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The Betty H. Carter Women Veterans Historical Project

Letter from Jean Reeves to Parents, circa 1944

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Object ID: WV0383.4.055

Description: Reeves describes the ship, their activities and accommodations. Part of the letter is written by a friend, Tom, who describes the food and Christmas decorations aboard ship.

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,

This I such a comfy position in which to be writing this first letter aboard ship. Jim has nothing on me about the seasick deal. The first day in the morning breakfast was a bit rugged.

I am one of the Jean’s many admirers, and since she was having a great deal of trouble in putting her thoughts into writing, I told her I would take over for her.

Since I have spent a great deal of time talking to Jean, I can speak with an authentic air for her. The ship on which we ride is a relatively large one, the ride is fairly smooth and enjoyable. From the time of boarding ship, we have been pleasantly surprised. At present, we are topside, (a good nautical term) and the weather is perfect. The food as well as our appetites, are excellent. We are served in a dining hall with all the luxury and conveniences of one of the finer hotels in Atlantic, Iowa. This serving includes multiple silver settings causing some confusion as to which knife or fork to use for what.

Without a doubt we will all spend Christmas aboard ship, but that isn’t so bad because some Christmas Decorations and trees help to give an atmosphere of Yuletide celebrations. Yes, there could be many places less agreeable for the holidays.

Perhaps I’d better turn this over to Jean again before I was up all of her 6 cents worth of postage—Tom.

Although breakfast is over the sweet aromas of bacon and ham are still with us topside. One theory to allay sickness calls for keeping the stomach full and that isn’t hard for me to do— roast beef, fish, fresh eggs yet, potatoes, oranges, apples. The commissary is open each day for a few hours and candy and nuts are inexpensive. They also have a few toilet articles.

This has all been so unexpected and different from the Wash-picture that it is still a bit of a dream. Since I can’t write all the details I’ll really have to start my diary.

Now you are wondering who wrote part of this letter. If not Kay will be anyway cause she warned me against the bringing home a “fuzzy wuzzy”. Guess I forgot to tell her about the Australian or did I? Tom is one of officers I met right at the first from Penn. Bettie knows one of his friends so we have been busy entertaining each other.

Today is choir practice. Remember how we used to sing in Melissa’s and Mary Thompson’s ears to carry the alto. That’s what I’m doing to another girl now and what a homey feeling. Each night we sing topside awhile and with the 9 o’clock curfew go below to decorate. We each contributed a bit to use all around the ship.

If I get my socks finished one of the boys is to make me a boat so we must hurry along. One of them is about done. Haven’t started Bess and Bessie yet. Connie was in hopes I’d draw her name for Christmas exchange so she’d get Bessie. Our nicknames are Bess & Bessie now. We keep tract of each other.

Somewhere along the way I’ll write to each of the girls and catch up on my correspondence to be ready for some real work upon arrival.

Loads of love and kisses, Jean