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Issue 1638
Presents
ERB: The War Years Series
Letters to Caryl Lee Burroughs Chase
Folder 1
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All letters are copyright 2006 by Lee Chase
and appear courtesy of Lee Chase.

Caryl Lee and Ebby
Correspondence 1942-1943

Edgar Rice Burroughs
1298 Kapiolani Boul
Honolulu
February 5, 1942
Miss Caryl Lee Burroughs,
316 North Rossmore,
Los Angeles, California.

Darling:

Your letter of January 17 arrived on the 3rd, which is much better than some of my mail is making. Some of it I never get at all.  Being at war naturally upsets everything. It hasn't upset my digestion, but it's gotten  my goat several times; and I was very fond of that goat. I had him so that he would eat out of my hand.  However, every time the war gets him, I manage to get him back; and I am trying to train him so that nothing will ever get him again.

I was sorry to hear of your illness. I hope that you are all right again by now. Mumps are no fun, and I hope that you didn't have them badly.

Thanks for the picture. It doesn't look like you. I am sure that you have not changed that much in eleven months. I'd like a nice picture of you with your hair done up on top of your head. If I can arrange to with a photographer there to take one, will you go and have it made/

Tommy and Rotui are still around, and there are several million more children at the Niumalu. Most of them are very nice, however. The schools are starting up again; so we may have a few hours respite from them daily. They don't bother me, but the mothers seem to look forward to getting rid of them.

I always enclose a stamped, self-addressed envelope with my letters to you. Why don't you use them? Maybe you are making a collection of them and pasting them in a scrapbook. People do funny  things like that.

Hulbert has enlisted and is stationed at Hickam Field. He likes it very much - the officers, the men, and his work, which is photography. He was up for ten hours the other day in a Flying Fortress, making publicity pictures for the Air Force. I envy him.

I am in the BMTC (Businessmen's Training Corps). We were told yesterday that the army is going to furnish us with uniforms which we shall be expected to wear  at all times, in addition to packing a .45 Colt and a gas mask.  I think I shall make a very funny looking soldier, but not as funny as when you last saw me, as I have now taken off 29 pounds and brought my waist down from 40" to 35". But if I ever have to chase a Jap more than a few yards, I'll be a wreck.

I try to keep in shape by playing tennis every day. I have found a number of people who are kind enough to play with me, despite the gosh-awful game I play.

I miss you and hope that you love me as much as you used to. I love you a whole heartful. Perhaps some day I shall see you again, but probably not until the war is over, and I want to stay here as long as Hulbert is stationed here.

When you write, tell me all the news and what you are doing.
Love
Ed (sig)


Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc.
Tarzana, California
Telephone Reseda 222
1298 Kapiolani Boulevard
Honolulu, T H
February 23 1942
Dearest Caryl Lee:

Your letter of January 21 reached me February 17, and of course I was glad to hear from you and to know that you are working for the Red Cross. We shall all have to work very hard until this war is won, and then keep on working until everything is running smoothly again. But we have a country and a cause that are worth working for.

Tommy and Rotui have gone back to the mainland, and Rotui's aunt has asked me for Lee's address; so that Rotui can visit him. A great many people have left the hotel recently, but new people are moving in. As I am not very good at remembering faces, I say "Hello!" to everybody, which keeps me quite busy while going to and from meals.

Every once in a while I get a letter from you that makes me think your handwriting is improving, and then along comes another which knocks me for a loop. No one, not even a Philadelphia lawyer, could decipher the last sentence in your most recent letter. If a censor had opened it, he might well have thought that you were either writing in some unknown foreign language or passing on Fifth Column information in code. If you don't improve, they'll have you in the hoosegow. As I think I told you once before, a person's character and culture are often judged by his handwriting; so you should be very careful to develop a clear legible hand.

Every time I write you, I enclose a stamped, self-addressed envelope; but you never use them any more. How come? And when I ask you questions, you don't answer them. Also, how come?

Last Friday I had a flight in a Flying Fortress. There were six Fortresses in the group. Five of them flew in formation, while the one I was in flew over and under and around the others, so that an Associated Press photographer could take pictures. The air was rough, and I stood most of the time between the two open gun ports, so that I could look out, I was so afraid that I would miss something. The ocean, far below, looked like dark blue ice, flecked with snow (the whitecaps); and the destroyers we flew over resembled tiny toys. I searched for Jap subs; but, like the whales I used to look for, none showed up. The five Fortresses in formation were a beautiful and inspiring sight. I wish that you could have been with me to see them. Against the blue sky and the white clouds, they formed a picture that will always remain with me.

I hope that you are quite well and happy, and that you will write me a nice letter, full of news, that I can read.

Love,
Ed (sig)

I don't use my other name; because others now read my letters, and I think it rather silly.


Honolulu
April 6, 1942
Dear Caryl Lee:

Your letter postmarked March 13 just arrived yesterday, and also the picture. The latter is darling. I am glad to have it, but wish I had you instead.

In your letter you say that you would like to have some money. There are a lot of people in the same boat with you. As to the bicycle, I understand that the government has stopped the sale of them. I'll look into the matter. I should like ever so much to get you a bicycle, but there are two reasons why it may not be possible.

Who's your friend in the picture with you? Where was the picture taken? Of course you won't answer these questions; because you never really answer any of my letters. But then, it's fun asking.

Did Rotui ever get in touch with you? I had a letter from Betty Browder today. But maybe you didn't know her. She is the daughter of a commander. I guess they came after  you left. She is twelve. She and her mother are living in Coronado now.

There is really not much news to write you. Did I tell you that Hulbert is a corporal now in the 7th Air Force? He makes a very handsome soldier.

I drove out to the Pflueger's yesterday for a few minutes. Jimmy was in bed with sinus trouble. Shada is doing important war work, and gets home only about once in ten days.

Have not seen the Mitchells for a long time on account of gasoline rationing. I talked with Bill on the phone the other day, and also with Jack Halliday. They are all well, but Betty is very nervous. She should not have remained here. The nervous strain gets some people down, but most every one accepts the situation calmly.  We all feel that there may be more nuisance raids, and many think that there will be an attempted invasion. But no one knows - except the Japs.  So long as it isn't going all their way in Australia and the Philippines, I doubt if they will spare ships and planes to bother us.

Lots of love, Sweetheart.
Ed (sig)


1298 Kapiolani Boulevard
Honolulu  T H
May 7 1942
Darling Caryl Lee:

Your letter postmarked April 10 reached me yesterday. You still never answer any of the questions I ask you, nor do you tell me any news about yourself. I am sure these things are not military secrets.

I am very busy, working from 8 or 9 in the morning to 6 in the afternoon. Some days until 11 at night. All my work is for the war effort. I can't do much, but it keeps me busy just the same.

Since you sent me a picture a a very lovely little girl, I am sending you one of a funny mans. He looks a little wrinkled in the pants, but in five minutes after he puts on a freshly pressed uniform he looks like this. It is one of the mysteries of life.

There is not much to write you that I am permitted to write. Everything is quiet here. We don't even hear rumors of subs or Jap planes any more. The soldiers all wish that they would come again. They want to give them "what for". I'd like a shot at one myself. If he were very large and close enough, I might hit him.

Did you get the grass skirt I sent you a long time ago?

I shall have to make an envelope for this because the funny mans takes up too darned much room, and I don't want to bend him. He looks bent enough as it is. Anyway, I am about out of stationery. Ralph shipped me some several months ago, but it never arrived.

Write me when you feel like it. Lots of love and kisses, dear. Maybe some day I can give you some real kisses.

Aloha!
Ed (sig)


1298 Kapiolani Boulevard
Honolulu  T H
September 1, 1942
Darling Caryl Lee:

Your letter of August 10 reached me on my birthday, which made my birthday all the nice. A nice birthday party was given me last evening. It was a surprise party. Most of my best friends at the Niumalu were there, including two generals. I don't know whether you remember "Brownie". She is a very pretty girl with a marvelous sun tan. She looked up my birthday in Who's Who, and then arranged the party.  "Duke' Willey wrote a poem and read it. He also gave me a toy anti-aircraft gun, with which we shot cigarettes at one another. Everyone had a good time, and then I had dinner with Brownie and several others.

When your picture comes, that will be another birthday present. I am very anxious to see it. I am sure you must be very pretty. You always have been. If you have grown prettier, I shall probably be knocked for a loop.

Did you ever get the pikake shell lei and the record I sent you? As you have never mentioned them or the bills I occasionally enclosed, I don't know whether you got them or not.

The BMTC took part in army maneuvers Sunday. I was sent to the 25th Division Headquarters as liaison officer. A lieutenant called for me in a jeep at 11:00 P.M. Saturday and I didn't get home until 4:30 Sunday afternoon, nor to bed again until 8:30. That was a long time for me to stay awake. The "enemy" dynamited and bombed us out of three command posts, which kept us on the move most of the time. We ended up in the fourth in a place called Dead Horse Gulch, which isn't its real name, but a name the soldiers have given it. It sounds like the wooly west.

A couple of weeks ago I was entertained by the commanding officer of a tank group and some of his staff. They gave me an hour's ride in a tank and then took me to lunch. I had a swell time. In a few days I am going to drive a tank. If it works like Granpa Kazink's Ford, I can run it right back to Los Angeles. Then we'll have fun.

Next Sunday eight of us BMTC officers are invited to visit the Naval Air Base at Kaneohe as guests of CApt. Dillon, USN, commanding officer of the base. I am looking forward to it with a great deal of pleasure. The army has been wonderful to us, because we come in such close contact with it; so it pleased us very much to have the Navy take an interest in us, too.

I attended a critique on the maneuvers at Fort Shafter today. Many complimentary things were said concerning the excellent showing made by BMTC. We "captured" or "killed" many enemy troops and sent in a great deal of valuable information on enemy movements to headquarters. It mad us all feel pretty good.

I suppose none of this is very interesting to you, but I must fill the page. I could fill it with love and kisses, but that might be even more tiresome.

(I got it filled.) Lots of love,
Ed (sig)


1298 Kapiolani Boulevard
Honolulu  T H
October 7, 1942
Caryl Lee dear:

Your letter postmarked Sep 17 reached me yesterday.  You say that I haven't written for a long time. I have answered all of your letters. The reason you didn't hear from me for several weeks was because I received no letter from you between June 22 and Sep 1; so I had no letter to answer all that time.

Am very glad that you like your school work and your teacher. I never liked mine. I think that in my day they looked over all the sour pusses and then picked out the sourest for teachers. These immediately  tried to make schooling as obnoxious as possible. They succeeded in this if in nothing more. Possibly we were not very sweet little angels ourselves.

Your picture is framed and standing on a chest of drawers where I can see it easily. Everyone who come in my room asks whose picture it is and remarks on how lovely you are.

Hulbert is away again, way down in the Southwest Pacific somewhere. This is his second trip there inside of a month. He expects to be gone about a month. He flew down in a very big bomber. He has been lucky to get these interesting assignments. He got as far as Australia the first time, and he hopes to get there again this time. He liked Australia.

I cannot send you any more currency; because we have our own special Hawaiian money here, and no one is permitted to send any of it out of the Territory. This money was issued us so that if the Japs take the Islands, the money will be useless to them anywhere else. It is good only here.

There is not much excitement here now, although we are always preparing for and expecting another Jap raid. You would scarcely know the Island now. Everything has changed - even the color of many of the buildings. And there is barbed wire everywhere, often in the most unexpected places. The Army is ready, and it never ceases getting readier. The Japs will get a warm welcome when they return. They won't know the old town either.

A part of my work now is rather interesting. The commanding officer of an anti-aircraft regiment has asked me to visit each of his batteries and give the men a fifteen minute or twenty minute talk. I am taken by an officer in a jeep or command car about noon, have luncheon with the officers of the battery, and then talk to the men. As I have an idea that they are bored stiff, I make it as short as possible. I am becoming very familiar with anti-aircraft guns. I have even fired one. I hit the sky right in the center. First there is the roar of the gun; then, a few seconds later, one sees the burst of the shell far up in the sky. After what seems a long time, the sound of the burst is heard. It takes much longer for the sound to travel back than it did for the shell to travel up.

I hope that you will write to me soon, I love to get your letters.
Aloha Nui Nui!
Ed (sig)


1298 Kapiolani Boulevard
Honolulu  T H
October 31  1942
 
Caryl Lee dear:

Am sending you this enclosed check for your birthday present a little early, as I may be sent away almost any day now and not get back in time to get it to you before November 29.  I hope that you have a very happy birthday - many, many of them.

I do not know where they are going to send me, but it will be a long way off.

Did you read about Hulbert in the paper? It was in a United Press release that probably appeared in one of the los Angeles papers. He was in a bomber that bombed the airfield at Buka and Jap shipping in Shortland harbour. They flew through anti-aircraft fire over the Buka, and thirty eight Jap warships fired anti-aircraft at them over Shortland.  They were attacked twice b Zeros, twenty-five in all; and the plane was hit many times by machine gun fire and once by a shell that failed to explode and remained in the ship.  After they got back to Guadalcanal, they were bombed from the air, and shelled by a Jap land battery and Jap warships all the rest of the day and all night. Hulbert says that the shelling was terrifying. They spent most of the time in slit trenches, or any other place they could find a little cover. He and another man dove into an old shell hole that our bombers had made when we were attacking the airfield. It was very dark, but they soon discovered that the Marines had been using the hole as a garbage dump. Nevertheless, they dug their faces into the garbage and tin cans when they heard the whine of an approaching shell. The next morning they took off while the Japs were shelling the airfield.

I hope that when I come back I shall find a letter or two from you. Now I must go back to the Niumalu for one of their delectable luncheons. Anyway, I like Them. They help me to keep my girlish figure.

Are you going to change your name again, or keep mine?  I should like very much to have you keep it, if you care to.

Lots of love, my dear!
Ed (sig)


1298 Kapiolani Boulevard
Honolulu  T H
November 11 1942
Caryl Lee dear:

Your letter of October 27th reached me today. I was very glad to hear from you. I see that you have changed your name. Nevertheless, you will always be Caryl Lee Burroughs to me.

Tell your mother that I see Milt and Normie occasionally; but, owing to the Blackout, there isn't much night visiting, and we are all working daytimes. They often ask me to come over to the Racquet Club of a Sunday, but it is a long trip to contemplate in the face of gasolene rationing and the tire situation. I did drive over to the Hallidays' last Sunday to say goodbye to them. Had a fine time and stayed all night. Mr Halliday has been recommended by an admiral for appointment as a lieutenant commander in the Navy. We all hope he gets it. Have not seen Mrs Haerle since you left. They dropped me like a hot potato. Haerle is now a major.

Am still waiting for transportation. The war may be over before I get it. Did I tell you that I am a United Press Correspondent? My credentials came through from the War Department several weeks ago. This is how it comes that I am going to be sent away - or hope to be.

Thanks for your insignia . I'll enclose my BMTC insignia in return. How do you like being a WAFC? I suppose you work pretty hard at it. When we have an army of 7,000,000 men, it is going to keep you quite busy.

Monday night I went out on a practice maneuver with an anti-aircraft battery. There were eighteen vehicles in the convoy. Enormous trucks, called prime movers, hauled the guns and the range section. We drove over a narrow, winding road into an old cane field. They set up the big guns, the range section, and the machine guns in the dark. We bivouacked there for the night. Captain Bird and I slept in a prime mover, where an orderly had made our beds. We got to bed about midnight, but a billion dive-bombing mosquitoes kept me awake nearly all night. I got up and dressed a little after six, and at 7 chow was served. I had been issued a regulation mess kit. It took me back many years to my days in the 7th Cavalry. Everything was just the same with the exception of the tin cup. That had been improved on. We had coffee, pineapple, creamed beef, potatoes, and the best toast I ever ate. That GI bread is wonderful. After breakfast I washed my mess kit, but the orderly made my bed roll. Do you know what GI means? Government Issue. This bread was baked in an Army bake shop at Schofield Barracks. After breakfast, we broke camp and returned to Honolulu.

Lots of love, my dear!
Ed (sig)


1298 Kapiolani Boulevard (Not "Kapoloney")
Honolulu  T H

March 12  1943
Caryl Lee dear:

I have our letter of March 1, in which you say that you have not heard from me for a long time. I cannot understand why; because even though I have been away for three months, I have written you. On December 11, I wrote you from an island "Somewhere in the South Pacific". On December 27, I wrote you from Australia, just thinking that you would like to have a letter from that far continent. Did you never get them? When I left Honolulu, December 5, I asked Hulbert to mail you the photograph of me for which you had asked. You have not told me that you received it. Did you? Then I wrote you just a week ago, after my return to Honolulu.

Yes, it would be nice to have a typewriter; but they are very difficult to get now on account of the war. ONe has to have a mighty good reason before one can obtain a priority. So I guess that you will have to wait until after the war. There are lots of things that we are all going to have to do without.

As soon as I can get around to it, I'll send you a little package of junk I picked up on my travels. Nothing that amounts to very much. Just souvenirs. I have been very busy since I returned. Among other things, I had three months accumulation of mail to acknowledge.

Let me tell you of a very amusing gift I bought yesterday. A girl whose husband (Capt. Phil Bird) has been very kind to me, had a baby girl Wednesday. I wanted to get the baby a silver cup, but there is not a single silver baby cup in all of Honolulu. Nor will there be another for the duration. All I could find was a silver mint julep cup. So I went that. When she grows up, she will have fun explaining about her World War II baby cup. Unless she joins the WCTU.

Lots of love, hugs, and kisses.
Ed (sig)


Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc.
Tarzana, California
Telephone Reseda 222
1298 Kapiolani Boulevard
Honolulu, T H

April 6 1943
Caryl Lee dear:

You certainly do have your troubles, don't you. Well most of us do. I'll help out with the repairs on your bicycle. When you get it fixed, take good care of it. We've got to take good care of everything we have now, as it may be a long, long time before we can replace many of the things that were once so easy to get.

I came near coming home not so long ago. When I asked for surface ship transportation from New Caledonia to Honolulu, I was told that I would have to go by freighter or transport to California and then take another ship back to Honolulu. But at the last minute, they put me aboard a ship sailing for Honolulu. The other way would have meant a journey of about three months duration. In a way, I was lucky; but I should like to have come home for a visit.

It is quite dull here. Once in a while I go to a party, or play cards at the hotel. Yesterday, I went to a party given by General Emmons at the Waialae Country Club. I went with General White. I doubt that you would remember him. You never saw so many generals in your life as there were at that party. Mr. and Mrs. Pflueger sat at the next table, and there were many other people there whom I knew.

I was interested to know that you are working at the Blood Bank. It is fine that you are doing something to help win the war. We all should.

There are only two children at the Niumalu, but they often make enough noise for ten. The coconuts still drop on our roofs like bombs, and Totsie's cats howl at night. The meals have progressively deteriorated until often I cannot eat them. We have no menus now, because we have no choice. There is one thing - take it or leave it. A Filipino pantry boy does the buying and dictates what we are to eat. The hotel is run by the servants for the servants, and if the guests don't like it they can get out. But I like the people there, and it is a good place to reduce.

Maybe I'll see you again some day. What shall we do then?

Love and kisses!
Ed (sig)


Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc.
Tarzana, California
Telephone Reseda 222
1298 Kapiolani Boulevard
Honolulu, T H
April 10  1943
Caryl Lee dear:

Am sending you a few little things by parcel post. They are just souvenirs of my trip South.

The pikake necklace is made of shells gathered and strung by ex-cannibals of the Fiji island of Vita Levu, where I acquired it. I though you could wear it when you dance the hula.

There is also a so-called Australian "black opal" that I picked up in Sydney, Australia.

The little sea horse was made by natives of Vita Levu from the shell of a tortoise.

And there are a few pieces of money that you can't spend. Isn't that too bad!

Love,
Ed (sig)



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