposedly carefully checked. My blue dresses, black shoes, clock, iron, white shirts— mostly are irreplaceable articles in it. The ARC gave me a $300—allowance on it which is more than the actual value in money perhaps but replacing is another matter. At least I’ve lost just that much which means I won’t have to cart with me in case of a move. Betty is giving me her blue pique dress when she leaves. Gert gave a pair of shoes— oh,by the way— if you haven’t mailed the shoes I wrote for don’t bother with them now. We have plenty of house irons. Already have 4 white shirts on their way from Hechts in Washington and by a great, great piece of luck walked into the PX the other day and got to buy a bBaby blue alarm clock for $3—. New— yes. White with a luminous dial. So I'm all set and not wanting at all.

You know what I would like— some more perfume— Tweed, Woodhue or something you’d pick out. Small bottles could be sent airmail. Can you get anymore film. My camera no longer works so I borrow— most any size— 120, 620, 616. You always find someone with a camera.

Helen sent some cute shots of Nancy and a nice one of Tiny. Will be anxiously awaiting her address and news of the trials and tribulations in Oakland.

Must tell you about meeting John Scott— remember him on Olive St., Melissa? He and his handsome brother who had a crush on you. Well, for four years he’s been missing. Walked up to me at the POW trailer inquiring about my stateside residence. Told me he lived in [Biton?]. “That’s funny so did I for 10 years.” And, he anxiously said, “you have a sister who graduated in ’35.” “Yes.” “Melissa Holdridge, wasn’t she??” By that time Johnny’s face was slowly beaming a real personality and such a conversation followed. He was here 7 mon. before P.H. and fled from the Japs for 14 mon. He and a buddy then tried to escape when hope of Am. return became so slight and of course they were caught. Since then he’s been working on a coal mine. Bad treatment, yes, but he looked fine. For three weeks they had had such wonderful rations all had gained fabulous amounts. He had such beautiful teeth, I remember. Those he has retained. He’s not been sick a day. Well, it was worth all my months overseas to be feeding those people and especially to meet Johnny. Always liked him a lot.

Today Harold Hanner—a BHS man—appeared in the canteen. How nice it is to see these familiar faces.

I’m so sorry to hear that Uncle Floyd died. Forest was very fond of him, wasn’t he? Isn’t that Rita’s father?

Jim writes that he is in Japan. I’m so disappointed that he by-passed us. Haven’t figured out whether he is actually back on the 668 or not. He used that as his return address.

Melissa, if Edith didn’t find a bathing suit forget that too. Got one in the PX. Of course if you haven’t and it’s mailed I can always use ‘cause there are no seasonal changes.

Think the phenol barbitol they gave me for 2 weeks is really helping the cancre sores. Of course I can’t take that all my life. Am off it now and we shall see what happens. Maybe a neurologist will have to start work. Aegads, I don’t feel nervous but maybe I am. Anyway getting to the bottom of it would be nice after 2 years.

Ramble, ramble—

Bye for now—

Love, Jean