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Donald F. Rodawig Papers: Transcripts - MS 1048
Hello Dearest -
Two small letters with the recent snap shots of you and the kids arrived today and must hasten to say that you haven't changed in the least - still that sweet girl I left almost 2 years ago. I noticed that Son's legs about touch the ground while riding the pony. He has certainly shot up in the air - It appears that he has started to broaden out although I doubt if he will ever be as heavy as I for he isn't as heavy boned.
It seems like you are never quite caught up with your social engagements, if it isn't a party for one of the children it is a P.T.A. meeting or something. I can understand full well that with a large family your time is never your own. When do you plan to move into the apartment for the winter months? I believe that you have a much easier time of it when you are in town - Of course moving in twice each year is no small matter for you feel that everything must be in order before moving. Did Dad go to Ill.? You mention that Bill has been in bed for 4 days with a cold - Let's hope he is improved and will be O.K.
ALL MY LOVE Roddy
I have had some mighty interesting conversations with boys about their reactions when in the line. Of course they are scared stiff - they all tell me they have a fear of fear - by that they mean they are afraid they will not be able to take it and will be considered yellow by their buddies. This of course is a perfectly natural reaction to danger. During battle they get so keyed up that they haven't much time to think about personal danger. The officers tell me that there is nothing to compare with a G.I. soldier for courage daring and ability to think under pressure. I have missed all the experiences of being a front line soldier and my experiences are gained by talking with the fellows. However I realize I can do more good where I am - War news is hopefully good -
I love you dear. Roddy
Would be quite discouraging to me, to raise a family and have them turn out so unappreciative. Thank God neither one of us has any qualms of conscience about the way we have treated our parents. It is my earnest desire that we will never have to call upon our children for financial support but if this becomes necessary I am sure that they would consider it their pleasure. We have a great bunch mother! During my absence you have had a great opportunity to teach them resourcefulness which you have done to the fullest extent. In later years this will become a great asset to their characters. Also they seem to have an over abundance of love and consideration for you and have not forgotten about me in the least so shown by the way they have written to me.
Every day now seems to bring the Germans closer to defeat - they can't last much longer - they are like a prize fighter who has been knocked out on his feet just reeling around. Our work goes on in the same routine manner - nothing knew [sic] - Now our thoughts are more than ever with you at home I love you
Your Husband Roddy
Yesterday I sent three papal blessings that I mentioned in a previous letter. One is for our family, the other for St. Joseph's Church (Father Le Blond) in Spirit Lake and one for the LaSalette Seminary. I thought it would be nice to give the one for the LaSalette Seminary to Hattie Elston for presentation since she has always been quite active out there. These are all highly prized possessions of the Catholic people and should be a very welcome gift. I had sent Hattie the crosses in a previous package. I still have the rosaries that have been blessed by the pope. Shall I send them on or keep them until the war is over?
We have had extremely hot weather but the stone buildings remain quire cool during the day as there is always some breeze. We take off about an hour afternoons and get a nice sun bath each day. I need this for we rarely have time to leave the hospital during the day even though the work is a little slack at the present moments.
I love you Sweetheart Roddy
My Dearest Wife continued #3.
After you have been around the wounded boys awhile you develop a feeling of inadequacy and want to do everything in your power to hasten their convalescence and I wouldn't feel right about even asking about going home to convalesce myself unless the doctor in charge felt that two much time would be required before I would return to duty. You can never know how homesick and discouraged we all get at times but we cannot let this interfere with our duty to our country for after all that is the reason we are over here to make our country and homes a safe place for our children to grow up in and I don't believe that any sacrifice is two great for this. I am sure in due time my turn for rotation home will come up and you may be sure that will be a happy day. (continued)
I was so pleased that you have decided to study medicine. In many years I have always ...that at some time both you and Bill would be doctors and that we could practice together at the hospital. With your decision to study medicine it will be much easier for Bill to follow in your footsteps.
Mother has written me about your disappointment in not being chosen B.B. captain for next year. I am sure in my mind that you justly deserved this honor. It was only jealousy in the part of the Seniors that denied you this honor. In my letter to the family the other day I mentioned the fact that I wanted you to be big enough to accept this defeat gracefully. Just act as though nothing happened and go on putting every ounce of effort in your playing next year. I want you to make all state next year. You can do it I know. You certainly have a fine job this summer and you will undoubtedly save a lot of money. Your attitude as the senior male member at home of our family has been improving and I want you to know how much I appreciate the responsibility you are assuming.
With love Dad
Dearest Mary. Another interesting site lite [sic--sidelight] of our trip to Rome was Capt Mallo meeting his uncle's family there - He had passed away two months previously from a ulcer operation. This aunt was so glad to see him and we spent two evenings in their home and had some first hand information just how the Italian people felt about the Facist regime. We brought her brother back to his home in Anzio, his first trip there since the Allied landings. He was just about shocked to death to find all his earthly belongings including his home blasted to bits. I just don't know what these people will do this coming winter with some many homes in utter ruins.
Our hospital routine is going along at quite a normal pace - a fair amount of surgery that keeps us busy each day. The maxillofacial work is very interesting but would not like it as a specialty as the work is too limited but there are many fine points that can be utilized in general surgical problems and that is what I am interested in.
With love Roddy
My Dearest Wife No. 4)
There are so many officers and men that have had to carry the real burden at the front and they are certainly entitled to first chance at furloughs home rather than we who are relatively safe in the rear areas. This does not mean that we won't be happy when our turn comes for this is foremost in our minds at all times. Had a real surprise today Art Dare and Mike Mussenger stopped in to visit me - we had a grand visit about Spirit Lake - Mike has seen a lot of duty at the front line has been wounded twice and has a purple heart with a oak leaf cluster but is in fine health now. Thanks for the package honey it is nice to be remembered. Burn La Doux letter was very interesting telling all about the commercial clubs post war planning board. Bills letter was very sweet as usual, he seems to be looking forward to his 500 chicks and is happy in the thoughts of getting back to the cottage May 4th
I love you dear Roddy
...is swell that John Webb and Arnold Cook brought out the basketball and hung boards for you to practice on. I don't like the idea of your playing football this fall but if you insist on it there is nothing I can do about it. The fact that you are 6 ft. 3" and weigh 162 lbs I didn't think you would be strong enough to get batted around the football field - But if you are born with a competitive spirit I know just how unhappy would be not to be playing. So good luck and tell me just how things goes. How did your golf tournament turn out at Luverne Minn? Mother tells me that your own ambition now is to beat me playing bridge. Its been so long since I have tried it I am sure that you would excell but this point will have to be proven. Take your school work seriously this year Son it will pay big dividends
Lots of Love Dad
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