November 30, 1942
Camp White, Oregon
Dear Aunty Clara:
Although I am very busy and am only finding time to write this by not being in the barracks fixing my pack and tent and by not working on the payroll tonight. But this night I must get a letter to you because today I got your letter. I got your letter in the afternoon Aunty Florence's card and Aunty Florence's letter in the evening. I noticed that the postmarks were respectively, the 27th, the 28th and the 29th yet they all arrived here on the same day.
Believe you me, it sure is swell to get letters for a change. The only thing that troubles me is my eyesight. I get about two paragraphs into the letter and I can't see straight anymore. I contribute it to the rainy season we have out here. But I recover shortly and read through the letter, then read it again. After it has been in my pocket for a half a day and is an old letter, I take it out and reread it again for a few more times.
Like the time I got the telephone call saying Clarence was dead, I managed to keep the upper lip stiff until you said he had just written and told me he was my best friend etc and that broke me up. Well, that's just about the same way it is out here. As long as I keep interested in things about me and what I am doing, I can think of you and home without batting an eye. All I think is that I can write to you in the evening about the things that are happening. But should I for one minute have time to picture to myself what the house is like without me in it and what you do without somebody to talk to, that is the time I am sad.
And another thing, for the last three nights all I have been dreaming about is you, Aunty Florence etc. AND I have been feeling none to well when I woke up in the mornings and found myself in an army barracks. O well, with things how they are the war will be over in a few weeks and we will all be together again. That is what Clarence said in his last letter to me or words to that effect. But we can take it, can't we? And we won't let it get us down, will we? I don't think so! That's the last time I am going to confess anything like that. From now on I am hard hearted McGee.
As I told you yesterday, there are certain disadvantages to using the office typewriter. The main one is that you make yourself available for any odd job they may have around the joint. You don't have to do it but you do.
I just had to look the files upside down finding a copy of an application that I then had to type on a stencil and run off. All for a mere lieutenant.
Now to answer your letter, as time will allow. It is 9:30. That hat of mine must be in pretty bad shape by now bouncing around in my barracks bag. I hate to take it out and look at it. I have had an offer from a fellow in the Infantry Regiment across the railroad tracks from the Engineers and he is willing to pay $3.50 for the whole shootin' match, hat and rain cover, -- I paid about $4.40. Should I sell or still hang on until I get a chance to send it home?
I hope you did get those pictures back from my Dad because they are irreplaceable. That fatigue outfit is sure getting to look like work clothes, dirty, muddy, wrinkled etc., but I haven't been wearing them very much recently account of my working in the office in O.D.s. I went out with the company this morning digging trenches to get a water drainage system working over in the motor pool where they keep all the jeeps, trucks, peeps, etc. I managed to step in the deepest mud and do a bit of digging and one time after the trench was dug Romeo goes and digs a little too far and all the excess water within the vicinity pours into the trench and fills it up making work on it impossible. I was only on the job about a half an hour when they called me out of ranks and sent me up to the office for the day. I didn't mind such a change in my schedule.
That letter you say is in Butte, Montana must be the one I mailed from Miles City. I had no stamp on it and I did not have a return address. The one I mailed from Portland, Oregon was an Airmail and I used Uncle Jack's return address on it.
I'll bet the mailman is going to get tired of ringing that bell every day. Or do my letters come in bunches? Did you ever get more than two at one time? Are there any stretches when you don't get any? Have you suspected that some might have been lost? You probably could tell by my referring to something I said I told you about and you don't recall having received such information.
If they all want to pitch in together for Christmas, they could buy me a wrist watch for about $8 or $10. I need one out here. It is not like home with three clocks and take your pick of the time, or walking down 22nd St. with a clock in every window, or like down at work with a clock staring you in the face. Although that may not be practical to have them so. Some small items I might need are white wool army socks (not more than 4 or 6 pair), a chain to put my dogtags on instead of the piece of string I wear around my neck, a military clothes brush (small and plain), a box of nuts, a box of candy, or some white underwear (with plain white cloth bottoms not the jockey shorts). Outside of that I don't know I would be permitted to keep or what I might need.
Johnnie O'Neill never told me anything about the 75¢. I kind of thought 15¢ was rather cheap for a colored picture. I hope it turns out good for the price we are paying.
Of course, you know about the office job. I was typing up payrolls today and they must be perfect and any errors must be carefully erased and signed by the adjutant as errors made in process and not changes made after the payroll was completed. I am going very slow and so far am running behind the other fellows. I only have two errors so far but am not anywhere's near done. They have also changed my Drill-Office schedule. Since I worked all day today in the office, I must go out Wednesday with the Company for a long period.
You also know by now that we had sweet potatoes etc here at camp for Thanksgiving. I will have to write another letter to Senor Gonzalez. I hope he decides to answer some of them. What do you think he likes to hear about the best? What does he say other than thinking I am in a good outfit?
The people are all cleared out of the office now so I reckon I will go over to the dayroom and write a letter to Aunty Florence in longhand. I forgot my envelopes in the barracks so I will not be able to mail this until tomorrow anyway.
I was just asked to do more work. It is now 10:45 and not much time left to get in.