Most cut out parts of this letter were done by yours truly. They were not words but misspellings, corrections, and crossed thru words. May 18, 1943
Camp ___________ 1
15 May 1943
Dear Aunty Clara:
I do not know in just what sort of defaced and mutilated conditions my last letter reached you but from what Roman F. Burkard told me it seems Lt. Podelwitz was the censor that day and objected to something or another in it. What it was I do not know because I had tried my level best to describe common ordinary things in life and nothing which would even fringe upon the military.
Last night I received your first letter addressed to the APO address. Do you know that we must be highly telepathic if you had that premonition of a communication from me throughout the day because it was on Sunday that I learned it was permissible to call home on the phone and was contemplating the act throughout the entire day. Do you know what would be a good idea? Once a week at some specified time we should endeavor to communicate with each other by that means (telepathy, I mean). What do you say? Are you willing to try it to see if it works?
The Reader's Digest finally came thru and it was addressed to the APO. You recall that I sent in a request that the address be changed back in February when we first mailed out those cards and we came down to our new address just in time for the Reader's Digest to meet us here. That is what one would call good timing.
Blumenfeld went out on pass yesterday and visited one of the bigger cities near camp. It was a twenty-four hour pass from 1 PM to 1 PM. All he did was to drop in at a USO and then go to see a stage play. In the morning he found that he had just enough time left to get dressed, washed, and to eat breakfast before he had to catch the back to camp.
Last night we were both in the mood to see another movie but when we arrived at the theater we discovered that it was a cowboy picture and neither of us cared to see it. From there we went to the Service Club where our famous band was playing. I've told you how they built up the reputation of the band back in ________ and evidently it was well deserved; for people began inquiring about the band. Who were they? Where did they come from? And they remarked on how excellently they played. Of course, we admitted they belonged to us and by the braid on our caps they could tell what type of organization we were but further than that we couldn't go. We answered that we were a military secret.
But about the so called secretness of this place. It is a lot of boloney. Quite a few of the fellows wives who had been living in __________ while we were at camp _________ are now down here and are meeting their wives in the Service Club every evening. That is exactly how secret Bennie kept the location from Dolores.
Remember that fellow called Charles Frank? I took a picture of him and Thompson back in December among that first group of pictures? Well, you could have knocked us over with feathers when he walked in on us the other day. He had been made limited service back in Camp ________ and transferred to the SCU of that camp. From there he had been shipped down here and happened to see some of the boys the second day after we were here.
Incidentally, I meant to tell you about the Personnel Office. In the previous letter I believe I mentioned how we improvised an office out of a supply room and later, on the Colonel's orders, we were given desks and benches made expressly for our use. In additions to those conveniences a Coca Cola machine was installed the third day we had set up in our new quarters. This is just like being back in Camp ______. Blumenfeld's wife had remarked when she had visited him that no one seems to drink cokes as frequently as do soldiers. And she is right. They seem to live on them, morning, noon and night. It used to be down at Rathborne that we would have a coke in that afternoon to give us a lift after a heavy noon meal would set us to drowsing. There were some like Joe Schmidt and a few of the salesmen who needed a coke early in the morning but that was probably because of slight hangovers from the night before. But in the army the story is quite different. They are kidding right now that the soldiers out in the battlefield probably have coke machines set up in foxholes.
The book I have been reading2 has proved to be one of those gripping novels such as the others2 by the same authors. Would you like me to send it to you? Reply in the next letter you write and let me know. It is easy to send. All I will have to do is put a paper wrapping about it such as the Reader's Digests come in. It is strange to think that a description of the forces of nature unleashed could provide so many entertaining pages. Yet it can be done. In fact Joseph Conrad's was on the same order as page after page described the catastrophic horror of the event.
By the way, I take back any good word I said about the climate in this neck of the woods. It is windy, windier and yet more windier. In spite of what should be a hot sun the area is kept in a chilled state by the breeze. Give me good old __________ any day of the year. That is the one thing I will never tire of saying and that is I thank the army for finding for me the ideal climate of these United States. By now you must be bored by the constant repetition of that statement. My only hope is that when the war is over and we visit the place or build a home there that you will like it as much as I did during the time I spent in that country.
3I also received a prompt reply from Ray Bernatsky yesterday in return for the short note I wrote him on my return from furlough.
Beaumont and I had a swell meal in the PX yesterday --- liver sausage sandwich and a chocolate milk shake.
While in the Service Club with Blumenfeld last night, I picked up a book entitled Army Life by Private Kahn and can you beat it! His impressions and accounts of army life from the moment of induction to the send off for battle is exactly what I would have liked to have written. You would probably never get around to the library or wouldn't bother getting the book if you did get to the library; but nevertheless, keep it in mind and maybe someday you will find time to read it.
Ever since coming to this camp I have been troubled with a 'canker' sore in my mouth. It rubs against the lower front gums and is very irritating as you well know. I wish the lousy thing would do away so that I could enjoy such food as I do eat. It is painful to eat, chew gum, or even change my facial expression to a great degree. Isn't it surprising how those tender spots can hurt so much? Aunty Florence used to get them quite frequently didn't she.
Nyalka began giving Butterball (Thomas Campbell Company "F" clerk) a haircut and everyone crowded around to witness the horrible massacre. It ended up by the back of his neck looking like a series of slashes --- semi-bald spots in the middle of a lot of hair. By the time that haircut is over with I'm afraid Campbell will be sporting a 'bawly-sour'.
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To be continued later this evening
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Continued at the same time --- I forgot to mention that Ray said Western Electric was going to get him a four month deferment but right on top of that the draft board sent him a notice to report for his blood test. That can mean only one thing and that is that the deferment was turned down. I don't see how that could be though because in the same letter he talks of them asking for another four month deferment after the next one is over. In other words they are going to try to keep him indefinitely with one deferment after another. I'll have to write him and ask him to give me more lowdown on the situation.
Did I tell you the other day that I received a letter from Jimmy Kotek which he mailed to my present address while he was in Cicero back in the first week of March and that letter was sent out and returned back here once again. All told it was in the mails from 3 March 1943 to 10 April 1943. Some traveling, eh?
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I just received two letters and a package. The one letter was from Eleanor Angsten. Evidently Dolores did not return the Monday I left so Bennie must have had an additional stay. She also thanks me again for the box of mallow delights I gave her the second day I went down to the office and then I opened up the package from you and eat some. The mallow delights dried up considerable but were still good. The boys all enjoyed the stuffed dates (there were enough to go around because the whole office didn't get back from lunch yet) and Blumenfeld and I ate the mallow delights. Thanks for sending them. The lunch wasn't so hot anyway. The second letter was from my very own Aunty Clara (12). You mention that you will speed the letters to me by airmail so that I will still have a chance to read them in this camp. Well, under the censorship rules we can not speculate or guess at the length of our stay in camp or movement anyplace.
You also said that you hoped I might get a chance to take a look around the country that I am in. Well, it looks as if I'm not going to see much more of it than what I saw the night during town. And as I said before I do not like this country so who cares to see it anyway.
By the way, Louis Cava went on pass to the same place Blumenfeld went to. In fact, just a short while after lunch, I saw him coming back. He went with this fellow named Devore, who, if you recall was one of the fellows who traveled back home with Chick Schneider, T/5 Gordon and myself on furlough.
Although we were paid our furlough money just a few days ago, I was a bit low on dough; so miser like, I determined to raise some as soon as I could. Just about that time Mersing came down and asked me if Lt. Hanton could borrow my Virtue (that is that book on Personnel Administration). I let them take it at the time but asked him if he couldn't see about selling it while it was up in the Orderly Room. His efforts evidently did not meet with success; but Jack Molyneaux overheard me and the next day offered to buy the book. I sold it reluctantly for it came in handy for the problems which have come up from time to time.
Don't ever send any money without me asking for it first because I think I have enough now to supply my immediate needs.
During the noon hour I managed to finish the last of the book4. It was a good book but now that it is done I do not care to have it hanging on my hands. I think I will send it you anyway. If you don't read it, we can add it to my library even though I don't save such books. Who knows, someday a miracle might happen and I will have a wife and children and then there will be some books right handy for a book report. Or maybe Rosana will read the things when she grows up.
The thought just occurred to me that if Tommy, George and I live thru the war, we will be the only unmarried and famililess fellows of our bunch. What started me off on that line was what to do with the book and from that I began musing about the younger generation and then to the family which Ray and Dotty have in the offing. And the families which all the rest of my generation have begun.
Enclosed under separate cover you will find your last two letters, Eleanor's letters and those which Ray and Jimmy sent to me. Since we are only supposed to write on one side of a page these four or five sheets will make quite a bundle in the envelope without adding four returned letters to it.
I wrote a letter to Mary Kuehnle and to Eleanor Angsten and I am sorry to say they are about the worst letters I have ever written. Somehow I have lost that touch which formerly gave life to the letter.
I'm sorry but words were censored at this spot. I have subbed other words in their place - Roman
A phrase was disapproved at this point