Wednesday, November 16, 2011

“When I Get Home”

Young Frank Stevens may have sounded despondent in his letter of April 19, 1945, but he hasn’t totally lost his spirit. That old personality still has a bit of twinkle coming out on paper here—and persistence.

Perhaps thinking of home is more of a help than a hindrance to this homesick boy. Perhaps it has dawned on him that the reason his letters aren’t being answered is that the mail may be going to the address of a not-yet-settled home. He must have thought a lot about “home”—wherever it turned out to be—for he wonders about all the details of this new place. Being able to see himself at home again—something to hope for in the future—may very well be the propellant to keep him vigilant and determined to make it through whatever difficulties might befall him and his shipmates.

And there were more difficulties ahead for the craft. From the end of March through the end of June, the LCI (L) 707, Frank’s ship, participated in the assault and occupation of Okinawa Gunto. Of course, Frank couldn’t say that in his letters to William and Agnes Tully Stevens, but perhaps that’s the destination that he presumes his parents have guessed about.

            I imagine by now you have guessed where I am and all I can tell you is that things are going better than was expected and you don’t have to worry about little F. X. as I’m now known as fox hole Stevens. It’s very interesting to watch a man dig a fox hole in a steel deck. I’ll show you how it’s done when I get home.
            I imagine you have moved into the new house by now. At least that’s where I’ve been sending all my mail – how is it and is everything settled? What parish are we in now, and how is the kid doing in school? Got to close now as I’ve got a watch to stand. Bye Bye for now and take care of yourselves.
                                                            Your loving arfspring


  1. I hope he gets home soon and sees that house and the kid.

  2. It is touching in a way - that even if he has never seen the house and doesn't know what parish the house is in - he considers the place where his parents live - whereever it may be - to be home.


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