Postal Telegraph & Telephone
Camp White, Oregon
20 December 1942
Dear Aunty Clara:
For the very first time since I have been here at Camp White I have found the time to write a decent (and, I hope, a well thought out) letter to my own Aunty Clara. Of course, the reason I have the opportunity is not because I haven't any work to do but because I must wait from 2 to 3 hours here in the telephone station as my call to you goes thru. I really should be down at Regimental Headquarters straightening out the work but I have figured that in the long run it will save more time calling today than calling on Christmas Day. I tried calling last night from Medford but was confronted with the same inconvenient delay. While I write this, the operator is getting word that there are to be 5, 6, & 7 hour delays on some of the calls. From that you can see what would happen if I tried to call on Friday.
Before I begin telling you what has happened since I last wrote you of my daily activities I will answer your letters. It seems I have forgotten the little system of saying what letters I received etc. (I received on Thursday the letter you wrote on Sunday the 13th and I received the letter you wrote on Tuesday came on Saturday.) Thanks for sending the chocolate chip cookies although I have not yet received them yet. All the clerks have been getting packages right and left so we fellows have had plenty of rations. Either Monday or Tuesday they will be getting some real good stuff when the cookies come.
Poor, poor Pinto --- we miss him so, don't we? Or don't we? But why did you cremate him? Couldn't you have made some canary soup out of him? Or maybe you could have stuffed him and put him on exhibit as --- "Birdus Canarius - no singum, no featherum". Maybe you could buy yourself another "Petey" for a Christmas present. It sure would be nice to have another bird like him wouldn't it?
The time difference between the West Coast and Chicago is 2 hours. When you are listening to One Man's Family, I am first beginning to eat supper. We hear Kay Kyser at 7 o'clock instead of 9 and all those bands that A.F. and I listened to until 1 o'clock all come on between 9 and 11. Incidentally, in case I don't get to write a special note to Aunty Florence you can tell her that "Music in the Foster Fashion" with "You Great, Big, Beautiful Doll" comes from nearby California.
And thank you too for the "interruption". And thanks for delivering the letter to my golf partner. I thought Uncle King was a bartender and gave up the idea of making cigars?
I had told the fellows I was receiving a watch by mail and when Sgt Johnson (the mail clerk) said, "Here are some rations for Klick", I answered saying that it was a wristwatch. I was scoffed at and they said if that package which was about 10 inches long, three inches wide and 1½ inches high was a watch they would eat the package and all. Having a watch is sometimes worse than not having any. This morning when all the fellows were saying it was past eight, I remained in bed and yelled back, "It's 0605". Twenty minutes later we heard a fellow yelling his head off outside. It was the cook with his head stuck out of the kitchen door yelling "CHOW ---CHOW -------------- CHOW". It was 8:30 and not one fellow had turned out to eat!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I don't know why the watch stopped. Probably I didn't wind it enough or maybe it has to be wound more than once a day. If I managed to talk to you Sunday you know that I asked you that question over the phone.
You know by now that the obstacle course can cripple a person too. Even though my back feeling was relieved by the exercise, I think that I would prefer that to not being able to walk. What I tell you now must never be let known to Army Officials unless it proves desirable. Suppose I have injured myself in the knee joint permanently. Like my back it bothers me, intermittently, for the rest of my life. I would then press claim against the government for the injury.
OUR PHONE CONVERSATION
TOOK PLACE AT
[11 MINUTES FOR THE PRICE OF 6 --- $5.90]
The operator was busy and forgot the limit. Ordinarily the additional minutes would be charged but since she was told twice that a 6 minute limit was requested we got 5 minutes for free.
I enjoyed our 11 minutes even though we tried to crowd everything we could into it and stumbled over our own words doing it. It is too bad we hadn't anticipated the "break" and Aunty Florence could have spoken a little longer.
It is too bad we can't use the phones for an hour straight, then we could leisurely discuss this, that and the other. As it is we did say quite a few things. For one thing I didn't ask how your back was etc but since you were up it must have been alright.
I told you about the watch.
You told me about trying on the hat etc.
I told A.F. about the Christmas card from Carol.
& She told me others were sending them too.
We discussed the length of time we had to talk. (This took up at least 45 seconds)
I told you about my trick knee.
You told me to do something about it.
You told me you were baking coconut cookies.
I told you Aunt-Aunt sent me candy bars and I had bought myself a dollar's worth.
You asked me about Cpl Censky.
I told you about Cpl Censky.
You told me about George P and
I told you about George P.
We discussed our Spanish friends and their friends
I told you I was Co. Clk, didn't mind the army, and got out of training.
You said that was good and that I could take army life in stride.
You told me the Infiestas & Mr. Gonzalez would be over for Christmas and that they all would be thinking of me.
We discussed the Engrs Button and
We discussed the clothes brush.
I told you to get another Petey and
I spilled the beans about the locket.
We talked about the pictures.
I told you I got the Readers Digest from my Dad, Rose, & Rosana.
I told you about my cold and all the sick men in the regiment.
I heard Aunty Florence yell Merry Christmas and
You told me she had a cold too.
You told me of what you would like to have in my letters and that you received several of the latest.
We discussed the heavy traffic in phone calls and the resultant delays.
We were both shocked when the operator said 11 minutes.
I told you I was in Medford Sat. nite.
I asked you if the Bears won the title.
You said you didn't know.
(The rest has begun to fade and I am glad I could record as much as I have)
BUT WE FORGOT TO TALK ABOUT THESE THINGS
We forgot to ask each other what kind of weather we were having.
I didn't tell you it doesn't seem a bit like Christmas here (because of the changed routine of things in general, of the absence of reminders, of the warm weather)
I didn't ask where everybody was etc.
I didn't tell you how the watch was packed.
You didn't tell me if I received any mail (Christmas cards) at home.
By golly --- I think we did talk about a lot --- didn't we?
O well when we move and if we go to Louisiana I can come home in person or you folks can take a bus ride down.
Here I am in the Service Center without a thing to write on. Not one table has any paper --- just envelopes1. I continue my letter from just before the phone call.
I would then press claim against the government for the injury to my knee. As shown in the evidence of the letter I wrote you before and the evidence of the fellows, who have seen me limp on occasions, I would be justified. However it just occurred to me that one day this last March I got on my bike and rode down to the draft board to see if there were any notices posted. On the way back as I was just leaving a dog ran at the bicycle and me. I promptly headed across 22nd but I went between an ice cream sign and a parked automobile as I went down the curb. The bike went out of control momentarily and as it went down the curb, my knee hit the sign and hurt so bad I couldn't bend it. I imagined at the time I had broken the kneecap and laughed thinking I had gone to see if my name was 1A and I was coming back a 4F. I couldn't peddle the bike but with my right foot and believe me it was work. I never felt any symptoms of pain after that nor did it ever show that any injury had been done. That is where the obstacle course may have entered the picture. I may have renewed, aggravated, or increased the injury and thus the trick knee. I think I had better report it on sick call so they have an official record of it in the Morning Report and something to check back on in case I become a cripple. I did consider it this morning but I wanted to make sure of that call.
If you haven't sent the Fuller Brush, don't send it. It's too expensive. Send a sturdy thing about half the size of that big one we had.
When I answer your letters, I have it in front of me and I notice that you think going to Medford would make me feel good, eh? Well, I guess I do like to look a town over. Maybe that is one of the chief causes of the exuberance I displayed in Saturday's letter.
My shaving is haphazard and slipshod. Time after time I am being gently reminded by friends and officers that I should do a better job on my face or shave more often. I wipe off the trace of side burns or mustache when I ask for a pass but that is all. A lick and a promise. I don't shave right I know. I think with a razor the direction is just opposite from my electric shaver. I go the same direction and wind up with tiny little red spots where any extra large pore got in the way. I also found out you can cut yourself with the safety razor.
My next letter which I will write this evening will contain the events of the last few days. I am going to see if I can get what I have written here in Sunday's outgoing mail.
Dear A. C.:
That was quite a task writing to all those people. I only had two hours to write them in too. If you ask me, I think I botched the job. I will not have time to write the additional letter but I will tell you that the Eublers (Tommy and Freddy) sent me a box of walnuts, candy, cookies, gum candy bars all in one package. I want to write them a real nice letter. I hope I have time on Monday night. The more I think about those extra 5 minutes the better it is. Do you realize that 6 minutes at $5.90 is 5 minutes at $4.92. Imagine that ---- a five dollar gift from the telephone company!!! I received Christmas cards from Marie, Mary Keeling and Uncle Joe. Uncle Joe gave me a dollar. I sure do hope I will be able to write enough answers.
I airmailed all the thank yous
1. This part of the letter is written on an envelope that has been carefully opened and used as writing paper.