Food Critic

Saturday, January 23, 1943  1:00p.m.

Camp McCoy, Wisconsin


Dear folks,

Well three weeks today in the army. Last night after I wrote your letter I shaved and washed and got to bed about 9:45. I was up at about 5:45 again this morning. I dressed, made my bed and swept my half of the barracks. It was my turn to help sweep this morning. No reveille. I had breakfast at about 7 o’clock. I had Bran Flakes, potatoes, toast and grapefruit. I haven’t eaten the ones you sent yet but I opened the dates last night and they are over half gone. Boy they are really good, just like the fresh fruit must be. We were ready for inspection at 8 but the officer never came till about 9:15. We stood around all that time waiting because we didn’t know when he might come. For inspection we have to wear our dress uniform (O.D.’s) and we have to stand at attention at the end of our bunks. He walks down one side of the barracks and back the other. If he catches you following him with your eyes it’s just too bad. He told one fellow to get a haircut. In the other barracks of our company, he told one fellow to get a haircut and some of the others began to laugh. The sgt. was so mad he said he felt like confining them to the barracks for the rest of the training and let them go nowhere except to the mess hall. He thought it over a little though and let it drop but if it happens again it will be too bad for somebody.

After inspection we went out to the drill field and practiced for the next graduation on Monday. I don’t know for sure when we graduate. One day they say we have one week more and the next day they say two weeks. Even after I graduate I might be here only a few hours or maybe a week or two. Four men from our company are being shipped today. I imagine they were reclassified. After we came back we were free till dinner I read a few pages of the Good Earth.  For dinner I had roast beef, potatoes, cooked beets, veg. salad, bread, butter, strawberry jam, and pumpkin pie. Pretty good, eh? The pumpkin pie was awfully creamy and nice but it had a little too much cloves or something I think. After dinner we had mail call. I got 2 letters, the one you wrote Wed. night and postmarked Thurs. at 4:30 p.m. and one from Bernice Stachel. It was postmarked at 2:30 Thurs. but was dated Jan. 15 on the inside. At 10 to 1 they took all the fellows over to get helmets but I got mine at Custer so I didn’t have to go. I am spending that time writing this letter. They aren’t back yet so I’ll try and answer your Wed. letter.

Don’t be too sure you’ll never see those hills and rocks. I enjoy sending the pictures because I know how you like them. I hope you don’t get any duplicates because sometimes I can’t remember for sure which ones I have sent. Last Wed. when it was 10 below there it was 33 below here. But at least it was warmer than 51 below in Minnesota. The strange part is that the temperature was so high yesterday that the snow and ice began to melt. Today it is snappy but not too cold. You must have more snow there than we have. It’s probably about a foot or a foot and a half deep here. Is the snow deeper than that day I started at Eastern and the day I went to work at the store last March? What do you mean let you know when I want a rest from your letters? What do you think I hurry to mail call for? I want to hear from you just as much as you want to hear from me. I know it’s hard for you to get candy but the soldiers can get all they want so it isn’t so bad. Don’t try to break yourself sending stuff to me. You know how much I appreciate it all but I know that your financial picture is a little dismal. I’ll be doggoned if I can think of anything I was disgusted about last Sunday although I can’t see where we have gotten anywhere in particular. The books I have bought are good books. The colored girl in Gildersleeve is really colored. When I mentioned hangovers I meant the ones on Sunday morning caused by too much celebration Saturday night. I didn’t miss my breakfast on purpose. My wash comes out pretty good although I think you could do better. The shower situation is different than you think. The latrine is the length of the barracks, about 35-40 feet from my bed. The shower room itself has coat hooks so that I undress right there and hang up my clothes and when I’m through I dress right there on the spot. The fellows who work in the kitchen change from time to time because they are men who have graduated and are waiting to be shipped. They have cream for coffee – condensed, I think. At breakfast there are 2 quarts of milk to a table of 10 men. I wasn’t worried about you sending pajamas and I would have worn them if you had sent them. One fellow wears his every night but they are something more to wash. Well the fellows just came in with their plastic helmets and field caps so maybe we’ll have to go somewhere again. I had the one shot in my right arm last Tues. They don’t upset me but my arm gets a little red and sore for 2 or 3 days. I have heard fellows complain of them quite a bit but they aren’t too bad. We won’t have any more for 2 or 3 weeks. I’ll admit I haven’t read that Bible but it’s not because I am afraid of anybody. I got rid of the cigarettes so they won’t smell up the bag. I haven’t written to anyone more than once unless they answered and I owe letters to Bernice, Walt, Aunt Edna, & Mrs. C. and I ought to write to Hugh after you went to the trouble of getting his address. You can send the sinus tablets anytime. I haven’t burned any letters and I don’t intend to. You don’t burn mine do you? I don’t notice my head getting cold in the barracks. They are furnace heated. The knob on my watch can’t come off if it isn’t turned backwards because it screws in. The watch works swell, cold weather and all. The raisin pie was good. So far we have had raisin, cherry, apple, custard, pumpkin, peach and pineapple and raspberry pies and they are all swell. The potatoes do not taste of lard nor does anything else. I drink cocoa when they have it. I keep the candy bars in the box or my bag. No one touches it. I didn’t notice my head being cold inside and when I was outside I pulled my field cap way down. I never put my hands and feet near the heat when they are cold for the simple reason that the heat comes from near the ceiling. I warmed my feet just like you said. Like you said, “I am not all dumb either.” My feet don’t feel swollen. I ate fish twice so far. They had it yesterday too but it didn’t look very good. White fish I guess. I haven’t read those papers very thoroughly but it seems as if I can’t make any headway lately. I can’t keep up with my letters, believe it or not. I bought another bottle of Listerine a few days ago. Don’t send any blanket because I don’t need it and it would be something more to carry around. I sleep under a wool blanket and a heavy comforter. I shine my shoes before lights out but I can shave and wash after then. I have left everything in your letters as they came except the pictures. I have them in the one candy box & covered with transparent paper so they won’t get dirty or torn. Everyone thinks she is an awfully cute little dog. How did you like that one card I sent? I thought those cartoons were pretty much like me. My hands haven’t been chapped at all. Maybe I don’t wash them often enough.

Well that covers your letter I hope. I hope I haven’t overlooked any of your questions. Probably a lot of them are answered in my letters before I get yours but I guess it can bear repeating. I’ll try to answer anything you want to know as best I can. I can’t think of a lot of things to ask you because I know pretty well how things go at home and just about what you are doing when. If I can get caught up on my mail I may go to the Saturday night double feature or I may stay in and read those magazines. I feel a little guilty for not thoroughly reading all those State Journals but I never did at home. That is an awfully good picture of Red S. Those cookies are swell and the apples and oranges. I haven’t eaten any of Baby’s box yet but I will. Were those candy boxes any special ones? I don’t want to throw away anything that we were saving.

Well we are still in the barracks at 2:45 so I imagine we are through for the weekend although we can’t leave the barracks until after 4:30. We are on duty, really, from 6 to 4:30 but we are on call 24 hours a day. Well I’ve covered the day’s activities so far and your letter so I guess I’ll stop for now and drop a card to Mrs. C. and write to Aunt Edna & some of the others. Mrs. C. doesn’t say very much and I can’t think of much to write to them so I’ll just write a card. Bernice didn’t have too much to say either. It is cold in Lansing she says. She intended to go skating but it was too cold and she was sitting with her feet on the register. Walt & Margery had gone to the Eastern Central game. (The letter is dated Jan. 15 but that game wasn’t played until the 19th, was it?) I think she must have made a mistake or something. She hasn’t heard from either Paul or Julius. She is glad they keep me busy as she wouldn’t want me to get lazy. She says if I’d behave I wouldn’t get K.P. I guess she needs to be enlightened on that situation a little. Now I know she dated that letter wrong because she was listening to George & Gracie and the 15th was Fri. and they are on on Tues. Am I right? She couldn’t think of anything else interesting to tell me so she quit till some future time. For an honor student she sure makes a lot of mistakes. There were 6 or 7 misspelled words. Well I guess I’ll stop now till after supper. See you a little later with an account of the evening meal. Hold on to your seats.

Back at 6:45

Well I’ve been writing most of the afternoon. I wrote a card to Mrs. C., one page on both sides to Aunt Edna and an 8 page letter to Walt. I’ve answered them all but Bernice now. I didn’t get any mail tonight but I didn’t expect any really although Thelma hasn’t written yet. I don’t care particularly whether she does or not. I had supper at 5:05. Potatoes, beets, sweet & dill pickles, sliced onion, rice pudding, bread, butter & p’nut butter. I came back and went to writing again. I wrote Stachel a real letter. It’s probably too long for someone outside my family but I gave him a brief summary of what we have done and a description of life here at camp. He sounded a little worried to me and I hope he can stay in school. I hate to see a kid of his age stuck in the army with a lot of men older than he is. The influence isn’t so good unless you’ve got what it takes. I think you know what I mean. I think he will do O.K. though.

Well tomorrow is Sunday. I hope I get up in time for breakfast tomorrow and I have some washing to do. I’m going to wash my underwear oftener and maybe it will be easier. Is it warmer back there by now? Boy you sure will have high water. Aunt Edna said it was up to the R.R. tracks there. Dad is sure going to be behind on his route if that snow keeps up. I haven’t decided yet whether I’ll go to that last show tonight or not. I don’t know what’s on. I may keep writing and get caught up to start a new week. The dates are just about gone and the cookies are about ½ gone. Everything is swell but $3 a week is pretty expensive for you.

I’ve been doing pretty well in mail. I’m always pretty sure of at least one letter although I don’t get excited if it doesn’t come. So far I have heard from Gramp, Aunt Edna, Aunt Marie, Walt, Bernice, & Mrs. C. I really don’t know how to write to Bernice as I’m a little inexperienced in writing to young ladies.

Well I guess I’ve just about covered the situation for another day. This last week has gone much faster although I can’t see why. We may get rifles Monday & may go on to the range if it stays warm enough. There are going to be a lot of left handed men because there are about 5 or 8 bad right eyes. Well be careful and don’t worry or get impatient because if you don’t hear from me I might be going somewhere. So long till next time,


Lots of love to everyone



Next Saturday is payday. Whee $46.75


  1. lsforist
    Apr 18, 2014

    Ann, Thank You so much for doing this, I am really enjoying this. I look several times every day to see if there is another letter up! (No pressure, though 🙂 Are there any letters from folks to Daddy in the box? I never looked through it, so didn’t know exactly what was in the plastic bags.

  2. Ann Forist
    Apr 18, 2014

    No, unfortunately there aren’t any letters going the other way. Look at it as a test of you imaginative powers. I will try to keep up the pace, but you know how busy my schedule is 🙂

Share your thoughts