Dear Aunty Clara:
Our letters once more resume their natural course. It is now almost ten o'clock and I am just done working. The entire company was restricted once again after chow. I have taken to the habit of reading my Reader's Digest during this period of waiting in the barracks with nothing to do. Today I fell asleep while reading and before I knew what was happening, Morris E. Mersing was shaking me and telling me that I was wanted down in the Orderly Room. I was mad. Those louses can't let you get a moment's rest. Of course, I shouldn't blame them because with all the extra special rush going around here right now, they themselves aren't getting much rest either.
Nevertheless, when I walked into Lt. Hanton's office he said to me that I should not expect to have the night off. In fact he said he had plenty of work for me to do. Then he stopped short, came up real close to me and said, "G.D. you Klick, I told you to shave that stuff off. Either you get that off or I'll take it off with my razor and that won't be pleasant. I haven't given you any orders up to now but I want you to come back here with a clean shaven face or else." So what could I do? When I came back, with a sort of sloppy job (because, after all, I don't know how to shave with a razor) I kiddingly told him to take it easy because this was my first real honest to goodness and in earnest shave so it might not be perfect. He laughed and said that I was right. Then he started showing me different spots underneath the sideburns and towards the back of my jaw which didn't look so good and he said, "They shave in those places too, Klick". Anyhow, it seemed to make us get along a little better. Maybe a clean shave will be worth it even if I do get a heavy bristle out of the business.
The work he planned for me and which, believe it or not, he sort of apologized for giving me was not as hard or difficult or long as he believed it to be. In fact, it will serve my own office work as well as his company work and that way I have killed two birds with one stone. I had Harvey come up again tonight to help me with it and he did a swell job. The fact of the matter is that today made the third consecutive day that we have pounded out a lot of pressing matters.
I told you yesterday that we were going to have our field desks outfitted with full field equipment. Well, this morning Company A's desk was filled first and I saw to it that we got a little extra of this and a little extra of that. The supply room was running open house today and Harvey and I supplied ourselves with two extra little black books with blank pages for our own use. If I had known a week ago that I would be able to get hold of one of them, I wouldn't have bothered asking you to send the ones you did. Of course, you never can tell, I may get to use them all up before this mess is over.
I bought a cake of hardwater soap for 5¢ this morning. It is supposed to be good in any type of water. It is more or less on the order of laundry soap.
By the way, did I ask you to mail my sun glasses? (Airmail) If you think you will get enough use out of them this summer maybe you had better keep them because the Army is going to issue us a pair of government sunglasses. For all I know they may be the same kind I have. After all didn't the government buy up all the Calobar lens last summer? I don't think they could be very bad, do you? You decide on the wisest course. Pretend you are me and then figure out what is best.
I just had a brief pause of over a half an hour while I did Sgt Nyalka the favor of going down to the Shack to buy him a milk shake and two hamburgers. Of course, I had a nice ride on the bike. This one I used today has a swell seat --- kinda high like the bike I had. I would like to take one of them out for a Sunday ride around camp. That would be swell.
I also received a bar of chocolate candy out of the deal. And a dime. It seems that the store only charged me 15¢ for the milk shakes and they should have been 20¢ Mike insisted that I take the dime saving.
The pair of trousers which we turned into the supply room yesterday to have cleaned cost 50¢ and were back today. Everyone had the identical complaint that they were not cleaned but just pressed. All the pants had the old dirty stains in them. Those cleaning and laundry bills here in camp are really robbery. That makes three bucks in two weeks for those items. That is a way lot more than I would be paying back in civilian life.
I had a neat trick pulled on me today. Jack Molyneaux approaches me and asks to have me give him a dime. He says he lost $15 at cards or dice last night and that he is broke. I told him I only had around 35¢ but he takes the dime anyway and then hands me a slip of paper. The slip said that it was a receipt for my dime (this was all in verse) and that I shouldn't whine because I can get another one like he got his. I did. The idea spread around the office until the 1st Sgts were springing it on the Lts. I am going to send the thing to Dolores and have her start the ball rolling down at RH&R where it is bound to go over with a bang.
The more I look at these mountains the more I find in them. Do you know that the mountains are everchanging? You probably still have the impressions I had (although you have seen the Rockies and probably know what I am talking about) when I still lived in the prairie state. I thought mountains were just big masses of stationary objects and when you looked at them once you had seen them for all time. I was never so wrong on anything before in my life. I could sit like 'jaja' used to and watch them all day long.
For instance, the other morning I went back to the barracks for some little thing and noticed the group of mountains in the southeast. It seems that a wind must have been roaring through the valley and stirred up the clouds. And for a strange trick the sun had not yet risen in the Rouge Valley but in that pass with swirling clouds the sun was playing havoc. As a result it appeared to be a violently boiling cauldron with vapors arising from the depths.
This noon time everything was clear but yet not more than five miles distant in the southwest there was a heavy fog which clung to the surface of the ground and was clearly visible from here.
I never did tell you that although most of the mountains around us are the hilly variety and the highest peaks (Shasta and the other) are to the East; yet the largest and the ones which look the most terrible are to the South. They are the beginnings of the mighty coastal range of mountains which continue down through California.
It is too bad it is too late but now that the weather has cleared up in this late winter season, I think it would have been nice to have you visit the place.
I left out a very important slip of paper in my double cross letters and have inserted it in with these pages.
That trip to the Shack had a noticeable effect upon my typing. My time was drawing short and I began racing along with the consequent errors.
This business of working all day and then having to come back to work at night is screwy. That way I can never get a chance to write a letter with ample time to compose it properly or to type it neatly. It also keeps me from going to bed at ten o'clock the way I promised myself I would after having what you could call a relapse. I could feel something coming on as you probably detected in my preceding letters in which I complained of my almost utter fatigue. A person just can go so long without the proper rest and then bang --- even me.
There is a young fellow who used to be a student clerk in Company E who was given a discharge today. The lucky fellow. Jack Molyneaux and I often speculate as what is to be our fate and where our destiny will take us. I often say I would prefer one place to another and then he pops up, "Did you ever see, Norristown, PA?" It hands you a laugh and pretty soon you feel like saying to fellows (who describe the wonderful advantages the army gives you by letting you see the world), "Did you ever see Cicero, Illinois?"
I had intended to write at least one other letter tonight but I guess that is out of the question now because it is once more close to the bewitching hour. I did manage to find a chess set today in the dayroom of H&S Company. I doped out a move to Bob Hesser and will air-mail it in to make up for the three days I have already lost in answering him.
I am using up my air-mails at the rate of two to three a day. O well maybe I won't be using them all the time.
Something is happening. I didn't receive any mail today. That is the first time since the middle of December 1942 that there were two days in one week when I did not receive mail of some sort or another.
I am a lazy fellow at heart as you know from past experience. And as a general rule if we have had a clothes check or changed sheets on our beds or anything like that which would sort of mess up my bunk, I never fix it right then and there but wait until I amble into the joint in the wee hours of the morning and then disturb the sleeping soldiers by making the bed.
If I had not had so much accumulated work in my desk today, I would have had it fairly easy. Molyneaux and I are the only fellows who are up to date on all the deadlines we have for getting work turned in. Today he wrote letters all day long but I worked on some Class F Allotments which had accumulated in my more busy days. Who knows but that some day in the future whether far or near I will be able to sit down at the typewriter in the morning and begin writing a book to you about, "How to get along in the Army" or "Just what is a goldbrick".
There are various tricks to this Army life which makes things a lot easier for a fellow and some of them are beginning to penetrate my thick skull. For one thing, when someone comes up to you and asks you a silly question don't worry about the answer. Just tell them anything and make them happy. It saves you a lot of trouble and time.
An example of this came up the other day when they wanted to know how many men we would have in the hospital at a date a few weeks in advance. Now what are we supposed to be? Mindreaders? The other clerks started figuring this, that and the other and getting all set to go ask their Sgts or to call the hospital. Molyneaux and I looked at each other and I said, "Company A is going to have four men in the hospital two weeks from now", and he said, "Tell 'em the same thing for Company B, pal". Believe it or not, that answer was satisfactory.
Then again, just yesterday Mike (Nyalka) wanted to know where certain forms were that went with a man's records when he was discharged. They pertained to the clothing and equipment and I didn't know the slightest thing about them so I said, "My supply sergeant will take care of that", and he was satisfied with that answer. But the most amazing miracle was that not even ten minutes later my supply sergeant (Myers) walks in with those very forms.
They told me to "Wise up boy, wise up" (remember) and I guess I am.