Christmas Eve – Aleutians 1944

Eddie writes

“The morning of the day before Christmas seemed to be the beginning of Christmas for me. I was, of course, working then in the office, but there was a radio there and I heard President Roosevelt’s speech reminding me that it was already Christmas Eve for you. This speech was not a rebroadcast but a direct pick-up by the local station here. It was quite strange to have walked through the darkness of morning into the office on the 24th of December and hear the President saying it was Christmas Eve for him. After you went to bed and slept for several hours, I was beginning to celebrate Christmas Eve. Our Red Cross gifts arrived about 8:00 PM. When I opened mine up I found one of those apron shaving kits with a tooth brush and case, a tube of Barbasol, a bar of toilet soap and container, a hair brush, comb, and styptic pencil. This kit just about replaces the one I lost in Alabama. Also I received a small box containing some shoe laces, envelopes, a notebook, pencils, a fruit bar, and two packages of candy which I could call good if I had eaten them with laxative pills. I still have the fruit bar and will eat that whenever I’ll get tired of feeling too healthy. At 9:00, with the help of my parka, goggles and flashlight, I battled the elements to get to the theater to see “Johnie Comes Lately”. After the show I remained in the theater for the Catholic midnight mass just to see what it would be like. The movie screen was raised out of sight and a portable organ and alter [altar] were set up on the stage. Three priests conducted the mass and a large group of men sang behind the alter. The organ music together with the singing didn’t amount to the same thing you would hear in any of the big city churches because the organ wasn’t much better than a piano accordion and the singers weren’t any too confident of their abilities. The organ was played by a man who sleeps in a bunk next to mine. He has a very good ear for music and even plays over the radio here on this island. Coincidentally, I am hearing him over the radio right now. It was about 2:00 in the morning before I retired. I awoke at 11:30 Christmas morning and went to the mess hall for a turkey dinner. Two packages of cigarettes were given to each man as he stood waiting in line. This dinner was about the same as Thanksgiving’s with the exception that we had the chance to admire two scrawny Christmas trees at one end of the mess hall, crape ribbons and bells hanging from the ceiling, and a tall lighted candle on each table. After the dinner was over I was fortunate enough to have the chance to do some skating. I had had a pair reserved for myself and had done some skating Christmas Eve in a high wind. I was more of an ice boat than a skater because it wasn’t necessary for me to move my legs; all I had to do was stretch my arms out and scoot along he ice with the wind. On Christmas day, after dinner, I went out skating again and took some photographs which I may be able to have developed some time in the distant future. It is very hard to find good developers who are willing to work. Money doesn’t seem to be much of an inducement here. The small lake I skated on is the same one that was partly shown in some of the photographs I have already sent you. In the photographs that I may mail in the future, you will see the same lake as it appears in winter.”

Christmas & FDR

About btcomp

I am a computer developer and web designer. My computer experience and lifestyle is a reflection of my earlier career in medicine, as a practicing Medical Technologist at two prestigious Teaching Hospitals, the University of Florida Shand's Teaching Hospital and the dual universities of Indiana University and Purdue University in Indianapolis, affiliated with the Veteran's Administration Hospital. I went on to learn electronics to supplement my programming training and with this knowledge, training and experience I was able to edit and create reports for a physician's office practice management software company.
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