Dear Aunty Clara:
I am going to write this letter to you in the nature of a noble experiment to see how adept you are at learning a seemingly complicated procedure of form.
It will be a test of your skill, in other words. By passing this test you will accomplish something which I attempted to put across to you away back in the beginning of 1941. If you recall, it was during the time I worked in the box shop planning office that I first mentioned the idea which I am now employing in this letter.
The real purpose behind this letter will not be revealed by the contents contained herein; but in another ABSOLUTELY PERSONAL letter which I will enclose either in this letter or under a separate cover. The reason for the sending of the two personal letters in two separate envelopes will become plain to you after you have read both of them.
By the way, I guess we have said just about enough along that line so I might as well switch to current events. I meant to write a few letters this evening but our company was confined to the barracks immediately after chow and the confinement lasted until eight o'clock. Lt. Hanton went around inspecting our new sets of khaki suits to see if they fit and also our diaphragm gas masks (did I tell you that I received one of those officer gas masks which a person can talk thru?). He inspected mine first and then told me that Sgt Driscoll had a little job for me to do. It took until 9:30 for that little stint of typing that Driscoll had fixed up for me. I received a half of a half pint of ice cream for my trouble though. Lt. London bought it at the PX and gave it to Mersing and I when he came back to the Orderly Room.
Incidentally, after that job was finished I began writing these letters to you and it is now past eleven o'clock and I haven't made much headway in the thing.
When I brought the typewritten work back to Driscoll at 9:30, I was feeling kind of hungry so I walked into the kitchen and my friend T/4 Peters gave me a great big juicy and succulent apple to fill my innards with. No sense of going hungry with friends around, is there? Earlier in the evening Ray Gradler was going around with a few extra O'Henry candy bars and he donated one to my empty stomach.
Why is my stomach empty you ask? Well, it seems that Sgt Driscoll tried to tell the Rations Officer how a report should be made out and as a result our company drew rations for 131 men instead of 171. This made the crumbs rather meager for the day.
You know, Aunty Clara, that this letter is still an experimental model so if my words just don't seem to jibe or my thoughts seem haphazard you can blame it upon that and the speed at which I am trying to get this thing off. In time when I have occasion to really write one of these things in dead earnest and not for practice, I will be careful to compose it with ample time to spare for brushing up on the rough spots here and there.
We are going to draw full supplies for our field desks tomorrow. They practiced putting the supplies in Company D's desk this evening and are going to begin on mine in the morning. You should just see the way they stuff the things with paper and forms. After all of it is put in the desk, we are going to take the stuff out and keep it in the office desk until needed.
I wonder if I will have room enough to put the Personnel Administration book I bought in with all the other things? After all I paid almost $2.00 for the thing and I want to keep it.
I didn't answer any letters today but the ones I sent to you and to Aunty Florence. I will have to try to get about three or four out tomorrow. And I haven't been able to get hold of a chess set so I can dope out a return move for Bob Hesser. This is awful letting a chess move go for two days and tomorrow will be three.
I finally got the box of material sent home this afternoon and it set me back $1.76 for the postage and $0.15 for the insurance. I sure do hope the camera comes back in one piece. I don't believe I enumerated the various pictures I took with the two exposed rolls and the three that are already snapped but are still in the camera.
The first roll has the picture of Nyalka, two of the mountain with the white cap, one of me in my khaki shirt and blouse and another with my khaki shirt without the blouse (both with the bum eye), Two more of the mountains and I just can't think of the eighth picture.
In the second row of film there is a picture of Mersing, two of me (with and without my blouse) and five shots taken inside the barracks.
The first of the three in the camera is an inside picture of the fellow who reminds me of George Prokopec.
In the second snap I have the lights of the barracks at night as seen from the porch of Headquarters.
The third ------ you know, my memory must be getting bad because I don't recall having taken but the two shots I just mentioned.
O well, that is one of the signs of senility this lack of memory business. I told you I would grow old in this man's army.
Just a few more minutes it is going to be twelve o'clock and here I sit just driveling on and on and on. I hope this adventure in (blank) will be a success. When you read the other letter and reread this tell me if you will be able to follow my method.
I ran back to the barracks after coming out of the Orderly Room at 5:00 and who should I run into but Sgt Driscoll. He was in a rather gruff mood at the time because he asked me if I was supposed to go out and stand Retreat. I said that no one told me anything about having to stand Retreat and he let it go at that. Probably he was only having his little joke. He has a different sense of humor than most people.
I managed to get a couple minutes of sleep while the boys were out parading from 5:00 to 6:45. Every little minute counts when a person is on the go from morning until night.
When I was walking to work this morning from the Company A area to the Headquarters building I wondered why I didn't have so much time before work as I did at RH&R when I came in early. The half hour it took me to get to work was insignificant because what is a half hour. Still I should have more time left. Where did it go to? I got up sooner yet was rushed for time. Eureka! We start at 8:00 and not 8:45. And then, although we get up at 6:00, we don't fall out until 6:15 and aren't ready for breakfast until 7:00 and then before you know it it is 8 bells.
This letter is beginning to irritate me because I am restricted in form and am getting rather tired. However, if I don't finish now, I doubt if I ever will. And it is essential that I complete it as soon as possible, since it may be well worth it in the long run.
The only thing I can see that will save me some time is to jump from subject to subject in shorter order and not dwell on one thing for too long of a spell.
Why this is you will know a little later on.
I realize that what I have been saying concerning this remarkable epistle is mostly Greek to you and I hope that is what it will be for a lot of people who try to dope it out.
Do you recall when I said one time that if you make it complicated enough and involved enough, no one will ever dope it out?
It seems funny that when you force yourself to write a letter without that spontaneity behind it, there is a certain lack of interest in it and subjects to talk about seem hard to come by.
I will be definitely glad when this letter is finished and I think it will be done before I reach the bottom of this page.
Incidentally, there will only be an occasional use for a letter of this type so do not start worrying that this is going to affect all my letters.
When a letter of this type comes along you will know it by its unnumbered form. This will not be entered on any series and perhaps after this one has outlived its usefulness and after the ones to follow have served their purpose, they can be destroyed. This applies only to the unnumbered ones such as these.
This ends it all.