Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Dreams and Smoke

The clearest indication that the Navy really knows how to “grow” a young man is seen in the difference in Frank Stevens’ letters to his folks back home in Chicago. Continuing his letter to William and Agnes Tully Stevens from February 11, 1945, the first obvious indicator is that the letter lasts for more than Frank's customary one page—three, in fact. Though tied up in his own serious ventures, Frank now keeps up a keen interest in what is going on back home—his father’s real estate deals and their ups and downs, his mother’s business accomplishments, and family plans for possible relocation.

The most telling thing about the letter is what it reveals about Frank’s own dreams. Until I read this page of the letter, I had no idea he hoped to become a doctor. It makes me wonder what got in the way of such a dream.

This Dr. Hellmouth must really be on the ball. That’s the kind of a Dr. I would like to be. I only hope that my dreams aren’t of the smoke variety. I sure hope Koner puts up the money and closes the deal at 509-11. I wonder if the person that said those things about Dad has been lying again. If I ever know for sure who he is I’ll fix it up so his own mother wouldn’t know him, nothing gets me so angry as some one saying things about Dad, I know I wouldn’t give people the breaks that he has and every time he does it costs him money. That was quite a deal you pulled Mom. I’m really proud of you. Keep up the good work. I’ve already made a request for an allotment but I haven’t heard as yet how I’ve made out. You people back home know more about the way the war is going than we do out here, but you understand that I can’t tell you anything as to our activities.


  1. He seemed to be a compassionate person and wanted so much for himself. Nice post!

  2. I suspect Frank may not have had the educational opportunity to become a doctor and then the war came along - and/or perhaps his training in pharmaceutics opened his eyes to the "miracle" of modern drugs and medicine?

    It's sad how expensive medical training is - and how few Americans can now afford to undertake the years it requires.


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