Thursday, January 5, 2012

Maj. Gillham misses an early boat home

Today we hear the unfortunate story of Maj. Gillham's missed chance to get home sooner, as everything seems to conspire against him.  We've all had experiences like this, where out of the blue an opportunity comes by that you ultimately miss, making you wish you'd just stayed pat the whole time.  As you may remember from earlier letters, the "Reple Deple" is the slang term for the Replacement Depot, which processes arriving and departing soldiers and is located about 30 miles southwest of Tokyo.  And again we see the term "valapac" -- does anyone know exactly what this is?  Google seems to fail me on this one.  It appears it might be a portmanteau of valet and pack, referring to, well, a portmanteau (in the original sense).

2 May 46

Dearest Lovely Dovely,

Well, I missed the boat -- this time literally. I was told that there wasn't a chance for me to leave before the 10th or 11th of May, but yesterday afternoon I got a call from the 4th Reple Deple telling me to report by 10 PM last night and they could get me on a ship leaving today. I had packed nothing and my room was filled with a six-month accumulation. I dashed around and thew things together or gave them away and got a car and got out there right at 10 PM. Then they told me the sad story that the original male officer compliment on the ship had been 97, but it had just been reduced to 90 because of some blooming women that had to be shipped. I spent the night at the 4th R.P. and worked my way up to 1st alternate before the booking was closed, but I didn't make it. I returned to Tokyo about noon today, and couldn't get my old room back, but after much talking I did get another room in the Dai Ichi. I left my foot locker and duffel bag at the 4th R.P. so I am now living out of my valapac. My room seems very bare indeed. I have now settled down to wait 10 days for a boat.

Yesterday before I left I got your card from Anniston, Ala., saying you had been to Memphis and were writing in detail. I hated to go off and miss that letter, so I had it to look forward to when I returned. I was here today and I enjoyed reading it very much. It was nice of you to go and I appreciate the complete and full report you gave me on everything. I am proud that I have such a smart wife.

It seems that everybody is back and out of the army but me. I think the firm Geo. works for is Caradine-Rorsh. I sold them their first telephone system when the firm was organized. I got to know Mr. Caradine very well.

I am sorry my flowers took so long to get there. I sent my cable on 1 Apr and it seems it should have been enough time. Anyway, I am glad they got there for Easter.

I am glad the box arrived and that everyone was pleased. I sent a big wooden box yesterday containing my overflow. It has a lot of clothing and "stuff" in it -- also several nice souvenir items. I have also sent two long, narrow wooden boxes with swords and a few presents, and a small box containing a pair of binoculars. I hope they all get through O.K. So far, it seems that everything has eventually gotten there. My foot locker is nearly full of stuff I have collected, but I don't know what is for who. I will have to get you to help me decide. I hope I can get something suitable for Addie from it. When I returned today I was able to get another 10-yard piece of silk. This is light green with a small white figure. If I collect much stuff during this ten days, I will mail another package before I depart.

I am scheduled to go to Ft. McPherson from here. If I require any extensive hospitalization, I don't know where they will send me, but I imagine it will be nearby.

I don't have much to do here now. I go by the office every day and consult with them for a while and give them a little advice, but I don't have any responsibility. It is getting warm and rainy here now -- rather sticky. I am just as glad I won't be here this summer.

It is indeed a pleasure to be planning to "fly to the arms of my darling." I will try to send a cable when I leave and will call you as soon as I hit the states.

I love you with all my heart.


P.S. Enclosed find $75 money order. WTG