November 27, 1942
Camp White, Oregon
Dear Aunty Clara:
Last night I studied the Company Administration book as I said I was going to. Then about 8:3O, the young fellow in charge of the personnel department, Sergeant Nyalka, came up to me and noticed what I had been doing. He then offered to let me come and sit at his desk after he had gone to the barracks and he gave me an AR (Army Regulation) book to read. The part he was most interested in my reading was on how to type and prepare military letters. He also showed me where I can find a model form for our Regiment. The AR are just as complicated and ramified as the Tax laws, I don't think I really got too much out of it yesterday but in a few more readings (if I get the chance) I hope to understand it.
No one ever tells me anything around here. After mess this morning, our company sergeant ordered everyone into fatigues and leggings. I didn't think I would have time to change from 0. D.'s into fatigues and back again before I would have to report here at Headquarters; so I merely straightened my bed and came here. The trouble is, however, no one else is in the place yet. No one has ever told me what time they start in this joint.
When I reached the barracks last night about 9:45, the lights were out. The fellows were still up and about writing letters. Then, out of the clear sky, the fellow who bunks next to me says, "That's the trouble with you, you do too much reading, don't you?". Frankly, I was amazed. From that we went into a conversation covering life in general and in detail. We covered philosophy, routine living, extra-curricular activities such as sports and kept it up all thru theological belief and scientific phenomenon. What surprised me is that a fellow like him who comes from South 56th & May St. (a pretty tough neighborhood) and who hasn't had much education of "reading" was able to stand being talked to for over an hour on such things. He was of the opinion that I was all wrong and that someday I would see the light. In fact he said I would go crazy if I kept thinking so much. Don't fret over that C. 0. business now, I didn't tell him that.
In fact we talked so long that the other fellows were getting worried whether or not we intended to keep it up all night and started telling us to go to bed, I stayed up yet another hour taking a shower, washing up, and arranging my things in order. Account of because we are the only company still quarantined and restricted and also because we are not permitted in company A to hang up washed clothes, I am running pretty low on fresh things. The fact of the matter is that I am, today, down to my last fresh change. All the rest is awaiting to be sent to the laundry. Did I tell you that no one washes their own clothes here but has it sent to the laundry.
Last night the Company Commander Hatton was in our barracks to check on misfit clothes. Since I wasn't there, I didn't have the opportunity to tell him that my pants should be shortened by about an inch. They are quite long and don't hang straight down but sort of sag and bag. Very unmilitary like. We only have two shirts so I had to wear one from the time I got my uniform until yesterday. At least now when I am in among all these people I have a fresh shirt.
There is still one complaint I have to make. I never have the opportunity to brush my teeth after a meal. In reality they only get one brushing a day at the present and that is in the evening before I go to bed. I am going to have to see if I can't fix it up so I can manage to get an extra brushing in at least after breakfast.
It seems that my opinions are quite decidedly different from other people. This morning at breakfast I was the only fellow who preferred this damp weather to the cold weather, freezing and below.
Wally just came up and said he was out with Bill last night after the football name. They went to the Service Center where they said they have a huge dance floor, tables, and a tremendous library! They also went over to the PX (Post Exchange). I don't know when I will be able to see the camp. As long as I can stay here in the office, the rest is not so important.
I yanked this sheet out of the typewriter about a half an hour ago thinking we were all set for work but I have been just sitting around with nothing to do again so here I am, back once more,
I haven't looked at my Christmas cards yet so I don't know which addresses I lack. When I do get the chance to check up on that, I will let you know which ones I need and then you can send them to me.
I notice that I haven't found time to write to my Daddy, Mrs. Reed, Gonzalez, Aunt-Aunt, Infiestas, Uncle Jack, Virginia, Bob Hesser, and a lot of others who I should drop an occasional line to. Can you make me a red and black checkered rag to resemble a chess board? If you can, then send it to me with my wooden chess set and I will try to give Bob Hesser a game. ( a n o t h e r interruption 4 hours). If you still want to look around downtown for a small chess set, look in all those miscellaneous pawn shops. You will find most of them on Van Buren, Wells, Lake and maybe on Wabash. There is another one (I think) on Madison near the La Salle Hotel. If you can't find any in those places, I am sure you will be able to get one in either Brentano's Book Store or Von, Lengerke, & Antoine Sport Shop both on Wabash.
You may do either one of these three things to pay for it, Take the money out of some of mine. Ask me to send the amount to you. Or give it to me as a Christmas present. I'm kinda shy, eh? 0 yes, I forgot, you like me to name a number of things. I probably won't have time to play with it anyway so if takes more time than it is worth, forget the whole business.
Everyone out here and the folks out there all use airmail sending to and from this joint. Ordinary mail is said to take almost a week. Here at Headquarters they sell l6 - 6 cent airmail envelopes for $1.00. 16 x 6 is 96 which leaves only a 4 cent charge for the envelopes. That is a bargain in any man's language.
The work here is getting pretty high and we will probably have to work on it night and day and Sunday; so if I only drop a short note saying I'm still alive, that will be the reason.
Say hello to everybody, okay? You can tell Mrs. Reed, Jennie, Myrtle, etc that I said hello to them also.