Resting on the Oars

Mon. Feb. 28, 1944

4:45 p.m.


Dear folks,

I just finished reading your Fri. letter and I’m just a little mad. I know one Negro who has something waiting for him and I think he’ll get it some day. Couldn’t Pop take a poke at him for gosh sakes? Who was he anyway? Doesn’t he know him? The best thing to use on them is your foot. There’s one place you can get them or anybody so they don’t come back for awhile. At least hit ‘em in the guts, never on the head or you’ll break your hand. Well I guess I can’t do much about it so I’ll get back to my usual lineup. I did my Calculus last night after I finished writing. Then at 8 we went to study. I put one hour on one Physics problem. The second hour I spent on my theme for English. At 10 we came back & I got to bed. It started to rain last night & has been doing it off and on ever since. There was no reveille today so I slept on through breakfast until 7:15. Then I got up, dressed, made my bed and at 8 we went to Calculus. We finally got our tests back. The grades were poor – only 5 were above 70 & average was about 48. I pulled a 98 which made me feel pretty good. I lost 2 points for leaving out a minus sign. At 9 we had Physics. He gave us some problems about which I knew practically nothing. I’m a little lost in that stuff. We don’t get the test until Sat. You know all these tests this week really don’t mean an awful lot. Unless I really did awfully poor I couldn’t change my grades & whether or not we go on is all up to Dallas.

Back at 10:00. We had study at 10 this morning. I worked on Phys. just in case we might have a lab test. At 11 we had military and more stuff on map reading. At 12 we came back for dinner. I had steak, potatoes, cabbage, salad, bread, butter, milk and cake. At 1 we had Physics Lab. We didn’t have a test but did an experiment on Impedances in alternating currents. At 3 we had study & I tried to shape up that theme some more. At 4 we had P.T. & played volleyball. At 5 we had our monthly physical which means we get paid in a couple days. I got your Thurs. & Fri. letters today. I also got the letter back that I wrote to Hugh about a month ago. It had been sent from Camp Tyson to Fort Bragg & there it was stamped unknown and sent back. Evidently the mail clerk in Tyson made a mistake in sending it to Bragg. He probably shipped out to a different place. I started writing on this & wrote until 5:20. Then Sammy & I played ping pong until supper. I had corn, salad, bread, butter, milk, and fruit salad. Then we came back & played some more. I beat him 12-5 and broke even 2-2 with another fellow. At 8 we went to study. I did my Calculus and read 2 chap. of Drawing for a test we may have tomorrow. I had thought of really pouring it on & going to late study but they knocked all the ambition out of me. I’m back in the dayroom now. Here’s the setup as it stands now. They still don’t know if we stay next term or not. According to one of the officers they are trying to keep us 14 but don’t know if they’ll be able to or not. The big thing is this. There will be no furloughs. That came out today and applies to the whole A.S.T.P. all over the country. So that’s that I guess. God knows when I’ll get home now. Even if I can stay I doubt if it will be over 3 months & once I get back in troops chances for furloughs are darn slim. I know this sounds pretty morbid but its about the way things are. I want to stay but I’m beginning to think that will go too. To be honest with you I don’t expect to be here after the middle of next week. I’ll say what I feel then if things do turn out better, well we can feel happy about it. 14 months & I’ve had 11 days at home! What a life. Well that’s all there is. I know you’ve sort of expect me to get home & so have I but it’s out now.

Now your letters. They’ve knocked the wind out of my sails & I haven’t much ambition to study. I think I’ll do enough to get through & rest on the oars. Thurs. Feb. 24 – Don’t get excited over no mail for a day or two. You may hit gaps now & then when I won’t be able to write. I know you’ve been cleaning house sort of looking forward to something, but this is the army, they tell me. Boy they are taking everybody for the army now. They say they need us because quotas are low. The snow will probably be gone by the time I get there all right. Fri. Feb. 25 – Say, who was this guy that hit dad & how did it happen & where? He must have knocked him down, otherwise how could he get away. That guy must pack a wallop if he only hit him once. I’m mad about this. Let’s have the details. Don’t worry about me. Take care of him. Nobody can do anything about my situation. What people think about breaking up this program means nothing to the War Dept. I really don’t think Aunt Marie meant that that way. At least I’d like to think she didn’t. I know what I hope for too but I’m prepared for practically anything. There’s not much I could do to help Pop on that except add some moral support. You know what I’d like to do but I’m not a fighter. I have learned a few tricks since I’ve been in the army. A good swift kick in the abdominal regions would be just what he needs. Well that’s your letters. This probably sounds pretty low but forget it. I sort of kind of wanted that furlough and I don’t like the idea of people pushing Dad around. Well I guess I better quit,


So long for tonight



Confidentially He Smells

Sat. Feb. 19, 1944

11:00 p.m.


Dear folks,

Back again. I mailed the other letter this morning but it may lie in the box until Mon. After what I’ve said about shipping and stuff I hope you won’t pay too much attention if it’s a little late. When I quit writing I worked on Calculus until 12. Then we came back here. I shined my shoes before dinner. I had potatoes, peas & carrots, salad, bread, butter, milk & cake. After dinner we cleaned the latrine for inspection. We didn’t do a very thorough job but it was good enough to get by O.K. We got to study at about 1:30. I took my razor & shaving crème along and shaved downstairs in the engineering building. I needed one and hadn’t had time to do it. At 2 we had the second movie in this series on “Why We Fight.” I’ve seen the first 3 for 3 times but I’ve never yet seen the last 4. We’ll just about get to number 3 here and then they’ll quit. At 3 we had another hour of study which I put on Calc. At 4 we came back and changed for inspection. I got your Wed. and Thurs. letters & one from Elmo in my mail. The inspection was pretty fast. As soon as it was over we fell out & heard announcements & then were through at about 4:45. I got 4 more shoulder patches issued. Then Helle & Ferd and I went to the P. Office. I didn’t have anything to mail but Ferd sent his laundry & Helle sent three boxes of tricks & stuff home. Then we went up to the bakery & got some stuff to eat in hungry moments. After that we started back. On the way I got myself a bottle of olives. We brought the food back and then went to supper at about 5:45. I had potatoes, spinach, salad, bread, butter, milk, and jello. After supper we came back and Ferd, I & my roommate played ping pong until nearly 7:30. I beat Ferd but lost 2 out of 3 to my roommate. His name is Sam Crisman from Holdrege, Nebr. He’s in for term 4 also. At about 8 Ferd & I decided to walk downtown. The show down here was no good so we went to the one downtown but it wasn’t too good either. It was “Rookies in Burma.” It was supposed to be funny but it was too silly to be really funny. The show was out at about 10 and we walked back. It was beginning to rain when we got in so maybe there’ll be no reveille. We ate some of the stuff we had and here I am.

I imagine you’ve seen the big headlines on the A.S.T.P. The paper here says the advanced program will not be affected so maybe I can get in under the wire. It’s going to be close and we won’t be able to count on much from now on. The whole program may be wiped out anytime they feel like it. It means about 350 men will get the ax here. Probably no basic terms will be started. Maybe definite plans will be held out long enough so these kids can get their furloughs. I hope so. The main thing is for me to get mine. Well I’ll sign off now until tomorrow.

Back Sunday Feb. 20 at 8:45 a.m. I was up at about 7:30. It was raining but it’s pretty sloppy and foggy outside. After reveille at 7:45 I hurried over to breakfast. I had toast, butter, French toast, syrup, corn flakes, milk & a banana. After breakfast I came back and here I am. Now I better answer your letters. Wed. Feb. 16 – Seems as if the catalog we saw here has more nice stuff in it again. I believe it’s easier to get a lot of things now than it was for awhile. Babe really gets a mouthful when she grabs some of my socks. One pair of G.I. shoes does a good job on straining the water as you can see by the black soles on some of my socks. I’ve been wearing those shoes now since I came in. As soon as next term starts I’ll try to salvage some stuff. That one suntan shirt is in bad shape. I ripped the sleeve taking off a patch and the hole in the back is bigger too. I drew 4 more patches yesterday. I never sewed the first 3 on because I didn’t know how long I’d stay but I have 6 now so I’ll sew them on or have you do it for me. You don’t have to rewind that ribbon, mom. Just push that little rod on the side of the typewriter & it will reverse itself. It may be needing a new ribbon pretty soon. I better apply for my license if I get home. You can apply anytime within 6 months from the expiration can’t you? I might wait until June but it’s too much of a gamble. I never use a license but I sort of want to keep one in force all the time. I wonder if I could get by the thing with but two mistakes. Pop keeps his average. It’s been just as big a help to me to have you do my wash. I don’t mind a low C so long as it’s a C. He’s gotten me on 3 plates for arrowheads. I have one more to do. If I can make these look good I’ll be O.K. maybe. I still say those spaces in between letters were because you didn’t get your fingers away from the bar & keys fast enough. I did it at first too. That pink wash cloth is the one that was in the stuff from Sunfield for Xmas. We haven’t heard from Bill Johnson yet. If I write to all the guys I’ve known around here I’ll really have some mail but I don’t imagine many will write. I told Ferdie & Rudy that they’d have to write first because they know my address & I don’t know theirs. Of all those letters I wrote about 3 weeks ago I have gotten 4 answers – Lillis, Marie, Sunfield, & Dick H. and also the one from Elmo which he’s owed a long time. If you want you can get an appointment with Wetzel. Make it for Monday morning so I can get it over with. I don’t think they need it but maybe we better get it over with. Go ahead if you want to. Now Thurs. Feb. 17 – I got it on Sat. instead of Mon. You must have gotten the same snow we had. One of the fellows took a lot of pictures of the place around here & I’m having him get me a set. One shows the drill field the day we moved & you can see the paths where we walked across the snow. Am I still a curiosity to you? I never realized how fast time goes until the last year. Another year and I’ll begin to be getting old. Shucks in only 9 years I’ll be past 30. It sort of scares you when you think about it, doesn’t it or should I say didn’t it? I’ll try to send stuff next weekend. Just hold the laundry until I get there. I have plenty of clothes now. I have a lot more stuff to move than when I came – more underwear, socks & clothes of all kinds. I believe that when I’m sure of leaving here I’ll ship my locker home. It’s a good thing to have but if I should happen to get someplace where I’d have to carry my baggage I’d be a bit loaded down. I wish I could get rid of some of this G.I. equipment I have to drag around. Another thing, if we leave here we would be liable to move maybe 2 or 3 times in a few weeks. On the strength of being here until June I’ll hold my tennis racket for a while longer. I wouldn’t want to be in the M.P.’s. Selfridge Field isn’t far away from Lansing. I’d say the best deal would probably be Ft. Sheridan near Chicago. I could get home in 5 hours. Gee Pop must be quite a typist by now if he uses it for his blanks and stuff. I’m in bad shape ain’t I? That covers your letters & I guess I’ve exhausted all my ideas & everything I had to say so I’ll sign off for awhile. See you later.

Back at nearly 7:00 p.m. I spent most of the forenoon just fumbling around with my stuff. I guess I have it sorted down to a minimum now. You’ll have a fairly large laundry next week & if I get home I’ll bring what accumulates after I send. My foot locker is a little more orderly and empty I believe now. When I pull out of here sometime, then you will really get a lot of plunder. After I got everything the way I wanted it I showered and dressed for dinner. I ate at about 12:30 – potatoes, asparagus, salad, biscuits, butter, milk, and ice cream. After dinner I sat around a bit & then Ferd, Helle, & I took off. Ferd & I took some pictures of the campus from a 3rd floor window. We deduced that there is something wrong with my camera when it’s clicked either up or down. I figured it out to be on the up click so I took most of my pictures on the down click. We took some pictures of the fellows we knew. We started out and walked downtown. Ferd left a reel to be developed but we couldn’t get any film. Then we started walking. The sun had come out and it was beautiful day. We spent about 2 hours I guess and walked practically all over the parts of town we hadn’t seen. The fellows have one more weekend in Fayetteville. I’m going to miss them too. I know them the best of anyone I’ve met in the army. We got back down here by the theater in time to go to the 4 o’clock show. We saw “Higher & Higher” with the great Sinatra. Confidentially he smells, but the picture itself wasn’t bad. We got out at about 6:05 and went over to the Union for cheese sandwiches and a milk shake. Then we walked down to the store and got some cheese crackers and came back. I changed clothes & here I am. That’s the story for today. I have a Physics test tomorrow so I’ll have to quit and get at it. So long for tonight,




What Happened to the Idea of Conscripting Cars?

Wed. Jan. 26, 1944

5:30 p.m.


Dear folks,

Here I am again. I’ll write on this until we go eat. After I wrote to you last night I did my English & worked on Physics. At 10 I went to the Physics drill class to see if I could learn anymore. I didn’t learn much. I got back to the dorm at about 11. Then I worked on Physics out in the hall until 11:30. I thought I knew it pretty well. I was up at 6:15 this morning but not very much awake. After reveille at 6:40 we went to breakfast. I had toast, butter, oatmeal, milk & an apple. Then I slept until about 7:40 when I got up and made my bed. At 8 we had Calc. At 9 we had Physics & the test. It was a dilly. The problems were pretty catchy and it was a long test. I don’t know how well I did. I managed to finish but I made some foolish mistakes. I found most of them I hope but I guess I misplaced a decimal point in one of them because no one agrees with me. There were 104 possible points. I hope I go 75 or better but it’s hard to tell. One question was worth 20 pts. These physics tests are always rugged. They throw enough work for 3 or 4 problems in each one. We probably won’t know what we got until a week or two from now. He never gets papers back in less than a week. At 10 we had study and I worked Calculus. I haven’t been putting much time on Calculus with other tests on the fire but I’ll have to get at it for Fri. test. At 11 we had Military. We got those tests back we wrote about a month ago. I missed only 1 question for 98 out of 100 which was pretty good for me on a Military quiz. We get one on rifle marksmanship tomorrow. I don’t know much about it and there’s nothing to study. We have practiced doing things instead of listening & taking notes. Maybe that grade will counterbalance whatever I get tomorrow. At 12 we ate. I had potatoes, beets, carrots, chili, salad, bread, butter, milk, and rice pudding. At 1 we had English. We heard talks & he didn’t give an assignment for Fri. which is good. At 2 we had Geog. Test Fri. over a bale of notes & 4 chap. in the book which he never assigned before.

Back at 6:15. At 3 we had study and I started reviewing History. We haven’t covered much since the last test so it could be pretty easy & then again he could make it hard by going into detail. At 4 we had P.T. We did calisthenics and then played volleyball as usual. After P.T. I showered and read my mail – your Sat.-Sun. letter. I shaved this noon. At 5:15 we had our monthly physical which means we get paid pretty soon. I have 3 checks left yet but I guess I’ll have to cash one pretty soon. After that I wrote on this until we went to supper. I had potatoes, peas, salad, bread, butter, cookies and milk. Now I just got back from eating. That’s today. No new rumors around today. According to where they are in the alphabet, I imagine I’ll pull C.Q. or O.G. either Fri. or Sat. night. I was figuring on sleeping this weekend so it won’t make much difference. I’d rather have it on a night off because I know there are no classes the next day. I’ve been so sleepy today that I’ve had a little trouble staying awake. The boys around here are working fast. A lot are putting in air cadet applications. Today an announcement was on the board saying men who can qualify for Coast Guard Academy will be discharged from the army to go. Some are going to try it. So far as I’m concerned it’s the A.S.T.P. and nothing else. If they kick it out I’ll probably be able to grapple on to a fair job someplace else.

Now to your letter – I bought a card to send Gramp but there won’t be any buck in it. The work is plenty hard all right. Oh actually each course itself is fairly easy but added together it’s too much. It’s boiled down to studying for tests and that’s about all. I don’t think there are any shows or gals interfering with my work. I’m sure I don’t know it if they are. And my work isn’t anything to complain about yet. I’m doing the best I can under the conditions. I’ll admit I haven’t put time in on weekends but I’ve kept my grades without doing it and its doggone little time that I have off. When you look at it we don’t have much incentive. Everything points out. About the only ones who are really working now, are we with the good grades. You can address me as Pvt. probably for the duration +. You know you and I have been throwing some pretty dirty digs at each other, at least you must be taking what I have written that way. When I say I don’t want you to worry about this or that I mean it seriously. I’m not wanting to be a good shot with my left eye. If I get out of here I’m very likely to goldbrick & try to get a C.D.D. I’m fed up to the ears with the army & everything about it. 1 yr. and 24 days is just 1 yr. too much. If you could see yourself as others do & know how they feel, you’d find you are pretty much wrong. People like you if you’d give them a chance. I think I know you probably better than your mother or even Pop but then maybe I’m wrong. Anyway I hate to see you worry so over things that are far-fetched. Remember what happened to the idea of conscripting cars? I don’t say things to criticize you. You know that. If I don’t agree with you I say so. We both have a right to our opinions but I’m not trying to make any smart cracks. You ought to try firing the old rifle sometime. I imagine its fun if a person could be by himself but there are always too many people in everything in the army. Some of those movies haven’t been too good. I guess I go just to get away from stuff & things. That’s the Ruth Barnard who was in my class. I’ll keep my racket at least until I get something to wrap it in. It will go in the bottom of my foot locker anyway. Today is the hottest I’ve ever seen it in Jan. I think you would be very foolish to try to put $75 into bonds extra. Well that’s your letter & the bottom of the page I’ll sign off and get to work. Don’t pay too much attention to things I might say. See.




We Can’t Sing as a Group

Thurs. Jan. 6, 1944

6:05 p.m.


Dear folks,

Well a year ago today I went on my first train ride out of Michigan and ended up in cold old Wisconsin. I’m beginning to wonder how long it will be before I’ll be moving again. If I can better myself I want to get out of here and most any school north of here ought to be better. We have another big deal on the fire now. I presume it’s the Major’s idea. First – the companies are being reformed. Instead of 4 there will be just 2, A and B. Unfortunately we will be in B. Co. and we have to move over to Razorback Hall probably Saturday. That is semi-official. Second – a new Sat. schedule – Study from 1 to 3, orientation to tell us why we are here 2 to 3 and inspection at 4. That gives us 5 study hours on Sat. when we don’t really need it. I don’t know when they expect us to prepare for inspection. The only good thing is it appears we get all of Friday evening off but we won’t get loose Sat. until nearly 5:00. Everybody was happy but I guess some people always want to impress people by changing things and showing their power. Razorback isn’t bad but it means losing our small rooms & soft easy to make beds. They have 5 men to a room over there. That makes a crowd too. The officers in B Company aren’t so good either. The more I see of this place since the honorable major got here the less I like it. In a couple weeks we’ll be full time soldiers along with the double time students we already are. I don’t want to sound discouraging, but I think the A.S.T.P. is about on the rocks. The fellows that are left now are practically all serious about & trying hard but nobody is a superman. Well, I’ve rambled long enough and haven’t said anything but I still think, I hope either me or the Major goes to a different school in March. Time off for supper –

Back at 7:00. Now to my regular lineup of stuff and things. I studied history until 8:00. Then we went over to the field house. We heard a couple long winded announcements and then saw a training film on military instruction. It lasted until 9:45 so you see what happened to our study time. I came back here and went to work on History and crammed until about 11:35 I guess. Then I studied Military until 12 and went to bed. I was up at 6:15. After reveille we swept out and I slept until we fell out for breakfast. I had oatmeal, toast, butter, milk and a banana. From there we went to Calculus. We get a test in that on Mon. and it will cover quite a bit of ground. At 9 we had drawing. I finished my plate on time by 11:00. It didn’t look too bad except it was pretty soiled in spots. Then we had to study some stuff and we have outside work to do for Tues. At 12 we came back here and I studied Military until we went to dinner. I had chili, corn, beets, salad, bread, butter, milk, and cake. At 1 we had study and I put it on Military. At 2 we had Physics lecture. We get a big test in that next Thurs. At 3 we had our History test. It was a pretty good test. It took me the whole hour to do it but unless he’s a pretty tough grader I think I did pretty well. I felt as if I knew what I was talking about on it all. At 4 we had P.T. We played volleyball awhile and then had to run the 100 yds. piggy-back. I carried Ferd in 23 sec. He made it with me in 26. I don’t know if I’m too big for him or not. I’m quite a bit taller but I’m actually lighter. After that I got our mail and passed it out. I got your Mon. letter. At 5 we had Military. The test was the easiest I’ve had so far here in Military and I think I got above 90 but then I may be wrong. I felt pretty sure of most of the answers though. Then I came back and wrote until supper. I had potatoes, carrots, salad, bread, butter, milk, and raisin pie. And here I am. I have a Geography test to study for tonight and a 300 word essay to write. Oh what a life but I shouldn’t complain. These poor civilian students are carrying a whole 18 hours of classes and here I only have 24.

Now to your Mon. letter I got today. I don’t get much help. If I get stuck about all we can do is pool our brain power on the problem. I’m getting by in drawing O.K. and I guess that’s what counts. I’m far from the worst that’s a cinch. If I can get to a school up near there I hope they do ship us out of here. Otherwise no. I want to end 1944 and all the rest in the US.A. if I can. Of course I have no control over it but you know how I feel anyway. This setup is one man’s idea but he’s the commandant so what he says goes. We have to get haircuts on our free time nights before 8 o’clock. We can’t sing as a group. I am never out that late on Sat. night unless I go to the 11:00 show. Then I’m back by 1:00. I can’t see how I could go to bed at 12 & 1 and get up at 10:15 when I was in school & still feel alive. I guess I relaxed more there between times though.  I’m not pitying the married men. I didn’t report the glasses. It might cause more than its worth. Look Mom, I can see you sort of resent Betty’s writing to me & I know why but so far as I’m concerned you have nothing to worry about & I think you know it. To my knowledge she has never mentioned her sister. I imagine Aunt Marie will worry but you are right. What can she do? I had the cakes on New Years all right and just about everything is gone. Well that finishes your letter & today so I’ll sign off at 7:45.




You Let You Run Away With Yourself

Thurs. Dec. 23, 1943

7:50 p.m.


Dear folks,

Well, we are free from now until Sunday night study hall. They are throwing some kind of a party for us tonight at the Union. Freese & I are going over pretty soon and see what it is. I got back from study at about 10. I washed and shaved and got to bed at 10:30. I was up at 6:15 and after reveille I came back and slept until about 25 to 8. Then I made my bed. At 8 we had Calculus. We had a 12 question test. So far as I know I got them all O.K. but I’m not positive. I did each one twice and 2 different ways if possible in order to check my work. I did one wrong the first time but I caught it O.K.

Fri. Dec 24, 1:10 p.m. Here I am back after dinner on Fri. You always get the Thurs. & Fri. letters together so for this time I put them together. After Calculus yesterday we had drawing from 9-12. I worked as fast as I could with safety and just barely finished the second plate at the end of the class. It isn’t too bad looking but I don’t know what he’ll think. At 12 we ate. At 1 we had a study period. We went and got our Geography books and came back and spent the rest of the hour in the dorm. At 2 we had Physics lecture. At 3 we had History. The regular teacher was sick with the flu. The substitute we had Tues. got sick also so he sent his wife. One more class and they probably would have sent the little boy to teach the class. At 4 we had P.T. and we played volleyball. At 5 we had Military class. At 6 we were free. We ate. I had roast beef, potatoes, salad, bread, butter, milk, and peach cobbler. After supper I came back and took care of my mail, shined my shoes & brass, & cleaned up. Then I wrote on this until Freese and I went over to the Union. It wasn’t much of a party. They had a sort of program – a magician and some dancers. Then they gave us each a Xmas present – 2 packs of cig., 1 pkg. of gum & 1 bar of candy. A few of the guys got lots of cigarettes because a lot of us in our section don’t smoke and gave them to them. Freese & I listened to the juke box awhile then we looked at some magazines and finally came back at about 10:30 and went to bed. I was lazy this morning. I woke up several times but it was 11 before I finally got dressed. This morning one of the fellows who just got out of the hospital brought me a note from Ferd asking for his toilet kit, stationery and Calculus book. Several of us were going out to see him this afternoon but he’s isolated so we can’t. So I got the stuff together for him and took over to the infirmary. They’ll send it out to him when the ambulance goes out. The hosp. is way out north of town. He’s really conscientious about that Calculus. When I took care of that, I came back and at 12 I ate – meat loaf, potatoes, peas & carrots, bread, butter, salad, milk, and pudding. That brings me up to now. At mail call yesterday I got your Sat. –Sun. letter and a card from Thelma. The mail is all at least 1 day behind. I finally got the box of candy you sent last Fri. It was all O.K. and I’ve begun to make an imprint on it already. Now so far I have gotten 2 boxes.

Back at 4:00. My roommate and I went downtown for awhile. I got my shoe sewed. The whole side ripped loose yesterday. He got his laundry. We were going to the show but it wasn’t open so we came on back. When I got back my bed was full of mail – your Mon. letter & card, your Tues. letter and card, cards from Hugh & Nate and a card and $2 from George & Betty. I also finally got the other box of candy, nuts and the rest of my laundry so that makes all 3 packages finally. The mail is really balled up but I’m up to your Tues. letter today, so I guess I’m back on schedule. I hope you are getting my letters regularly now. I wrote them but you must be having the same trouble I had. The mail is overloaded now but it ought to clear up by next week. If you hadn’t got my Fri. letter by Tues. it really must be bawled up plenty. All I can say is I hope you had a big day of mail by now. If you get my Tues. letter today as you should you won’t be worrying so much about me because you’ll know my cold is nearly gone. I’m just blowing the after effects out of nose now as you’ll see by my laundry. I really wasn’t as bad as you thought but I did have a good cold.

Now to some of these unanswered letters I have here. Wed. Dec. 15. I don’t know how much good I would have done you if I had been there but you know I’d rather be there than here. We have a pretty good sized crowd here when we are together. Just about everybody came back with this cold or got it afterwards. Ferd happened to be the only one who went down. He had it bad though with a fever & chills. I intended to go on sick call last Sat. if I didn’t feel better but I could tell in the morning that the cold was broke so I didn’t go. Other mornings I have Calculus & I can’t afford to miss it or drawing. Those mornings I didn’t go to breakfast I was smart I think because I’d have had to stand in line in the cold a long time. I’ve done all I could with what I have and I’ll be doggoned if I’ll run over to the dispensary unless I absolutely know I need it. I’ve had enough colds so I can guess pretty well how bad they’ll be. Oh I know I’m not doing the right thing probably or didn’t but you know me and how I hate stuff like sick call. I guess I’ll have to make a resolution to do different but you know how I am. Every morning I tell myself, well if it isn’t better tomorrow I’ll go on sick call so that’s the way it goes. If you were here I bet you’d do the same thing but maybe I’m wrong. I think I know you pretty well though and they’d have to tie you down to get you to a doctor.

Thurs. Dec. 16 – Helle liked that cake. It wasn’t hard. I didn’t get the flu in Chicago. I had the cold when I got here Sunday morning. Most of the guys on this floor were snorting around. My roommate was sick for a day or so. It got his stomach. Don’t worry about me going places with that Stuart guy. I’d like to be home tonight having popcorn & cocoa & stuff. What a way to spend Xmas eve & Xmas. I got a kick out of the thing you said but I won’t mention it here.

Fri. Dec. 17 – If you don’t get any mail anytime don’t get excited. It’s very foolish. You know I’d get a card or something out someway. Of course I doubled up this letter with yesterday but you get them both on Mon. anyway. Any time you don’t get mail it’s not me but the U.S. Mail service. You let you run away with yourself. You don’t stop to think first. It’s your parents fault. They never taught you not to jump to conclusions. Be like Dad. Think about what might cause things first. I thought of telegramming to find how you two were but I was afraid it would get gummed up like the one in Sept. & then you’d think I was sick or something and it would make things worse. If everybody went to the P.O. if they didn’t get mail on time look what it would be like. Practically all of us were home last Xmas. Lohreny was just talking about the Xmas program his kids put on a year ago tonight. He was teaching school then. I got disgusted about the nuts but you know me. It doesn’t last long. I guess I’ll be able to stick with the A.S.T.P. for quite awhile at least. I’m a cinch to get into Advanced. I hear that’s pretty tough but I feel pretty sure of sticking at least until June and probably longer. One pkg. you mailed Mon. I got Wed. The one from Fri. I got Thurs. & the other one from Mon. I got today. Oh yes I got a pkg. yesterday from the WJIM Xmas Club. I don’t know where they got my name. The junk included a deck of cards which I’ll donate to whoever wants it, a pocket book “Journey Into Fear” a little sewing kit, a rubber stamp with A. FOREST on it, and a bag of peanuts. My, oh my, isn’t that lovely. Praise Allah & Lt. Finch. They must have gotten my address from somebody but I don’t know who. The olives are long gone. I haven’t tried my cheese yet.

I still have your Sat.-Sun., Mon. & Tues. letters to answer. It’s 5:25 so I think I’ll bring this to a close and maybe get it into the mail a bit sooner. I sure hope you’ve caught up with my mail by now. Thanks for all the candy and stuff. Don’t worry about laundry. I’m pretty well set again now. I didn’t send this week and may not next week. We’ll probably have classes as usual but the P.O. will probably be closed Sat. afternoon. Jan. 2 is some sort of an anniversary but it isn’t anything worth celebrating. Well for today I’ll sign off. I hope you all feel a lot better. That will go a long way toward making it a better Xmas for you. So long on Xmas eve.




The Price of Chenille Bedspreads

You’ll get this Thurs. I hope, so you know I’m hoping you all feel good Xmas. That will do more than anything else to make it a better day.


Mon. Dec. 20, 1943

9:40 p.m.


Dear folks,

Here I am again. Lights don’t go out now until 10 so I’m back in the dorm writing this. Last night I read Physics until 6. Then I went to supper & had potatoes, pickles, carrots, bread, butter, milk, and cookies. At 7 we went to study. I copied my geography notes and started on English. The study hall was so cold that we came back here at about 8. I finished my English & read History until 10 when I showered and went to bed. I was up at 6:15 and after reveille I went back to bed until 7:30. Our platoon was last and I didn’t want to wait in line behind 150 or so. I got up finally and swept and made my bed. At 8 we had Calculus. At 9 we had Physics drill. He gave us a lot more problems to do. At 10 we had a study hall. I did my Physics and went over to the registrar’s and got my grades for last term. Here they are.


English –A                Chemistry – A

History – A                Physics – A

Geography – A          Analytics – A


Not bad at all eh! I thought so too. At 11 we had Military. Today we studied the daily sick report. At 12 we had dinner. I had potatoes, beans, salad, bread, butter, milk, and choc. pudding. At 1 we had Physics lab. We did an experiment on electrification and charges which was sort of fun. I worked with Helle today. Ferd was pretty sick with the flu last night. He got some lemons and made himself some drink last night and this morning he went on sick call. He hasn’t been around since so I think he must be at the hospital. I guess they aren’t taking any chances with it. We were in lab until 3. Then we had a study period and I did Calculus. At 4 we had P.T. and played a couple of volleyball games. They’ve been good & skipped calisthenics lately. At 5 we were through. I took my shirt to the cleaners, turned my shoes in for heels, and my pants in for salvage. Then I came back and read some of my mail until 5:50 when we went to chow. I got your Wed., Thurs., & Fri. letters & cards from Gramp, Marie ($2) and Kircher. For supper I had potatoes, beans, salad, bread, butter, milk, and baked apple. After supper I finished my mail. At 7 we went to study and I did my History. Then at 9 I came back here. I have to shave yet before I go to bed. I am sending each of you a Xmas card so let me know if you get them. The mail is awfully heavy now so don’t get worried if letters are delayed. Mine are too. Don’t kick about what I put in the cards. I tried to buy Gram a clock & there wasn’t one in town. I wanted to get Pop some good pajamas but couldn’t find any I would buy and for you I priced a chenille bedspread. It was 12.75 & up so I figured you may be needing things now the way you’ve all been and in this way you can put my present where it will do the most good. Merriest Possible Xmas to you all,




Trying to Buy Cheese Spread



Sat. Nov. 27, 1943

4:20 p.m.


Dear folks,

Another weekend. This is the last one this term here. One week from now I should be in Chicago. Time seems to be dragging pretty much now. After I finished writing to you last night I shaved, showered and got to bed at about 10:30. I was up as usual at 5:30. After reveille I lay down and slept until breakfast. I had oatmeal, toast, butter, grapefruit and 3 bottles of milk. After breakfast I slept until about 7:20. Then I made my bed and we took off for our first test at 8:00. It was Analyt. I know the subject pretty well but we’ve had open book tests all term and have never had to learn the formulas. I figure I did pretty well although I was weak in some places. There were several things I had never heard of and I had to guess at. Of the 50 problems I’d guess I got about 35 or more right. That could be pretty good. It all depends on how the others did. It’s a military secret but I was tied with 3 other guys for highest score on the Physics test. I got 50 out of the 60. I’m not kicking about that at all believe me. I put nearly 2 ½ hours on the Analyt. but if you’ve never seen some of it before time doesn’t help much. I got back to the dorm at about 11. We talked over some of the questions. Then I straightened stuff up a bit and packed my laundry to send out. You’ll find one wool under shirt, one set of pajamas, 2 sets of underwear, 1 towel, 1 wash cloth, 4 or 5 hankies, my shorts and a stack of old letters. At about 12 we ate. I had potatoes, peas & carrots, salad, bread, butter, milk, and pudding. At 1 we had the last of our tests. It was Chem. – 55 questions. We had 2 hours. I finished in 1 ¼. It was a pretty fair test I thought and I hope I got a good grade. I felt as if I knew most of it as I went along but of course I could be wrong. I left at about 2 and came back here. When Ferd got back we dressed and took our laundries down to mail out. Ferd was hungry for some cheese & crackers so we tried to buy some cheese spread. They wouldn’t sell it to us without stamps so we bought some cookies instead.  On the way back I stopped to pick up my dry cleaning but it still isn’t back.  It sounds a little phoney to me but I’ll give him until Monday. We came on back and tried to get some cheese spread at the little store down the street here but they didn’t have any so we finally came back to the dorm. As I came up the stairs I saw that some air corps fellow was talking to Jim Langford about something. Jim is in our section and comes from Flint. He pointed to me and said here’s a fellow from Michigan, maybe he’d know. I stopped and the fellow asked me if I knew anyone around here who had a cousin named Ralph. I told him I guess that was I. He said he was George’s brother-in-law. I knew he was nobody I’d ever seen before. He came on upstairs and sat here and talked for ½ hour or so I guess. He’s in Sqd. D. and has been here about 4 weeks. He said Betty wrote that I was here but didn’t tell him my name. He was asking everybody if they knew a fellow here who used to go to M.S.C. We swapped addresses and he left at about 4 I guess. He didn’t impress me very greatly. I’d judge he was about 25 altho I’m a poor guess at ages. His name is Walter Stuart. He says he’s been in about a year and a half. He was in the ordnance before he came here. He said George was at a P.O.E. the last he heard. He thinks he got a dirty deal. He says George was an inspector at Timkens and should have gone into Ordnance at Custer instead of the Infantry. So that’s today. I’ve run into some pretty far distant relatives but I don’t think I’d ever hunt him up. My first impression is that he isn’t my type person. I think I like Ferd better than I would him even if I got to know him.

Well that’s the story up to now at 5:00. It’s time to go to supper so I’ll sign off. I didn’t get any mail today but I didn’t expect to.

Back at 9:35 p.m. For supper I had potatoes, spinach, sliced toms, bread, butter, milk, and rolls. After supper I shined my buttons, washed up a bit and started a letter to Hugh. At 7:15 Ferd and I went to the show and we just got back. It was the “Iron Major” with Pat O’Brien. It was about Frank Cavanaugh, a football coach. The engineer all-star basketball team played the Univ. team tonight and beat them 36-30. I didn’t see the game but Arkansas is going to have a dark season if we can [can’t?] beat them. That’s about all there is to say for today so I’ll close this, finish my letter to Sergeant Miller & get to bed. So long for now.

Sun. Nov. 28, 8:35 p.m. I finished writing to Hugh and got to bed at about 10:15 last night. I was on the ball today. I had one of the fellows wake me up at 7:45 and I went to breakfast for the first Sunday since about the middle of last term. I had French toast, syrup, toast, butter, oatmeal, milk, jam, and grapes. After breakfast I came back and went to work on History. It seems as if it takes me so long to do so little. It took me until dinner time to get through 3 chap., about 50 pages, of history. I tried to go a little slow and really get something out of it but I don’t know how well I succeeded. For dinner I had potatoes, string beans, beets, salad, bread, butter, milk, and ice cream. After dinner I came back and went at my Physics. I got one long chap. read by 2 o’clock. I decided I’d had enough for awhile so I quit and went to the show. It was “In Old Oklahoma” with John Wayne & Francis Farmer (I think). It was a western picture about oil in Oklahoma. It was sort of good to see something without a war background. I got back at about 4:10 and dug into my Physics again. At 5 I went to supper. I had potato salad, carrots, salad, biscuits, butter, milk, rolls and jello. After supper I went back to the Physics. I finally finished the 3 chapters of it in time to go to study at 7. I spent the first hour doing Physics problems, then I did my Analyt. for tomorrow and started this. Its 9:15 now and I’m back in the dorm. Except for mealtimes and the 2 hrs. at the show I’ve been behind a book all day. I’m pretty well caught up in everything now except Military. We have a test in that Wed. and I’m afraid it will be pretty doggone tough as usual. Well that’s another weekend. I wrote 7 letters last week which is some sort of a record I guess. I still have 5 to answer but except for Nate none are important. Next week at this time I should have been home nearly 24 hours. Oh boy. It’s really going to be good to get home again. This would really be bad if we didn’t get the break at the end of each term. By the end of the term I’m about ready to quit but I came back full of energy last time and it’s lasted up to the last week or so. Sometimes it seems as if the whole thing isn’t worth it but I think of what the boys are getting who leave here and I know its’ worthwhile. People in general think we have it pretty soft, we are the favored few in this army. Civilians say to us, You boys have it pretty easy don’t you? I’ll let them take my place awhile if they think its easy. There’s no physical strain but it still is a mental strain or whatever you can call it. We are working under pressure all the time. Well its time for lights out so I’ll sign off for tonight. It won’t be long now.





So For Tonight, Roger

Friday Nov. 26, 1943

8:40 p.m.


Dear folks,

Well here it is free time on Fri. night. I’m going to write this and then shave and clean up and hit the bed. After I finished writing last night I took the rest of the time and thumbed through my Physics. At 9 we came back here. I washed up a little, ate a couple cinnamon rolls I had my roommate get me while he was at the store and then got to bed at about 9:30. I was up at 5:30 and after reveille I was back in bed until about 7:30. Then I got up and made my bed and got ready to leave. We had our first test at 8. It was Physics – 60 questions. I didn’t do too badly. I made some silly mistakes on one or two and then there were several I didn’t know but in all I figure I did pretty well. We had 1 ½ hrs. to put on it. I finished at about 10. I came back and we proceeded to go through and argue out all the questions we could remember. Then I skimmed through my Geography notes. It all seemed pretty well in mind so then I started to write a letter to Bart until we went to dinner. I had mashed potatoes, peas, salad, bread, butter, milk, and rice pudding. After dinner at 1 we went back for more tests. We had 3 ½ hours to do the English & Geography tests. The English test was the same one we had last term. The test was pretty easy. I put 75 minutes on the 96 questions. Then I started the Geography. It took me 1 ½ hr. to get through the 130 questions. It was really bad. It was all on stuff we’ve had but when they give 4 answers, any one of which is right and ask for the best it makes it hard. I had to resort to pure guessing in spots. I’m usually pretty unlucky at guessing. I finally finished at about 4:00. I came back and finished the letter to Bart to answer his of Oct. 4. Before supper I took my O.D.’s over to turn in for cleaning and tried to get my field jacket but it wasn’t back yet. Then I went to supper. I had sweet potatoes, cabbage, cheese, carrots, bread, butter, milk, fruit salad and cookie. After supper at 6 we went to study. I decided it was futile to try to study for tomorrow’s tests so I did some writing and between now and then I got letters written to Granny in answer to Oct. 7, to Amelia in answer of Oct. 23 and to Lillis to answer Oct. 28. At 8 we came back here or I did. The fellows have to be in by 10:30 tonight. We have Math in the morning and Chem. in the afternoon. If I can make it I’ll send out my laundry but there won’t be much. That’s today. I have my mail down to 6 letters. I’d like to get it cleared out before I leave if I can so I can start even on text term. Now to some of your back letters. Thurs. Nov. 18 – Was that the pink butter dish that broke? You’ve had it quite awhile. I’ve never read much in that Chem. book I left there in Sept. I think it will be quite interesting. I did my Chem. in Analyt. because I knew the Analyt. but not the Chem. 25 more are on shipping lists now to go out. That will be all until we get back from furlough. The only one I want to be on is one sending me to a school in the 3rd, 5th or 6th service command. The ones who flunked out were either flunking term I over again for the second time or were flunking 2 or 3 subjects. I didn’t mean a B would be a flunk. I meant a B average. You see an average is figured on a point-credit basis as at State. A person could have a couple C’s in certain subjects and still have a B average. I don’t think they’ll let anyone who has been consistently getting D’s go on into advanced though. Remember all this junk I pass on to you is just the latest rumors so your foolish to let it worry you. I just thought I’d let you see how the undercurrents go around here. I’ll be here until March. After that if I stay in the 8th Service Command I want to stay here so I’ll get my furlough and be this close to home. If they flunked me with the marks I have now a lot would go with me is all I can say. Boy, those kids that work with Dad are trying to drag him into everything. They are still taking limited service men, but I don’t think “many are discharged if they don’t fit into the army.” My roommate will stay on next term easily. He’s one of the smartest in the section. Ferd, Freese, & Helle will make it but whether they will ever get past 3rd term I’m personally doubtful. Ferd will make it if any do. Helle could do it hands down. He’s just a little too easy going. Don’t start talking of a 5 or 10 year war. None of us could take it that long. I think it ought to be pretty well in hand inside of 2 yrs. But if it’s only 2 days it’s still too long.

Fri. Nov. 19 – Don’t worry. The bed making and sweeping can go for someone else when I’m out of this. You bet I’m carrying a load and altho’ I’m not trying to brag I think I’m doing pretty doggone well considering the contrast with the kind of study conditions I was used to. I don’t think, in fact I’d bet that Gramp couldn’t work that problem. My eyes don’t look red but they just get tired. I think its lack of sleep as much as anything. American Beauty stuff was all pretty good.

Now to your Mon. & Tues. letters that I got today. That dollar wasn’t necessary but thanks. I repeat we really pass the buck around. I was afraid you were going to suggest going to Wetzel’s. I guess you are right but there goes the extra day I gained. I don’t know if they need changing or not but then I suppose it is the thing to do. It means half a day up there and then a day to wear the stuff out. I only have 6 days at home you know. This could be my last furlough for a long time. I may get one in March but it’s a gamble because we are liable to be shipped out then. Who’s kidding whom. You don’t actually think that I’ll get anything at the presentation do you? I’ll just stand there and hang on to that wooden rifle for about 30 minutes. About 150 men or more were  eligible for good conduct ribbons so they are going to give out 20. You know who’ll get them, too, the cadet officers. I can’t kick because I’m not eligible but I think some of the fellow are justified in kicking. Also rumor has it there will be scholarship awards to the 3 highest men in the Battalion. I’m not building up to any letdown by telling myself I’m one because I probably ain’t. There are a lot of guys here in 4-A who at least ought to get good grades. Of course I have but one B so maybe I have a chance. We’ll see. We haven’t been able to get those insignias yet. If I can’t get any here I may be able to get some there and then you can sew them on for me. Going back is something to forget. Freese is going to Chicago I guess. I’ll get my furlough O.K. Of course I couldn’t control a train strike. I wasn’t in a hurry to buy my ticket. I just avoided the rush. It doesn’t matter now I see whether the Frisco is a little late or not. I can’t get to Chicago before 2:05 and the bus leaves at 1 so I’ll have to wait for that 8:00 p.m. train the same as before. If we are on time then I’ll have 6 hours in Chicago. Thanks for the bus schedule. You can see it doesn’t help me any.

Tues. Nov. 23 – Yes I’ve heard quite a bit about old blood and guts. He really put himself on the fire. It’s his own fault and although he’s a good man he deserves a little taking down for it. Yeh, you can see how I planned on that party & dance Wed. Oh yes. I’m sure you can.

Well that cleans up all your back letters. This weekend I’m going to force myself to do some work for a change (maybe). We have a rough week of tests coming up.

Its 9:55 now so I’ll sign off, go shave, take a shower and head for bed. A week from now I’ll be on the old Frisco Limited. All that’s limited is the speed and the comfort.


So for tonight, Roger



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



Calisthenics & Vollyball

Wed. Nov. 3, 1943

9:25 p.m.


Dear folks,

Here I am in the usual place but a little earlier tonight. First of all I better finish yesterday’s letter. I forgot to tell you I got my laundry yesterday. You may have wondered about it but I never thought of it until I got back to the dorm last night. Anyway I got it O.K. and everything was all right. I got to bed at about 10:45 I guess last night. I was up at 5:30 and back in bed after reveille. I slept until breakfast. I had scrambled eggs, toast, butter, jam, oatmeal, milk and an apple. After breakfast I made my bed, swept & straightened stuff up until it was time to clean up the latrine. You will have a pretty good sized laundry this time – especially socks & hankies. I’ve really run through the hankies but I’m glad to say my nose has about quit running. I have 8 clean ones to last until these get back so I may have to rinse some out Sunday. At 8 we went to Analyt. The stuff we are on now is awful. It’s not too hard but it takes so doggone long to do it. I got the problem O.K. that we did last time. At 9 we had study. I finished today’s Analyt. & started on tomorrows. At 10 we had P.T. – calisthenics & volleyball. At 11 we had Geog. I was really surprised but I got 100 on my last test. At the beginning the[re] were about 6 guys with 100 averages. I’m the last one now. My roommate is second with 99.  At 12 we ate – potatoes, beans, salad, bread, butter, milk and cake. At 1 we had Military and a lot of junk on moving a column of troops, etc, At 2 we had more P.T. – Calisthenics and volleyball (as if you couldn’t guess it). At 3 we had Physics. He tried to prove a formula but I (and some others after I started it) tripped him up and we didn’t get very far. He had a beautiful system and it got him where he wanted to go I guess only it wasn’t right. It was based on an incorrect assumption. Maybe I shouldn’t but I get a big kick in arguing him down. He’s too positive of what he does. I seldom argue unless I think I’m right and if I see I’m wrong I shut up. So far this term I’ve won every argument or shall we say discussion (so far). At 4 we came back to the dorm. I read my Chem. & started on my Problems. All I got at today’s mail call was a letter from Bernice. I guess you’re right. By the time I get around to write again I’ll have just as many people to write to. For supper I had potatoes, beets, sliced toms, bread, butter, milk, & 2 rolls. At about 6, Helle & some of us played around with the football for awhile. I suppose I should spend the time more profitably but then I like to pull out of the books once in awhile. At 7 we came here. I finished my Chem. prob. for Sat. & spent the rest of the time doing 4 Analyt. prob. I got one in 20 minutes that one of our analytical genii failed to get. He worked for over an hour & got the wrong answer & quit. I found out my Physics grade tonight so here they are. They are good now but I hate to think of what final exams will do to them – especially Hist. & Physics. I finally pulled up to an A in Physics but I imagine it’s a low one. I guess that covers it all for today. Maybe I’ll think of more after I seal this but for tonight


So long




Analytics    -A

Chemistry   -A (98)

Physics       -A

Geography  -A (100)

English        -A (199 out of 200)

History        -B (220 out of 246)

We’re On The Way Down Now

Wednesday Oct. 27, 1943

7:10 p.m.


Dear folks,

I’ll dash this off and then get going on history for tomorrow’s test until I get sleepy and then go to bed. I went back at about 10:30 last night, took a shower and went to bed. I was up at 5:20 and we fell out for reveille at 5:30. When we came back in I slept until breakfast – farina, toast, butter, jam, milk, and an apple. Then I made my bed, swept and slept until we left for class at 8. He decided to give us our Analyt. test on Fri. instead of tomorrow which will help a lot. Now we just have 2, History & English tomorrow. The English I’m not even studying for as it’s just on parts of speech and constructions and if I don’t know that stuff now I never will. At 9 we had study & I got tomorrow’s Analyt. out of the way. At 10 we went back for P.T. We had calisthenics, and then played volleyball. At 11 we had Geog. We get a test there Fri. but they usually aren’t hard and I have a 100 average so anything above 85 will be O.K. At 12 we ate – potatoes, green beans, salad, bread, butter, milk, and a cupcake. At 1 we had Military. We spent most of the time discussing that test we had last week. I managed to get my minus 16 points cut to 12 ½ which was just under the wire for a B. That was really close. Then we spent the rest of the time on night operations. At 2 we had P.T. – more calisthenics & volleyball. At 3 we had Physics and that test. That was really tough. From what I hear, I had the easier of the 2 tests but it was still pretty hard. There were 28 questions but 8 were stuff we hadn’t had so we left them out. Of the 20 that were left I was doubtful about 4 or 5. I know one was wrong and I may have slipped on some others too. I imagine I’m well up with class average but if he grades on a percentage basis the grades are all going to be pretty low. At 4 we came back to the dorm and argued out our mistakes until mail call. I got yours & dad’s Sunday letter. I read it and then we went to supper – potatoes, beets, salad, bread, butter, milk & a roll. After supper at about 6:15 Ferd & I went out and batted the tennis balls around awhile. He got himself a racquet from Bill Anderson so we were breaking it in. It gets dark early now. Once that sun starts dropping it really goes fast. At 7 we came to study and here I am. It’s 15 to 8 and I still have about 130 pages of History to run through. I’ve been giving Helle a list of the Presidents, the length of their term & dates of election at the same time I have been writing this. I was surprised I could remember them all so well. It’s been about 2 years since I last learned that for John Brisbin’s final exam in U.S. History. Wow. That’s been a rugged 2 years. All but the last 10 months was good too. Well this is the usual week day note. I may not send any laundry Sat. because I won’t have much and also I want to go to the Texas A&M game if it’s a decent day. Civilians get Sat. off as its Homecoming Day but not us. Well I guess this will be it for tonight. We’re on the way down now – Only 5 ½ more weeks. I think this term is going a little faster.


Until next time,



Today I am a Man (?)

Thursday, October 14, 1943

6:15 p.m.


Dear folks,

I’ll start this while I wait for chow. Well today finishes 21 and starts number 22. Today I am a man (?). I don’t feel a doggone bit different than yesterday so that is that. For some reason I didn’t get any of the packages tonight. You’ll get this on Mon. along with my Fri. letter so if I get it tomorrow it won’t give you a chance to worry. I can’t see where it is though as your letters have been fast all week. I got Tues. letter postmarked yesterday morning, tonight. There must be some reason but it ought not to take 5 days. Well if you read this letter first you stop here & tear open Friday’s to see if I got them then.

I got to bed as soon as I quit writing last night. I was up at 5:30, out for reveille and back to bed until breakfast. My eyes were stiff & tired when I got up and I’ve had a half headache all day. I’ve looked forward to mail call all day too and that sort of let me down a little. For breakfast I had oatmeal, milk, toast, butter & grapefruit juice. After breakfast I swept & made my bed and slept until about 20 to 8. At 8 we went to Analyt. but I can’t say I learned a great deal. At 9 we had a Physics test. He gave us 5 problems – I got 3 right, one pretty close so he’ll probably count it. On the other one I did it right all the way through to the end and then what do I do? I multiply 6 by 2 and get 16. That really burned me up. I still got as well as anyone in the class according to what they all say then did but he doesn’t seem to grade on class average. My method was right, I just made a foolish mistake in arithmetic. He should give me some credit for it but he may not. He is sort of hard to predict. After that I was really disgusted. I can study all night and it won’t eliminate those kind of mistakes. In fact I think it helps cause them. I’m not getting enough sleep to really be on my toes like I should. At 10 we went to Chem. Lect. There’s the usual test there Sat. and 10 problems to do. At 11 we had study. I worked on Analyt. I don’t know what will happen on that test tomorrow. We are going so fast it’s hard to know what I do & don’t know. I could spend 2 hrs. on it every night if I had the time but I haven’t got it. Then we ate dinner – potatoes, cauliflower, salad, bread, butter, milk, & peach cobbler. It sure wasn’t what I’d have been eating if I were at home. I came back about 12:10. I started to sleep but I was afraid of a test in History so I got one Chap. read during my noon hour. It was a good thing I did. We discussed 2 chap. and then he gave us a 50 question test. Most of the questions were on the chapter I read. The rest I answered from what he said in class or I already knew from before as I hadn’t read the last 2 chap. I’m pretty sure I didn’t miss more than 10 and maybe less. If I hadn’t read what I did it would have been too bad. I hope I did as well as I think I did but maybe I’m kidding myself. I’m sick of this driving for last minute tests. It’s not my way but I can’t seem to get away from it. Well time out for supper and from there we go to study (6:45).

Back at 9:15. At 2 we came back for P.T. We did some calisthenics and then played volleyball. At 3 we went to English. He gave us a short quiz on parts of speech and another on recognition of sentence structures & stuff. It wasn’t bad and I did fairly well. Next time we will write a theme in class on how to do something or how to make something. At 4 we came back for drill. We drilled from 4 to 4:45. Then we quit til 5. Then we drilled & went through retreat with the air corps until about 5 to 6. We are supposed to have that parade for Col. White next Thurs. Next Tues. we are to go on a five mile walk or hike. We got through at about 6. I came in for mail call. I got your Tues. letter a day ahead but that was all. My mail has been a day ahead all week. I read that and then wrote until supper time. 9:35 in latrine. For supper I had potatoes, green beans, pickles, bread, butter, milk, & cookies. From there we went to study. I spent 2 hours on Analyt. & quit and came back at 9. I mentioned to Ferd & Helle that this wasn’t the way I usually spent my birthday. I was writing on this a few minutes ago when in they come with a little square cake with 21 matches stuck in the top. It really surprised me because I wasn’t expecting anything like that at all. We made quick work of the cake but I thought it was pretty nice. They deserve a piece of the one you sent when I get it. Now it’s after lights out. I’ll finish this, take a shower & get to bed early for a change. I think I’ll do a lot better if I’m rested than if I try to cram a lot.

Now to your Mon. Oct 11 letter – Why should I be embarrassed to get 3 packages at once? I am not the only one who sticks to the work. Lots of guys do more than I but most of them don’t. P.F.C. comes at the end of the 3rd term if we go into advanced work. I’ve noticed the moon the last couple of mornings when we went out for reveille. I didn’t ever think to ask for stamps here. I guess I thought it was a hick place that wouldn’t have them but then they should.

Tues. Oct. 12 – Was it dad’s green work sweater that he lost? Well Gram finally got her birthday card. Probably if I had stayed out this long I’d be rejected now on my eye also but I’m in now & stuck for the D + 6. George must have had a delay in traveling in order to get home. He must have been alone & not in a troop movement. Is he going to a school or something? Everything sounds good – no more dimout on the coast, etc. I imagine Frisco seems much nicer with the lights on. You haven’t sent too much of anything yet.

That briefly covers your letters. Its 10:10 so I think I’ll call it off for tonight. I wonder what will happen during the next year. Last year they were starting to send me questionnaires. Well good night for tonight.




Send That Apron Along While I Still Have a Whole Pair of Pants

Monday Oct. 11, 1943

9:35 p.m.


Dear folks,

Back again in late study as usual. I finished your letter last night and went to Analyt. until about 10:30. Then I went back to the barracks and worked until about 11 when I went to bed. I was up but mighty sleepy at 5:30. After reveille I crawled back in and had a notion to skip breakfast but I was hungry so I went and got my farina, toast, butter, milk, and orange. I came back and made my bed and swept. Then I looked over the chem. experiments for today & some of the English assignment. At 8 we went to Analyt. I got a 10 (perfect) on last Fri. quiz (1 problem [formula]. Pretty isn’t it. He rambled on as usual. At 9 we went to Chem. lab. We only had 4 experiments to do today. I got 2 done so I went behind this time. One of them seems to be way off. Nearly every one is. I think they gummed us up somewhere. You see we were to find out what the molecular wt. was of a liquid & then check with them. I think they gave us the wrong answers because most of us aren’t even close. I couldn’t possibly be 50% off but I am nearly that much. They are going to have the lab open for us Sat. from 1 to 4:30 so we can work. I told the fellow that was fine except we don’t get through until about 3 o’clock. If I can I think I’ll go over. Otherwise I’ll have to right in these experiments without doing them in order to keep up. We are doing reactions now instead of quantitative work so it is easier to answer them without actually doing them. We got that lab quiz back & I got 32 out of 38. That’s about 84%. It isn’t too good but it’s all right for a start. We had another one today & I think I did much better. This one was for just stuff we had done. If I’ve done it I usually remember it. We get quizzes now every week which will be bad. I’ll have to hold my grade up in lecture to counterbalance. At 12 I ate – potatoes, carrots, green beans, bread, butter, salad, milk, & berry pie. Then I started reading my English for tomorrow until we went to military at 1. We are on defense against air attack now. At 2 we came back for P.T. We did some calisthenics & then I played volleyball the rest of the time. At 3 we went to Physics Lect. At 4 we came back to the dorm. I studied on English until mail call. I got your Thurs. & Fri. letters & a nice birthday card to Nephew from Aunt Marie + $2. I believe that’s the first Nephew card I have gotten or is it? I read my mail & went back to the English. There was about 20 pages but its all old stuff so I didn’t have to do more than read through it. At 5:40 we ate – steak, potatoes, gravy, spinach, beets, salad, biscuits, butter, milk & jello. I’d call it a good meal for a change. At about 6:25 or so I went out & played some doubles for a few minutes. My partner & I got beat 6-2 by two kids who were just learning so you see how good I’m getting. At 7 we came to study. I finished the English, started History, and then switched to Analyt. until I started writing this. I’ve covered all my Analyt. now except 61 review exercises at the end. They are good practice but it would take from 5-8 hours for me to do them so I’m just skipping them. Right now I’m all caught up in everything but History & Geog. By tomorrow afternoon I won’t be able to say that as I’ll have Chem., Physics & etc. to do. Every night I intend to write at least one extra letter but it never seems to get done. Maybe I will though someday. Tell Mrs. C. not to get discouraged (as if she really cared anyway) (oh well maybe she does.)

That covers today I guess so now to the two letters I got. Thurs. Oc. 7 – I can just see what this little remembrance will be if it’s underestimated like you usually do. Two or 3 packages – Say! I seem to be able to get Listerine O.K. here. We get oranges quite often although there are more apples now. We get quizzes on our own experiments in Chem. now so it isn’t bad. Anyway the backward (?) boys are on the ones we did first now so it doesn’t make much difference. It’s the first chem. lab I ever had where the emphasis was on speed. At State boy we had to go slow & work for accuracy. I pulled a B on that military test finally. There were only 3 B’s in our class. There were 15 C’s & 15 D’s, no A’s. It’s possible, in fact as good a bet as any, that we may be instructors someday. The way Bart talked he is about ready to ask to go back to his outfit. He is from a searchlight battery at San Mateo, south of Frisco down towards Palo Alto. I’ll have enough money to get home if I get the furlough (and I intend to get it). I decided to send those W.D.C. patches. They aren’t any good to me here. I can’t wear them so you may as well have them. They were on my blouse & field jacket when I got here.

Friday Oct. 8 – The name of that picture would discourage me from going. Also Bill saw it when he was home & he says it’s lousy so even if you hadn’t mentioned it I still wouldn’t have gone. It may have already be here although I’m not sure. Harry James is coming in a picture pretty soon. I wonder where all that acid came from. I don’t remember slopping or spilling any. My Haggerty does have trouble. I’m sure he deserves everyone’s deepest sympathy. I had several books at M.S.C. written by teachers out there (Chem. & Eng.) but they were good books. I was A in everything at home but that “ain’t” here. If I were taking German at as fast a clip as everything else I’m afraid I wouldn’t learn it very well. What do you mean “if I stay here all term?” Don’t let me scare you by some of my cracks. If I flunk out, the ASTP will be completely washed up so send that apron along while I still have a whole pair of pants. I’m not going to flunk out anything even if I do sound like I am sometimes. I just get disgusted and let it run away with me. I’d work awfully hard to keep from washing out (a lot harder than I have yet) because I know what it means. I’m afraid Yugoslavia & Belgium are a few hundred miles apart. Yugoslavia is in South East Europe across the Adriatic from Italy & north of Greece. Belgium is one of the Low Countries southwest of Holland and across the North Sea from England. Oh I’m prepared for most anything but I certainly don’t expect to flunk out in anything. If I flunk there won’t be enough left to keep the ASTP going. So don’t let me get you excited by kicking about my grades. Oh I always thought I wanted a radio but things are different I guess. Circumstances alter cases or something. Gee, how are all these guys you mention getting out of the army anyway?

Well that covers your two letters & today. Its 10:30 and time I folded my tent & silently stole away. So for another time


Auf zeider sehen (I can’t spell it)