The Fruits of Intelligence

Saturday Aug. 21, 1943

9:30 p.m.


Dear folks,

I’ll start this tonight and finish it tomorrow. It’s been quite a day and so far as I know I’m now 1A-L whatever that is. I got to bed about 10:45 last night after doing a little chem. after finishing your letter. I was up at 5:15. After reveille I made my bed, swept and dusted my shoes before eating. I had scrambled eggs, toast, butter, corn flakes, milk & grapefruit. After eating I got ready for class. I guess I really didn’t have to go and now I wish I hadn’t because that chem. test was really rugged and I’ll be lucky to get an 85. I study on a basis of the type of stuff they used to ask at M.S.C. and then they crossed me up by asking for a lot of stuff that is really unimportant and shouldn’t be asked. Better should I have stayed in the dorm. One consolation – I got last week’s test back with 100 so that helps some anyway. At 8 I came back here and took a shower, shaved, cleaned my teeth and very foolishly put on a clean uniform. I guess I didn’t get it too dirty tho. At about 8:45 we got ready and started off in G.I. trucks. The trip to Chaffee, about 70 miles, lasted until 11:30. It is a nice ride up through the Boston Mts. (hills) and I’d like to make it as a civilian someday. The road is nice and the views are really wonderful We stopped in one little jerk water town & I got an ice ream cone but boy what a ramshackle place and you ought to see the houses people actually live in. We went thru Dogpatch and also VanBuren. It’s a nice little city with signs all over advertising Bob Burn’s home. I didn’t see Uncle Fred anyplace though. We hit camp at about 11:30 and boy it felt funny to be in an army camp again. It’s the first real large camp I’ve been in since McCoy and it made me realize how lucky I am & have been. Oh its nice to have nights off and P.X.’s and shows but when I saw those poor suckers plodding around with packs, rolls, helmets & rifles I said to myself Boy you are lucky. It seemed funny to see everybody in helmets & fatigues again. It is mostly armored forces down there. I saw several amphibian tanks go buzzing down the highway. The first thing we did was march to chow. We were in the hospital area and fellows literally by the hundreds were walking around in slippers & bathrobes. They all pricked up their ears when we marched by singing like we do here. I bet they don’t hear that often. Chow there really made us all appreciate what we get here. I doubt if any of those fellows will kick for quite awhile. I had potatoes, Brussels sprouts, salad, 1 slice of bread and butter. I don’t know what you’ll think about it but there wasn’t any milk or water to drink and I was really dry so I drank some iced tea not because I liked it particularly but because it was cold & wet. I guess maybe it was O.K. because I used to drink it once in a great while at home. Oh yes, I had a sliver of ice cream too. After eating we went back and sat around for awhile and then went through alphabetically. It took me about 30-45 minutes. It was like Kalamazoo only faster and less thorough. First he took my pulse which was 80, then my blood pressure – 122 which is O.K. Then he tested my eyes. I couldn’t see too well today. My right eye was 20/800 and my left 20/40 corrected to 20/20. Then they checked my hearing & teeth. Next came a urinalysis and I was measured around my chest, my height and weighed. I’m down to 146 ½ lbs. stripped which is 3 less than at Kalamazoo. Then they checked me for rupture etc. Then we went in to talk to an officer who asked a lot of friendly questions. I found he was a neuropsychiatrist and was trying to test our reactions. That finished it up and I went on to the major. I didn’t have a chance for a discharge although my eye may warrant it. The test wasn’t very thorough and it may be better than 20/800 but that’s beside the point. 5 men blind in one eye didn’t get them. On our paper from here were several statements. One was whether they wished us to stay in service. They wished me to stay in. The major looked at that, put a big red circle around it, put a big circle around my 150 I.Q., saw I had been a student before coming to the army, put some checks on the back and said that’s all. That finished that. We have heard that we are classified to 1-AL, which while not L.S. still means limited duty. It’s really a joke. Several fellows got C.D.D.s for flat feet, bad backs and eyes but nearly all were ones which were not desired to be dept here at school. If I was flunking here, if I had a moron’s I.Q. and if I had been a welder instead of a student I’m willing to bet I’d have a C.D.D. right now. Not one of us who has a high I.Q. and is passing had a chance. That’s the fruits of intelligence I guess so it looks as if I’m in now for the duration plus. I was through at 2. The Lt. put me in charge of the group so I stayed around until the other fellow came back. Then I went over to the P.X. It was the first one I’ve been in in a good many months. It’s now about 10 to 11 and lights out so I’ll quit and finish the story tomorrow.

Back at 7:15 Sunday night. As I was saying I had a couple shakes at the P.X. and after looking around for awhile I came back to the hospital at 3:30. There were still some fellows getting blood tests and stuff so we waited and waited. At about 5 they sent us to supper but the line was so long we went over to the P.X. I had a couple malteds for supper and also got a box of stationery and a couple cards. I should have gotten shaving cream too but I forgot it. I got back at about 5:30 and before 6 o’clock we got aboard the trucks and started back. For all I gained I could just as well have stayed in Fayetteville. As it was I lost part of my weekend time off. Camp Chaffee is quite a large place, built just like Custer, McCoy and all the rest. There doesn’t seem to be a tree in sight hardly. It’s down on the plains and it’s really hot. It seemed sort of familiar and like old times but I wouldn’t want to stay there. We didn’t get back here until about 8:30. We had the top off all the way back so I got a chance to see the scenery. Up thru the mountains it’s really very pretty. There are no natural lakes in Arkansas so the occasional ones we saw are man-made. It was dark when we got back and too late to go to the show. I partially undressed and then wrote until 11. There wasn’t any mail call yesterday because the mail clerk was with us so I didn’t get any letters. They boys got by inspection O.K. and they covered 3 chap. of Physics in lecture. We take 10 weeks to cover 7 chapters & then they do 3 on the day I’m not there. Am I worried? No. That was yesterday. I may have forgotten to mention some things so if you think of anything you can ask in your letter or when I get home. I didn’t hear anything about breakfast this morning. I woke up at 8 and finally got up at 10. There wasn’t anything to do so I went back and slept until dinner at 12. I got up, dressed, and had potatoes, veal loaf, cheese, beets, salad, peas & carrots, bread, butter, and watermelon. After eating I waited around until about 1:30 and then went to the show. It was “First Comes Courage” with Merle Oberon & Brian Aherne. It was about Norway & followed the usual pattern. It was pretty good. There also was a newsreel, a sports picture, one about movie stars & a cartoon. After the show I went down to the depot to see about train schedules but the place was closed. So I came back to the Union and had a couple shakes and then went back to the dorm. At 5 I went to supper – beans, tomatoes, biscuits, butter, milk & jello. After supper I loafed around until study at 7 and here I am. I have Chem. test in the morning & math in the afternoon. It’s not given by our instructors to cover our work so its hard telling what it will cover so I decided not to worry about it. That covers a very uneventful weekend so now I’ll get to your back letters, Sat. & Sun. Aug. 14 & 15. I can see all right why you were upset about the garden and I don’t like it but I guess there’s not much I can do about it. $5 isn’t a fraction of what you lost. You two sure put a lot of hard work on it when you were up there. The place for that guy is in the army. He’s no more farmer than I am but that’s the way things go I guess. Well Hugh must be a sgt. now. I haven’t heard from him in over 2 months. He sure gets home a lot. Mon. Aug. 16 – That stove must have been some job all right. I intend to come the fastest way. Anderson says we may have to wait quite awhile in Chicago so if it’s faster we may catch a bus. We’ll find out this week if we can. He changed his furlough to Lansing instead of St. Louis because Lansing is within the limits. It takes a long time by train to go to St. Louis. Now we can all forget the discharge. Tues. Aug. 17 – I sent my wash so I hope you got it Wed. Gee if its down near 45 degrees I better bring my O.D.s. Oh well I expect to discard the uniform for awhile anyway. Are there many M.P.’s around there? The grapes are the sour blue ones. The cottage cheese we get occasionally is too sour also. My watch runs most of the time but it needs cleaning. I think I’ll retire it when I get home. The other fellow didn’t get a discharge either. He was blind in one eye and his blood pressure was 154 so I guess I really have no room for complaint. I cracked my left arm. The wrist I sprained is my right one. Well that sort of catches up the back letters. I’ll probably get Wed., Thurs., & Fri. tomorrow. It’s now 8:30 and I guess I’ve covered the situation. Two weeks from now I should be somewhere between Chicago and Lansing. I’m going to hate to spend time sleeping but I reckon I’ll be tired after spending one night on the train. Well I guess this will be all for tonight. Maybe I’ll dash off a letter or two yet tonight. I’d like to get my correspondence up to date if possible before my furlough. Well so long and good night.




[drawing of Michigan with bullseye & arrow through Lansing]

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