Then I Hunted Me a Hotel Room

Friday March 19, 1943

5:50 p.m.


Dear folks,

Well here I am in San Francisco. I am writing this in a U.S.O. run by the Salvation Army and it is a really wonderful place. If they are all like this the people’s money has gone for a good cause.

I was awakened at about 4:50 this morning. I sleepily dressed and made up my bed and went over to work at the mess hall. I helped set up the tables and then I ate – pancakes, syrup, farina, grapefruit and later an apple. After breakfast I cleared the tables and scrubbed as many as I could before time for sick call. Wed. when I was over there, the captain told me to come back today, Fri. I didn’t work Wed. but yesterday I did. When I went over, the major asked me what I had been doing and I told him working in the dining room. He very emphatically told me he didn’t want me working until my fingers were healed. They are coming fine but they are a little sore yet. So he had a fellow put bandages on 6 of them again. I went back and told them what he said and they sent me back for a written statement which I got. He said I am excused from duty until O.K.’d for duty by him. So that was all the K.P. for me for today. I went to the barracks and changed to my O.D.’s and got my dirty clothes turned in for the laundry. I could wash them myself in the machine but I don’t have time. I took it easy until they put me to doing puttering jobs, picking up trash and helping clean the day room. I ate early at 11:30 (K.P. privilege). I had potatoes, string beans, salad, bread, butter, rice and cocoa & ice cream. I was ready to go at 12 when my pass began but they wouldn’t give us our passes until after a medical inspection at 12:40. We were checked for throats, piles, flat feet, athlete’s feet, etc. That took time and I never left until 1. Then I walked in to Benicia and went to the post office. I mailed that box of junk – 81 cents, and my good watch – 49 cents by air mail insured for $75. I sure hope it gets through O.K. Then I sat down on a seat reserved for service men and waited for the bus. A fellow going to Vallejo asked me if I wanted to ride so I got a lift that far. He was going to Mare Island. At Vallejo I got a round trip ticket to Frisco on Greyhound bus – $1.30. I just about went to sleep during most of the ride. We got into Frisco at about 3:30. At first I was a little lost but gradually I got used to the set up of things. I walked around looking in windows. I found a huge Woolworth store and bought some folders -52 cents and later pennants – 16 cents. There is a tax beginning on 15 cents here in Cal. I walked several blocks and tried every military store I saw but I can’t find a U.S. lapel button to go with my crossed cannons. I did get 4 shoulder insignias $1.00 and a belt $1.75 and hooks 20 cents + 9 cents tax. I walked around until about 5:00. Then I hunted me a hotel room. I got one right next to the bus station, with bath for $2.50. Extravagant ain’t I. On my next pass I’ll have to sleep on a park bench. I got to thinking that you would probably worry about me sleeping in a hotel for fear of a fire or something but it is a modern building and the escape is just outside my door. I have a nice room with tub and sink and bed and 2 chairs and table. There is a radio that runs 30 minutes on a dime. I went up and addressed and stamped those folders for you. You will get them after this letter. I hope you will like them. I tried to pick a variety of things about Cal. & Frisco. X’s near pictures mean I have been there or have seen them. After I did my looking over I started out again. I saw this sign of the U.S.O. so here I am. I had a choc. milkshake and a piece of apple pie for a snack. I ran out of ink so I am using the pen and ink here. I am not going into much detail because I haven’t the time. When I have time to write or when I see you I can say more. This is a busy and noisy city. The streets go at crazy angles. So long as you stay on Market St. I guess you can’t get lost. Street cars are going everywhere and traffic by auto & pedestrian is heavy. There are 15 sailors for every soldier on the streets. To salute every officer would be an impossibility in these crowds. I saw an escalator in one store. The stores and the merchandise is tops but so are prices. I saw 3 or 4 shops that deal in postage stamps but I am not in a position to fool much with them now. This pen of theirs isn’t much good but I don’t know how good the ink is and I don’t want to ruin my pen. I still haven’t got my braid sewed on my hat and now I have insignias to sew on too. This U.S.O. is a big place set up like a regular living room. It has a sandwich and coffee bar. Off of it are game rooms and this writing room. There is 1 Marine, 2 soldiers and about 20 sailors writing in here. Some kid is trying to play a piano somewhere near here. It is nearing 6:30 now and the place is filling up some. I want to look around some more and then maybe go to a show. I have to be back by tomorrow noon. I’ll leave here at about 7:30 and get to Vallejo at about 8:45. That will give me about an hour to look around there before the 10 o’clock bus to Benicia. So far I have spent $8.32. That is kind of extravagant but this is my first pass and if I do ever go again I won’t be buying some of the things I did. I wanted to come because I have hopes of leaving Benicia and I wanted to see a little of Frisco first. I’ll probably never come back after the war so I may as well see what I can. This is a heck of a letter but I am keeping my word you see, a letter a day. That one I wrote last night wasn’t much either. I didn’t get any mail this noon but I may have gotten some tonight. Well so long for now. Until next time, love to you all,



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