Cute Little Rifles


[drawing of  turkey]


Thurs. Nov. 25, 1943

7:10 p.m.


Dear folks,

Here I am in study hall. I’ll write this and then review a little Physics. We get G.I. tests tomorrow and Sat. Tomorrow morning we have Physics, in the afternoon English & Geography. Sat. morning we have math & then Chem. Sat. afternoon. It would be useless to try to cram for them but I think I will just thumb through the book a little and maybe refresh it a little. I was up at 7:30 this morning. There was no reveille so except for somebody trying to wake up the sections with early classes we were left alone to sleep. It’s sort of hard for me to get real sleep after 5:30 though. I’m in a rut I guess. I got up, made my bed, swept, dressed, and at 8 we went to Analyt. He assigned a lot of stuff for Monday. Next week is going to be pretty rough I’m afraid. At 9 we had Physics. He was in a Thanksgiving mood and let us do what we wanted so I read my English. At 10 we had Chem. and he went on answering those questions on that exam. I really messed some of them up. Even Dr. Hale didn’t agree with some of the answers. At 11 we had study. I did a little Analyt. Then at 11:35 we ate. I’ll give them credit. They really turned out a nice meal. It was the best I’ve had in the army so far. We had turkey, white and dark meat sliced nice and thin, dressing, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, asparagus, an apple salad, biscuits, bread, butter, cranberry sauce, celery, and pumpkin pie with ice cream. After dinner I went back and slept about ½ hour before we went to History at 1. He spent most of the hour talking about the soldiers vote bill. I hear they are trying to allow all men in the army, even under 21, the right to vote. It sounds like a good argument. It’s going to look like an attempt to keep Roosevelt in for a 4th term. I don’t care myself. I do think though that it might be unwise to change presidents now. Roosevelt knows all the plans & he’s done pretty well so far. To change pres. might easily cause the war to last 6 months or a year longer. At 2 we had P.T. We played volleyball all hour today. No calisthenics. It was O.K. with me as my legs are really lame from those tests. At 3 we had English and did some grammar work. I didn’t do too well. He read off our latest grades. I’m still on top of the class with 197 out of a possible 200. So long as I stay above 190 I get an A. At 4 we drilled for an hour with our cute little rifles. We have a parade next Thurs. as I said before I guess. At 5 we were through. We got no letters at all today. I guess the mail service took a holiday. At 5:30 we went to supper. We are always the last section (except for a bunch of former R.O.T.C. fellows who haven’t started class yet) to eat and we were robbed tonight. They started out serving turkey, next they had steak & by the time we arrived they were dishing out stew. I had beets, string beans, corn, salad, bread, butter, milk, & 2 pieces of pumpkin pie. At 7 we came over here to study hall. A new shipping list of 25 guys is in but nobody from our section goes this time. Everyone who’s left now gets his furlough although I wish we’d sign something for it pretty soon. Well that’s Thanksgiving here. This isn’t any better than usual as a letter but I’ll call it all at 7:45. You’ll get this Mon. I wouldn’t write after next Tues. if I were you as that’s the last one I’ll get before I leave.


Good night,



He Should Have Asked the Engineer’s Name, Too

Tuesday Nov. 16, 1943

10:17 p.m.


Dear folks,

This won’t be much. I’m so doggoned sleepy I haven’t much ambition left. I went to bed as soon as I got back last night but it was about 11:30. I got in bed and I’ll swear somebody blew a whistle for reveille in about ½ hour but I guess it was 5:30. After reveille I went back and slept until breakfast. I had oatmeal, toast, butter, milk, & grapes for breakfast. I came back and unmade my bed, swept and then slept until we left for Analyt. at 8. He hinted a quiz in the wind but I can’t be worried over such trifles. I’ve written so many quizzes this term that they’ll never bother me again. I figure after carrying this schedule I can go back to school and work outside about 8 hrs. a day with no trouble at all. At 9 we had Physics and a problem test. I got 4 of the 5 right so far as I know. The other one I had right all the way to the end and then messed it up because I didn’t get the drift of what it was all about. I had the answer & didn’t know enough to know it. I’m not too worried though as the grades will be very low I think. Here’s the problem as I remember it. A steam locomotive has 2 double acting cylinders. The diameter of each cylinder is 27 inches. The length of the stroke is 1 ½ ft. If the mean effective pressure is 120 lbs/in. squared and it develops 3,000 horsepower and its mechanical efficiency is 90%, how fast is it going in miles per hour. He should have asked the engineer’s name, too. The answer is 28.5 mph., incidentally. I, like a sap, took 90% of it and got 25.7 which ain’t exactly right. Here’s how it’s done: [complicated equation].

I forgot to mention the drivers are 5 ft. in diameter. That problem alone would make a good 1 hr. test. This may not explain much to you but I thought I’d let you see what just one of them was like. I may have some of the numbers wrong but it gives you the idea. At 10 we went to Chem. We get our final exam in Chem. next Mon. & that’s our last test. We get G.I. tests on Nov. 26 & 27 so he wants to give us our exam & have a chance to review with us for the gov’t tests. He has a 2 hr. exam to give us. It helps some in that it won’t come at the end with all the other exams and that it will give me review for the gov’t tests but it means I’ll be in Chem. next Sun. probably. We have a lot of junk to write out for Chem. for Sat. but no test this week. At 11 we had study. I read on my English. At 11:30 we ate – potatoes, creamed cabbage, salad, bread, butter, milk, & pudding. After dinner I read on my English some more. I had read it last week but he put off the quiz until today so I had to refresh it. I also shaved on my noon hour. At 1 we had history. At 2 we had P.T. We ran the ½ mile. I think that watch must be a little screwy. The faster I run the longer it takes me. Today it was 2:40. After that I played volleyball. At 3 we had English. We had 3 quizzes, one on each of the 2 articles and one on sentences and clauses. I’m not so sure how I did. My grades as a whole are dropping a little I’m afraid. It won’t make much difference though as the class average is dropping faster. All I can say is I don’t see how I can do much better. I don’t know how much there is to some of the stuff we hear but if its true, our chances of staying past term III are doggone slim. If I ever get washed out of this I’m going to wish I’d stayed in Frisco but that’s not in the near future so I’ll forget it. At 4 we had a training film on the rifle platoon. At 5 we were through. At mail call I got your Fri. letter, the Sat.-Sun. letter & my laundry. I sorted and put away my laundry before supper. I had spaghetti, potatoes, squash, pickles, bread, butter, milk, & prune pie. After supper Ferd, Helle & I went over to the Union. I made a $3.75 investment and bought myself a copy of the chem. book we’ve been using here. It’s the first book I’ve ever gone clear through and I want one to keep for myself. All in all it’s a pretty good book I think. Then I came back and read my mail finally. At 7 we went to study. I did my Analyt., read a chapter of Physics & did 8 problems before I started this. That’s today in a nutshell. This started out to be short but I’m cutting it off now. Its 15 to 11 already and my eyes feel terrible. So for tonight,

So long,


Arlington Ardeane

I’m a Jitterbug at Heart

Tuesday Nov. 9, 1943

9:50 p.m.


Dear folks,

In late study as usual. You are probably listening to Red Skelton if you are still up. I went back and took a shower last night and got to bed. I was up at 5:30 as always and then back to bed after reveille until breakfast. I had oatmeal, toast, butter, milk, and grapefruit juice. After breakfast I unmade my bed and swept and then curled up until time to work on the hall and the latrine. We got that cleaned up for the last time this term I reckon. At 8 we went to Analyt. He has another little quiz in the wind. At 9 we had Physics. He explained some prob. and gave us time to work. I had them done so I worked on Analyt. At 10 we had Chem. He assigned some prob. and questions to do for Sat. Besides our usual Chem. quiz on Sat. I guess we get one in Physics. I know how to do most all of the problems but I always make some crazy mistake. At 11 we had a study period and I finished up tomorrow’s Analyt. At 11:35 we ate. I had beets, beans, salad, bread, butter, milk, and apricot cobbler. After dinner I shaved and then read a little Chem. At 1 we went to History. I for once had read it before he got to it. At 2 we came back for P.T. It was much warmer today. First we ran the ½ mile. I took it a lot slower today or so I thought but I made it in 2:31. Then we played volleyball. At 3 we had English. We had 5 sentences to rewrite and correct. I don’t know for sure how well I did do on that. Next time we get quizzes on 2 articles we have to read and then the last 30 minutes of the hour we will write a theme on anything. At 4 we went over to the Military building and got our little pop guns and spent the next hour on the manual of arms. They split us up into 2 groups, those who knew it and those who didn’t. I stayed with those who knew it and I got by O.K. I guess. Finally at 5 we were through. At mail call I got your Sat.-Sun. letter so Tues. isn’t mail-less any more. Now it’s Wed. I read that and at 5:25 we went to supper. I had steak, potatoes, string beans, salad, bread, butter, milk, and pumpkin pie. After supper I went back and talked to Freese awhile and then did a little Chem. The fellow who tutors a class in Chem. came up to find out how to do some problems. He figured it would be embarrassing if he couldn’t do them and I guess he was right. At 7 we came to study and since them I’ve gotten through 2 chap. of Physics. I haven’t accomplished too much today but tomorrow is a fairly easy day. Tues. & Thurs. are the longest. Now to your letter. Looks like Thayne will be sprouting bars before long. Which Victrola did Dad fix? I imagine you mean the big one. I expect to do a lot of things when I get out but I may not. I’d like to get a collection of good records. What I call good you might not care for though. I guess I’m a jitterbug at heart in a passive sort of way. I had A’s in everything there, you know; but that was there. That Physics teacher has degrees in Civil, Mechanical & Aeronautical Eng. I think. It’s 3 different kinds, anyway. I think we understand each other pretty well. I’m hard to argue down if I think I’m right and I seldom argue unless I’m pretty sure I am right. I do lack tact I suppose tho’ in expressing my opinions. I’m not worried about flunking. I just want to keep the grades up there. I won’t start worrying about flunking until I see some D’s which I (confidentially) don’t expect. I’m no genius but I have enough confidence to know I can do as much of this as anyone else I’ve seen here. Do you mean Tuxedo Junction? I hope I never need a long term. If I do I know where there is one. See.  That was an abrupt end. You 2 sure have a lot of bad days. Well that’s your letter and today in a nutshell so,


So long