Throw a Lasso Around That Imagination

Wednesday, Feb. 17, 1943


Dear folks,

Well here I am at the end of another day. We were up today at 6 o’clock sharp. I made up my bunk and dressed in time for breakfast. We had eggs, corn meal mush, bread and an orange. I didn’t bother to get seconds. The meals today haven’t been bad but I just haven’t cared for seconds. Maybe it’s the influence of your big box. We fell out at about 8. First we had to police the area or pick up everything on the ground. Walking through the dewey grass is always good on a pair of freshly shined shoes. Then we marched for about a half hour. We have a new commanding officer today. He is a second lieutenant or as they say a “shavetail.” He is rather shy acting and doesn’t say an awful lot. He has a very noticeable southern drawl. I don’t know if he is one of these 90 day wonders or not. He seems to understand his stuff. Then from 9 until dinner time we studied the 50 cal. machine gun. They put it together and told us all they could about its handling and operation. It is a pretty complicated thing. Dinner today was mashed potatoes, a sort of combination stew and gravy with peas & pieces of turkey in it, salad, biscuits & butter and strawberry ice cream. The rest of the day was supposed to be off but we had to clean the barracks. That took until about 2:30 or so. We had another medical inspection this afternoon. They don’t tell us what they are looking for but they checked our throats, chests, and asked about head aches. It may be still measles or maybe scarlet fever. The latest rumor is we have at least one more week or 10 days here yet. When we finished cleaning I tried to put a polish on my shoes. Our sergeant went and got a haircut and while he was gone he bought a few things and brought them back such as stationery, shoe polish & soap. I have enough stationery and I have 2 or 3 small pieces of soap besides a whole bar of Lifebuoy yet but I did need shoe polish so I bought a can. He made us understand that he was selling them at cost. There has been a little trouble over these fellows coming up here and taking advantage of the situation and selling 5 cent candy bars for 10 cents. Then I took a shower and read a few of the pages of one of those papers. I don’t get very far very fast on them. We had an early supper tonight – Spanish rice, cooked cabbage, salad, biscuits & jam. I loafed around for awhile after supper and then some of us went out and played a little ball waiting for mail call. Even the air mail has slowed up. Your Fri. letter postmarked Sat. at 1:30 p.m. just got here. That was all I got tonight. The mail man also brought out a lot of stuff – candy, tobacco, writing paper, soap, etc. I bought 2 candy bars, a Hershey almond & a Mounds and another tin of shoe polish. I didn’t need the candy really because I have nine bars of what you sent yet and I have some coming by the cook maybe if he was able to get any. Francois owes me a bar too. You sent me 13 and so far I have eaten 3 – a Zag-nut, a Whiz, and a Powerhouse. I am started on a Walnetto. This afternoon he got hungry so I loaned him a Chicken Dinner. I won’t sell him any that you send because I know how hard it is for you to get. Boy is that Valentine candy ever swell. Umh! Umh! One box from Mon & Dad is gone and I’ve got a good start on Gram’s box. I loosened up and passed out about a dozen pieces all together I guess but I am keeping it out of sight pretty much. It is too doggone good. It must have been pretty expensive to cause the value to mount up to $5.37. Those are awfully pretty boxes and I am going to save them if it is at all possible. Boy those dates are something else good. The box is about half gone. That all helps explain why I didn’t go for seconds today although the food really wasn’t too attractive to me anyway like it is sometimes when they have something I particularly like. My penmanship is getting worse all the time. After I bought the stuff I went back to the barracks and tried to put it in my grip in the way to make the most of the room. I didn’t need the shoe polish right away either but this quarantine has taught me to be ready for things so I got it just in case. Francois bought a box of razor blades, Marlin, and when he got over to the barracks he found he had bought single edge and he uses double edge. He couldn’t use them and nobody else wanted them so finally I took them. There were 14 for 25 cents. I still have 26 Star blades. That makes 40 so it ought to last me nearly a year unless I get so I have to shave every night. I am afraid that’s what it’s coming to. We are supposed to shave every night but I haven’t had enough beard for that up until lately. It seems to be growing faster now. Finally I got my pen & ink & paper and came over here to the day room to write. They still had some stuff left so I bought a candy bar and sold it right away to Don Ewing – no profit. That brings me up to date. Time out while I unwrap a Walnetto.

Now to your letter and dad’s. I was afraid the mail might not be spaced out from day to day. You see I am writing now but this letter in all probability won’t go out from here until tomorrow night and may not start until some time Sat. I didn’t get any air mail letter from you yesterday either. The one I got from McCoy took 10 whole days. I got the stamps & everything that you sent O.K. I managed to buy & chisel stamps enough until I got them. I have written air mail every day and twice yesterday. I still have one letter coming yet from McCoy from you and any others that people may have sent which I don’t know about. I have gotten every piece of mail you have sent here so far. They must have done a pretty poor job on the coat. I thought steaming it was supposed to fluff it up after the nap got packed down. I understood that was the purpose of steaming it. I sure wish I would be wearing it soon to some event. I’d feel strange in real clothes again. I’ll look pretty sharp in my uniform when I get my blouse cleaned & get my garrison cap and belt and insignia buttons but it will never feel as snug and homey and comfortable as my own suit and overcoat and oxfords. Don’t go too heavy on the cleaning bill because you have plenty of time. One fellow in our barracks went home on a 15 day furlough but I don’t ever want one of that kind. I guess someone, his mother I hear, is pretty sick. They made the mistake of sending him a telegram telling him to come home. That just wasted time because the officer here has to wire back to the Red Cross to examine the case. If it is such that the person should go home the Red Cross wires it back. The people there at home should have called the Red Cross first and they would then have wired the camp. That would have saved time and 2 telegrams. The thing to do is have the Red Cross do the telegramming because the army will have them investigate anyway. The fellow seemed sort of indifferent and didn’t care whether he went or not but I guess some people are like that. Don’t get too excited. I’m still L.S. I don’t know where you ever got the idea that I will be in airplanes. You better throw a lasso around that imagination of yours and stop and think a little before you get so excited. We don’t fly, we knock the planes down, if we are lucky. Now don’t worry too much. I haven’t the slightest idea yet what I’ll be doing but if they have me classified as I think they have, I might be assigned to a headquarters battery. I was talking to the sergeant about it and he said it was a swell place to get because there were lots of openings. I think and hope I may get something fairly decent to do. I have never worked with machinery. Many of the others have and I think they will be the ones to go on the guns. I sure hope so. That letter from Mrs. C.’s nephew wasn’t much but I imagine it is pretty hard to write from a place like that. If my letters were censored, as his no doubt was, they would probably be a lot shorter. I hope you forget what I write because the gov’t might not like to have me tell just what I do all the time. I haven’t told any secrets because I don’t know any yet. I didn’t know the fellow who was killed. Boy your canned goods must have gone down fast. I just remembered we also had cauliflower for dinner. I like it quite well too. I can’t remember having any at home for quite a while. You have to give them credit; we get a lot of variety in vegetables. 50 cents for butter sounds cheap. Mrs. C. will probably tell you when she gets the letter I wrote Sat. & mailed Sun. That will give you an idea of West to East time for regular mail. A lot of time is lost waiting for the letters to get out of here.

Gee dad, another new man. You must really have a lot of fun. That figure of 749.87 looks pretty close to what I had. You can check it against my total on that paper in my black pocket book. Who gave you the total, Ruth? She is the office worker down there, the short one with glasses. She is ass’t mgr. of the office. My social security number is ***-**-****. I don’t think you need to see Geo.T. After all if he doesn’t send out those slips to his employees, the gov’t will be on his neck not ours. You don’t have to turn your copy in with your tax return. Can you file my tax return without my signature? I hereby give you permission to sign for me if that will do any good but I don’t want you to pay for it out of your money. Let me know how much it is and I’ll send the money if I am where I can. Otherwise you know where to get it. I think the whole thing will come out O.K. If you need any other information from me, let me know. We still have a whole month yet.

Well that is that for today and today’s mail. In some ways I’ll be glad to get out of here. Other ways I don’t care. It will get us back a little more in contact with civilization maybe but on the other hand I don’t know what I’ll be doing. The main thing is I don’t want you to be upset about anything. Wait until you have a reason for sure. I heard on the radio today that Joe DiMaggio is coming into the army tomorrow. I wondered how long he was going to stay out. If we are here over the weekend maybe I can get those papers read before I leave. I had them laying on my bunk and I guess several others looked at them while I was gone. Ewing read the funnies in all of them last night. I read them a lot more thoroughly now than I ever did at home. Why don’t you & pop slip out to a show some night. A good show, Red S. or somebody, would do you both good. I don’t know how things are back home but I can see you folks going around very quiet all day until the mail man gets there. Then there is a lot of talk until the letter has been digested, when silence is resumed. Dad must go to bed early every night but I don’t blame him. I am getting so I wake up and wait for the whistle to blow mornings. When I get out of here I am going to throw the first whistle I see just as far as I can throw it.

Well I guess this is it for today. I think I’ll send the other 1 cent card to Gramp so he’ll know I got his card. He probably is wondering because he sent it Feb. 4. Well take it easy and keep writing. I hope you are getting mail every day now. I’m sending it. The rest is up to the air planes. Until the next time


Love to all,


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