I Thought Hash Was Out For The Duration

Sat. May 6, 1944

4:00 p.m.


Dear folks,

Well this week has gone pretty fast. I don’t know whether I’ll go to town tonight or not. I’ll start this now and get a start on it in case I do. Last night after I finished your letter I got to bed. I was up at the usual time this morning. I dressed, made my bed, fell out for reveille, swept, mopped and ate breakfast – potatoes, bread, butter, bran flakes, milk and an apple. After breakfast I fixed up my locker, dusted around and then shined my shoes. At 7:30 I went to work. I got my morning report out & signed and then started to mimeograph some classification cards. What a job. I never did it before and that made it harder. When I was partly through I found I’d left out something from the morning report so I had to make another and run down the Lt. to get it signed again. He didn’t say anything but I can’t afford to let that happen very often. Then I went back to my cards. The Lt. came in and wanted a recommendation for promotion typed up so I started that. He stood behind me waiting for it so naturally I gummed it up a little. Oh I only made one mistake but you know how it is when you know somebody is watching you. When I got that done I went back to my mimeographing. I got through at 11:30 for dinner. I got yours & Julius’ Wed. letter this morning. For dinner I had roast beef, potatoes, gravy, salad, biscuits, & butter. At 12:30 we fell out and went down to the theater to see #2 in that series of orientation films. We got back at about 2:00. It was my Sat. afternoon off but I went back to straighten out a few things and got stuck for about an hour. I guess I don’t understand all I know about the mimeographing machine. Somehow ink was on a lot of places it didn’t belong so I cleaned it up and got it back in shape. Then I came over here and showered and cleaned up. I took a set of suntans over to the cleaners but they don’t clean them so I’ll have to send them to the laundry. I can guess what they’ll look like. I put on a clean set this morning. The life of a press is about 15 minutes but they’ll have to go for 2 or 3 more days. That ink didn’t do them any good either. This afternoon I got a V-mail from Hugh, somewhere in England and a card from Leonard Freese. He’s still in the 99th but in the field artillery now. He was over looking for me the other night but I wasn’t here so he wanted me to know where he is. He’s way over on the other side of camp. Hugh’s letter was written April 22 so it only took about two weeks. That’s not too bad. He didn’t say much but there isn’t much room and its’ censored anyway. He’s in a replacement company whatever that is but it sure doesn’t sound good. I gathered he didn’t like it too well from what little he said. So that’s what’s cookin’ up to now today.

Back at 6:30 p.m. Sun. May 7, 1944 –

Well I guess I better get at my mail and get it caught up. After I quit writing last night I walked across our “back yard” over to the 1267th. I sat over there talking to Rudy and Sam and stayed over for supper. They have the same stuff to eat that we do so there isn’t much difference. I had potato salad, cheese, bread, butter and apple pie. Then after supper Sam & I got passes and started out. We walked 5 or 6 blocks to where the busses weren’t crowded and got on one for town. It was a nice night and has been a pretty nice day today except for a little wind. We got in at about 7:30 I guess. Sam hadn’t been in before so we walked around the square and neighboring territory. We stopped and watched them bowl awhile. He got a castle for his blouse. Then we went up to the U.S.O. and played a little ping pong. We ran into several old Arkansas men. Some have been put into recon outfits, ordnance, signal corps and artillery within the division. They are still in the 99th but not as infantry. From there we just walked around. We wanted to go to one of the shows but it was full both times we tried. We got some ice cream and at about 10:00 we decided to come back. I got back and to bed at about 10:45. Actually there’s nothing to do in town. I just like to get away from here for a while but when I get in to town there isn’t much to do and there are just about as many soldiers in there as here. I guess I don’t know what I do want to do. I may as well stay here and sleep and go to shows. I guess I’m trying to escape from things but it’s useless. I wonder just how much longer this is all going to last. Oh I shouldn’t complain I know. I’m so much more fortunate than many are but still it’s gone on long enough to satisfy me. I was up at 7:30 this morning for breakfast. I had pancakes, syrup, butter, Wheaties, milk and grapefruit. After eating I shaved and cleaned up a little. Then I lay down and went to sleep. I woke up when the mail orderly stuck your big Thurs. letter in my hand. I read it and went back to sleep until dinner time. For dinner I had chicken, dressing, potatoes, salad, bread, butter and ice cream. After dinner I changed to my suntans and walked over to Ferd’s. The poor kid was pretty disgusted with everything. I thank God I got out of there when I did. They just got in from the field yesterday. They were out all week and it rained just about every night. Monday night we had a terribly hard storm with a regular cloudburst. He said they rolled up their equipment at about 7:00 and then stood around in the rain about 3 hrs. They were completely soaked so then they started out on an 8 or 9 mile march. The reached their position at 2 a.m. and he said they just lay down on the ground and slept in the water. Another night he said they were digging foxholes at about 3 a.m. He said he got down about 1 ft. in an hour but it was rubbery mud that none of them could go deeper so they just quit and went to sleep. The remarkable thing is that none of them even caught a cold. They were on tactical problems all week but he says he hasn’t the slightest idea what was going on. He just followed along. They chased the enemy all week but he only saw one or two of them. They are going out tomorrow for 2 days and then next Sun. they go out for 3 weeks of D series maneuvers whatever they are. I wouldn’t be surprised if they move out after that. He’s really down. He’s assigned to his Co. as a rifleman. We talked awhile and he straightened up his stuff. Then we took a bus and he went over to the division finance office. He saw the major over there about getting a transfer to finance. You see he was a sgt. in charge of an officers pay section before ASTP. The major treated him real nice & took his name & experience but he said they were already over strength so I guess he’s stuck. We stopped at the P.X. awhile and then came back here to his barracks. At 3:00 he went to get a haircut and I went to the show. He didn’t go because he had too much to do. His mail was backed up for all week. The show was “And the Angels Sing” with Dorothy Lamour, Fred McMurray & Betty Hutton and was a pretty good comedy and musical. I got out at 5:00 and went back over to Ferd’s. I sat there & talked until supper time. I ate with him – potato salad, cheese, bread, butter and apple cobbler. Then I came back here and here I am. He wanted me to stay over there and write my letters but I wanted to answer your back letters so I came back. I tried to tell him maybe things would turn out so that he’s luckier where he is than where he might be. I don’t know if I did him any good or not. His old outfit is in China with Gen’l Chenault’s air force. Ferd would be a staff sergeant or higher. Now he’s a buck private rifleman. I know how he feels and I’m sure thankful I got out of there. Oh this outfit will probably get some of it someday but by then I hope to be far enough up to keep out of it. I hope he gets a break. He sure deserves it if anyone does I think. Well that’s this weekend at 7:10. Now your back letters – Tues. May 2 –Boy you sure got enough head trouble out of that day’s work. I sure hope it didn’t hang on over to Fri. A week is too much to pay for one good day’s work. Why don’t you take it a little easy? Well, so Pop’s resigning as a steward. What brought that on? I wouldn’t want the job in the first place. I guess they usually find work for Julius to do if he’ll do it. It’s pretty hard never to make a mistake at typing but it can be done I guess. Ferd says he has typed as high as 70 wds. a minute. He’s an 055 – gn’l. clerk but it hasn’t helped. One of the fellows back in I Co. was transferred to M. Co. and made co. clerk. He has a Tec. 5 coming in a couple weeks. A Tec. 5 is a rating Technician 5th grade. The pay is $66 same as Cpl. The stripes are [drawing]. I helped that guy once but I don’t think I will again. He has been put on a different job now. The job calls for a Tec. 5 rating & he expects to get it in a week or two. He probably will get it before too long but he’s really bucking. I haven’t bucked a bit. I don’t know how he felt when I got this P.F.C. (had you notice it yet) (I slipped and told you). I certainly had nothing to do with it. The C.O. got back from furlough Thurs. night. Fri. morning my personnel officer turned in a recommendation for me and Fri. afternoon I was a P.F.C. I was going to wait and see if you’d notice it in my return address. So on May 5 after 16 months and 7 days in the army I got my first stripe and $54 a month. It cost me 95 cents for two sets of stripes & one patch & having them sewed on. I’m not going to have any more sewed on than I have to but I guess it will probably take all 4 shirts here. I hope they’ll be coming off in about a month or two but that’s mostly wishful thinking. That one little stripe is pretty insignificant but it’s sort of nice. I’d have appreciated it a lot more about a year ago as then I’d have been getting ahead fast but then I made it in 2 months (out of ASTP) so that isn’t bad. I can go only one notch higher on this job but I’m perfectly satisfied. I hope I can handle the payroll O.K. now. There’ll be another one this week. We get paid Wed. Boy my money seems to go fast here. I still have no rifle. There are no slot machines on camp. I imagine there’s a law against it. I rather imagine I’ll be able to settle down and live at home. I don’t go places much more than I did then & now only because I have nothing else to do. I’d like to be around with Julius again. You’ll have to get some ice for the milk. I don’t have many people for really friends. I’ve been with Leonard & Ferd for a long time as time goes in the army. Now maybe they’ll wait and open the Ionia fair for me. Now Wed. May 3 —I only shower 2 or 3 times a week here now. Last summer I was sometimes doing it twice a day. I’d like to think Germany would be out by Oct. Then we’d still have a least a year. A good guess now is about 2 years more as much as I hate to say it. That was the blue wash cloth. The towel came back perfectly O.K. but no wash cloth. I got a pink one in place of it yesterday. I fixed up my laundry to send tomorrow – socks, underwear, hankies & suntans. I kept out the towels & wash cloths and my t-shirts to send home maybe this week. I’m glad Julius came over. He likes you a lot. He’s about as good as they come. I think he’s probably smart to join the navy if he can get into radio school. The army is no place to come into now. About all they need are replacements & infantry. His chances are a lot better in the navy now I believe. I wouldn’t care to be coming into the army now altho it almost amounts to that here. I hope he gets what he wants. He’s too good a man & brain to get shot up in the infantry or someplace. That’s two letters. I’m signing off for a while to go get some ice cream. Back now at 8:30. My watch quit once today for some reason but I coaxed it to run again. Now your nice big Thurs. letter. May 4 — I was surprised to find Julius’ letter. I thought it was from Pop til I unfolded it. I’m glad your head was beginning to feel some better by Thurs. They charge enough for cleaning there too. I haven’t seen any berets yet but if I do I’ll see about it. What’s your size, 22? I thought hash was out for the duration. Maybe it was old stock. One of the fellows in Ferd’s company sent home some “C” rations so his folks could see what it was like. I ought to get that box of laundry and food tomorrow. I’ll salvage those socks and stuff if I can. I’ve been wearing my own dk. socks here as I don’t walk much and they are covered by my leggings. I’ll get my stock of wool & tan ones built back up in case I may need them. I’ll keep my own stuff here a while at least. I got the fatigues & a wash cloth. The fatigues I got are newer than mine but I’m afraid they are a bit small. Julius acts pretty much at home around you folks. I’m glad he does. If he can get radio school he better take it. It’s better than anything the army can offer. I often eat ice cream while walking. They soak us plenty for everything. If I get stripes on everything it will take my pay raise for the first month. A lot of people are making a good living off us. Freeze is in a gun section now. The fellows who went to other outfits in the Div. are mostly out so far as ratings go. I hope to dodge most of the basic training. I almost wish I had stayed another week & got it finished & on my record but I’m better off I believe. I didn’t mean Sam was sick. I was just kidding because he usually gets a book or paper and is stuck to his bunk reading. Occasionally he takes in a movie or walks around camp a bit. He’s pretty quiet. Last night was the first time he’s been into town. He says his temp. has been up to 99 at certain times during the day all his life. It’s evidently normal for him. He’s not sick in any way. If it were TB they’d have caught it at the Recept. Center with X-Ray and meningitis would have put him out long ago. I roomed with him 2 months at school. I don’t see him much now though & will less from now on if you say so. So you think I don’t remember you as younger woman. Just because I don’t say a lot doesn’t mean I don’t see. I remember you at about 29 and I’ve seen pictures younger yet. I always thought to myself that Dad did a doggone good job. I think your hair was very pretty particularly. You don’t look so bad now when you fix up a little. I’m capable of appreciating beauty (what little there is) altho I don’t say much. Sam got the ice cream and we ate it in the ticket line. Some day they are going to tie up traffic & everything around a barn fire and a good one is going to cut loose on the other side of town. Say, let’s not be too pessimistic. To look backward makes one sick and to look forward makes you afraid. I haven’t heard from Bart since my last letter. They may have moved. Whichever is worst right now I’m glad to be out of the Inf. We have a certain number of airborne Inf. Div. that take care of all that. Shakespeare never appealed much to me. I doubt if you’d care for it either. No C.O. for me this week. I’ll probably get it weekend after next. What’s Helen going to do in Virg.? Well that gets your letters. Its 9:30 & I better quit before I get more than will go thru Free. 5 pages have gone before so I guess its O.K. So for anther weekend –


Love to you all


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