Have you been able to get any Verichrome 620-Kodak?
Camp White, Oregon
23 December 1942
Dear Aunty Clara:
I received your letters dated Thursday December 17 (George's picture too) and Friday December 18. As you noted in my little scribbling on Jerome's letter I did not write either Monday or Tuesday. Monday evening I started to do some overtime work but my head had that sensation of pressure (as if an iron band were wrapped around it) and the slightest movement was uncomfortable. So by 9:00 P.M. I was in bed. The next morning - Tuesday I felt awful. I ached and pained etc but surprisingly enough by the time nightime rolled around I was fit as a fiddle once more. I then helped Sgt. Driscoll in the dayroom getting signatures of the men on Emergency Address cards and on Bond Applications. By the time I was thru it was pretty late and I penned a rough draft of my letter to Jerry. After practicing some rope tying, I went to bed. This morning I intended not only to type up Jerome's letter but to send a short note to you; but as it turned out my student clerk reported for duty and I could not write personal letters. It is just like being down at RH&R and instead of showing Dolores what to do and how to do it, I am instructing Pvt. James Harvey. I think (knock on wood & keep your fingers crossed) that I am doing the job okay so far. This being Company Clerk seems to be a more important job than I had at Rathborne.
I am still green at a lot of things about the job. For instance, yesterday I had six men in to sign and swear to Family Allowances. Well, I herded the whole bunch upstairs to the Adjutant's office only to find that he was busy and consequently had to noisily march them down again. Lt. Maack (the adjutant - reminds me of Gene Reed) cautioned me in a friendly manner on the correct procedure.
I still can't get over that $5 gift from the telephone company.
Another thing that I am rather amused by is the fact that every letter from Chicago & Cicero mentions how cold, snowy etc it is and out here it stays the same. Today, or rather this evening, we have finally had an honest to goodness rain. Most of the rainfall is light although the trouble lies in that for the most part it never stops. Tonight was the first time our field jackets were not enough protection and we wore our raincoats going here and there.
You probably gathered that I received a box of handkerchiefs (5 in a military box) from Jerry and a card "to a pal in service" with a few inserts by him. I don't know why but I just feel grand getting things from him. A summer's friendship with him evidently was not forgotten. I had intended to send him an insignia so I did. Too bad it isn't like Camp White weather in Cicero then he could wear his army jacket with the U.S. and the insignia.
The Holy Name Society of the St. Valentine's Church sent me a Daily New Testament.
I first discovered the fruitcake in amongst the chocolate chips today. No, the chocolate chip cookies were not broken although they crumbled rather easily the minute we bit into them. I had more than half to myself. The reason is that when I get the things in my barracks I don't have to pass it around. The people who want some must come and help themselves. I had quite a demand for "seconds". Baby!!!, those cookies were grand. I don't know how you do it but your cookies get better right along. They put all the other fellows rations in the limelight and somehow I wonder why I even bother eating any of the other fellows cookies.
You know I always complained about Chicago's weather because of the 3 things I didn't like about it --- the wind, the snow and the cold. Well, I wouldn't be surprised but that one of the reasons I am not disgruntled etc with army life is the fact that for the first time in my life am I free of those 3 horrible elements.
Either I am not getting enough exercise or else rheumatism has finally caught up with me after those years of having bad teeth. This morning and all day there is a part in the small of my back which is kind of touchy. I am becoming a cripple without doing anything --- imagine if I were a real line soldier.
Taking about Christmas mail here's a good one. Uncle Jack wrote and said he would write again without even waiting for his answer. I answered and have been waiting almost a week for a reply. What happens but today I receive a letter from him written 9 NINE DAYS AGO. And he is right here on the coast!
The mail that does come into the camp, including packages, is handled pretty smoothly and in good order.
I bought another overseas cap for 71¢ through the Supply Sgt but it isn't as good as the one I have so I may send it home. I don't know what I'll do about it. A lot of the fellows have gone downtown and bought themselves "dress overseas caps" made from a finer material, lining, and a different color and a piping like this
instead of like this .
Yeah --- sure --- anytime someone tells me to leave the army and come home I do it. Yessiree, this is one job you can't quit and I push away every thought of quitting. It may be my life for quite some time so hi-ho for the best of it and to quote Rudyard Kipling (via Galsworthy),
"No retreat! no retreat
They must conquer or die
Who have no retreat"
I guess you will have enough oil to get by on even though it will be more expensive. C'est la guerre.
I told you how far away from the war we seem being actually in the army. Well, just yesterday there was some talk about all the physical and mental wrecks we are carrying in this regiment. Then some wiseacre piped up, "And then we wonder why we are in Service of Supply".
The fellows in the company built temporary bridges today in 4 minutes. I would have liked to have seen it done. They came back soaked. Some had to stand in the river. They are going to start building fixed bridges soon.
I am thru with basic for good but I can't say as Clarence did, "Brother, that was tough", because Aunty, it was soft. I couldn't have received that injury at Camp Grant. This is my left knee. It has been okay since Sunday.
They just bought mosquito netting galore and some say they couldn't possibly expect to use it in Louisiana but rather for some tropical climate. I hope it isn't the South Seas --- I'd rather die in Africa at the hands of a German. At least a German seems like a fellow human.
I haven't received any card from the Fiala's yet.
Thank you, Aunty Clara, for (1) the cookies (2) the handkerchiefs and (3) your share in that swell, practical, and "timely" Christmas present. Did you get the Christmas card?
I have managed to save the This Week but haven't found the time to read it.
I am having a tough time getting the postal money order of my Dad's etc. cashed. My dogtags are not even enough evidence of my ego. I must produce a photostatic copy of my signature or let myself be finger printed which I refused to do. My goodness, The Medford Townsmen were not that fussy when I cashed the $5 money order there Saturday night. The trouble is the one my Dad made out is to the Camp White P.O. and they won't accept it in Medford. RH&R made it out to Medford P.O. and evidently Emily Janak wrote it out because my name was spelled Click which is the way she thought I spelled it.
All the fellows have become independent of the messhall since Sunday when the Xmas packages first really began to roll. There is enough food in the barracks to keep the whole 353rd for a week.
The Pepsi-Cola people are making free records like Clarence, Bobbie, and I made but the line is a mile long.
Did you get to use that tube of toothpaste? I have received a letter from Mrs. Boyer and she tells me Bobbie & his boyfriend left Camp Grant for parts unknown. Maybe he'll wind up in Camp White. Aren't you and Mrs. Boyer ever going to fulfill your threats of visiting each other.
And will you tell Mrs. Reed & Myrtle to only send one card to a person. They sent me a duplicate copy today.
And here is something which during the first weeks I would have turned tailspins over but since I am in the position I am in it doesn't seem to have much affect. The rest of the boys, though, are tickled pink. Sgt Wagaman, although living in Co. A barracks has been detailed from our 2nd Platoon to duty in Company C 1st Platoon. You should have heard those fellows when they heard they were free of "Sgt Simon Legree". The new Sarge is a young fellow, LaVern Cooper. He is not a Wagaman by a long shot.
I think I have raved on enough for the time being but you must remember I haven't written since Sunday.
Your only person in loco "childrenus"
THAT "LOUSY" WATCH STOPPED 4 TIMES SINCE I HAVE IT.
Haven't you received the letter Uncle Jack sent to me and my answer to him? Or did you write that before you received it?
I gave the "Daily New Testament" a once over but it isn't very good for the purpose of reading gospel stories since it has been revised into a form fit for children. I don't know what I am going to do with it. It's just extra junk.
Did I tell you I got $5 from the Klick's?
I am going to send all my cards home but am undecided whether you shall save them or not. I think maybe I ought to save every last one since they are my 1st Christmas in service cards.
After I give all yours and Aunty Florence's letters a final and thorough re-reading I think I will have to commence starting them back to Cicero too because they are sure stacking up. I won't be able to keep them if we move so it is better to get them in safe storage with the rest.
Incidentally, how are you filing my letters?
That clipping about Christmas from the Daily News "Out of Mind" was certainly true to life.
So you think I had things dangling about me, eh? --- Well, I did. I hope I never have to put on that junk again because it certainly is a mess when I get through "adjusting" it. My fatigue outfit has been placed on the bottom of my barracks bag --- for good, I hope.
I wish Censky hadn't told me to expect a PFC rating because now I am impatient to get it and would like to have it before Christmas and send you a telegram quoting the Service Record entry to this effect:
Pvt Klick aptd (appointed) PFC per par (paragraph) 1 Co (Company) O (Order) 5 dtd (dated) 24 Dec/42 as of 24 Dec/42. Duty 405.
(Keep this above under your hat. Like the beginning of the office job --- it isn't in the bag.)
P.S. That censored part was "Did you get the locket and did A.F. get the bracelet?"