Monday, August 18, 2014

"Somewhere in New Guinea"

Dad's grandson Misha loved to hear about World War II. Here they are together in 1992. 
The letter is dated military-style, 20 July 1944. My father, Lt. Charles M. Pride, has just arrived in New Guinea to fight the Japanese. He has left behind my mother, Bernadine, and their 10-month-old daughter, Elizabeth Jeanette, already known as Bonnie.

Dad is writing to his in-laws in Connecticut, Evert and Frieda Nordstrom, to thank them for taking care of Mom and Bonnie. That his girls are in “such loving and capable hands [takes] a load off my mind, and makes things easier for me.”

He writes that he and the other officers, while censoring mail, have composed “a little poem which describes this place.” It is called “Somewhere in New Guinea,” although Dad says he wanted to call it “A G.I.’s Lament.”

Here it is:

Somewhere in New Guinea,
Where the sun us like a curse,
And each day is followed
By another, slightly worse,
Where the black dust is thicker
Than the dirty shifting sand,
And the white man dreams
Of a greener fairer land.

Somewhere in New Guinea,
Where the mail is always late,
Where a Christmas card in April
Is considered up to date,
Where we never have a payday
And some never have a cent,
But we never miss the money
’Cause we’d never get it spent.

Somewhere in New Guinea,
Where the nights are made for love,
Where the moon is like a searchlight
To the Southern Cross above,
Which sparkles like a necklace
All through the tropic night,
’Tis a shameful waste of beauty
’Cause there’s not a girl in sight.

Somewhere in New Guinea,
Where the women are never seen,
Where the sky is ever cloudy
And the grass is ever green,
Where the natives do night howling
And rob a man of precious sleep,
Where there isn’t any whiskey,
And beer, sometime next week.

Somewhere in New Guinea,
Where the snakes and lizards play,
Where 100,000 mosquitoes
Replace the one you slay,
Oh, take me back to Bridgeport,
Let me hear that old church bell
For this god-forsaken outpost
Is a substitute for hell.

Dad went on to write: “I am on my way to join one of the best outfits in these parts, so that compensates for things a little.”

His p.s. reads: “I think you have the sweetest daughter in the world and I’m madly in love with her.”

Mom (Bern) and Bonnie, Christmas 1944. Dad remained in the Pacific till shortly after V-J Day. 
My family's story in letters begins here.


  1. i have been wondering for years where this comes from as in my grandfathers note book is also a copy of this!

  2. Glad to hear of this connection. Not surprising that a ditty of this nature would get around.