3 December 1942
Camp White, Oregon
Dear Aunty Clara:
I received your letter of Tuesday, today. I have had a free evening this night so I thought I would write this letter in the dayroom. This way I am not subject to those "work interruptions". [PLEASE LOOK UP THAT WORD. I THINK IT HAS ONLY ONE R.] During the last half hour I have been addressing my Christmas cards. When I go back to the barracks and take a look at my addresses, I will know which ones I need and will let you know in order that you may send them to me.
I kind of figured you would be glad to know that they did Thanksgiving up in good style. There is something sentimental about holidays like that and I figure the army takes cognizance of that fact.
Haven't I explained the clerical work sufficiently? Or was that question directed when I was only hinting at it? Just in case it isn't exactly clear as to the when and how, I will explain once again. Corporal Censky, the Company Clerk, wanted to go out on line duty so they needed to break another fellow in on the job. They would have needed a student clerk anyway because if I become the clerk, I will get an assistant. Cpl. Censky looked thru the cards of the first 15 men that came into the company and on the basis of those records, chose me as his successor. He put word into the First Sergeant Driscoll of our company to that effect. I believe it was Wednesday morning when I was called out of ranks and sent to Hqs. I think there remains no detail in that connection which I have not now covered.
As I have made reference to the mail distribution in a recent letter, that matter should now be clear to you. However, for the sake of being explicit and so that you may understand exactly what the procedure is, I will undertake to describe it to the best of my ability and present knowledge. The main post office for Camp White is a mile or so down the road. I have never been there. Our mail clerk, Technician 4th Grade, Cpl. Johnson goes there twice a day to deliver outgoing mail and pick up the incoming mail. His mail room is enclosed in chicken wire and it is here that he sorts the entire mail of the Regiment. If I am in the office at the time he is sorting the mail, he gives it to me right then and there. If I am not there, I receive my mail thru the usual channels. The usual channels consist of either the Company Clerk, or the assistant, or the Company Orderly (Roman Burkard) picking the mail up at noon and supper and delivering it to the dayroom. It is then spread out on a table where you pick it up after eating.
About that film developing situation: I guess that is the usual trouble we will run into during the winter months when the volume of business drops. Of course, there is the tire and gas rationing system involved in the problem. As long as we still can get the films and chemicals for developing them a few weeks won't make that much difference except as an inconvenience.
Didn't I explain why I didn't mark it free? That letter from Miles City was written while I was en route and had no return address and hence I could not mark it free.
Yes, I dropped Aunty Stella a card but not a letter. As you probably noticed, I sent letters only to those who had given me a present. I would have sent everybody cards (it is not easy to write 5 or 6 letters in one day) but I thought it would not be appropriate to express my thanks other than in a letter. I intend to drop a letter to Aunty Stella and a good many other people Sunday if I have the day to myself.
I am glad to hear that what I write helps a little to replace my gabbiness. Even though at times a person got tired of things it is natural to miss them. I enjoy wandering from one subject to another and going into details of my army life because that to me is my own replacement for my conversations. It just takes me longer to get it all out. I also figured Aunty Florence would like reading and having you read them. She always has been interested in reading letters and I guess she always will.
If they all pitch together to get one with a luminous dial. Yes, I wear house slippers. I keep them under my bed along with my civilian shoes and my other pair of army shoes. Most of the fellows are envious of them and the wooden slippers Mrs. Boyer and Bobbie bought for me. They have to wear their heavy shoes to go to the bathroom in a hurry. Some one could get me a subscription (3 mos. or so) to the Daily News if they cared to. These lousy papers have the worst foreign news services I ever saw in my life. In fact, if the people want to go ahead and waste the money on me they could send the Trib too but we have a former Tribune employee with us and he most probably will receive it.
Come to think of it, Aunty Clara, life is so impermanent and inconsequential and our stay here and among each other is so tentative that we must remember to value worldly articles very cheaply no matter what intrinsic or sentimental value we consign to them. When I was younger, I would have cried and become heartbroken at the various restrictions (hat, grip, utility case, & haircut business) which we have had to undergo. Under that new philosophy I can quickly brush them off. So don't worry or cry even if anything ever happens to those things.
Yes, use my serial number, 36620923, right after my name now on everything you send me, letters included. That order became effective today. It doesn't mean much right now but as my Daddy says in case of loss or transference it can be traced. I found out something about the serial numbers. A 3 at the beginning means the man was drafted. A 1 such as in 17432333 means he enlisted. The second number indicates the corps area from which he was inducted. The 6 in mine means the Sixth Corps Area which Chicago is in. The 7 in that example refers to the Seventh Corps Area probably New York or the vicinity. The remaining figures are your numerical number.
If my room is still as I left it after that last clean up, that means that it had stayed in perfect order for the longest stretch in history.
I don't know exactly what you mean or what I had referred to in connection with a letter to RH&R. I most probably meant the official one which I sent to Hackbarth this last Sunday or some one of those days last week.
And I didn't think your letter was jumbled up, it was perfect.
Now for the news of the day as time will allow.
Notes gathered thru the day:
Lights go out in 5 minutes so I will just insert the little type written note I had intended to elaborate upon in this letter.
One thing --- Send me my fountain pen I used at RH&R. It may be in my desk. I can use it for the black ink required in government work.
P.S. We had a good meal this evening and I can eat just as good handling my food as I can without touching it.
The sky was so clear tonight that the Milky Way with its cloudish white mist of stars was clearly visible. I cannot locate my favorite constellations out here because I see so many thousands of stars whereas in the city we only saw the brighter ones.
How much oil did you get on the rations?
We may end up in Alaska because training in this weather is just like being in Alaskan weather.
There is also a rumor to the effect that the 353rd is going to move to Louisiana by the first of the year. (I hope that one is true).
Censky has been in a year and is applying for furlough. Lt. Hanton said he would O.K. it if Lt. Warner would. Warner said O.K. if Colonel Trower would pass it but he doubted whether the Col. would since it was rumored etc. as above.
I am ignoring the Book Club. They did the same thing last time I quit but didn't send the books. If they do, just keep them until they write if they do write. I don't think they will send the books!
Did I tell you that they have poison oak around here and that every bldg. has a sample under cellophane to act as a guide in detecting it?
The fellows that came from Camp Grant after we did had to come in a day coach and were on the road 3 days without proper sleep.
I didn't get my haircut yet either. I waited 2 hrs then had to go to eat and get another typhoid shot in the arm. I guess it will be sore by morning. My arm sort of stiffens up.
I won't have time to list the Xmas card addresses I need but offhand I need these: Arguelez, Vi Kolar, Bruno Lorenzi (Cicero Telephone Book), Jimmy Kotek (ask his mother or Jr. Barta if his address is still Paintsville, Ky), G. A. Hutchison (Oak Park Phone ???? Gunderson Ave), Frank Thorstein, Bill Brieger, Eddie Cerny (ask Lillian, or Mrs., if he is still in Calif.)
Note scribbled on top of letter: Dear A.C. In this letter I have had ample time to become verbose, pompous, scholastic etc. so please forgive me. I think I write better under pressure. R.