December 30, 1947 William Shepard to everyone

 

Tuesday, Dec 30

Hello Everyone:

This is my last letter to Trenton Ill, barring any change in plans.

I just rec’d your letter  of the 25th telling about X-mas. It was just like having Christmas, hearing about it. Im so happy that the children had a good time.

Ill be going out to supper on New Years Eve. Capt Larsen is having a turkey! Reception at the club on New Years day for Col. Hanson. Aside from that Ill probably spend the rest of the vacation in our quarters. I have had a good rest, I really didn’t need one. Been reading and studying most the time. Go to the cinema every time it changes.

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I think that I have told you about everything that I can. Just as a check Ill go over a few things

  1. If you cant leave the car at the N.O. Port of Embark. make arrangements with a local garage to deliver it to the port upon our demand. Store it with them temporarily until invitational orders are forthcoming. We are jumping the gun a little, but down here they overlook it. Everyone comes down this way & they say its OK. All that is needed to ship the car is my personal transfer orders & you have them.
  2. If I cant meet you at San Jan check with the information office of Pan American at the air terminal in San Juan for a message. If no message come on up to Borinquen via taxi. Our quarters in 169B on Circle F. Drive.

That should take care of it. Ill try very hard to meet you in San Juan.

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but I may not be able to.

You wont need a passport as this is a US possession . In Trinidad, you would have needed one.

By the way our residence phone if 6278 my office phone is 5103 or 2162. In front of our house it says. Lt. Palmer, they haven’t changed the sign yet.

Tomorrow I must get paid! Thats first. Then get a commissary card., order another table, desk and a few more chairs from the Q.M. for our quarters. Thank goodness we dont have to pay for them.

The refrigerator shelves are being re-finished and the[n] electrician is going to go over the stove tomorrow.

Ill start stocking up on groceries this week end and perhaps by the time you

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arrive the larder will be well filled. Ill try to find a nice set of dishes. I hate to buy cheap Ill try to find some in San Juan.

When you arrive we can live with things as they are for a week or so, until you get organized. The place is a little bare without drapes (you know me) but it has enough furniture and it is clean.

Take your time and enjoy the trip as much as you can. If we don’t enjoy traveling we had better quit now, so see if you cant make the trip and have a good time! Ill be waiting for you.

Love
Bill

P.S. Dont loose your sense of humor!

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December 28, 1947 Bill Shepard to parents

This is a set of two letters. One written to each of his parents on the same day. Very poor spelling of places, and a just a little bit of that condescending white attitude toward the Puerto Ricans.

 

December 28, 1947

Dear Dick:

I am happy to hear that you will be with Lois & the kids until they leave. I know that it will help so much.

I hope that all of you had a fine Christmas. We were unorganized by the moving around but I think you will all understand. The main thing I guess is how you feel anyhow, and I want to tell you that I think the world and all, of my family.

I received your & dads package in time for Xmas and I want

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to thank you for the presents.

I am living in our quarters now. I am trying to fix them up a bit. The goverment furnishes stove, refrigerator, table & chairs for kitchen. For bedrooms they furnish beds  chests of drawers. In the living room-dining room they furnish a large table (seats 12) chairs, desk, and a type of bed that makes into a sofa. (We have 2 of them). So with a bit of arranging and some sewing of slip covers, we will make out O.K.

I hope you enjoy the trip. Be sure to see New Orleans if you go there. Take good care of yourself.

Love
Bill

December 28, 1947

Dear Dad.

Everything is settled down now. Lois will soon be here, with the children. I am sure happy that Dick is going with them to New Orleans. It is a big help to Lois.

I have quarters here, and they are very fine. Although we have only 2 bedrooms the place is large. The goverment furnishes adequate furniture including 2 beds that make into sofas in the living room.

The climate here is ideal, 75° to 80° all the time. Palm trees & jungle. I guess that we will be here

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until about June 1950, unless something unforseen occurs.

Right now I want to go on record as inviting you down in 1948. I think that the trip and the sights here about would be interesting. It is a very quick trip by air, and if you want to come by boat, it takes only two or three days. Perhaps we can all be together next Christmas?

Dad, I want you to take my gun to the gunsmith and have him put a poly-choke on it, then ship it to me. We have skeet club here, and I could use it, if It wouldnt be too much bother for you to have it fixed & shipped.

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The houses here are built for the climate. They are low-bungalows, built of steel reinforced concrete with tile floors. The windows have slot type shutters, like a venetian blind, only they are very heavy. All windows are screened with no glass in them. We have a utility room in the rear, with a 66 gal. hot water heater (electric) and double wash tubs. In front we have a large screened in porch.

They just finished repainting all the woodwork before I moved in, I have built 4 lawn chairs and now Im banging together some bookshelves and a few other odds

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and ends.

The school-house is a large one and is 1/2 block away, as is the shopping district. There is a shoe repair, barber shop, restaurant, post exchange, theatre and even an ice-cream factory less than a block away.

The children have a playground — almost in the back yard, and everyone here has children.

I am working as the telephone construction & maintenance officer for the Caribbean area. It is work I know, so I enjoy it. I have several line gangs and cable splicing crews working and I get to travel quite a bit, keeping them going.

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I have been in Jamica and Trinidad already, and I will be off to Antiqua and British Guina soon for a few days.

You know we got all these bases for 99 years from the British in exchange for those 50 old destroyers during the beginning of the war.

We have telephone systems on all of them and my crews maintain them from this headquarters. Bounquin field is the headquarters for the Antilles Dept.

The hardest thing I have to deal with is the Spanish language. I hope to pick it up in a few months. I can make myself understood only with a lot of hand motions.

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These natives are exasparating. You explain what you want done to them, assuming they know some english They dont want to let you know how little they understand so they say “Si Si!” which means yes. So when you get back the work is done wrong and they are standing there grinning like chesecats* thinking they have it right.

Well. It will all work out OK. They have been getting along OK before I arrived so they will do OK when I leave.

I think that we will enjoy it here. I’ll write again later

Take good care of yourself

Your son
Bill

*maybe he meant Cheshire cats