A Beautiful Big Red Hickie

Mon. Aug. 30, 1943

5:45 p.m.


Dear folks,

Whew! No let’s just sit down and see what this is all about. I’ve been writing pretty fast lately and I guess I haven’t been saying enough to make everything clear. I cut my sentences too short and didn’t put everything across I see. Anyway I really don’t think things are as bad as they seemed to you. As for the furlough I signed or applied for that several days before last Wed. There was nothing signed for me by the other fellow. On our applications we stated where we wanted to go. Mine was 1010 Beech, his was just Lansing. Any that they thought was quite a distance they called down to check the time. We both had the same town so we figured it wasn’t necessary for us both to go. Mark didn’t sign anything for me or for himself. There was nothing to sign. Mine said 1010 Beech Lansing and when it was 19 hrs. the Lt. signed it and that was that. Mark told him he was going to meet his folks and go on to St. Louis. The Lt. wanted to know how long it took by R. R. and when Mark explained that there was no train to St. Louis the Lt. said O.K. and accepted Lansing as the distance. Now I didn’t bother to explain all this before but I don’t think there is anything dishonest about it. I’m not connected in any way with where he’s going and besides he explained the situation to the Lt. and it was O.K. with him. Nobody signed for me for a furlough. I had applied several days before. The Lt. knows where he is going so it isn’t anything dishonest. He didn’t lie about it. If someone asks for his furlough in St. Louis that’s his worry not mine. I’m not connected in any way and I don’t see where you got the idea I was. If it hadn’t been O.K. I would have been called in anyway. All they wanted to know was the time to Lansing. I understand how you mean things and I hope you’ll see its O.K. I should have explained things a little better but I’ve been dashing my letters off in a hurry and just saying the bare facts without going into detail. I hope this straightens that out a little.

Now about the train – Dad’s right. There is a train into Chicago at 7 p.m. but I get into St. Louis at 8:10 a.m. if I’m on time. My train leaves at 8:58 and gets into Chicago at 2:05. It’s the Alton streamliner. There are two other trains before the one Dad mentioned. So why should I stay around 4 hrs. in St. Louis when I can leave sooner. Of course if our train is late that’s something else. Anyway I won’t take a bus from Chicago unless it’s faster than the train. If connections connect and we hit Chicago at 2:05 I might catch a bus by 4. If so I could probably be home by midnight. Money doesn’t mean anything on this. Time is more important. Now I’m trying to do the best I can and I can’t see anything wrong with this. You see Dad’s timetable doesn’t show all the trains from St. Louis to Chicago. Yes it does too. The Frisco book shows connections on page 22 but I guess Pop overlooked it. The one Pop checked gets into Chicago at 5:50 p.m. but 3 hours is 3 hours if I can pick it up. Another thing if I bought a round trip to Lansing according to what I’ve heard about train trips I might get screwed up good. The money isn’t worrying me so forget that part. I have $35 and I may get paid Sat. I can make out the chart O.K. but Dad overlooked the page in the Frisco table giving connections at St. Louis. If he had seen that he would know what I mean. Train time from there here is less probably because there’s no lay over in Chicago. Yet if it leaves there at 4 its 27 hrs. because it gets here at 6:30 which is 7:30 your time. I’ll have to wait over 5 hrs. for the train if I catch the Alton and during that time I could be well on my way home by bus. It’s only about 225 miles. Once more let me say the other fellow didn’t do any signing up for me at all. Now I’m not peeved at anything but I hope you see how things are and that it all isn’t as you thought. Don’t jump too quick at conclusions from now on please As far as finding out about my furlough, they told us last week we were all getting them except those who were told otherwise so I’m getting one O.K. I’m not responsible in any way for what he asked for and I don’t see how you get the idea I am. I certainly am not getting a dishonest furlough nor so far as I know is he since he explained everything to Lt. Thompson. Now this is all in answer to your Sat. Sp. Del. letter. I hope I’ve made things clear and that I haven’t said too much this time instead of not enough. Anyway everything is above board on the furloughs and I’m not taking the bus unless it saves time. So that’s your Sat. Aug. 28 letter.

Now that that’s O.K. (I hope) I’ll get on with the usual lineup. I finished your letter and at 7 we went over to study hall. It was locked up so we came back to the dorm. I managed to get through my English and to go over my Alg. & Trig. before lights out at 9:30. It’s pretty noisy in the dorm to try to do much. I was up at 5:15 this morning and out for reveille at 5:30. I slept after that until breakfast. I had toast, butter, corn flakes, 2 bottles of milk and sliced up cantaloupe. I seldom eat eggs or potatoes any more. I take the extra bottle of milk instead. After breakfast I made my bed, swept and put on my shorts for P.T. We did some of those tests we did when we first came. First we ran the 100 yd. with a man on our back. Freese ran it in 21 sec. with me. I made it in 24 sec. with him but he weights [sp] 8# more than I. In June I did it in 29 so I must be improving. Next we did a 4 count Burpee. In 20 seconds I did 11 which was 2 more than before. Last came the 300 yd. dash. I didn’t have what it took I guess. I came in 6th out of 6. I started to sprint at the end but Freese pulled away so I just trotted in in 45 sec. 1 less than the other time. One kid did it in 35 sec. We finished with that and were through be [by] 8. I took a shower and cleaned my shoes and dressed while listening to Breakfast Club. Then I cleaned out my grip a little until we went to class at 9. It was Physics and we finished up that test. My way was right for that problem. I asked him if it would make any difference. He showed me my average and I shut up. I had a 92 before that test. After that it was 95 so I decided to be quiet. 95 is a lot better than I ever expected in Physics Drill. That’s an A I believe. My averages are Algebra 100 (unofficial) and official – Chem. – 97, Trig. 98, Geog. 98, Phys. 95, Hist. & English unknown as yet. We did some problems and at 10 we went to English. We argued out some articles and then did some words like we’ll have on our test. He better get some easier ones or it will be bad. At 11 we went to dinner – stew, green beans, salad, bread, butter, milk, and jello. After dinner I sewed a patch on one of my O.D. shirts before we went to class at 12. In Algebra she buzzed thru a mess of stuff. At 1 in Trig. we did some problems. At 2 we had History which was pretty dead. At 3 we went to study and I did a little Algebra. At 4 we went back to the dorm. I sewed a patch on another shirt before mail call. I got your Thurs., Fri., and Sat. letters, a card & letter from Lillis and my copy of the M.S.C. Alumni Recorder. I read my mail before going to supper – spaghetti, squash, sliced toms, beans, bread, butter, milk, and cake. After supper I got on to this letter and wrote until 6:30 when we had our monthly so called physical. I have a beautiful big red hickie or whatever you want to call it on my left leg. I was afraid they’d notice it and sure enough he did. He asked me if it was sore and I said “some” so he said you report for sick call tomorrow. I think it’s the beginning of a boil although I’m not sure. I’ve been having quite a few outbursts or eruptions lately. I had a beautiful one (by the feel it must have been) on my right cheek (not my face) but it has just about disappeared. So I guess I’ll have to go over there. I intend to go to Chem. Class and then I’ll miss just military. Personally I see no sense of even going as it will come up and go down by itself but I guess I have to obey an order. I don’t want to miss classes. It feels like a boil. I don’t know what he thought it was. After that at 7:25 or so we came over to study. I finished off my Chem. and here I am. It’s 20 to 9 now. I have 7 chap. Of Physics to digest for an exam Sat. so I’m going to stay tonight and read some on it. I answered your Sat. letter. Now to your Thurs. one while the time lasts. Well I guess I’ll have to “RUSH” all my letters. Babe is having her troubles eh? Ah. A week with no reveille, no whistles, no “keep your eyes up,” “cut down your arm swing,” fall in, etc. I don’t know if I’ll need woolens or not. Not if I can help it. They’re too woolie for inside work. Real food will seem good and I ain’t kiddin! Peanut butter; umh! I just saw Johnny. He’s shipping out Sat. to Camp Barkley Tex. Oh unlucky boy. He’s lost on this deal. He gave up a job in L.A. similar to mine in Frisco. My furlough begins at 1 sec. after midnight Sat. Sept. 4 and ends at midnight Sun. Sept. 12. Midnight is 2400 in army time. I said I hoped I wasn’t a dream. It would feel funny to wake up and find I’m not. I’m not so sure I won’t go outside the house with clothes on. I haven’t decided for sure yet but I’d sure like to get some real clothes on for a change. I can do it inside legally. Fri. Aug. 27 – It’s not cold here by a long sight. I have the only racket with strings although Freese has patched his so he can use it. I’m wearing suntans the same as the rest on my furlough. I though of bringing O.D.’s but gave up the idea. There’ll be no wasted milk while I’m home I think. I guess that covers your 3 letters. I hope I’ve cleared things up a little. It’s 9:15 now and I’ve got to put in an hour or so on Physics so I’ll have to sign off for tonight. Take it easy,




The Fruits of Intelligence

Saturday Aug. 21, 1943

9:30 p.m.


Dear folks,

I’ll start this tonight and finish it tomorrow. It’s been quite a day and so far as I know I’m now 1A-L whatever that is. I got to bed about 10:45 last night after doing a little chem. after finishing your letter. I was up at 5:15. After reveille I made my bed, swept and dusted my shoes before eating. I had scrambled eggs, toast, butter, corn flakes, milk & grapefruit. After eating I got ready for class. I guess I really didn’t have to go and now I wish I hadn’t because that chem. test was really rugged and I’ll be lucky to get an 85. I study on a basis of the type of stuff they used to ask at M.S.C. and then they crossed me up by asking for a lot of stuff that is really unimportant and shouldn’t be asked. Better should I have stayed in the dorm. One consolation – I got last week’s test back with 100 so that helps some anyway. At 8 I came back here and took a shower, shaved, cleaned my teeth and very foolishly put on a clean uniform. I guess I didn’t get it too dirty tho. At about 8:45 we got ready and started off in G.I. trucks. The trip to Chaffee, about 70 miles, lasted until 11:30. It is a nice ride up through the Boston Mts. (hills) and I’d like to make it as a civilian someday. The road is nice and the views are really wonderful We stopped in one little jerk water town & I got an ice ream cone but boy what a ramshackle place and you ought to see the houses people actually live in. We went thru Dogpatch and also VanBuren. It’s a nice little city with signs all over advertising Bob Burn’s home. I didn’t see Uncle Fred anyplace though. We hit camp at about 11:30 and boy it felt funny to be in an army camp again. It’s the first real large camp I’ve been in since McCoy and it made me realize how lucky I am & have been. Oh its nice to have nights off and P.X.’s and shows but when I saw those poor suckers plodding around with packs, rolls, helmets & rifles I said to myself Boy you are lucky. It seemed funny to see everybody in helmets & fatigues again. It is mostly armored forces down there. I saw several amphibian tanks go buzzing down the highway. The first thing we did was march to chow. We were in the hospital area and fellows literally by the hundreds were walking around in slippers & bathrobes. They all pricked up their ears when we marched by singing like we do here. I bet they don’t hear that often. Chow there really made us all appreciate what we get here. I doubt if any of those fellows will kick for quite awhile. I had potatoes, Brussels sprouts, salad, 1 slice of bread and butter. I don’t know what you’ll think about it but there wasn’t any milk or water to drink and I was really dry so I drank some iced tea not because I liked it particularly but because it was cold & wet. I guess maybe it was O.K. because I used to drink it once in a great while at home. Oh yes, I had a sliver of ice cream too. After eating we went back and sat around for awhile and then went through alphabetically. It took me about 30-45 minutes. It was like Kalamazoo only faster and less thorough. First he took my pulse which was 80, then my blood pressure – 122 which is O.K. Then he tested my eyes. I couldn’t see too well today. My right eye was 20/800 and my left 20/40 corrected to 20/20. Then they checked my hearing & teeth. Next came a urinalysis and I was measured around my chest, my height and weighed. I’m down to 146 ½ lbs. stripped which is 3 less than at Kalamazoo. Then they checked me for rupture etc. Then we went in to talk to an officer who asked a lot of friendly questions. I found he was a neuropsychiatrist and was trying to test our reactions. That finished it up and I went on to the major. I didn’t have a chance for a discharge although my eye may warrant it. The test wasn’t very thorough and it may be better than 20/800 but that’s beside the point. 5 men blind in one eye didn’t get them. On our paper from here were several statements. One was whether they wished us to stay in service. They wished me to stay in. The major looked at that, put a big red circle around it, put a big circle around my 150 I.Q., saw I had been a student before coming to the army, put some checks on the back and said that’s all. That finished that. We have heard that we are classified to 1-AL, which while not L.S. still means limited duty. It’s really a joke. Several fellows got C.D.D.s for flat feet, bad backs and eyes but nearly all were ones which were not desired to be dept here at school. If I was flunking here, if I had a moron’s I.Q. and if I had been a welder instead of a student I’m willing to bet I’d have a C.D.D. right now. Not one of us who has a high I.Q. and is passing had a chance. That’s the fruits of intelligence I guess so it looks as if I’m in now for the duration plus. I was through at 2. The Lt. put me in charge of the group so I stayed around until the other fellow came back. Then I went over to the P.X. It was the first one I’ve been in in a good many months. It’s now about 10 to 11 and lights out so I’ll quit and finish the story tomorrow.

Back at 7:15 Sunday night. As I was saying I had a couple shakes at the P.X. and after looking around for awhile I came back to the hospital at 3:30. There were still some fellows getting blood tests and stuff so we waited and waited. At about 5 they sent us to supper but the line was so long we went over to the P.X. I had a couple malteds for supper and also got a box of stationery and a couple cards. I should have gotten shaving cream too but I forgot it. I got back at about 5:30 and before 6 o’clock we got aboard the trucks and started back. For all I gained I could just as well have stayed in Fayetteville. As it was I lost part of my weekend time off. Camp Chaffee is quite a large place, built just like Custer, McCoy and all the rest. There doesn’t seem to be a tree in sight hardly. It’s down on the plains and it’s really hot. It seemed sort of familiar and like old times but I wouldn’t want to stay there. We didn’t get back here until about 8:30. We had the top off all the way back so I got a chance to see the scenery. Up thru the mountains it’s really very pretty. There are no natural lakes in Arkansas so the occasional ones we saw are man-made. It was dark when we got back and too late to go to the show. I partially undressed and then wrote until 11. There wasn’t any mail call yesterday because the mail clerk was with us so I didn’t get any letters. They boys got by inspection O.K. and they covered 3 chap. of Physics in lecture. We take 10 weeks to cover 7 chapters & then they do 3 on the day I’m not there. Am I worried? No. That was yesterday. I may have forgotten to mention some things so if you think of anything you can ask in your letter or when I get home. I didn’t hear anything about breakfast this morning. I woke up at 8 and finally got up at 10. There wasn’t anything to do so I went back and slept until dinner at 12. I got up, dressed, and had potatoes, veal loaf, cheese, beets, salad, peas & carrots, bread, butter, and watermelon. After eating I waited around until about 1:30 and then went to the show. It was “First Comes Courage” with Merle Oberon & Brian Aherne. It was about Norway & followed the usual pattern. It was pretty good. There also was a newsreel, a sports picture, one about movie stars & a cartoon. After the show I went down to the depot to see about train schedules but the place was closed. So I came back to the Union and had a couple shakes and then went back to the dorm. At 5 I went to supper – beans, tomatoes, biscuits, butter, milk & jello. After supper I loafed around until study at 7 and here I am. I have Chem. test in the morning & math in the afternoon. It’s not given by our instructors to cover our work so its hard telling what it will cover so I decided not to worry about it. That covers a very uneventful weekend so now I’ll get to your back letters, Sat. & Sun. Aug. 14 & 15. I can see all right why you were upset about the garden and I don’t like it but I guess there’s not much I can do about it. $5 isn’t a fraction of what you lost. You two sure put a lot of hard work on it when you were up there. The place for that guy is in the army. He’s no more farmer than I am but that’s the way things go I guess. Well Hugh must be a sgt. now. I haven’t heard from him in over 2 months. He sure gets home a lot. Mon. Aug. 16 – That stove must have been some job all right. I intend to come the fastest way. Anderson says we may have to wait quite awhile in Chicago so if it’s faster we may catch a bus. We’ll find out this week if we can. He changed his furlough to Lansing instead of St. Louis because Lansing is within the limits. It takes a long time by train to go to St. Louis. Now we can all forget the discharge. Tues. Aug. 17 – I sent my wash so I hope you got it Wed. Gee if its down near 45 degrees I better bring my O.D.s. Oh well I expect to discard the uniform for awhile anyway. Are there many M.P.’s around there? The grapes are the sour blue ones. The cottage cheese we get occasionally is too sour also. My watch runs most of the time but it needs cleaning. I think I’ll retire it when I get home. The other fellow didn’t get a discharge either. He was blind in one eye and his blood pressure was 154 so I guess I really have no room for complaint. I cracked my left arm. The wrist I sprained is my right one. Well that sort of catches up the back letters. I’ll probably get Wed., Thurs., & Fri. tomorrow. It’s now 8:30 and I guess I’ve covered the situation. Two weeks from now I should be somewhere between Chicago and Lansing. I’m going to hate to spend time sleeping but I reckon I’ll be tired after spending one night on the train. Well I guess this will be all for tonight. Maybe I’ll dash off a letter or two yet tonight. I’d like to get my correspondence up to date if possible before my furlough. Well so long and good night.




[drawing of Michigan with bullseye & arrow through Lansing]

Replowing Physics

Tuesday Aug. 17, 1943

9 p.m.


Dear folks,

Just a short one tonight as I have to dig up or replow a little Physics for a test tomorrow. There will be 6 problems but it covers 3 chap. and that leaves lots of room for stumping me. I left study hall at about 8:50 last night and went over to the theater. We had 4 short movies lasting about an hour. One was on the Pacific & Japs, one was a John Nesbit “Passing Parade” about Napoleon, one was about a bunch of Australians in Timor and the 4th was about diving. They were all O.K. After that I went back to the dorm and got to bed at about 10. I was up at 5:15 and dressed for reveille. When I came in I shaved and cleaned my teeth. Then I tore up my bed to air and lay down until breakfast. I had toast, butter, Rice Krispies, milk, and an orange. Then I came back and swept and at 7 we went to Chem. Boy was I sleepy. I nearly went to sleep 3 or 4 times during his lecture on sulfur. At 8 we went to military and studied the prismatic compass. At 9 we went to Phys. Lecture. At 10 we had study and I spent it on Geog. At 11 we went to chow – potatoes, cauliflower, salad, bread, butter & watermelon. After eating I lay down & snoozed for awhile until we went to study at 12. Grades go in again Fri. so I suspected a Geog. test & studied my notes most of the 2 hours. I spent the last part on Algebra. I was right because we had a quiz in Geog. I missed one I believe out of 20 which is 95 and isn’t bad. At 3 we went back to study until 3:30. I kept on my Algebra for tomorrow’s test. At 3:30 we went back to the dorm and at 4 fell out for about an hour of company drill. Today is the first cool day we’ve had in weeks. It was 66 degrees this morning and only about 80 degrees this afternoon and lo & behold for the first time we can drill without ties. That really is the army for you. We quit a little before 5 and left shortly for chow. I got no mail. I had scalloped potatoes, carrots, dressing, salad, muffins, butter, milk & jello for supper. I came back & cleaned up the Algebra situation and at 6 went over to the union to get a tablet and a choc. sundae. I got back about 6:30 and at 7 we came to study. I conducted a little tutoring in Algebra, went thru my Trig. and started on Physics before 9. Now I’m in late study hall. I’ll give my Physics a quick brush off and head for bed. I’ve been so doggone sleepy all day that it isn’t funny. I hope it’s cool like this in the morning. Last Monday’s mile & a half encouraged me and I think if I feel in the spirit that I’ll take off and see what I can do. I’ll probably get a sideache this time or something to slow me up. Anyway that covers the picture pretty well for today. Nothing new on the furloughs. Grades go in Sat. & will probably tell whether we stay or go and whether we go into II or stay in I. I don’t have any worries although I could wish for better grades than I have I imagine. In all my subjects as a whole I’m doing O.K. because I find more & more I’m being hunted up about Algebra first, then trig. and now even Physics. There is one chemist here who knows his stuff and I’ve learned a lot from him. Well I’ll call this it for tonight. Rumor still says we go to Chaffee. Sat. If we all go there’ll be about 60 and that’s too many for anybody to get discharges. Well goodnight.




The Sick, Lame & Lazy

Saturday Aug. 14, 1943

6:50 p.m.


Dear folks,

Well here I am back and able to write tonight. I hope I didn’t scare you and cause you to worry but the muscles in my wrist and hand last night were really knotted up and stiff. They are still sore but feel a whole lot better and by Monday it will be O.K. again. I was up at the usual time yesterday morning and dressed and out for reveille. After reveille I made my bed and swept before breakfast. I had scrambled eggs, toast, butter, milk, and Rice Krispies and grapes. After breakfast I changed to my fatigues and Freese & I went out a little early and played tennis until 7. Then we had calisthenics for 20 minutes followed by touch feetball. That’s where I smashed up my hand. I really still don’t see how it could happen. A fellow threw me the ball but instead of ahead of me it went behind me. I jumped but by reaching backward I was off balance and when the ball hit my hand it just bent it over backwards. It hurt some but I didn’t think it was too bad. Of course we had our cross country run at 8. I did the first 5/8’s or so in quick time. Then I slowed down and came in in 11:28. Then I took a shower and redressed for class at 9. At 9 we went to Physics and did some problems on the board. At 10 we went to English and spent the hour discussing a story. At 11 we went to chow but I can’t remember what we had. I stretched out until 12 when we went to Algebra. We had a little quiz and I got a 10 (perfect) on the one we got back. At 1 we went to Trig. and did problems. At 2 we had History. For Mon. our assignments are tests in Trig & history, a story to read for English, probs. for Algebra & a test Wed. and of course study Physics. At 3 we went to study. My hand had been getting stiffer feeling all day so I dashed off that note so you’d get a letter and know what was what. I didn’t know but what it might get worse so maybe I couldn’t write and I wanted you prepared. As it turned out it wasn’t that bad and I hope I didn’t worry you but [by] making that letter so short and cut off so to speak but I could hardly hang on to the pencil. I finished it during study and mailed it when I went to chow. At 4 we came back and I took it easy until mail call. I got a letter from Bart. No ratings out there yet. He expects to be reclassified to 1-A by Aug. 15. From what he says I guess nobody out there is getting a discharge which is what I expected. At 5:15 I went to chow but I can’t remember what I had. After eating I generally took it easy or loafed until we went to study at 7. I took my chem. book along and spent the 2 hrs. on chem. studying for today’s test. At 9 I came back and went to bed at 9:30. I didn’t sleep too well for some reason. Maybe it was because my wrist ached quite a bit. I was up at 5:15 and dressed for reveille. I made my bed and swept before breakfast. My hand was plenty lame but felt a little better. For breakfast I had toast, butter, Rice Krispies, milk, and grapefruit. After eating I signed up for sick call. Then at 7 I went to Chem. I didn’t have to since I was on sick call but I could write and I didn’t want to miss the test. The test was pretty rugged and there were a few questions that I didn’t know the answers to but I used my head and reasoned them out. So far as I know I got them all right. It makes one feel good to be able to reason something out which he hasn’t memorized. At 8 I came back here and went over with the sick, lame & lazy to sick call. The Doc felt my wrist over and decided it was just a sprain so he gave me some stuff to rub on it and had me keep it under a heat lamp for ½ hour. I missed Military and part of Physics lecture. I got back here at 9:15 and signed in. Then I took my books and went to what was left of Physics class. At 10 I went to study and did my chem. probs. for next Sat. At 11 we went to chow – potatoes, salad, beets, bread, butter, milk and bananas & cream. After eating I came back and dusted my bed and the window. Then I shaved and cleaned my teeth. After that I shined my shoes and took a shower. Then I swept. I still had time before inspection so I sorted and packed my dirty laundry. By then it was 1:30 so I dressed and waited for inspection. It took about 45 minutes and our room is always last. Then we fell out downstairs for the results & mail call. The inspection was O.K. I opened the laundry and then read your letter. The clothes are all present, accounted for and swell looking. How’d you ever get the shorts so clean? The candy and peanuts are always appreciated you know. I wondered what could be in the bottom and I was glad to find my shoes. He did a swell job. I have them on now. After reading your letter and sorting my clean laundry I finished tying up the dirty stuff. You’ll find about 5 prs. of socks, 5 hankies, 3 sets of underwear, 3 towels, 1 wash rag, 1 t-shirt, 3 sun tan shirts and 2 prs. of pants so you’ll have a full size wash this time. Both shirts are G.I. but you’ve never washed either one before I think. At least you’ve never washed the new one I know. When I got it tied up I put away my clean stuff and Freese and I started for town. I mailed the package and it was 54 cents this time. Then we had a limeade and went on down to the U.S.O. I found some picture cards there to send to folks and we played some records and when a table was free we played ping pong. My wrist bothered a little but I won the first 3 games and lost the last 4. We headed back then and got back at about 5:30 for chow. The temperature downtown was 100 degrees. For supper I had potato salad, cabbage, salad, biscuits, butter, and jello. After eating we came back here and here I am. When I came back I got pretty mad. Two of our roommates borrowed our rackets & played tennis. Mine came back with ½ dozen snapped strings. They were getting loose I knew and it was a cheap racket but still it seemed like they must have played a rugged game. I said a few words, maybe too many and then shut up. A few minutes [later] the guy came in with a new racket just like the old one so I have another new one. That was sort of an expensive game for him and maybe I should quietly have accepted it but I guess I ain’t built that way or something. That about covers the situation. It’s 8 now and the Hit Parade is on. It’s just dusk and its noticeable now that the days are shortening especially when we go out for reveille. Right now you’d probably say I have chicken pocks [sp] or somepin’ because my chest is all splotched with heat rash but I guess that’s all it is. I have always sweated a lot but never so much as this summer. There is a possibility that we may be here the whole 18 months supposing we pass from term to term on thru advanced because the new men are coming in and they are all advanced engineers. I am not crazy about the idea but then I could be in a lot worse places than Arkansas I guess. If I do move  out of here for advanced, that is if I stay that long, the chances are I’ll get someplace nearer home or at least on better routes of travel but then I might be sent to Cal. or Utah or some place like that so I’ll be thankful for Arkansas. No new dope on furloughs except a flat statement that there will be no passes so we can leave early. One of the Lewies has gone to see the Bus. Co. about chartering buses to St. Louis & Kansas City. If I take the bus to St. Louis, I’d have to get a round trip there to Lansing. Then when I get back to St. Louis I’ll have to buy a ticket to Fayetteville. I don’t know a heck of a lot about arranging that stuff. We went into the bus station today but I don’t intend to go all the way by bus so I didn’t get any information. I didn’t go to the depot because I know pretty well the story. It leaves here at 8 p.m. and you hit Chicago at 2:30 the next afternoon. Mark Andersen, one of my roommates, is going to Lansing too so I think we’ll stick together on the way. He lives in St. Louis Mich. but his folks are going to meet him in Lansing. Of course maybe at the last minute they’ll change it and we can catch the train earlier and take off. With the uncertainty of things as they are though I really don’t recommend Pop’s coming down. I don’t know for positive just how it will turn out and I’d hate to have a last minute change throw us off and I don’t want to lose any time if I can help it. Now to your Wed. letter. I have been wearing my fatigues for P.T. Now we hear we get exams during the last meeting of each class. No kidding you never saw so many rumors of one kind or another in your life as float around here. Latest latrine-o-gram says we L.S.’ers go to Chaffee next Sat. or Mon. I’m not sure which but I’m not counting on it. And I’m not in the least expecting a discharge. Forget about Fri. We won’t even get out on Sat. Sept 4 as it stands until midnight. I doubt if Pop would have to cross town in Chicago. Most of the trains come into the same station. I’ve been thinking about it too. It’s as hot as I say all right as he will find if he comes down. Of course it’s late summer now and ought to cool off pretty soon. He can come on the campus all he wants but don’t let him start asking because he’d never find me that way. I live in Davis Hall which is on the corner of Maple St. & Hill St. I think. Anyway its on the northwest corner of the campus. You can’t miss the campus. Just turn right from the depot and follow your nose up the hill. When he gets in town he can call 9668 between 6 and 7 p.m. or 4 to 5 p.m. but let me know about what day to expect him. This is of course if he comes but I really am not in favor of him coming down with things as uncertain as they are. Maybe we can come back together or if that doesn’t work either he can slip down some weekend next term and we can have nearly 2 days together. I know it’s a disappointment to him & me too but I guess nobody know what to expect from the army. I have decided after 7 ½ months that prediction is impossible. That mile & a half causes plenty of side aches every time. We have fried chicken often but it ain’t like the chicken Mom use to turn out. I am tired of the same old stuff all the time. I’d like a light refreshing meal for a change. I see I’m down to 148 ½ pounds now. The latrine is swell tile and I’m not the only one who occasionally uses it for study. I couldn’t send my suntans last Sunday because I didn’t have any paper. The train just whistled so it’s 50 minutes late tonight. I got a kick where you said the State Repr. Son’s father. That’s like saying Mrs. Forists son’s mother. I got a letter from Fred about a month ago that I should answer. I wonder if he is still at Bay View. As an Engineer I’ll be a flop maybe but let them find that out. You know I said the other night that the longer we are here the longer we’ll be in the army. Today there is a bulletin on the board saying many competent men have turned down A.S.T.P. due to the talk that we will be in from 3 to 5 years after the war. The memo came from 8th Service Command Hq. in Dallas and said that ASTP graduates will absolutely be kept in service no longer that anyone else, all of which still is very indefinite. I guess we were sabotaging the program by spreading such malicious rumors. I personally can’t see any of us getting out 6 mos. afterwards but I hope that will be it. How can you 2 handle that range? Well that answers your letter I guess. I didn’t go to a show tonight because one was not very good sounding & the other I had already seen. Its 9:05 now and Benny Goodman is now coming on. Tomorrow I should study History and some other stuff but I don’t know how much I’ll get done. When the week end rolls around I feel pretty lazy about studying. I lack that old spirit I used to have once upon a time. I intended to have this letter cover 2 days but its long enough now so I’ll cut it off and write a separate one tomorrow. So for Sat. night I’ll say so long and sign off.


Love to all


E.H.S. ‘42

M.S.C. ‘46

PomPom Pull Away

Friday Aug. 13, 1943

3:20 p.m.


Dear folks,

This will be short and hard to read. I am in study hall now. I sprained my wrist and hand in P.T. this morning. It wasn’t much at first but the muscles have been getting stiffer and my hand and wrist ache a lot. I’m going on sick call in the morning unless it’s a lot better. I did it trying to catch a football. Someway it hit just right and bent my wrist backward like you did once playing pompom pull away. I put some liniment of one of the fellows on it noon but I guess I didn’t use enough. I hate to miss my Chem. test in the morning but since sick call is at 8:15 maybe I’ll go to class at 7 for the test if I can write O.K. Now don’t worry too much, as it’s just a bad strain. I don’t think there is anything broken or I’d know it before now. If my letters drop off a day or so don’t get scared as maybe my hand will be bandaged so I can’t write. It’s not swollen much but it sure hurts. I’m not going to try to write a regular letter but I did want you to get this much. Nothing new on furloughs yet today. This is scarcely a letter and I doubt if you can read it but anyway you know the story in brief. Please don’t worry too much as I am O.K. except for this.


For this time,



About All I Care To See Of Fayetteville

Thursday Aug. 12, 1943

9:25 p.m.


Dear folks,

Here I am sweating again in late study. I got to bed at 9:30 or so last night after taking a shower. I was up sleepily at 5:15 and dressed for reveille. When I came back in I shaved and cleaned my teeth. Then I put on a clean uniform and made my bed before breakfast. My laundry this week will have 2 new prs. of pants & 1 new shirt. I sure hope this one pr. of my own pants doesn’t shrink. For breakfast I had potatoes, an egg, toast, butter, shredded wheat, milk and an orange. After eating I swept and at 7 we took off for Chem. class. We had our lecture and Sat. we get our weekly test. At 8 we went to Military and worked some more on maps. At 9 we went to Physics Lab and did an experiment on pulleys. It was easy for a change. At 11 we went to dinner; stew, potatoes, cauliflower, greens (mustard I think and I don’t like ‘em), salad, bread, butter and watermelon. After eating I took it easy until 12 when we went to study. I read a little Geog. but not much from 12 to 2. A big green bug about 2 ½ inches long just lit on my arm so I had to quit and knock him off. With the windows open, the light attracts everything. When an instructor covers 160 pages a day I give up. I can’t keep up with reading that much. Something has to go slack and it’s going to be Geography and History. No kidding he covered during the last of Tues. class & today 160 some odd pages in the book. At 2 when we went to class he gave us a nice little quiz also. As far as I can tell I missed 3 out of 20 or 85% which is pretty good considering I wasn’t ready for it. If I can pull a B in Geography I’ll be happy but more surprised. At 3 I went back to the dorm and got a hair trim instead of going to study. At 4 we had free campus today instead of drilling so Freese and I went over to the Union to play ping pong but the place was closed. We had a limeade and came back. At 5:15 I went to supper after reading your Mon. & Tues. letters which I got today. That’s real service too. I had spaghetti, peas, salad, bread, butter, milk and chocolate pie. After eating we went back to the Union and played ping pong until about 6:30. I have never played much but I caught on quick and won about 4 games out of 10. In a week or so I’ll be beating him pretty often. We came back and at 7 went to study. I read my English and since 9 I’ve studied my Algebra and Trig. That brings me up to now. I could read some history but I suspect I won’t get to it. I have 3 letters of yours that I better get at now. Sat-Sun. Aug. 7-8 – I’m scarcely anything when it comes to singing. I can’t carry a tune in a bucket. You may like the stove better once you get acquainted with its peculiarities and differences. I haven’t heard from Sunfield in quite awhile. I haven’t heard from Hugh since I’ve been here. I wonder if he may have been sent over. Mon. Aug. 9 – Now this furlough deal is really getting complex and I don’t know how it will turn out I’m sure. Of course there is the possibility that I won’t get any but forgetting that for the time being here are the new developments. The Lt. flatly stated to one of the kids that our furloughs start at midnight, Sat. Sept. 4 and run to midnight Sunday Sept. 12 or 8 days. He says unless he receives official orders he will not give any passes to us so we can leave before midnight. This may be changed but if it is not it means this – since only 1 train goes north here a day we miss the one on Sat. night and have to wait until 8 p.m. Sunday night for the next one. That loses 20 hrs. Then we have but one train from the north a day so we have to come in at 6 a.m. on that Sun. or lose another 18 hours. That’s 1 ½ days there plus 2 on the train only leaves 4 ½ at home. Now all this is assuming I go by train. Now this afternoon a paper was put on the bulletin board asking all men interested in having a bus chartered to go as far as St. Louis to sign up. If all this other stuff is true and it very probably is (judging by everything else the Col’s done so far) I decided that was probably my best bet so I signed the list as “interested” along with about 70 other guys. If the bus leaves right after midnight we’ll be in St. Louis before Sunday noon at least and in Chicago by train from St. Louis by 6 p.m. probably. Then just how long it takes to get to Lansing is another story but I should be there by midnight. Of course they haven’t made anything definite yet but there has been enough response so we’ll soon have a time schedule and prices published I imagine. If they refuse to let us go until midnight that is my best setup. I’ll be here 8 months and when I get a chance I want to leave but fast. But all of this puts a crimp in our plans. If I wait for Pop and have him come it means I lose a day at home with everybody. That is a big question. I know he’s been planning on it for a long time and I hate to disappoint him but it’s out of my control. I think I might better get off as fast as I can. Now please tell me what you think and what to do as there is still time. Of course it may all change overnight but it seems to be gradually solidifying now. If Pop got in on Thurs. or Friday we still couldn’t be together except for 1 hour each night. I can’t leave the campus until Sat. afternoon so he’d be sort of alone until I did get loose. Then we’d have until Sunday night here but there would be nothing much for us to do that would take that long and to come down to the point, I want to spend all the time I can someplace beside Fayetteville. He and I could catch an early Sunday bus but 38 hrs. is too long too. By having a chartered bus making no stops we expect we can make pretty good time to St. Louis & then catch the 1st train to Chicago. Now if as you say Pop came back with me we could get in at 6 and spend the day together here and he could go back on Monday night say at 8. I imagine I’ll be back under restrictions starting at midnight but we’d have 18 hours to wander around together here. Maybe under uncertain conditions like there are it would be better. Then if somebody gets good hearted & lets us go early and catch the Sat. train I’ll wish I hadn’t discouraged Pop. I believe tho that a bus will outspeed this cattle train that runs thru here. It stops at every crossroad to look for automobiles. The way I figure I’ll either send or bring my laundry that last week. Then the stuff I send the week before on about Aug. 28 just keep and don’t send as I wouldn’t be here when it came and also that way I’ll have a clean uniform or two at home without dragging any along. C. The theme on Al came mostly from my thesis with the help of my Chem. book here. I’ve seen about all I care to see of Fayetteville. I doubt if discharges will come fast after the war and you forget the longer we stay in school the longer we are apt to be in the army because the more we’re worth and the more we’ve cost. A shirt gets dirty in no time on a train but one blue one might last Dad. Dad says he would get here at 7:10 a.m. but I think he’ll find its 6 instead but I’m not positive of the exact time. It will cost me about $23 I imagine for round trip by train. If I go by this bus I don’t know how it will run. Time and not money is the object with me. The Grand Trunk only goes to Chicago. There are a lot of lines from there to St. Louis. Then you get the Frisco line to here. We could work it fine but there won’t be 2 or 3 days that we can be together before my furlough starts and once it starts I begrudge them that 20 hrs. I could be at home. Don’t worry about that wash as it wasn’t any uniforms and I have lots of socks & stuff. That covers your Tues. letters too I guess. Now I really am not sure what is best to do and I hate to have Pop disappointed because he’s been planning on this and it was my idea but I think you know how I feel. Another 20 hours at home is just that much better the way I look at it. If it changes so we catch that Sat. night train then it would be different but after 8 months another 20 hrs. at home is important to me. Now please be honest and tell me what you think. Now if tomorrow the whole thing changes again then I can figure out something else but that’s the way things stand tonight. So at 10:22 I’ll say good night and