Beef Or Was It Carbon

Tuesday, March 16, 1943

About 7:30 p.m.


Dear folks,

Well I have played goldbrick all day again today. I got that huge box tonight and I’ll mention it more later. When I finished writing last night I went over and washed and shaved. My bandages were dirty and loose so I took them off my fingers and left them off. My fingers looked a lot better. I was up at 5:40 with the rest this morning and dressed and made my bed and swept as usual before roll call. I started to shine my shoes but I never did get finished. For breakfast I had creamed beef on toast, toast, rice krispies, a doughnut and an orange. After breakfast I stayed around the kitchen and peeled a few spuds until it was time to report for sick call. Neither I nor one of the others was on the K.P. list today so he didn’t go to work but we were all made to understand that we are steady K.P.’s and we go to work every day unless we can’t for some reason. I notice our two names aren’t on the list tomorrow either. I think they are supposed to have only 5. They leave us off and put 2 more names on so the records show 5 but there are 7. It makes it easier to have more anyway. I reported to sick call as I had been told and so did the other kid. The major looked at his hands which were a little red and swollen and told him all he had was dish pan hands and let him go back to work. I feel sorry for the kid. He is really getting tired and he is losing his spirit on that job. The sgt. (the one who got my glasses) noticed it too. He tried to get me off K.P. but I guess he didn’t make it. When I went in the major looked at my fingers, broke the blisters which were there and had a fellow dress them again. First they put some purple stuff on, then they put that cream on again and wrapped them in gauze and tape. This wasn’t Ewing and he put them on to stay. I could hardly wiggle my fingers so I didn’t try to work. I stayed around the kitchen nearly all morning. I read a little and studied a little in my basic manual. The rest of the time I loafed around. There was nothing I could do without loosening the dressings so I took advantage of my chance and didn’t do anything. I got 2 letters this noon. Your Thurs. and Fri. March 11 & 12. For dinner today I had beef or was it carbon, potatoes, asparagus, cooked onions, bread, butter and pears. After dinner I went back to the barracks and read my letters. Then I began to write. Suddenly at about 2 I guess it was, they called a real alert. Everybody got his rifle and helmet and gas mask and clip belt and went to his post. I went over to the kitchen with the rest. They gave each of us one clip of shells and it was quite realistic. I guess it lasted about 15 minutes. I got a kick out of it to myself. You see they just took some of the new men out this morning to learn to load and fire their rifles. They gave me an MI clip and I have an ’03 rifle which uses a different clip. I don’t think I could have fired if I had wanted to. When it was over I went back to my writing. I wrote until after 4:30 and got 5 letters, all short ones, written to Aunt Marie, little George, Leo, Aunt Edna, and Mrs. C. I am all caught up except for 3 letters from Kircher, Dick H. and Hugh. When I finished I went over to the P.X. and it was closed and I am glad it was now. I came back and slept until supper. It wasn’t so hot tonight. I had potatoes, gravy, bread, butter, custard and fruit salad. My mail all goes to the kitchen now and my box was over there. Boy was that really swell but the postage is awful. I have just enough hangers now and one to spare for that shirt if I do get it. It is real dark green. I don’t remember for sure what I said it was before but it [is] a very rich dark green. The reason I needed more hangers was because I have hung up my suntan (cotton) outfits and my rain coat. I also hang up my fatigues but one set is usually in the laundry and I wear the other. Everything was swell and came through O.K. The brush, the hangers, the powder, and the shaving cream are all things I needed and asked for. I emptied that tube of Gillette last night and I will use up that old Woodbury next. I had a little Kleenex but the box got smashed so I use it to clean my glasses and wipe off my silverware and similar things. I got the shining cloth but they say the best thing to do is leave the buttons alone. Once you polish them they tarnish and you have to polish them all the more. The eats overwhelm me. Everything I have tasted is really all right. I lifted the top of that box of candy and gum and put it back on. I figured I couldn’t put it back like you had it so I would start at the top and eat down. I don’t eat so much when I am working in the kitchen because I don’t get to the barracks very much. That will last me quite a long time. I don’t know when I’ll read the magazine but I’ll keep it until I do get it read. I opened the box and unpacked it while they were out on alert. Then I took the last box I got which I have been saving and I packed stuff in it to send home. In it you will find some tablet covers and stationery folders on the bottom, then all the letters from you folks are tied together. They are all there in the order I got them except the 2 I got today and the Valentine and 2 St. Pat. cards. Also there are all my other letters except the 3 I haven’t answered and the ones from Stewart and Mitchell. I thought maybe I should keep them. They might do me some good sometime. I put all the cards down flat so they wouldn’t wrinkle and so you would notice them and look at them. Now I want you to feel free to look at any of it you want to. You send me the letters you get and I am doing the same. I also put 3 books in which I have read – Mrs. Miniver, The Good Earth, and Lost Horizon. There is also a cat tail of some kind that I picked up at Santa Rosa, the two pennants I have bought, an empty tube, the ribbon off one of those heart boxes, and something to take the place of your wire dish cloth. On the top is one of the news papers I bought at Camp McCoy. Most of it is junk which is no good as far as value goes. I may have missed mentioning some of the stuff. In the little envelope is the insignia which we wear now but which is now being replaced by a new one. I never wore one because I knew they were going to change and also I didn’t get where I could buy any. One guy, the old boy with the money, bought 2 of them a little while ago and then yesterday when he was on a pass he got the new ones. I asked to buy the old one (which is new also) and he gave it to me. I wanted to have one to keep to show what I would have worn if I could have gotten it. It stands for General Headquarters Reserve. The new ones stand for the Western Defense Command. Some around here wear the 4th army insignia too. Boy it would be nice to have a collection of these. They would be nice on a pillow or quilt. Anyway here it is and I want you to keep it. I grabbed it quick because I thought I might leave and maybe sooner than I think and I want a souvenir of my old place at Benicia. If I change places you will also get my new insignia and my crossed cannon button. You will have a lot of junk in time. Anyway it is wrapped up and I will mail it if I get my pass Thursday. I don’t know where I will go. The pass is from noon to noon. I would rather they were from 6 a.m. to 6 a.m. Then I could be gone all day and come back in the evening and sleep here. As it is I leave at about 1 and if I come back to sleep I am just the same as reporting for duty. In other words if I am here they can put me to work if they want to do it. They probably wouldn’t but they could. The fellows who have already gone have stayed overnight in Frisco in a hotel. I suppose that is all right but I will probably come back and take a chance on being put to work. Of course I haven’t gone yet but I am due for a pass Thurs. noon. Don’t worry. I won’t do anything reckless. I’d like to mail out that box, go into San Francisco, get me a garrison belt, some insignias, maybe some other things if I see anything I want to buy, go to a good show and come back. I expect it will cost me about 10 bucks but I have about 80 and 50 more coming in 2 weeks. Oh yes, I’ll try to send you a money order for that tax if I don’t forget it. I don’t want you to have to pay it. If I thought you wouldn’t have any trouble, I’d just sign my check and send it home. I’ll see that you get it in the long run. That is too much for you to pull out. Does dad have to pay more by making 4 payments? If I go on pass I may not write for one day there so you can be prepared in advance. If I don’t write you will probably be sent something anyway so you will be sent mail every day. I am keeping my fingers crossed. It is about time I was hearing more about college although rumor has it at least one month yet. K.P. isn’t so bad. 3 days on and 1 off if you could just loaf and sleep but they expect you to leave. That is O.K. the first 2 or 3 times but after that I won’t have much to go for or see. Well it’s 9:02 so I’ll get to your today’s letters. Thurs. Mar. 11 — I got by that inspection but I still need to get that rust off my bolt. The kid from Lansing is not L.S. so far as I know. I don’t always lock my grip but I keep it zipped. Your old letters are taken care of now I hope. I don’t intend to give up my grip until I am forced to do it. I would advise you not to try to find out about anything. All you might do is cause trouble for both of us. Every post and camp has different rules so you couldn’t learn much anyhow. You better let well enough alone. Let me know if Wetzel will make a duplicate pair of glasses. He knows the size all right. That is on his record. They better exchange that shirt because he told me to wash it. You keep the receipt. I take it you like Brown better than Henderson. I don’t blame you for feeling the way you did about the glasses but that is over now anyhow. We did some close order drill but there is no level place to march on here. I wouldn’t change places with Dad. He is worth a whole lot more to you than I could ever be. See. I know you wouldn’t want us to change places either. I have to go along with the K.P. I guess whether I like it or not. I could learn to like the kitchen and supply work if it wasn’t so grueling. There was no one here to ask about the test. That comes from Regimental. I don’t know where you got the idea others read my letters because they don’t. If they did I’d know it by now. Was it Howard that went? I thought all the time it was his older brother. Yes that was Bob Weeks. I imagine he is L.S. because he was in 4-F. L.S. men have chances to even get commissions they tell us. Of course they will be worthless after the war but who cares? None of our officers are L.S. but they haven’t had L.S. long enough for that yet. I have done my best in the kitchen. The cooks will tell you that. We mail our letters in the office. They are supposed to be collected every morning. You must not get much sleep writing till 12 every night. One kid got a card tonight mailed Jan. 2. Well if they said all 3-As in the army by summer that is what they said. I didn’t know they had eliminated the H classes. I wouldn’t worry too much about it. That is that letter. Now Fri. Mar. 12—I heard packages mailed from camp are opened. I don’t know if it is true or not. I’ll mail mine in town. I guess I have used the word sgt. a lot. The one who got my glasses is the one who has drilled us. The old goat who put us on K.P. is the first sgt. [chevron sketch]. There are plenty of sgts. here. My glasses fit O.K. Ewing’s are broken clean across now and held with tape. I don’t wear my oxfords enough to wear out the souls [sp]. 9:45 I ate off my mess kit at Santa Rosa but not here. Kircher is talking about taking a trip to Cal. believe it or not. He has a cousin or something out here. Any kind of shirts and shorts are O.K. The turned the lights out on me so I am finishing this in the latrine. Yes I knew Bill Garrison well. He was L.S. in the reserve. His real name is Weldon. Well that covers the day so I’ll quit. It’s after 10 and I need my sleep. These pages are too big. I waste too much paper but I don’t care.


Until next time then, Love to you all,

The K.P. Kid


Share your thoughts