Excerpt from Dearest Marguerite
                                            by Marguerite Young (Nancy's mother)





                                                          
                                                           
From the South Pacific

    November 1, 1943:  “We dickered with the natives and they thatched the sides of our tent about two feet
    around the bottom. It looks like a real native structure now. The natives are quite clever with their use of
    natural materials. They get broad leaves out of the jungle and make mats out of them by weaving and tying
    the leaves together with small vines. They then put the mats together and make huts. The huts are rainproof
    and cooler than other structures. The natives speak a crude kind of English which sounds like a mixture of pig
    Latin and baby talk. It is almost impossible to understand, but they understand plain English fairly well so we
    can tell them what we want even though they can’t answer back.

    “We are all getting yellow complexions from the yellow atabrine pills that we take to keep down malaria. It
    will go away when we quit taking the pills. We also take a daily vitamin tablet to supplement our diet which is
    lacking in fresh foods.

    “I’m still waiting for news of the new arrival. You have told me not to worry, but I can’t help but be anxious
    and impatient. To have a baby of our own, a part of us, will go toward making our home even happier than
    before, although that hardly seems possible.”  Lyle was drawing house plans for the house we hope to build
    some day. “I finally sent the house plans. Hope you like them . . . the color scheme will be entirely up to you.

    “Did you ever receive the $170 I sent October 8th? Summarizing, I've sent $180 and $170, besides the allotments
    which were $150 up until October and then $250 for the first time this month. You've been doing very well
    saving, darling. That can go toward a house, furniture or a car when I get back. Don’t deny yourself or the
    baby anything you need or want. Above all I want you to be well cared for.

    “I was talking with a native the other day who could speak good English. He has great admiration for American
    and Americans. He said that he had seen many pictures of the beautiful buildings, roads, cars and trains in the
    U.S. and hoped to see them some day. He has never seen a white woman. I showed him your picture which
    I carry in my billfold and he said, ‘Very good wife’ and added, ‘You lucky’. He’s not the only one who knows
    that.

    “We've been all working hard, long hours and putting out every effort to ‘keep ‘em flying’. I’m proud of my
    men and their ability to put out a lot of work and all precision too. We are still getting our daily swim. That is
    one of the best features of this place. After getting hot and dirty there is nothing like it. The stream is fast and
    clear and the banks are lined with dense jungle which almost covers over the top. The jungles are steaming hot.

    “You mention in a letter about the philosophies of the men changing due to the war. I think that a lot of the
    men will change. Those that have something stable like a wife and family will be the least affected. One day I
    wrote down my thoughts. Here they are:  ‘I am a censor. A censor has a job that gives him a hard look into the
    personal lives and thoughts of his men. Those personal bits are none of my business, yet they are there and
    must be read. Men resent another reading their correspondence until they realize it is first necessary for military
    reasons, and second, their personal affairs are not open to anyone but the censor. This duty has given me a
    better understanding of men. Outwardly a soldier may be anything:  rough, cruel, hateful, kind, respectful, or
    mild, but inside there is the spark or flame of the good that is in all men. War’s cruelty makes men act in ways
    unnatural. We did not choose this war. We accept it and put every effort into it because without it we would
    lose the life that every man wants. The men know what they are fighting for. There are political reasons, but
    the real reason is to assure that the life they left, the life they want to live, can be theirs. The army has brought
    to its soldiers a better under-standing of men. Most of these men have two characters:  the outward one which
    is apparent and the inner character which appears only after long and close contact with the men. Basically,
    they are all pretty much the same. They are fighting and toiling for the purposes they know are right. The
    purposes vary with each man, but basically they all add up to the right to live, worship, and work in peace.
    Each man has constant dreams of home, his loved ones, the neat little house, the neighbors, the church. He
    now realizes that those are the most important things in life and without them there is nothing. Through sweat
    and blood the vision of an honest world grows brighter.”

    As a censor, Lyle once came upon an awkward situation:  a soldier had written his wife and his mistress, but
    had mistakenly switched the letters in the envelopes.  Lyle realized the man’s mistake, but decided to let it
    stand and sent them off . . . part of his philosophy of “an honest world"...(continued)


                                                               Copyright 2008, Marguerite Young