This Must Be Where Prunes Come From

Sunday, February 14, 1943


Dear folks,

Sunday and Valentine’s Day. I hope you have enjoyed the day. I have spent most of my time writing. Since last night I have written to Mrs. C., Stachel, Frank Webb, Kircher, Nate, Aunty, Elmo, Julius, Hugh and to Mitchell at M.S.C. and cards to Gramp, Aunt Edna, and Dick Hollingsworth. That’s a lot of writing but I had a lot of answers due them for their letters (most of them). From now on I’ll write only when written to unless I make a major address change. When I move from here it will only be a short distance unless – it might be to some school.

I got to bed last night at about 9:30. We slept late this morning until past 7. I got up and dressed before breakfast. We had scrambled eggs, oatmeal, toast (2 slices) and grapefruit. I was hungry and went back and got more oatmeal, another slice of toast and another half of grapefruit. After eating I went back and made up my bunk and dusted my shoes and straightened things up. Maybe I shouldn’t say I made up my bed because really I tore it apart. You see we fold the mattress in the middle and then fold the comforter and blankets and put them on top of the mattress. The pillow goes on top [sketch]. When the sun got out enough I put my clothes back out to finish drying. I just brought them in at about 5:30 but they still aren’t completely dry. The rest of the morning I spent catching up on my correspondence. Besides the mail I mentioned I am sending you a letter by free mail containing napkins and other stuff I accumulated on the trip. Dinner today was swell. I was too far back in line to get seconds but I had enough anyway. Roast beef, mashed potatoes, gravy, salad, string beans and peas, biscuits, cake and ice cream. The ice cream was vanilla with orange thru the middle [sketch]. That was a pretty swell meal. After dinner we had mail call. I got your second air mail letter written Wed. night and post marked Thurs. at 1:30 p.m. There wasn’t much mail but the fellow said we might get some more tonight. I sure hope so. I spent the rest of the afternoon until about 3 writing. Then I finished and went and shaved and cleaned my teeth and washed a little before supper. Supper wasn’t so hot. It was a sort of picnic meal – cold meat, bread, veg. salad, potato salad and dill pickle. Oh it wasn’t too bad. I took a chance on eating a little of the meat. It tasted like it was all right. After supper I got my washing in and then came over here to the day room to write to you folks. I don’t have a chance to do much here so I don’t imagine my letters are very interesting reading. It sure makes me feel swell when you tell me how good my letters make you feel. I feel as if I have accomplished something. When I finish with this I think I’ll read some of those papers you sent and the magazine. These are the ones you sent to McCoy. This envelope I bought from a kid before I got your letter. Boy was I glad to get those stamps as I had none left. Of course when you send me stamps you are really getting them right back. I wonder how much time air mail saves. You did pretty well to get that letter all the way from Sacramento in 4 days. Today’s letter was full of surprises. The stamps, the picture, the little hearts & everything. I got that cute whirling Valentine Thurs. I believe it was. That surely was nice. That picture of you folks is something I’ve been wanting. I showed it to a couple of the fellows, and they both said I looked like my dad. That is a swell picture but I’ll be doggoned if I can remember when I took it. It was last summer some time after July 1 because you got those slacks and the turban for your birthday, right? Anyway thanks for everything. I have tried to think of some way of making you a Valentine but I haven’t come across anything yet. You know I’d remember the day if it were possible. What do you want me to do with those papers? Shall I send them back or just throw them away? So Babe is all licensed up for another year. You’ve got all your tags now I guess. Boy they sure are taking the fellows fast now. There were 20 on that list that I knew. Many of them graduated with me. Hugh’s cousin Harley is in the Navy group. I heard on the radio today that they will draft 12,000 a day for the rest of this year. That college setup is finally beginning to take shape and I’ve got my fingers crossed. They came and got our slips giving information about our college training today instead of waiting until tomorrow. I’m hoping this may lead to something good. I probably wouldn’t get back to M.S.C. but at least I might get back to school. I got to thinking today how really easy I had it. I was going to school, working, and still I had time for lots of movies and fun. I guess we don’t appreciate things until we can’t get them or do them. It seems funny for Ted Baxter to be engaged. He must be about 9. I’ll have plenty of writing paper now but I didn’t know about any of it when I wrote and asked for some. I can’t tell you much about this L.S. because I don’t know much. Forget what I do tell you see. We are the 8th bunch of L.S. men to be sent to the pacific coast. It is evidently the opinion of the top men that there is little likelihood of an invasion or an attack but they must be prepared. The men who have manned these anti-aircraft batteries and coastal batteries have had from 1 to 2 years training. The plan seems to be to put L.S. men on this coast and thus make it possible for the regular men to go overseas. That is as much as I know. You don’t remember any of it either. I don’t think it would be good to publicize the fact that L.S. men are protecting the West Coast. Of course they aren’t yet. I got your first air mail and I have taken care of Dean Mitchell. I have 8 of the 10 pieces of mail from McCoy. (2 packages, 1 letter from Mrs. C., 3 letters [Sun., Mon., & Tues] from you & the Valentine, and a letter from Dad) That leaves your Wed. & Thurs. letters which I expect tonight or tomorrow. That must be a real package at $5.00. I don’t imagine it will get here until about Tues. I’ll get it O.K. and there is nothing in it which will spoil. You’ll have to cut down on the weight of your boxes. It’s too much postage to pay. I can’t think of anything I want you to leave out though. About the only thing is the newspapers. I could get along with maybe one or two a week. It’s so far to send them. I’ll be glad to get that candy. I had a lot but I ate a lot and got generous and sold some of it. I shan’t sell any that you send because I know how hard it is to get. I understand the limit here is 2 bars. It’s not like McCoy where you could buy all you could pay for. I’m glad you got all the mail although you still haven’t said anything about the picture cards I sent the last day. They were in an envelope all by themselves I think. I can’t remember for sure. Anyway did you get them? I got your letter post marked Wed. on Sat. about the same as McCoy. I sleep O.K. on these bunks. In some ways they are better than the ones at McCoy. They keep your back straight. I was lame but it was from the calisthenics we had. I wish we would have them every day so I could get loosened up and stay that way. I wasn’t stiff when I was at M.S.C. I’ve gotten that way in the army from no exercise. I don’t mind having the toilet in another place because I never have to go during the night. It’s the only way they could do and have it accommodate 3 barracks. They had the same type setup at Custer but I was lucky enough to get in a different area. The salmon loaf was pretty good. All the cooking here is good. I never take a shower when I still have to drill and it isn’t cold out during the day. I have about 2/3’s of a package of sinus tablets. I hear we may have a case of measles tonight but nothing is certain. If there aren’t any we may leave next Saturday. I don’t think anyone lives in the farm house. Our buildings are all around in the orchards and all over. I understand they are plum trees so this must be where prunes come from. We get lots of stewed prunes and stewed apricots. I like them both. I didn’t get everything I sent for but I can get along O.K. Those stamps you sent me are the big things. How about maps in your old geography book? I am in L.S. I am in the Coast Artillery. Personally I doubt if I’ll ever be on the big guns. The anti-aircraft are the guns on the ground which attempt to bring down enemy air craft. There are 3 types – the big babies, 90mm, the 40mm, and the 50 cal. machine guns. Forget that too. You’ve got to get a hold of yourself. You know better than a lot of these things if you’ll stop and think. So does Dad. This place isn’t so terrible once I get used to it. I rather like it. When I went back to the barracks last night all kinds of frogs were singing. One big fellow must have been right near the building. I was never reclassified.  When I said I didn’t see any sense of ever classifying us at Custer I was a little disgusted. At that time they talked as if we would all be put on the guns regardless of what we had done or what we knew. It sounds a lot different now. All I changed was my underwear pants. I put on my shorts and I haven’t missed the others. They would have been too hot for drilling. I am still wearing my winter underwear shirt. I might better change when I first get here than wait a while. I’d have missed them more then. It’s a whole lot warmer here than it was in Mich. when I left. That R.O.T.C. training was a good thing. I wish I’d had more. I left all those boxes at McCoy. Back in the barracks. I ran out of ink. I still have the papers. I hated to throw them away. I didn’t have a chance to send my stuff home from McCoy because of the quarantine. It’s just 7 o’clock. Fred Allen just signed off and Take it or Leave It is on now. It must be 9:00 back there since you turned back the time. I have all the letters. The other fellows nearly all have theirs yet too. I haven’t any ladder but I sleep on the bottom now anyway. There are no bayonets here. We had them at McCoy only while we had the rifles. The quarantine here isn’t quite so stiff because we are by ourselves and can go out when we want to. I haven’t any fear of getting the measles. They didn’t mention my eye. There is nothing that can be done to improve it. At least I can see a little out of it. If some of these fellows lost their glasses they couldn’t get along at all. Don’t be too quick to think I have been gypped. Guy must live in your neighborhood now. That’s only 2 blocks away. No mail is censored inside the U.S. The stations we get are all in California so far as I’ve noticed – Los Angeles, Frisco, Santa Rosa, Pasadena, Oakland, etc. Our radio is a combination electric or portable. Who is Bob Burlingham? I can’t place him. I don’t sleep cold. I guess that covers your letter.

When I get stationed, if it looks as if I’ll be in one place for awhile I may buy myself a radio. We may not get paid this month but I still have all of last months pay and some besides. You can’t spend much when you are in quarantine. I had my O.D.’s cleaned and pressed and boy they look nice. Maybe some day I can have some pictures taken. I’ll get me one of those caps and a belt as soon as I get set in one place. I haven’t many pimples on my face and for awhile they were all gone. Would you care for pictures of me in uniform or would you prefer to remember me as I was in civilian clothes? I’ll leave it up to you. Somebody someplace has a picture of me taken with Hugh and a couple others at Custer. I don’t even know who the fellow was. That sure is a nice picture of you two. You both are smiling and it gives me something to look at and enjoy. We haven’t had a second mail call and probably won’t now. I’m sure I’ll get those letters tomorrow. I don’t imagine you are getting these letters every day as the collections are a little irregular. You know I’m writing so that’s about all I can do. They’ll all be air mail for awhile now as they all have been from here. Tomorrow begins another week of drill I suppose. I’m getting tired of marching all the time. Winchell is on now. I don’t imagine we get programs in the same sequence as you do. According to Winchell the Axis is beaten but I’m not getting excited. He is too much an exaggerator.

Well I guess this is it for today. I’ve got to stay under an ounce so I’ll quit. By now you should have at least 3 letters from here and the picture won’t be quite so gloomy I hope. Keep the mail coming and I’ll do the same. With a combination like ours we can’t be beat. I am almost positive I’ll get a letter at every mail call. Please don’t worry too much about things. There may be some good news around some day. Good night and be careful, all of you.


Love to you all,



I hope your Valentines Day has been as happy as possible. I’ve done pretty well today. It has been swell here but there wasn’t any holiday feeling.


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