Camp White, Oregon
19 January 1943
SUBJECT: General news of the last two days.
TO : Aunty Clara, 5646 West 22nd Place, Cicero, Illinois.
1. Last night I had a rifle up here in Headquarters but I didn't get much practice with it. The reason was that every fellow in the office including the officers who happened to be milling around the place yesterday evening wanted to demonstrate his proficiency at the manual of arms. (The manual of arms is the peculiar style employed by the army in handling a rifle in the different positions.) From buck private, and up to Captain they all had their turn at showing me how it was done. But it so happens I like to learn by doing and not watching.
2. I tried to get to bed early last night and headed for home about eleven bells or thereabouts. I walked into the Orderly Room with the intention of seeing Lt. Hanton about some matter (that is, if he was still in there). Unfortunately Lt. Hanton was not in but the c. q. was. The c.q. happened to be none other than Corporal Censky. The unfortunate part about it was that I remained there in Lt. Hanton's office talking with Censky until twelve-thirty thus cheating myself of more than an hour's repose. Censky was telling me, for the most part, the way he had bluffed his way into the line corporal job. He said he had never been a line corporal before but what they didn't know wouldn't hurt them. As a result of this little intrigue he is now being promoted to sergeant. Just before writing this letter to you and in fact for the last two hours, I have been busy writing up promotions and various other things for the company.
3. We took a blood test today. It will not be long before we find out whether or not I have type B blood also. I strongly believe that that will be the case. The entire company lined up in the parade grounds before going to the infirmary. We lined up in platoons and of the ten men in the Headquarters platoon, I was the senior officer and took charge. I know I did a sloppy job of it, but so what. I am not a line corporal in the first place. I had to stand out in front of my platoon and when Sgt. Driscoll said, "Report", I had to wheel around and ask my squad leaders to report. As each one said, "such and such squad present or accounted for", I had to salute them. Then I wheeled around and waited Sgt. Driscoll's second, "Report". At this second call I faced him and saluted while sounding off with, "Headquarters Platoon present or accounted for". I do not relish that business of leading men in the least and am willing to let those whose job it is, do it. When we filed in for the blood sampling I was first in line because I was the only corporal in the company and there were no other higher officers present.
4. All this monkey business of me being the only new fellow to be a corporal will end in a few days and that will relieve me of these peculiar positions which I have been finding myself in. This evening I wrote out six promotions from PFC to Cpl. Among them are mostly fellows who had previous ROTC, CCC or World War I training. A funny thing about this is going to be that from now on these fellows who thought I climbed fast by becoming a corporal with such speed will be getting ratings equal to mine and above it before long while I remain in the same position I sprang to.
5. Do you recall my telling you of the clearness of the night in a previous letter? Well, that clear sky means a bad weather sign in this vicinity and, believe it or not, this evening we have already had an inch and a half of snow fall! That is remarkable. The funny thing about it is that it is warmer now than it had been for two days. And yesterday Mount Shasta was visible. It presented a sight which I know you would enjoy. Remember the way we used to admire the sunsets which changed and varied by the minute? Well, yesterday Mount Shasta presented a show all its own. At about five o'clock the clouds which had hovered about its peak had disappeared leaving its sharp, clear, cold outline etched against the cold blue sky. Then the snow on the mountain changed from its brilliant white to a dull drab gray which gave the appearance of a disappearance of the snow. From that it went into a very brilliant and bright rosy pink color. Just imagine that, Aunty Clara, a pink mountain top against a light blue sky! Wow. But that was not all. Quite some time later when night had fallen into the valley and daylight was reserved for those places on the other side of the mountains and when the stars had appeared with the moon high overhead ----- then, away off in the distance, like a specter, a shadow or omen was the ethereal substance of Shasta coming from out of the night. It was amazing that the deflected and reflected and diffused light from the dying sun could make a mountain peak visible in the late evening at a distance of 90 miles.
6. We were scheduled to have a clothing and equipment check tonight but because of the blood test it was postponed until a more auspicious evening. I may have to send you that extra overseas hat I have because at these inspections they have the right to take any article of clothing or equipment which is in excess of the amount allowed by the Table of Basic Allowances.
7. I received only one letter today and it was from Bob Hesser who made another move in our chess game. He thinks I am moving closer to Chicago from the way he talks because he says that now or in the near future we will be able to play the game without so much delay in letters en route. Ha, that's a laugh. I don't know where he got such an idea. Ha, ha, (sarcastic and ironic).
8. I tried to practice with a rifle for about ten minutes or so this evening before beginning to work but it was no use. That rifle actually makes my arms, shoulders and muscles ache from just trying it out in the different positions. I don't know what will happen when I am out on the range.
9. O my goodness, I forgot one of the most important things of all. Thanks, thanks, and thanks again for those yummmmmm, yummmmmm and super delicious oatmeal cookies with walnuts and dates in them. I took about five or six before I passed them around and it was a good thing because before I even went around the office, they were gone. I managed to salvage the two Tangos along with the six cookies. I guess those cookies and the chocolate chip cookies are my favorites.
10. By the way, remember those little books Aunty Florence made for me? I took one with me but I am using the whole thing now to check on my correspondence and it is only good for about six months so before it will be filled, I will need another. Just as a precaution (so that you don't throw them out during Spring cleaning) you had better send me all the blank ones in my desk. I think that there are three or two. If there are not two there, you will find them wrapped up in that box of paper I have stored in the closet (the bedroom closet). If you have to unwrap those, send me at least three of them.
11. I may want you to send me one of my French books (they are small and easily carried and I may yet get time off to continue my studies on the side); but I will let you know further after I send home the cumbersome books which I now have with me.
12. The company clerk for Company B is Jack Molyneaux and is a very nice fellow. I have mentioned him prior to this I am sure. He is about thirty and still has a bit of the kid in him. We are getting to be pretty good friends. One of the best jokes we have is when we are typing a letter for the Colonel or for the SOS Headquarters. These must be perfect and at times we make one mistake after another. This morning I typed one letter eleven times before it was perfect and yesterday he typed a thing seven times and I had to type it for him in the end. When we get into one of these spells, the other fellow who is not making the mistakes laughs himself sick. We used to get along pretty good even when Censky was here and now that I am the full time Clerk we get along that much better.
13. I request a reply to this letter. Perhaps the mail has been delayed as it was last week when I received three letters at once; but I have not received a letter from you since Saturday morning and here it is Tuesday evening.