Sgt Roman F. Klick 36620923
HS 1393 Engr APO 75
c/p SF Cal
8 June 1945
Because of my good recuperative powers in being able to forget the army during my leisure I almost forgot about what was to be my main topic of discussion this evening. However, I did remember by the time I got to typing in the date on this letter. Sackett had today off. But here is a good one which put almost the finishing bust to my spirits. All during the boat trip Jack never showed up in the office and only yesterday or the day before has he reported for actual work - he had merely been "standing by" up until then. They go ahead and consult with me all during this while as Sacky's assistant and that is why we even were put in the same tent for the time being so that in case they couldn't find Sackett they would be able to locate me at the same time. And they had the four of us Sack, Lew and Delf as steady CQ before we got organized and had a roster going. And then today I come down in the morning and Jack is the Acting Personnel Sergeant Major - just like that. I wish they would make up their minds. And it also seems to give the one the idea that the less you do the better. Maybe I'm bitter and not seeing things in their proper perspective for it could be this way also. I've plenty of work during the early morning hours and it is much easier to have Jack get things organized for he hasn't any regular work today or anyday. But, even if they are doing that for convenience, if he keeps taking over every so often, if and when Sackett is sent home for demobilization that will mean Jack will be the lad with the reins. Yet, once before I had the same attitude and it proved to be wrong - perhaps it may turn out that way once again. While at work, that bothers me but after work I can forget all that.
With our communal get togethers in the evening things are just like being out on a picnic. This evening the boys are really doing it up good. While I am typing this letter, I'm eating dill pickles. In addition to that they have Spam, butter, bread, onions, sardines, piccalilli and tea. The hot plate is working overtime. I am a bit leery about having you send me any foods like that because you never know what the situation will be in a few months from now. During these opening stages of an encampment a fellow depends pretty much on his own resources for the extras but after a while the PX and kitchens are operating well enough to dispense with a personal ration procurement. Yet, if anybody ever asks what they can send me, I guess Nescafe, tea bags, powdered fruit juices, cocoa you can make with water would be acceptable. Also (if it is not difficult to obtain) I liked those small boxes of cheese Virginia sent to me for Christmas. I do not want you to send any package particularly with those things because it really isn't that important, but if someone ever asks you again as you say they have in the past, you may mention those items. Also, when you send me (if you do) another package, it would be alright to enclose say one item as a bit of filler.
Holy Cats, now the Chaplain contributed five eggs to the larder and Mathis has concocted a Dagwood sandwich including every bit of the mentioned items but sardines. They have offered me whatever I wish but I haven't my utensils here and the bread was "unsanitary" and I wouldn't think of eating it. That fussy business of mine still gets them at times and they think I wouldn't eat anything that was not clean. Yet, as you know, when the conditions can be controlled by myself, I will not eat anything unless I know it is clean. But when the conditions are such when I have to or want to eat, I can eat regardless of the conditions. As Professor Rice said at the YMCA college, "There is no need to be too fussy for you will probably kill the germs; however, there is also no need to go out of your way to contact germs."
We had to do a little overtime work this evening when six of us clerks went out to one of the companies to handle the checking of the demobilization points of the men in that company. It didn't take us long and it is a good thing for we still have to do that for the next three nights as we go from company to company.
The officers finally got their pay today so it won't be too long now before we get ours. I hope that we get our pay before my day off so that I can go into Manila with some pesos in my pocket instead of emptiness. That way I can look around for Myrtle's doll much better. Incidentally, they do not seem to sell so many souvenirs here around Manila and I haven't seen any handbags, purses or anything. Also, there is an absence of the fruits which were so plentiful when we first came on the island. I sure would like another papaya. Perhaps I will be able to buy some of them in town.
I'm taking Bill Grauel's place on CQ this evening since he went to some sort of shindig at a local dance hall. In fact truckloads of fellows went to be at this dance. Come to think of it, I believe they mentioned that it was being held by the Red Cross or something similar to it.
The lights went out the minute I began typing this second letter and have been out ever since then. But I am not typing in the dark. You would never, never imagine the crazy thing I am doing to have light on the sheet. The silver flashlight you sent me has no way of being placed on the table and still shine on the paper so I've got to hold it. Naturally, holding it in the hand wouldn't help much because then I wouldn't be able to do any typing. I tried holding it with my neck but that got tiresome so I did what seems peculiar and crazy but it is very effective and practical. I've been holding the end of the flashlight in my mouth like a sandwich and can direct the beam right on the paper while looking down over the light.
Our tent almost fell down today so I had to drive a few more pegs into the front and side to tie it down. I also got hold of a long bamboo pole and attached it to the tops of the end poles and that gives good body to the entire side of the tent. If we got hold of sufficient poles to do that to the entire tent it would in effect give us more area inside the thing. You can see now that we are now in the beginning stages of a perpetual tent building job. They never will be finished until the day we move.
I learned a bit about bananas today that I never did know before. Major Ladley brought in a bunch of green bananas and said they were good to eat. That seemed impossible but we tried them and they were very tasty. It seems that certain types of bananas are green in color all the time. I asked him how he could tell a ripe green banana from an unripe yellow banana and he said he couldn't but that he just asked the Filipinos for ripe green bananas. He also said there is a red banana but I have yet to see that.
Today I also did my first bit of free lancing about the countryside. Lt. Suiter wanted me to get some forms for a certain job and gave me the general whereabouts of the outfit that reproduced them. I took a personnel carrier down to the place and couldn't locate it so asked an MP on a motorcycle where it was. He said follow me and by golly, just like the movies, I had a motorcycle escort for about a half a mile or more. Pretty good, eh? Then the outfit didn't have the forms anyway so I had to go to a place where they had given several thousand a few days ago. Instead of going there I called up on the telephone when I got back to the office and, guess what, they have women operators all over the circuits and some of them actually have flirty and sweet voices. The fellows all gave me a razzing that I'll spend the rest of my office hours telephoning. Seemed funny though to hear a woman's voice after more than two years of men operators.
I've found a better way of holding the flashlight now. I've stuck it underneath my collar and while it doesn't shine directly on the paper there is enough reflected light to make the page very visible as if it were candlelight.
Do you know that I haven't really had one decent night's sleep since being on this island despite the cots we now have and the mattress covers. I wake up continually and more often than not I'm sweating. Quite different from Guadalcanal. The nights do not get as cool here as they do at the canal even though we are further from the Equator but there is a dampness similar to New Caledonia where we had to sleep underneath a shelter half all the while we were there.
By the by, we have some more parts of the monastery explored. Some of the debris was cleared away from what looked like a pile of junk and it turned out to be steps. It turned out to be the means of getting up to the second floor which isn't there. We had wondered how on earth anyone ever got up to that second floor because they surely wouldn't have a wooden stairway when everything else was stone. The steps are in two sections with a landing platform halfway. We can go up to the point where it would go off into the second floor hallway. Then, right there is a door leading out to the roof of the crypt and we walked out on that and could have from there begun walking along the top walls of the monastery. That is the next step so we can get to the two remaining inaccessible spots. We also investigated the entrance to the lower room and discovered that this little window was not all there was to it. The stairs are much steeper than we first thought and they actually go down to a door beneath the window. The only trouble is that so much debris has gathered and fell there, the door is all but hidden. There is no end to this place. What fun a gang of kids could have in a place like this if us grownup kids can enjoy ourselves so much.
Brrr, what could be more terrifying than what just happened to us. We heard our first "Suspense" program in the Philippines and coupled with the eeriness of the monastery it was scary.
There was no mail again today or need I even bother to state that fact. That is Standard Operating Procedure these days not to get any mail. Just to keep track of things that means we have gone twenty-four days since you mailed out a V-mail that hasn't reached here as yet.
Hey, I didn't mention something startling. Among the ruins, today, I found something that the old German must have used to take care of the grounds - a lawnmower! You wouldn't recognize it as a lawnmower at first since there aren't any wheels nor is there a handle to it. It is also very rusty. But the important thing is that the cutting part still revolves and with a bit of sharpening - should cut. Now if we can get the H&S Orderly Room to fix it up, the company will have something which will be much handier in cutting grass than those old Friday night machete details of old. This way a fellow could cut the grass with a lawnmower in case he was gigged or maybe even the company area orderly could do it. It is an idea - maybe nothing will come of it.
Well, now to top the evening off with a hot cup of Nescafe. I had intended to write to Blumenfeld this evening although it is past ten o'clock now and I do not know if I will have time to do so. I should really send him a line since he is so very good about writing letters to me quite often without ever waiting for a reply from me.
Well, goombye for now. As long as I have things to gab about I'll write as many pages as it takes. Soon routine will bring it down to the normal two pages. P.S. Tree in Brooklyn comes here soon. Hurrah, we will see it after all.
So-long, /s/ Roman Roman