Dear Aunty Clara:
When I don't write for several days and then try to catch up on it all at once, I find I leave out a good many things that I meant to say. A don't recall mentioning the bivouac of this Friday to you or not. What I have to say about it is that I did not have to go on it. We company clerks had to work late that evening. It is a good thing a missed it because from the reports I heard it was none to pleasant. The entire regiment doubled time it out to the camping grounds and then had only one break. On the way back in the morning they did not have any break but continued right in.
I sent the wrist watch home yesterday morning. I insured it for $50.00 and sent it by ordinary mail. The watch wore out my patience last Thursday when it stopped at least twenty times. I would start it running and anywhere from five to twenty minutes later I would take a look at it only to find that once again it was not running. If you note closely when you receive the watch, you will find a small piece of paper underneath the crystal. I doubt it that has anything to do with the performance of the watch but when you take it back to the Fair store you could have them take that little nuisance out.
We had a very late breakfast this morning. Why? Because the cooks overslept. And why did the cooks oversleep? Well, it seems they were drunk. And how did they get drunk? Company A ran another beer party last night. And why did they have another beer party? Company A built a pontoon bridge this week in the record time of 73 minutes and one of the lieutenants treated the boys for this piece of work.
Our dinner was also late because of that.
This is the first letter I am writing of twenty I hope to finish today. It is now past 1400 and I will have to do a lot of fast writing to get anywhere.
The restriction which I mentioned in a previous letter, applied to the entire regiment and was called off after the officer's meeting. The principal reason for the restriction, so it seemed, was that many of the men had been violating the 2400 curfew in the city of Medford. In fact every company has had some men picked up by the M. P's after midnight. There was a meeting called of all officers to see what kind of corrective action was to be taken against this violation.
I doubt if I will it ever be able to buy those Engineer buttons out this way and if I don't get them within one and a half or two months, I will never be able to get them if you know what I mean. There is a shortage and scarcity of metals as you already know and they have ceased making lapel buttons for soldiers. Chicago is the only place left so "get on the beam" and get hold of some. T/5 Farley was down in San Francisco on a 4 day pass and they sold him two and no more.
I applied for a permit to use my camera but I have no idea how successful it will turn out. The films I took in the office will have to be developed here in camp under the new War Department Circular so I will have to kiss goodbye to my regimental collection of pictures.
It is too bad that on a nice sunny day such as this Sunday has turned out to be that I can not take pictures of my uniform which is now decorated with the stripes and those stars. As a non-commissioned officer I'm entitled to wear those garrison belts such as Clarence bought for himself.
There were only twenty-one of Company A who did not go on a hike and believe it or not when we fell out in the morning for Reveille and breakfast, I was second in command under 1st Sgt Driscoll. We went to eat at the H&S company mess hall and Sgt Driscoll told me to march them down. That was a laugh. I stepped in front of the men and realized I was greener then they are at marching in formation etc and here I was commanding them. I made sure I took my time and made no mistakes. First I called Atten----shun. Then I had to think which a way I wanted them to march. I finally decided it was to their left and I shouted, "Left----face". Then the next step was easy, "Forward----Arch". I tried to get them in step by a shouting out, "Hep, Hup, Hip, Ha," but somehow my voice was too feeble for that so I let them march without my accompaniment. When we approached the mess hall I had to give them, "Column right ---- March". But I didn't, I said, "Column right --- Turn". Bringing them to a halt and telling them to file in was an easy matter. I wouldn't care to be line corporal like that and it felt funny being one for that little space of time.
I received a letter from Richard Lopez today and he is still having a tough time. On Friday I got one from Anita, from Mrs. Eubler, from Virginia and two from you. I also a received the Parade section of the Sun from Freddie Eubler.
Now to answer your mail as time will allow (my humblest pardons to Walter Winchell). That nickname of Junior has spread until half of the fellows call me that. It is not pronounced in the usual and detestful fashion which I dislike but with the connotation that I am the baby of the company clerks. I am the youngest of the clerks and they know it. In other words it is with joviality and jest which they sound off.
Didn't you keep a set of snaps for my album?
My student clerk is not a very accurate typist. Any work which I want done well, I must do myself. It seems that on a piece of work which must be errorless he just folds up and is unable to do it. To look at my letters you would not believe that I only made 5 errors on my 32 page payroll yet that is all I had.
Mersing wanted to get into the Air Corps and deliberately refused to let anyone know that he had gone to one year of college or knew typing for fear that it would serve to put him into some other line. Had he known he was not destined to wind up in the Air Corps anyway, he would have told about it.
Yessirree, I can remember the time I had to get rid of all that ice on the roof. That was some job too but a lot of fun. The ice would come off in big cakes and then I would shove them off the roof and BOOM they would smash to bits on the sidewalk below.
Do you know that this morning when we woke up the ground had hardened? It hasn't rained for more than a week and the air has that Autumn crispness about it. Boy, o boy, I don't care what anyone says but this weather is ideal as far as I am concerned. I have never in my life had such a swell winter in that respect.
Surprisingly enough, I have not had any more colds. Do you realize that it has been over three weeks since I had one? That is something of a record for a winter period.
Wow, are you bashful. I quote from your letter of Tuesday January 12, "Mrs. Reed had a nice lunch she had shrimp salad. I made the salad". Speaking of shrimp salad reminds me that we had that a few days back and I was relishing it until suddenly it dawned on me that you had warned me about such things. Sure enough, there were the little telltale black lines running along the back of the shrimp. I wasn't relishing them any further.
I think Tommy will make a pilot too.
Cpl. Censky will not be too easy with his men. He can assume a pretty stern attitude if he wants to. Just the other day I heard him raise the roof with one of his men and in no uncertain way either.
By the way, the stripes I bought in town to sew on my shirts did not seem so good to me at first because they are not the G.I. variety but have a goldish tinge to them; but, by golly, the fellows rave about them and ask me where I got hold of 'em. I have them on my summer shirt and they look pretty spiffy.
P.S. You can send me a can of tooth powder if you want to. And I found out that the identification tag holder you sent to me was broken. One of the little rings was lost so I had to throw it away.