Pine Mountain Settlement School
Series 09: Biography
Series 19: Students & Community Residents
Wilbur Wilder WWII Letter
Introduction & Images: hw
Transcribed: 2021-11-08 aae


TAGS: Wilbur Wilder, WWII letter, Alice Cobb, Pine Mountain Settlement School students, Ie Shima Ryukyu Island Okinawa, Alumni Bulletin, 1945, Henry Creech, Raymond Pennington, Lucille Christian, Pacific Theater, Hollywood, Air Force

Letters were gathered from students at Pine Mountain Settlement School during the course of many decades and were assembled under the heading “Children’s Writing.” One of those writings was a letter from Wilbur Wilder, which represented the saga of an older student who attended during the Boarding School years. Like many young men from Pine Mountain School during World War II, Wilbur joined the armed forces when the United States entered the war.

In his September 1945 handwritten letter to Edith Cold, a favorite teacher at Pine Mountain, Wilbur Wilder is describing his experiences in Okinawa and plans for his future. He also reminisces about his time at Pine Mountain and his fellow students.

For Edith Cold’s response to Wilbur’s letter, go to CHILDREN’S WRITING III.

The letter reads:

[002a] September 27, 1945.
Ie Shima, Ryukyu Is. [Okinawa Prefecture, Japan]

Dear Miss Cobb:

Your letter together with the Alumni Bulletin arrived here while I was down in Manila. I picked it up when I returned the next day. Do you suppose you know how much they meant to me?

Some of those people I have not heard of since I left there in 1940 and I had wondered what they were doing. It will always be that wherever a student from Pine Mountain goes, he will make a place for [002b] himself. One cannot help but feel a great sense of pride as he looks through the bulletin and reads of the good work being done by those persons. I can’t say how proud I am to be one of them.

I am awfully sorry to hear that some of our boys were killed in action. I knew “Bud” Pennington and Henry [sic, Robert?] Creech very well. We certainly paid a heavy price to teach the rest of the world what we of Pine Mountain already knew. The diplomats of many nations could learn many lessons there. [002c] It seems that out of a class of nine that graduated in “38” there are only two of us who are unmarried. Stella Taylor doing her work of mercy and we just killing time. It looks as if I am the black sheep. If I can ever get off this island and back to where I can get some college I might someday become smart enough to take on some greater responsibilities myself.

I remember once when Lucille Christian [sic, Ruth Christian?] asked us if we would all agree to meet at Pine Mountain some day in [002d] the tenth year after our graduation. That would be in 1948. Much closer now than it was then. I wonder if she remembers? It is still a very good idea.

There was a line of your letter I just had to read to the boys. It concerned my views on the girls out here in the Pacific. All I can say about the very few I have seen is that they are incomparable to anything I have ever seen any place. … I certainly long for a look at [002e] a pretty face again. I know of no better place to find one than at Pine Mountain. I live only five miles from Hollywood and I cannot say that it has the percentage of pretty girls that Pine Mountain has. As I look back now it seems that prettyness must be one of a girl’s requirements for entrance there.

Just as the war ended we (the 90th Bomb Gp.) were scheduled to go to Japan as [an] occupation Air Force. I had just become the squadron intelligence officer and the whole idea suited [002f] me just fine. Now we are an obsolete outfit because our planes are old-fashioned so we are to be deactivated. This all means I should be homeward bound soon. I am going to get into college not later than next fall term. I have been thinking of one of the southern California Universities.  Lately though, it has seemed to me that it might be fun to go back to Kentucky for school. I do miss it very much.

As soon as I can get back in the states and get [002g] leave I want to come east and look up some of my relatives. The trip would never be complete, however, without a visit to Pine Mountain. As far as I know now that will be around the first of the year. I am looking forward to it tremendously. I hope I can make it by the Christmas holiday season. 

I don’t know if it is just small stationary or that I am long-winded but this letter has become awfully  long. I hope you do not mind so very much.

[002h] What I really wrote for was to thank you with all my heart for sending the Alumni Bulletin and for your letter. When on the subject of Pine Mountain and you wonderful people who make it what it is, I could write for hours but I think this is too long already for what I have said.

Thanks again and so long for the short time it is going to take for me to be able to pay you a visit.

Wilbur Wilder

(8 Pages)

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