Dear Aunty Clara:
I was under the erroneous impression that since we had been out on a bivouac last night and first came in at eleven o'clock this morning, that we would have the rest of the day off to clean up our equipment and rest ourselves up. Such, however, was and is not the case. I was asleep at 1:30 when Harvey came over to the barracks and woke me up telling me the bad news that all the other clerks had come back at 1:00.
Inasmuch as I am in no fit condition to do any work, I decided I might best utilize my time in typing this letter to you. At the present moment I am suffering from a stomach ache. I haven't very much doubt as to how I got it either. Looking back twenty-four hours and working up to this point, I ate I Tango, 6 stuffed dates, two slices of raisin bread and a thick slice of American cheese, 1 Tango and 1 O'Henry, the equivalent of two cups of coffee, 1 Tango, ½ quart of cold milk, an apple, two Tangos, 1 orange, 1 Tango, and a piece of fish and some mashed potatoes, 6 ½-peaches, 3 stuffed dates, ½ box of dry rice flakes and 1 orange. Somehow, I even think I outdid myself with that menu.
O, yes, I meant to tell you about the sweet time I had trying to get a good night's sleep. I just didn't. It wasn't the chill of the ground which bothered me because I have learned how to make a bed on wet ground and yet be comfortable. It is done by laying out the tent halves on the ground and underneath the part where your body rests a folded raincoat is placed. Then one quilt and one blanket on top of that form the warmest and practically the softest kind of bed that can be made outdoors. Over us we had two blankets and a comforter. The trouble was that for some unknown reason I continually had one part of my body exposed to the cold night air. That is the trouble when you share your bed with anyone. I am always afraid of taking too much of the blankets and end up by having too little of them. I awoke in the morning with one leg completely uncovered except for the coating of frost. Then too, when sleeping with another soldier you can't continually twist and turn with the consequent result of having several limbs go dead from the cramped position. Moreover, I slept in my helmet! While it did keep the frost from my head, it was not what one would call an ideal pillow.
Coming back to the barracks this morning, they decided to run or almost run. For fellows with short legs that is terrific. As a general rule I would not drop behind but just plug along as best as I could. This time Molyneaux said that the only way you can tell them in language they can understand that they are going too fast is to drop out. We did. And quite a few more did the same. As a result the long legged fellows were told to calm down to a steady pace which their shorter legged brethren could match.
I just now received two letters from you, a letter from Mrs. Boyer and one from Jerome Barta. If you don't mind, I think I'm going to turn into one of the World War type of soldier who doesn't care to discuss the war anymore. After reading the letters from you and the others, I have lost interest in relating those rather sordid details of soldiering for which I have no love.
Mrs. Boyer thinks I am well on my way to someplace or other because she is still writing to my A.P.O. address. It is going to be embarrassing to write and tell her that I never even left Camp White. Jerome also wrote to San Francisco but doesn't mention anything about my supposed departure.
I thought of mentioning George's parents but it seems so odd when he is thousands of miles from home also. I really should do that in my letters but somehow it wouldn't be sincere. I just take it for granted that such things are understood and not spoken of. For example, rarely if ever do I inquire as to your health or the well being of Aunty Florence or Uncle Joe yet that does not mean I am not interested or that I do not care. Nevertheless, I will do as you say in my next letter to George.
It is our Milwaukee friends' flair for the dramatic which makes them do such things as call up Aunt-Aunt every time she comes to Chicago for a short rest.
Curry has a chess set which is hand carved and we play on a regular sized board. On the set which Marty and Virginia sent to me, I have Bob Hesser's and my game set up.
My stomach is feeling a whole lot better now; so I am drinking a coke. In fact, by the time Aunt-Aunt's candy bars arrive, I will be all set to eat them five at a time. Or aren't there that many? By the way, Aunty Clara, does it cost much for you to fix up those stuffed dates? And it isn't much work, is it? I relish them. Of course, if it isn't convenient, do not go to any trouble with them because it isn't that I can't do without them.
Nyalka just asked me if I would take my three day pass starting tomorrow, (Saturday thru Monday) and I refused. In the first place when I take off I want three working days off not one working day and two which aren't considered working days. And besides, on $2 I can't do much, unless I hitched rides into town and budgeted my meals carefully. I certainly couldn't leave camp as the others have. Most of the fellows go to Medford, Klamath Falls, or Grant's Pass and stay there for the three days just to get away from the atmosphere of Army life. It's a joke that they have to go around asking who wants to take their 3 days. And then we get that morning off every week. If the duration could be spent that way with an occasional furlough and no bivouacs, life in the army would be o.k. Somehow, I have a hunch we are not going to get furloughs and that is the reason they are giving out the passes.
Didn't I tell you once before never to say that you are getting old? Am I going to have the same trouble with you as you have with Aunty Florence and her imaginary wrinkles?
I sent out the company picture today. It only took a 1½¢ stamp. I can't seem to locate the list of names which were to accompany the picture. Did I send it to you? I have a carbon copy of it and will send it to you in case you haven't the original.
No, I do not know the author's name of "How Odd of God" but I am going to find out this evening. I would like to finish reading it. The library is arranged so that to look up a book in the catalogue you must ask the librarians and I do not like to trouble them.
Well, in a little more than an hour we will be able to return to the barracks and put our things in order. I'm still wondering whether I have my first foot blister or not. I'll write again tonight around eleven o'clock and let you know. I also intend to study my Army Institute and write several letters this evening. Besides all that I would like to get a haircut and go to the quizzo program they have at the Service Club this evening.
So long for now,