Sgt Roman F. Klick 36620923
HS 1393 Engr APO 75
c/p SF Cal
11 Aug 45
I have a big night ahead of me (it is nine bells now) because Saturday night is the night of the week I have to get the Morning Reports out for Sunday and all the allied reports so that I can sleep late. And then, as usual, I am getting a late start on the letter writing. My first elation over the Jap surrender offer has turned from a watchful waiting to almost utter despair. As the reports circulate through the radio waves that the offer is not being hailed by the Big Four nations, my hopes go down further and further. The Allies demand an unconditional surrender leaving such an important subject as the emporer untouched upon. Then because the Japs bring up the forgotten (perhaps purposely) point, everybody yells that they are trying to rob us of unconditional surrender. It sickened me to hear that it was guesstimated that 75% of the folks in the States did not favor acceptance of the surrender. Even the radio said that the reaction among the soldiers out here in the Pacific was a far different one as they whooped it up and celebrated. They are going to be part of the seven million troops to be used against the Japanese homeland and thus they had due cause to be joyous. Some of those people back home who are now deluging their congressmen with telegrams saying "Keep the war going" are going to be mighty sad folks when they begin changing blue stars for gold.
That's off my chest now and the less said about it the better. Today I beheld a strange sight. We heard loud music coming up the road and nearer it came, the more piqued was our curiosity. We went to the entrance of the monastery and there we saw a funeral procession! There were no vehicles. The procession was led by a priest and two altar boys in black and white. I guess there were three altar boys with one in the center holding the cross and the two on the sides holding candle holders. Then, directly behind them came a March. Behind them was the casket (a wooden box, it seemed, with some sort of cloth draped over it) being carried by the pall bearers. Directly behind the casket came the grieving relatives as at home, followed by fifty or sixty or more friends. The cemetery is a good way from here and goodness knows how long they had been marching before they got here. It more truly had the atmosphere of death around it than any American funeral could ever have. It was as if a chill wreathed in the procession and reached out to touch the spectators.
And today, very strangely, Lewis tells me (why me?) to have Arnalfo come down to work tomorrow on Sunday. I did just that and thereby came by some knowledge which heretofore I had only a slight smattering of. The day before Lew told me that the two Flips, Nap and Arnalfo, had better keep their tempers under control while in the office and that I should speak to our boy in Personnel. Naturally, I had no intention of broaching that subject with him, but he volunteered an opening when he asked me if Nappie was going to come to work tomorrow also. The story was then revealed that they had on three occasions had rough words which Arnalfo tried to ignore. But then they got into a squabble over typewriter covers and Arnalfo said he was ready to fight Nappie on the principle of the thing even though he might have gotten beat. He now studiously ignores further contact because he knows only too well the discredit which such friction brings upon both parties.
While I accomplished one or two major pieces of work today, I plainly did more loafing than working. I don't know why either but I couldn't concentrate very much. I feel that I should come down to work sometime on Sunday to make up for the work I might have accomplished and should have accomplished today had I kept at it. My conscience bothers me when I fail to do something I felt I ought to have done.
I received no mail from you today although I did receive a letter from Blumenfeld with many enclosures. They proved to be mighty interesting and the last hour at work and for over an hour in my tent this evening, I had a constant stream of visitors coming to read and look over the clippings. One was of the famous Pentagon Building in New Caledonia where the headquarters are housed. It is a most interesting structure in itself (and in due time I will forward it to you) but an added interest to quite a few fellows in the battalion as it was their old outfit that built the thing. Then Blumy also enclosed some pictures of the Mother's Day celebration they had down there and the chapel was something impossible to believe as an army chapel. It is a regular church. Perhaps Charles Matcha has shown you pictures of it by this time. In any event I will send those home also. Finally, one more thing he sent was a fake order on "Indoctrination" for troop returning to the States. You yourself have seen examples of that sort of humor but this beat them all. It was out on a stencil like a regular army order would be and it told soldiers how to act and how not to act when visiting America. Of course it was well sprinkled with army vernacular which isn't what is being used in polite society. In that lays the joke to the whole thing, warning the soldier what correct etiquette calls for in various situations instead of the rough army language. And then, just thinking how army talk would fall like a thunderclap in a civilian incident, it makes a person laugh out loud.
I herewith print some excerpts.
"A typical American breakfast consists of such strange foods as cantaloupes, fresh eggs, milk, ham, etc. These are highly palatable and though strange in appearance, are extremely tasty. Butter, made from cream, is often served. If you wish some butter, you turn to the person nearest it and say quietly, "Please pass the butter." You do not say, "Throw me the goddam grease."
"Belching or passing wind in company is strictly frowned upon. If you should forget about it and belch in the presence of others, a proper remark is "Excuse me". Do not say, "It must be that lousy chow we've been getting lately."
"American dinners, in most cases, consist of several items, each served in a separate dish. The common practice of mixing certain items, such as corned-beef and pudding, or lima beans and peaches to make it more palatable will be refrained from. In time the "separate dish" system will become enjoyable."
"In motion picture theaters, seats are provided. Helmets are not required. It is not considered good form to whistle every time a female over 8 and under 80 crosses the screen. If vision is impaired by the person in the seat ahead, there are plenty of other seats which can be occupied. Do not hit him across the back of the head and say, "Move your head, Jerk, I can't see a damned thing."
"It is not proper to go around hitting everyone of draft age in civilian clothes. He might have been released from the service for medical reasons; ask for his credentials, and if he can't show any, then go ahead and slug him."
"Upon retiring, one will often find a pair of pajamas laid out on the bed. (Pajamas, it should be explained, are two piece garments which are donned before retiring for the night). The soldier, confronted by these garments should remark as follows, "My what a delicate shade of blue." Under no circumstances say, "How in hell do you expect me to sleep in a get-up like that?"
"A guest in a private home is usually awakened in the morning by a light tapping on his door and an invitation to join the host at breakfast. It is proper to say, "I'll be there shortly". Do not say, "Blow it out your barracks bag!"
"In event the helmet is retained by the individual, he will refrain from using it as a chair, wash bowl, foot bath or bathtub. All these devices are furnished in the average American home. It is not considered good practice to squat Flip fashion in a corner in the event all chairs are occupied. The host will usually provide suitable seats."
That is an example of what it contains and it goes on and on with more of the same only more censorable in most cases.
The company received two bottles of coke per man for free today. I took my two bottles, put them on one of the shelves and they are still sitting there. I feel that I wouldn't have bought them had they even charged but one centavo apiece so I'm not in any particular rush to drink them now.
The company also received a hundred bottles of whiskey and as with the beer and cigarettes, my share automatically reverts to the boys in the tent or Lewis and Sackett now in the adjoining tent. Lewis took it this time and as if in return, he gave me his pineapple desert at lunch, then Sackett gave me his, and Bill gave me his and I had my own so I sat there in the mess hall about ten minutes longer just stuffing myself to the ears on pineapple. How did Aunty Florence ever get tired of it? I've eaten pineapple in the army until I've been blue in the face at times and still I'll eat more of it the next time.
Well, the last clerk is now making up his Morning Report so I'll sign off at this point and get busy checking them etcetera so I can go get a good night's sleep. It is quarter to eleven right now so I should be in bed by twelve.
Six more cookies went in the two daily rations and I'm horrified to see the box becoming alarmingly empty in spite of the careful dole.
I heard Gershwin's Rhapsody the other nite, "The Man I Love" yesterday and Summertime this evening. His music makes me stop what I'm doing and listen and breathe right with it.
So-long, /s/ Roman Roman