Transcribed by James Fox, September 2004|
from the Deposit-Coach Fox WW2 Letters Collection
Pvt. Kenneth M. Crowley (letter 1/5)
Deposit High School Class of 1937
Anzio Beach-head, Italy
May 13, 1944
Dear Mr. Fox,
Received your long letter of April 18, here on the beach-head tonight and very glad to hear from you, as long as I have been over-seas it is the first letter from the school I have received, so to show my appreciation will get an answer on the way pronto.
Even though this is written on a machine there will be a few mistakes no doubt, but no doubt you can decipher much easier than my poor pen-manship. Believe it or not this writing is being composed below the surface of the ground, reminds one of the times when you were kids, digging a hole, then call in the crowd, at present it is on the same principle only on a much larger scale.
From your letter I notice that you have quite a change over in teachers, I hear quite often from one of the teachers that has been with you quite some time, namely, Mrs. Emma J. Thompson,* from her letters I have followed the school news quite a bit, Since the Deposit Courier dosen't publish the school paper as it used to, you don't get the low down on every-thing, but in your letter is just like receiving the old Student Broadcast, by the way is it still published at school.
In one of the most recent Couriers I recieved I noticed for a farewell game to the Basket Ball Season, they had quite a mix up of players, especially on the mens side of the ledger, and to top it all off the Coach, none other than the old man of the school, Mr. Gene Kelsey,* did you by chance participate in this great game, or are you now classed as a spectator, (were the fouls the referee called on the up and up from your point of view).
Quite often over here one thinks back on his school days and then thinks of the circumstances now, you really relish the first mentioned days, I remember best of all the year that Max Gartell, Bidge Smith,* and myself won the League Championship in Tennis, which was quite a surprise to us all, but it did happen. Yes, you think again of those days and the fellows that participated and you now know the where-abouts, one can easily say, they are on a spread formation, Lester Page, Vernon Kelley*, and Freddie McGill are some where in this part of the world, I saw Freddie while I was in the hospital in March and April, we had quite a few long talks about the school and our home town vicinity, incidently Freddie was the first fellow from home I met over-seas.
I was in hopes a year ago when we were in Africa that I might be home for this year's Junior Prom, but from the looks of things at present it is going to be quite impossible this year, maybe next year I might make it, I sure hope so. Referring to the month of June reminds me that it is also the final regents exams, I hope the students under you do a fine job and make a good showing for the good old D.H.S., even though some of us failed in years gone by.
I really enjoyed your most recent letter, now that you know the address, keep them coming, letters like the one I received tonight and I will try and do my best from this side of the world, to answer each and every-one them to my best ability, and so for tonight I will take a powder, best of luck during Regents Week, good night,
Hello to Mrs. Martin,* your Secretary, and Teachers I know.
A former student,
Kenneth M. Crowley
*[Emma Jean Thompson, social studies teacher; G. Kelsey; custodian; Kenneth O. "Bidge" Smith (DCS '38); Verner Kelly; Mrs. Blanche Barre Martin.]
Pvt. Kenneth M. Crowley (letter 2/5)
July 8, 1944
Mr. Frederick Fox:
Just to show you how punctual we are in answering your letters, here is a answer to your latest letter of May 26 and June 22, which I received from you today I believe in Italy they call it Pronto (quick).
I just returned from quite a nice trip South here in Italy, (it was legal too) I will mention the name of the city I happened to visit it may be censored but if not, it was Naples. I happened to be there two nights, as it happened I knew the where-abouts of Freddie McGill so he made arrangements for me to stay at his location, or should I say put me up for a couple of nights which made it very convenient, instead of having to roll out your roll, where he is one enjoys the comfort of mattress and springs that is one advantage of being attached to a hospital unit over-seas. It so happened that Lester Page had spent a few nights with him a week hence, so I obtained his address from Freddie, and coming back to our own area, (some distance away) I ran across Lesters outfit so I stopped and saw him for about an hour and a half, we talked about some of the old times and especially of different happenings in sports we participated in under your nobel direction, it was just like an old time re-union that is how it is when you meet over-seas.
The part of your letter containing the different things that have been added to the schools possessions sure is keeping up with the time, imagine a coke machine (by the way what is a coke), and the newest addition M-1 a Jute Box. I sure would like to see the new curtain you obtained for the stage it must be swell. I received the Courier today of May 18th containing a letter from Raymie T.*, stating that he met Walker* somewhere in the Pacific Theatre of operations, they sure were quite a pair, were they not.
I remember the date of June 23rd, last I had a date for that event*, made it quite some time ago when we were in Africa, but unforseen occurences took place to prevent it for this year, but maybe next year will be a different sort of happenings - who can tell! Anyway it's a thought for now. I took quite a notice about Mr. Kelsey* becoming a teacher, that is what they would say WORKING way up from the bottom, (Cabish)- Italian for understand. He always said his days were coming, now they are there. I noticed in a Courier a short time back about Bidge Smith* being a Lueitenant in a outfit which throws that land with a BANG after traveling quite some distance, more power to him and a 155 Howitzer.
From the different places you have received letters from one might say that you have visited nearly every part of the Universe, it sure must be interesting receiving letters like that, but in times like these anything can happen, or can it. I suppose by now Bill Axtell and his Hambletville Giants have finished spring training and are now half way through there season with the usual losses, no doubt by this time he has had to farm out some of his players and have his talent scouts bring some in from the farms (near-by) so as to finish the season out in the CELLAR. as per usual....
If I remember correctly when you mentioned t Pete VanPelt about having to burn down the school to get rid of him his face would turn all colors (mostly-red), Pete could run Max Gartell a close second at the centre position, also at first base - I would like to know how he likes France I believe he is there somewhere.
Are they having a baseball team in town this year or not but I suppose most of the fellows have lost interest due to other happenings here and there at the present, and of course as you have mentioned in your letter, your age* prevent you from keeping up with the younger fellows around, but personally I don't think so.
Well coach, I have covered quite a bit for tonite don't you think and my mistakes are starting to increase so I think this would be a good time to say, good-nite for now,
A former Student
Kenneth M. Crowley
P.S. (2) Keep your letters coming just like they are, they are very interesting to us you can be sure, I really enjoy receiving them and do my best to enlighten you on a few things from this side of the World.
Please excuse the mistakes here and there as it has been quite some time since I departed from good old D.C.H.S. but I think of it quite often, write soon and you will have another answer, so until then
*[Raymond Truesdale; Willis "Milt" Walker; Junior Prom; Gene Kelsey, custodian became industrial arts teacher when Paul McLenithen entered the Army; Kenneth O. "Bidge" Smith; Coach Fox was age 38.]
Pvt. Kenneth M. Crowley (letter 3/5)
October, 12, 1944
Received your latest edition of the "RememberSheet", here in Italy, last evening, I don't know about the rest of the fellows, formerly Regulars of some fine teams, as for my-self I sure look forward to receiving it each month. Little did we realize at the time we were practicing and taking orders from you, what was in store for us, many of the things we learned at that time, come in mighty useful in our daily lives over hare, especially how to take care of yourself, take for instance all of a sudden you have to hit a hole fast, remember how we used to get practice for that by hitting the ground in practices. Yes little did we realize at that time, how it would help later on, but believe you me, it sure did.
I think that all of the former members of the "Varsity D" will approve of Bucky's* idea of a get-to-gather, soon after we all return to the foot-hills of the Catskills, where would be a better place to swap experiences, and of course in your presence, for Censorship, no doubt you will hear repeated what you have received in letters from the fellows. Referring to "pete" VanPelt walking with the bottom of a tank out,* "Think" how Lowell Frank* would look like sleeping in a "Put Tent", comparing the length of Lowell and a pup tent, that would be a miracle, I think. I imagine the fellows now in France, names which you referred to, must have had quite a time in"Gay Parie", but due to the swiftness in which it was taken, I don't think they had much time. I remember a boast which Father Buck made at one time, maybe you never heard of it, but he will now have something he never expected to do. I understand Ray Vigus had a little tough luck entering France, but he did his part and without a doubt they had another good man like Ray to follow up his footsteps, as you know in a game like this, you have to have Subs, who can get right in there and take over where the Varsity Member finished.
Now that school is again in session, for another term, and you and the teachers have had your troubles getting over the first few weeks, things are now running smoothly, and before to long exams will furnish you with the results for now, and a basis for the Final Exams in June 1945, which just shows how a prelimanry is very essential in any-thing. At the present time I have hopes of attending the next Junior Prom, of which I had to sweat out at the time, of course one never knows what is going to happen next, does one.
It is quite amazing what a fellow can remember, but once he is on foreign soil, he thinks back on quite a few things, no doubt whoever you were referring that you owed a soda, and remembered it after Cassiano, Anzio, and other places, I grant you he is carrying one of the new type fox-holes, the portable ones you know, something like that is added every day. Our newest arrival to this theatre I understand is Lt. John Findley Brown, from the title of Brown it looks as if he has gone a long ways since he was a varsity player, you no doubt know the kind of an outfit he is with without my mentioning it, the speed he used to do the 100 yard dash in, is no comparison to the speed he travels now*, more power to him. I think I wrote you before that I was fortunate enough to see Lester "Flipper" Page some time ago, where he is now is far beyond my knowledge, he is following is work in civilian life, and is doing all right , it must be in his system.
For this time, Coach, another edition of the Overseas "Remembersheet" is about to come off the press, I think that I have covered quite a bit this time without to many errors, Closing with best success to you and your faculty members for the coming Fisical School Year,
A Former Student
Kenneth M. Crowley
Will be waiting for your next edition of your overseas Edition.
Regards to some of the Former Teachers under whom I studied, which are few now I think.
*[Paul Buck; Pete VanPelt wrote from France that all of the souvenirs he had in his tank made him look like a junk-dealer; Lowell "Legs" Frank was about 6' 6"; Johnny Brown was in the Army Air Corps.]
Pvt. K. M. Crowley (letter 4/5)
November 12, 1944
APO New York
[A Christmas Card]:
Buon Natale or a Merry Christmas 1944 and a Happy New Year from Italy.
Pvt. Kenneth M. Crowley (letter 5/5)
January 17th 1945
Mr. Frederick Fox:
Received your X-mas letter here last night, and from the date, I grant you it took quite some time to reach me this time, but we always look forward to your letters, this time again I will answer it by the Mechanical Method, rather that the Palmer method, it will be much easier for you to deciper it, than by using the latter , nuff said.
I notice form your letter that the Team of "44" did not do so well during the football season, I understand the games were played under the six or seven man rule this year due to lack of different things. Maybe you saw in the papers back home and maybe you didn't about the foot-ball game played over here in Italy in the "Spaghetti Bowl" between the Fifth Army and the Twelfth Air Force, fortunately I was lucky enough to be able to see some of the game, and I assure you it was quite all right, from our point of view, colorful and all the things that goes into making a New Years Day game, If I had one of the programs I would send it on for your personal inspection, most all of the players were former College players somewhere, the Fifth Army Star of the game was a Negro Full-back, and he sure did some nice line bucking, and end running, also for the Fifth Army, they had another colored boy playing first string center, cameras and newsreels were taken of the game, maybe by this time you have seen it on the screen, and to end the above description, I will add that the Army did not forget its traditional mascott, they had a Mule parading around before the game, and during the half-time it crossed the field and payed its compliments to the air Force Team, all in all it was quite a sight to see, maybe when we have our reunion at the Varsity "D" I can forward to you a more picture, as I know you will be interested, am I right. .Personally I don't think that there will ever be the quintet such as tghe one that played during the reign of Stienman, Briggs, Frank, Truesdale, and Pierce,* but I will say that Max Gartell ran a very close second to Legs, maybe you have a different opinion , in your fancy heading on which I compliment you in think up for the occassion, did you or did you not forget one team that won a Championship, even though it wasn't a varsity sport, of course I am referring to the Tennis Team, we had that year, of course that was some time ago, but you should remember it, especially when didnt have a chance, but came through for D.H.S.
I notice you have set a date for the reunion for the "D" of course I can forward any definite information as to that, all I can say for the time being is that "I hope that I can be there" instead of having to be forced to resign from the team, and I think that every one connected with it feels the same, with out a doubt, with the exception of one (1) namely "Paul" who may settle down in Ireland if everything works all as he thinks it is now, more power to him, he man need it. As days, months, go by finds more of the former players scattered through-out the different theaters of operations, first here then there, but some day the Theater of Operation will be in the Foot hills of the Catskills, on the Delaware, that let me forward as just a hint for "D" day, for us all.
It was always said that queer things take place in the lower end of town, now that you have forwarded information that this past season of hunting, you were one of the fortunate one a deer, maybe it is the same one that you have been trailing all of the past seasons, and decided to call it quits, better for all concerned, of course if you can forward any definite proof that it was shot on the Level I will withdrawl the above statement in my next letter to you, so until then I remain,
Kenneth M. Crowley
*[Albert Steinman, Pat Briggs, Everett "Legs" Frank, Stacey Truesdale, and Tom Pierce