Cpl Roman F. Klick 36620923
Co "A", 353rd Engr Regt
A.P.O. #502, c/o Postmaster
San Francisco, California
1 November 1943
There wasn't a single thing in the mail today. Not just for me alone but for the entire company and the whole regiment. All in all, there must have been less than a hundred letters for everybody in the outfit.
Gordon was scheduled to run the movies this evening even though he was the operator last night. He is very nervous and does not work well knowing that there is an immense number of people in his audience. Somehow he cannot disassociate himself from the idea that every one of them is jud9ing him and his work in the projection booth. As a result, he persists in making simple mistakes as forgetting to turn on the sound switch, or not playing music during the lull before the picture starts after a stage play, or not turning on the flood lights at the end of the show and forgetting the directions for making announcements while the show is in progress. It is he himself who has requested that instead of showing pictures for our group he be allowed to show them at this new outfit where he feels the tension will not be as great.
But he has now been cast in an island show and rehearsals will take him into town three nights a week and the eventual playing of it will require another three evenings. As an operator is needed for this evening I am elected for the job. It is the first night we are showing here and Lt. Yantis is coming along to see how things go over.
Today has been another quiet and peaceful day and nothing special has happened either in the company or down at work. Of course, today is payday and, as usual, the band played and played and played for almost a half hour in the morning. Some of the fellows in the company have received their pay but, as yet, I did not get mine.
I'm still uncertain as to what to do with the shells. You tell me to send them as is to the little girls without first stringing them together. Well, since seeing them in town, in necklace fashion I am not so sure that stringing them together looks so good anyway; but I'm not sure that just shells by themselves are so nice. I could do this. I could send the shells to you along with cards saying "Merry Christmas Renee" and "Merry Christmas Rosana" and then if you thought they would appreciate them, you could find some boxes to wrap them up and give to them.
This is the lousiest place in the world as far as finding presents goes. The natives have a hard enough time bringing luxuries and necessities in for their own use and with the soldiers added to the potential purchasers, it is almost impossible to get anything. It is almost unbelievable but one trinket shop in town sells stuff made in America and usually sold in our dime stores. They charge about ten times what the junk is worth. This situation prevails in all other commodities such as wristwatches which I may have told you about some time ago. A dollar watch will easily bring eight to ten dollars here. And it isn't taking advantage of the natives either because that is just about the store price for a watch of equivalent American value.
The PX is selling a rather large can of orange juice for 20 cents and each customer is allowed to buy six cans. Their generosity is overwhelming. Of course, they can't help it that they haven't been able to get the best things at the PX because it is all rationed out just like things back home
The ice cream deal seems to have bogged down something terrible. We can't get the can necessary for a container, we can't get a box large enough to fit the can when we get it and we haven't even begun to look for the sawdust to be used as insulator. At the rate we are going, the PX will have its Coca-Cola machine and ice cream service installed before we get around to doing it for ourselves.
Until tonight after the show, I remain waiting until tonight after the show when I can write another letter.
So-long, /s/ Roman Roman