Dear Aunty Clara:
This letter will perhaps wind up as a continued story. I will send it out in sections as I complete each one. That way we can be assured that it will go out instead of being held forever and ever awaiting completion as is the one previous to this.
To retrogress back to Wednesday morning, the first day of my three day pass and continue step by step chronologically to the present would be useless because the five page letter which I still have with me was on that order and I just couldn't understand it myself after reading parts of it over again.
Under my new plan, I will take up some phase of activity during the past five days and carry it through to the end and then begin a description or narration of another phase of activity. Then when that is all done, I can back track with a miscellaneous account of everything I may have forgotten in the original writing.
The one fault with waiting this long before setting all the facts down is that they are liable to be forgotten. I know that many times during my pass I would think of something which I wanted to say to you and would jot it down in my memory brain; but somehow or another they just don't come back to mind on the spur of the moment. What I really should do is put them down in one of those little notebooks.
Well here goes the letter:
I golfed all three days of my pass starting out with 9 holes the first day and increasing it by nine every day until the last day Edie and I played 27 holes of golf. In the evenings we went to the show. In fact, in the two days since my pass has been over I have gone to the show also. The first night in town we slept in a hotel room and the other nights (because we came back to camp to see the shows) we slept in our barracks. The weather was perfect. The sun was out and the temperature soared away up there. So there, in nutshell form you have the summary of my short vacation. Now for the details.
Since golfing was the primary object of the three day pass, I think it is only right that I take up a discussion of it first. We golfed at the public links (9 holes) the first day, the private course the second day (18 holes) and the private course once again the third day (27 holes). These were the scores without the story: Public course --- 51; 1st nine at Private course --- 64; 2nd nine --- 52; 1st nine (second time) --- 62; 2nd nine (second time) --- 50; 1st nine (third time) --- 53. Not counting the first two tries on the holes 1 to 9 inclusive on the private course, the results were not bad, eh?
But that is not all I am going to tell you about those golf games! Did you think I would let you off for a moment without a detailed explanation of how the course was and how the clubs were and how I swung the club on the 37th stroke of my fifth nine?
The public course was a sorry mess. The only reason we played it was that it was two o'clock in the afternoon when we got there and we had walked a mile out of our way to reach the spot; so we thought we might as well give it a try. There were two girls playing on the course when we arrived. That is not what I would call a heavy amount of trade. Incidentally, for a moment we thought the course was not even open for the season yet. The greens were over-run with weeds, the flags in the holes were all broken up and sometimes there wasn't even a flag. When we came up to the golf house, it was locked. However, a man came running from a little farm house a few hundred yards away and opened the place up for us. The set of clubs he gave us were the old fashioned kind made of wood and the bags were the Sunday variety. They have no shape to them and only cost about a dollar. In spite of such poor clubs that score of 52 wasn't half bad.
The greens were so bad that I, myself, must have tried extra hard and finished the course in 15 putts! That is three under the average I have set for myself. Just to give you an example of how overgrown the place was I lost two brand new golf balls (costing $1.45) on the fairways. And both of the shots on which I lost the balls were beauties.
For such a hilly country they sure did wind up with a flat course. If it was tidied up here and there it would be a nice course for beginners to play on. While I had a good time, I certainly had no desire ever to go back to play on it again.
As you will probably note from my scorecard, I parred the #2 and #8 holes (the longest one and the shortest one on the course).
GOLF ----- PART II
The second day we went out to the private course and had a whale of a time. The score of 64-52-116 does not indicate such a good time but here is what happened. I was determined to use only the proper club at all times whether I got a good shot or not. As a result, by the end of the game I was getting in some nifty #2, #5, #7, and #8 iron shots. They only gave us two woods, a brassie and a spoon, so our driving off the tee was handicapped somewhat. My putting suffered somewhat --- perhaps getting only 15 putts the previous day upset me. As a result I used 22 putts going out and 19 putts coming in. My drives were working fairly good. My two best holes were on #16 and #17 where every shot was exactly as planned. On one hole I burned up to a crisp. It was an easy four foot putt or so and I could have gotten a par. Naturally, I tensed up and dubbed the shot. We finished the first half of the game a little past noon. Edie had a few sandwiches for lunch while I gorged myself on several candy bars. The second nine went by rather fast in the noon hours and we then went back to camp.
The golf course is as hard as a rock and even though it rained one night the ground didn't get any softer for it. That made it easy for us in case our drive hit the ground soon. Usually the ball stops shortly after hitting the earth but not at the Rogue Valley Golf Club where it rolls and rolls and rolls. The entire course was filled with dandelions and the scenery was better than ever. From the golf course one gets all sorts of sights. One minute you are away down looking up and a few hundred yards further on you are at the top surveying the surrounding valleys. Then sometimes along the same fairway your partner is waling along the 'high road' several yards above you while you take the low road which keeps going lower and lower.
I just can't describe the countryside to you again as I did in the unsent letter; but it was simply wonderful. Gee, Aunty Clara, after this war is over we just have to come out here to the Rogue Valley and spend a good long vacation. All my life I thought I would find the ideal locality somewheres in the South and it took a war to show me the spot where I wouldn't mind spending the rest of my life. Just think 2000 miles due West of Chicago --- no cold, no snow, no wind --- and golf in the winter time. If someday we have more money than we know what to do with I suggest that we buy a home in Chicago and another one in Medford. Then for part of the winter or on holidays we could fly here and spend a few quiet days. If, however, I never come back, I suggest that you take a vacation by yourself out here just to see what I was talking about. Maybe you and Aunt-Aunt would enjoy looking at the things Roman used to write home about.
Anyhow, to get back to that sterling game of golf, we came out the third day and played 27 holes. That is, I played 27 holes while Edie quit at the 18th. During the middle nine holes I was in the groove and that stick and ball was doing just what I wanted it to do: so I dashed around the first nine holes (which had me stuck up to then with a 64 and a 62) in an hour flat and managed to snare a 53. Boy oboy, that last nine I golfed was the fastest and just about the best I did in the three days. You should have seen those drives! Every one went a mile. Then I would hike off after it, take out a spoon or brassie for the next shot and land on or within inches of the green. Then my #7 or #8 iron would get me a beautiful lift and land the ball kerplunk right smack dab on the green. By the time I had raced around the course, I was actually sweating bullets but it was fun. It seems when no one is there to watch me I play the best.
During the first eighteen which Edie and I played together, I only got one par and twice I blew a par after landing on the green in one and two strokes. Can you beat this, on one hole I overdrove the green by about ten yards? Incidentally, I forgot to mention that on this last day I asked the clubhouse foreman if he would let me use a driver in addition to the brassie and the spoon.
It is sure swell to be playing with a set of clubs almost identical to those a fellow has back home and is used to playing with.
As a general rule when I hit the ball into the rough or a nasty spot I would walk over to the place and spot it in no time at all. Edie however, has continually losing track of his golf ball and I'll bet that a good 30% of our time was spent in looking for them. The reason for that is probably due to my summer's experience in searching for golf balls in the dense undergrowth of Columbus Park's wood hazard.
This item about the golf balls should go in with the Financial Report section of this letter but I think I might as well tell you something about it at this time. As I was waiting to meet Edie downtown in Medford the first day of our pass, I dropped into a sporting goods store and looked over their selection of golf balls. You could have knocked me over with a feather when I saw some Wilson Golf Balls on sale for only 60¢ a piece. I bought three of them. It was one of them that I lost on the eighth hole of the public course. The other ball I lost was an 85¢ Spalding which I bought the other time I went golfing. However, the next day after that I found a better Spalding than the one I had lost so that there was only a 60¢ loss all told.
Golfing at the public course cost 50¢; 25¢ for playing and 25¢ for the rental of the clubs. At the private course we had to pay $1.50 each time we went there. $1.00 for eighteen holes (or all day) and 50¢ for the rental of the clubs.
In a section which I am going to devote to the characters we met in and around town, I want to tell you a bit about the clubhouse foreman who has had a wide experience in this world.
Wednesday night we went to the Holly Theater in Medford and saw a double feature. The one picture was Iceland with Sonja Henie and John Payne and the other picture was The Man Who Wouldn't Die with Lloyd Nolan. Thursday night we came back to camp to see a Technicolor picture Happy Go Lucky with Dick Powell, Mary Martin, and Rudy Vallee. On Friday night we saw the Major and the Minor with Ginger Rogers and Ray Milland. On Saturday night there was a double feature at the show: After Midnight with Boston Blackie who was Chester Morris and a Cowboy picture, Idaho, with a fellow by the name of Roy Rogers. Last night we saw another Technicolor film Hello, Frisco, Hello with Alice Faye, John Payne, June Havoc, Jack Oakie and Lynn Barry.
That was the very first time I ever saw Sonja Henie and she is cute. That picture is supposed to be a rather old one so I imagine you might have seen it at the Villas by now. She certainly makes that ice skating look simple. It seems Jack Oakie and John Payne work together because they both played in Hello, Frisco, Hello.
Did you tell me at one time that you saw Lloyd Nolan in those detective pictures where he plays the part of Michael O'Shane? He is good. This play was more mysterious and spooky than Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man.
That technicolor picture for which Edie and I came back to camp to see Thursday night was swell. It seemed rather odd that Dick Powell and Rudy Vallee, two singers, should be cast in the same picture together. As it turned out Rudy doesn't sing any songs while Dick Powell sings just one. There is a crazy comedienne gal --- Betty Hutton --- in it. Mary Martin reminds me a whole lot of Jean Arthur. Have you ever seen Mary Martin? What do you think of that resemblance? Even down to that catch in the throat.
Of course the Friday night show was the one you told me to go see if I ever got that chance and I did. I wasn't disappointed either. That was a funny picture and a nice picture at the same time. Ginger Rogers certainly acted her part ought to a "T". And Ray Milland kept looking at her thru his bum eye thinking she didn't look half bad at all.
After Midnight with Boston Blackie was good because Chester Morris was in it. I've probably told you that Ray Suchoski of Rathborne resembles him a whole lot, haven't I? The story is about Chester Morris tracking down some crooks but because he himself was once a crook he gets into hot water with the police.
Idaho was a so-so cowboy picture. The only good player in it was Osa Munson. Do you know who she is? That last time we saw her she was the owner of a saloon and a gambling house etc back in 1865 in Atlanta, Georgia. This time she is a modern miss who runs a high class, up to date gambling joint and saloon in Idaho. In other words she was Belle Watling of Gone With the Wind.
The last picture was the one that rivaled The Major and The Minor for top honors of the week. Boy, Hello, Frisco, Hello had just about everything. And Alice Faye sings one song after another. All are good. Some of them are "Ragtime Cowboy Joe", "By the Light of the Silvery Moon", "Hello, Frisco, Hello", and Jack Oakie also did two good numbers. I have to laugh every time I see Jack Oakie now that he is so fat. Years ago he was a thin fellow. I think that this is one of the shows Chicago hasn't got yet, am I right? It's about the four of them starting off in the Honky-Tonks of San Francisco's Barbary Coast and working their way up. John Payne finally reaches Knob Hill and Alice Faye makes a hit in the theaters of London. It all winds up that both she and John Payne get back together on Pacific Street in the Barbary Coast and take up where they left off. Lynn Barry is the third corner of a triangle and the gal that got John Payne to want that "house on Knob Hill".
(By the by, walking along East Main Street in Medford, one comes across a house on a very very small hill right in the middle of a block. The owner has a gateway with the inscription "Knob Hill" out in front.)
By all means see "Hello, Frisco, Hello". I guarantee that you will want to stay over again to see the picture a second time.
Going to show with you two when I was a youngster, and having a boyfriend like Clarence who could sit in the shows all day, and having an Uncle who could sit thru "Ruggles of Red Gap" for two consecutive showings and added to my own personality developed within me the habit of lingering on a bit to re-see part of the show. At least I have to see that part which I came in on. It so happens my fellow soldiers want to walk out the minute there is any suggestion that we are coming to the scene we came in on. I have to hold them back anywheres from one to five minutes before we finally hit the exact scene. What kind of people are they. I think their freakish and they think I'M crazy.
I think that winds up the show going angle.
(to be continued)
au revoir mais non goodbye