Nose Holes

Wed. Jan 13, 1943  10:25 a.m.

Camp McCoy, Wisconsin

Dear Everybody,

Oh you lucky people. The temperature here is 25 below zero. That’s what the corporal told us and I believe it.  You walk 30 feet and your nose holes are practically shut. I got up at 5:45 and boy was it bitter when we fell out for reveille at 6:10. I took a chance and went to breakfast ahead of the crowd. Usually if you go early you have to wait for the door to be opened and if you wait for the rest to go you have to wait on the end of a long line anyhow. I was lucky though and walked right in without having to wait outside. Boy, we had oatmeal this morning and that was really good. Besides that we had French toast with Karo syrup, potatoes and applesauce. I passed up the frankfurters & bacon and got a double shot of applesauce.


11:40 – Hooray, got 2 letters and the box of candy and nuts. The letters were both mailed Monday. One from dad & one from mother. Are they the first one’s you’ve written to me here? I still haven’t gotten the one you wrote to Custer. Maybe I’ll get that tonight. I read both letters twice and boy did I feel good. I’ll have to quit now for dinner but I’ll be back later.


Letter along with somr stamps and other items sent home

Letter along with some stamps and other items sent home

12:15 – Back for a few minutes. Gee, what’s wrong with you folks. I didn’t think you were all going to get sick when I left. Dad must have been pretty low to lay off 3 days. I sure hope he feels better now. And don’t let that head get you down. I will read the clippings when I have more time tonight but I did notice the Dunckel girl’s picture. I know one of the other girls there too. She used to go to Eastern. From what you say, you got both letters from Custer. Good. You should have gotten two letters at once from here or at least close together because Thurs. I mailed the one I wrote on the train, which you got Saturday, and another I wrote here. I have written every day since so you should get a steady stream of mail. I don’t know for sure what you mean by “dad’s reg. letter,” regular or registered but I haven’t got it yet. I’m glad you and Mrs. C. are getting together at last. It’ll be good for you. I have written once to Julius while in Custer, and since I’ve been here letters to Aunt Marie, Elmo, Granddad, and cards to Nathan and the Stachels. That ought to bring some answers. I haven’t got auntie’s letter that you mentioned yet. When is she going to come back and see you? Don’t worry about next Xmas. That’s too far away to even think about.

We very often have grapefruit for breakfast or else some other fruit such as an apple or orange, prunes, or applesauce. We have toast but the bread is all white and not very well toasted. I imagined my hat would be pretty badly smashed but most of that happened before I mailed it. But then there are & will be lots more hats.

Don’t be afraid to write and send any clippings you want. Anything from home is good to see. I try to write all the things I know you want to know. I may repeat a lot but I don’t think you’ll mind.

As for today, at 9:15 we marched down to the theater and heard lectures and saw movies on first aid. It was so cold my fingers became numb. I’ve never had them entirely lose their feeling before. They soon warmed up though. Then we came back to the barracks and did some indoors practice. We’ll probably leave in a few minutes to do some marching. It’s much much warmer now because the sun is shining brightly as it usually does.

Dinner today – mashed potatoes, gravy, veg. stew, veg. salad, bread (4 slices), butter, and apple pie.

Last night I spent $1.25. I bought 25 cents worth of candy bars (that won’t be necessary for awhile now what with my reinforcements). I bought 2 books, Lost Horizon and The Good Earth. I finished Mrs. Miniver last night. I also bought a jar of Vicks Vapor Rub as a precautionary measure. A lot of the fellows use it and you’d be surprised at the amount of Listerine around here. Then last night I went to the show. It was a pretty fair picture. Lionel Barrymore in “Dr. Gillespie’s New Assistant.” I don’t think I’ll go tonight. It’s too cold and I’ve got lots of things to read here. I may go tomorrow night. Rob’t Taylor will be on. I’ve started Lost Horizon and it looks like a swell book so far.

That boy from M.S.C. is Bill Andrews. I never knew him at State. His folks are dead and he is part operator of their fox farm in the Upper Peninsula. He is 21 and has 2 fingers gone, which he lost in a meat grinder. Enough for him.

I think I have covered all the questions in your letter. If you haven’t sent my camera that I asked for don’t send it. This morning they banned them from the camp. Somebody must have taken pictures of something he shouldn’t. If you’ve sent it it’s O.K. I’ll send it back.

My vaccination never did work but these last 2 shots have left my arms pretty sore. Boy those anti-lockjaw shots really hit you. Well this is all I can think of now. I’ll finish this later and write one to dad. If there’s something I forget in one letter maybe it’ll be in the other. Read them to each other. 12:50

Back again at 3:10. We just got back from a short hike of 4 or 5 miles. It is much warmer and I enjoyed it. My feet are really warm for a change. Boy it’s really nice to get out in the country. The camp seems to be on a flat plain completely surrounded by hills. When you get up close to them they remind one of the pictures you see of the badlands of the Dakotas except these have trees on them. They are very rocky and you see huge crags and some of the hills are almost perpendicular. They look as if they would tip over. The trees are all evergreens. I don’t know much about trees but they are different from any kind with which I am familiar in northern Michigan. They may be hemlocks.

There is a lot of snow and they do quite a bit of skiing on the hillsides. I’d like to take a hike around here in May or June. I’ll bet it’s really swell then. Before we finish we’ll take 10 or 12 mile hikes with full pack and rifle. As near as I’ve been able to learn, they give us a rifle & teach us the manual of arms but we don’t do any shooting. You hear a lot of heavy shooting around here from the boys of the second division – artillery. They must shoot out in the hills. The first time I heard it I thought it was thunder. Most of the second division boys are from Texas I hear. I don’t see how they can stand the temperature. There is one fellow in our barracks who says it isn’t so cold here as it was at home. He’s from Cadillac Mich. We have a bunch of Negroes moving in down the street in a short time. They are a little afraid of trouble, especially from the southerners up here. They’ll eat at our mess hall but I don’t care so long as they don’t bother me.

When I got back from the hike I found my name twice on the mail list once with an R after my name. It must be that registered letter. I guess we have to go to the Post Office for large packages and reg. letters. My box of candy was delivered to the barracks. Incidentally I just discovered the handkerchiefs in the bottom. Thanks. I won’t have to do my laundry so often. You’d be proud to see me make by bed and do my washing. I’d like to go see about that letter but it’s only 3:30 and we can’t get separated until released. I have to be at the P.O. before it closes at 6:00. Do you like this type of running, chronological letter? As long as Mrs. C. is interested I’ll send her a card. I think the Zeller boy that she knew went with Ossie West to Missouri but I’m not sure.


7:20 – Well I’ve had a good day. 4 letters and 2 packages. Besides the 2 letters and candy, I got the registered letter and the big package with letter attached tonight at the Post Office. I feel almost like a new person. First because when mail call came I didn’t have to shake my head and walk away. Moreover I can do a lot better now. I got out my stuff and hung up my clothes. One hanger for my overcoat, one for my blouse, one for my fold jacket, and one for each shirt and pants. That does away with so much packing and unpacking of my barracks bag and my clothes won’t get wrinkled so much. I also took my handkerchiefs and soap out of my bag (grip) and put all my soap, hankies, towels and wash rags in the large box you sent. We have a shelf at the end of our bunk and we can put things on it which are compact such as kits or boxes. I guess most of us are honest because nobody has lost anything yet so I put the box of cleaning equipment on the shelf together with the Super duper Suds and my shoe shining kit. The rest of my personal stuff, pens, pencil, stationery, shaving cream etc. I keep in my grip. My other barracks bag I’ll use for keeping wrapping paper, string, newspapers, etc. and dirty clothes. I think I have a pretty good arrangement now thanks to you.

The registered letter had 5 stamps on the back. Two in South Lansing Jan. 7, two in Custer on Jan. 8 and one Jan. 9, and one here in McCoy yesterday Jan. 11. A long time, eh? I’m glad Aunty wrote to you so soon. Maybe we can keep your mail box full too. I feel the same way she does about things but it was pretty hard for either one of us to smile I guess. Boy I think Hugh was really one homesick boy but he tried not to show it. I tried to keep him feeling up and it helped me.

I have gotten everything now that you have mentioned. I’m afraid that gram’s pickle would be a little impractical, but doggone good. Tell her not to feel slighted because I don’t write directly to her because my letters are to every last one of you, even Babe.

I took those coal clothes over to the P.X. last night and they are going to launder them. They would do everything but it’s too expensive. Over at Custer permanently stationed men get their laundry done for $1.25 a month but there is no post laundry here. It’s so new we haven’t any trays or silverware yet. We eat off large plates and use our field equipment for knife, fork, & spoon. You’d be surprised how much oatmeal you can eat with a spoon larger than a tablespoon. You know when I stop and think how much people have always done for me I think I’m doing pretty well here.

I’m glad you like my letters. I was afraid they wouldn’t make much sense because they are mostly unconnected thoughts and ideas. Gee what’s the matter with Pop? Is he trying to get in 4-F. For gosh sakes tell him to be careful.

Now here’s something maybe you won’t like but if you get short of money what with deductions and loss of days, please, you know where you can fall back for a little help. And don’t go to any unnecessary expense on my account. I’ll love you just as much if you just write.

Maybe they don’t date our letters for some reason although I can’t see any. Nathan probably heard from Clayton’s mother about the fellows in Missouri. You see one of the fellows was Clayt’s step father. He was a cocky little guy, too cocky in fact. He got pretty smart in Custer when we were getting our uniforms and in about two more words a sgt. would have given him a going over. He had it coming. I still don’t know where Miller went. He left

later in the day. There were 6 cars (283) men who came up here. 3 cars went in the group to Missouri.

I’ve read all the clippings and I’ll read the paper when I get time. I’ll never get so I won’t like it at home. Every day I appreciate it more. This life may make me more able to pull away from home and get along with others but it’ll never reduce my love for family life. I’ll always be a family man. Ha Ha.

The hankies they gave me are white, hemstitched, real large and silky. I’m sorry about not seeing the Crawford’s. I am sending them a card giving my address.

Well I guess I’ve answered all questions and this is really a letter from me but then I feel a lot better. You know doggone well I’ll write. I’ve written every day since I’ve been here and every day I could while in Custer. Well good night and thanks plenty.


Lots of love to everybody,


Original Letter


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