Frosted Feet

Thursday January 21, 1943 6:45 p.m.

Camp McCoy, Wisconsin


Dear Folks,

First the day in review – I stayed in last night and shaved & cleaned up and looked through some of the papers. I went to bed about 9:15.

Up this morning about 5:45. Reveille at 6:15 and breakfast at 7:00. It was much warmer today than yesterday and it was snowing this morning. For breakfast I had toast, Post Toasties, and scrambled eggs. I think they are powdered eggs or something. Anyway they aren’t too good. I topped off breakfast with one of my oranges. Boy they are swell but I bet they cost you plenty. I know they were 66 cents a doz. the last I knew & they are probably more now.

At about 8 I guess we went out to the drill field for a while and did some exercises and marching. Then we came back and did some work on the manual of arms before dinner. We had dinner at about 12 o’clock. Mashed potatoes, gravy, green beans, applesauce, bread, butter, and very good peach pie. Mail call at 12:30.

This afternoon we went on a hike off the southwest I think although I’m pretty mixed up on directions. I’d say we went in all about 5 miles. It was swell. Although my hands and feet have a tendency to get cold while drilling I seem to keep real warm on a hike and I like to see the country. My overshoes tire me quicker though. When we got back from the hike we went over to a small theater for a lecture on first aid. Then we came back and were through for the day. I had supper about 5:15 – potatoes, meat loaf, green beans and peas, veg. salad, bread and butter and a lot of Jello. Swell meal. Now I’m trying to catch up on my correspondence. No mail for me tonight.

Now back to 12:30 mail call. Well I hate to hold you in suspense: so I hit the jackpot today. Six letters and a package. I got the letters from you 3 of Mon. postmarked Tues. at 11:30 a.m., a card from gramp, a card from Aunty, a letter from Aunty, a letter from Walt Stachel, and a letter from Mrs. Crawford, and the package was the money belt from Aunty.

I’ll try to tell a little about each. Gramp sent a card of “greeting to a soldier” with a detachable part called automatic letter answerer. All I have to do is put “X’s” in squares & tear it off and mail it to him. It’s something like the one Ray sent me. Gramp says that they are good for them (in health), and that Eva will write in a few days and he says quote “Good wishes to you Son,” unquote. He put his address on the detachable part for me to send back but I think I’ll keep it and try and write a little letter instead.

I got two letters from Aunty. One was an awfully nice card, “Greetings to one in the Service.”

Here’s the verse –

“Though the life is no vacation

...till the day of your return

…till the day of your return

And the rules are strict and stern,


‘Til the day of your return!”


I think it is very good and very appropriate. The other letter was from Aunty in answer to my letter of a week ago Sat. She said she was ashamed for not answering my “lovely letter” sooner and wants me to let her know if I get the money belt. She thinks it’s a good thing I left Custer because there are WAAC’s there now although I can’t see her reason for saying that myself. She thinks they should be in different camps. Lots of snow in Detroit. She says she got a letter from you in which you said you were going to look for a letter from me every day but knew you wouldn’t get it. I like that. I demand an apology. So there too! George hasn’t been called yet. She wondered about my vaccination and shots. She was glad I could go to shows and says she likes love & romance herself. I was glad to hear from her at last. The money belt is brown. There is a zipper which opens 2 compartments, one for bills & one for change. The bill compartment contained a new $1 bill and there were 4 new quarters in the change part. That boosts my financial status above the danger point. I now have a little over $10 and that should last 10 days easily. I have spent about $8 so far.

I almost got lost in Stachel’s letter. The pages came in this order: 1,3,2,4. I didn’t pay attention to the numbers at first and couldn’t make much sense. He sounds a little worried to me. You see he got his questionnaire Jan. 16. He is having trouble with Descriptive Geometry and he says that Nate’s chemistry course is really tough and maybe I’m lucky to be here. I wonder if he was kidding. Right now I could crack the toughest chem. course but I can’t remember enough German to mention. He’s been ice skating several times. He takes boxing for Phys. Ed. and the first shot he got a bloody nose. He wants to know how long it took to get me in the army after I got my questionnaires so he can plan on how much time he’ll have. Gee, I hope they’ll let him finish the term but he won’t if they go as fast as they did with me. Just 2 months. He emphatically wants me to write and answer his questions and tell him about Army life.

Mrs. C’s letter was about the same as the last one. She acknowledged the card which I sent and by now probably has my letter. She mentioned reading my letters and visiting with you folks. She is in hopes “you will surprise her and visit her someday.” She have me her phone number and told me to feel free to call it anytime if I wanted to call you folks.

And now to you folks. Do you have to use 4 1/2 cent postage or did you just do that as a safety measure. I’m glad Elmo is going to write to me too. You’re telling me it means something to get a letter every day. Now put a stop to that worrying about my feet. I didn’t mean to alarm anybody. I am not the only one who gets cold feet. I didn’t mean to give the impression that I had frozen my feet. I used the word frosted to express the fact that they were doggone cold but I didn’t mean they were anything serious. They got numb and a little stiff at the time as though asleep but it’s been a week now and they still haven’t swollen, or turned black or purple or bursted so I guess you can calm down and start worrying about something else. Don’t jump at conclusions and I guess I’ll have to watch the way I write too. When I was home I could correct a misunderstanding but now it takes a week. They itched a little and felt a little buzzy but they are O.K. understand. I wear 2 pairs of wool socks. I thought about putting cotton ones on first but I didn’t know whether it was a good idea or not. I’ll have to try it if I can dig my cotton socks out of the bottom of my bag. You see I buried all my summer clothes. Gee I don’t expect a package of that size every week, that’s too much to expect. By the way don’t send any packages after the middle of next week unless I change the order because I understand we may graduate Feb. 1, which means I may be shipped at any time after that. I asked the Co. Commander about this college trg. and he says he has had no orders concerning it but that it is possible that they may have me classified for assignment to some school. I wouldn’t count on it though myself. As soon as I get where I’m going I’ll try to send you a telegram. Now don’t get scared when I say this because it may be and probably is nothing but a rumor but I hope they don’t send me to Seattle preparatory to going to Alaska. But then it couldn’t be much colder. They have called several over for reclassification but so far have called no one with eye deficiencies and I understand they won’t. Personally I really think I’ll be assigned as a clerk or typist in some induction or reception center. Boy, I hope its Custer or Detroit or Kalamazoo. I’d almost settle for Ft.Brady at the Soo even if it is colder than here. I’m sure happy about the money from Mr. & Mrs. C. I don’t think I’ll thank her though until I get whatever is bought. I found the knife and gum O.K. So the star surprised Pickets [?] eh? Good for me. I hope it doesn’t have a chance to get dirty if you know what I mean. Well I guess that covers your letter.

To dad’s letter – good work with tea & toast. Did you get the 8 gal. in your tank O.K. before today. Maybe my haircut won’t last till Xmas but it seemed as though it would at first.

To gram – thanks for a very nice letter. I get a 3 way slant on what happens at home so I have a pretty good picture.

Well this just about completes the picture for now. Lights out in 40 minutes and I intended to answer all my mail tonight. I read all the newspapers at spare times during the day and the box of chocolates is about empty. Well keep writing and forget about headaches and I’ll call this note (beside yours) a letter. So long for now.


Love Arlington


Don’t Worry.


Read the original letter


  1. Karen
    Apr 14, 2014

    What a great post! Just love these stories! Thanks, Ann! (And Al, of course!)

  2. Ann Forist
    Apr 14, 2014

    Thanks, Karen. I’m having fun with this. Please tell Leo to feel free to chime in if she has any info on who some of the “outside players” are in this story.

  3. lsforist
    Apr 14, 2014

    Granny or Gram would be Great Grandma Lenna (Trevaduan’s mother), who lived with the family. Aunty refers to Grandma TMF’s Aunt Marie – who I believe was our Great Grandma Lenna’s sister in law? who lived in Detroit. George was (maybe?) Aunt Marie’s son. Grandad or Gramps would be Charles Healy, TMF’s father. I am pretty sure Babe was the dog. Mrs. Crawford was next door neighbor and a good friend. At least this is what I think. I have no idea who Hugh was. I heard the name Eva a lot from Grandma, but not sure who she was. There is an Eva on the list of Grandpa’s sisters. I will scan info and put on facebook.

    • Brian
      Apr 29, 2014

      I think Eva was married with Charlie Ed Healy.

      • Leo
        Apr 29, 2014

        I think so too. I woke up in the middle of the night a few nights ago and seemed to remember that! I think that makes 3 wives for him.

  4. Brian
    May 2, 2014

    And many wives tales!

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