Camp White, Oregon Thursday (the time???? somewheres around 7:00 Pm)
6 May 1943
Dear Aunty Clara:
This is the last uncensored letter you will probably get from me for the duration of the war plus six months. It is too bad that I was so tired last night I couldn't write a letter. There was and still is so much to tell. Last night, to start off with a triviality, I had my typewriter propped upon a board which was supported on one end by the desk and on the other end by my body. I was leaning far back in my chair. That way the typewriter was continually falling or rather sliding downwards. Lt. Maack walked in and saw that; so I had to explain it was a lazy man's way of typing.
Since I will not have time to describe everything which happened, I will have to let a brief resume suffice. For instance, my relations with T/4 Emery are okay once more. I was going to write quite a bit about how we were talking things over in our room last night and what we talked about but there will be no time for that either.
First Hanton, then Driscoll and then Davis right down the line told me to get a haircut and to get a short one. Hanton told me three times that I must get a shorter clip by evening of yesterday. I did but not quite as short as he wanted it to be. The barber had been given instructions to cut their hair short and ask the boys no questions on how they wanted them. Hanton and Driscoll, in turn, would order the fellows to get haircuts and tell them it must be given to them by Hughes, the barber. However, they did not know that Hughes and Klick get along great and are in agreement concerning how long Klick's hair should be. Then a little matter of a fifteen cent tip for the haircut he gave me when I just got back from furlough also persuaded him to listen to my remonstrance that while I would consent this once to having my sideburns cut off, he was in no other ways to give me anything which resembled a G.I. haircut.
There was a big parade yesterday at which time General Thomas spoke to the boys. Of course, Cpl Klick was not in it as usual. During that time he got his haircut. It was quite a big affair and I will send a copy of this weeks 'Bulldozer' along so you can read about it if you care to.
I spent the greater portion of yesterday evening cleaning out my foot locker and getting rid of all non-essential junk. There are quite a number of items which I am puzzled about as yet. That is whether I will have room for them and then if they will let me take it overseas. A lot of it are those little notebooks and the envelopes, letters, pictures, etcetera.
There is also quite a bit of junk on its way home or soon to be on its way. Last night when I made a little note to tell you about that I did not realize that another item was once more to travel across the continent for the SIXTH time. My watch. Luckily, or unfortunately depending upon the way one looks at it, it 'went off the beam' at 1:30 this afternoon. From that time until 5:30 this evening it stopped eight times. A watch like that will do me no earthly good and I haven't a day's time left to test it out to see if it will go back to normal. I doubt it because the last time I tested it for weeks and it just kept getting worse than better. Just one of those things that happen, I guess.
Also being sent home in the same package with the watch are three of my better golf balls, one engineer lapel button, one US lapel button and two hooks for blouses (to hold up that belt). A book is already on its way back with pictures of the combat village which the 353rd Engrs built a few months back. If I have the opportunity, I am also returning in the mail my belt. What good is it? Today we turned in our blouses and one suit of O.D.s. Then there is some miscellaneous junk such as pictures, letters I treasure etcetera which I must mail back. Let's hope I have time to do all that this evening.
For a moment today I thought I was going to have a free suit of Army clothes. It so happened that I didn't turn in my pants and if they hadn't been meticulous in checking up on it they might have escaped their notice. Another way I almost got them was thru Jack's Supply Sgt. However, that did not work because we just missed seeing him in the Supply Room by a matter of minutes. I guess we will have to just forget about it. I know for sure I could have gotten a set of winter underwear. Because I found out AFTER I turned it in that they did not even keep a record of those people who did turn it in. But who wants winter underwear anyway, eh?
The return of the laundry was an all night situation in Company A last night. Why? Because they decided to check the returned clothes. That meant waiting for over 100 or 150 men to have their clothes checked individually before I got my laundry and had it checked. Leave it to Company A to think of the hardest and most difficult way imaginable to do the simplest things.
Yesterday's work was a cinch compared to what we had to do today. It was mainly all our own work yesterday and we did it as we pleased. It was, in a way, a continuation of the previous days work where we made out bonds, allotments etcetera. This morning I and the other clerks began working on that again but we were interrupted and stayed interrupted the entire day. We were typing up rosters of the companies by platoons and squads. This work had to be meticulous as it was a passenger list for the train and for the people in charge of the Port of Embarkation.
Incidentally, all tubes and glass jars are contraband material. As a result Harvey and I have taken the precaution of stowing away in the field desks, our tubes of shaving cream and I also put in the jar of shoe polish.
The BULLDOZER came out today in its bigger form and with items contributed by yours truly. You will see for yourself just what it is like for as I said before, I am mailing a copy of it home to you.
Here is a funny incident which occurred yesterday. Ray Gradler was the bugler and got tired of sitting around doing nothing so about 5:00 he had another bugler sub for him until six o'clock. Lt. Maack, he noticed what had gone on and, said to Ray, "I realize your work is hard, but must you work it in shifts"?
Our salvage came back in and I now have new leggings and new socks (6 prs) but the shoes which came back were not new but rebuilt. Its funny but on the rebuilt shoe, every part is new but the top part of the shoe.
Our typewriter came back today and the only thing which was done on it was that it was cleaned. They say they fixed it but they didn't. Not only does it still skip places here and there but it also just doesn't print a letter every now and then. The t is one of the keys which just don't want to print. And I must continually go back a few spaces to restrike them. That is just swell getting set to go out into the field with a typewriter which is on the blink, but bad.
Of course you know by now that Friday (tomorrow) is "my dearest Aunty Clara."
Answers to your letters: The entire office is now back for the evening's work and it is a bit embarrassing to be found rereading your letters so if in my furtive glances I omit an answer to something here and there please forgive me.
Yes I guess I am a regular chatterbox and we really did capitalize on that furlough to get back into talking stride didn't we? We will need the rest of our lives after the war trying to catch up on all the time we have missed . . . I hope you can take a trip to Milwaukee by airplane so you too can have had that experience of riding in one of those things . . . That is another funny thing. You are the one who always would have liked to take a trip around the world and . . . who knows? . . . maybe before this war is over, I will have gotten around most of it for you. Then we will have to go back around again to show you the places I went to and saw as a soldier . . . Sure is too bad that in Gene's case that 'taking' things home at night had to turn out to be that serious. If I know Gene, he was building quite a radio set at home in his basement or something on that order. Boy if they should ever start prosecuting all the people in this world who find it convenient to take things home with them at night the jails are going to be overloaded. And there will be no help left at Rathborne's or Ackermann's. Remember what Aunty Florence used to say about Clarence, that he had a regular printing press at home and was supplying it thru Ackermann's. That is taking on a larger scale. Just as much as they ordinarily lose by that means for the whole company going into the hands of one person. I hope he gets out of it because even though it isn't so terrible I can easily see how Mrs. Reed could feel about such a thing as that.
Yes, it is one of those unfortunate things that now the fellows who were left behind on the first furloughs will not get them now.
By the way, before I forget, start mailing everything and anything to that A.P.O. address.
Mike just brought up some work to do now so this will end the letter. If I get the chance to write again late this evening, I will do so. I am going to mail this letter from the Service Club so that it will go thru without being censored. Whether the mail will be delivered as rapidly hereafter yet remains to be seen. Time will only tell. If this is the last letter you receive from me for some time to come, you will know the reason for it.
So long ma chere tante,