Smitty – Letter XI

Everett 'Smitty' Smith and the 187th Regiment

Everett ‘Smitty’ Smith and the 187th Regiment

This following letter from Smitty will show how much the G.I.’s of WWII and those of today have in common.  Human nature doesn’t seem to change very much in 68 years.

11th A/B patches

11th A/B patches

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Letter XI                                      Java at 2100                                Thursday 8/10/44

 

Dear Mom,  Java at 2100 is nothing more or less than a good old-fashioned gabfest or the same as women folk back home call a “Koffee Klotch.”

There are a few differences though that need a little explaining.  At home, the girls gather and talk, generally about the one who isn’t present; including in this conversation, her husband and his family, also hers and then down the line to her most distant relatives.  Also, they will gab for hours about the gossip of the neighborhood and of course add a little more to it.  At times, arguments amongst themselves will ensue and that ends the present meeting and the next few to come.

With us there are a few differences and variations, such as: we don’t care whether the person being talked about is present or not; although his absence is preferred and appreciated.  Of course we have our little gossip circles, but they mostly run toward the rumor side and therefore no one puts much stock in them.  Invariably we always talk of home, such as what we did before the President greeted us, also what we intend to do when we get back.  This home talk most always leads into a lively debate as to whose state, city or county is the best.  Arguing that topic is just like arguing religion; no one is ever impressed or convinced.

The officers are always good for a good 20 to 30 minute razing, with no one pulling their punches.  At times though you must be careful, as there might be someone present who is bucking like the devil and the talk will go back.  Never is there a good word said in the officers’ defense and I doubt if there ever will be.

Another colorful period is spent when someone brings up non-coms.  What is said at this time is unprintable.  Surprise to say that if I was visited by the seven plagues, I wouldn’t be as bad off as the non-coms, if even half the things wished upon him should ever befall him.  I sometimes wonder if ever in their own conceited way they know just how the private feels toward them.

At home, the girls are all gathered around strictly  talking, but here again we vary.  Some may be playing cards with every now and then some player adding his say, much to the consternation and anguish of the others.  Over in another corner are the die-hards who always listen for rumors and continue on talking about the latest one long after the others have dropped it.

All this time the water is being boiled outside in a large five gallon can.  Every now and then, someone will go out to see if it is time to add the coffee.  When once the coffee is added, there comes over the tent a lull and then everyone shuffles out to get his cup, which he will dip into the can of coffee before coming back in.  Conversation for a while is a combination of talk, loud sips and the blowing of the hot Java.  We manage also to provide milk and sugar and at times, crackers.  The last is generally present only around paydays.

coffeepouringani

I don’t know whether it is the effects of the hot coffee upon the vocal chords or not, but always right after the coffee, some would-be Crosby or Sinatra starts singing some old favorite and that is when music conquers over all.  They say music has its charms, but after listening to it here — I have my doubts.

Some nights the conversations are really good and so is the coffee, on those occasions, talking lasts after taps has blown and then you are sure to hear the mournful wail of the company charge of quarters meekly saying, “Aw fellas, put out the lights.”  Never has it happened that the request was heeded and I doubt if it ever will be.  It isn’t long after though that the first sergeant comes barging in bellowing, “Get those blankety-blank lights out and get the H–l to bed!”  Lights immediately go out and good-nights can be heard throughout the company area as Koffee Klotches all over break up.

Peace and quiet prevails until all one can hear is the not too soft patter of feet heading out to the place where, at some time or another, we all must frequent.  Bits of conversation can be heard drifting through the night, but generally isn’t worth listening to, as it is only the rumor mongers at work again in their office.

Before I close this chapter, allow me to say that the evening coffee, sugar and milk are all donated cheerfully by the fellow most unfortunate enough to have had K.P. the day before.

Having nothing more to gab about and also having to pay a visit down to the end of the company street, I’ll close before I have to make a run for it.

Gabbingly yours,  Everett  (The Donator of This Evening’s Coffee)

Click on images to enlarge.

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imagesiu502ww1To the Arkansas veterans who read and listen to this site… may I send you a Happy New Year wish and hearty Thank You for all you’ve done for us !!

531_newyear2014

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Military Humor – 

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130715-28coffeemovingcolor397

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Farewell Salutes – 

Frank Ables – Kirkersville, OH, US Army, WWII

Joseph Charyk – Falmouth, MA; Under Sec. of the Air Force

W.L. Doerty – Gunnison, CO; US Air Force, Korea, pilot, POW &

Broad Channel veteran's  parade

Broad Channel veteran’s parade

Vietnam, Bronze Star

Fredene Frye – Greybull, WY; US Army WAC, WWII

Billy Hooks – Lake City, TN; USMC, Vietnam, Cpl.

Darlene Koering – Shellsburg – IA; US Women’s Marines, WWII

Troy Gilbert – Litchfield Park, AZ; US Air Force, Oper. Iraqi Freedom, Major, KIA

Charlie Laine – Broad Channel, NY; US Navy, WWII

Troy Gilbert – Nazzareno Tassone – Niagara, CAN; YPG, Syria

Floyd Passmore – Bedford, TX; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, C/503rd/11th Airborne Division

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About GP Cox

Everett Smith served with the Headquarters Company, 187th Regiment, 11th A/B Division during WWII. This site is in tribute to my father, "Smitty." GPCox is a member of the 11th Airborne Association. Member # 4511 and extremely proud of that fact!

Posted on January 9, 2017, in Letters home, Uncategorized, WWII and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 111 Comments.

  1. Still playing “catch up” in my reading – and still enjoying “Smitty’s” letters!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great insightful down to earth letter by Smitty, his observations on daily life and routine under adverse conditions is great, he sums up well and provides great imagery.
    Thanks for the enjoyable read gp.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. All your fathers letters are wonderful GP but this one especially- his humour and acute observation of human nature is so clearly articulated here.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Conversation and coffee… Quite right that little changes! I’m not a fan of gossip though..

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Thank you so much for sharing this wonderfully moving and articulate letter, really giving us a flavour of the man and the situation. These must be a real treasure for you.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Oh they sure are, Annika. Now that I have them on-line, I have put them in plastic for safe keeping, they are so old and Florida weather is so humid and hot I don’t want any further damage.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Highly entertaining, but one does wonder what such letters would have contained if there was no censorship, secrecy or security to worry about …

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Great letter. They must have really made your family smile every time they arrived.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Love reading the letter and let me smile

    Liked by 3 people

  9. This letter made me smile…and almost taste that coffee 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  10. Great letter, GP. I can almost hear the conversations and almost smell the coffee after reading your dad’s rendition. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Welcome back, Smitty. Missed your great letters and your great points of view. Right now we are having a couple bad winter days and I really needed something to cheer me up. Smitty, from way back when, was just the antidote. Thanks, GP.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Another great glimpse into the troops’ experiences during the war…a word never mentioned. I can just picture your mother reading these letters over and over as she waited for his return.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. “Invariably we always talk of home, such as what we did before the President greeted us, also what we intend to do when we get back. This home talk most always leads into a lively debate as to whose state, city or county is the best. Arguing that topic is just like arguing religion; no one is ever impressed or convinced”.

    Of course is TEXAS… 🙂

    Great post!

    Liked by 2 people

  14. Smitty’s letters are better than a time machine. I love that “You Are There” feeling I get from them.What will historians do in the future? Thanks for another great post.

    Liked by 3 people

  15. Smitty sounds so good-natured and buoyant, despite location & situation. Great letter! Thank you!

    Liked by 2 people

  16. That letter is priceless!!

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Ha ha ha! Great mix of adventure, history and the non-stop coffee! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  18. It was wonderful to read this letter, thanks for sharing it with us.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. PS was this letter written by your father?

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Amazing that given the circumstances the letter is fairly upbeat. What a well written letter. I hope he made it home safely!

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Now, that is a man who can really write a letter! I love seeing the photo of his regiment, and for many during that time period, it could have been one of only a few taken of loved ones. Thank you so much for sharing!

    Liked by 2 people

  22. Oh I absolutely LOVE posts like these. I especially loved the way our dear Smitty pokes fun at the differences between the way men and women tend to chat.
    Clearly, he was a very observant and witty young man.

    Liked by 2 people

  23. i like very very much your photographic memories. ciao.

    Liked by 2 people

  24. I really enjoyed Smitty’s letter, GP. He gave such a vivid picture of how they found comfort in coffee and each other, as well as thinking about home, talking about it, and then the act of writing home, too. There’s so much love and acceptance in your father’s letter. Loved the photo of the regiment, and fun coffee graphic too!

    Liked by 2 people

  25. Another interesting post!

    Liked by 2 people

  26. Loved the post and they way he can with his word give you a vivid picture in your mind. Also enjoyed the humor section, Everett!

    Liked by 2 people

  27. The word Kaffeeklatsch appears in so many western languages in one form or another that one could conclude that the concept of having women and, as we saw in your father’s letter, of men also coming together for a cup of coffee (and cake for the German ladies) and gossip. Except perhaps the British, who prefer their gossip session with tea instead.

    Liked by 2 people

  28. I loved that line–“we don’t care if they’re present or not…” Hah! One of the great sides of guys.

    Liked by 2 people

  29. That is a wonderful letter from Smitty! I loved reading about the “Koffee Klotches” the men had, with all the associated gossiping and rumor mongering. 🙂 Your father was a keen observer of humanity and had a great sense of humor in his writing.

    Liked by 2 people

  30. It is lovely and poignant to read these letters. It really reminds us of the human side of military service. Thank you GP’

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks, Hollie. Even across the world, the simple pleasures of a cup of coffee centers the men.

      Liked by 2 people

      • It is heartwarming!

        Liked by 1 person

      • AND woman! 🙂 Without my ever-present cuppa’ java, I doubt I’d have a single friend. 🙂

        Another great post, GP. My blogging day began with blog-articles disgusted with Betsy DeVoss’s repeated ducking of questions in her confirmation hearing – each peppered with links supporting how *totally* unqualified she is to serve as Sec. of Education. There’s not enough coffee in the entire world to center me after that!

        I had to head over here for a hit of the ever-positive Smitty before I chucked it all in and headed back to BED!

        xx,
        mgh
        (Madelyn Griffith-Haynie – ADDandSoMuchMore dot com)
        – ADD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching co-founder –
        “It takes a village to transform a world!”

        Liked by 1 person

  31. Now, how, I wonder, did Smitty know what the girls gabbed about?

    Liked by 2 people

  32. I did so enjoy reading this letter. You could almost see them setting there visiting with each other while having their coffee. Have a blessed day GP. 🙂 Jim

    Liked by 2 people

  33. Could totally relate to the points made in Letter XI. I need another cup of Joe.

    Liked by 2 people

  34. Another absolutely delightful letter. He really paints such word pictures. It almost sounds like he’s at sleepaway camp or in a college dorm, not posted across the world in the military. Thanks for sharing. You know I love these letters!

    Liked by 2 people

  35. I love this post. Nothing changes.

    Liked by 1 person

  36. These really are wonderful letters. And I must say, they not only communicate a lot about what it was like for the soldiers, and a lot about your father, they also stand as a reminder of how important letter-writing is. Emails just aren’t the same, and as for social media? Who remembers a text or a tweet five minutes later? Letters are an extension of a person in a way no email can be. That’s what make these such a joy to read.

    Liked by 3 people

    • I’m very glad you understand that, I know the younger ones among us find it hard to believe and basically a waste of one’s time. I think letters show a personal side, that you were willing to take the time to take pen to paper and then actually stuff it in an envelop and mail it!! Sounds like a tough assignment, eh?!! haha Oh well, it’s a other world now I suppose. Thanks for coming by, Linda.

      Liked by 3 people

  37. As always, I enjoy seeing the human view of the situation through these letters. It is comforting to see that they enjoyed at least some time when things were somewhat “like home” – I love the bottom coffee cartoon. I totally understand that. Thanks again for sharing these letters.

    Liked by 2 people

  38. So poignant to read about the ‘quiet times’ in the midst of war. When we read so much about action, landings, heavy fighting, and casualties, it is also good to remember the waiting, the comradeship, and just chatting about nothing around a hot cup of coffee.
    Even more so, because of your family connection.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 2 people

  39. Lovely post today. I can just picture the scene. I bet those officers really copped for it with the insults. Have a good week. Chris.

    Liked by 2 people

  1. Pingback: Smitty’s letter home | Letters Home

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