Camp White, Oregon
20 March 1943
Dear Aunty Clara:
I didn't type you a letter last night as planned nor did I study any of my Army Institute course. I did not write any letters to other people either. What I did do was to waste my evening at the Service Club playing Quizzo. What burned me up was the fact that I should have won the grand prize in the quiz contest but with the laxness they conducted the affair with, I was lucky to come off as a runner up. There were 10 contestants. Five questions were asked each one and only 3 of us managed to answer 4 of 5. Naturally one would think that those 3 would play off the tie. Such was not the case. Two others wormed their way in and a third was a friend of the fellow conducting the program and he was practically invited into the finals.
Then, in the finals, I was leading by having answered five questions to my nearest opponents four yet when they asked how we stood every one said four and four. A little later we gave up on a question yet they gave my opponent credit for answering it which shot him ahead of me. His prize was a light tight fitting sports sweater with Camp White, Oregon written across the chest. My prize was a 25 cent dance ticket.
The one question in the original five which stumped me was "Name the two series of books written by Horatio Alger". For the life of me I couldn't think of them and I still can't. In fact, I never did read any of Horatio Alger's books. They appeared to be a waste of time to me.
That contest ended at 10:00. I walked into the cafeteria and bought a quart of milk for 20¢, carried it back to the barracks, got out my canteen cup and spoon, opened a few boxes of rice flakes and had myself a good meal. It created quite a sensation for me to have a midnight snack like that. One unusual feature which I didn't notice until Mersing called it to my attention was that I didn't have any sugar. He asked, "Where did you get the sugar for your cereal?" and I told I didn't use any whereupon he said he couldn't eat it that way and several other fellows said the same thing. That just shows how convenient it is not to use sugar. Just think, I started that habit over a year ago now and it really is a habit now. I just wouldn't think of taking sugar in anything and I never even notice that I haven't any sugar in things which people ordinarily use sugar in. And at one time I use to wonder how you could do without it the way you did.
The lights went out about the time I finished and I talked to Mersing about books, Shakespeare, authors and school and decided I had better hit the hay myself. I slept like a log. In the morning, when I woke up, the blankets around my shoulders were still tucked in underneath my bed as they were when I crawled into bed the evening before.
O, I didn't tell you about the sorry condition of my poor feet did I? I suspected rightly in thinking I had a blister on my foot. It wasn't much however and at first inspection a person couldn't even notice it. It didn't hurt then and it doesn't hurt now; so I just ignored it. But, taking those gigantic strides yesterday trying to keep up with the rest of them made my shoes bend deeper and hit a different spot on my foot with the result that I made a deep gash in my foot and the entire front part of my stocking was saturated in blood. And when I took off the sock to look at my foot you could see nothing but red stains all over the toes and sole. After a good shower and a thorough cleansing of my feet, I walked around in house slippers for about two hours and then put on my other shoes to go out in. Naturally, I walked very very slowly as not to irritate the wounds. That is a thing which really can't be helped because sometimes a person can walk all day long and never have anything wrong with his feet. My leg muscles would probably hold up just as long if not longer than any soldier's out on the line would. I know that after those walks to the rifle range and the other bivouac, I was the only one with enough ambition to keep walking around in the evening while the others rested up which shows that my muscles are in condition (from bike riding, walking and golfing) even though my feet aren't made of iron. When I write to Dolores, I will have to tell her about the army finally breaking me down. She will certainly enjoy that to hear that the company clerk had a little workout.
The library at the Service Club has no card catalogue. What I thought was one is empty. The librarian said they have no record of the books they have. Can you beat that? If I was ambitious enough, I would offer to fix the place up for them. It would be some actual experience in organizing library work. As a result, I did not find out who wrote, "How Odd of God." It seems that there is a demand for that book and it is out more often than it is in. Since there is no charge for books held beyond the date they are due, many fellows keep the books for quite some time before turning them back in.
I remember the time when I used to get three or four letters every time Johnson came around with the mail and now I get mail every other day. Then I used to gripe that I didn't have time to answer them and would wish that some of it would let up. Now I wish I could get it again. There is no satisfying anyone in this world. Even me.
P.S. --- Just found the list of names to go with the picture.