Vol. 2 - No. 2-----Sept. 23, 1944-----Editor: Roz Richards
Subscription Price:----- A Letter A Drizzle



That comments appearing in parenthesis throughout The Drizzle are the personal observations of The Drizzler. However, many of the nicknames clothed in parenthesis in a number of the letters reproduced in The Drizzle are the brain children of the individual letter writers.


Yes, a gold star shines on Monticello, a gold star symbolic of the courage and gallantry of a quiet, likeable, fun-loving country boy, Pvt. Paul Derendinger, who is the first soldier from the Monticello area to make the supreme sacrifice for his country in World War II. Serving as an ambulance driver with the 21st General Hospital, Paul met death in an accident in Italy Aug. 19. Details are not known. Paul had been in the army since December, 1941, and since November, 1942, when he was transferred to England, he had seen service there in North Africa, Sicily, and more recent in Italy.

Excerpts from a letter written to Paul's parents, Mr. and Mrs. Charles Derendinger, by his commanding officer, Colonel Lee D. Cady, show the high regard in which he was held by his army associates. Writes Colonel Cady, in part:

"I am personally touched by the entire circumstances surrounding the loss of your son. I saw him within less than five minutes, and know everything possible was done for him which could be done. It is to me, to this organization and to the United States Army, a loss which cannot be measured in words.

"I had many opportunities to personally observe your son, whose particular type of duty brought him into daily contact with many of the officers of this organization. He was an outstanding soldier, imbued with a fine spirit of responsibility, a credit to this organization, and to the Army of the United States. All who knew him, officers, nurses, and enlisted men alike, speak highly of him. He was the type of soldier who, given an assignment, carried it through with the utmost cheerfulness and co-operation. I was proud to have him as a member of this unit.

"I can think of no more appropriate way to close this letter than by quoting the words of one of my enlisted men, Private Bob Glessing, your son's best friend in the unit: "I knew Paul about two and a half years. He was the kind of man I should always want as a friend; always dependable and willing to do for others whatever he could do. He would go out of his way to do a favor for someone. He was always cheerful and honest about everything. I am going to miss him."

"I think Private Glessing expresses my sentiments and those of every officer and enlisted man in this organization. Your son was the kind of man I should always want to command."

The Drizzler never had the pleasure of knowing Paul intimately, but from the many fine things that have been said about him, I know that he must have been a grand boy. Like so many other gallant American young men in this vast, global conflict, he gave his life to give us the priceless liberties of democracy. Yes, Paul has left us, but he has left behind the sweet and unforgettable memories of a loyal and loving son, a fine citizen, and a brave and fearless soldier.


"Hard-Luck Harry." That's the sobriquet that might well be pinned on Cpl. Harry Schuerch in view of the misfortunes which have dogged his trail within the past two months. Charging against the enemy with his infantry unit in the Battle for France at 11:30 on the night of July 26, Harry stepped on a Ratzi "booby-trap," the explosion of the mine costing him the loss of his right leg below the knee. He was not found until 5 o' clock the next morning. Since then he has been in a hospital in England where he has now had three operations on his leg. Two days after the third operation, he submitted to an appendectomy. After his return to the states, which is as yet indefinite, Harry will have to submit to still more surgery on his leg. . . Monticello now has three wearers of the Purple Heart, medal awarded by the war department to the members of the armed services who are wounded in action. Harry is one of them. The other two boys are Emil Weigert, who received a serious hip wound in the Battle for France, and after six weeks in an English hospital, was sent back into combat Aug. 21, and Eddie Loeffel, former local high school athletic luminary and now a Marine, who received a bad shoulder wound in the Battle of Saipan in the Southwest Pacific. The wound has been stubborn in healing and recently Eddie was transferred to a hospital in Australia for treatment. . . The ol' tail gunner, S/Sgt. Wilbert Marty is now stationed at the Army Air Force training school at Laredo, Tex., where he is being groomed to become an instructor in gunnery. He passed the entrance exam consisting of 150 questions and says it was plenty tough. He's learning teaching methods now starting out with five-minute talks and gradually building them up to 15 minutes. Wilbert arises at 5:30 every morning, has classes from 7 to 11 and 1 to 5. Says it seems natural to hear the roar of the bombers again. . . Sgt. "Al" Baehler is performing pretty much the same old routine in Italy. His working hours are from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. His outfit has had a few drawings recently, the winners getting trips to Rome, but so far "Al" hasn't had any luck. He saw an unusual sight the other day-two women street cleaners. He doesn't think the Pacific war will last long after the Allies polish off the Ratzis and they concentrate the full weight of their combined power on the Sneakanese. That's the way it looks to me, too, Al. . . Tommy Runkle, writing from France, inquires about the whereabouts of S/Sgt. Marty and I see I have already answered his question. Yes, they still have wedding dances in Monticello, Tommy. Do you miss them? You say you haven't seen a show for three or four months. Well, anyway, Tommy, you and the rest of the boys are certainly staging one whale of a show for those Germaniacs, "showing" 'em how the Yanks roar when they're on the march. . . Johnny Zimmerman, now a corporal, got one of the thrills of his life when he was assigned as chauffeur for Prime Minister Winston Churchill during part of the latter's tour of Italy. He also drove for Gen. Wilson, a 4-star British general, and a number of other generals. Johnny and his outfit are quartered in tents, but he says they have them fixed up pretty nice. He was recently in Corsica and then flew to France. Recently he has been driving a jeep again. His letter doesn't state if he's still in France or back in Italy. Let's have a few lines again, Johnny. It was nice hearing from you. . . Lt. (jg) Ed Klassy, aboard the U.S.S. Williamson in the Pacific, has been so busy these past few months that he hasn't even had a "chance to see a movie, get a beer, take a swim, or have any kind of liberty." He and a few of his buddies did set foot on land for a few minutes, but were glad to return to the ship because it didn't look too inviting. His last liberty was spent on the beach of a small, uninhabited island and he would appreciate a "repeat" now even if there was only a choice of sitting or swimming. Ed also reports that he had a letter recently from the Honorable "Doc" Youngreen, better known as the "Hot Shot" of New Britain Island way out there in the far Pacific. . . It was swell to hear from Betty Woelffer, who is having a grand time doing general nurse's duty in a hospital in Dunedin, Fla., where at the same time she is also under a doctor's supervision for the illness she contracted before her medical discharge from the army. She held a lieutenant's ranking in the army nurses corps. You must be feeling almost as fit as a fiddle, Betty, judging from the schedule you're carrying. B.J.'s old outfit, the 105th Evacuation Hospital, was at a port of embarkation at the time she wrote her letter. Let's have another letter some of these days, Betty. . . Leo Felts is still at the 'old stand' down around Havana, Cuba, where the past couple of months have found him doing a lot of patrol duty. He writes: "The Drizzle has been coming through every month and they are truly enjoyed. Reading it really makes one realize how Monticello is represented to the far corners of the earth and what a fine job the whole gang is doing in this war." . . Leo's brother, "Lenny," is in France where, up to the time he wrote, he hadn't seen so much action, but he had been in quite a bit of enemy artillery fire. "Lenny" also had a few experiences with Ratzi snipers. Drizzle readers will recall "Mel" Marty mentioning what a mean weapon those German 88s are. Len agrees with him. "They're really quite a gun," he says. The former Monticelloan closes his letter with the hope "That the next Drizzle will be storming down my way soon." . . "Al" Deppeler is still at Camp Rucker, Ala., where "They have really been giving me rough treatment the last two weeks." He started Ranger School two weeks ago and it has been the hardest training "Al" has ever received, either mentally or physically. They have a compass course there that leads right through swamps and across two creeks and it is no picnic going through them, intimates "Dep." Sgt. "Al" Bassi, all All-American tackle from Lehigh, who is almost a perfect physical specimen, is "Dep's" instructor.


Lt. Ray Burns, who was cited for bravery during the Sneakanese attack on Pearl Harbor and who was recently awarded the Air Medal for accuracy in bombing in the Mediterranean war theatre where he is a bombardier-navigator on one of Uncle Sam's big bombers, was privileged to enjoy the luxuries of a rest camp on the Isle of Capri not long ago. The Drizzler likes to call Ray "Burn-'Em'Up" Burns because he's a little guy who does big things. Let's turn The Drizzle mike over to the lieutenant and listen to him describe a life of luxury on the Isle of Capri in his own words:

"I just got back from a week at a rest camp on the Isle of Capri. Boy, is that ever a swell place for a vacation! The hotel I stayed at was really grand. We had our meals behind the hotel in a large, shady garden while an orchestra played. The meals were served in courses and were very good! We had cocktails and dancing every night in the garden, also tennis and badminton courts, ping-pong tables, billiards, several lounges and bars, and a theatre. Also went swimming, but stepped on a sea animal resembling a porcupine and was pulling quills out of my foot for two hours. (What a silly thing to do, Burnsy).

"There are some large summer villas there, including Benito's. One old lady now living in Switzerland left her place open for visitors. She has a swell art and book collection. Refreshments were also served so I hung around there for two days. (That's really using the old knob, lieutenant.)

"On the way over I piloted the plane almost all the way to Naples for a little practice. On the way back, I had to stay four days in Naples before I got a hop back.

"My brother, Gerald, is now in the Admiralty Islands in the Southwest Pacific and Irene's husband has arrived in England. About the only secret weapon that can save Germany now is a long pole with a white flag attached. We really mean business now. But, gee, we are finally getting some beer and ice cream and I don't wanna go home yet. As always. Ray."


S/Sgt. Carl Stauffer is now stationed at Lowry Field in Denver, getting his final training as mechanic on the Big Boeing B-29 Flying Forts. . . The last The Drizzler heard from Emil Weigert was just before he was sent back into combat. "Haven't received the Drizzle yet and I sure miss it," he said. "I am getting dry for some French wine and lonesome for a chat with some prisoners. The doctors and nurses have been swell and I have had lots of fun in the Hospital" . . "Bob" Blumer, the old maestro, who has left a trail of broken feminine hearts all the way from Iceland through England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, and parts of France, relays the news that he was the fourth fellow in his outfit to cross the Seine river in France. "And you can bet I wasn't thinking of home then," he writes. "I've been mighty, mighty lucky so far so will have to knock on wood for that. This is some of Jerry's writing paper that I picked up from some devils that won't be needing any, any more." . . Also from France come these lines from Pvt. Morgan Phillips, with a Tank Destroyer outfit: "Got my first Drizzle in France and sure was nice to get it. Not having a bad time here as long as the Germans keep running. It's not so much fun, though, to be sticking around a foxhole. Sure have seen some awful bombed out cities and villages here. Some mess to clean up. Lots of the roads are the same way, all lined up with rubbish. Getting to see quite a bit of France. Don't like their small fields of 3 to 4 acres. Watched them cut grain in one of them. Sure would not want to start in a field like that back there. Emil Weigert sure must be giving 'em hell. (Leave it to Emil, eh Morgan?) Getting plenty to drink now and then. Not able to speak French, but am getting along fairly well." . . From Cpl. George Wittwer, stationed in the Southwest Pacific, who is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Ernest Wittwer: "Really do appreciate The Drizzle. As you know, Carl Dick and Art, Leon, and Carl Babler are cousins of mine. Major Weissmiller was my old commanding officer before leaving the states. Have had four C. O.s since then. Sure hope I can get back with him when I return. Things are moving fast now and let's hope it won't be long before it's all over. Can't tell you where I am, but it may give you some clue to know we are paid in Dutch money. Sure have covered territory since landing here in March, 1942, making this my 30th month over here. Hope it won't be long before I'm back in the good old U. S. A. In the meantime, keep up the good work with The Drizzle. It's a great morale booster and I really do enjoy reading it." (Glad to know you like it so well, George.)


Back in Monticello after many long, dreary months in some of the remotest parts of the Aleutian Islands, those two scintillatin', devastatin' sergeants of the United States Army-Erv Spring and Fritz Haldiman-have been chanting "Happy Days Are Here Again" almost ever since they landed in the old home town Sept. 3. The boys are really "in the pink" and little wonder why the "Yaps" scrambled out of the Aleutians in such a heckuva hurry when the two burly sergeants from Monticello strutted onto the scene, bulging their muscles.

Much of their time was spent on the outer reaches of the Aleutians. And what a spot that would be for such reckless royalists of romance as Whitey Hill and Bob Blumer of France, W. James Murphy and Bo Woelffer of Texas, Jake (the Joker) Dick of Cardiff, Wales, and Louie (The Lonely Lover) Wyss of Australia. Army legend has it that there's where there's a girl behind every tree, but first of all, you have to find a tree. As Erv puts it, there's absolutely nothing there-no trees, no girls, no nothing!

If this land of "Nothing But Nothing" is not a heavenly haven for Rollicking Romeos, then surely it is a poker players paradise. The Drizzler had read news stories of wild poker games with as high as $100,000 changing hands in a single night. "Is it so?" I asked the honorable Erv, and right here let me insert a little background information by stating that Erv is a polished product of that very distinguished Monticello citizen, H. Jeremiah Elmer, the well known local authority on soda crackers and sardines, whose amazing versatility now extends all the way from promoting jass tournaments to giving away brides at elaborate wedding ceremonies.

Well, anyway, Erv says it's absolutely the McCoy, adding that he and Fritz had witnessed a number of games with a total of 100 grand stacked before the six players. The local boys confined their activity to spectator roles, but they report that every pay day was really "hay day" in the Aleutians where poker became the national pastime. Once a doughboy with a lucky streak swept through his company and then took other company and battalion "champs" through the cleaners, he was really a DOUGHboy! A buddy of Erv's and Fritz's sent $30,000 of his winnings home and on the boat on the way back, one of their acquaintances won three pots inside of five minutes, each

"take" running better than a thousand dollars. This same chap stepped ashore in the states with a cool 50 grand tucked in his belongings. Yes, the boys from the Aleutians play poker high, wide, and GRANDsome!

Oh, that's right, Erv once saw a fellow win a pot of $1,000 on a pair of eight's! What a soft touch a timid, 'fraidy-cat like that guy would be for some of Monticello's wild and wooly penny ante athletes!

Erv and Fritz are due to report at Camp Swift, Texas, next Wednesday where they will be with the Anti-Tank Co., of the 159th Infantry, until they receive their reassignments which are expected shortly.


From Lt. "Ott" Blum, now a naval flight surgeon Somewhere in the Southwest Pacific: "The Drizzle has been coming through fine. You have no idea with how much pleasure I await its arrival. My brother, Al, wrote that he had seen a copy and thought it was the best paper of its kind he had ever seen, and that you are to be most highly commended. I fully agree. (Thanks, fellows!) When I arrived at this place about 7 weeks ago, it was then an area well up front. That is no longer true, thanks to subsequent landings. I think my outfit is due to move up again. Half way sorry to leave. I have not run into as nice a place anywhere out here. The navy has designated me a flight surgeon. I've done some flying on rescue missions-where navy seaplanes try to bring back fliers, usually of the army-who have been shot down into the sea. It surely makes me proud to learn what a fine job so many of the Monticello youngsters are doing. Many of them I remember as kids, but now they've got what it takes." . . "You asked about some of my students," writes Lt. (jg) Wally Barlow, at the time still primary flight instructor at the naval air station at Glen View, Ill. "Usually they are pretty poor correspondents when you finish with them. However, some of my boys I did keep in touch with until their graduation. Thus far none of my students, to my knowledge, have washed. A couple of them are instructors, but most of them ended as fighter pilots, usually in the Marines. Also, one is a B-24 pilot who should be in the S. Pacific by now. I also heard of a tentative decoration for one of my first students, who is in the Marines, but thus far haven't seen any official confirmation of it so it may have been a mistake. He supposedly wrecked a Jap transport. So long for this time, Wally."


Cpl. P. F. Blumer, until recently at the replacement center at Greensboro, N. C., now has a New York APO and may be on his way across any day. . . T/5 Louie Ubert, the former Monticello and New Glarus oil baron, has been transferred from New Jersey to Fort Leonard Wood, Mo. . . By this time all of you have undoubtedly read the gratifying news in The Messenger that S/Sgt. Kenny Holcomb, waist gunner, radio operator, and technician on a B-24 Liberator bomber, who had been missing in action over Germany since July 20th, is "Safe and well." Those three words constituted the text of a cablegram Kenny sent to his wife, the former Alice Schenk. His whereabouts are not definitely known. . . It is a week today since Frederick Voegeli arrived at the Naval Training Station at Farragut, Ida., to attend a service school. Frederick completed his boot training at Great Lakes. . . Farragut is where "Al" Moritz is stationed. . Al's brother, Debbie, is in France, believed to be with the 1st Army. He's a radio operator. . . Spencer Milbrandt, a former Monticello resident, who has been in the heating and refrigeration business in Aberdeen, S. D., for many years, recently received word that one of his sons, Warren, aged 21, a paratrooper, was killed in action in New Guinea. . . "Herb" Burgy is back in the nation's capital after a visit with relatives and friends at home. Formerly on the faculty of the University of Illinois, Herb went to Washington a year ago to become affiliated with the Department of the Interior. He recently accepted a new position as agricultural geographer in the State Department. . . Incidentally, Herb, although Dr. Fred Hammerly, the Hollywood obstetrical specialist, opened new offices of his own Sept. 1st, you can still reach him by mail at the Hollywood Athletic Club, Hollywood. And, say, doctor, how about an answer to that long letter I wrote you at least three months ago? Come, come, I know you must be awfully, awfully busy, Fred, but why can't you put off some of those movie queens for just a few minutes, anyway? . . A nice chat recently with good, old "Slim" Freitag and he's not so old, either. (And, say brother, that gray stuff you see in my hair isn't dandruff, is it, Slim?) Slim is no longer with Howard Aircraft, but is now doing co-ordination work for a Chicago aircraft parts concern and he spends most of his time in Washington. He and Herb Burgy recently happened to bump into each other in the Shoreham Hotel in Washington and you can imagine what a "bull" session that mustuv been. . . Marv Babler, Monticello's all-state high school forward in 1926, is now in his 10th year on the faculty of Appleton high school where, besides teaching history and coaching the track team, he is also head of the department of social study. . . Sgt. Fritz Haldiman is in a deuce of a pickle. He has two commanding officers now. His company commander and the former Helen Roethlisberger. They were married here Sept. 12.


From Lt. Howie Steinmann, Somewhere in the Hawaiian Islands: "I am now sitting out here in the middle of "nowhere." The island I am on has its fine points. However, I would much rather sit and enjoy the scenery back in the states. This island's scenery is very beautiful; its wild flowers and natural fruits are just as fine. Then, too, we have a little rain almost every day as well as an ever present wind. The days are warm and the nights are about "four wool blankets cold." All in all, we are very comfortable in our homes which consist of 5-man tents. I recently had a 48-hour liberty and took a hasty sight-seeing tour of most of the island and its largest town. It is well worth seeing, but no place to go on liberty. I have yet to find a place like it that goes to "bed with the sun." Well, Roz, give my best regards to all. Best, Howie." . . From Vincent Gerry, with a Parachute Battalion in France: "I'll tell you a little about my experiences in Italy where I was before coming to France. No man can ever say he was never scared when he's up there on the line. Although I am in a Parachute Battalion, I am now on a 57 M.M. gun, a strictly anti-tank gun and a darned good one, too. I was only a few yards behind the infantry all the time and when they make an attack, you had better find the first tank you can see and knock it out or it may mean your life. While I was at Anzio, I was hospitalized and the Jerrys bombed us every two or three hours. The hospital was only 100 yards from where they unloaded ships and they really made it miserable for us. Let me tell you those nurses took it like real troopers. When the Jerrys bombed the hospital, I couldn't move, of course, due to my condition, and that's an experience I don't care to go thru again. They moved me to another hospital the next day and it was shelled, too. I would sooner be in the front lines than in an evacuation hospital on those beach heads. Must close now. God bless all, Vincent."


From far-away New Britain Island come these new bombshells dropped into The Drizzle by none other than that agile literary bombardier of the Southwest Pacific-Capt. "Doc" Youngreen. The good doctor pretends to be deeply aggrieved by the bald insinuation of a fellow medico, Major "Les" Weissmiller, executive officer of Deshon General Hospital, Butler, Pa., who declared that the captain must have quite a snap or he couldn't write so often and at such length to The Drizzler. The Major, of course, did it for the express purpose of drawing a nimble rebuttal from the Southwest Pacific. Well fellows, here it is so let's listen to the captivating captain: "Dear Roz: I have been stabbed in the back and hit below the belt. Today, after finishing a grueling day's work (no kidding, I'm on an 18-hour day now-18 hours of bunk fatigue) and just when I'm about to crawl into my steam-heated foxhole, complete with Kohler plumbing, I received a welcome Drizzle. But imagine my dismay to find that I had been the victim of a dastardly attack from an unexpected quarter. Yes, it was none other than that character from the Caribbean, Les Weissmiller, who campus legend has it, was The Lone Wolf of Langdon Street some years back. (So you know all about that, too, do you, Doc?) But can you imagine, Roz, Les intimating that perhaps I am not working night and day. All I can say to that is that I have never finished my day's work before 9 in the morning. There are a couple of things I would like to have you check up on for me, Roz. The first is that I hear Les is about to succeed Robert Benchley as America's No. 1 after dinner speaker. (Righto! And how the Major loves (?) those speaking engagements.) The second is a little more detailed history of that two years' "vacation" on the tiny isle of Aruba. How about that, Winchell-I mean, Roz? Is it true that he is the first American upon whom the Queen of Aruba has bestowed the honor of membership in the Ancient and Honorable Order of the Beachcomber's Bazaar? (Shh! Doc, Shh! I darsen't say anything that might disturb the Major. You see, he's in a very delicate frame of mind these days, learning to sing lullabyes preparatory to joining the diaper brigade early in 1945. Lt. Howie Steinmann and S/Sgt. Kenny Holcomb also are scheduled for duty in the same "branch of service." Now see, Doc, what you started when you called me Winchell.) I knew that C. Jake Dick was cutting quite a few cakes of ice, but didn't realize he was already pretender to the royal throne. Don't worry about that $64 causing Whitey Hill even the slightest erythema. He keeps all his money in an asbestos-lined pocketbook. You know, Roz, Whitey would be terrific down here. These black Marys are wild about blonde hair. Was interested in seeing the letter from Roger Foster, one of my conspirators in crime when he lived next door to me in the university "Y". Well, guess I'll take my cocoanut night cap and roll in. Do you think it is safe to sign this, Roz? (Sure, go right ahead, Doc, I'm standing behind you-just as far behind you as I possible can get when the boys start bombing back.) You realize that any resemblance of any characters referred to in this letter and any characters living is purely deliberate. Harold."


To these Drizzle donors: Frances Schilling Berling, Milwaukee; Herb Burgy, Washington, D. C.; Mr. and Mrs. Henry Duerst; W. E. Blum, H. C. Elmer, Glenn Zimmerman, Robt. Stauffer, Mr. & Mrs. C. Yaussi, Wilbert Strahm, Mrs. Bertha Klassy, H. Feenje, T. Senn; H.W. Elmer, New Glarus; Mrs. Thomas Runkle, John Dahnke, Walt Haddinger; Nathan Crouch, Monroe; Dr. Horne, Ernest Schuerch, Mrs. Woodrow Keehner; Marion Hoesly, Chicago; Eleanor Benkert, Chicago; J. J. Burgy.


John Steinmann, now a first lieutenant, is expected home on a 15-day leave from Ft. Belvoir (Va.) today. May bring his family with him. . . Wally Barlow's now at the Atlanta (Ga.) Naval Air Station, studying instruments and navigation preparatory to taking a fling at flying DC-3s. After brief training as co-pilot on Pennsylvania Airlines, he's slated for naval transport service. Bo Woelffer wants to know if Kissling, the Kiss King-on guard duty in the recent Philadelphia strike-had as much trouble with the "Phillies" as he had with those co-eds at Yale? Also if Urho (Look-at-Those-Bars) Hill wore a campaign ribbon with a silver star on it for The Battle of Texas when he was home? . . Whitey's in the thick of it in France now. . . King Kissling's back in Camp Pickett (Va.) after a furlough at home. . . Lt. Harv Trumpy, "graduate" of the local cold storage where hot air and balloney fly fast and furiously the year round, now holds the Distinguished Flying Cross and Air Medal with three oak clusters, needed only three more missions to complete his quota of 35 as Flying Fort pilot and may even now be on his way to the states. Harv says he gets a big bang out of The Drizzle. Until October, bales 'n' bales of the best of luck to all of you!!

The Monticello Drizzle, created for the Monticello Area Historical Society
by Roger and Madeleine Dooley.
A softcover copy can be purchased by contacting
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