Camp White, Oregon
10 February 1943
Dear Aunty Clara:
Again we must have one of those periods of little or no letter writing because I am more than busy. We worked until 1 o'clock last night and started in at 6:30 this morning with a break for breakfast.
What I am afraid will happen is that I will forget the things which have happened in the last few days and that we will pull up our stakes before I have a chance to write another decent letter to my only Aunty Clara.
As for my other correspondences, I will have to just about give up. I received your Valentine card yesterday and it was appropriate and timely and swell. We had just been issued our rifles (the new ones) the preceding day. Will you also thank Aunty Florence for her nice card, too?
Besides those two cards I received letters from Mr. Drews, Eleanor Angsten, Tommy Mashos, Aunty Lillie-Uncle Leo, and you. Quite a bit for one day, eh what? I received $1 in Aunty Lillies's letter and something else besides plain white paper in yours.
Today, I must make an attempt to send postal cards to every person to whom I owe a letter telling them that I have been unable to write and will probably be unable to write for a few more weeks; but that when I do they will have priority on my list.
The watch has worked like a charm for the last twenty-four hours. . . . I became sick from Fiala's candy and Aunty Stella's nuts mixed together in addition to a rush noon meal and a ditto at suppertime. My stomach actually ached.
I had another trim at the barber shop last night. Can you imagine that in the three months I have been in the Army, I have had my haircut FOUR times! In civilian life that would be sufficient to keep me in haircuts for at least a year.
The boys in the barracks must have been feeling high last night for when I strolled into the darkened building and approached my bed at the wee hour of 1 o'clock, I noticed they had tampered with my bed. They had fastened my helmet to the springs and then put the mattress and everything else in a neat and regular style over it. I have enough to do without monkey business like that so I simply took my pillow, one blanket and comforter to an empty bed and slept there during the night. We have a few beds which are unoccupied and the mattresses and pillows are rolled up at their head. That is the kind I slept on last night and slept good (probably to the regret of the tricksters). Incidentally, this morning I did not feel like fixing their tomfoolery; so I simply rolled up my quilt, blanket, pillow sheet, and mattress in a neat pile at the foot of my bed. I don't know what they think but I know they did not have the satisfaction of seeing me 'blow-up' or become perturbed about the situation. That is the only way to end such kind of things.
I find that I still have a few more minutes before the rest of the clerks arrive and I don't intend to resume working until such time. Therefore, I might as well tell you what I can about my trip to Medford. I told you in the letter just before I went that we were to be allowed a half day off if we cared to take advantage of it. I finally yielded to that last forlorn whirl at civilian America. I took my two new khaki shirts into town to have the stripes sewed on but since they were out of the dazzling variety, I simply forgot the whole business and brought them back without them being sewed on.
We fellows waited an hour for a bus and none showed up. At length a Medford-Grant's Pass Motor Transportation Truck stopped and offered us a lift to town. Boy o boy and then some. I never saw a truck fill up as fast as that one did. Privates, Corporals, and Sergeants sprinted a half a block and in one leap were in the truck.
The fellow dropped us off a half block from the bus depot too!
The principal activities in town that day were shopping, slumming at the USO, and walking around the town again.
I bought a bath towel (we are required to have two and one is not government issue), gun oil, Palmolive soap, Sweetheart soap, Lava soap, razor blades (20 Gillettes just in case I get to use that many during the war), valentines (as you already know), and that is about all.
I ate supper at Price's once again and had an egg milk shake with a waffle. Those waffles still tasted good.
I also went to the library (I think I told you this) and read up on Oregon.
Looking out of the USO window unto the park across the way and watching the shoppers, the civilians, the cars, the school children, the high school people and all for the last time was just about the nicest part of the whole trip. There were the saddle shoes, short skirts, babushkas, polo coats, and jackets of the teen age girls (plus ankle socks); the sweaters, the pushed back hats, saddle shoes, striped shirts, load socks, turned up trouser bottoms, and bicycles of the boys; the dudes all dressed up 'fit to kill'; the glamour gals; women smoking and men spitting. All making a perfect picture of American life.
In fact I became melodramatic and wrote this as I sat there:
"Medford, Ore 2:00 P.M. Monday Feb 8/43.
"This is probably the last touch with the carefree civilian life . . .
"This is the end! No more shall I gaze upon the pleasant urban streets of Medford---resting here in the Rogue Valley 2000 miles from home.
"There is a far different background awaiting many of us in the future whether it be near or far. A grim background --- curtains with the flames of war!
"The cruelty, avarice, greed, vice, corruption pollution which is war --- is now about to overtake us. ---
"And death pleasant --- restful --- Yes the deep sleep which is death awaits some --- perhaps all of us in the not so distant future.
"Enchanting sight that --- high school lasses --- teen age girls young beautiful, happy --- coming from school. There is a teen age girl back in Cicero coming home from Morton just about now --- Pat, swinging down 22nd St. --- so pretty, petite et pure.
"Boys bicycling --- people walking, the curbs, the cars, trucks, umbrellas, coats, hats, bandannas, purses, cabs, store windows, noise, running feet, saddle shoes -----LIFE.
"But go we must --- into the fatigue --- the misery --- and the death of War.
Untouched and unaltered --- the above has the possibilities of poetry but not from my uncouth and unpracticed pen.