Cpl Roman F. Klick 36620923
Co "A", 353rd Engr Regt
A.P.O. #502, c/o Postmaster
San Francisco, California
19 February 1944
Did I say that they wanted one non-com out on the job each day from the Personnel Section? I was wrong in the non-com part because it ended up that the one man a day from personnel is merely a marker in a surveying group. All it did was take up eight hours of time in which I could have been doing more important things although I did learn some things which were rather interesting. Just the other day I was saying how I didn't have a chance to see the real surveying instruments and therefore my interest in the course lagged. I had a close opportunity to watch John O'Malley, S/Sgt for Second Battalion Headquarters, work with a transit. Of course the type of work we were doing was very monotonous because we were at the other end of the instrument. A fellow called a rodman would hold up the rod to a certain height and O'Malley would say, "Mark" and my job was to draw a blue chalk mark on a stick pounded into the ground.
That wasn't all to the job because these sticks weren't all made up for us so we had to get a hatchet and chop up sticks into the proper size and put points on them. Then we would line a certain number of them up in a row and pound them into the ground. It is one of the simplest types of leveling in surveying to mark the sticks at a certain height after that.
The hardest part of the work was, believe it or not, trying to let go of the hatchet. I've noticed this before for some years but never so much as today. If I hold a hammer, saw or hatchet or any instrument on that order for a long time and work with it, the finger next to the little finger on my right hand will not unbend. The other fingers will but I have to bend it back with my other hand if I want to get it working again.
Just for the fun of it, I held on to the hatchet for about twenty minutes before noon and then instead of forcibly unbending my finger I went to eat leaving it curled up. It took all of ten minutes before I could move the thing by itself! I've been trying to recall ever having hurt it at any time but can't seem to remember. That will put quite a crimp into my plans I have of building my own house, eh?
Oh yes, there was one other part which wasn't so good. I was up, down, up, down all day long either bending down to hammer the sticks into the ground or bending to mark them with the blue chalk. After not being used to that sort of thing; I could feel it in my knees as if I were an old man.
So now I've done my stint and Jack Molyneaux is next tomorrow. Tomorrow will not be Sunday anymore but just another working day. Incidentally, we made up a roster of who is to go out on what days and my next turn to help the regiment over the hump on their job comes, of all days, next Sunday. Besides having no more Sunday, our days off have been cancelled so I can consider myself very fortunate in having managed to get into town on the last day it was possible for me to do so, last Monday.
Two letters and a Daily News arrived today. One of the letters was from Uncle Jack and the other one was from you dated Feb. 8th. I'm glad that you received the book on New Caledonia and had a chance to read first hand all about the place and also find out that what Aunt-Aunt had said was true. Before the war, New Caledonia was somewhat of a tourist Island for people passing thru the South Pacific waters.
By the way, speaking of tourists and New Caledonia reminds me of John Galsworthy and the fact that I haven't really been able to get at the book for quite some time now. I always have tried to save Galsworthy for times when I had hours and hours to just sit and read because I wanted enjoyment from it and not merely the cramming in of information on his life in short fifteen minute looks every so often.
The first box of candy is all gone as of an hour ago. I guess I just went ahead and made a hog of myself out of it but it sure did taste swell. Mersing, Burkard and Snook are very unappreciative fellows because they just ate the pieces I gave them as if it was any old candy. That is the trouble with giving stuff from home to anybody because they just don't appreciate it and it could just as well have been PX candy for all they were concerned.
I am now very worried about the fruitcake. I haven't opened my foot locker for quite some time to get a piece of it and I have my fears that this last time might have proved just a little bit too long and that it maybe moldy both inside and out. If that is the case, I had better not finish it but if the mold is just on the outside, I can always take it off.
The queerest thing bothered me yesterday. I just couldn't remember what course I had in my last semester at the Central Y when I took Accounting, Modern US History and that third course. Then I tried to remember it by the teachers name and I came across the name Miss Liefheit, Miss Edith Liefheit and I couldn't for the world place the name although I was sure she was a former teacher of one of my courses. All day long it bothered me and I meant to write about it last night but these fellows distracted my attention and I forgot about it. Then, when I tried to go to sleep, I just couldn't until I had solved those two puzzles. The answer to Miss Liefheit came out of the clear blue sky after trying to mull it over for almost one solid hour. She was the registrar at DeKalb Teacher's College whom I had written several letters to concerning the courses and then to whom I talked to in person when I went down to DeKalb.
The way I finally solved the other problem was by eliminating all the courses I had ever had and then suggesting to myself courses which I would have liked to have. I hit upon English Literature but that didn't seem to be it and then I recalled such names as Emerson, Thoreau, Poe, Whittier etcetera and remembered that I had taken a course in American Literature from 1492 to 1860. I then could distinctly recall the books which are now in my library --- two blue covered volumes, small print, fine pages, 500 pages to a book and written two columns to a page (I think). Who the instructor was I can't even imagine. Another thing I forgot was the name of the European History teacher who used to say, "Sure enough." If I stay in this Army much longer, I'll even forget that Miss Gertz was my first grade teacher.
By the by, I've finished the reading matter on lesson number two of my course and before hauling off to the construction-labor job this morning I even drafted the answers to two of the questions.
I've noticed that the boys who do most of the pool playing now are from A and B Company and they just stay there all evening long playing and playing and playing. It is hard to believe that fellows will while away all their evenings at that game yet Eddie Cerney and I did just about that same thing that one summer a few years back, didn't we?
What they have at the show tonight is a mystery to me but I didn't even bother to find out because I had no intention of going.
At first I had meant to write these letters in the tent but Snook came in and not wanting to go to the show, decided to write letters on the table which resulted in my coming to the office to bang out the letters.
My teeth have stopped hurting (psychological?), my hair is growing out again so that on the one week anniversary I can just about run a comb thru the first two strands, I haven't sent home the bracelets, doll, stamps or shells and I do not know whether this will be the only letter this evening or not because it is not yet nine o'clock.