Cpl Roman F. Klick 36620923
Co "A", 353rd Engr Regt
A.P.O. #502, c/o Postmaster
San Francisco, California
25 December 1943
So far today we have all had a good time and the hilarity seems as if it will continue on into the evening. For one thing, I could not take advantage of the opportunity to sleep to as late as ten o'clock and still have time to get my breakfast. The reason is simple and will be long remembered by me. The Christmas morning sun was far to warm at seven o'clock as it fell on my cot for me to continue sleeping.
We went down to the mess hall and had some extra delicious pancakes with apple butter and grape fruit juice. Then the comedy started: the sergeants began feeding the privates their breakfast in bed. We went up to the tent where the other fellows started polishing their shoes and fixing up their bunks. I decided that I would give myself a Christmas present by sewing on a red star and a set of Corporal stripes on my khaki shirt. That little job took me until ten o'clock but they are on good enough now so that the laundry will not take them off during the washing.
At ten o'clock I laid down on the cot and began reading the preface to The Life and Letters of John Galsworthy by the author of the book Vincent Marrot. It was more interesting than I had anticipated. The author first chanced upon a Galsworthy book while browsing around in a library (in England). He soon became an ardent Galsworthyite and had the temerity to send JG a book for him to autograph. Galsworthy did so. That encouraged the author and soon he began writing a bibliography of Galsworthy's works and in so doing came to meet the man himself. From those beginnings their contact developed into a friendship so much so that the Forsyte novels were actually influenced by Marrot's suggestions. Marrot was given several of the original Forsyte manuscripts and Galsworthy dedicated a book to him. It is a rare day when a fan gets to know the author that good that they become fast friends. The only other case I know of is the Brownings. So much for that.
The ice cold beer was distributed shortly before lunch and John added another twelve bottles to his collection. Just before lunch five crazier members of the band paraded thru all seven of the messhalls doing a dance with music. Two of the fellows were dressed up as girls and did the shakes to the music of "Strip Tease Polka" while the third was dressed in a Santa Claus costume. Another fellow, the accordionist, wore his GI shoes and a pair of shorts. Immediately following their hilarious nonsense, the Colonel and his staff came thru the mess halls and personally wished everyone a Merry Christmas.
The meal was alright and was more than anyone could finish. We had green peas, mashed potatoes, tender chicken, dressing, pineapple pie, tomato juice, coffee, cranberries, cigarettes and punch (which was rather strong, 100% pure rubbing alcohol with a least bit of hair tonic thrown in for flavoring --- o yes, one or two bottles of Coca Cola was added to the whole mixture).
At precisely quarter to one (quarter to nine Christmas Eve for you) I took out the photograph and the magnifying glass to look at the manger etcetera. But before I could do that, Edie said he had a letter for me. It was an airmail from you dated the 15th. Can you imagine that! That duplicate print reached me at the exact moment I had planned to look at the original. You really did come to talk things over with me this Christmas Day. And you had a hunch that the letter would arrive today too. But even better than that, after looking at the picture for a while, Snook came in and brought a V-mail in for me. It was your second letter of the 15th. I read it and then lay back on my cot to fall asleep for several hours on what has been the best Christmas I could possibly have had being away from home. I hope that things turned out as well for you.
So-long, /s/ Roman Roman