13 May 1943
Dear Aunty Clara:
In the first few days we were in our new location there wasn't a moment in which we weren't working or doing something. As a result it was next to impossible to get a letter off to you. Three times I began to write but each time something turned up that I had to quit in the middle of it and it remained unfinished (and unsent). Then, as the days began to go by, I was desperate to write you some little sort of a note and I did. It was returned. Then I wrote again and that is as yet is in the hands of the censor and now a third has been returned to me. It seems that what I find interesting to tell you about no matter how careful I am to restrict it to non-military information there is some short phrase or remark which is objectionable.
In the first letter there was a mention made of the mode of travel we used from Camp ________ to Camp _____ and I had to delete that. When the letter was returned to the censor (incidentally, the censors are our company officers) there was a whole paragraph concerning Dolores and Bennie which I was told was too suggestive of something or another and that would have to go also.
The last letter was supposed to be a parody on this censoring business and I wrote a tremendous amount of restricted information and then cut out all the items with a razor blade. BUT even that had left in it enough material to send it back to the author for correction. (Time out, Aunty Clara, Jack Molyneaux wants to ask me something). ---------------- He wanted to know how to figure out percentages.
It is too bad that this business had to come along and interrupt the long string of descriptive letters which you have been receiving. Now I will no longer be able to tell you what my every movement was during the day; but I can only skirt around a spot here or there. I guess I'll just have to live now because there will be so much to tell you about when this war is over. Although letters are by no means entirely satisfactory as methods of communication they still fill a great gap when two people are separated the way we have been. It was so nice to be able to talk about things that happened (when I was home on furlough) as if we had both been there.
But enough of this kind of talk. Now, on to the news. The Service Club in this camp is a good distance off and one thinks twice before strolling over there. One day Blumenfeld and I thought we would take a look at their library and walked to the place. We were then handed the surprise of our lives when we discovered that they did not allow soldiers to come in dressed in fatigues. That is a ruling which the Camp ______Service club never had.
The show in this camp is much nearer than that of the last camp. Just for a relief and to get my mind off things, I went to the show last night with Blumenfeld and Beaumont (4" censored). The picture was "Assignment in Brittany" and it was terrific. Pierre Aumont, a new actor, and Susan Peters, who played the other girl in Random Harvest, were the chief characters. Incidentally, George Coulouris, the fellow who played Bulldog Drummond so well over the radio played the part of one of the Germans in the film. The story is about a Frenchman who is assigned the task of locating a secret Nazi submarine base somewhere along the northern coast of France. The entire picture is good and a smashing climax is effected when a Commando raid is filmed in the last moments.
By the way, Ralph Phau (1" censored) and I went into town two nights ago just to look the place over and buy a few articles we needed and could not purchase at the PX. The town was quite dead, very few stores were open, and the streets were apparently deserted. Of course, it is a soldier's town just as the other town was near the other camp. In fact, this one is even more so because it is within walking distance of the camp.
One thing we noticed about the buildings is that they are all kept quite clean and many of them have been but recently erected. This holds true for most of the public buildings. One thing, however, which detracts from the appearance of the town is the mixture of two types of scenery. There is the natural scenery and the artificial. This part of the country is not beautiful in the sense that the last place was nor is like the section which Uncle Jack lives in. The people of these parts are not content with utilizing what they have but have artificially created in their landscaping and their architecture the type of thing this countryside is imagined to look like by the outsider. This fact has lowered my estimation of this section. Give me back good old Camp ____ and its surrounding countryside any day of the year.
The climate hereabouts is mild and has all the qualities which I think a climate should have. The only objectionable feature about it is that there is a wind whereas the other place was as windless as a place could ever get. The nights are good and we sleep well.
One of the reasons for going into town was to purchase a tooth brush holder. You will remember the white one we bought before I was drafted, well it broke during the trip down here and I needed a new one. In addition to buying that, I purchased a pocket novel. It is one of those $.25 books --- the Hurricane. I meant to save it for some time in the future when the hours may become dragged out but Nordoff and Hall have always written a book that interests me and so far I have read two chapters of the book.
The food is served in an entirely different style in this camp and I find that the PX has become my favorite spot for an extra snack. I used to live on strawberry sundaes but now my diet is made up of malted milks and cheese-ham sandwiches. This PX sells sandwiches already made up for $.10 and they are good.
Editor's note August 2004: The remainder of the letter is missing, presumably censored.