August 7, 1949 William Shepard to parents

 

Aug 7, 1949

Hello Dick & Dad

Lois is busy filling out birth announcements & feeding the baby.

He was born tuesday afternoon at 2:15PM, while I was flying from St Lucia to Ramey. We named him David Mont. Weighed 7# 8 oz.

Lois stayed in the hospital four days. You know they have a new system now. The mother gets up right away.

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Lois had less trouble with David than either K W or Sue. She is feeling fine now, and Dave is getting along OK too.

Kenny & Sue both have a little touch of fever, nothing serious. They are better this evening.

We are all settled down in our new quarters now. We have four bedrooms & three baths. For once we can all sit in the mornings.

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Not much news other than the baby. It has been raining quite a lot here lately.

Kenny & Sue received their $5 and want me to thank Dad. It made them happiest because it came from home.

K W has been getting a little work in the evenings baby sitting, and you know what a miser he is. It tickles him to pieces to earn money. He spends

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half his time at the swimming pool now and swims like a fish. He plays on the high diving board & swims in the deep end of the pool all of the time. Don’t worry about him as it is a small pool & has two guards. I wouldn’t worry about him anyhow, because he can take care of himself. You almost have to see it to believe it. Sue is swimming a little now too.

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Dont plan on it too much but I just might get a trip home in about a month. Just overnight but that wold be nice.

Well Ill write again, perhaps sooner than the last time.

Your son
Bill.

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July 29, 1948 Lois Shepard to In-laws

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July 29, 1948

Dear Dick & Dad –

I’m writing this with my new Parker “51” [awesome fountain pen!] desk pen Bill gave me for our 10th anniversary. He didn’t go to British Guiana after all so we took Lt. & Mrs. Hodkins to the Club for dinner. Flowers & candle light, Filet Mignon & Champagne. It was very nice, then we stayed & played Bingo [page2] ‘Course we didn’t win anyting and Bill won last week. Two silver Ronson table lighters.

I’ve really been working yesterday & today – cleaning closets etc. Things were getting in a mess – And there is no cooperation from the family. My suit-cases were covered with mil-dew & so I had to air everything.

We are to go to a dance & dinner tonite [page 3] for the squadron. Or at least put in our appearance. It’s an enlisted mens party. Then tomorrow nite is a costume dance at the Club. Always something to go to & not nearly enough to do it all.

Kenny & Sue are fine Kenny started another letter to you & I’ll have to get him to finish it this time. [page 4] While Mercedes does my lunch dishes I think I’ll take a nap – then I’ll have to bake something for dinner.

Love
Lois

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May 29, 1948 Lois and Bill to Shepards

 

May 29, 1948

Dear Folks –

Guess I shouldn’t have sent that last letter to Canada. But I thot you’d still be there. So if the letter missed you all together – yes we got the package & thanks loads. Here’s $3 to cover cost of the items. If it isn’t enough let me know.

Just got the children to bed & not anything going on tonite so we’ll spend a quiet evening at home. Bill got back from Trinidad last nite. He’d been there since Wednesday.

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It so hard to find much to write about. We just do the same things over & over.

The kids will finish school next week & our trunks have finally arrived. Tho they haven’t been delivered yet. Hope to get them Tuesday. I’ve forgotten what I do have.

We are well into the rainy season now & it rains & rains – everyday. We do manage a few hours of sunshine but things in the house are getting musty. I’ll endeaver to get Bill to write a little in here.

Love Lois

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Hello Dick & Dad:

Not much news as Lois had mentioned. Did she tell you that I took her up in an AT-6 last week? We were up about 1 1/2 hours and covered about half the island. Lois liked it very much and I think that she will make a junior birdman.

The kids have stayed in some lately. The rains have arrived. Ill try go get off a better letter next week.

Love
Bill

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!

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

December 20, 1947 Lois Shepard to mother-in-law

Dec. 20 —

Dear Dick-

I’m not leaving for New Orleans till the 3rd. of January. If I can make my plane reservations for Jan. 5th that is.

I’m really selling the furniture at a sacrifice. Wrong time of year I guess. But I have to get rid of it. I’ll never buy any more furniture as long as we are in the Army.

Bill has our quarters & is living in them I guess 5rms all tile floors. It sounds wonderful & I’m so anxious to get down there. I’ve a million & one things to get done between now & Jan. 3.

When will you come out and I don’t suppose you can go to N. O.

[page2]
since I’m not leaving till the 3rd. However if you can it will be O.K. Hope to see you soon.

Love
Lois

December 13, 1947 William Shepard to parents

24th Composite Wing Hq.
APO #845 c/o Postmaster
Miami, Florida

Hello Dick & Dad:

Perhaps I can write a letter now that things have settled down a little.

I was sure suprised to be assigned to Borinquen Field, especially after being told that I would go to Trinidad. It is a beautiful base with the best climate of any US base.

There is a large school here just a hop from our house. It is much near[?] than Hilliards Schools.

Our house is a 2 bedroom one with a large living room & modern kichen. Electric range

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and refrigerator. All time floors and plenty of closets. It is a beautiful place to live. Coconut trees all around. We will send pictures of the place as soon as Lois comes down w/the camera.

The grocery, barber shop, shoe repair, PX, beauty parlor, officers club and beach are about two blocks away. Everything is handy.

The quarters have the stove refrigerator, kitchen table & chairs furnished in the kitchen. The beds, sheets pillows & blankets and dressers are furnished in the bedrooms & in the living

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room a table & chairs and desk are funished. All we have to do is furnish linens, silver cooking utensils & curtains & drapes. Of course we will want to get a few chairs and some small things but we wont have to ship furniture down. Veneer comes apart here upholstered furniture moulds so I decided that Lois shouldnt bring ours. Rather than have it broken up or deteriorate I would rather sell it.

I have a good job here. I am directing the telephone system in the Island. Trinidad, Puerto Rico & the other

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Islands. Just what I have always done with the Bell company.

Dont have much flying to do here. Everyone takes it easy.

Ill write another letter in a few days. By the way my Xmas presents to the family will be a little late this year. I got here to late to get them off in time for Xmas so just hold on & celebrate about January 25th or so.

Write me the news.

Your son
Bill

P.S. Excuse the last letter, I was in a hurry to mail it!

December 4, 1947 Lois Shepard to her in-laws

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Dec. 4, 1947

Dear Dick–

Raining here again but rather warm – Three more letters from Bill today. He’s probably in Puerto Rico now and if you haven’t heard from him– his new address is–

Lt. Wm A. Shepard Jr.  048155
C/O Postmaster
Officers mail section
Borenquen Field
Puerto Rico

He has a tentative assignment to the 334th troop carrier squadron. So we are now hoping he gets to stay there. Capt. Davidson stays in Panama at Hawaii field so I won’t get to go don’t with her. Bill seems to think Panama is all right. Says the hardest work he’s seen anyone do down there is playing golf and fish. He also says not to send Xmas presents but if you want to send money he can get things he wants wants cheaper down there.

I went back to bowling today and my

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absence didn’t improve me any. I bowled about 85 average today.

Kenny got his grade card Wednesday and he got all A’s. Isn’t that wonderful! I’m so proud of him. I have to give him $1.00 for that. I never dreamed he would get all A’s. And he got outstanding marks in dependableness, accomplishment and something else – I forget what.

Dick – I don’t think I’ll come home for Xmas at all. The way Bill writes it might not be too long till we can go down so I’m not planning on leaving here till I go down there. There’s too much to do. So you can make your plans accordingly.

Time to put the children to bed.

Love
Lois

November 27, 1947 William Shepard to parents

[Page 1]
Albrook Field
November 27, 1947

Dear Folks,

Everything has closed upon the field until tomorrow & perhaps until monday. If that is so, I wont get to Puerto Rico until next week some time. I expect to be re-assigned at Puerto Rio to some other island. The way housing is in Pannama I am thankful for that.

I am happy to hear that you are getting a new car soon, and I hope that you like your new house. I wonder how Herman likes his new job? I think that it is a step forward for him.

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I found out that Lois & the kids  & I can come home once each year for about a month with transportation furnished by the air force! That sounds good doesnt it? Panama is a beautiful place and you would go crazy here in the shops. Beautiful imported rugs, china, silver and all sorts of things. I cant make connections in time this year, but next year Ill send some home by flying them to the U.S. that way Ill get out of paying duty.

It rains every day & sometimes 3 or 4 times and we sleep without covers of any kind, but the things dont get musty or mouldy as they said.

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It is a jungle all around us but very very beautiful. All kinds of birds. I havent seen any snakes yet but they are here.

Fishing would wear a person out here. 40 & 50 pound fish arent anything at all. Fishing tackle is cheaper here than anyplace I have ever seen.

If I had a real good camera I could get shots that would be breathtaking I have never seen such picture material. But Lois has the camera. I didnt think to bring it.

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Lois and Sue were down at New Orleans for about a week. We had a wonderful time.

Well Ill close with a caution not to mail any Xmas presents to me. They will be screwed up something awful, Ive been so many places.

Your son,
Bill

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November 26, 1947 William Shepard to parents

This will be my last post for this year. So enjoy another short letter. Everyone have an excellent holiday and  New Year celebration.

See you next year!

 

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Albrook Field
November 26, 1947

Dear Dad & Mom & Herm & Ruth:

A brief letter to let you know I will be on my way to the Antilles. That is a group of islands reaching from Venezuaela to Miami Fla. I dont know what base as yet, but it wont be Panama, for Im leaving here. I think it may be Waller Field in Trinidad or Bounquen Field in Puerto Rico. As soon as I arrive Ill write a letter. Ill have more time & can tell you about Panama & everything then.

Bill