I Comb My Hair Once in Awhile

Tuesday March 23, 1943

4 p.m.


Dear folks,

Well here I am again. I am writing this in the service men’s recreation room in Benicia. I am on a 24 hour pass but I didn’t get started until about 3:30.

I shaved and washed and cleaned my teeth after I finished writing last night and I got to bed at about 10:45. When I came into the barracks from the latrine, everyone was sleeping but the lights were still all on. I was awakened to go on K.P. this morning at about 4:35 I believe. I made up my bed and got to work at about 5:00. Every 2 days the alert gets 3 minutes earlier so if they don’t start eating after the alert we will be getting up pretty early. K.P. today wasn’t bad: For breakfast I ate 4 eggs, bread, butter and shredded wheat. That sounds like a lot of eggs but I was really hungry. This waiting around an hour or so before eating makes me hungrier I guess. I waited on the tables and then I cleaned on them and set them. I worked in the dining room just about all morning. I also peeled a few carrots and potatoes. K.P. was very easy. It seemed as if we had a lot of spare time for a change. I got off at 11:30. I had potatoes, gravy, string beans, asparagus, salad, bread, butter, cold Ovaltine, and an orange. I ate early and changed my clothes to leave at 12. I couldn’t get my pass because all of us who hadn’t fired the rifle or who didn’t qualify had a class from 1 to 4 this afternoon. I changed back to my fatigues and spent from 1 to 3:15 doing things I did in college, making slings and sighting for shot groups. They let us who had passes leave at 3:15 so I rode in to camp and changed my clothes once more and got my pass. Three of us started out together and we got a ride into town in a small army truck. Now here I am. One fellow went to Frisco, the other is here in Benicia somewhere. I don’t know what I’ll do. I have until tomorrow noon. It is a little too late now to go to San Francisco. It would be too expensive for the time I’d have. I can’t stay in Benicia after 12:30. There is a curfew here and the M.P.’s run you out after 12:30. There is a good movie on here so maybe I’ll go to a show and then go back to camp and take a chance on sleeping until noon. If they make me go to work, well I won’t have lost anything. One of the K.P.s came in and still wasn’t put to work until noon. The other fellows are on duty when they return but we may be considered the same as cooks. We don’t get rest periods as the other men do. Oh well, I am getting used to K.P. by now. It isn’t so bad. I guess I’ll survive O.K. until I get a break if I am to get one. I heard today that all my records are gone. They were sent to Brigade Headquarters several days ago. The fellow who told me works at Reg. Hdq. and he knows quite a bit about what goes on. I just filled my pen and they have blue ink here. I told him I thought my records were all down there that Sat. for the interview. He said that might be it but they haven’t come back so I may not be staying here much longer. Your records go with you wherever you are. That would indicate they are holding them down there for some reason. If they have been sent since the interview (he wasn’t sure) that is even more encouraging.

Gee, that spinal men. is getting tough. That is the only reason I am glad I’m not at M.S.C. I am glad I’m not at McCoy. We hear that the whole 2nd Division up there has been quarantined. One fellow who used to be in the 2nd said half of his old company has been in the hospital. Am I glad I’m not there. I’ll take mud and K.P. any day over that stuff. I never heard of an epidemic of it before. I’ve heard of infantile paralysis but not that.

I see by the clipping that Walt Kuhn is a Corporal. He went in in Aug. Not so bad. I used to think it was easy to get to be a corporal but I don’t think so any more. It may be easy in the infantry but not here. I got 2 letters this noon. One [was] one of those missing letters, the Wed. Mar. 17 one. Now only the Thurs. letter is still to come. I may get that on tonight’s mail call. I hope so. I like to keep my mail coming in order so I can look forward and not backward to my mail each day. This Wed. letter must have come by regular mail or something to take a

week nearly. The second letter today was a note and some clippings from Gramp. I am sending you the letter so you can see what he has to say. It isn’t much of a letter but you see he mentioned your birthday letter. I hope that by now he has written to you. Incidentally his letter came faster regular mail than yours did by air mail.

Now to your letter. Boy you were all set on St. Patrick Day. I wish I could have been there with you. You were really all out and it makes me feel good to hear it. The alerts aren’t much. You just stand at your station or work nearby. They are a nuisance. I was out at the positions today for that rifle practice and I looked over some of the instruments. They seem awfully interesting but of course if you are on them you get air guard and marina guard and K.P. and all the rest. I still have my check. I was going to cash it today but the bank was closed when I got in here to town. I probably am as well off here as anywhere else. They tell us definitely that all of us L.S. men are permanently stationed here for the duration plus 6 months. That last 6 months will be the longest. I don’t care about the rising part. The private is as good as the rest but I want to be learning something I can use later or use to advantage now. If I have to do kitchen work I may as well learn to cook. I guess I’ll have to be patient. There is nothing else I can do. If I get in Gov’t Chem. Warfare that is part of the army and I would get my discharge as if I were in any branch. However I’ll want a job some day and doing research for the gov’t is nothing to be sneezed at. I was off St. Pat. day but on doctor’s orders. I’ll know I am going to school all right but if conditions are right, I never saw a course yet I couldn’t crack. Why should this be any different? In a classroom I have supreme confidence in myself. Maybe its conceit I don’t know but I’ve always done pretty well for myself so far. If I can’t handle it I certainly won’t have lost anything. I have a 1921 silver dollar I got in Vallejo the other day. They are pretty thick out here. I got 166. The 168 & 165 etc. are rumors but the other fellow himself told me he got 165. The boy who was said to have gone to Oregon State is still here I hear. Rumors are thick in the army. I have all the packages and I am just about broken in to those new glasses. I got some pretty sore ears at first though. I don’t really count on things too much but I have to tell myself encouraging things after all.

5 p.m. Oh I wouldn’t mind going to O.C.S. but officers have their headaches too. If I knew I wasn’t going to get college training and I was offered O.C.S. I’d take it. I don’t worry about black heads. I comb my hair once in awhile. It was short so it was easy to handle. I’ll have to get it cut pretty soon. There is a fellow who cuts hair in our barracks. I will get me a bottle of shampoo and wash my hair some nice day. We haven’t had any actual alerts for supposed enemy planes as yet. You are bound to put me in planes aren’t you. When a person goes over the hill he goes AWOL, he just leaves. To heck with being an officer if I can get some real practical training that I can use. Being an officer won’t get a job after the war is over. That covers your letter I guess pretty well

I don’t know how I should spend my time. I think I will go over to the bakery and get a snack and then take in one or two shows and go back to camp. The Andrews Sisters are on in a musical show and it ought to be pretty lively. There are 2 theaters in Benicia.

This service men’s room here is what at one time was probably a store. It has a big writing table with a typewriter, several easy chairs, a piano, a ping pong table, a radio, 2 billiard tables and lots of games and reading material. It makes a nice place to drop in to. Big headlines on the paper: Butter Frozen. That will be tough if it means rationing is next. We still get all we want. You know what it costs to feed us? $3,000 a month, $36,000 a year, about $100 a day. A little load of meat, butter, eggs and cabbage & spinach ran over $200 today. We really get good food according to men who have been in the army quite a while.

We are having a dinner here at the mess hall Thursday night so we K.P.s will be going till plenty late. After the dinner there will be a dance in another building.

These 24 hour passes are O.K. but it is expensive to go to Frisco for so short a time and there isn’t much in Vallejo or Benicia for me. A short pass will do me as much good. I don’t care to bum around like some do. I like to see interesting things and go to shows once in awhile. Well it’s about 5:30. I don’t know how interesting this letter is but it’s another page in the book. It will be 12 weeks next Sat. since I left. The winter term must be at its end and a lot of fellows won’t be going back to college this time. It seems as if Elmo’s boy could get his diploma by taking an exam like the one you sent the clipping about.

Well I am going to call this a letter and quit for today. I should get paid again next Wed. I am willing to leave here for college (only) any time after that or even before. I know I’ll get all my money eventually. I have about half of my Jan. pay left yet so I am not too much of a spendthrift.

Well good night for Tues. Mar. 23. I hope I’ll have mail waiting for me and especially that last Thurs. March 18 letter. Keep a smile on around there.


Love to my folks,



I took this paper along to write on. I didn’t know whether I’d find any. You see I intend to always write no matter where I am. Of course if I get to school you may get neglected a little. You know how things are there.

Share your thoughts