Retiring To The Chiggers

Thurs. July 27, 1944

6:55 p.m.

Somewhere in Maxey


Well I guess they caught up with me. I’m out in the field and I guess I will be until morning. This may be too dirty to read by the time I finish. We are bivouacked on the AA range and I’m sitting off in a little shade I found writing this on my mess kit. I’d give a quarter for a quart of real cool water right now. This place gets hotter every day. Last night after I finished your letter I sat outside awhile to cool off and then at about 11:00 we went to bed. I woke at 6:00 when the operator called as I had asked her to. I dressed and lay back down until the Officer of the Day came in and I went to breakfast. I had Pep [?], milk and an orange. Then I went back to Hqs., took care of the beds & waited for the sgt. to come in at about 7:15. Then I went to work. I did my report and drew up a courts martial charge on one of my AWOL’s. I did some other typing and it was 11:00 in no time. My assistant was there today so I put him to typing indorsements. At 11:10 I quit for the day as I had orders to come out here this afternoon and also to come on the bivouac. So I rolled my pack and then went to dinner. I had string beans, sliced toms, bread, butter, and cold cocoa. Then I got my clothes changed and we took off at about 12:30. We are out about 4 miles or more from camp I guess. We spent the whole afternoon up to 5:30 firing 22 rifles at simulated airplane targets run on pulleys. They were horizontal, overhead, climbing, diving & parachute. I didn’t care what I did but I guess I hit about ½ of them. The score means nothing anyway as all that goes on our record is the fact we fired the course. When we finished we were put in our areas and then ate – potato salad, salad, bread, butter & apple pie. Now here I am. One of the boys is bringing us out some ice cream in an hour or so but it will probably be soup by then. You could make hot tea with the water in my canteen. We had cold water out here in a lister bag but it was hot in an hour or so. It was a little cool but you put it in your canteen and in about 10 minutes it isn’t fit to drink. Even that’s gone now & I guess we won’t get any. I could sure use a cold drink. My hands face & neck are really burned. I’ll be using that hinds [?] when I get back. I got your Mon. letter out here tonight and a letter from Bart this morning. I don’t think I’ll try to answer yours tonight. I tried to get back to camp on the excuse of a lot of work to do but it didn’t work. Well I’m calling this it and retiring to the chiggers.


Be seein’ you



I Sat On A Piece Of Carbon Paper

Tues. July 11, 1944

6:00 p.m.


Dear folks,

Well I’m back again. I got your Friday letter today and I sure was glad to get it. It didn’t come until this afternoon and I was really beginning to wonder what was up. I’m here on my bed writing this. It’s a bit cooler today but still plenty hot. They leave all the screen doors open around here and the barracks soon fills up with flies. They are bothering me quite a bit now. Last night after I finished your letter I studied the Morning Report for awhile and then went outside and sat down for a little while on the little fence around the board walk. It was nice and cool out and fairly quiet. It reminded me of the nights we were out eating watermelons. I sat out there until about 10:30 I guess. The duty officer had a pretty busy time but there wasn’t much for me to do. He had me type him 3 different certificates. I got through all 3 without a mistake which was very good as he is the Adjutant. He seems a pretty nice fellow though for a 2nd Lt. At about 10:30 I set up our beds and we got to bed at about 11:00. I got nicely to sleep and I had to get up and answer the phone. The operator, it finally turned out, had called us by mistake instead of the 1267th next door. So I lay back down and went to sleep. That was at 12:15. Then at about 5:00 I was awakened by about the loudest chirping cricket I believe I’ve heard. He sounded as if he were whistling. I got up to see if I could find him and put him out but he was smart enough to keep quiet when I moved so I let him sing me back to sleep. I was up at 6:00 and already dressed when the operator called. I asked her to call at about 6:00 but it was 6:10. I started to sweep out a bit but the Lt. said someone else would do it so I took care of the beds and then went to breakfast. I had French toast, butter, syrup, milk and ripe apricots. Then I got the dope for my morning report and went back. My Co. was to go on a 4 hour hike this morning so I got the C.O. to sign a blank report before I typed it. They took the hike with full field packs and were back in 2 ½ hours instead of 4. They must have moved. The whole Bn. bivouacs Thurs. night but a lot of work is coming up again so I think we’ll get out of it. If it’s at all possible we will. I did my report and then spent most of the morning getting all my typing pretty well caught up. I quit at about 11:30 and went back for dinner. I had potatoes, cauliflower, bread, butter, and pumpkin pie. After eating I got my cleaning from the P.X. I wish you could see it along side your work so you could see the difference. They aren’t very clean looking and the press job is pretty sad. But that’s how they turn them out. I have one set that I took off tonight even you may not be able to get clean. I sat on a piece of carbon paper and the seat is all blue. At 12:30 I went back to work. Orders came out transferring a lot of our men. I have 44 going out so it means 44 sets of records to get ready to go. That’s probably what will keep us off the bivouac Thurs. night (we hope). The boys are all going to Engr. outfits here at Maxey but not Combat Engrs. They are Topographical and Maintenance outfits. I kept busy on that until 4:45 when I came back. For supper I had spaghetti, beets, carrots, salad, bread, marmalade, and cold chocolate drink. Now here I am. I shaved this noon but I still need to shower and clean up when I finish this. Now your Fri. letter – I hope that uneven head didn’t hang on too long. You better take it a bit easy. Well, a different radio. $40 is quite a bit unless it works pretty well. How many tubes and how old? I don’t know how good the Crosley is supposed to be. It will be an improvement if you can get a few more stations though. For $40 you should get more than 3 stations. You kept the old radio didn’t you? It looks a bit rainy here tonight. That no spraying will be hard on Mrs. C. I’m waiting to see those pictures. I hope they are all good as they are us are [as] we were. Yes, 2 weeks out of 6 months they let us live. I seem to be able to go ahead with my work and handle it pretty easily now. I’m upstairs but not with any high ups. I’m not against your ideas or ways although it may have sounded that way sometimes. I’m not going to Dallas or to any circuses. I’ve probably seen my last one. Well I guess that’s your letter & today so I’ll close. I wish you didn’t feel like you sound you do about certain things.




Reconnoitering The Situation

Tues. July 4, 1944

3:45 p.m.


Dear folks,

Well I’m back on my old bunk again writing. When I finished writing to you downtown I and a kid I came in from Texarkana with got a breakfast. I had rice krispies, toast, butter, grapefruit juice and a piece of custard pie. Then he decided to stay in town to write and I headed for camp. After I got here I wish I could have spent the rest of the 15 hours or so at home. I got here at about 12:45 I guess. I got off the bus where we lived and nobody in sight. The barracks were padlocked and empty. I heard a rumor before I left that we were moving so I reconnoitered the situation. I discovered the motor pool was still where it had been so I went over and hunted up one of the kids. Our outfit had moved back up here just a block from where we were in the first place. He was coming up so I rode along. I walked in the barracks and see about 4 familiar faces. Oh things have really happened while I was gone. I understand they moved twice. First into the field and then here although I haven’t confirmed that. Our strength is now 206 men in the company. That’s just 44 men too many. They sure went overboard sending us men. There are stripes all over the place. I guess the place I left was pretty hard to fill. The 1st/Sgt. said they had 2 men working. I didn’t show myself over there as I didn’t want to be put to work. I still haven’t surrendered my furlough although it isn’t doing me anymore good. My class A pass will cover me now. There are a mess of the boys out on furlough now. If they keep our full quota of 15% out all the time I’ll be due for another one in Oct. but I doubt if they’ll ever let us send out 30 men even tho’ that is only 15%. Sounds good anyway doesn’t it. It’s good I came back to camp early. First of all, I had to hunt up my stuff. I managed to corner my foot locker and barracks bags in the supply room. Then I hunted up a place to live. I’m upstairs now with Hqs. Platoon. I got a bed and carried all my stuff up. Then I unpacked and rearranged and sorted everything and got my junk in order. That took awhile you can imagine. I got my laundry sorted out and got 2 sets of suntans ready for the cleaners. Then I took a good long shower and put on clean clothes. The skin is really rolling off my back now. When I got dressed I collected my mail. I did pretty well. Besides your 2 letters I had letters from Elmo, Lillis, Julius, & Hugh and cards from Marie and Leonard Freese. That’s 2 in 10 days from Hugh. This one is dated May 31. Freese sent me a card from Vancouver Wash. He got his furlough finally but it wasn’t the good kind if you know what I mean. It’s the first he’s seen his folks in the 16 months or so he’s been in. Julius got right after that letter and answered in a hurry. He only got 4 weeks boot training instead of the 8 most of them get. I wrote to him on Thurs. wasn’t it and he answered Sat. I quote part of his letter – “I got your typed letter and also the one your mother wrote. I like her letters – and they sound just like her as if she were talking to me. You know some people write letters that just don’t seem to sound like them and I sometimes think that I am that way.” unquote. So you see your boy likes your letters because you are down to earth and “as you are” in your writing. So now you have 2 boys to write to. Freeze said he was freezing out there. Elmo had 2 letters – one June 11 & one June 25. His boy was home from a Sun. (the 18th I guess) until Thurs. so that was while I was home too. He took the car back with him but he said he figures he won’t need it over 30 days so I guess he expects to shove off for somewhere. Marie just sent a card. I owe her answers to 2 cards & a letter now so I guess I’ll have to get at it. I’ll be plenty busy tomorrow. I’ve got just 4 times the work I did have to do before. I took my suntans to the P.X. after I read my mail and then I came back and I’ve been sitting here writing. The first thing Lt. Staerk did was tell me to get that patch off. It hasn’t been authorized he says. So I let him cut it off for me. They’ve already had 2 wks. of basic & go on bivouac once a week now – Wed. nights. I don’t expect I can make it though. I haven’t looked but I’ll probably be C.Q. tomorrow night anyway. I guess I picked the best time for a furlough all right. I missed a lot of work here although I’ll probably have catching up to do and besides I had the best time for a furlough I think all way around. I felt pretty good until I saw things around here. Then it knocked my spirits for awhile but after I thought it over I decided it wasn’t going to be too bad. But I’d sure like to be back where I was June 17, with the same things ahead of me. Well that’s what’s what up to 4:40 p.m. so I guess I’ll sign off for a time. Tomorrow it’s the old grind again. The payroll is really going to be a beaut with over 200 men. Oh me.

Back at 9:40. They are trying to feed about 400 men in one mess hall so I got disgusted with the chow line and skipped supper. I looked for Sam & Rudy but didn’t find them. Their outfit is across the street yet but they got a lot of new men too and I wasn’t able to find the boys. So I put my stationery under my arm and headed for Ferd’s co. He was in tonight so we sat around and talked awhile. Something backfired and he hasn’t got his furlough yet and doesn’t know when he will get it now. He made Pfc. but that’s as far as he’ll be able to get over there I guess. At about 6:30 we left. We played a game of ping pong and then caught the bus and went to a show in the other part of camp. It was “Ghost Catchers” with Olson & Johnson. It was a crazy sort of thing but a relief from war pictures and stuff like that. I just got back and turned in my furlough. I hated to part with it. Things have changed plenty around here in those 2 weeks. They aren’t playing any more. They have a new kind of morning report also I see so that’s something more. The old one wasn’t complicated enough. Well that’s today. I probably answered your Thurs. & Fri. letters pretty well when I was home but I’ll look through quickly and see what needs mentioning. Thurs. June 15 – You bet Julius likes you. How’s Pop doing with the flag now? Judging by the past 2 weeks you don’t have to wait for people to go to bed to have the house quiet down. It’s always quiet. I like my job but I have a hunch it’s going to be a slight headache for awhile until things get straightened up a bit. Right now this outfit is full of 4-F’s (or about the same). Hugh likes to get letters I guess. I’ll have to get at it and write a few this week.

Fri. June 16 – They just turned the lights out on me so I’m out doors writing under the front porch light or whatever you want to call it. Add another patch to the list. I expect this one will be authorized later on and we can wear it.

Well I didn’t answer much but we discussed most of everything at home. So that’s it for this time. 10:15 and time I headed for bed as I haven’t had a full night’s sleep since Sat. night. It was swell while it lasted but it’s like everything I guess. Anyway it was a doggone good 2 weeks. So for tonight I’ll sign off.




Western Union








A Nice Little Furlough

Thurs. June 15, 1944

9:45 p.m.


Dear folks,

Just a note tonight because unless something gums up the works I’ll either be reading this over your shoulder or quietly snoring in some corner of 1010 Beech St. Monday when you get it. I have a nice little furlough all set starting at midnight Sunday June 16. It’s typed and signed by me and I hope nothing will block it. If I can get a break I’ll take off Sat. noon and be home at 1:25 a.m. Mon. about ½ hour after my furlough starts. I applied for this furlough this way on May 23 and I’m taking every bit I can get out of it. If it weren’t against army regulations I’d have bucked for a 3 day pass also. The main thing is I’m to get a furlough and when I asked for it. I have to take mine the last ½ of the month because of payrolls and stuff. The only thing that might block me would be the fact that a lot of new men are coming in. I’ve worked for 3 days to get things in order but more came in so there’ll be plenty for my successor to do. I don’t think they’ll let that stop me though because the Sgt. Major is going at the same time and he’s more important than I. So that’s it and I hope to be there when you read this. As you can see by the envelope I’m no longer a Pfc. I haven’t been since June 10. I’ve been putting Pfc. on my address all week to keep it as a surprise if I got home. It all surprised me too. You know the night I mentioned I almost got it. Well the next day Fri., the C.O. ran me up before the board and on Sat. I was a corporal. I’ve tried to keep it and the furlough both as a surprise. I imagine the hints I’ve dropped have tipped you off to the furlough but I might surprise you a little. That’s why I wanted the bag but I picked up a cheap canvass one which will hold a few things, enough to get by on. You have lots of underwear & socks, etc. around there. All I need to bring is uniforms. Well I’ve said enough I guess so I’ll quit and get to bed. I sure hope I’ll be seein’ you really this time.




Something I Ate

Tues. June 13, 1944

7:00 p.m.


Dear folks,

Back again for awhile. Last night I got to bed as soon as I finished your letter. I was up as usual this morning, dressed and fell out for reveille. Then I made my bed and went to breakfast. I didn’t feel so hot this morning and I’ve felt a little grumpy all day. I’m not sick but my stomach was a bit out of sorts this morning. I ate corn flakes, milk and an orange and came back and swept and mopped. I went to work at the usual time and got at it. I did my morning report and tied into the pay roll and finished it before dinner time. I emptied out a couple times during the morning but I decided I better be a bit careful so I didn’t eat much dinner. I’d like to get away from this food for awhile and get some light, cool, refreshing stuff that I like, like we had at home. It’s hot here and the food makes you hotter. For dinner I ate bread, butter, jam, a few potatoes, salad, and jell roll. After dinner I lay down for about 45 min. and almost slept except the flies wouldn’t let me. At 12 I went back to work. The Sgt. checked my payroll and then I did the finishing touches and got it ready to sign. Then I did some typing until about 3:45. We had to quit and go over to the motor pool and spend from 4:00 to 4:45 doing “after operation maintenance” on our vehicles. It’s a crazy setup but I guess we’ll be doing it from now on every night. It’s a bit out of my line. At 4:45 we came back and I showered during retreat. For supper I had potatoes, salad, bread, butter and cake. After eating I got the payroll signed by the boys and then got some suntans back from the P.X. Now here I am. That’s today. I think I’ll get to bed early tonight and get my sleep. Maybe I’ll feel more in shape tomorrow. My stomach feels pretty good again now. I guess it was something I ate. Several had it pretty bad so I was lucky. I didn’t get any mail today so now to your Fri. June 9 letter — I hope my mail has caught up again by now. I’d like to be on my way there but who knows. It’s sure hot enough here for anybody. You could get Pop to stretch those curtains for you. I haven’t had too much to say about the invasion yet. I’m waiting for developments. They must have taken Nate out of the hospital. He used to be a hosp. attendant. Gee, don’t work so steady to get your chest to bothering you so much. I’m willing to sign a contract as table-setter if you can fix it up for me. Julius might be able to get what he wants. He knows how to get things for himself. George probably misses his wife plenty. Well that hits most of the points in your letter so I’ll bring this to a close. I hope my letters are up to you now. Don’t get excited about me as I’m not sick.

Be seein’ you


Shon [??]

He’s A Good Boy

Thurs. 8 June 1944

7:00 p.m.


Dear Folks:

Well here I am at the typewriter again tonight. I’m CQ again but I’m not on next week so I guess I can’t complain about it. I have swept the place and I don’t think I’ll do any mopping tonight as the floor looks pretty clean. Last night as soon as I finished your letter I got to bed at about 10:00. I was up at the usual time. I skipped reveille and shaved while the others were out. Then I swept and went to breakfast. I had cakes, syrup, jam, farina, milk, and an orange. After eating I mopped and then I took off for work early to get my report out of the way. I spent the morning getting ready for the inspection which we were expecting. I guess I checked everything about a half dozen times just to make sure. We left at the usual time for dinner this noon. I had sweet potatoes, steak, salad, bread, butter and pears. After dinner we went back to work and got ready for the inspection. We were inspected by a major and he didn’t even look at my records. He just inspected the office and our methods of doing things. While he was there I had to type up a recommendation for promotion for a fellow and after he left we had practically nothing to do. We sat around for awhile and then I almost went up for a promotion myself. Maybe I better back up a little. I’m supposed to have a corporal’s rating coming pretty soon. I haven’t mentioned it because I didn’t want to give it away until I got it but I guess it will be awhile yet before I do get it if I do so I may as well mention it. The personnel officer has been trying to get me up for it for a couple weeks. He told me he would get me up for the board about June 2. Remember when I made some vague remarks about that date? Well he tried but my CO turned thumbs down for a while. He told him that I was too stubborn and cocky although I don’t see exactly how he gets that way. Anyway I didn’t go up for the first board meeting about two weeks ago. Since then the personnel officer and my first sergeant have both tried to get it for me but no go. Then today all of a sudden I get orders to report to the board meeting that was in progress. I thought there was something suspicious about it but I went over anyway. I and another kid waited around until the end and they told us they didn’t have our records and that the board would convine [sic] again at a later date. So that was that. I was pretty sure that I wasn’t due to get anything because I had all my records yet on file. When a person goes up for a promotion they dig out his records to see his experience and stuff. So I went back to the company and the first sergeant asked me if I had gone before the board. I told him no and what had happened. The CO heard the story also and he didn’t like it too well that I didn’t get a chance to appear. He said that it was his fault. That made me feel better anyway. It didn’t get me very far but it’s encouraging anyway. It means that I probably will go up for the next meeting and that he also thinks I deserve it. He and I had a little disagreement one day about two weeks ago but I guess he has forgotten it now. That’s why he said I’m stubborn I think because I wouldn’t give ground and back down. I guess that isn’t a very healthy thing to do but I’m not built that way. If I have anything to say I say it. Anyway I guess I’m not out of graces or he wouldn’t have sent me over there today. He just waited a little too long and didn’t have his recommendation in for me. I hope I can make it next time. We got some new men in today. Our company got 2 clerks. One is a Pvt. and I don’t have to worry about him but the other one is a corporal already. I hope I can hang on to my job but nothing is too certain. I rather think that I’ll be left on the job though as I have a sort of priority. Once I get my stripes that the job calls for I’ll be pretty sure of it. They came close today but I won’t get them for maybe a month now or longer. So that’s the picture. As I said I haven’t mentioned it before because I thought I might be able to surprise you like I did before. I got back at about retreat time and got dressed to come on CQ over here. Then I ate supper—macaroni, corn, bread, butter and a roll. Then at 6:00 I came over here and got to work. I swept out and then here I am. So that’s today. I got your Monday letter today so I now have two from you to answer. We are getting quite a few men with ratings and it makes it sort of tough on the fellows who have been working for them here. I think that’s why the CO decided to get me in. He wants his men to get the stripes before someone who already has them is sent in. This Cpl. we got today seems to be quite a nice acting kid but I’d hate to see him get my job if you know what I mean. I like it myself pretty well. I doubt if the officers would kick any of us out of our jobs now after we have been doing the work for a while and working our way up. That wouldn’t be fair to us. I’ll feel more secure when I get them for myself. It would also mean a few more bucks in the pay $66 a month. Also if I can make ASTP it would be very nice to take a rating with me. I haven’t heard from my application yet but the personnel officer said he put in a good word for me. He changed his mind and is trying to get it for me. You see we can send only one man every couple of months. He tries to do all he can for his boys. He got me the Pfc. and has done his best to get me the Cpl. He’s a good boy. My CO is a pretty good boy too. He doesn’t give anything until he thinks you deserve it and I don’t want anything until I do deserve it. We have a radio here tonight. Henry Aldridge is on now. Well I guess I had better get to your back letters. Sat., Sun. – June 3 & 4 ********

Your tires must be getting a little worn out if they pick up all the tacks and nails. They have ridden a lot of miles. You ought to have a pretty nice garden in the back yard. I’d like to see things around there now. Maybe I will before the summer is over. I have high hopes of doing it but I’m not counting on anything until I get it from now on. I think I can get my furlough when I want it. I hope so. I won’t tell you when that is until I know I can get it. If you think I might get home in say August then if I get it before then we’ll both be happy and surprised. That’s the way I like it. It isn’t cold here. It got chilly just one night. It’s plenty hot here now. We got a new patch to wear now. We can’t wear the 4th Army anymore so I’ll have to take them off my shirts. We have a XXIII Cps patch now. It’s blue and white with 3 arrows on it. It’s pretty nice looking for a corps patch. I don’t know when we can get some. I always like to have a patch on my clothing. It takes away a lot of that bare look of the uniform. Crawford’s must have plenty of gas. I gather from what you say that they go away just about every weekend. I still haven’t sent out any laundry. I’ll try to get it out this weekend. Hold it until I tell you to send it back when you once get it. That laundry that I said I fixed up to go out was for the GI laundry. I don’t have any trouble relaxing. You two don’t have much of a day off on Sun. with one or both of you feeling down. I bet if I were home you’d both perk up a lot. I know it and don’t think I don’t want to be there but I can’t do a single thing about it. I usually have a rough time putting on one of these small mattress covers that we have. I can imagine what that big mattress would be like. Hmm, chicken pox. I’d hate to get that now. I imagine you could request that a dentist use novacaine when filling teeth and he would probably do it. Yes the tooth decayed away from the filling all right but probably because the decay wasn’t all drilled out. Then maybe it’s just because my teeth weren’t so good. Our outfit hasn’t gone out in the field yet. I don’t think that it will for a while yet. This typing is pretty bad tonight. When I type with this big machine after using the little portables it seems very sluggish and heavy to operate. I’m buzzing right along and making plenty of mistakes too. Now Mon. Jun 5——-

I don’t know where my Fri. letter is. Maybe you got it Tues. I hope so. We had a different mail man there for a couple days. He never picked up the mail in the company until noon a couple times so it might not have gone out as early as usual. That might be the reason. I don’t think much of this PT first thing in the morning. But that’s the way they work it here. We used to have it just before we came in for a meal in the 393rd. I don’t know which is worse. Freese is alerted the same as my outfit was when we first got into the 99th. Remember that week when we couldn’t go anyplace. They rotate so that some outfit is alerted all the time. The 99th is getting to be a pretty hot outfit though and I’m not wishing that I were in it believe me. Those boys will be someplace by September at the latest I predict. You are right. Mark is the one who used to come home with me on furlough. Building bridges is a lot of hard work and I don’t care for any part of it if I can help it. None of us three were looking for anybody to take to a show. We just went in to see a show. I’m not looking for anybody and neither were they. One of them is engaged to some girl back in New York and he doesn’t pay attention to anybody. The other fellow is a pretty good acting kid. Well I guess that answers your two letters. I hope you get that letter from me OK. It’s just 9:00 now. That makes it 10:00 back there for you so you are probably writing to me now too. I have a couple letters from Fred and Marie that I could answer but I don’t know if I will or not. My ambition is not too strong. My daily letter is the one that counts. The rest come when I’m especially ambitious. They don’t hurry to write to me so I’m not worried about writing to them. I sure hope that things stay as good as they are around here. I’m in unless something unexpected comes along. I’ll feel much better about the situation when I have that other stripe on my sleeve. Then I can feel that I have the job for good although I know that the personnel officer wouldn’t let anybody squeeze me out anyway. Well I guess that’s about all for today so I had better bring this to a close. I don’t know how this compares with a written letter but I guess it’s about the average length. For tonight so long and love to yo’all;



Dirt Balls

Wed. May 24, 1944

About 5:45 p.m.


Dear folks,

I intended to write tonight and answer your letters but I don’t guess I’ll get very far. The Lt. slapped a 3 day restriction on the company today because of a dirty latrine & barracks. I guess it lasts until Fri. I hear we have to work tonight. I can’t see any way of getting out of it although I don’t see where its’ my responsibility. The 1st Sgt. didn’t put anyone on as latrine orderly so naturally it wasn’t cleaned. So it looks as if another evening is shot.

Back at about 10:00 I guess. Kay Kyser is leaving the air. I did more actual work tonight than I’ve done in months. Last night as soon as I finished my note to you I got to bed. I was up at 6:00 naturally. I dressed, fell out for reveille, swept, mopped, ate breakfast. I had French toast, syrup, milk and an orange. Then at 7:30 I went to work. I got my report and a couple of typing jobs done and then had very little to do the rest of the morning. I got your swell long weekend letter today and also a V-mail note from George. I was surprised to hear from him. At 11:30 we quit for dinner. It was a lousy meal. I had peas & carrots, buns, butter and cookies plus some of the stuff you sent me. At 12:30 we went back to work. I had a few allotments to type up and then I cleaned my typewriter. Before we left we swept and scrubbed out our office. Somebody has raised a kick so now we have to go out for calisthenics. The Co. clerks alternate. I get it ½ hour Mon., Wed., & Fri. I guess it’s good for me. I don’t get any exercise on this job and I should get a little. I came back at 4:30 and washed, shaved, and showered during retreat. For supper I had potatoes, salad, bread, butter, and caramel pudding. After eating I put on my fatigues and started writing but not for long. We fell out at about 6:00. I got on a dirt detail. We had to haul dirt to cover a place they have been filling in with coal of all things to use. I shoveled some but most of the time until we quit or finished at 8:30 I pushed a wheel barrow. Then we came in and scrubbed the barracks upstairs & down. We did a good job and in only about an hour. So that’s today. Tomorrow night may be the same way. Sun. it was my fault but the last 3 nights I haven’t had time to write. I’m sure way behind but I’ll catch you yet. Well I’m sticky & sweaty & need a shower again. The dirt balls are rolling up on my chest. What a life. Well I’ll call this it for tonight & see what happens tomorrow. 1 year ago today I got to Stanford & I sure was happy over things.


So long


Rampant Decay

Sat. May 20, 1944

9:15 p.m.


Dear folks,

I was at the Dental Clinic most of the day. I came back at about 5:00 with a headache and a sort of tooth ache and I’ve been sleeping it off up to now so I’ll wait and do my writing tomorrow. I just wanted to start it tonight.

Sun. May 21 – 11:30 p.m. Well I’m sort of gypping you on a letter this weekend. I just got in from the late show. I owe you a couple long ones by now but I’ll catch up to you yet. Fri. night I got to bed at about 10. They pulled a fast one on us yesterday morning and got us up at 5:00 to scrub the upstairs of the barracks. I got up and dressed and did just as little as I could. I did sweep one length of the aisle & then brought the broom down and cleaned around my own bed. We finished by 6:00 and fell out for reveille at 6:15. I got my bed made & my mopping and straightening up done before breakfast – scrambled eggs, bread, butter, Wheaties, milk and an orange. I laid around until 7:30 when we took off for the dental clinic. Boy they really run a lot of people thru that place. First of all they examined us to see just what had to be done. My teeth were in pretty bad shape. Worse than I thought. I had 15 teeth with either cavities or defective fillings. Those fillings of Meghan’s were all going or gone. They started working on me at about 9:15 I guess and worked until 11:45. They did 2 on the upper right, the two molars next to the wisdom tooth. One of them was an old hole where a filling had been. He started to drill & it hit tender stuff & I guess I flinched a little. Anyway he got his needle & filled that side of my jaw with novacaine. It deadened it and he went at his drilling without my even feeling it. It felt as if he left just a hollow framework to hook the filling to. It’s a cinch there’s more filling than tooth there now. At 11:45 they quit for dinner & told me to come back at 12:45. I was 8 blocks from here so I ate a pie & some ice cream at the P.X. and then went back. I turned in my appointment & waited for them to call me. 3:00 rolled around & nothing had happened so I investigated & my slip had been mislaid. Finally I got under way. I had a different dentist & he really worked. He put 10 separate fillings in in 1 hr. & 45 min. One upper left molar was bad. He filled it & one next to it in 2 places each. Then he dropped to the bottom left & filled two front teeth along the gum line & 2 double teeth. He really drilled. Wow. I finally decided it couldn’t hurt anymore & quit worrying. I was thru at 4:45 but I have to go back Tues. night at 6. Oh me. He says I have rampant decay and to lay off candy, whenever I eat ice cream or sweets to rinse my teeth & to use Ipana. He says Colgate is too much powdered sugar. I came back & lay down at about 5:30 & woke up when I started this. Then I ate an orange & went to bed. My teeth are pretty sensitive but I believe the worst ones are taken care of. Maybe I better lay off the candy. That’s yesterday. I’ll take up today next time as I guess I better head for bed. So I’ll be seein’you.




I Thought Hash Was Out For The Duration

Sat. May 6, 1944

4:00 p.m.


Dear folks,

Well this week has gone pretty fast. I don’t know whether I’ll go to town tonight or not. I’ll start this now and get a start on it in case I do. Last night after I finished your letter I got to bed. I was up at the usual time this morning. I dressed, made my bed, fell out for reveille, swept, mopped and ate breakfast – potatoes, bread, butter, bran flakes, milk and an apple. After breakfast I fixed up my locker, dusted around and then shined my shoes. At 7:30 I went to work. I got my morning report out & signed and then started to mimeograph some classification cards. What a job. I never did it before and that made it harder. When I was partly through I found I’d left out something from the morning report so I had to make another and run down the Lt. to get it signed again. He didn’t say anything but I can’t afford to let that happen very often. Then I went back to my cards. The Lt. came in and wanted a recommendation for promotion typed up so I started that. He stood behind me waiting for it so naturally I gummed it up a little. Oh I only made one mistake but you know how it is when you know somebody is watching you. When I got that done I went back to my mimeographing. I got through at 11:30 for dinner. I got yours & Julius’ Wed. letter this morning. For dinner I had roast beef, potatoes, gravy, salad, biscuits, & butter. At 12:30 we fell out and went down to the theater to see #2 in that series of orientation films. We got back at about 2:00. It was my Sat. afternoon off but I went back to straighten out a few things and got stuck for about an hour. I guess I don’t understand all I know about the mimeographing machine. Somehow ink was on a lot of places it didn’t belong so I cleaned it up and got it back in shape. Then I came over here and showered and cleaned up. I took a set of suntans over to the cleaners but they don’t clean them so I’ll have to send them to the laundry. I can guess what they’ll look like. I put on a clean set this morning. The life of a press is about 15 minutes but they’ll have to go for 2 or 3 more days. That ink didn’t do them any good either. This afternoon I got a V-mail from Hugh, somewhere in England and a card from Leonard Freese. He’s still in the 99th but in the field artillery now. He was over looking for me the other night but I wasn’t here so he wanted me to know where he is. He’s way over on the other side of camp. Hugh’s letter was written April 22 so it only took about two weeks. That’s not too bad. He didn’t say much but there isn’t much room and its’ censored anyway. He’s in a replacement company whatever that is but it sure doesn’t sound good. I gathered he didn’t like it too well from what little he said. So that’s what’s cookin’ up to now today.

Back at 6:30 p.m. Sun. May 7, 1944 –

Well I guess I better get at my mail and get it caught up. After I quit writing last night I walked across our “back yard” over to the 1267th. I sat over there talking to Rudy and Sam and stayed over for supper. They have the same stuff to eat that we do so there isn’t much difference. I had potato salad, cheese, bread, butter and apple pie. Then after supper Sam & I got passes and started out. We walked 5 or 6 blocks to where the busses weren’t crowded and got on one for town. It was a nice night and has been a pretty nice day today except for a little wind. We got in at about 7:30 I guess. Sam hadn’t been in before so we walked around the square and neighboring territory. We stopped and watched them bowl awhile. He got a castle for his blouse. Then we went up to the U.S.O. and played a little ping pong. We ran into several old Arkansas men. Some have been put into recon outfits, ordnance, signal corps and artillery within the division. They are still in the 99th but not as infantry. From there we just walked around. We wanted to go to one of the shows but it was full both times we tried. We got some ice cream and at about 10:00 we decided to come back. I got back and to bed at about 10:45. Actually there’s nothing to do in town. I just like to get away from here for a while but when I get in to town there isn’t much to do and there are just about as many soldiers in there as here. I guess I don’t know what I do want to do. I may as well stay here and sleep and go to shows. I guess I’m trying to escape from things but it’s useless. I wonder just how much longer this is all going to last. Oh I shouldn’t complain I know. I’m so much more fortunate than many are but still it’s gone on long enough to satisfy me. I was up at 7:30 this morning for breakfast. I had pancakes, syrup, butter, Wheaties, milk and grapefruit. After eating I shaved and cleaned up a little. Then I lay down and went to sleep. I woke up when the mail orderly stuck your big Thurs. letter in my hand. I read it and went back to sleep until dinner time. For dinner I had chicken, dressing, potatoes, salad, bread, butter and ice cream. After dinner I changed to my suntans and walked over to Ferd’s. The poor kid was pretty disgusted with everything. I thank God I got out of there when I did. They just got in from the field yesterday. They were out all week and it rained just about every night. Monday night we had a terribly hard storm with a regular cloudburst. He said they rolled up their equipment at about 7:00 and then stood around in the rain about 3 hrs. They were completely soaked so then they started out on an 8 or 9 mile march. The reached their position at 2 a.m. and he said they just lay down on the ground and slept in the water. Another night he said they were digging foxholes at about 3 a.m. He said he got down about 1 ft. in an hour but it was rubbery mud that none of them could go deeper so they just quit and went to sleep. The remarkable thing is that none of them even caught a cold. They were on tactical problems all week but he says he hasn’t the slightest idea what was going on. He just followed along. They chased the enemy all week but he only saw one or two of them. They are going out tomorrow for 2 days and then next Sun. they go out for 3 weeks of D series maneuvers whatever they are. I wouldn’t be surprised if they move out after that. He’s really down. He’s assigned to his Co. as a rifleman. We talked awhile and he straightened up his stuff. Then we took a bus and he went over to the division finance office. He saw the major over there about getting a transfer to finance. You see he was a sgt. in charge of an officers pay section before ASTP. The major treated him real nice & took his name & experience but he said they were already over strength so I guess he’s stuck. We stopped at the P.X. awhile and then came back here to his barracks. At 3:00 he went to get a haircut and I went to the show. He didn’t go because he had too much to do. His mail was backed up for all week. The show was “And the Angels Sing” with Dorothy Lamour, Fred McMurray & Betty Hutton and was a pretty good comedy and musical. I got out at 5:00 and went back over to Ferd’s. I sat there & talked until supper time. I ate with him – potato salad, cheese, bread, butter and apple cobbler. Then I came back here and here I am. He wanted me to stay over there and write my letters but I wanted to answer your back letters so I came back. I tried to tell him maybe things would turn out so that he’s luckier where he is than where he might be. I don’t know if I did him any good or not. His old outfit is in China with Gen’l Chenault’s air force. Ferd would be a staff sergeant or higher. Now he’s a buck private rifleman. I know how he feels and I’m sure thankful I got out of there. Oh this outfit will probably get some of it someday but by then I hope to be far enough up to keep out of it. I hope he gets a break. He sure deserves it if anyone does I think. Well that’s this weekend at 7:10. Now your back letters – Tues. May 2 –Boy you sure got enough head trouble out of that day’s work. I sure hope it didn’t hang on over to Fri. A week is too much to pay for one good day’s work. Why don’t you take it a little easy? Well, so Pop’s resigning as a steward. What brought that on? I wouldn’t want the job in the first place. I guess they usually find work for Julius to do if he’ll do it. It’s pretty hard never to make a mistake at typing but it can be done I guess. Ferd says he has typed as high as 70 wds. a minute. He’s an 055 – gn’l. clerk but it hasn’t helped. One of the fellows back in I Co. was transferred to M. Co. and made co. clerk. He has a Tec. 5 coming in a couple weeks. A Tec. 5 is a rating Technician 5th grade. The pay is $66 same as Cpl. The stripes are [drawing]. I helped that guy once but I don’t think I will again. He has been put on a different job now. The job calls for a Tec. 5 rating & he expects to get it in a week or two. He probably will get it before too long but he’s really bucking. I haven’t bucked a bit. I don’t know how he felt when I got this P.F.C. (had you notice it yet) (I slipped and told you). I certainly had nothing to do with it. The C.O. got back from furlough Thurs. night. Fri. morning my personnel officer turned in a recommendation for me and Fri. afternoon I was a P.F.C. I was going to wait and see if you’d notice it in my return address. So on May 5 after 16 months and 7 days in the army I got my first stripe and $54 a month. It cost me 95 cents for two sets of stripes & one patch & having them sewed on. I’m not going to have any more sewed on than I have to but I guess it will probably take all 4 shirts here. I hope they’ll be coming off in about a month or two but that’s mostly wishful thinking. That one little stripe is pretty insignificant but it’s sort of nice. I’d have appreciated it a lot more about a year ago as then I’d have been getting ahead fast but then I made it in 2 months (out of ASTP) so that isn’t bad. I can go only one notch higher on this job but I’m perfectly satisfied. I hope I can handle the payroll O.K. now. There’ll be another one this week. We get paid Wed. Boy my money seems to go fast here. I still have no rifle. There are no slot machines on camp. I imagine there’s a law against it. I rather imagine I’ll be able to settle down and live at home. I don’t go places much more than I did then & now only because I have nothing else to do. I’d like to be around with Julius again. You’ll have to get some ice for the milk. I don’t have many people for really friends. I’ve been with Leonard & Ferd for a long time as time goes in the army. Now maybe they’ll wait and open the Ionia fair for me. Now Wed. May 3 —I only shower 2 or 3 times a week here now. Last summer I was sometimes doing it twice a day. I’d like to think Germany would be out by Oct. Then we’d still have a least a year. A good guess now is about 2 years more as much as I hate to say it. That was the blue wash cloth. The towel came back perfectly O.K. but no wash cloth. I got a pink one in place of it yesterday. I fixed up my laundry to send tomorrow – socks, underwear, hankies & suntans. I kept out the towels & wash cloths and my t-shirts to send home maybe this week. I’m glad Julius came over. He likes you a lot. He’s about as good as they come. I think he’s probably smart to join the navy if he can get into radio school. The army is no place to come into now. About all they need are replacements & infantry. His chances are a lot better in the navy now I believe. I wouldn’t care to be coming into the army now altho it almost amounts to that here. I hope he gets what he wants. He’s too good a man & brain to get shot up in the infantry or someplace. That’s two letters. I’m signing off for a while to go get some ice cream. Back now at 8:30. My watch quit once today for some reason but I coaxed it to run again. Now your nice big Thurs. letter. May 4 — I was surprised to find Julius’ letter. I thought it was from Pop til I unfolded it. I’m glad your head was beginning to feel some better by Thurs. They charge enough for cleaning there too. I haven’t seen any berets yet but if I do I’ll see about it. What’s your size, 22? I thought hash was out for the duration. Maybe it was old stock. One of the fellows in Ferd’s company sent home some “C” rations so his folks could see what it was like. I ought to get that box of laundry and food tomorrow. I’ll salvage those socks and stuff if I can. I’ve been wearing my own dk. socks here as I don’t walk much and they are covered by my leggings. I’ll get my stock of wool & tan ones built back up in case I may need them. I’ll keep my own stuff here a while at least. I got the fatigues & a wash cloth. The fatigues I got are newer than mine but I’m afraid they are a bit small. Julius acts pretty much at home around you folks. I’m glad he does. If he can get radio school he better take it. It’s better than anything the army can offer. I often eat ice cream while walking. They soak us plenty for everything. If I get stripes on everything it will take my pay raise for the first month. A lot of people are making a good living off us. Freeze is in a gun section now. The fellows who went to other outfits in the Div. are mostly out so far as ratings go. I hope to dodge most of the basic training. I almost wish I had stayed another week & got it finished & on my record but I’m better off I believe. I didn’t mean Sam was sick. I was just kidding because he usually gets a book or paper and is stuck to his bunk reading. Occasionally he takes in a movie or walks around camp a bit. He’s pretty quiet. Last night was the first time he’s been into town. He says his temp. has been up to 99 at certain times during the day all his life. It’s evidently normal for him. He’s not sick in any way. If it were TB they’d have caught it at the Recept. Center with X-Ray and meningitis would have put him out long ago. I roomed with him 2 months at school. I don’t see him much now though & will less from now on if you say so. So you think I don’t remember you as younger woman. Just because I don’t say a lot doesn’t mean I don’t see. I remember you at about 29 and I’ve seen pictures younger yet. I always thought to myself that Dad did a doggone good job. I think your hair was very pretty particularly. You don’t look so bad now when you fix up a little. I’m capable of appreciating beauty (what little there is) altho I don’t say much. Sam got the ice cream and we ate it in the ticket line. Some day they are going to tie up traffic & everything around a barn fire and a good one is going to cut loose on the other side of town. Say, let’s not be too pessimistic. To look backward makes one sick and to look forward makes you afraid. I haven’t heard from Bart since my last letter. They may have moved. Whichever is worst right now I’m glad to be out of the Inf. We have a certain number of airborne Inf. Div. that take care of all that. Shakespeare never appealed much to me. I doubt if you’d care for it either. No C.O. for me this week. I’ll probably get it weekend after next. What’s Helen going to do in Virg.? Well that gets your letters. Its 9:30 & I better quit before I get more than will go thru Free. 5 pages have gone before so I guess its O.K. So for anther weekend –


Love to you all