WW II Letters home, March 2

Sorry for my tardiness, family.  It is time for a letter from home post, but since he didn’t write about anything “Google-able” there isn’t anything for me to add to his letter for your enjoyment.  Christmas season is almost over and I will be back on schedule with weekend posts.  Enjoy.

Envelope post dated March 3, 1941

Mr. & Mrs. K.W. Rhoades & family
4011 North 30th Street
Omaha, Nebraska

Kenney Rhoades
U.S.S. Colorado
Pearl Harbor Honolulu T.H.
Box 14

Sunday, March 2

Dear Folks,

Well here I am again.  Its been quite a while since you have heard from me hasn’t it (2 weeks).  Well we just pulled in yesterday and are going out again in the morning on our annual maneuvers.  The talk is that we will be out a couple weeks and are going to cross the equator, woe is this poor pollywog.

Well that lucky Bill is leaving this hell hole Wednesday.  They are going back to Long Beach and then to Bremerton for a five month overall.  He will probably leave there, being in the dick[?] force.  We go back when they are finished.

Well how is everything back there?  We fired [the] main battery when we were out last time.  I didn’t get to see it as I was in the engine room, but boy I could sure feel it.  Felt like we were rolling over.

I went ashore last night didn’t do much, went to a movie and walked around a bit but that was all. I haven’t see Bill since we went out, but [I] imagine he will be over today as it will be our last chance to see each other before he goes back.

I was glad to hear you passed all your subjects, Dick.  Keep up the good work and maybe you can amount to more than your brother does.  I’m getting along pretty good and friendly with everyone, in fact I have more friends than you can slap a stick at.  Wednesday is payday you ought to be getting my allotment check pretty soon.  I had a few pictures taken yesterday.  They didn’t turn out very good but [I] am sending you one when I get some money together.  I will get the big one you wanted.  Well I can’t think any more sorry but there just isn’t any news.

We have what we think is the photo sent in this letter.  A black and white profile shot of Kenney standing on deck – close up.

Loads of love to all
write soon

On a separate paper with the letter…
Here is a poem I thought you might get a kick out of.

A Sailors Reward
I’ve been sitting here and thinking
of the things I’ve left behind
And I’d hate to put on paper
what’s running through my mind
We’ve dived a million bilges
and we’ve chipped ten miles of paint
And a meaner place this side of hell
well there just simply ain’t
But there is one consolation,
gather close and I will tell
When we die we’ll go to heaven
for we’ve done our hitch in hell
We’ve stood by endless hours
while waiting for our mail
We’ve stood a million watches
and been on all details
We’ve scrubbed a million mess halls
and a peeled million spuds
We’ve lashed a million hammocks
and washed our dirty duds
We’ve cruised a hundred thousand miles
and made a thousand ports
We’ve spent the night in dirty jails
for trying to be good sports
When final taps are sounded
and we lay aside life’s cares
And we’ve taken final shore leave
right up those golden stairs
And the angels will all welcome us
and the harps will start to play
And we’ve signed a million pay slips
to be spent in just one day
It is then we’ll hear Saint Peter
greet us loud with a yell
Take a front seat sailor
you’ve done your hitch in hell.

The author or exact date of this poem is unknown.  Another version is found written in a letter home by George Edward Jones of Tennessee in 1945 while serving on the USS Indianapolis.  Most likely this was a popular poem being passed around in the Navy.