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Donald F. Rodawig Papers: Transcripts - MS 1048
Jan 15, 1944
Received your New Year's Eve letter today - Glad you liked Bob Martin's idea. You can refer to that in the future. In letters I received yesterday you mention the activities of the Auxiliary groups. You have always been one to go forward and I dislike discouraging any action you would take for what you feel is for your future good (and the good of your family). It has been a great consolation to know that you have been fairly safe and of course I do not need to remind you of your responsibility to us for I know we are always foremost in your plans. You do what you think best if the opportunity should present itself - but dear take care of yourself and come back to us both mentally and physically fit for we have a big job to do here at home. The children are all swell and I am getting along fairly well - but dear I'm only "pinch hitting" until your return - at which time I hope and pray we can carry on together and finish the training of our fine family.
There is so much in the papers about Naples. In yesterday's Register was a good map of the battle front 50 miles on to Rome. I'm reading the book "On the Roads to Rome," an interesting description of the country. With all my love to you Mary
Feb 13, 1944
Received 4 wonderful letters yesterday the last written Feb 3 was mailed in Chicago. Your kind understanding ways is such a boost to my low morale. Dearest, we have been extremely busy with seriously hurt patients and it has been midnite the last two days before leaving the hospital. So many need care - chests full of blood to be tapped, transfusions to be given, casts to be applied and operative work in the mornings. They all seem to deeply appreciate the care given them and I can't honestly leave until all the urgent work is done. These boys all know the true cost of war in its fullest sense. (continued) Devotedly Roddy
2/13/44 52nd Station Hospital
Honey (continued) - One of my patients, a boy from Iowa has lost the sight in both eyes and when I asked his closest relative he replied "I guess that will be my wife." We have had so many pathetic cases that you are eager at all times to do everything you can for them. No complaints from these lads!
You speak of moving to other locations to practice medicine honey - let me get home and I will be satisfied for the rest of my life just to be with you and the children. We have the best set up yet and after talking to city specialists I can now fully appreciate how lucky we are. It is true that I have had vast experiences but they can well be applied to our people at home.
Received a cute birthday greeting from my son Bill also the cartoon at the bottom of the letter which I got a big kick out of -
I went to a show tonite saw Deanna Durbin in "His Butler's Sister" with Pat O'Brien, Franchot Tone - She sings divinely and we all enjoyed it very much.
Am glad that John is getting such fine work, that they have a nice family and hope that he will be able to continue his education. With all my love to you dearest Valentine Day Tomorrow [he has drawn a heart with an arrow through it]
52nd Station Hospital
My dearest Wife (continued)
I am sure that John is very sensible in not trying too diligently to get into the army. I realize that he is an ideal husband and under Lorraines influence and a not too strenuous medical career will probably be okay. He shouldn't feel in the least guilty in not accepting this responsibility for under the circumstances both he and his family would suffer. I seriously hope that he can get established before too long, for once he is on his own he will regain a lot of lost confidence. Cant imagine that Don and Mary have broken up and have a rather good suspicion that they will soon kiss and make up! It doesn't seem possible that fellows like Fred and Bill are going in to the army and this will certainly place a strain on their wives who are not as resourceful as you - You just have the ability to make the best of any situation - You can tell this Geo Jack that my first job when returning to S.L. [Spirit Lake, Iowa] will be to burn his egg drying plant to the ground - Had fresh eggs this morning for breakfast - the first since coming to Italy. Will be loving you always Roddy.
52nd Station Hospital
My Dearest Sweetheart,
The surgical team has had a long experience with the type of work we were doing in our hospital - It probably gives you the best cross section of army surgery. - I am very thankful to have had the experience, it is so varied and even in a general hospital there are so many limitations because of the number of specialists which the table of organization calls for - you wouldn't get to see the variations of work - as a result the experience is much more valuable to me. Hope that you and the children are well and happy. - It certainly is a comfort to know that you have 4 fine children + a devoted wife to come home too [sic] after the war is over - We have always been so close to each other and I guess I will never get adjusted to the army life completely - but will just make the best of things I love you dearest. Roddy.
52nd Station Hospital
My Dearest Mary, A full team from the 2nd Surgical Group joined our hospital today to take some of the load in handling patients - this consists of a surgical chief, assist unit chief, anesthetist, 2 surgical nurses and 4 surgical enlisted technicians. They have been working in the most forward areas but have been assigned to us until the rush is over, it is similar to detached service like I was in when first arriving here. Oddly enough it is the team that I had made reference to seeing on Xmas day when they were working in a Field Hospital. They are a swell bunch of men and are very capable - They seemed to impressed with our hospital set up and marveled at the wonderful surgical equipment we have to work with - It would be an excellent policy to rotate teams through front echelon service back to the rear areas and in that way each would have a better understanding of the others problems. Devotedly Roddy (continued)
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