My father was deployed to the Aleutians islands in World War 2, which meant a year of isolation with lots of time for letter writing. He wrote almost daily to my mom, and one way to chart the procession of dark months is to look at his salutations. Back in boot camp and his first island posting, on Adak in the spring, most of the letters started with variations on Dearest Nunny, My darling, Nunny darling, and the occasional Little Lover. By the time he reached Attu, at the western extreme of the Aleutians and the last months of his tour, he had branched out:

My willowy one,

My quiet curassow,

O most delectable,

My Hemingway hating honey,

My pleasant capybara,

My incredibly loved infant,

My delectable darling

My wonderful wapiti

My passionate ptarmigan,

My adorable apple pie,

My favorite photographer,

My luscious little one,

My weird little watermelon,

Hello bodacious and beloved,

Allo my quaint little cabbage,

My cool charmant,

My bonnie ambivalent bivalve,

My pretty piltzer,

My consummately constructed consort,

and in the last few weeks before he was sent back to Seward, on the Alaska mainland where she could join him (posing as his sister)

My soon to be rejoined Rosita.

When she wrote to him she called him Butch.


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Oh my goodness, I have been bent over from hysterical laughter for past 30 minutes and I foresee no end in sight.

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