Friday, November 18, 2011

Becoming a Man

While Frank Stevens doesn’t mention the actual date he expects to get home, any flip of the calendar pages brings him that much closer—and that is enough for him.

                                                                          April 30th, 1945
Dear Mom, Dad + All:

            Well another month all shot to hades—I’m glad to see them go by as I keep getting closer to the time to go home every month. I’ve got hopes of being home for next Christmas and maybe my birthday. It would be kind of nice to become a man at home. Glad to hear that you like the new place. It sounds pretty nice. Prehaps when I get home we will be able to swing a nicer place further out south.
            Things are the same out here. Can’t tell you anything as yet but I figure you know where I’m at. Ed’s new job sounds grand. $60 per is pretty good dough if it’s not a flash in the pan. Here’s hope its steady and good for peace time. Glad to hear my God-daughter is such a swell girl. Looks as though she takes after her unk Frank.
            Mail is pretty irregular. Received Mom’s letter of the 19th of March one day and two days later got Pat’s letter of April 12th. Haven’t received the pogey bait (candy) as yet but might soon.

How ironic to think of “becoming a man” in the perspective of all this teenager has seen in this year of service in the Pacific. While it is true that much of his tour of duty was spent in training for Pharmacist’s Mate in the idyllic hideaway just offshore from his native land, when he did see combat, it was in the face of the fiercest fighting the Pacific arena had to offer at the time. That will grow a man in short order.

And he has grown—changed, at the very least, as witnessed by the maturing perspective in these letters over the years. As if he doesn’t recognize the difference within himself, he keeps expecting something external to bestow that essence upon him.


  1. I hope his wish came true - there should have been a good chance he got home by Christmas. I don't know how long our forces "hung around" out in the Pacific.

  2. He was already a man once he entered in that war and had to grow up fast. I hope he makes it home soon.

  3. How truly fortunate to have a collection of wonderful letters. I think that letters addressing particular issues, like war, seem to have a better chance of surviving.


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