Dear Aunty Clara:
It may seem like a paradox but this is the reason there has been a lapse in my letter writing for the past two days! I have so much to tell you about that just writing a letter isn't sufficient. A letter takes to long to write and when it is all finished it doesn't say half of the things a person wanted to say nor does it say the things the way they really should be said. Perhaps a Stevenson or a Galsworthy can be satisfied that they wrote that which they intended to write but not Roman Klick. That guy would like to say so much about everything and paint word pictures of this that and the other but it seems impossible to do so.
For example, all day yesterday the clerks just sat around doing absolutely nothing. And Company A was no exception. The afternoon before that (Friday afternoon) I had tried to write a short note to you but it was no soap. Then I tried to write Pat a note. The letter was written after four attempts. This letter right now is about the fifth one I have started writing to you. And they have not been those short beginnings that run on for a sentence or two and then are torn up. They are the long page letters which I used to write to Uncle Jack and never send. He never could appreciate those because he never did get them and I imagine it will be the same with you.
Just to give you an example of what I want to tell you about, here is a partial list, at least a list of what I can think of on the spur of the moment. Friday morning and Friday afternoon and what we did. Then there is Friday night which ran smack dab into Saturday morning and then the Inspection which was conducted all day Saturday. And finally Saturday evening and the show.
It may not sound like much to tell about but there is so much activity hidden in those words that it would take almost as long to write about the things than doing them. Nevertheless, here goes,
The morning after writing you the last letter, we really settled down to work in earnest. There had been quite an accumulation of items to be done and they either had to be done then and there or perpetually be hanging like a lodestone around our necks. Poor Harvey, I guess he became a bit peeved at me that morning. There were about four letters which I had to write to various places for information and while he would be typing up one of the letters I would be writing another one and the next and so on until we finished them. But that was not all either. There was a lot of little stuff to take care of which doesn't take long but is annoying. We did that next. At length 11:30 rolled around and it saw us with our work all caught up once again. That is when I took out paper and pen and began the first letter. That one was stopped by Mike Nyalka coming up and talking to me and lunch at 12:00.
The afternoon was absolutely free from any work whatsoever; but by that time I was pretty much out of the mood for letter writing. I did, however, think I would be able to get a letter off to Lana Turner which I finally did although it took me hours. Then with about an hour or so left to go, I got one off to George Prokopec. It was difficult deciding to whom I should write to as there are about ten letters accumulated in my desk which came from that A.P.O. address. I don't think I told you but Marie Volenec sent me another letter and there was also one from Jean Weir, the gal from Hawthorne.
Then came 5:00 and the beginning of one of the most fantastic parts of army life. Last week the colonel had begun an inspection of the clothing and equipment of the men in the regiment. He didn't get very far before he blew up because the clothes were not marked according to his specifications. Since the primary purpose of marking clothes with the soldier's last initial and the last four numbers of his Army Serial Number is for purposes of identification, most of us marked them in indelible pencil in the most convenient place available. The colonel, however, is an old fussbudget and required a rubber stamp marking with letters exactly a half inch high and stamped in exactly the correct and designated place for such identification. Therefore, Company A went out and ordered 183 rubber stamps for each man in the company but it so happened that came Friday night the rubber stamps which were ordered were discovered to be 3/8 of an inch high instead of ½ inch. As a result every person had to pile every article of government issued clothing or equipment upon his bunk and wait until the one or two stampers which were available came around to his spot and stamped his clothes. Headquarters Platoon was one of the first ones completed and that wasn't until around 11:00 or 11:30 at night. The last man in the company to have his clothes stamped must have waited until about 5:00 in the morning. Needless to say, lights stayed on in the barracks the entire night thru.
Then we had to resort our clothes because as they were stamped in such a hurry they had been thrown into one grand pile on the floor. On top of the difficult time we had ahead of us in sorting out all the piled up clothes we had to prepare them for inspection. Everything was supposed to be just so. A plan had been printed and passed around showing the exact position on the bed for each article. Most of the fellows made their display up the night before and then curled up on the floor to go to sleep. I tried to do that but by 3:30 A.M. I was too tired to continue to work on it so I just laid down on my quilt on the floor and fell asleep until 6:00. Then at six bells we were awakened but not by the bugle blowing Reveille but by the call for chow. Yes, on the ball as usual, Company A decided to get the men fed and to work on their displays right off the bat in the morning. I worked like a beaver from 6:00 until 8:30 before straightening out the mess I had made of my equipment and then just got out of the barracks on time as Hanton, Warner and Terry came into the first floor of the barracks inspecting the articles.
The inspection was regimental and everyone was included, even Company Clerks. In order to prevent favoritism or partiality by the inspecting officers, officers of the company did not inspect their own companies but went over to another company for the day to do their inspecting. All the officers in regimental (like Warner for instance) had to go out inspecting also. Each officer had charge of one special section. Warner inspected underwear and socks, another inspected toilet articles and still another the shirts and pants and so on down the line. At 5:00 the night before I was no more prepared for such an inspection than if I were still a rookie. Between that time and eight the next morning, I sewed on stripes on my fatigues (two outfits) and on two khaki shirts and stars on four khaki shirts. It is a good thing I got on those things because they watched for just that thing and gigged fellows for not having their chevrons and patches. I sure did catch on to sewing tricks in a hurry. Four stitches sewed each star and six stitches became sufficient to hold on a chevron. Not good but at least they were on.
All of the clerks had a standard joke going Saturday morning when we were all vying with each other telling how bad our display was and how we would get gigged. The joke was that we finally saw our rifles again which we received some three weeks ago and never saw since that time. They are back in hock now and if we never see them again it will be too soon. None of us clerks bothered to clean our guns so it is a good thing that the inspectors did not look in the gun barrels. I was particularly fortunate in that the two things which I did not have in perfect order when I left for work were not checked over in the morning round and when I came back for chow, I cleaned my comb and left it among my toilet articles along with taking my canteen and canteen cover down to the washroom and giving them a good scrubbing. In addition to that little tidying up I gave my knife (eating) a good cleaning at the last minute.
The inspection was finally over and I was not gigged for anything. Meanwhile, we had been having a sweet time in the office. Not one thing to do for eight hours. But each letter I tried to write became as involved in this small detail as this one did and it made it difficult to keep going. Knowing that you can't stand the detail I was wondering if maybe I wasn't just wasting my time on something you didn't care to hear about at all. And my explanation is so short and brief that you really can't get a very good picture about what did happen anyway. Consequently, the entire morning and afternoon breezed by without a thing being done.
Came 5:00 I went back to the barracks and slept straight thru supper until 7:00. It was then I picked myself up and Ray Gradler and I went to the movies to see "The Mysterious Doctor" and "Hi Buddy". As a result still no letters. And now this morning I managed to get up early on a Sunday for a change and get down here to type this up.
Griffin, Molyneaux, Farley and I planned to go golfing at the Medford golf course today but can you beat it, after a month of no rain it had to go and rain today. Of all the lousy luck. And it looks as if we are going to be pulling out of this joint within the next week. But just think golfing in our back door and the first chance we have of going there it rains.
About this proposition of shoving off once again. Griffin tried to get a baseball team started and the colonel said that after Wednesday we wouldn't be needing a baseball team or anything so he disapproved of the entire idea.
I may go roller skating or ice skating tonight. I'm not sure yet.
Until then I bid you a fond adieu. And now to the library to read any book I can lay my hands on. I am in the mood for a good biography or history.
Do you know that it is very difficult for me to write because, I believe, in my newly formed state of mind, I will be back home soon and there isn't much need to write. Strange to say that, isn't it? I am beginning to treat this thing as if it were a vacation.