Cpl Roman F. Klick 36620923
Co "A", 353rd Engr Regt
A.P.O. #502, c/o Postmaster
San Francisco, California
August 19, 1943

Dear Aunty Clara,

Instead of coming right to the office after supper, we went to the amphitheater. Yes, it was the band night this evening and they put on a whale of a show. Blumenfeld sat in front of Larry and I and throughout the performance he kept writing little notes down. It turned out to be the names and doings of everything that took place whether a song or act. He then writes to his wife and lists what songs were played and which instruments played the solos. Larry and I laughed and laughed and laughed but I guess the laugh was on us because we write about all the little minor and insignificant things ourselves. The only difference is that we do not keep notes that scrupulously.

The highlight of the show was the first official playing of "The Hall of the Mountain King by Peer Gynt. They also put on a new act with one of the members dressed up as a Russian Cossack. It was the craziest thing yet.

Then instead of coming straight back to the office, I detoured into the big tent to do a little composing for the day. Not long after I had loosened up my fingers to the keyboard a soldier walked in and asked me to play something. I told him that I couldn't play but was just trying to pick out the right notes to complete a song. He didn't go away but sat there listening to my clanking. Larry followed me into the tent about ten minutes later and together we managed to put the finishing touches to two more lines of "For Me and My Gal." We are as far as the word Sal in the fourth line of the song. This composing took more than a half hour so we left to write some letters. That is when the pay off came because as we walked out of the tent this other fellow sat down at the piano and just rattled off the music. He is still playing and it is more than an hour since we left. Can you beat that? And he sat thru all that key beating of mine!

What is the most valuable part of a watch besides the hands which tell the time? And why? As far as I am concerned I like the second hand best of all because it is the most useful little gadget when you want to see how long you can hold your breath. Larry and I had a little contest. I started off with 1 minute and 10 seconds which he followed up with a 60 second stretch. The second run was the better of the two because I held my breath for the fantastic amount of time of two full minutes while Larry held out for 77 seconds. Incidentally, two more scratches were added to the watch today. How they got there I do not know. By the way, I do not think I have told you how I put my watch away at night. I place it in the red plush box the first watch had originally come in and then I place that box inside my cloth canteen carrier. The reason I do this is because I notice Harvey Beaumont's watch used to stop if left on the cabinet so that the dew and cold could settle on it during the night. This way it keeps the watch warm and it never stops running. I don't know if that would happen to mine but I am playing the safe side.

Going back to "The Hall of the Mountain King" it seems that I have come under the influence of Disney and Stowkowski because at the climax of the song I can imagine the trees all about a mountain castle begin loosening themselves in rhythmic movement and finally in beat with the music, the entire forest begins to swing and sway and advance towards the castle. Then at the peak of the music the scene transfers inside the castle where a sorcerer plays this powerful music for the Mountain King. The entire scene becomes one of mad frenzy as lightning and earthquake together combine to destroy music, castle, mountain and all in one mad symphonic splurge.

By the way, speaking of Walt Disney, have you seen his cartoon picture of "Victory Thru Air Power?"

/s/ Roman