I Was Never One Of Bill’s Followers

Thurs. 5 April 1945

England 7:45 p.m.


Dear folks,

Back again. I wrote a couple pages this morning but since then the cast has come off, for good, so I thought I’d start another one and maybe get caught up with the unanswered letters before I get back to the outfit. I have a hunch there’ll be plenty of work waiting for me. Also I haven’t picked up any letters since last Fri. so unless they are in process of being forwarded to me here, there ought to be a few waiting for me. The Major looked me over this morning and checked the X-rays & finally decided to take off the cast and send me back. The bone was broken in 1943 and a cast is of no good now. So long as I stay on this job it will be O.K. as it has been now for nearly a year. So that’s that. I’ll be glad to get back and “settle down” once more. I don’t suppose the payroll is typed. That’s too much to hope for. I don’t know for sure yet but I’ll probably be discharged from here tomorrow or Sat. at the latest. I’ve got a lot of things to get in order back there. I have a lot of junk to sort out and get rid of and also round up some of my equipment and get it in order. I haven’t seen some of the stuff for a couple months. My tent has made just about every bivouac I guess. I think it’s out again this week. I’ve a lot of laundry to get out now that I have 2 hands too. So I’ve got to get on the ball as well as back to work. Where does stuff come from? I came over here with practically nothing and now I’ve more darned stuff. All the little openings and crannies in my desk are jammed full of soap, razor blades, stationery, pictures, etc. and still there’s stuff left over. Oh me.

Dinner today was very good – chicken, potatoes, gravy, spinach, corn, bread, butter and cake. After dinner I grabbed my clothes and a pass and caught a sightseeing trip put on by special services. We had a nice bus ride as it was a pretty fair day. The countryside is beautiful now, with flowers out, the fruit trees in blossom and everything so freshly green. We were in very hilly areas and that made it even nicer to me. Our destination was Stratford-Upon-Avon, the home of William Shakespeare. I was never one of Bill’s followers, but still it was well worth the trip and I can stick out my chest now and say, oh, yes, I’ve been there. I guess the town makes its existence from Shakespeare’s name. We were guided around by a representative of the “British Council,” an organization for the furtherance of relations between the 2 nations. First we went through the Nash Museum which is next door to Bill’s old house. The museum is very interesting and really full of oddities. Shakespeare’s House was torn down and only the foundation remains but the gardens are still there and are really beautiful. I wish you could see them. I bought several postcards of things I saw which I can maybe send along sometime. I was just elected to make some coffee for the boys. This ought to be good. We got a good look at the Memorial Theater but it was closed. They were having one of his plays tonight. Then we rode a way to Ann Hathaway’s cottage. She was his wife and her family maintained that home from 1470 to 1911. It was really old but of course parts of it have had to be restored. It is set up as a sort of museum but only of stuff from the family. From there we went out of town a way to the Mary Arden (his mother) farm. It was set up about the same way in the house and the barn is a museum of old farm pieces, etc. The dovecote and the cider press were rather interesting too. From there we went back to town and went through the church where he is buried. It is a very pretty but quite a bit smaller than “my cathedral.” That was the last place we saw. Then we went back for “tea” – bread, butter, jam & cake before heading back here. It made a nice trip, spent the day, and should have added a bit to my education although it probably didn’t. I got back here a little while ago and they cut off the cast so now I can write to more advantage. Wonder how the coffee is doing. So that is today. My vacation is about over and I’ll probably pay for it when I get back. I’ll be afraid to find out what & how much work is waiting.

Anyway that’s all the news so I shall get to the rest of these letters. My records indicate that I have received and answered all letters thru Mar. 14. The next air mail is Fri. Mar. 16 – Well, that rat raised quite a “stink.” We’ve had quite a bit of rain off and on for the past week, but never too much at once. The boys are moving in Germany now. I’m going to be a liar if there isn’t an armistice by May 1. By now you know I made the dash to London and back. I don’t expect to go again, even if I were around long enough. I may have a box waiting for me. Yes we can get air mail stamps here also. Sometimes it’s just as well to be a little indifferent about things. I don’t expect to get up around Miss Long’s relatives neighborhood. Once I leave the U.K. I don’t expect to get back. I don’t remember seeing that clipping about Vivian. Next in line are V-mails of Mar. 16, 17, & 19 – A week seems to be the fastest time for letters although some have been received here by fellows in 4 days. At the rate I’m going I won’t use much film. I’ve taken 3 pictures so far. I could have used it today but naturally I didn’t have it over here with me. Oh me, another long drive for Dad. It’s too tiring for him to do very much. I don’t think he needs that to know what home means. Of course it helps, believe me. That pkg. sounds O.K. It’s due in a few days. I wasn’t wearing any green except my O.D.’s on St. Pat’s Day. I was in London. The lawn mowers have been in operation for quite awhile over here. It’s swell to get the V-mails steadily. Don’t tell me you’re like Edna. I guess spring is coming fast over there too. Now comes your Mar. 19 air mail letter. Well, so Donald got the bronze star. Well, I guess he has what it takes. Remember how afraid he was about it all? No all the bottles of stuff have come through unbroken although it isn’t too good an idea. Canned peanut butter, etc. works fine though. The moon seems to stand out more over here, probably due to the blackout & also the sort of quaintness of everything. Yes, some English girls go around with black boys but not many, at least any more. I guess the G.I.’s have said enough to wake them up to the difference. I understand that plaster rots clothing too. Nobody coaxes me to do anything I don’t want to do.

That cleans up a few more letters anyway. It’s about time for lights out so I shall sign off for today. Good night.

Fri. 6 April 1945, 10:25 a.m.

Back again. It’s a very overcast day but no rain as yet. I thought I might get out of here today but I guess not so I asked for a pass for the afternoon and evening. I have to make the most of my opportunities while there is a decent place to go and something to do. I suppose it sounds silly, my going off on pass all the time but then you’ve never been in a similar position. Last night after a shower I got to bed at about 10:30. I’ve been getting my sleep anyway for the past week. We were out of bed at 7:00 this morning. I got my bed all made up nice and then ate – cakes, butter, syrup, farina, milk, & canned grapefruit. Then I shaved and got to work on our “housework.” We gave the ward a good going over today, swept, mopped, waxed & everything else. Now that’s over and here I am. I believe I’ll get out tomorrow. I guess I’ll get back in time to go to work. So that’s today so far. I still have a couple V-mails to answer here yet – Mar. 21 & 20 – Well I’ll still have trouble with the wrist. I had a talk with the Capt. today & he explained it to me. Normally they would cast it for 3 months but it’s an old break. They could operate but too often it doesn’t help. So he suggests that I just go along as it is and stay away from heavy work. I could probably get a reassignment as a limited assignment man but it involves quite a bit and I have as “limited” a type job right now as I’d probably get. I’m satisfied & want to stay with the boys. I’ve come this far. I may as well stick. Well I’m glad the contract is signed. That’s one less worry for you. You can settle back now & know a little about what to expect. Well, it would be swell if you could get a letter every day. What with V-mails, mail from this side, etc. I do almost that well. You know me, I’ll always tell you not to worry because you are foolish if you do. Boy if I worried about all the “possibilities” look where I’d be. That catches all the letters I’ve received up to last Fri. There ought to be some over at camp or on its way here. Mar. 21 is the latest I have but Mar. 15, 17 & 18, & 20 air mails are still out. All in all it’s pretty good. Well, they just mentioned Lansing on the radio as the safest city in the States.

Well that’s about all there is to say at 11:05 a.m. on Fri. so I shall sign off on this for now. So long again,



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