Maybe we ought to make this a personal letter, eh? Read it and then judge for yourself.
2 February 1943
Camp White, Oregon
Dear Aunty Clara:
Once again I am reduced to writing only a brief note instead of the lengthy letter I would wish to type. The reason for the briefness this evening is a very good one and I have no regrets. First of all, right after chow, I read every single letter both you and Aunty Florence have sent to me since that November day in 1942 when I bade adieu to life, love, home and friends for the stern reality which is war (pretty good, eh?). Then I stuffed them inside twelve large envelopes and addressed them back to Cicero, Illinois from whence they originated. They are to be filed, intact and as is, with the other letters. Perhaps in some later year of peacetime when we gather around the old homestead fireplace we might once again have a merry time reminiscing in the past of today. In all I mailed twelve envelopes. I hope they all arrive safely.
And that was not all that kept me busy this fine evening. I packed a cardboard box with the following items: one camera, two exposed rolls of films, one roll with three shots exposed and five yet to be exposed (in the camera), one engineer button, one pair brown oxfords, one clothes brush, one utility case, two books (War and Peace and Storm Over the Land), one Dudley combination lock (combination, I think, is 3-56-14), one empty tube of shaving cream, one garrison cap, 25 odd and assorted Christmas cards, and several miscellaneous items which were thrown in with the rush.
You can't take it with you, you know.
After reading over the letters continuously from the first to the last, I discovered that there have been great gaps in my answering letters. Most probably caused by the lack of time to write a decent answer. I was also in too great of a hurry to make the proper notations as to things that I meant to tell you about but never did.
One thing I do remember is that Clarence and I seem to be the two fellows who are getting or have gotten a raw deal out of this war. Tommy is still floating around and will continue to float around for quite some time, George as we noted previously, has adapted Tommy's tricks, Jimmy hit it swell when he got into that signal corps training for it is running way behind schedule and he is going from one school to another, Bata, his brother, is now in Florida and seems to be headed for OCS (Officer's school;) and so it goes. Even Eddie Cerny is stationed in the MPs out here on the coast for good and Chester Hanson back in Illinois and now Bobbie Boyer is in for quite a lot of schooling. And then there was Johnny Miller from Rathborne who went in around the time Tommy did and he is still studying at Ft. Monmouth, New Jersey having advanced from private to 2nd Lieut. But then, of course, there was Joe Schertz who wound up in the same plan Clarence chose to follow and the same way it looks as if the kidlet is going.
The entire company personnel was issued rifles this evening. I objected to having a Company Clerk lug around that unwieldy firearm but the only answer I received from 1st Sgt Driscoll was, "You're in the army". Nevertheless, he saw to it that I didn't have to draw one until the new Springfields arrive later on during this week. Really, all non-coms should draw carbines which are smaller and lighter but more deadly than real rifles. Or better yet, if the clerk has to draw any kind of firearm at all, it should be something like a pistol. Don't you think so?
I received no letters today but I did get a little more of the way in towards answering my back mail. I wrote a letter to Jerome Barta in the morning before beginning work and then in the afternoon before beginning work I wrote one to Ray and Dotty. This leaves me with only 21 more letters to write and then I will be caught up.
Pvt Harvey and I have spent two good days of solid work on the Service Records et al and he is proving to be quite assistance of late. However, his work just isn't as accurate as it could be. He has a bit of that, "Oh, blank, if they don't like it so what", attitude which doesn't make for perfect work. As a result, I received a complaint about two of the pieces of work he turned out. In time, after he is called on these items, I believe that he will do better.
I am sending along with this letter a picture of Bobbie Boyer and his boyfriend. Send Bob's picture back immediately but you can keep his boyfriends picture along with the rest of my collection. I am going to cut Bob' picture down to fit my wallet picture section.
It is well past eleven bells at the present time so without further ceremony I will say au revoir.
P.S. I think I will write Dolores another letter for the last one which I wrote did not satisfy me. I am going to wax philosophical in the next because I am getting in that philosophical mood once more and I know she will be able to read it with enjoyment or at least have a pretty good answer forthcoming.
N.B. Soon it will be Valentine's day and, as you very well know, I am very very 'busted'; so if you haven't sent me all my personal fund money, I would appreciate it if you would buy a 40¢ (or should I make it 80¢ box of mallow delights and send it to Dolores and another to Eleanor. What do you think of the idea? If you have already sent the money to me, I will send sufficient funds back again.
Never do a person a favor because they don't appreciate it.
I purchased 6 copies of each of the pictures I sent to you and sold the extra copies to the fellows who wanted them. But since it was before payday they all said they would pay me at that time but none have done so. In other words I have been "reamed".
My pay totaled the grand sum of $6.31. $1.50 of it went to the man whom I had borrowed it from to finance the developing of the films. $0.85 went for my cleaning bill. Then I bought two dollars worth of airmail envelopes while I still had some cash and that now leaves me with the total of $1.96 cents. That is going to sorely try my penurious ways. If I can live a month on that, I will have earned my reputation of "miser". I hope I can because it has been disgraceful the way I have spent my money foolishly on candy, ice cream etc.
This is a good one. The first sergeant and the company commander walk around with pistols on the day of the big pay. Here I walk into the supply room and there is Lt. Hanton pulling the trigger of his pistol and no bullets are flying out. Then he says, "My gosh, here I have been guarding the payroll with an empty gun all day"; so 5 minutes before the payoff begins he loads two bullets into the thing.