The Philosopher

Saturday, January 30, 1943, after dinner

Camp McCoy, Wisconsin


Dear folks,

Well another week gone. That makes 4. Today is a sort of anniversary because it was one year ago tonight that I graduated. A lot of things have surely happened in that year – some good, others not so good and some no good at all. Some planned, others entirely unexpected. I guess the best thing to do is look ahead instead of backward thinking what might have been. There isn’t much difference really. The future sure doesn’t offer anything so far as one can see. I guess this is just one of those periods when a person exists waiting for things to turn so he can live again.

I was up with the lights this morning and dressed and made my bed before breakfast. Breakfast was wheaties, 2 pancakes and syrup, and an apple. I came back from breakfast and brushed up my shoes and put on my dress clothes for inspection. I put on a new pair of pants and shirt because the others need to be cleaned and pressed. I was going to take them to the cleaners last Mon. but I didn’t get the chance. Inspection was by our own sergeant. I guess the lieutenants are afraid of us. Since inspection we haven’t done anything. I read another paper from back to front and ate a couple tangerines during the morning. We had mail call before dinner today and I got your Wed. letter. We waited for the line to shorten and didn’t do so well at dinner. Our mess hall is for 3 barracks but they are trying to feed over 500 men. They send all the quarantined men to eat at our hall. I got potatoes, corn, bread, butter, jam, and blackberry pie. Now I’m back from dinner. I don’t know what we will do if anything this afternoon. We were to have practiced for graduation but I don’t know if we will. So far as we know yet the quarantine goes off Monday and I sure hope so. I’d rather be doing something than to sit around although they don’t let us sit around too much.

I think you were right. I believe I got my cold last Fri. when it was so warm. Anyway, its just about gone now and I don’t want another. The cough has practically disappeared.

I am afraid if I made a bed at home like we have to here, that it wouldn’t come up to any good housekeeping standards. We have to have them tight. The corners are folded like this [drawing] and tucked under. The sheet is on the bottom and during the day is covered by the comforter. The blanket is folded and laid over the pillow and tucked in. At night I put the blanket under the comforter. They have just collected our sheets & pillowcases so I guess we may get clean ones.

I sure hope that Roosevelt and Churchill accomplish something. I hadn’t known that Churchill was there too. What are the license tags like? I see an occasional Mich. license and it sure looks good. Makes one feel nearer home. I think you did a pretty good days work for a person who isn’t feeling entirely up to par. Dad must have a pretty bad sore on his lip this time. It sure was tough going outdoors for a few days there. You had worse weather by far than we did although it was colder here.

You know doggone well you can tell me what to do just as much as you ever did but if I were there you could have seen just how I felt and I know you wouldn’t have been nearly so much alarmed. It’s hard to tell how good or bad one is in a letter. Everything seems so final when it’s written. It may be changed too by the way the person reading it feels and the tone of voice he uses. I’m on my own only so much as I can’t get home. I was a whole lot more on my own when I was home working and going to school than I am now. I could come and go as I wanted then. Now I’m in jail only I don’t wear a striped suit and a number. I’m on my own all right.

I got the sinus pills and socks O.K. The socks are swell for night wear too.

The army is no place for a decent person. All I want to know is how do I get out without getting shot?

So Rickets have other corporal in the family. That remark I made about calling a rifle a gun wasn’t meant for you. I was trying to tell how they make us refer to it. I guess I must have used “you” instead of “one” when I wrote it.

Do what you think is right with the sugar book. I don’t know. What is this about 5 cans per person? Does that mean you folks could only have 20 cans all together? Or does it mean 5 cans of each article? That must be some system. No wonder your head aches. Who heard of 8 oz. cans? They are too small for practical use. A no. 2 has 19 or 20 oz. I believe. From what you’ve told me you still have some canned goods left.  Don’t let losing some points bother you. You never dashed out and bought a lot of stuff with intentions to hoard. You have things they can’t buy anymore anyhow so that maybe will be some consolation.

I hate to have you say all there is to live for is future sorrow. We never can tell what is ahead. Maybe we’ll all be surprised. I hope and pray so. I’ll be home just as doggone fast as I can get there. I’ve been thinking that if things get to looking up maybe they’ll start discharging L.S. men.

I don’t know what that Hodgman’s first name is. I saw in Sunday’s paper where Max McWhorter from Sunfield is a 2nd Lieut. in the signal corps. Pretty good.

I’ve quit hoping or wishing where I’ll go too. They’ll send me where they doggone please so I might as well get used to the idea. I remember about Noble Scott and the butter. That was some crack coming from Dad.

I’m glad to hear you aren’t going to worry but I’m not so sure I like the way you say it. There’s a hidden meaning. I think I’ve found it but I’m not quite sure.

I won’t write to Aunt Marie & tell her to come and see you. I won’t write and tell you you aren’t cheerful but you can take that ignore you stuff and throw it out the window. You know doggone well my letters are mainly for you. They are written to everybody but I’m talking to you always.

I wrote to Crawfords and she may get it today or Monday.

Boy some gang leaving there now. They must go to Custer right from Kalamazoo now. There were 19 in that gang that I knew or knew of. 3 of them – Bill Grost, Romayne Hicks and Merle Baren were going to State. They aren’t fooling anymore. Pretty soon there’ll be too many men in the army. Have you heard much about calling up the reserve corps yet? I think they’ll have them in inside of a month. I think Roosevelt is tired of planning so far in the future and wants to get this over as soon as possible. Maybe he sees an opening which we don’t know about.

Julius didn’t have much to say but he put it in a 10 inch envelope. He got my letter and my card O.K. but has been pretty busy. He had his first blood test Jan. 21. He may not go till July. He is an engineer with one year’s training. He wants to go to North Carolina if he has to go. He wrote this letter Jan. 22 and named off what he expected to get on his subjects but a note written on the edge of the page Jan. 27 said he would be getting mostly B’s. He had to stop because he had work to do. He says I am one of the very few to whom he shall write regularly. Evidently he doesn’t write to very many but I can see why he doesn’t have much time. He works in those theaters and was carrying Chem., Physics, Music, Phys. Ed., Mechanical Drawing, English, and Physics Lab. That’s a pretty stiff schedule.

Kircher’s writing looks like some little kid’s. He is home now but has had some trouble with an injured kidney as well as his leg. He says they don’t have guests down there at the Club where he cooked because there is no good cook to take his place. He is going to have a cast on below his knee pretty soon. He isn’t going to be able to get back in time for the next semester at college.

Frankie addressed me as “Dear Major.” He has evidently promoted me. He says they miss me at the store although I can’t see why they should. He is going to try to be a checker. Bea is still bossing them around and he likes the new manager. He’d like to borrow some of my brains to use on his final exams. They have rearranged the store again. He had to shovel off the front out there during that deep snow. That’s all he had to say.

Boy I sure wish we could have cameras so I could take first hand pictures of these hills and creeks and trees. Then you wouldn’t have to look at just post cards. You’d have real pictures. They have banned them from all camps so it’s out I guess. We couldn’t see much last night on the hike. I wish we had taken it in the daytime. Everything up here is pretty and yet I don’t appreciate it like I do northwestern Mich. Right now I can see that curve in the road just out of Petoskey where we ate our dinner that 3rd day on our trip on our way to Charlevoix. It doesn’t seem as if it can ever be warm like that again. Everything up there seemed so friendly to us. We just sort of belonged. I could take you to the places where we ate every meal on the whole trip. I remember every one. And the day we picked up rubber “to help.” I’m sure helping now. For all the good I’m doing them I might better be right back where I was. But I guess we can’t argue with the “Great White Father.”

Well I’ve said enough for now. See you after supper.

Back after supper. We (I) had potatoes, spinach, dill pickle and onion salad, bread, butter, and fruit salad. Not so bad. I got over early this time. We got clean sheets and pillowcases tonight for a change. I have read through another Journal too. Boy you sure had snow. Well there’s nothing to do but read tonight. Oh I could wash out my socks and stuff but I’ll do that tomorrow. I’ll have to write to the fellows and to Aunty too I suppose. I haven’t read any of the book yet but it looks pretty good.

I said yesterday I had a surplus of fruit but it’s going down now. I’m eating it plenty. I’ve eaten 2 candy bars today so far too.

Well I guess I’ve about run down for today. I sure wish I could be with you folks tonight. I’d like to sit in a real chair and sleep on a real mattress. (I just heard that song again. It must be getting popular.) Then sleep till about 9:30 or 10 tomorrow and get my breakfast without waiting in line. Then a whole day without doing any washing. Just sitting, listening to the radio, talking, eating, and all of us enjoying ourselves together the way it should be. But I guess I can’t make it so. I better pull myself out of this morbid mood.

I hope you folks are feeling better than you have been lately. Keep writing.


Lots of love to everyone


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