I Am Not Seriously Damaged

Monday March 15, 1943

About 6:30


Dear folks,

Well I’ve been off all day today. I wrote that note to you last night, washed and wend to bed. As I said, my hands were pretty blistered. Little water blisters were raised up on my fingers. I soaked them good in my hand cream when I went to bed. This morning when I got up at 5:30 my hands were sore and the fingers were a little stiff. I went to work and worked on the dining room. For breakfast I had rice krispies (good old snap, crackle, pop), 3 eggs and bread and butter and an orange. I kept working until 7:30! Then I decided to report for sick call. In all probability my hands would have been O.K. if I had kept them out of water but I thought I’d make sure. Everybody told me I was crazy if I didn’t go on sick call so I did. I went to the office but the sick book was already gone. I got to the dispensary ahead of it though and got my name in. I was there quite awhile and it was nearly 9:00 when I got back to the kitchen. The doctor, a major, took us one by one. When I showed him the blisters he told me I had been using too hot water. I think it was partly the water and partly the soap. Anyway he broke the big blisters with a pair of tweezers and then he had Ewing put sulphadiazine (or something like that) on them and dress them with gauze. The stuff was a white cream. Don was pretty shaky with his bandaging but he did a pretty good job. He needs practice and plenty of it. When he finished the Major told me to come back tomorrow morning. I started back for the mess hall. On the way I passed Lieut. Charlton, the mess officer, and when I saluted he notice the bandages. He stopped me and asked what had happened. I told him and he told me not to wash any more dishes. He blamed it on the soap. He said he had the same thing once when he was on K.P. I went on to the kitchen and tried to do work such as sweeping where I wouldn’t get my hands wet. I did some but moving my fingers loosened the bandages. Ewing came in to inspect the mess hall and he told me I shouldn’t even do that so I quit entirely and I went back to the barracks. I read a little and then slept until dinner time. For dinner I had macaroni, carrot & raisin salad (it’s good too), corn, cauliflower, bread and butter. After dinner I started to answer some of my back mail. I got letters written to Elmo and to Sunfield and that was all. About 4 o’clock I had to move across the street to another barracks. A bunch who have been living out at Mole Hill came in and they all had to be together so I had to move. That took some time and I rearranged some of my stuff as long as I had to move it anyhow. I finally got settled again and wrote until supper. My name is not on the K.P. list tomorrow so I don’t know what I will do after I report to the medics. I may be put back on the guns. I’d rather use a pick and shovel and be outdoors working regular hours than in that mess hall from morning to night. I am getting a little used to it by now but I never will like it. For supper I had potatoes, spinach, squash, salad, bread, butter and bread pudding. I know the bread pudding here is O.K. because scraps left by the men are put in the garbage by the men themselves. That brings me up to the present. There is going to be an entertainment tonight at 8:00 and I think I’ll go over when I finish this letter. Now please don’t get excited over my hands because they don’t ache or pain or anything. I have let them get me out of as much work as they can. They are a little sore and tender and that’s all. Another day or so and they will be healed up. The fellow who took my place had to go to the medics this afternoon. His fingers swelled and cracked around the nails. He has to report tomorrow and has to quit washing dishes. I think or hope this steady K.P. idea is blowing up. Anyway I am not seriously damaged. I am writing as you can see so you know they aren’t bad.

I’ve got me a swell shirt coming pretty soon. It is a regular wool gabardine officer’s shirt. We can wear them off duty. They sell for about $9.00 but we can get them for $3.50 wholesale. There is a little Jewish kid name Cohen from New York in our battery. His dad owns a concern which makes officer’s pants and overcoats. A friend of his makes the shirts. So in this round about way we can get these shirts at that price. It is all honest and above board. I saw one of them and they are honeys. They are dark maroon and with our new insignia they will really be nice. Our new insignia is [sketch – red, yellow, black]. I just talked to the sergeant and he is going to try to get me back on the guns. He says he thinks this K.P. idea is about shot. He is a tough baby when he’s giving orders but he’s a swell guy otherwise. He would do a lot for a person if he thought he deserved it. I don’t go on tomorrow and the next day I may be back on the guns. I didn’t get any letters from mom this noon and I haven’t seen any mail yet tonight. I did get a letter fro Elmo, the card from dad and the two letters from Gram this noon. Elmo had the usual things to say. It was the letter he said he would write in his letter to gram. He sent it to Santa Rosa but I got it in 7 days anyway. It took 5 days for you folks’ mail to get here. That was a very cute card dad and I appreciate the verse and what you added too. Thanks a lot and you know I mean it. The last letter I got from Mom was Wed. Mar. 10 last Sat. so I am just about due for another one. Now to answer some of Gram’s letters. I have 3. The first is p. marked Mar. 4 – you ought to ride in a jeep sometime. I think I’ll bring one home with me. The ones we have here are Fords. I don’t care if it is stale news when I get it, I still enjoy it. I am glad you liked the St.Pat. card. I got there real early and they had a good selection to choose from. The dime store has a nice group of cards if nothing more. Those long round cookies were really swell. The radio doesn’t do much good when I am not in the barracks. I have decided not to buy a radio because I may do some more traveling by train again I hope. This time I hope to go east. I’d like to got to New Mexico or Arizona but I can’t even guess where it will be if I go. I think it will be in the east somewhere though. I wish there was a school in Michigan which the gov’t had taken to teach chemists. I can see Babe in that basket. There is a big bird dog we call Bill that hangs around the mess hall. He lies on the porch where he can watch the Frigidaire door for meat. The fire engines are going out in Benicia. We left our L.S. dog at Santa Rosa. They have to keep me pretty busy not to get time to at least write a card to you every day. That reminds me of the soldier who took a penny card, carefully crossed out Franklin’s picture on the corner and wrote FREE above it. That covers one letter. Now the one March 10, 2:30 p.m.  Walt sure runs to catch a lot of buses. It isn’t so cold here but it was quite windy [tomorrow] yesterday. I guess I am thinking ahead of myself. The men are coming in from the alert now. It is nearly 8 o’clock. One thing my uniform is much nicer that the one at college was but I would be willing to exchange anytime. Boy you sure have enough blizzards and cold. You’ll have to ration your mail. Open one letter a day. They must dam it up someplace and wait for it to accumulate a little. That sewing kit is tops and I’ll be using it pretty soon. I hope I can get my braid sewed on my hat by a tailor. I am going to try to fix a broken loop on my fatigues myself. My ring wasn’t damaged too much and as for my finger, a cut or scratch never bothers me. I scratched my hand on a nail one day and the kids all said go to the medics but I just washed it & put Listerine on. It’s as good as new. Of course I would go get care if I thought it was serious but I don’t worry about a little cut or so. That’s that letter. Now to the last one. I didn’t get any more mail today so that is 2 days now without a letter from Mom. I don’t think you have to wear any of Mrs. C. glasses and surely if they don’t fit you don’t want them.  Elmo has big plans for the summer. It sure would be nice if we could all be together at our garden again. I am looking forward with expectancy for that box. It must be a honey. I should get it tomorrow or Wednesday.

Well that covers my back mail from home and what I have done today. My letters aren’t much lately but I am still writing every day. Last night’s was the shortest so far. I am going to quit now and go over and see what the entertainment is. I will have to try to shave afterward and I’ll put an ending on this letter. I don’t use up all the space on these pages but we didn’t pay for it so I guess it won’t matter. I can write long letters when I get that air mail paper if I have time. Well I’ll be back a little later.

Back from the show. I didn’t see it all but it was a variety program. They had a dancer, a singer from the Coast Guard, a girl who did character parts, a girl violinist, a magician who was very good, and a girls trio. It was all pretty good. Well I’ll quit for tonight. I’ll mail this and then try and shave and clean up a little. I have to keep shaved because I never know when I may have to go to Regimental or Brigade Hdqt. Both times I haven’t had much time to get ready and I don’t want to be caught with a beard. I don’t think it is much after 9:00 yet so maybe I’ll get to bed a little earlier tonight. We get up earlier every morning as the sun rises earlier. I sure hope some news comes through about college. I have a feeling it may be tomorrow or Wednesday. At any rate I think I am off K.P. at least for tomorrow. Well I’ll quit for this time.


Love to you all and I better get a letter tomorrow.


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