I’ll Let Them Worry About the Wool Socks

Wed. April 26, 1944

7:10 p.m.


Dear folks,

Well the mail came through today. I got your Sat. Sun. letter & one from last Thurs. that I didn’t even know was coming. I guess they’ve just been lying someplace. One was dated the 22nd and the other the 24th. Anyway I finally got them and I’m all caught up to last Fri. with you now. From now on it ought to come through in sequence. I also got a card and letter from Aunt Lillis. That letter I wrote last night wasn’t much. I figured on writing more because I had supposed I would have to be up all night. When I found out we could sleep I ended it pretty abruptly but I guess it told the story of yesterday. The Lt. who was on with me was quite a boy. We got along O.K. I’ll probably draw C.Q. again about next Mon. and then the week after on Sat. & Sun. It comes around every 5 or 6 days but I believe it’s a little better than guard duty. I got to bed at about 12:15. I called the operator and told her to call me at 5:45. I was up when the phone rang, put on my shoes and came over to wake up the 1st Sgts., but they were already up. Then I went back and took down my cot, swept out a little and waited around until breakfast. I had pancakes, syrup, corn flakes, milk and grapefruit. As soon as I ate I went back and stayed until 7:30. Then I went to work. I made up my morning report, did a little with my records, typed on a letter and did very little else this morning. At 11:30 we quit for dinner. I had potatoes, cabbage, salad, bread, butter, and cookies. At 12:30 we went back. I had my work temporarily under control so I spent most of the time studying payrolls in the manual. It was a long afternoon. Time goes fast when I’m busy. Probably there were things I should have been doing that I didn’t know about. I think my ass’t. is bucking for a better job. Maybe he’ll get it. I’m doing the best I know how on a job I knew practically nothing about at first. If they find someone else they’d rather have I guess it’s up to them. At 4:30 we quit. I came back here & shined up my shoes and dressed for retreat. The Lt. wasn’t too happy because I didn’t have a rifle. I’ve kept away from it as long as possible. They’ve been cleaning them out of the packing grease afternoons but I’ve been over at Hqs. so naturally I haven’t cleaned myself one. I suppose I’ll have to get one as they are going to have rifle inspections at retreat 4 times a week and I don’t know how I can skip retreat. Mine ought not to get dirty if I don’t use it much. After retreat we ate – potatoes, peas & carrots, salad, bread, butter and fruit salad. After supper I went over to the P.X. and got a haircut. Then I got my dry cleaning, some shoe polish, ice cream and came back. They have a standard foot locker arrangement so I had to fix the stuff up in it. Now here I am. Tomorrow we may have an inspection so I’ll wear my pressed O.D.’s and clean leggings & I now have a haircut. I hadn’t had one for about a month. I had a sort of punk feeling head this afternoon but it’s sort of disappeared since I got away from the office. I guess I’m sort of unconsciously tense when I’m over there. You remember how I’d type a page & get to the bottom and then make a mistake. Well I’m trying not to do that. It means more here as I’m sometimes working with 3 or 4 carbons. Probably I don’t deserve the job as I’m not that much of a clerk but I’ve got it yet. I noticed today that one elbow is gone through on my O.D. shirt. After 16 months it’s finally gone out. Well I guess that covers today so I’ll finally get at these letters starting with Sat.-Sun. April 15 & 16. – I was reading today that the army has no facilities for handling special delivery so you may as well not spend extra money on it. I have my transcript yet. I’ll file it in my 201 file when we get some folders to use. That’s where it belongs. I’ve seen a lot of transcripts in my company but none come even close. My score on that original ASTP exam was 166. The highest I’ve seen on any of these records is about 120. So that puts me up there pretty well. Send back those white shorts if they are patched. If you replace any of them send either white ones or these khaki ones that look G.I. I was really getting things dirty in the infantry and it will be the same or worse if I get out on line duty with this outfit. It’s pretty clean where I am right now. The wind often blows plenty here without any clouds – just air currents. Getting up at 5:00 was a lot different in the north woods. I wanted to do it then. Nobody could hit you in the pits no matter how screwy they got. The only possibility might be a ricochet (that’s spelled wrong I know but you know what I mean) bouncing in but none did that day. You see we are under the fire [drawing of firing range] and pulled the targets up and down between shots. They fire continuously all day. As soon as one group quits another goes up. The ice cream is pretty good. Some of it is Swift’s -15 cents a pt. This watch is doing O.K. now. It quit once but started again. I don’t suppose I would pass now but – so what -. Butter cut 4 pts. next Sun. That sounds good. L.S. means nothing. It’s crossed off all our records. I like that song they sing about “once long ago.” It’s good you 2 had a Sun. when you felt a little more up to par for a change. I don’t imagine I’ll get a furlough for maybe 5 or 6 months. One clerk left tonight but he’s just a rookie of 6 months & has never had one. I’ll let them worry about the wool socks. If I turn them in then it’s up to them. Those transcripts were supposed to be kept on file instead of given to us. That was all. Sauerkraut is always warmed. I like it cold like we used to have it. I hope to tell you these Texans have a drawl but I don’t believe it’s much more marked than the Arkansans. I’m a little too old to get much practical use from a bike once I got home. It’s just a means of conveyance here. Someday when things get straightened around I’d like to have a car of my own. Traffic here isn’t awfully heavy and we stay off the beaten highways most of the time. I have read some in your pathfinder. Slaughter is getting pretty old. Eva hasn’t mentioned Charles. Last I knew he was still in the Medics at Temple, Tex. If he still would like to get into a combat outfit I’d sure like to trade places or would I. It depends on what the future holds. Julius may stay in school. I sure hope he can for his sake. Now your Mon.-Thurs. April 17-20 – That grease probably comes from wiping off my rifle in a hurry with a hankie. I’m glad you went out to the store again. You buy things that Pop wouldn’t notice. So even if the bill is higher you get more different things that will go farther. I wonder if I’ll ever go back to the old job. I was never talkative enough. I haven’t a line to dish out & make them feel good like Thelma used to do. It was simple to take those pictures. I’d take a picture in the normal way. Then I’d put my finger over it and click it. That kept the film from being exposed so I could then take the pictures all on the same click, either up or down. See. I guess Julius’ deferment covers the next term. He won’t graduate for a year of so though. I’d like to be on one of those whistling trains for good. That Stratton came around fast but I guess I’ve been away quite a while when I look back. “Have I Been Away Too Long?” Yes, indeed! They noticed my troubles with the rifle but nobody could do anything about it. That physical fitness stuff tears me down more than it builds me up. We 5 have been together quite a while but we’re getting farther apart. Ferd’s in L Co. 393rd, Leonard in I Co. 393rd, Sam & Rudy A Co. 1267 & I’m in C Co. 1268. Freese & Ferd will be leaving first probably so they’ll have to write to me. If I knew it was 3 more years I don’t know just what I would do. Those pictures were pretty good. Freeze is pretty fat looking now. I had a bike but I guess we ran out of film. Say, find out if my license has to be renewed. In some states they are good for the duration plus 6. You can ask when you go up for yours. You know I wondered why that letter ended so abruptly on Thurs. afternoon. I just got the rest of it today. 16 cents a can is way too much for any soup. Thurs. April 20 –Tom’s in the army isn’t he? Jerry is probably at Crowder, Leonard Wood or Jefferson’s Bks. Now really. I think people run this place down a little too much. It’s true, it’s not too good a location. When it’s raining its muddy & when it’s not it’s a dust bowl but it certainly isn’t a shack camp. Except for one corner of camp, the barracks and buildings are all swell. They are as good as any I’ve seen and I rank it with Camp McCoy. You can get some idea of our buildings from that folder I sent in with my laundry. I’d rather be here that lots of places I can think of. I’ve been here 7 weeks now. I have plenty more to go. Probably 20 weeks after we start which may be a month or so yet. Pop sure goes to a lot of Union meetings. Happy birthday to Schicklegruber. You help every year. So Babe still chases cats. How’s her legs? I sort of gathered she was more chipper since she trots up and down stairs by herself now. Hey, that’s not fair to charge Pop to hear these letters. They aren’t worth it but if you can get away with it I guess its O.K. The old V-8 is getting pretty old. Ten years is a long time on a car. It’s had to be a good car to last that long. I got rid of that old shirt you didn’t like. I have 4 sets of suntans but I’m only charged with 3 so I guess I’ll send a set home. Ah here comes our emissary with ice cream. I ought to gain some wt. if I keep this up. I’m up around 160 most of the time now. Here it is 9:00 and I’m not through yet. Boy I’d stay clear of any wire if I thought there was an enemy around. They usually have noise makers hooked up to catch you going through. Ft. Sam Houston is at San Antonio and is supposed to be a pretty nice place. Texas is by far the largest state. Calif. is probably 2nd or 3rd. Actually most of Calif. is desert or mountains. Most of the people live along the coast and in the areas around Frisco & L.A. I don’t spend much in the penny arcade. You know me. I play pretty lousy ping pong now. I’m not nearly so good as I was at school but I still win quite a bit somehow. The bananas seem to be plenty ripe enough. It cost 20 cents to get my blouse fixed. I’m keeping my stuff until they tell me to get rid of it. I’ll see if I can get a bluebonnet the next time I’m in town. I haven’t seen any near here inside camp. It’s the Texas state flower like the apple blossom is for Mich. No I’m not in a replacement training center. I’m in a regular outfit and always have been luckily. You see I’m assigned and theoretically will stay with this Bn. [?] Fellows at R.T.C.’s get basic and then go wherever replacements are needed. You saw where George went. The 45th is an old Texas & Oklahoma Nat. Guard outfit. It was one of the first outfits into Sicily. His boy is probably in the armored force driving a ½ ton track. Now Fri. April 21 – I’m glad you got the pillow cover & liked it. I’d as soon that U.S. Army weren’t on there. I have my eye on another one you may get someday. Don’t tell me Mrs. Elliott works at Sam’s? Oh no. A lot of overalls are going to the army. A nice new pair of fatigues will rip out on an assault course barbed wire as good as a worn pair & plenty are ripped. It’s Bn. in my address for Battalion. Rudy & Sam live just across the back yard sort of, but eventually we’ll be farther apart. I’m a terrible shot but I’m getting more confidence in myself. I think I could fire pretty well with the 22 now. 66% is qualifying. I fired about 75%. Well that covers your letters pretty well. Its 9:25 and lights go out pretty quick so I’m going to sign off & clean up & hit the bed. So for tonight so long & love.



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