New Years Eve
December 31, 1942
Dear Aunty Clara:
We are not getting New Year's Day off as we did Christmas Day. In fact many of the older soldiers had been surprised that we did have Christmas to ourselves.
But that does not explain why I am in town. I really don't know myself. I guess one of the reasons is that it wouldn't seem anything like a holiday if I didn't do something out of the unusual. And going to town in the middle of the week is it. Another reason is that I thought I might have gotten to a jewelry store to see about the watch. Still another reason might be that the other boys in the barracks have had their Class A passes revoked and must wait for the Lieutenants to come back so they can pass a stiff knot tying exam once again and get quizzed on their knowledge of various military insignia and rules etc. And I wanted to test my "pull" and see just what kind of an "in" I really have.
You can see that I have got a pretty good drag because about 10 minutes after Blumenfeld was told he could not go to town nor could anyone until they met the requirements I was started on my way.
We also had payday today and at 1700, when I brought several things back from the office, Lt. Hanton said that I might as well take my money now. There I was with my cap on, my field jacket on, and with no salute, receiving my monthly reward. The other fellows had to line up, wait until their name was called, be dressed up in their dress uniform, and go through all the rigamarole of saluting and saying just the right words before they would get paid.
At work today, Lt. Warner came up to me and asked how Harvey was doing his work. Well, I couldn't praise it nor was I going to down the fellow so I said, "Alright." Well, Warner detected the reluctance with which I answered his question and said, "Is that all? Just 'alright'"? Since I saw that that did not go over, I brushed it aside saying that he needed a little brushing up on his typing but that his other work was alright. Then I added that he was conscientious about his work and sent Lt. Warner away happy. But now I am sorry I have given Lt. Warner a somewhat unperfect picture of Harvey because I really turned on the heat today and he came out with colors flying. Just to make him realize the perfection required in government typing, I had him type an entire letter over on which he had not made one typographical error. He had made errors of commission. One was where he had typed William G. Hanton instead of WILLIAM G. HANTON. Another place he had indented five spaces when he should have started flush with the margin. And yet another place he had typed A.R. instead of AR. I also told him that he had better get on that ball. Another time I had him retype about 16 affidavits. I also tried him out on typing "true copies' of birth and marriage certificates. He came thru wonderfully. Those 'true copies' must be letter perfect. I guess I will have to mention to Lt. Edward R. Warner C.E.. Personnel Adjutant that Private James Andrew Harvey has gotten on the beam.
I really shouldn't be coming to town when I have so many letters to answer but I have already explained why I did come in. The bus took a different route coming in the town and we drove thru a part I had not seen. It was the high class neighborhood and reminded me of Austin Blvd. further down in Chicago.
I wrapped up that diploma and found out it will cost 9¢ to mail. I bought a 9¢ stamp at the post office this evening and will mail the thing tomorrow morning.
I received a card from Matchas and a letter from Aunty Florence and my Dad. Poor Aunty Florence. I have four of her letters in my pile of unanswered mail. And the letter, the one she wrote when you and Aunt-Aunt went to the show Monday night, was just about the best one yet. You can tell her she is turning into a very good reporter. I started to say author but thinking it over it seemed like a swell Daily News first page run.
Another thing. I am going to get back early. My pass is good until twelve and I don't have to worry too much about that, as you already know, but I haven't much to do here. I went shopping for those lapel buttons but no soap. The watch hasn't stopped for the last two working days and a night. I leave it in the drawer continually. That is some place for a wrist watch, eh?
So long Roman
I asked Uncle Joe whether that was the young Bob Brouk who had died and then in my next three letters I get the answers from three different people.
My Daddy wrote me about him also. And do you know what? My Dad writes a very good letter. The short note he sent me before was not enough to tell but this one is two full pages and a little bit on the back and it is well written.
Well, I will write more tomorrow and right now I guess I will go out and have a Sundae or something in the ice cream line.
I am or rather I did type this in red because this is a moldy old Underwood and the machine is ready to fall apart. If I use the black type the black letters do not show up very well and the capitals hardly at all.
I finally have a military crease in my shirt; for the first time since being in the Army. I had sent my other shirt to the laundry you may recall and while it came back clean, it was not very well finished. The only trouble is that I am now wearing a fresh shirt under a blouse and overcoat. That isn't going to help keep the freshness. I should have changed into my khaki shirt but I thought of it too late to change.
So long again,
and I remain your
little buck private
for the 48th day.
I received $40.43 oops I mean $43.40 in my pay today. The Company Fund hit me for $1.50. I am enclosing a money order for $30.00. This should be placed in your weekly envelope where you should now have enough to carry you thru the week ending on Friday March the 5th. And then you should have $2 left over. Each month there will be a few dollars left over and added all up together they will cover the months that have five weeks in them.
And about my Dad's letter. I went through a special effort to keep that section fit for him to read in case he should ever see it. Now I will tell you that I am actually amazed to see how well he does write. It is more or less on the order of straight transmittal of fact. It is not original like some of Uncle Jack's or the kind Clarence wrote but it is clear, concise, and well done. Of course, it wouldn't have done to express my amazement in a letter he will read.
I haven't read but that one article in the Reader's Digest and haven't found another one that I feel I have the time to spare in which to read it. It is a shame to see such a subscription go to waste. Perhaps before the year is up I will be getting the opportunity to read them leisurely.
You can tell Aunty Florence I am writing to her the very next time I sit down to write any. You can also tell her I am now going to clear out of this USO because all kinds of gals in dancing gowns are beginning to come in and they are out of my non-dancing class.