Dear Aunty Clara:
Either I have Spring fever or I am in love. Nevertheless, I have not been doing one single thing for the past 48 hours and I doubt if my ambition will awaken in the next 24 hours either. For instance, I have played two chess games with the fellow I mentioned in the other letter of a day or so ago. It was 12:45 yesterday when we played the first one. The game turned out into a stalemate with neither he nor I winning. It was rather curious to decide who had won the moral victory which most always is won by the person with the extra man in the stalemate. He had a king and a pawn left and I had only my king. However, not ten moves before the finish, I had lost a major piece to him which in essence gave him the moral victory.
Then this afternoon (Sunday) just before I wrote this letter he and I tackled one another once again. This time it turned out a draw with neither of us having any advantage and no victory to settle for morale or other reasons. In my prime I believe I could beat him WITH MY HANDS TIED BEHIND MY BACK. After all, he has been playing consistently since he came into the army back in November while I played three games back in December or thereabouts in the Medford USO. And if I can give him such a rugged match, I believe that after a week or so it will be a rather simple task to share a game here and there. Although I may be talking through my hat about his ability and my ability in the game; but, as a general rule. I usually know what the score is in that game.
I also walked down to the library during working hours (that first chess game was during working hours also) and looked over the books they have there. It has expanded considerably since the first time I looked the place over a few months back. And, Aunty Clara, the selection of books they have is terrific. There are not many but they are excellent. It seems that as this was formerly an engineer's camp there were a great many books on mathematics, foreign languages and the like. The reference section is perfect with one of the best being the Encyclopedia Britannica. I drew out two books. One is identical to my French Grammar back home in my personal library and the other is a trigonometry book. I hope I will get a chance to look them over once in a while during the next few days.
Last night Molyneaux (who has some French in him but is mostly Irish) wanted me to go to the show with him but I refused this time and intended to write letters and brush up on my French. Instead of doing that I met Ray A. Gradler who was the bugler of the day. We started off like houses afire with that French book but soon slowed down. We began playing games like guessing famous orchestra leaders and the like. Childish but still we did it.
I got to bed early Saturday night (the only night I wouldn't even have to go to bed because the next morning is Sunday and you can sleep as long as you want to). This morning I got up for breakfast because I missed supper last night. We turned in our laundry, got new sheets and pillowcases and turned in our salvage (I turned in an old brown sock I found and a single sock the laundry returned to me instead of a pair). Then I laid down on my bunk preparing to look over the French book. I went through the pronunciation of the words (which has always been one of my weak parts) and then fell fast asleep. I woke up just too late for dinner.
Now Molyneaux wants to go to town and take a try at ice skating. I said I would after chow tonight.
I have an hour before I will have to go back to the barracks and take a shower and dress up in some fresh clothes like a summer shirt and the going away pants. In that time I would like to be able to write Pat a letter but I have my doubts as to my ability.
She wrote another one yesterday so now I get two letters from home every other day yours and hers. She always had appeared as a smart gal back in Cicero and different from the rest (yeh, they're all different but she really was) with an ability to concentrate. I told you once back home that I thought she was a lot older than she was. Well, her actions and intelligence are certainly above the level for others her age. That is what scares me now. Her letters are so dog-gone good that I am afraid mine can not begin to compare with them. The first letters which I wrote her took me a little bit of time because I wanted them to be just right and here she bounces back letters which I can not duplicate on moments notice. You know very well that these fastly written letters of mine are filled with errors and that would never do in writing to her. At least not now when this correspondence is first beginning. Then when I stop to plan my letter I run into the same difficulty I used to have in writing to Uncle Jack or Tommy away back when. It used to take me a full evening to write one letter and even then it would be mediocre.
Now I have only ¾ of an hour to write that letter. This letter is not finished but I will put it in an envelope and send it from Medford. At least from Medford it will leave for Cicero this evening instead of tomorrow at about ten o'clock.
If I get back from Medford early I will write more.
O yes, in answer to your letter:
No that is not expected of us fellows to do but we climb into our barracks just for the fun of it and the explanation I gave you. But don't worry about the sentries taking pops at us because their guns are not loaded and even if they were they know what is going on and have probably climbed ladders into the second story themselves. If you look on one of those first pictures I took in Camp White you will see an excellent view of the ladders I am talking about. Or have you already noticed them?
Those ration books are headaches. In a newsreel and then again in the paper I read and heard explanations of how they work but it seems the people doing the explaining didn't know what they were talking about themselves. It sure seems to be a severe rationing doesn't it?
If I were as close to home as Jimmy Kotek is, I would be home every weekend I could get off. Look at Bobby Boyer down in the southern part of Illinois coming all the way up every chance he gets. That would be the cat's meow being able to come in every couple of weeks, eh?
Did I tell you I sent an O.D. picture to Dr. Kolar? If I didn't how in the world did you guess it?
And about this business of being caught up with my work. From the looks of things with my apparent laziness and inactivity, I did a lot better when I was pressed for time instead of having all of it I want.
Doesn't Aunt-Aunt know that I sent Anita a card too? From that she could soon see that I managed to send out more than the three which are allowed. I told you that I snared 25 for myself, didn't I?
It looks as if this letter which was supposed to end at the top of the last page is going on and on without a sign of a let up. There is only 35 minutes left as I am typing this; for a letter to go out to Pat, and I imagine the chance for me to get that in the mail today, is pretty slim now.
It is too bad that I didn't know in the very first letter I sent to Richard that he was over 38 and I could have tipped him off as to how to get out of the army fast. Molyneaux and I are kicking ourselves around because it is a snap to get a CDD in this camp. And if a fellow over 38 doesn't seem to be absorbed into the army they will let him go like a hot potato. The only trouble is that this outfit is ready for overseas duty and they don't care to let too many go right now on this over 38 business if the men are useful to the army.
However, since Richard is in the Infantry Training Camp he had an excellent chance of getting out. All he had to do was pretend he could not take any of the Army grind and make no attempt to keep up with the younger fellows and soon they would be glad to get rid of him. There is no checking up on the affidavits which declare he has a job waiting for him in essential war industry so for all that matters he could get any friend to sign one of them for him.
If the letters which are in Frisco are not censored, I will get that mail with the $5.00 still in it; but, if they are censored, we will have to depend on the honesty of the censor. Personally (and I know you said the same thing) I don't care to get that $5.00 if it means going to Frisco to get it.
Who cares what kind of envelope the letter comes in as long as it comes.
They have Random Harvest at the movies tomorrow night so maybe I will take it in. I notice by the Chicago papers that Random Harvest is still at the United Artists so we must be getting pretty late pictures in these Army camps. Last night they had Walt Disney's colored picture on South America and another one which I do not recall off hand.
The OCS blank is a humdinger to fill out and I have not yet completed it. If I fill it out, I understand that if we stay in camp long enough it will get to the Board for approval or disapproval. Another thing I noticed about it was that in the ARs concerning OCS it says the Board should rely more upon the record of the individual than his actions in front of the Board. And they do not check on the authenticity of the application. That means if I desire, I can pad the thing here and there with evidence of leadership which is required of an officer. I certainly will not inspire them with that spirit in a personal interview.
Lt. Warner is in the office today with his wife. He is the Officer of the Day. She is rather young but then he is not so old either.
Only ten minutes left before I must go.