353RD ENGINEER GENERAL SERVICE REGIMENT
22 February 1943
Camp White, Oregon
Dear Aunty Clara:
This sheet was a sample copy of the stationery they were going to sell to the fellows in the regiment. The sale is off since the overseas movement began; but I managed to salvage this to show you what it looks like. I think that is a good idea having your own personal stationery like this. It adds a certain little touch to the letter, doesn't it?
We had a swell time roller skating last night. The rink is a good sized one comparable to White City which I think is the best roller rink Chicago has. Of course, it does not have the canteen and the foyer or that extra aisle running completely around the rink nor does it have that booming organ of White City. However, a person can skate around a rink like that and not worry about not having enough room.
The girls are outnumbered by the soldiers four to one and maybe more. Jack Molyneaux knows how to dance on skates and naturally got himself a partner in short order. The only gal I ever skated with was Myrtle and she was only learning. I don't know whether I could manage to skate along any too well with a partner.
Just as I was typing the above paragraph, Sgt Johnson delivered the mail (it's ten o'clock in the morning) and the one letter I received was from you. Speaking about the specs, I haven't worn them now for a half a week. No more late work and no more reading have kept the eyes in pretty good shape.
Incidentally, we are breaking one of our corporals or rather changing him to a Technician 5th Grade. His name is Harry H. Kleinschmidt and he was made corporal on the very same day I was, January 5, 1943. That will leave yours truly, Cpl Roman F. Klick, 36620923, the ranking corporal of Company A. In other words I am the only corporal who held that rank on January 5th. All the rest have either been broken to private, promoted to Sergeant or transferred to technician fifth grade.
Say, you really do get a late start. 11:30 in the morning is no time to begin work. But as long as you're not working gets a letter written that's a different story.
So you have spring weather! Who knows maybe it will turn out to be like the summer we had two years ago. You remember which one I mean. When it stopped snowing in February and became warm and stayed that way all the way into October.
Never did get a report back on the X-ray although I made two attempts to find out with neither one bringing any results.
The fellow that sleeps on my right, Joseph Bauer, is not German as his name implies but Bohemian. His aunt lives at 1838 S. 57th Avenue and he knows people named Rehor on 19th and 57th and the Pavlicek Drug Store brothers are related to him thru some intermarrying in the Bauer clan.
I believe I told you that I occasionally come into the barracks by way of the fire escape have I not? The fire escapes are ladders nailed on the front of the building. You see, I sleep close to the front of the barracks on the second floor and in order to reach my bed, I must come thru the front door, walk the length of the barracks, go up the stairs and then walk back thru the building to my bunk. So you can readily see that by merely climbing the ladder I am there. Last night I walked in that way at 11:30 and it creates a sensation to have a fellow come in from that direction. Then, not more than fifteen minutes later, who should step in from the stairless front door but Ray Gradler. Two of a kind.
I do not recall just how much I told you about Sunday morning in yesterday's letter. Did I tell you that we sent in the laundry? I sent all the clothes I had washed the night before and then some. We turned in salvage and the one stocking that had a little hole in it suddenly became a great big yawning gap. That is one of the tricks you learn in the Army. If you want to turn something in to get something new for it, it must be in an unwearable condition. Little holes and rips are not acceptable in salvage; and consequently, we have to enlarge them. For instance, Jack Molyneaux's supply sergeant took a pair of shoes which were not acceptable and cut them with an axe. Then they were o.k. to be turned in. What an Army!
My desk right now is the clearest of all the companies. Even Jack's desk has a little more work on it than mine. It does seem strange to have this free time like this. If we continue to keep on the ball and knock out the work as it comes in, maybe this will be a sweet job after all. N'est-ce pas, ma chere tante?
We learned the other day that the mail which has been sent to our A.P.O. address might possibly be shipped on ahead of us and be waiting at our destination. Lt. Warner was the fellow who gave us the o.k. that we could mail out those cards and now he has found out that they were not to be mailed from this camp at all but were to be mailed by the port of embarkation officials at such a time that the arrival of the cards in the mail would coincide with the arrival of our transport at our destination. He has been catching plenty of no good from the colonel for that little trick.
We made Blumenfeld a Private 1st class Saturday. Pvt Harvey is no longer Pvt but Pvt 1 class, also.
After Marth, Molyneaux and myself left the USO last night, we went over to the penny arcade and were competing at the different games. On all the shooting, I was tops. Of course, that comes from the years of experience which George Prokopec and I garnered at the expense of our pocket books at the local shooting machines. I shot down 10 airplanes in a row before missing one and the ended up with a score of 12 out of 15. That is a bad score in comparison to what I used to do but it wasn't beaten while we were there.