Cpl Roman F. Klick 36620923
Co "A", 353rd Engr Regt
A.P.O. #502, c/o Postmaster
San Francisco, California
29 February 1944
It is about seven o'clock in the evening and I'm down at Personnel with the rest of the boys --- "working." You see, the companies were supposed to have worked tonight and the Colonel didn't want to show any prejudice and told Lt. Yantis to have us down here this evening too. However, the companies all came back in just about the time when we returned to the office at six o'clock but since Lt. Yantis hasn't been able to get into the Colonel's office to inform him of that fact so we must carry on. We are all engaged in activity of some sort. Kenagy, Beaumont and myself are all sitting at this one long desk writing letters while at the end of the room Lt. Yantis is showing Mike and Molyneaux how to multiply on a slide rule. Three other clerks are looking on during this informal lesson while the remaining ones are just staring into space or talking the situation over on the other side of the room.
When we were permitted to leave for supper in the afternoon, I beelined to the Orderly Room where Mersing and I continued one of our gabfests which we have been having up in the Orderly Room these days. He was in there all alone once again with the officers and Cooley out on the job. He doesn't mind having someone in there to talk to.
We finally got to the mess hall at twenty past five and were the only two to be eating so had to do some fast talking to get our meals.
The show this evening is "You Can't Escape Forever" and will not be held until nine o'clock this evening. I will surely have this letter finished by that time and will be well in the mood for a show after the disconcerting day it has been today. Of course that isn't getting my lessons done nor my letters answered; yet, horrible as it may seem, I'm not in the spirit of caring. All I want is a little period of forgetfulness which the show will provide. Writing a letter which does not come naturally like this one makes one think and the only thing which pops into the mind is the Army, the Army and the Army again.
Your letter of February 16th arrived in this afternoon's mail. You mention the fact that you didn't think fruitcake would mold. It was a very slight mold which was on it about a month ago when I ate a piece for the last time. Some day I'm going to want to eat that very last piece and I'll tell you then how it is. Somehow with the candy for Valentine's Day plus the candy I've been buying from the PX, I've not felt any hunger during the course of the day which I believed was worthy of a slice of fruit cake. I hope you are right and that the cake does not really mold. Perhaps it was just the outside parts of it.
Just the other day I read a magazine article in the Coronet magazine all about Sardi's with its breakfast program. It told all about how the fellow originated the program and how he carries it on extemporaneously for about three breakfasts a morning. It also mentioned that its advertising power is so great that two of his sponsors had to beg off because their orders after the program exceeded their power to supply them. They claim that is it a very popular program and in trips to various cities on the West Coast he had to have the breakfasts on auditorium stages so that an audience of some three thousand people might be accommodated.
The rain continues and the mud continues but in this hothouse country the rain has but to stop for about two hours during the day time and the place begins drying up. I didn't wait for the cessation of the rains anymore and just went ahead and wore my moccasins throughout the day. They become muddy and wet but so what, they were comfortable and were easy to sip on and off my feet. The insides have wax along the seams to make them waterproof --- at least for a while.
O yes, I meant to tell you that there is a plant here that closes up its leaves when touched. I never knew about it in all the time we were here and Molyneaux happened to mention the fact the other day and claims he discovered it the first day we arrived in New Caledonia. It is a small plant more or less like a weedish fern. It is a drab green on the open side but this fern like leaf closes up like a clam the minute it is touched and shows the outside of it which is a redish color. The closing up of the leaf is very rapid and almost uncanny. It is as if the leaf had muscles which it really must have to be able to do a stunt like that.
More fellows are getting wise that we may have to be here until show time or past and all but Nyalka and Yantis are now busy with their letters home which they would be undoubtedly be writing if they were up in their tents.
Please do not listen to my rumors about when I'm going to send home the New Caledonian stamps or when I'm going to send home the doll or the bracelets or the shells or the watch. I just don't seem to keep faith with myself and some bright sunny day I'll just get tired of seeing the things around and off they will go. I did try to get a small wooden box today at the PX so that the doll could fit into it but I will have to go back again tomorrow for it.
These mountains are presenting some mighty pretty pictures lately. During these intermittent rains, one section of the valley will be pouring with rain while another section a mile or so away will be perfectly dry. That is something which a person doesn't see or notice in a flat country like Illinois. There it seems the whole world is raining or the whole world is sunny etcetera. Sometimes we can see a single cloud nestled in the depression between two mountains. It is kept there by the protecting mountain sides which keep the wind from breaking it up and the shadow the mountain casts keeps it from evaporating in the sun. At other times we see the entire mountain top covered with a cloud cap which rolls down its sides in irregular masses. Or the way wisps of cloud will band disjointedly in the air. There are occasions when an entire layer of cloud came so close that from our hill it appeared as if the clouds were level with us. The only time I ever saw a similar sight was when ascending into or descending from the clouds while in an airplane.
The clerks, including myself, have been agitating for sergeancies once again but it has been to no avail. We wholeheartedly agree with the Old Sarge of Liberty magazine when he said that the Company Clerk was the forgotten man in the Army. He did say that in spite of someones forgetfulness in never giving the clerks a higher rank than corporal some units throughout the Army have got around it and given them an extra stripe anyway. I guess it will be one of those things which will pop up from time to time throughout our army careers and will get me place. What started all this was when back in Oregon, Lt. Warner promised us we would have them when we got overseas. We remembered that and kept dreaming that someday it would happen.
Maybe Pat wrote a letter and sent the thing slow mail. If that is the case, I cannot be sure she didn't write until another three weeks pass by. I naturally thought she would answer with V-mail or airmail when she did. O well, what is the difference anyhow? It just gives me something to talk about.
This business of hanging around the office this evening has made it impossible to have the nightly shower. The time now is eight bells or a little after and that show time is coming closer and closer yet there doesn't seem to be any move to break this party up. Who knows but I may be working on my Army Institute course before the evening is over.
I just had to walk across the field to the dark and my moccasin became stuck in the mud. In spite of that the thing is still clean. The mud doesn't stick to them as much as to shoes. Makes me feel like an Indian pussyfooting around in them.
Well, goombye please until tomorrow.