“You Mustn’t Let It Bother You Too Much”


. . . Heroism is a drug on the market and a hollow word meaning nothing, but you women who stand and wait are the guys who should get the ribbons—the Betty Lous and the Damons are the backbone of any offensive. When I see the flak bursting around my flight, I glance at the picture of you holding the yawning Damon—it’s there just by the altimeter—and I laugh and kick my old kite around until we have gotten the hell out of that place. If it weren’t for you two, I know it would be rough, but believe me, Betty Lou, you two make the difference—it isn’t rough—it’s okay, really okay. You two must know that—my dependence on you is complete—there is no substitute—not even a smoke between acts. I remain constant not because of any moral code I may have fashioned—it’s just convenient to me, that’s all. You are the Leaf, the Stone and all the unfound doors there are —you’re where the blue begins—you’re Betty Lou....



June 7, 1944

Dearest Betty Lou,

Good evening, my darling. This’ll be a quick one because I must grab some sacktime. My seven day leave has been interrupted by the little clambake now in session. I didn’t mind because we have all been looking forward to this affair with a feeling bordering on impatience....

Old Rarey

June 9, 1944

Dearest Betty Lou,

We’re sitting an alert down here at the line, and it’s a fine time to write a letter. We’ve been a bit pressed for sleep lately, and I’m afraid my letter writing has fallen off somewhat....

Betty Lou, I know how you must feel about old Hugh. I can’t quite believe it myself. Doc Finn has already written Janie, and I will write her, too—I’m afraid I can’t offer much hope. We were pretty low—busting an airdrome—we think he caught some 20 m.m.—think he went in—that’s all I know. It’s a dirty business. I know these things are rougher on you gals than they are on us but you mustn’t let it bother you too much. Fatalism isn’t the answer but it’s as good as any other I know of. Try not to worry, old gal, that’s a big order but that’s the way I want it....

All my love,Rarey

June 16, 1944

Dearest Betty Lou,

Evenin’, lassie. We had a fine time yesterday—took a ride across the countryside. One of the guys is in charge of transportation so he managed to get a staff car for the day. The weather was beautiful so we put the top down and had a very fat time. The country around here is beautiful. We stopped at one little country inn that is sort of a shrine to Charles Dickens—seems he had many a tall and frosty there, and his Pickwick Papers were written there among others. The walls are covered (in the manner of the German American Club on 3rd Avenue) with photographs of Dickens and many originals of the illustrations for his books. It’s called the Leather Bottle and is loaded with huge blackened oak beams, pewter mugs, and such truck. It was mighty interesting. On the way back home we stopped at a British Officers’ garrison. They see very few American officers and welcomed us with open bottles of scotch. Really nice guys—P.G. Wodehouse characters with a fine, calm, dry humor and genuine enthusiasm. We had a delightful evening all in all and returned completely relaxed and at peace with the world or part of the world I should say.

That’s good news about the B-29's going over Japan—looks as if the old war is getting under way at last....



June 21, 1944

Dearest Betty Lou,

. . . I suppose you’ve read of the pilotless aircraft Germany has developed. It’s an amazing thing aeronautically speaking but is proving rather ineffective as a weapon. We get quite a kick out of them. They are referred to as “The Doodlebug” or “The Sears Roebuck job.” And Tom Liston dubbed them “those non-union aircraft.”...

Here’s a piece of news that may interest you. Old Pete and I are now captains. They came through yesterday, and we’re pretty happy about it. First lieutenant is a comfortable rank, and I hacked it for a year, a month, and a day but these old double bars feel pretty good....


June 26,1944

Dear Betty Lou,

Just got a V-mail and an air mail from you. They were fine. I wasn’t in Scotland when the invasion broke as you thought. I was in London. Was having a mild but interesting time—seeing shows and the town in general. I had a ticket to the International Ballet for the night of June 6th. I still have it. C’est la guerre.

That anniversary letter was mighty sweet. We are a lucky pair, darling. We’ll never be behind the door when the happiness is passed out.

There wasn’t a great deal of activity today due to weather. That was good. We slept late and loafed around. We got some new pilots today and had a flap session with them. They’re a fairly good looking lot of boys but not up to the standard of the last batch we got— they’re working out fine. These new guys were in class 43K—makes me feel like kind of an old joker.

Betty Lou, would you enclose the Sunday episode of “Terry and the Pirates” in one of your letters? We see the daily strips in the Stars and Stripes but the Sundays—no soap. Thanks. Old Terry finally made 2nd It.—good show.