28 December 1942
Camp White, Oregon
Dear Aunty Clara:
That last page was so lousy that I decided to start a new letter. I will not have time to answer any other mail tonight so I might as well concentrate on this one.
I received your coconut cookies today and also the clothes brush. I can't tell you how good the cookies were since I haven't eaten any as yet even though half the box is gone. I got them just before quitting time this evening and before I had finished passing them around the office, I had to be on my way. Then I was so busy during the first part of this evening and because if I opened them up in the barracks, I never would get any for myself. I just left them in the foot locker. But I can still thank you for them and the clothes brush. You will most probably receive a more enthusiastic thanks after I have tasted your pastry.
It is too bad I had to acquiesce to your suggestion over the telephone that you should send that brush. It is too good for the kind of brushing I will need. I think I will keep it only for the lighter brushing. Perhaps I even ought to return it. But that is up to your decision. If you think it is worthwhile, I will then see what I can pick up in town. I hate to ruin a brush which isn't meant to do heavy work.
The other Company Clerks are writing their personal letters while they work but it seems that Company A is never free. All of a sudden like my work has piled so high that I can't see the end of it again. The fellow from H&S Company who is clerking in Headquarters on this floor has gotten his PFC rating from the company and mine just lets me work on as a buck private.
Sergeant Driscoll noticed that I went out for the Retreat Parade with the boys and he said I didn't have to. When I said that I was around so I just went along with them, he answered that the other Company Clerks never stand retreat so I didn't have to either. Boy o boy this is the life. Just think --- there are 7 company clerks in this regiment and they are the chosen people. Those 7 (including your Romeo) seem to be in a privileged class all by themselves.
Wally Moeller delivered the orders to Post Headquarters today which stated specifically the time, place, hour and manner of movement from Camp White of the 353rd General Service Regiment of Engineers. But he does not know the context of the sealed orders and neither does anyone else. It seems for sure that we will be out of the country before Spring rolls around. The reason for this statement is that the cadre which was brought over from the 36th Engineers has an interesting story to tell. They had tried for months to get replacements for broken, lost and damaged dogtags but were turned down. Finally just a month before the regiment moved overseas the call for replacements and corrections was made. They met an identical situation in the 353rd. We are probably going to Louisiana for embarkation to Africa. I think we will wind up in Africa because today we received (for distribution to the officers) books on desert warfare and the Libyan campaign. Incidentally, the 36th Engineers wound up in Algiers and the fellows in the office are just now receiving letters from them which were written in Africa a month ago.
I received both yours and Aunty Florence's letter today. The ones which were dated the 26 (Saturday).
After getting to bed before twelve and sleeping to eight for three straight days, I am now ready for a month of going to bed at eleven or past. I sometimes do wish, however, that I could go to sleep or at least get in bed around 8:30 and read for a while and then fall asleep. That would be ideal but where would my day go. I live the best part of my day between 1700 and 2300.
I could just picture the way Gonzalez said hello to my picture the other day. If and when I do catch up on that eternal unanswered letter file, I am going to write him a nice long letter. You know, Aunty Clara, I can picture all those things at home and those Saturday nights just as plain as if I had just been gone overnight. In the last few weeks home has seemed to be coming closer and closer and I don't seem far away at all. I have seemed to be able to place myself in the kitchen, parlor, dining room, or on 22nd Street at will. It is uncanny. I don't even have to shut my eyes to do this dreaming. See, Mrs. Reed was wrong when she said it wasn't good for me to daydream. Now after all that experience I can just sit back and project myself back home at will.
No, I do not remember the new people downstairs having any victrola or of them playing it. I was only at home two weeks with them in the house and most of those days I was out. And during that last week we visited or had our own company so maybe we didn't notice their noise.
My cold is in that last stage before the cure. As I wrote to Eleanor Angsten that I would be ready for another cold by January 1st. I think that will be just about it. I should have gotten over the present one completely by that date.
Of course, you know that I did not go hungry at the Christmas meal so I am glad you people ate this that and the other for me because I don't think I could have stuffed in another thing. <--- humor
Will you ask (why do I say that when I know perfectly well you ((that you refers to Aunty Florence)) are reading this yourself) [<--- mixed up] Aunty Florence --- to have extreme patience with me because I have put her letters on the bottom of the list knowing she reads these letters and therefore is not completely forgotten. But don't let her stop writing because of that. It is another case of taking advantage of people's good nature.
Tomorrow I think I will just drop you a very short note saying I am still alive and I will attempt to answer all my unanswered mail. Something drastic has to be done. This is what I owe. Richard Lopez (wrote to me on Dec 21), George Prokopec (Dec 7), Tommy (Dec 10), Mr. Drews (Dec 2), Mrs. Reed (Dec 7 & 14), Uncle Jack (Dec 15), Mrs. Boyer (Dec 19), Aunt-Aunt (Dec 7), Rose (Dec 12), Ray (Dec 24), Aunty Florence (3 letters of various dates).
And I also think that I am going to write less in the future but I am going to make it more correct. This business of a literary hodge-podge isn't so enjoyable for the readers. And I don't think you feel any too proud of showing a messy letter like this either.
Solong --- Roman