Cpl Roman F. Klick 36620923
Co "A", 353rd Engr Regt
A.P.O. #502, c/o Postmaster
San Francisco, California
September 181, 1943

Dear Aunty Clara,

Could it be possible that I did not send you two letters on Saturday the 18th of September? I just now opened my cardboard box in which I keep my dated V-mail and to my utter amazement and confounded astonishment I discovered that I still had a V-mail addressed and dated for the 18th of September. Please check up on this matter and let me know for sure how many letters are dated the 18th exclusive of this one I am now writing on.

Fate seems to be against my ever getting enough rest because I was awakened this morning by my friends (?) Burkard and Edie who informed me that at eight o'clock sharp I was to report to the Orderly Room by order of the Company Commander to do some work. They woke me up at 6:30, can you imagine that? And then, for fear that I might sneak a few extra minutes of slumber they kept reminding me of it. Then at 7:15, John comes in and wakes me once again announcing that it was now the last call for breakfast. Thoroughly disgusted, I dressed up and went to the mess hall. Promptly at eight bells I was in the Orderly Room, where Sgt Driscoll knew that Lt Hanton had wanted me during the previous evening when I was up on the hill running the movie but for the life of him, he could not recall for what purpose. I said that I would be available in the Personnel Office and that when Lt Hanton came in he could send for me if he wanted to. My parting words to Sgt Driscoll were that perhaps Lt Hanton would want to see the men's Qualification Cards during the day and I would bring them over. By golly, if that wasn't the very thing which had been on their minds all the time. So for that little business, I was robbed of my much needed rest. Never again during the day did I have the opportunity to catch up on any lost sleep.

As you know, my right ear is half deaf or more but as I told you in a previous letter, it is now hurting because of an ear ache and seems to be all clogged up. This stuffed feeling makes me notice the deafness which otherwise I take as a normal course of things. I wonder if the same thing is happening to my ear as happened to Larry Isaacson. A fungus growth from the river lodged in his ear and blocked the passage. It took several weeks of treatment before he was cured. This is the second time since being on the island that I have had trouble with that ear. When we first arrived, there was something wrong with it but the soreness went away in a week or two.

Success. I did accomplish something today even though it wasn't very much. I began writing a letter supposedly to Dolores but I started the thing off with "Dear" and then knew I didn't want to use such a salutation and therefore turned it into "Dear Uncle Jack". From the letter to Uncle Jack I went on to write a thank you note to the Michalaks for the money and the birthday card. Then a short note to Myrtle Reed. I thought I would have been able to continue the writing and finish off the rest of my backlog in correspondence but I was mistaken and here it is ten o'clock in the evening and I am writing my first letter to you.

I've mailed the letters to Myrtle and Aunty Lillie but will hold off on the others because it just isn't cricket to flood the censor with a lot of mail at one time.

In the afternoon I was not able to work at the office because of the water dripping thru the tent. It seems that when something is in contact with canvas, it causes the water to draw thru. That is what has happened to the framework for the false ceiling we put up yesterday. Right now the desks and things are drying out but all the field desks etcetera are piled in the center of the floor.

I walked up to Larry's tent after lunch and soon found my self embroiled in a chess game with one Klaas Land. We played two games although we were scheduled to play three. You see

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

we were playing for the championship with two out of three games. We each were telling each other how good we were and it would be a miracle if the other fellow could beat me/him. It so happened that I made one mistake less than Land did and managed to win both games from him. The first game was a battle and he had taken a rook from me scot free but I watched for an opening and soon managed to not only win back the rook but also his queen. That finished him for the game and the second game found him completely demoralized and unable to plan a decent attack or defense. Really, I shouldn't claim too much of a superiority for these two games because we were using Larry's chess set which is one of those miniatures and it is difficult to distinguish the small pieces. Especially so for older eyes --- Land must be about forty-four.

In the evening I listened to the news broadcast which didn't seem to be any different from last night's broadcast and then I went to the office, determined not to go to the show. But I thought I would stop in to watch the newsreel or the shorts and it ended up that I wasted the rest of the evening watching the picture. The show hadn't started because Lt Yantis was waiting for Sol Gordon to bring the smaller lens from the Projection Booth to the Big Tent. When he finally started the picture, we discovered that there were no shorts but that all three reels were for the main feature. The sound was very bad and he asked me to watch the machine while he went to see Kronenberger, the electrician, to ask him if we could get more juice. He couldn't, but he solved the problem in such a way that it would have been impossible for me to have typed letters in the office while the show went on. He had all the lights in the Headquarters area turned off and that way the current came to the movie machine without having some of it drawn off.

In order to hear the movie picture, which I had become interested in, a little better, I found a seat about four feet in front of the screen and about the same distance from the loud speaker. After I got used to that angle, I enjoyed the show. The title of it was, "The Seahawk" starring Errol Flynn and Brenda Marshall with a host of other actors like Claude Rains, etcetera. Perhaps you know of the picture but I will refresh your memory in that it was a swashbuckling drama concerning that period of English history when the privateers preyed on Spanish shipping under the circumspectly unseeing eyes of the queen. It was that time when the freedom of the high seas was threatened by the growing Spanish Armada and the Seahawks of England strove to defend England's rights by the best means they knew how ---piracy.

George Yantis Jr had a tough time with that picture and became exasperated after three breaks in the film when the crowd began to murmur. He cut the film and made a little speech to the effect that unless they would tolerate the conditions under which the films were being shown, he would flatly refuse to continue the picture. I don't blame him a bit. Good natured kidding of the movie projector operator is always alright but when it comes to making nasty remarks against the operator, who in no way can control the mechanism of the sound reproduction system, that it that old limit once again.

I lost two things today. One was the lucky silver penny I had been carrying with me ever since I found it about a month or so ago and my GI knife. Late in the afternoon the GI knife was reported by Lt Yantis to be up in the Projection Booth seemingly abandoned by its Corporal owner. The penny still remains among the missing.

I received two letters at mail call today but for a moment had almost been scared into thinking that the day was going to go by without any letters. They were both from you and dated September 9th and the Monday you were in Milwaukee.

For answers and further comments you will please refer to my next letter.

/s/ Roman

1. Author's annotation August 2004: The date on the first page of this V-mail is September 18. That is wrong. It should be September 19.