353RD ENGINEER REGIMENT. G.S.
CAMP WHITE. OREGON
20 February 1943
Dear Aunty Clara:
It wasn't a total eclipse after all. The last time I looked at it and told you it was beginning to get red, was the apex of the phenomena. I only wrote one other letter last night and then went back to the barracks to wash my clothes. Yes, I said wash my clothes. Since we have been expecting to move, our laundry service has stopped and now they have come out with a foolish order saying that all your clothes except those you are wearing must be clean.
I have enough to keep me going for quite a while by a sparing change of them. That is in the line of underwear and handkerchiefs and even socks. But when they tell you something like that there is nothing else to do but start washing them out because at inspection they would only find a pile of dirty clothes.
Well, this is the way I wash my clothes, wash my clothes; so lately in the night. I filled the tub with hot water and let the clothes (9 handkerchiefs, 3 pair socks, 1 pair winter underwear, four pair summer underwear) soak for 5 minutes. Then I started to wash them one at a time by putting a little soap on them and rubbing the article in my hand a few time, rinsing it out and laying it on the side. Then I had finished all the articles, I let out the soapy water, filled the tub with fresh hot water and commenced rinsing each article out. As I rinsed the article I then wrung it dry and laid it on a sheet of paper. When I was all finished, I took everything upstairs to my bed and hung them on the wires and the clothes hangars to dry. Ha Ha Ha I thought I would be able to put some of the things on this morning but that was just what I had thought. They were still soaking wet so kerplunk! I dumped the whole wet shooting matches into my footlocker where they will remain until this evening when I will be able to hang them up once again.
Can you beat that. One of the new corporals, Schultz, took bed check last night and turned my name in as the only man not present or accounted for. That is a good one. I haven't been to bed check in two months and that is about the first time a man reported me as absent. He started to sound off about it this morning when I came in but Driscoll and Lt. London who were in the next room did not pay any attention to that noise. The follow is too conscientious about his work and thinks he must adhere strictly to the rule that all absentees must be reported.
Incidental to the dirty clothes and no change of shirt is the fact that we do not get clean bed sheets or pillow cases any more either. Boy this army is a good one. Sanitation! Cleanliness! Freshness! I will be glad to pull out of this camp for at least one reason and that will be so we can get back to normal again. Or maybe we won't because on a boat there probably will not be much opportunity for those things either.
Our mailman will be leaving soon so I better send this letter off now. This letter is not being written during working hours but has drifted into them. I started at quarter of eight and it is now ten after. My boy, Harvey, is right on the beam this morning and instead of writing letters like he can see me doing right now, he has started to do some filing I set out for him last night. Good going. Although after that I haven't a thing to keep him busy.