I Bet I’ll Be a Tight Old Duck Someday

Monday February 22, 1943

About 4:30 p.m.


Dear folks,

George Washington’s birthday again. He is 211 years old today. He is really getting old. Well there won’t be many more letters from here. We expect to leave tomorrow afternoon for our camps. I go to Battery A, 501st C.A. Regiment somewhere near Benicia. The fellow who will be our cook down there left today. He says we stay in barracks about ¾ mile from town. From all I’ve heard so far I must have gotten in about the best outfit but you never can tell about things you hear. I am back writing now after supper. About my glasses. I still have them here. The sergeant took the package but whoever had the say in the post office wouldn’t take it air mail. He said it was because they didn’t know how it was packed. Now that I am leaving I may as well keep them and get them fixed here. I don’t know yet if I can get the watch fixed or not. When I get a chance to get into town maybe I can get to a post office myself and send it out. First I’ll see if I can get it fixed here.

This morning I was up at about 6:05 and as usual dressed, made up my bunk, and shined my shoes before breakfast. I had 2 fried eggs, oatmeal and bread and butter for breakfast. I went back and got another scoop of oatmeal. After breakfast I went back and put the finishing touches on everything. Then there was a slack period when there was nothing to do, so I just sat around and took it easy. Finally we went out and drilled for a little while until about 10:00. Then we went inside for a lecture on airplane identification. We were supposed to do some more marching but it was raining so we had an informal question session and then quit for dinner. For dinner I had mashed potatoes, gravy, green beans, salad, biscuits (2) and butter. All I was able to get was 2 more biscuits. Shortly after dinner we had mail call. I got 2 letters. The big one with the envelopes written Thurs. & postmarked Feb. 19 sometime & your Fri. letter postmarked Sat. at 12:30 p.m. That’s pretty good service. I still haven’t got the box. That should come tomorrow. I’ve given up hope of ever getting that last letter to McCoy. I checked back over the letters to make sure and I haven’t got it. I hate to lose confidence in the U.S. postal service but I imagine the army has lost it. It might be that it has been sent to Benicia and is still there. I may get it yet. Right after mail call we were all treated to a very nice shot in the left arm. I was lucky. They only stuck me once. Some fellows had the needle stuck in 2 or 3 times before it went in right. The fellow that shot me stuck the needle in about a half inch in and upward. Then he pressed the plunger and squirted the stuff in. Boy that really hurt for about 5 minutes afterward. Mine bled a little. The spot is pretty sore yet. I think this was for tetanus. I have had my 4 typhoid shots and a smallpox vaccination. This is the second tetanus but they are supposed to come within 21 days and I had the first one Jan. 11. I also found out that my blood type according to the army system of classification is type O. Don Ewing says that means I could give blood to anyone of any blood type. He works at the dispensary so he should know. After the shot I went back to the barracks and just finished reading the letters when we had to go over to the day room and hear talks. It didn’t amount to much. We had a little on the gas mask and some jiu jitsu stuff and finally quit about 4:00. I started this letter just before supper. For supper I had potatoes, gravy, beans, broccoli, salad, applesauce, bread and butter. I had plenty without seconds.

Now I am writing again. We are going to have a party tonight in the mess hall but I doubt if it would be anything I’ll care about. I’d like to go to the show but I won’t. I guess after 4 whole weeks I can wait a little longer. We have had typical Cal. weather today. Rain and more rain. Now about that income tax. I have filled out the blank and will return it. As soon as I can get to a post office I’ll send a money order for the 37 dollars made out to you. Then you can cash it and pay it however it has to be done. You will know because I imagine dad will have to pay too. His will be about the same amount as mine. I think I have filled out the blank as it should be. We still have 3 weeks yet anyway. I think it will be better for me to send the money and pay the tax out of present funds than to dip in my reserve. I’d like to keep that intact. Did you pay for getting my watch fixed out of your own money or did you do as I suggested: I don’t care which you did only you know me. I like to know how much I have. I’m a miser I guess. I bet I’ll be a tight old duck some day. I am writing this on the paper Mrs. C. sent. I thought I’d let you see what it’s like. I am writing small because this paper is pretty heavy. I could have gone down to Hamilton Field today if I had wanted. They took 8 fellows to help with several truck loads of mattresses. They just got back and I wish I had gone. They got a chance to go to a P.X. down there. I dropped this envelope and it looks like a mess but I’ve got to save the stamps so I’ll try to send it anyhow. Now to your letters. I don’t know what Thelma will do with my address. Yes I could write to anyone I know if I find his address in the paper. I write to Hugh and Francois & I are going to try to keep in touch after we leave here. Lots of soldiers write to other soldiers. I guess you get all possible use out of your sheets. You are doing your share regardless of how much Mrs. C. is doing. Her family hasn’t made any donations yet. C. There are a lot of dogs around here too. I laid my clothes on the grass, not on the dirty ground. You are right about the slacks and turban. I’m glad the overcoat is O.K. now.  I appreciated those cute little hearts. If you want me to leave the magazines well O.K. I had figured on sending them home but whatever you say goes. No matter how hard I had to work back there I was doing what I wanted to do and that is what is important. Maybe I can get some cards or folders from this part of the country some day. We hear the frogs every night. It never gets cold enough to freeze solid ice even here. I don’t think the lieutenant would unbutton any cuffs because he doesn’t know one of us from the other. At most inspections we stand right at the end of our bunks. I didn’t have mine buttoned. They were just as they had come from the cleaners. I got the envelopes O.K. That’s Thurs. letter. Now to Friday’s. I just threw in 25 cents toward a gift for our sergeant. This will run into money if I keep moving and getting new sergeants. So Hugh went off the deep end. He said he would but I didn’t think it would be so soon. Maybe he is going to be shipped. So your feet finally got warm. You got that first Tues. letter with the Mon. one because I wrote twice on Tues. Boy Ossie West must really be going to town. You must have nice neighbors on the south side. There are a lot of things that I eat which I never ate at home. When you are hungry there’s just one thing to do, Eat. Some of the stuff is pretty good too but boy, would your potato salad or macaroni taste good. So they have my name up out at the store. I wonder if they will give me my job back when I get back. If it is at the middle of a term I’ll want to go to work maybe. Maybe I’ll just want to take a good long rest. The 15 days starts here. That gives about 8 at home. Fellows who live nearby only get 8 days in the first place. I know nothing about life in tents and I don’t want [to] know. Our helmets are just plastic. They are liners for the steel ones. We got them at Custer. I don’t think I have put on any noticeable weight and I surely don’t over eat. Being outdoors a lot helps the appetite. I may be able to wear oxfords but I doubt it. We are supposed to wear our white socks to absorb the sweat. I doubt if we all will be sent overseas. I don’t think many L.S. men will go over myself. I never ate $5 worth of bread and butter a week did I. I sure do relax. I have learned that it does no good to worry about anything. I have a very good raincoat or slicker. There hasn’t been any cold epidemic here. I got all the math I could at Eastern but they may have special courses out here. I don’t think you have to sign the tax blank because you had no income. Well that covers your letters. To dad’s letter – that candy was really swell. So you finally got a good man. You boys must have had some fun with Russell.

Well this isn’t a very long letter but the writing is small and the pages are large. The sergeant got over $7 but we had quite a time getting him to take it. He was afraid it wouldn’t go so good if the big boys found out. We told him to use it on his furlough. I think I’ll slip into my O.D.’s and see what this party is like. I don’t imagine I’ll stay very long. I may get to bed early. Well this is it for tonight. I’ll let you know my new address as soon as I know it. Keep writing. I’ll see you next time. Lots of love to you all,



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