We Don’t Say Bang When We Simulate

Saturday March 13, 1943

About 7 p.m.


Dear folks,

I am chiseling a little but I seen to be getting away with it. The K.P.’s are still working but I am here in the barracks and maybe I can get a decent letter written to you tonight. The lights are messed up someplace though. A fuse must be burned out.

I was awakened at 5:30 although I was already awake. I slept pretty light last night for some reason. I washed and shaved and got to bed at about 10:30. I heard the kid next to me go on guard at 2:00 and come back at 4:00. I dressed and made my bed and by that time it was 5:45 and the lights were on. Then I washed a little and went to work. I did the dish washing. For breakfast I had French toast & syrup, oatmeal and an apple. I washed dishes most of the morning until 9:30 or so. Then I scrubbed the counter and swept the floor and then helped clean the ice box until dinner time. For dinner I had potatoes, peas, escalloped corn, bread, butter & pineapple. About 11:00 the 1st/sgt. came in and took me off to one side and told me I was to go to San Francisco this afternoon to get an interview for O.C.S. I rather doubted that because I hadn’t made any application. Anyhow he gave me some tips on what to do when I got there. He didn’t know for sure at what time I was to go. He said they had called him and asked what kind of a recommendation he would give for me. I don’t think he knows me very much but he said he told them that as far as he was concerned, I was 100% O.K. I ate and went back to work and then at 12:00 noon I was told to report in O.D.’s to Regimental Hdqt. at 12:30. I hurried and washed and changed and brushed off my shoes and got ready. I tried to make everything look as good as possible because everyone says the impression they get of your personal appearance and your personality is the most important thing. Just before I left I signed the pay roll so I’ll get another $46.75 March 31. I’ll probably get cash next time so I’ll keep the check for awhile. It is good for a year after July 1, so I have lots of time. I got up to headquarters on time and at about 1:00 we left. There were 7 of us from Benicia – a staff sgt. from the medics, 5 from Regimental & Battalion Headq. & I was the only one from Bat. A. We picked up another Staff sgt. at Bat. B in Richmond and a corporal at Bat. D also at Richmond. Batt. B, where Francois is, is just a lot of barracks with no trees or anything in sight. It is awfully barren looking so I guess we aren’t so bad off.  Batt. D is located right in Richmond. The men live in a big school house and there are no fences. When they want to go to a show or the U.S.O. they just sign their name and go. We had a pretty good ride both ways although it was pretty bumpy and it rained some on the way back. The emphasis in Cal. seems to be on gaudiness and display. Everything seems in confusion. The roads are being repaired and they are pretty bumpy. These towns, Richmond, Vallejo, Benicia, and the rest are growing like weeds. War housing projects are going up all over everywhere. People are living in hundreds of house trailers or in barracks tossed all over the hillsides. The country is awfully hilly and from a distance the picture is nice of all these buildings spotting the hillsides. Everything is streamlined. Just about every bunch of trees has a tourist camp or a “Motel” in it. Fruit trees are in blossom here too. We crossed one big bridge across the bay from Vallejo. It was at least ½ mile long. The towns run right into each other so that they are nearly continuous all the way into San Francisco. There is plenty of bustle at the Kaiser Shipyards. Boy is that bridge something. I guess it must have been the Golden Gate Bridge. I mean another bridge. This was across the bay to Frisco from Oakland. It was about 2 miles long and both ends were anchored way inland away from the water. It is in 2 sections to an island in the middle. It goes through a tunnel in the island. The trucks and buses and an electric trolley train go on the bottom bed and passenger cars go on the top bed of the bridge. I know you have seen pictures of it so all I can say is it is a huge thing. I saw the World’s Fair Buildings on Treasure Island and Alcatraz off in the distance. San Francisco itself, what little I saw, is quite a place. We were right in the heart of the city. Big buildings were on all sides. I didn’t see much but I do remember seeing the stock exchange & the huge post office. I walked around one block but I didn’t find any stores where I could get folders and cards. The town is built on hills. The streets are awfully narrow and most of them were one way. We got to Frisco at about 2:30 I guess. We finally found the place and reported. Each of us was given a short interview before the board. We left at about 4:30. The board consisted of 5 officers from different branches – a 2nd lieut., a 1st lieut., a captain, a major and a lt. colonel. I usually am a little nervous or scared about something like this but today it didn’t bother me. I walked in, stopped, did a left face, saluted and gave my name and then stood at attention until they told me to sit down. As I had suspected, it was for specialized training and not O.C.S. They all fired all kinds of questions at me about what I had studied and why I wanted to take or study chemistry, etc. I answered them the best I could or said I didn’t know. They have diff. classes, I, II, III, etc. I is for basic or beginning, II is for advanced. They debated quite awhile whether I should be I or II. I lack enough college for II but they considered putting me in on the basis of my scholastic ability. Then one of them asked me what the benzoine ring was and since I had had no organic chemistry, I didn’t know. I guess they finally decided to put me in I, so I will start at the beginning. I don’t care. The only important thing is that I am scheduled to get some kind of training for research work in chemistry. I don’t know when, where, or how much but I hope it is soon, near Mich., and plenty of it. If I do get in school I am afraid my letter writing really will go to the dogs. I hear some will go before April 1 or maybe by April 15 and I sure hope I am one of them. I’ve had too much K.P. already in 1 ½ day and I’ll be doing it until I get out of here maybe although I might get a break if this should fall through. I doubt if it will now though. This board was for the 101st brigade. I think that is as high as I have to go. The fellow in the office said we would know when we left if we were going to college or not. Since they weren’t sure if I should be class I or II, it definitely shows I will be included, otherwise there would be no point of deciding which class. I hope they pull me out of here next week. Just so I get my 24 hour pass. I’d hate to get it earned and then not have a chance to use it. I guess that’s about all I can say about the interview. The fact that you didn’t know the answer to a question didn’t seem to bother but a sloppy salute caused trouble as one fellow found. When I was through I got up, saluted, did an about face and beat it out of there. We got back to camp at about 6:00. I went over and ate. Supper was over but there was still quite a lot left. I had potatoes, peas & carrots, pickled beets & onions, bread, apple jelly and 2 pieces of berry pie. They don’t teach these cooks much at school. His crust was soaked and he must have forgotten to put sugar in. When I finished I came back to the barracks. I suppose I should have changed my clothes and gone back to work but nobody told me to so I didn’t. I may hear about it tomorrow but I don’t care. They can’t give me K.P. for it anyhow, that’s a cinch. I have spent the time writing. I got your Tues. night & Wed. Mar. 10 letter today. I see now why I didn’t get those cards. It is because you sent them by reg. mail. I expect to get them tomorrow. Before it gets any older I am going to answer that Fri. Feb. 26 letter. Most of it has been answered in other letters I guess. I guess that was a little something they did at college. I’m glad they did a good job on my sport coat. It shouldn’t show too much wear because I haven’t worn it so much. I like to wear it though. It makes you feel dressed up but still relaxed. Those shirts were all nice but they were pretty high. They look awfully attractive after living for 10 weeks with one color. Its 10 weeks today I believe. Am I right? That cook isn’t a cook any more. He was scheduled to get his release because he is over 38 but he went over the hill so he may not get it now. I won’t leave my watch anywhere. We stand up for shots. I usually don’t sit down after. Typhoid shots don’t hurt much but they leave a sore arm the next day. The K.P.’s are still working. I should feel guilty but I don’t. They would take advantage of me if they could. Nobody gives me anything so why should I worry. I am going to finish this and get to bed. 5:15 or so in the morning again. I have heard of no L.S. men going overseas. L.S. men in the Coast Atty. will not go over according to what we hear. We are stuck here for the duration unless we leave for training or a transfer. If I leave for training I’ll never come back here. We get less than $12 a week so there won’t be any 5 % to pay unless I get a raise. I guess that covers the uncovered points in that letter at last. Now I am just about up to date with you. I don’t know when I’ll catch up with the others who have written. Now to your Wed. letter. Boy another big group. There can’t be very many boys left at that rate. One fellow just said that think of the victory parade after this war. It will make the 1919 New York parade seem small. Think of  8,000,000 men in one place on parade. We don’t say bang when we simulate. I may get to a movie next week. By now you know I have my glasses fixed. I didn’t leave the next day after we went to that show. That was New Year’s Eve & I didn’t leave til Jan. 2. The last night I went to the game with Chuck & Walt. Don’t bother to send toilet paper. It takes too much space. The army would give me glasses if I wanted them to, but I don’t know if I want them to. I don’t imagine I will get to Sardis on a 24 hour pass.  I tried to get my watch fixed in both jewelry stores but got nowhere. I don’t expect you to send me every little thing I need. I probably have more ready money that you do. They couldn’t give soldiers stuff without points or they would buy it and bootleg it. I haven’t answered Eva or any one else yet. I sent Elmo my address from here. It’s a good thing I didn’t go back to K.P. They are still working and you wouldn’t have gotten a letter from tonight. I got Mrs. C. letter. She doesn’t say much as a rule. Three hangers ought to be enough. I found out for sure today my test mark was 166, my I.Q. – 150. Is the post office open nights so you can mail boxes at 9:30.  I guess it is better to eat at a set up table but it makes more dishes to wash. I’d say the temp. varies from 50 to 70. Sometimes maybe it gets to 40. Occasionally there is frost on the grass on the pass. There are big bridges all around here. Dad isn’t 3-A until he is reclassified again. We have a washing machine and an electric presser now. I don’t think dad is in and it is possible I may be on my way out. Dad would have quite a time carrying on an extended correspondence.

Well at last I have gotten your letters answered. I still have one from Gram but it is getting late and I am going to quit to go to bed. I hope to be able to say I am on my way to school in a week or so. Then again I might not go until June. When I think of 3 months K.P., I quit thinking about it. Goodnight and love to you all,



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