July 24, 1943 – Devil spotted looking for real estate near here

This letter is included in Not Forgotten: A Pacific Northwest Family Brings Their Soldier Home.

The weather forecast is a military secret, but a rumor has been going around that the Devil has been seen in a real estate office looking for some land near here (I can’t figure out what they mean.)

That’s one of my favorite lines from this July 24, 1943 letter our uncle Pfc Lester LaVerne Zornes wrote home to Spokane, Washington describing the weather in Sioux Falls, SD. By this time he had been in the Army Air Force four months, and Radio Operations and Mechanics school for about one month. He would go on to serve as Radio Operator on board a C-47 with the 306th Troop Carrier Squadron.

The pictures are of his mother showing off her new outfit, complete with open-toed shoes, which our uncle chose to mercilessly tease her about — in a loving way that only he could get away with.

Grandma Minnie Blaine Zornes, saluting while modeling her new outfit, open toed shoes, and Verne’s cap
Spokane’s South Hill is in the background on the right.
Note: I don’t remember ever seeing her smile like this. – Dave

Letter dated Saturday, July 24, 1943

P.f.c. L.L. Zornes
804 TSS
Bks. 1212
Army Technical School
A. A. F. T. T. C.
Sioux Falls, South Dakota

Mrs. L.O. Zornes
R.F.D. # 1
Spokane, Washington

Dearest Mom, Dad and kids,

Just a note for now to let you know I received your most welcome letter and pictures. I sure treasure those pictures, no foolin’.

You look mightly “classy”, by golly. Were you chopping wood or what happened that you cut the toe of your shoes off? Did you hurt your foot during that ‘accident’? It is a shame to ruin a good pair of shoes like that. No foolin’ though, I think they are cute. Wait till I get home and buy me a new suit and we all go parading the streets together. We will really show the town some “class”.

We have a fiddler and a guitar player in the barracks here. Gosh, can they ever play. The fiddler is an expert, almost as good as Roy Acuff. I sure love to listen to them.

Darn it, stop talking about our berries. You’re making me hungry. Gosh, the first year our berries do good, and I gotta be away from home, so I can’t help “pick” ‘em. Gosh, the first thing I want when I get home is to sit down at the table and eat a big mess of fried spuds and open up a jar of preserves or berrie jam. Yum yum.

Yep, I want to see that cellar “full”, and I do mean full, when I get home. And I want to see a “smoke house” that is full of pork, too!!! (And I want to see the Cad full of gas, too!) Gosh, I sure want a lot, don’t I? I’m always getting into arguments about cars, down here. Nobody agrees with me, darn it. But I still think the Cad is my “one and only”. They can have all their Fords. Have you got the ‘new’ tires on yet? How are the “points”, are they still bad?

A lot of signs are going up all over, reading like this, “Have you heard the latest rumor? Well, forget it.” And “The difficult we will do right away, the impossible will take a little longer.” More rumors can start in an army camp than anwhere else. It’s actually funny to hear some of the silly rumors some guys make up.

School is still getting more interesting all the time, but the weather is so darned hot that it’s actually ‘misery’ sitting in a stuffy room. The weather forecast is a military secret, but a rumor has been going around that the Devil has been seen in a real estate office looking for some land near here. (I can’t figure out what they mean.)

Well, in another week or so we start building our own little receiving sets in school. It’ll really start getting interesting then.

Well, I guess I’d better stop boring you with all this stuff, so will close for now. Thanks again, Mom, for those pictures. I sure treasure them. Write real soon again. Bye for now.

As always,
Your loving Soldier Boy
P.f.c. Les.