WWII Love Letter

All’s fair in love and war

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by Jenny Cobb, Exhibit Assistant

Pilots Muriel “Mimi” (Lindstrom) Segall (1919–1999) and Bernard “B” Segall (1919–2007) met on a blind date in 1941 before beginning military service during World War II. Mimi left for Sweetwater, Texas to train as a Woman Airforce Service Pilot (WASP) while Segall served overseas as a glider and C-47 pilot.

The courtship continued throughout the war and the couple exchanged letters detailing their daily activities. Segall's letter to Mimi from July 18, 1943 is filled with observations about his time in North Africa. 

July 18, 1943

Darling,

Well, after all my screaming and yelling, I finally got back with the outfit and was most happy to find three letters from you. I’ve really been worried about the outcome of your WAFS deal, but from your latest letter it sounds as if everything is “roger”.

Honey, things have really been popping lately, and as a result I’m quite tight at the present. It is all a result of the big celebration we had today as our colonel got the DFC [Distinguished Flying Cross], and we wound it up with a steak supper and plenty of “vino”. It is the first meat I’ve had in two months that wasn’t canned in the U.S. All those references to fresh vegetables that you make almost drive me nuts.

Mim, you’re the only one including my folks that doesn’t write me that I ought to be glad that I’m not in their particular part of the country because of the heat and humidity. If they only knew that a few days ago it went 140 here and that the humidity is so high we just wring out a handful of air and get hot water to shave.

I had an interesting mission today—the censor won’t let me tell you about it but as a result of the flight I got some interesting souvenirs. The fact that we continually lose stuff is most convenient in view of the fact that it gives us more room to haul junk. I believe that half of the army will be well qualified to set up in the scrap iron business, after the war.

Say, I’ll take that blind date on New Year’s... it may not be this New Year’s but let’s make it sometime before 1950. By that time my moustache should be a lulu [outstanding]; incidentally the little French mademoiselles really go for it but I can’t particularly go for them. Not these in Africa.

Believe it or not, night before last I slept in a real bed with those white things on it—what do you call them—oh, yes, sheets. You know, it’s a funny thing when you think about it, but I believe the first place any of us head for upon hitting a town is the barber shop.

I just this minute heard some of the boys say that we may... with the kind permission of the censor, tell the folks back home that our ships made the initial paratrooper drop in Sicily. It was a most interesting show, and a good time was had by almost everyone. By the way, there’s an interesting article about Africa in the April 12 issue of “Life”, especially since we cracked Sicily.

Obviously, high altitude hasn’t agreed with this typewriter in the past, as it skips, fails to space, and misspells something awful. I got a letter from home and the folks are really cleaning up on the fishing. Sugar, there are two things we’ve got to do first thing together—go fishing and wring out an airplane. I intend to spend the first 6 months back in the states just fishing... how about coming along. I’ll do all the paddling.

Got to cut it short, as typewriters are at a premium, even at 11:00 at night. Tell Liz to send me squash.

All my love...and more still,

B

(over)

Before going to bed, I want to tell you about the mosquitos. They actually turn our “dog tags” over...and if we’re on our stomach, turn us over...to see if the blood type stamped on them suit their fancy.

Segall's letter alludes to the Allied victory and impending liberation of Sicily. The largely forgotten North African military campaigns of World War II were waged between September 13, 1940 and May 13, 1943, and consisted of three phases—the Western Desert campaign in western Egypt and eastern Libya, Operation Torch in Algeria and Morocco, and the Tunisia campaign. Fought between the Allies and Axis powers, many of whom had colonial interests in Africa, the Allied effort was led by the British Commonwealth. Following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941, they were joined by the United States in May 1942.

The Allied victory in North Africa in May 1943 became critically important to the course of the war as it destroyed and neutralized nearly 900,000 German and Italian troops, opened a second front against the Axis, and permitted the invasion of Sicily and the Italian mainland. By July 1943, American, British, and Canadian forces landed in Sicily and began the push toward Benito Mussolini’s Rome, Nazi-held Paris and ultimately, two years later, Adolf Hitler’s Berlin.

Mimi Lindstrom and B Segall’s courtship continued through the war and for five more years before they married in May 1950. They lived in Louisiana, Arkansas, and Colorado before settling in Austin.

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WWII Love Letter Artifact from Fredericksburg, Texas
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