It is peculiar how the postal system worked at this time. There are several addresses crossed out and rewritten, along with the associated stamps that let you know the envelope actually went through each of these relays before making it to their recipient.

There are some fun terms in this letter as well. I translated “cow’s age” but didn’t find any definition online for it. Both “cow’s age” and “crow’s age” seem to be used in extreme rarity and I couldn’t figure out a better translation, thinking it possible that neither of those is what is written. If you know it is another saying, please let me know. Otherwise, it sure looks like “cow’s age”.

“Fishful” is another odd term, meaning something is abounding with fish and usually used as an adjective. CDP uses it as a noun in this situation, meaning he is taking some liberties with the word and using it as a measurement for a lot.

Keep in mind CDP was as close to a farm boy as you can be, without actually working on a farm. His family was in the West, where much of the area was still pretty close to wild, even in the last century. Idaho and Utah, even now, are not dominantly suburban. His letters and journal are littered with misspellings for words we might find mundane. One that keep tricking me is his use of “kneed”, actually being “need”…presumably hyper-correcting for “know”.

In addition to mundane words, when we get into the journal and the later war letters, all of the military terminologies and names of Japanese locales are spelled incorrectly. This was commonplace amongst soldiers, many of whom knew nothing of the Orient prior to being shipped out. Due to secrecy of the situation, soldiers would likely have never seen the names of targets or military terms written or printed on anything, left solely to translate phonetically.

You can see the censor has been tightening down. There are multiple references in this letter to wanting to say more, but being bound not to.

Envelope (front); September 8, 1944

Envelope (front); September 8, 1944

Charles D. Paul USNR MoMM 2/c
USS Signet AM-302 2nd Div.
c/o Fleet Post Office
San Francisco, Calif.

Mr. & Mrs. Frank O. Paul
Milford, Utah [crossed out]

Downey, Idaho [crossed out]
Brigham City, Utah

Passed by Naval Censor


U.S. Postage
6 cents
Via Air Mail

Envelope (back); September 8, 1944

Envelope (back); September 8, 1944

Sep 14

Sep 12

Sep 14 1944

Letter home (page 1); September 8, 1944

Letter home (page 1); September 8, 1944

Letter home (page 2); September 8, 1944

Letter home (page 2); September 8, 1944

Sept. 8, 1944

Dear Folks,
I have a little time, so I will take advantage of it by writing to you. It seems like once in a cow’s-age that I ever get down to writing letters. If I ever get started, I generally write a fishful.

I am sending this money order because I had saved it up and didn’t need it. I will probably be sending them home every once in a while. I wish you would keep me informed to the bonds you get. Sometimes they do foul things up a little.

I started me a picture album the other day. I have some quite nice pictures already. I had liberty today. I’ll tell you a little bit about it. We bought a few little things in town before we started out. We got on a small country bus to go sightseeing. The drive was really slipping as it going over the pass. The car got overheated and we had to stop. Instead of getting more water, or doing anything at all, the driver got out, lifted the hood up, walked across the road in the nice green grass in the shade and laid down. I don’t believe he knew how to put water in it. We saw many beautiful things I would like to tell you about, if I could.

Well there isn’t much I can say, so I had better call it a day.

How is Don today? Can you send me some snapshots? I would really appreciate them very much.

With love,
Charles D. Paul