Cpl Roman F. Klick 36620923
Co "A", 353rd Engr Regt
A.P.O. #502, c/o Postmaster
San Francisco, California
15 September 1943
I want to talk about beer, Bolger, Chicago, the show and William Saroyan. Those items have been occurring and re-occurring to me all day long and usually slipping from my mind; therefore lest, I forget one while I write about the other, I have them all jotted down to begin with.
First of all Ray Bolger and Little Jack Little may be our next USO entertainers although it isn't certain. The schedule of their stops for the next four days was printed in the DB but our valley was left off. We usually get all the show that come around there parts so they will probably be around within the week. That Ray Bolger was unknown to me until I saw "Stage Door Canteen" in which he has a few minutes.
Two cans of free beer were handed out to all the men in the company today. John T. Edie received both my cans and Larry's. In turn for the beer I got a can of peanuts which I told you I bought with that quarter which was kicking around in my pocket. Fair exchange is a good bargain and if I can get something I like for the beer, I don't see any reason for not doing so. Two people are satisfied by that bargain: John has more beer to quench his thirst with and I have something to munch on all evening.
On the way to the show this evening we picked up two soldiers and gave them a lift along the road a ways. One of them got to talking with a fellow named Tertz (H&S Company) and said he was from Chicago. Then he mentioned something about Ashland Avenue at which I perked up my ears. Then he mentioned the Pilsen Station and I asked him on the spot if he had heard of Rathborne's. It was like the secret passwords when he answered, "Rathborne, Hair and Ridgway?" That was about the first time I ever heard anyone give me the full name of RH&R without having to help them along. He lives on 18th and Ashland and worked in the Pilsen Postal Station where Rathborne's mail comes thru and goes out of. He knows Wally Ropa and the whole family and couldn't mention them by name but is on speaking terms with quite a few Rathbornites. That is a coincidence, eh? When he got off the truck and we said solong, he said, "See you in Chicago."
The show was "Mister Lucky" with Cary Grant and Larraine Day. It has an interesting story but we only got to show two and a half of the three reels. It will now be one of those unfinished storied as far as the other outfit is concerned. I only hope now that we get to run it off in our amphitheater so that I can see the conclusion of it. The trouble this evening was neither that of the operator or of the machine. It was the generator. Somewhere in it there was a short and they couldn't locate it nohow so I had to go back to the theater area and got up in front of all those soldiers and say, "Let me have you attention, men. The show can not continue as the generator is shorted and can not be fixed tonight." That poor outfit really does get gypped when a picture is only half shown because we never have the opportunity to reshow it as we do in our own theater.
I wanted to say about Williams Saroyan that in his "Human Comedy", which I did not find to be so great, did have in parts a perfect portrayal of the everyday aspects of living. Much of his story seemed insincere but then there was so much more where he put his finger right on the heart of living and the wonder there is to it. Some of them were: the little boy and his actions . . . the little boy learning what is to be afraid . . . Mickey Rooney's mother waiting for him to come from work and to sit and talk with him . . . the scene with the school teacher trying to explain a few rules of living . . . the little scene of the man who owned the apricot tree and how he played his part in frightening the boys.