Dear Aunty Clara:
The mail situation is terrible. Because of the very very bad weather throughout the country the mail had been coming into camp in driblets. Today loads and loads of it swamped the mail clerks. That is the way it goes.
I wasn't lying when I said I might not find the time to write for several days. The trouble is that this seems to be only the beginning of it. I just don't know what is going on any more but I haven't the will power or the opportunity or something of the other to procure for myself the time necessary to write my letters.
I received * * *
For example, here I am writing this letter and by golly if the mail clerk doesn't feel like gabbing. I'm not the one to break off a conversation too violently as you have had sufficient cause to regret for many Saturday nights1. Consequently, I just lost another fifteen odd minutes. In the barracks it is the same problem.
Can it be that people like to talk to me? I just can't see it from that angle. I don't know what it is but I seem to attract conversation as honey attracts a fly.
I haven't the time to give you any of the details of what has gone on during the last four days nor have I the time to tell you what is up the next four days. In brief, I am very unhappy and paradoxically very happy. I went out on the firing range for two days. The third and supposedly the last day I went back to work in the office. Now Lt. Hanton wants me to go out with the second group for another FOUR DAY stretch of shooting. I don't know whether he thinks he is doing me a favor or what but I know very well I have no yen or desire to shoot that rifle. Incidentally, I discovered I have no ability to shoot one either.
Other things . . . got letters from you, Ray Bernett, Ulysses, Tommy. . . . Am trying to outfox Hanton by getting myself lined up for glasses tomorrow.
While at the hospital tomorrow A.M. I am going to waste as much time as possible getting different things looked at . . . lungs . . . ankle . . . and whatever I decide needs looking over.
The bugler, Ray Gradler, and I get along splendidly and he is the first fellow I have actually enjoyed being with and talking to in this Army. Talk! Whew! George P and I were pikers compared to the length of conversation which Ray -------- Sgt Nyalka is another one of those talkative pests who come around like he just did and is reading what I am typing also over my shoulder.
I give up.........I just hope I don't forget everything that has occurred during the past week and that will be occurring within the next few days. I think that if I get the time and remember it all it will fill a twenty page letter.
So long Aunty Clara,
Addition: Nyalka said he will really slave drive me if I didn't x out the part of this letter I wrote about him. He kiddingly ordered the mail clerk to censor this letter.
1. Author's anotation July 2004: My aunt would end up her Saturday night date by inviting her friend, Senor Gonzalez, up for a few words of conversation in our dining room. I knew Senor Gonzalez since I was three years old and we would carry on extensive conversations about current events, the Spanish Civil War, his life, my life and any other subject that struck our fancy. My aunt would be signaling me to break off the conversation as we were approaching the wee hours of the morning. But instead of ending it I would ask a question that at times took Senor Gonzalez a very long time to respond in detail. Meanwhile Aunty Clara was ready to fall asleep listening to the two of us go on and on and on.
Mr. Joseph Gonzalez Gonzalez was born in Spain, emigrated to Havana, Cuba, then to Tampa, then to Canada and finally to Chicago. He was a cigar maker by trade and was the President of the Spanish Club in Chicago for many years. Their standing Saturday night date was at the Club. They were introduced by Mrs Lopez (Aunt-Aunt) when we were neighbors near 23rd and Rockwell in Chicago in the early 1920's.