November 11, 1947 William Shepard to parents

letter_shepardw_to_shepardwr_1947_11_11

Nov 11, 1947

Hello Folks:

This will be a short letter for I am packing for New Orleans. We leave by train tomorrow to the New Orleans Port of Embarkation. We ship out on 21 Nov. by boat. The next time that I write Ill be in New Orleans. It has been pleasant here at F. Kilmer but Im ready to move on & get settled down. I found out that air force personnel are allowed the maximum of 2 1/2 years foreign duty now, so that places us back in June 1950.

Ill write you all the news when it happens. Until then remember candys dandy, but liquors quicker!!

Bill

Advertisements

November 7, 1947 William Shepard to parents

November 7, 1947

Dear Folks,

Ill give you what information that I have, and it may be incorrect.

I should leave here within a week, go to new orleans & ten by boat to Panama. Where to then is anyones guess. it will be somewhere in the carribean my address to write to is:
APO #825
c/o Postmaster, New Orleans, LA

I went in to New York yesterday. What a time! I really didnt care too much

p. 2
for it. Its all right, but not what its cracked up to be.

There are too damned many people living in each others backyard in this part of the country.

Ill write you a letter when I leave here. No news so Ill close.
Love
Bill

October 18, 1947 Letter to Dick & Dad

Trenton, Ill.
October 18, 1947

Dear Mother & Father:

I am happy to hear that you all had asuch a good time in Canada, and that the fishing was so good.

I had planned on going up next year, but now I guess it is all off. I received instructions today to be prepared to move to the Carribean area very soon. I will leave Nov 1. for Camp Kilmer and go on from there to either the Panama Canal Zone or Puerto Rico, (I think).

Lois & the kids will stay here until I get the house all ready, wherever that is. She will probably come down about Christmas time. Everyone says that I am lucky to get foreign service so close to the U.S. and it is supposed to be nicest place to live in the Air Force.

I think that It would be a good idea for you folks to drop out before I go. If you can make it next week end (the 25th) it would be fine. Anytime between now and the 1st of Nov.

[page 2]
I wont be able to make it home. If H.O. & Ruth can come we can make room for them also.

Dad. we owe you $1700.00 and I am enclosing a check for $1600.00 Perhaps we can send the $100.00 next month. Thanks so much for letting us use the money. It helped out very much.

Dont worry about the kids as the climate and surroundings are very nice in the Carribean. It isnt like going to Japan or Germany.

Well Ill close and I hope you can get out to see us.

Love
Bill

Dear Folks–

I think perhaps if you can arrange it; it would be better to come the week-end of the 25-26th. I’ll probably still come home for over Thanksgiving–
Love
Lois

September 12, 1947 William Shepard to parents…

This is Thanksgiving week, so there will only be one entry this week as I have every intention of totally vegging out and enjoying my 4 days off. Lord of the Rings marathon here I come! Have an excellent Thanksgiving.

 

 

 

Officers Mail Section
Scott Field, Ill.
September 12, 1947

Dear Dick & Dad,

There just isnt enough time in the day any more. We seem to be going all the time.

Hunting season is in Nov. Im going out tomorrow after dove & squirrel. Fishing is OK here. We have a mess in the ice box & Im going again Sunday.

I suppose that you folks are catching whoppers. Mine are all little fellows.

K.W. is all happy, he got an erector set (big one) and is busy building most the time. Sue got a rubber doll,

page 2
she likes it too.

We all like it here. My work is OK, takes about 6 hours a day. We have every week end off & thats OK.

The car is running fine and it sure is a blessing. I dont know what we would have done without it. It needs a tuneup now & I think Ill have it done soon.

As soon as you folks get back let us know and Ill ship you a bundle of money. We owe you some, remember? We got the check from Hilliards bank but you were on your way to Canada.

Well I wish you a very good time and Ill see you.

Love
Bill

Dick and Dad in Florida

One major disadvantage to growing up as a military brat, is that you don’t get a chance to become attached to ‘place’ or know your relatives, because you aren’t around, or around long enough, to do so. But I am glad that in my case I do have a some great memories of extended family.

Because my dad was stationed at McCoy AFB in Orlando in the late 60s, we were able to visit with my great grandparents, Dick and Dad, several times over the few years that we lived there because they weren’t too far away. My fist real connection to family other than mom and dad.

3260814563_76ca2c6523_z
Dick and Dad

Although their earlier years were spent in West Virginia, Rachel ‘Dick’ and William Shepard, Sr. ‘Dad’ lived mostly in Ohio raising their family of two boys, until Dad retired from his supervisory job at the post office in the 1950s.

They had had a cottage in Thessalon, Ontario, Canada that they went to often, as early as the 1940s. (I don’t know yet if they bought it or rented it.) Below is a photograph of the cottage in Canada that gramps is always mentioning in his letters to his parents, where the fishing was fine.

3687802736_2f960531c9_z

When Dad officially retired, they went down to Safety Harbor in late 1956 where they rented a place in the area until they could find the perfect winter retirement home. (We know this because their son Herman wrote a letter to them in Dec of 1956 asking how they were liking their temporary accomodations.)

By December 26, 1956 they had found their spot, and it was at this time they purchased their second vacation/retirement home at 305 7th Ave N in Safety Harbor, Florida, near Tampa. The place that we visited several times in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

SNH-OR-KM4517111311090

So in this post I thought it would be fun to do a sort of slideshow from past to present on the house I remember visiting in Florida.

3688195882_0a209a361d_b
This was probably taken about when they purchased the property in 1957. (Found in the Shepard family slide collection.)
3162296690_57b003fc6c_z
This is about the late 1960s, when we would be visiting.

In the above second picture you can see the tree is much taller, there are awnings added to the windows, and the front entrance/patio area is now enclosed. Everything else is pretty much the same.

3162293370_8bba020a96_z
Here’s another view from the late 1960s.
14784080359_2d4bc5b119_z
Here’s Dick in her kitchen mixing up some libations for her guests. Late 1970s or early 80s. Dad had passed away in 1973.
14947822366_682b24ec1e_z
Here she is with friends or family, laughing it up on the couch I remember sitting on when we visited. This was probably in the late 70s or early 80s.
14967501841_ee6904098d_z
Late 70s, early 1980s? The landscaping has been changed up a bit.

Dick passed away in 1986 and the house was sold sometime later that year by her son Herman.

SNH-OR-KM4517111311090 copy

Now for the shocker, here is a 2014 image of the property from Google street view:

house_shepard_florida305_7thAveN_SafetyHarborhouse_shepard_florida305_7thAveN_SafetyHarbor_back

These are images posted in 2002 when it was for sale and the outdoor shots look pretty close to the 2014 images:

Screen Shot 2017-11-06 at 1.02.03 PMScreen Shot 2017-11-06 at 1.02.15 PMScreen Shot 2017-11-06 at 1.02.26 PMScreen Shot 2017-11-06 at 1.02.37 PMScreen Shot 2017-11-06 at 1.02.46 PMScreen Shot 2017-11-06 at 1.02.55 PMScreen Shot 2017-11-06 at 1.03.06 PMScreen Shot 2017-11-06 at 1.03.17 PMScreen Shot 2017-11-06 at 1.03.37 PMScreen Shot 2017-11-06 at 1.03.49 PM

Quite a difference from the 50s though! That kitchen sure doesn’t look the same. The property sold for $74,000 in 2002, and it is currently valued at about $185,000, for 916 sq. ft. of living space. I like the improvements, although the carport/garage doesn’t look like it has been worked on at all. (It looks like someone tried to sell it in 2015 for $225,000, but it was only on the market for a couple of months before they unlisted it.)

Because the city used crushed shells, instead of gravel, in the driveway, when we visited I would go looking for cool shells when I got bored with all the adult talk. I still have some great finds in my shell collection.

Interesting fun fact: According to the 1959 directory for Safety Harbor, Lois and William Shepard, jr. were also living at this address. My grandparents. (Hey Mom, I don’t remember you mentioning this.)

What a fun drive down memory lane.

 

January 12, 1947 William Shepard to parents…

This letter is in regards to William and Lois Shepard move to Puerto Rico.

letter_shepardw_to_shepardwr_1947_01_12_p01

January 12, 1947

Hello Dick & Dad:

We are settled down now. At least we are settled as much as we can be until the trunks arrive.

Lois & the children like it here very much and it is nice. I work when I want to, report in the morning 8 to 9. Off at 11 until 1, quit about 4.

It has been raining some the last two days, rather cool, about 70°! It will undoubtedly warm up the next few days.

Sunday we went to the beach for a while after lunch. The kids had a swell time. Played in the sand. Found coconuts. I opened one for them. They found about a bushel of shells.

I think they are going to send some home. Havent sent your Xmas present yet. So it is still pending. What I have in mind is in St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands. My next trip there, Ill pick them up.

Prices on food are about the same as the U.S. a lot of frozen foods. The milk is also frozen. Vegtables are fresh grown & frozen both. We get the sweetest tasting cabbage here. No lettuce though. Oranges, big ones, are 1¢ a piece. Lemons grow all over the place.

The farmers grow coffee, sugar cane & vegetables. Some pinneapple too, I think.

Sue is going to school here. She goes about two hours a day. KW & Sue both seem to like the school here.

We went to the show friday. Saw Spencer Tracy in “Cass Timberlaine.” Only about 2 blocks away as Ive told you.

letter_shepardw_to_shepardwr_1947_01_12_p02

The only thing that you folks can do for us or rather me is to have my gun fitted with a poly-choke and shipped down. Pack it well & ship it to me at the below address.

Lt. William A. Shepard Jr 0-48155
24th Composite Wing*
Borinquen Field**
Puerto Rico

What ever it costs let me know. By the way we will send you the $100 we owe you next month. And while we are on debts. Thank you very very much Dick, for helping Lois to New Orleans she really appreciated it. And Lois tells me that dad helped a lot in Trenton. It made the trip a lot easier.

I expect the car down the 25th of January. We can use it here. The post is large and we want to travel over Puerto Rico.

Well, Ill close for now. Xcuse the paper.
Havent found film to take pictures yet.

Love
Bill

 

*From August 1946 until replaced by the Antilles Air Division in July 1948 the wing supervised large numbers of major and minor bases and Air Force units in the Caribbean area from Puerto Rico to British Guiana. [https://www.revolvy.com/topic/24th%20Composite%20Wing&item_type=topic]
and
Constituted as 24th Composite Wing on 19 Nov 1942. Activated in Iceland on 25 Dec 1942. Served in the defense of Iceland. Disbanded on 15 Jun 1944.
          Reconstituted on 5 Aug 1946 and activated in Puerto Rico on 25 Aug. Assigned to Caribbean Air Command. No tactical groups were assigned, but the wing supervised various air force units and bases in the Antilles. Inactivated in Puerto Rico on 28 Jul 1948. [http://www.armyaircorpsmuseum.org/24th_Composite_Wing.cfm]

**Borinquen Field was an American military airfield built in northwestern Puerto Rico in 1940. During WW2, it served as a base for US Army Air Corps (later US Army Air Forces) reconnaissance flights over the approaches to the Caribbean Sea. In 1947, it was turned over to the newly formed US Air Force, which renamed the field Ramey Air Force Base the following year. [https://ww2db.com/facility/Borinquen_Field/]

September 17, 1945 William Shepard to parents

September 17

Dear Dick & Dad:

A short note before I turn in to sleep. No news on the discharge that I havent already told you. I will probably fly tomorrow, I hope so as it means $80.00 to me. Nothing else to do, so I had might as well fly.

If I get back too soon before hunting season I will go right to work for Ma Bell. No use loafing around all the rest of the year. Well I doubt very much if I will be able to come up this year, but next year the story

p2
will be different.

give Mr & Mrs Forder my regards and tell them that I shall see them next year. Bring back some fish so I can have some real fish to eat. I’ll always remember that lake trout.

Take care of yourselves and Ill see you when you get back or when I get back.

Your son
Bill

September 1, 1945 William Shepard to parents…

letter_shepardw_to_shepardwr_1945_09_01_p01

Sept 1, 1945

Dear Dick & Dad:

Perhaps in a few days you will have a civilian son again. You will probably hear from me in the next month, sometime, to drive over into Indiana to Camp Aterberry to pick me up.

At the present time I am just waiting for orders to go to the separation center, swimming and sleeping in the meantime.

I sold the car, as I coudnt afford to keep it. I got to much out of it, $910.00 to pay me to fix it.

letter_shepardw_to_shepardwr_1945_09_01_p02

while I was here the rear end started growling too and I figured $250 to fix it up. For what I sold it for and the $250.00 I can buy a new one.

When I get home I think that Ill run up to Canada to hunt ducks, geese & deer. Probably 15 or 20 days.

Duck season starts Sept 25 and goes until Dec 5. and Deer season starts Sept. 15 & lasts until Nov 25.

Im planning on going up about October 1st, it doesnt hurt anyting to plan it that way.

letter_shepardw_to_shepardwr_1945_09_01_p03It will probably be the only chance for a few year that I’ll have to hunt up there.

Ill bet that you folks had a grand time up there. I m happy that you could spend so much time up there.

Give my best wishes to all. I will see everyone soon.

Love
Bill

August 15, 1945 William Shepard to parents…

August 15, 1945

Dear Mother & Dad & KW:

What do you think of the good news? You dont need to worry any more. Ill be out of the army & home in a few months.

For the present Louis will be here until Sept 1 and then she will probably come home Ill sell the car here, as I can get about $900 fo it.

I may stay in for 6 months or so, doing transport flying, I dont know yet but I

pg. 2
will in a few weeks Ill let you know as soon as I know. If I get out in time I want to go deer hunting this fall & perhaps some moose.

Ill bet you are having a wonderful time. How is the fishing? Give Mr & Mrs Forder my regards & best wishes. Tell them Ill see them soon.

Take care of yourselves

Your Son
Bill

PS Susie says to tell KW she loves him

July 29, 1945 William Shepard to parents…

letter_shepardw_to_shepardwr_1945_07_29_p01

July 29, 1945

Dear Mother & Dad:

It has been a week or so but forgive me for not writing Well it has been 7 years since Louie & I was married. I guess she has had a rather rough time of it. I have never been able to give her a home. Dont mis understand me. You & Dad have been wonderful about having us. Ill never forget.

I do want you and Dad to come out to Arizona. I like it here

letter_shepardw_to_shepardwr_1945_07_29_p02immensely.

I am flying about two or three days a week now. This country is beautiful from the air.

Our address after August 1st will be Route 2, Box 479 c/o Evans Guest Ranch, Tuscon, Arizona.

We are sharing a 6 room ranch house with another Lt. & his wife and 2 girls.

I really dont have any news so Ill close, wishing you a happy time in Canada.

Love,
Bill