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The Betty H. Carter Women Veterans Historical Project

Letter from Jean Holdridge Reeves to Parents, 1944

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Object ID: WV0383.4.052

Description: Jean Holdridge Reeves describes her station in California, including her physical and gas mask training, equipment, nurses' quarters, dating life, and upcoming hiking trip.

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,

The mail shock was almost too great for me yesterday with the arrival of a new uncle but perhaps I can stand it. I think it’s real nice and am anxious to know Charles better, or should it be, know him. Where are Aunt Marian and he going to live? Will she continue her work and all that sort of stuff? I suppose you had a quiet little wedding with nothing more than champagne and an orchestra followed by dinner at the Holdridge mansion.

Your Thanksgiving sounded good to me and naturally I was thinking about all the good food you’d have. Our food here is especially good. I believe, so we’re eating full speed ahead, Duncans but didn’t meet the children.

We’re so nicely settled in nurse’s barracks. All our luggage has gotten this far and the only change in packing is to remove batteries from my foot locker. The locker and duffle bag or bed roll are called “hold” luggage because that leaves us several days ahead, is put in the hold of the ship and we never see it again until we arrive. No liquids or flammable materials can go there. Our hand luggage is our suitcase and musette bag. We look a riot in all our equipment— gas mask, pistol belt to which is attached a first aid packet, canteen and cup with our silverware and a mess kit or meat can as the GI’s call them. We also wear our helmets which are a bit heavy on the head but we are getting used to them.

Today was very exciting when we climbed the training deck. It has a rope ladder about ten or twelve feet wide which three climb at once. Think the height must be 25 feet. After a rest— as long as you desired- you climb down on the other side. Don’t know why we didn’t go through the gas chamber but we did get our masks adjusted and laughed at each other a great deal. Wish we could get some pictures taken so you could enjoy our loaded state too.

We notice in the paper that Atlantic was 6 degrees below. What’s the matter there.

On our way out we passed through so many places with friends and relatives close by that temptation to call was very great. Time in Chicago was cut short with a 3 hour wait on the siding but we had a good dinner and then left again. In Kansas I would like to have called Joie Stapelton from Oak Openings and then to pass through Alberqueque (misspelled). The weather was very disappointing because of snow along the way when in my mind it should have been warm. It’s raining now and has at irregular intervals since our arrival. Thank heavens for a raincoat.

This is heavy dating out here. The first night we went to the casual officers club and had dates. Then went back again last night. Have a date with a West Pointer tonight.


Yes, the date is over. Tom Elgin from Louisiana. Very nice and lots of fun. He was very quiet however, since this was his last night. We got up early enough this morning to watch them all march off. What a thrill it gives you and you never think about what is going to happen to you until it’s all over.

Today is the Army-Navy game which will be exciting for all there attending. It’s time to be turning on the radio now in fact and if we can get the meeting of the day room I’ll listen to part of it before we go to the hills on a hike. Five of us have a 6-hr pass. We’re hoping for a 24-hr pass on Monday —starting Monday night, that is. Wish I knew Ruth Crow’s name and address but guess it’s too late now.

Five of us are just ready to go now so guess I’d better quit this chatter. Wish I could be there for the big wedding and not spoil my bridesmaid record. Oh well! You kiss them all for me— Do write me all the details— Will be writing you up until the time we can’t again. Will try to write each day but may be too busy. We start on a training program Monday. Don’t know just what it will be but will tell you later.

Love, Jean