Dear Aunty Clara:
Twice previously during this day did I begin writing you a letter but each time something interrupted its completion. It was not that we were busy because we weren't. For the first part of the morning; that is, from 8:00 to 11:30 I kept myself pretty well occupied and I also kept Harvey plugging away at the typewriter. In that time we cleared up almost all the little odds and ends which accumulate over a period of time. All that remains are the war bonds and one or two changes in the Service Records and I can begin working on the payroll for April.
Just before coming back to work after lunch, Blumenfeld and I walked over to the Service Library and picked up a few books. The one I got a hold of was The Magic Island, a story of black magic in Haiti. We got back to headquarters before everyone was in and started reading. I just kept on reading from 12:45 to 4:00. All the clerks were as busy as I was; so at about 2:30 half of them went outside the building and played some softball while the remaining ones were either reading, writing or talking at their desks.
In those few hours I skimmed over a considerable portion of the book and found many of the passages on Voodooism weird and fascinating. There were also stories about the zombies (the dead people who are still living). It has actually been substantiated that people of Haiti have died, been buried and later have reappeared as zombies. In actuality they have been drugged with a lethargic producing potion and have been buried while in this coma-like state. Later on the criminal-sadists rob the graves and 'resurrect' the 'dead'.
After finishing all I cared to read in it, I began writing my second letter of the day to you. Before I finished it the fellows who had been playing baseball came in and Nyalka announced that all those who had not gone out playing baseball were free to go to the barracks for the remaining part of the afternoon. Because there were such matters as sending the laundry out, changing sheets and getting a pair of new shoe laces to be taken care of, I took advantage of his offer and left then and there.
The first letter had been a short affair which was begun at 10:00 when I first thought I might have completed my work. Something popped up unexpectedly and I dropped the letter at that time also.
Some more chatter in regard to my new room: The disadvantage of not being able to see the mess hall from the second barracks in which my new room is located became apparent this morning. I awoke at 7:00 and idled my time away until approximately 7:20 at which time the mess hall door was locked and only under urgent appeal did the Mess Sergeant open up once again. He certainly tore into me for not getting there at 7:00 --- the picklepuss. An advantage was that when the first shift woke up at 5:30 they did not arouse me from my slumber as has been their custom. Another advantage (and one that seems too good to be true) is that Burkard swept under my bed for me this morning. I was also called a night owl by them. They think twelve o'clock is late. In a way they are fortunate in getting me as a room-mate since I do not hang around as much as another fellow would. Most of the time I remain in headquarters until past eleven or else at the Service Club so they will not see much of me and in effect it will make it a two man room.
This new insidious habit of buying ice cream because it was not included on my budget is eating into my cash resources rather heavily. Yesterday it was a 25¢ expense and today it added up to 34¢ (two sundaes for myself and 4¢ to make up enough for Molyneaux). But they taste so good I hate to give them up.
O, yes, while on the financial subject, I received my monetary reward for the hard 'work' of Saturday night last. That leaves me with a total of $4.41. I also talked to Hanton in person about the little matter of paying me for the book. I received the snippy answer that it was only worth two-bits. My answer to that was no sale whereas his reply was in terms of possession being nine-tenths of the law.
I stumbled into Lt. Hanton by accident when I brought my application for work in the PX down to the Orderly Room to leave for his signature. He surprised me by being in. He looked over the application and noted that I had stated my available time for work from 5:00 on. He made the sarcastic remark, "So you quit at 5:00, eh? Who is going to finish your work for you, Harvey?" He signed it anyhow and mentioned that I better not look too hard for work or he will provide some for me.
This afternoon while coming back from the PX I met one of the fellows who work in there and I asked him about the chances of getting a job in the place. He told me just who to go to and what to ask about and I did just that. The only drawback is that there is a waiting list of three people and I must wait until the turnover reaches me. I asked the lady manager just how fast the turnover might be and she said that right now it is pretty slow.
The pay is good and I am hoping that four people quit real sudden like so I can start getting a few extra shekels in my jeans. We work on the hourly-monthly basis. The rate of pay is 40¢ an hour but you are limited to one-half of your monthly salary ($66 is mine so I can earn not more than $33 at the PX in any given month). That wouldn't be half bad if we could stay here for a few more months and I could draw that extra dough.
Jack Molyneaux had an interview with the Colonel in connection with his application for the aviation cadets and the Colonel approved of it. Who knows but that within another month or two he will be leaving us and joining the long line of friends I have in that outfit.
Tomorrow morning is my morning off once more and I have intentions of going ice skating in the evening; therefore, if you do not receive a letter, that will be the reason why. For the past few days I have been investigating my Army Institute course and working up my interest again. Now that I am away from prying eyes it will be easier to work on them. In fact the deadline for sending a lesson in comes this Sunday; so I had better get busy if I desire to remain in good standing.
I would also like to write some letters but for the life of me I can't imagine people desiring to hear from me anymore after this long lapse. They have probably just given me up as a hopeless case.
ADD HOMELY NOTE!
P.S. Zamora, the bugler, just went out to blow Tattoo and instead, sounded off with a cross between Recall and Fatigue Call. When he came back in, I started asking him what the idea was, and he said, "Ya I know wrong call --- but it will do."