DAD’S WWII LETTERS: Ch. 9, Thanksgiving, Christmas & New Years

US Army Technician 5th Grade rank insignia, in...

Nov. 20, 1943

I received your nice long letter yesterday.  I have been getting my mail pretty good here of late except they don’t always come in order.  I get some of them two weeks behind time.

You should have received the letter where I told you that I received your first box OK.  The pencils have sure come in handy.  The erasers and the leads have also.  I have borrowed a flashlight and am using the batteries in it now.  I use my whisk broom to brush the dust and dirt off my bunk.  A lot of dust and dirt falls down during the day.

You asked what T/5 means.  It means technician fifth grade or corporal technician which is the same that I have always been.

I’ve been doing pretty well here of late on the eating proposition.  My appetite has come back since the weather has gotten cooler and I have gained a few pounds that I lost during the summer.  I am feeling good now.  We don’t get much fresh fruit.  The last couple of days we had fresh tangerines.  We get canned fruit such as peaches, pears, and pineapple.

They don’t raise much of anything right around here, but they raise a lot of rice in India.  I haven’t seen many crops over here as I passed through at the wrong season when the land was lying idle.

I think I told you that I sent some money home by radio.  It may take quite some time before it reaches you, but will get there eventually.  Dorothy has been doing right well at saving money.  So we should have enough to make a fair start.

In her last letter she that she had been so busy going to her history classes at night and taking music lessons that she doesn’t have much time to herself.  Her sister and her little girl have been staying there.  She says that she is allowed two gallons of gas a week now.  That isn’t very much and doesn’t allow a person to do much driving.

The natives patched up the floor in our basha today.  It is made of woven bamboo and bounces up and down when anyone walks over it.

Well, next week is Thanksgiving.  I don’t suppose we’ll have turkey.  I understand that we are to get it Christmas.

I guess I had better close for tonight and write to the wife.  Write as often as you can.

November 30, 1943

I received your nice long letter this week.  I believe that I wrote to you since I received it.  I heard from Carl Getz today and he said that the weather had turned wet before the beans were all combined.  I am wondering if you got yours combined before it got too wet.  It looks like you are going to have a tough time getting the corn in the crib this year again.

Well, I suppose you had a nice chicken in the pot for Thanksgiving.  We had canned turkey and all the trimmings.  I can truthfully say that it was the best meal we had since we left the states.

It seems to me like the old and the young are being bit by the love bug.  It seems to me that the Pointer girl, Norma Jean, is rather young to be getting married, but I guess age either one way or the other has little to do with it.

You might send me a pillow, if you want to send me something for my birthday.  The only ones we can get over here have cotton inside and it soon packs flat.  You wouldn’t have to send a full size one.  A cushion like you use in a chair would be better as it wouldn’t take quite so much room either to send or carry around.

I don’t know much to say  .  I’m busy every day and think lots about home and wonder how you are getting along.Christmas St. Eve. Post

Dec. 9, 1943

I have about an hour before bed time so I’ll write you a few lines.  I received your letter of the 14th yesterday.  Well, you are having winter sure enough.  I don’t suppose I’ll see any snow this winter unless I go on top of a mountain.  It feels cold enough here to be winter, but isn’t as cold as it actually feels.  It is the dampness that makes it so.  When the sun  comes out during the day it is nice.  Right now I have on almost as many clothes as I used to wear in the winter time at home.

You sure have quite a few pullets this winter.  You should get a lot of eggs when they get started laying good.  I can imagine that it does keep you quite busy taking care of them.  What are eggs worth now?  They must be at least fifty cents a dozen.  [“Saturday Evening Post” Christmas ’43 cover depicted right]

If you haven’t combined the beans yet, they probably won’t turn out so good as they’ll probably shatter pretty bad and a lot of them will have fallen down.

I sent Dorothy a cable gram for our anniversary on the second of Nov. and she received it on the ninth.  It made very good time.  I intended to send you and her each one for Christmas, but was very disappointed when I found out that I was unable to.  In case that you ever want to send me a cable gram send to this address only:  Cpl. Clyde F. Adam, 36045831, A M L Y E T.  This is a code and if you do not use this address it is doubtful whether I would receive it.  Some of the fellows have failed to received cablegrams which were very important just because they didn’t use this address.

I hear that Wendell Dowland got a furlough in November.  I got a letter from him just before he was supposed to go.  George Parker is sure lucky to still be stationed in the states and get furloughs to have been in the service as long as he has.

The cold storage plant is sure going to come in handy for the folks around Chesterfield especially during these times when it is hard to buy fresh meat on the market.

Dorothy sent me some pictures of their place in Carlinville and of a pig with two tails in Palmyra [IL] and also of her little niece and nephew.  They sure make a cute pair.  They are her two sister’s kids and they are both about the same size–both blondes.  One picture was of her mother’s flower garden which looks nice.  Maybe you have seen it?

Yes, I hope very much that I can be home in another year for many reasons.

Well, I hope the both of you are still in good health.  Write as often as you can as I’m always eager to hear.  It helps the morale a lot to get lots of mail and is always an incentive to write.

December 26, 1943

Here it is the day after Christmas.  I hope that you had a nice one.  We had a nice Christmas considering our whereabouts.  We had some time off although not all day.  We had a very nice pork dinner.  We killed the meat here.  We still have a couple of porkers yet to kill.

We went to church last night at a colored outfit’s chapel.  They sure had the place nicely decorated and their service was carried out nicely.  After the service, they gave us entertainment with a band and some singers.  They really put on a good show.  We have always gotten along fine and dandy with the colored troops.  Of course it is to our advantage that we fully cooperate with them.  I find them easier to get along with than a lot of the whites.

Some of the fellows got packages yesterday and the day before.  So far I haven’t gotten mine yet.  For the majority not many have arrived yet.  I got your Christmas card and letter on the day before Christmas along with the one from Aunt Mary and Mr.& Mrs. E. O. Rigsbey, and Uncle George and Aunt Minnie’s.

Fred Bratton (that is my buddy from Arthur, Ill.) got a fruit cake from his wife yesterday.  It tastes a little stale and we don’t know whether it is all right or not.  It looks OK, except for a few spots on the outside.

Today, I’ve been on detail cutting wood, keeping the fire going in the water heater and tonight I had to build a fire in the dayroom stove.  I’m just about to catch my turn at guard again tomorrow night.  Seems like it comes around too often.

I got a letter from Wendell Dowland and he told me about his furlough.  He said things were rather quiet around there now.  He mentioned his girls first name, but I forgot it now.  I’ve been trying to figure out who she is, but guess I don’t know her.  He’s spending so far about the same amount of time that I did before going over.  I imagine that he’ll be taking a nice little trip before long.

Dorothy was telling me that Eldon Miller (one of Frank MIller’s boys) is over here in India somewhere, but the chance is very slim of getting to see him as it is a rather large place.

So Uncle George is going to feed the cattle himself this winter?  I imagine that he is going to have his hands full.  He is so slow and his age is getting well up there too.  If *Finis gets a better offer for a job in the spring, you liable to be out of luck for a man.

*Editor’s note:  Finis was Grandpa’s hired man.  Dad was a farm boy a long way from home.  In the next paragraph the corn and bean crops were discussed.  Iowa and Illinois played tit-for-tat every year on corn production.  It depended on which state had more favorable weather.

I’m glad to hear that you have your work pretty well caught up.  I was afraid that you would lose your beans as it was so wet back there for a while.  Some of the Iowa boys here said that they had a good crop of corn back there this year.

Aunt Mary sent me some pictures of the Horn family in her letter.  Helen sure doesn’t look good.  She must have lost a lot of weight.

Well, I’ll close for this time.  Write.

December 28, 1943

I received your box today that you sent me for Christmas so it didn’t lack much of making it on time.  It arrived in good condition except for the tooth powder which the top came off and spilled about half of it in the box.  The candy coated peanuts broke out of the sack and were mixed with the tooth powder so I just threw them away.  Everything else was OK.  the candy was good outside of being a little stale which a person could no more than expect after travelling so far.  It reminded me of home.  The mirror sure is handy.  I can really get at those whiskers now.  I’ll probably shave oftener as they’ll show up more.  The soap will sure come in handy as it is hard to get.  The scrub brush is something priceless too and I’ll probably have to keep it hid or someone will make away with it.  In fact every thing will be useful.  As you see, I’m trying out the new stationary tonight.

Fred Bratton got a fruit cake through the mail from his wife on Christmas day.  There was just a little mold on the outside and after he trimmed that off, it was all right.  It was in a tin box and that preserved it.  Some of the fellows before had received them and they were spoiled.

Editor’s note:  Fruitcake, the perennial butt of jokes.  Proof that fruitcake did indeed go bad.

I received your letter of the 26th of Nov. yesterday.  I was on guard last night and didn’t get a chance to answer.  I also got quite a novel Christmas card from Mrs. Charles Hounsley.  It was made so that you opened it something like two little doors and there was a picture of Mr. & Mrs. Hounsley.

The clipping that you sent me of the picture of Sgt. and Mrs. Emery takes me back to old times.  They make a nice looking couple.

Yes, I recall when the Steiners used to live in Chesterfield.  Some of these fellows that are joining the navy may be smart instead of letting the army get them.  There they get better training and when they are assigned to a ship, their living conditions are better.

Do you remember whether Dorothy’s birthday is the 24th of March or April?  I was thinking that it was April 24th, but I’m ashamed to ask her anymore.  I would like to know for sure so that I can send her a greeting when the time comes.  lt seems that my memory isn’t so good for remembering dates.

Editor’s note:  Mom’s birthday was April 24th. 

No, I’ve never gotten any cigarettes from Dorothy as yet.  She said that she was sending tobacco in the Christmas package.  I expect to be getting it any day now.  Dorothy has a picture of me that was taken over here.  I don’t know how it turned out yet as the last I heard she had received the negative, but hadn’t gotten it back from being developed.  I couldn’t get it developed over here because of the shortage of paper.  You’ve probably seen it by now.

Some of the fellows have cameras and film, but it is almost an impossibility to get them developed.  Before a person can send them home, they have to be censored.

Well, I’ll close for this time, hoping that you are well.  Write often.

12-31-43:  Had merry old Xmas this year.  Everyone had something to drink and was feeling it.  Hope to spend next year at home with family.

Jan. 6, 1944

Well, here are started on the new year and week of it is almost gone.  I have been aiming to write the last couple of days, but guard duty interfered and last night we had a double feature show, both of which were good.  I just finished packing a box to send home and should have time to knock out a couple of letters.

I”m still getting Christmas cards.  I got a couple more today.  One was from Tom & Edna Dowland and the others from Edgar and Ida Lockyer.  I also got a letter from you, one from the Brattons in Arthur, and five sugar reports.  That sure helps the morale.  When I go a week without mail I sort of get the blues.  Seem that I get more homesick now than I did when I first came over, but I suppose that is because India was a novelty to me then and now the novelty has worn off.  I can stand it for a while yet as I don’t mind it too bad yet.   I hope that I can be home for Christmas this year.  If I am, I’ll consider myself rather lucky.  I believe I (as well as many others) will be the happiest man alive when I can come home to my family.

I feel in a way, that this being away like this will make a person appreciate those things that we are fighting for.

Editor’s note:  Home and freedom–two things soldiers never took for granted.

This box I’m sending is some things that I picked up in the bazaar for you and Dorothy and her mother.  I sent it all in one box instead of making two because it saves quite a bit of trouble.  There is a little red tape to go through such as censoring, etc.

I haven’t marked any of this stuff I’m sending, but I’ll try to tell you.  I had to hustle to get the box packed tonight so that it would go in the morning.  It is surprising how little time I find to do what I want.  As long as my time is occupied, time passes quickly.  I have two large scarfs, one of which is for you and the color is maroon as near as I can describe it.  The other large one is for Dorothy and has the inscription “to wife with love” and the smaller one with a border is for Mrs. Clark [Grandma Clark].  There is a brass bowl with workings on the outside and that is for you.  There is a silver velvet lined box and that is for Dorothy.  Inside of the box there is a bracelet for Dorothy.  There is a towel also for Dorothy’s hope chest or whatever you call it.  There are two C. B. I. insignias, one for you and one for Dorothy.  There are some “Round Ups” which the weekly paper that we get and you can have them to read and then let Dorothy read them if she wants to, but you can divide them up the way you want as I’m going to send more if I can.  Dorothy has already gotten one that I sent her.  I sent most of the Christmas cards home that I received and the wife can take care of those.  That is all there is, I believe.

cbi roundupEditor’s note:  The “C-B-I Roundup,” reminded me of the “Stars and Stripes” newspaper, I read while stationed in Germany.

You don’t need to expect this box for three or four months as it may take it that long to get there.  Don’t tell Dorothy everything I’m sending her as I want it to be sort of a surprise.  I’m going to tell her that I’m sending a box home and you can tell her that it has some scarfs and a few things.  I want to keep the jewel box and bracelet a surprise.  These things aren’t anything so very fancy, but it is about all a person can get over here without spending an enormous amount of money for stuff that isn’t any too good as quality in comparison to ours in the states.  The main idea was to get a few souvenirs.  You had better save this letter for reference when the box arrives so that you’ll know which is what and what’s which.  If I would have had more time I would have enclosed a list in the box.  I think you can get it straightened out OK.

It is possible that I might run across one of the boys from back home over here in India, but not so likely as INdia is a good sized place and I stay pretty much put, so to speak.  In other words, I don’t get around much.  I haven’t even seen even an Indian woman anywhere in quite some time.  So you see our associations are strictly male.  As long as I get plenty of mail and can see shows I’m satisfied.

I’ll have to close for this time.  We’ll write some more later.  Hope you are well.



Bon secour cabin

River cabin
Wood weathered
Siding, blended
With sylvan

Live oak shade
Sour leaf smells
Pine whispers
Rain roof sounds
Soothed to sleep

 Nation’s flag
Wind rippled
Crusty old patriot
Treasured privacy
Peacefully coexisted
With nature

DAD’S WWII LETTERS: Chapter 8, Comforts of Home

August 21, 1943

I thought I would get some more mail this week, but I didn’t.  I hope that you have been able to keep cooler than I.

I don’t remember whether I told you or not that we got in some more PX supplies this week.  We got another carton of cigarettes and 2 more cans of beers besides a couple of packages of chewing gum with the exception of a stick per man given out by the Red Cross a couple of times.  That makes 24 cans of beer that we got this month.

The boys here played a challenge game of volleyball last night with another team and got beat pretty bad.

We are getting a shower built.  Some of the fellows have used a bucket or can with holes punched in the bottom.  You can pour water in the can and stand under it and enjoy it while the water lasts.  We can’t be too free with the water because all our water has to be hauled except what we catch off the tents when it rains.

Some one just brought me your V-mail letter of August 3rd.  That wasn’t bad time, as it came in 18 days.  It takes several days for a letter to reach me after it gets to India.

You speak of Dad plowing for wheat.  Didn’t he get all the ground put into crops this time or is it the stubble ground that had wheat on it this year?  Your corn is rather late this time, but if it is a quick maturing hybrid it’ll probably beat the frost.  I suppose silo filling will be much later this year.  Maybe it will be better as the weather won’t be quite so hot as it usually is during that time.

It was too bad about Dr. Sarginson.  I suppose the Skinner’s will sell the house as well as most of the other things they don’t want to keep.  that will put Harold without a home of any kind.  I wonder who will buy the house?  It would be nice if Dorothy had that house instead of the one in Carlinville.  It would be closer to her school and handy to visit. you.  I just happened to think that would be a good opportunity for you to get you a house to live in during later years when you retire.  It is close to the home place and everything.  Of course I don’t know what your plans are.  If you want to buy that and needed a little financial backing, I could let you use the extra money that I’m sending home, which will amount to 30 or 40 dollars a month as long as I’m overseas with a corporal technician rating.

Well, you should have a lot of beans to eat this winter along with tomatoes.  I would like to have some of that good home cooking again.  I’m just about to get burnt out on this army chow.  Now, I know how Uncle Pres feels about some of the things he no longer liked after getting so much of it in the army.

I hope you got the letter explaining the Christmas mailing overseas packages between Sept. 15th and Oct. 15th.  The post offices back there may post bulletins of similar nature.

Well, I hope this letter finds you all well.  We’ll close for this time as I have to write to my wife yet.  I wrote a V-mail to Carl Getz.  He is good about writing.

8-23-43:  2nd day of diarrhea–Was up half the time last night.  Went on sick call today.  The doctor gave me a bunch of pills to take (7-3x with water.)

8-24-43:  Feel better today.  Only made two trips so far to crapper.  Still taking pills.  Guts are sore.  Got back letter from my wife–July 26.  Wrote her a V-mail.  She sent a couple of air mail stamps and these were stuck to envelope on inside.

August 27, 1943

I received your air mail of August 9th yesterday.  I am glad to hear that you have got caught up on your work.

You should have plenty of beans to eat this winter.  That is one nice thing raising your own eats, you don’t have to worry about rationing.

You can pretty well figure what I am doing most of the time.  We always run on about the same schedules.  On week days we get up at 6:15 and go to work at 7:30.  On Sunday we sleep an hour later.  We get most of the Sundays off to straighten out our tents, wash clothes, write letters or whatever we want to do.  Of curse if we are especially rushed with work, we work then just like any other day.

No, I haven’t been to church in the last three months.  It is a little too far to go and conditions aren’t always so favorable.  If a person does go from here it takes up the biggest part of his day.

You spoke of the tomatoes ripening.  I sure would like to have some nice sliced tomatoes.  We get quite a few of them they come out of the can.  They still taste good to me though.  I have been eating better here the last few days.  My appetite has seemed to have improved.

garden tomatoesLuscious garden tomatoes

I can’t understand why Harold S. isn’t able to keep a job.  I thought that now a person could get a job most anywhere.  It’s too bad that the army wouldn’t take him as he doesn’t have anything to do anyway.

We got three more cartons of cigarettes this evening.  We are supposed to continue getting about 4 cartons a month from now on.  They cost us 8 cents per pack or 80 cents a carton.

I don’t remember just how much I’ve told you about India.  I’ve been here long enough that things no longer seem strange to me.  I take it all as a matter of course.

The women of the lower classes dress very simple.  They take a couple of yards of cloth or so and wrap it around them a few times until they are pretty well covered and then throw one end over their shoulders.  This is the process of dressing.  When they wash they have just a long piece of goods–no fancy frills or tucks.

The men use practically the same method except they bring the strip of cloth up between their legs once which gives the effect more or less of pantaloons.  Every caste (religious sect) dresses in a different manner.  Some of the men wear a sari which is a turban sort of affair that they wrap around their heads.

Some of the men wear just shorts and undershirts.  There is a sect that will not take a bath in the nude because it against their religion.

Some of the men wear long hair like a woman.  I’ve seen this more in the Indian Army than anywhere else.  Others have haircuts just like us Americans.  Others have short hair cuts but leave a little pig tail in the back so that they will be pulled into heaven by it when they die.

There are 2300 castes, sects, and creeds in this country and they all have different customs.  Often times one sect won’t have anything to do with the other.  There are 222 different languages spoken.  Now you can see what a variety there is over the whole of India.  I have only seen a small part, so I could only touch very lightly on the subject.

bambooMature bamboo stalks

Bamboo grows very abundantly around here.  Whenever we need a pole or a post we go cut a bamboo.  For fire we burn dry bamboo and it really burns once it gets started.

I’ll close for this time.  Hope you are all still well.  Write.


I don’t have much to say tonight so I’ll just send you a few lines.  I know you don’t like these brief letters any more than I.

Things are still going about the same as usual.  We got a few more PX supplies.  Chewing gum, cigars, soap, matches, and razor blades.

Some of the fellows here have been getting their packages from home.  One in my tent today got a package from his wife in Detroit.  It contained two pipes, a pound of tobacco and a carton of chewing gum.  It was mailed some time the last of June.

I heard from Dorothy today in a letter written in Arkansas about the 16th of August.  She said she didn’t think much of Arkansas as it was too dry and hot.

The news has been encouraging here of late.  I hope it continues to be so.  Write.

9-5-43:  Drove truck to Hell Gate.  Saw Fred.  Seemed in good humor after making T-5.  Said he might come down next Sunday.  Gave me book to read “Postman Rings Twice”-Good.

9-6-43:  Finally heard from Dorothy again (Aug. 11th).  Said she had cut her leg with a reap hook and had infection in it.  She also sent watch strap in her letter.

9-7-43:  Felt bad today with cold.  Sinuses on right side of face hurt me last night so I couldn’t sleep.  Took aspirin this morning and it relieved pain.  Sneeze and have sniffles tonight.  Got a letter from folks dated Aug. 16th.  Answered it.

9-13-43:  Lt. told us tonight as chow that we are to move to 34 M.P. at end of week.  The morale dropped immediately.  Everyone likes it here and knows what it’ll be like back in the company.

9-14-43:  Loaded up and hauled to Hell Gate some of our spare parts this morning.  Immediately after chow, a truck of Chinese turned over at the curve at our camp here.  We all rushed to help them.  Took the wrecker to lift the truck off two or three of them.  Nome were dead when they left the scene of the accident, but some were unconscious..  Several had broken arms and legs.  There were about twenty injured.  We had the injured picked up and sent to the hospital and the truck turned upright in hour and half.

9-17-43:  Preparing to move to Hell Gate with rest of outfit.  Went to Lido & Margherita today with some of the fellows.  I bought a couple of souvenirs.  A little brass bowl and a silver box.  *Saw amphibian 6×6 and Jeep.  Had wreck on the way back.  No one in our bunch was hurt.  One of the natives riding in Chinese 6×6 that hit us was hurt some.  Waited for wrecker and it pulled us in.

Editor’s note:  The Ledo Road was built in rough jungle country with steep grades, dropoffs, and switchback curves.  During monsoon season it was especially treacherous.

gmc dukw*GMC Amphibious 6×6 DUKW or “Duck”

9-18-43:  Very hot today.  Wash dirty clothes.  Not much activity as are waiting for orders to move.  Four fellows went up to prepare area.

9-19-43:  Got 2 letters from Dorothy.  Answered them and wrote to parents.  Still very hot.  Have very annoying cough.  No orders to move as yet.

9-20-43:  Eighteen new men came into company today.  Have been here at Hell Gate about 2 weeks.

10-13-43:  Caught guard last night for first time in about 5 months.  New fellows started work in shop this afternoon.

Oct. 14, 1943

I got the package today that I’ve been expecting.  It came just three months and one week to the day since it was mailed.  That is about the average time for a package to come from home.

You sure sent me plenty of lead and pencils.  I gave a couple to some of the other boys that didn’t have any.  I gave one to Fred, who is my best buddy, his being from Illinois.  I should have enough writing tools to do me for the duration now.  I really hope the duration doesn’t last that long.

The flash light batteries are the wrong size for my flash light that I have here.  They are real good batteries and I’m going to have to wait and see if you send me a flashlight in my Christmas package and then use them in it or else try to get one somewhere.  I’m keeping them in a box so they won’t corrode as everything molds that isn’t kept put away out of the dampness.

The erasers I can use everyday.  I can use the whisk broom to brush the varmints and bugs out of my bed at night before I get in it.  I’m pretty well stocked up on razor blades too, now.  I can use the thread to sew my stripes on when ever I do it.  I’m not too eager to put them on until I leave for home.

Thanks a lot.  I appreciate the trouble you went to, to send me this stuff.  I can make good use of it and what I can’t use myself I can help out some of the other fellows that are short.

More of Clyde's coworkers in India.Editor’s note:  The names of Dad’s work associates in this picture have been lost over the years.  The names “Pismo Pete” Peterson and Gorski stuck with me.  I’m sure they’re represented here somewhere.

You remember Fred Hauser?  He and I are working together now.  We can use a couple of the pencils between us as he is always losing track of his little old stubby one and it isn’t much force as it is.

I don’t remember whether I answered your last V-mail letter or not.  It made better time than most of the others.  Yesterday I heard from Dorothy as of Sept. 26th.  I have been getting more mail here of late so my morale is higher.  A letter from home seems almost like a visit home or seeing someone from there.

I’m glad to hear that Harold finally landed a job.  It will sort of relieve you folks.

I had guard the other night and it was nice and moon light.  I sort of enjoyed it which is unusual for a job like that.  It sort of reminded me of the moon light nights I used to spend at home.  It is more like early fall here now.  I have been crawling  way down under my blankets at night.  The days are more comfortable to work.

I missed out on some excitement the other day as our native KP’s got in an argument with the natives working for a neighboring organization.  It ended up in one of our natives getting his head cut by one of the other natives that hit him over the head with a bamboo pole.  It was all over some ducks that the other natives were supposed to have stolen from our natives.  I heard that our natives evened up the score the next morning before one of the fellows put a stop to the feud.

Speaking of ducks, we have a couple running around here now.  Some of the boys hae been catching rats in traps (not Japs) and the other morning one of the traps had a duck in it.  It caught him by the foot.  After he was turned loose he joined his buddy and did a lot of talking about it.  He never let out a whimper though before they let him loose.  He seems to be all right now, so I guess it didn’t hurt him very bad.  It was both amusing and pathetic at the time.  A poor old duck seems so helpless any time.

I hope that you are well back there.  I suppose that you are enjoying the cool weather now after the warm summer.

I heard that one of the younger Hewitt girls married the younger Huyear boy.  That should be quite a nice juicy bit of scandal for Chesterfield.

I’ve sort of petered out of anything to say so I’ll sign off and get ready for bed as lights will be out in another hour.  I got to get my beauty sleep you know.

Write as often as you can.

Oct. 22, 1943

Dad, I received your letter yesterday.  I was glad to hear from you again.  I hope that your corn gets a chance to mature before frost.  You should have quite a few beans if they mature.  What are they worth now?  That is a good cash crop now isn’t it?

There isn’t much difference in the price of wheat and corn now according to what you said you paid for both.  What is the price of hogs now?

Well, sure would like to shuck some of those old ears of corn again.  I saw some pictures of cribs of corn stored in Illinois in a “Life” magazine.  I also saw a field of corn just cultivated over for the first time in a field near Champaign, IL.

Fred showed me the pictures and it made both of us sort of homesick.  He lives at Arthur which is about forty miles east of Decatur.

ears if cornCorn ready for harvest

I started this letter last night and Fred came along and we got started talking over old times and future times until it was time to go to bed.  So, I didn’t get to finish the letter.  I’m n guard tonight and I just came off the first shift.  Our PX supplies came in last night and we got them tonight.  We got three cartons of cigarettes, two bottles of Indian beer and our choice of chewing gum and hard candy.  I sold one of my bottles of beer as I don’t care too much for this Indian beer.

I’ve been unusually busy this week.  I worked a couple of hours a couple of nights to sort of keep caught up.

Fred got a package from home today and it was mailed July 2nd.  He got some pipe tobacco which he gave a package to me (Sir Walter Raleigh).  He also got a flash light from home and he loaned it to me to use until I get one.  I am now using my batteries that you sent me.  He has an issue flashlight that he is using now.

He also got some stationary and envelopes and some razor blades.  He also got a pocket knife.

Well, the news seems good enough.  I hope the war doesn’t last too much longer.  I hear that congress passed a law limiting the men in service to 18 months overseas.  I haven’t put too much stock in it yet, as I haven’t heard too much about it.  I hope that it does take effect though.

I hope you all are well.

Oct. 27, 1943

I received your V-mail letter today of Oct. 7th.  The mornings here now remind me of the winter mornings we used to have in southern California when we were living under similar conditions.  I could sure use my sleeping bag now if I had it.  I don’t see why they wouldn’t let us bring them along.  We got another blanket here some time ago and it sure comes in handy.  A couple of months ago I would have laughed at the idea.

The Skinner place brought a good price all right.  I imagine the other stuff such as furniture brought a good price also.  There are four of the children, aren’t there?  They should get about five hundred dollars apiece.

You said that W. H. Dams had a sale selling out his farm implements and livestock.  Does he have someone renting his place now?

You spoke of getting an announcement card from Wayne Hudgins of a daughter born.  Who is that, anyway?  I just can’t place the name.  It must be some relative, but I’m at a loss, who.

well,I’m as busy as usual now-a-days and I’m glad that I am, because it keeps my mind occupied and I don’t have time to think of home too much.

I heard from Evelyn Getz today.  She was pinch-hitting for Carl again as I suppose he was too busy.  I’ll have to answer tonight, I guess.  Take care of yourself.


Black Dragon Rose

black dragon roseCloaked in
Mysterious colors
Observers were
Immediately attracted
Showered her, with
Attention, undeserved
But expected, that she
Nevertheless, revelled
Even, bathed in

Singlemindedly ignored
Accolades, comparisons
Adulation, all for naught
Curtain calls
No repertoire
Only performance
Was the last

No one knew
Where she
Hailed from
Nor, did she care
Bombay, Singapore
Kuala Lumpur?
Curiosity lingered
Long, after
She walked
Out the door

DAD’S WWII LETTERS, Chapter 7, Misery & Mileposts

Clyde in India (2)Dad at camp in India

4-27-43:  Worked at 85th.  Rained some this morning.  Went to show and saw “It Happened In Flatbush.”

4-28-43:  Latrine detail today–easy job.  Worked around basha remainder of the time. 

4-29-43:  Worked at 85th.

4-30-43:  Worked at 85th again.  Helped G. K. on Intern. truck.  Payday received $11.10 (36 R.) 1a.  On guard.

5-1-43:  Stood guard all day because of alert.  Had first beer at supper since I left States.  Indian beer at 1 R per quart.  Drank 2 of them.

5-2-43:  Sunday, but we have to work on our own equipment.  We checked over all our trucks.  Went to church this morning.  Bought a woven bamboo seat. 

5-3-43:  Worked at 85th all day.  Very hot.  Had very dusty ride back.  Took good bath and felt better.  Always feel worn out during afternoon and evening.  Wrote to folks and Carl Getz.

5-5-43:  Went with Hartke & Kinzel to unload crated motorcycle, but rained us out.  Had cherry pie for supper [Dad’s favorite].  What a rare treat. 

5-6-43:  Went to 85th again and helped Les on International truck.  Had to scuffle a drive line ran into some grief.  Very hot.  Game tonight 2nd shift  Showers.  Wrote letter to Dot.

5-7-43:  No day guard, but got moving off to wash clothes.  Native came around and washed my coveralls, paid him a couple of annas and gave him a cigarette.  He wanted my GI soap, but I gave him a piece of Sunlight soap instead to get rid of him.  Worked on own trucks this afternoon.  Goldbricked mostly though.  Played horseshoe with Peck as my partner.  Lost 2 games to small arms, but won 2 from Instr. section.  cigarettes & PX supplies given 3 R’s worth at a time today and yesterday. 

5-8-43:  Went to **Dibruggarth on pass.  Hitchhiked up.  Got Chev. at 12.  *Ordered a ring for myself & Fred.  Rode in car with four nurses.  Got back about 9:30.

Dad's ring*Dad’s ring with C-I-B [China, India, Burma] shield

5-9-43:  Sunday–Late breakfast.  Cleaned up around basha this morning and went to church.  Pitched a few horseshoes this afternoon and then laid around the rest of the afternoon. 

5-10-43:  Worked at 85th.

5-11-43:  Worked at 85th.

5-12-43:  Guard.  D. S. boys return.    

5-13-43:  Washed this morning and made me a shelf to put some of my stuff.  Rained all afternoon so I cleaned my gun (disassembled) and took it easy.  Wrote a letter.

5-14-43:  Received 4 letters 1 from Dot, 1 from folks, V-Mail from Carl Getz and an Easter card from Laura Cooper, Lakeside.  Wrote V-mail to Carl and started air mail to folks.  Went to show at 48th Evac.  Double feature, “The Hard Way” and “Life Begins at 8:30.”  Got to bed shortly after 12.

5-15-43:  Saturday, worked at 80th.  Helped put in a transmission in International Truck on dead line.  Put up drive line.  Took good bath and talked to Fred about Fords, etc. in the basha until bed time. 

5-16-43:  Sunday–8 o’clock breakfast.  Washed in morning.  Went to church.  Shined shoes after chow and cleaned up in basha.  Laid around about an hour till inspection at 4.

main street in dibrugarh**Main street in Dibigarh with sacred cows

5-17-43:  Worked at 85th with Les on International truck again.  Almost finished it.  Shop trucks came in today.

5-18-43:  Stayed here today and checked over tools in Automotive tool truck.  Guard tonight 3rd shift (10 till 12 & 4 till 6).  Have been reading some of old mail.  Sure wish I could write back and tell them just what I’m doing.  (eight lines marked out)

5-19-43:  Worked here again today, placing tools and parts in the spare parts truck.  Checked tools in the 2nd Echelon set #2. 

5-20-43:  Checked over tools again today.  Received 3 letters today noon, 2 air mail from my wife, and one from my folks.  Received 2 V-mail letters tonight.  One was from Mr. Bucholtz and the other from folks written about April 11th.  Last letter from folks mailed April 27th.  Last letter from Dot mailed Apr. 26th.  Wrote nice long letter to Dorothy tonight. 

5-21-43:  Checked over tool boxes and spare parts truck.  C. O. came back from inspecting new area.  Expects us to move out next week some time.  Finished writing V-mail to my folks.

5-22-43:  Rained all morning and the ground is very sloppy.  My feet have been wet all day.  Have been checking and re checking tool boxes.  Finally got 5 completed as near as I could with what we have.  Have to make out a list of tools in them tomorrow.  This kind of work is about as hard on a fellow as anything a person can do, I believe.  We probably (some of us) will be moving out of here Mon. morn.

5-23-43:  Work all day trying to get truck in order.     

5-24-43:  Move up road about 24 miles [30 MP].  Lt. Br. commanding.  Shop area in very bad shape.  Sloppy mud axle deep in places.  Spend afternoon digging ditches and trying to drain area.  Tents with electric lights hooked up to generator on truck.  Awful hot. (exhausted).

Editor’s note:  Road construction moved eastward in sections.  Sections were marked with mile posts [MP] starting from Ledo.  Some mile post markers had colorful names that only GI’s could give.  As the road moved, so did those providing support.

brahmaputra river in assamBrahmaputra River in Assam Province

5-25-43:  Got up at 20 till 7 this morning.  Breakfast at 7.  Good.  Work at 8.  Worked on truck today.  Morris & I.  Parts came in this evening.  Took bath in river tonight.  Water cold and refreshing.  Wrote 2 letters.  1 to Mrs. Cooper, Lakeside and one to Mr Buchholz, Had coffee.  I believe I’m going to like this place.   

5-30-43:  A lot of parts have been coming in the last few days.  Been very busy.  Area is improving with a lot of work.  Today has been the hottest yet.  If it gets any hotter I’m done for.  I’m all in tonight.  Took a bath in the river again tonight and stopped at the Chinese camp to see if there was to be a show, but the projector was broke.  Pay day today.  I received 26 Rupees and 2 annas ($7.90) $3.20 out for statement of charges. 

6-7-43:  Has been rather warm today.  Moved the two parts trucks today behind the shop.  Put the rear ends together and stretched the canvas cover.  Some of the boys were issued boots today.  Went up river tonight to wash clothes and take a bath.  Took monkey with us and she hung around my neck all the way up there.  Got a letter from my Dad tonight mailed on the 2nd of May.  The first letter that I ever received from him when he wrote by himself. 

6-10-43:  It has been a busy daylike most days are now.  Went on sick call this morning with feet and had them treated.  Painted them with a solution for ring worm.  Lt. B. went with me.  We drove a weapons carrier and had to go back down the road about 4 miles to Horse medics.  Picked up some Chinese soldiers on the way back.  We are to hear the Articles of War tonight at 7 o’clock.  The area is getting a lot better now since the boys have hauled in so much gravel.  I think of home  a great deal during my spare moments.  I don’t have too much time to think of such.  Fred B. [Bratton].  Went back up the road to the company this morning after spending a week here with us.  I hope Fred and I don’t get too far apart.  I hope we can go home together like we did when we went home on our last furlough 7 mo. ago.   

Clyde Adam & Fred Bratton in IndiaDad and Fred Bratton

6-11-43:  Went on sick call again with my feet.  They feel worst.  My left foot pains me some and I have a headache.  I think I’ll go to bed early.

6-12-43:  Admitted to 73rd Evac. Hosp. in the evening.  Find the “Doc” medics from the company in my ward (D-3).  Lots of malaria patients.

6-13-43:  Three boys leave this morning.  “Doc” one of them.  Harry Grant comes in this afternoon with malaria.  Soaked my feet this morning in a solution of potassium permanganate and water.  And and then powdered them afterwards.  Found a book to read about nature–Australia. 

6-15-43:  About the same today.  Nothing unusual except heard them practice firing guns up in the hills this morning.  Still no mail.  Read a book today.  Captain North in “Exile Murders in Singapore.” 

6-16-43:  Barton brought Harry G. and I some cookies and candy from our PX have been reading about how the hardier varieties of wheat were introduced in our midwestern states and Canada.  The title of the book is “Hunger Fighters”  by Paul DeKruf.  There are several good articles that I yet have to read.  It is interesting as well as educational.  I think I’ll write a few lines to my folks as I haven’t written for over a week.

6-17-43:  Received 6 letters this morning written all the way from May 9th to May 22nd.  Saw Gorski last night and (Pismo Pete) Merlin Peterson a little while ago.  I think I’ll answer some of these letters now while I have the inspiration to write.   

6-18-43:  I am still reading “Hunger Fighters.”  Very interesting and educational.  I found out how hybrid corn was discovered.  Some colored boys came in this afternoon to visit some of their buddies and I was quite amused at their speech.  Played three games of checkers with Keelong, the fellow next to me, this morning.  My toes are almost dried up.  I think a few more days will be all that it’ll take.

6-19-43:  Had slight fever this afternoon.

6-20-43:  Felt OK today.

6-21-43:  Had temperature about 101 this afternoon and a slight chill.  Beginning to look like malaria.  Blood smears showed no malaria. 

6-22-43:  Feel all right today.  Doctor says I can leave soon.

6-23-43:  Felt fine this morn.  Doc said I could leave tomorrow.  This aft. had a bad chill and run a fever close to 105.  Blood smear still shows negative. 

malaria preventionAnti-malarial poster

6-24-43:  I was supposed to have left today, but they started giving me quinine.  I felt fairly good this morn. outside of being weak. 

Editor’s note:  It wasn’t like Dad to miss diary entries.  Soldiers suffered from fungal infections and various mosquito-borne illnesses.

7-2-43:  I’m taking atribine [atropine?] now and have been for 4 or 5 days.  I’m ready to leave, but may have to stay another week.  Have been in hosp. for 20 days now.  Finished reading “A Blind Man’s Eyes.”  A very interesting book.  Returned to Chaplain Hurt’s office and got another.  Wrote a V-mail to Wendell D. yesterday.  Wrote an air mail to my wife yesterday and a V-mail to my folks.  Received a V-mail from folks yesterday morning dated June 14th and an airmail dated June 7.  Heard today that I’ve been made T/5.  I’ve waited quite a while for that.  Hope I can keep it.

7-4-43:  Here it is 4th of July and I’m in the hospital.  I wonder what they are doing back home today?  We had a nice fried chicken dinner today. 

7-8-43:  This is my third on Plasma pills.  I finish on the 10th.  I should leave here on the 11th for my company.  Wrote a V-mail to my wife.  Hard to write letters as there is so little to say.  Haven’t heard from her for week or more.

7-11-43:  Came back to station at 24 MP today.  Got here in time for a chicken dinner.  Very hot here this afternoon.  I took my things out of my barracks bags and bring them out to dry as they were damp.  Wore me out completely as I was weak anyway. 

7-12-43:  Went back to work and found that I was way behind on my knowledge of stock on hand.

7-17-43:  Ate only supper.  Off at stomach and bowels.  Received 4 letters.  One from Carl G.;  and 2 air mail from Dorothy.  Sent one wedding picture. 

7-18-43:  Sunday–8 o’clock breakfast.  Pete S. went to Hell Gate.  Going to write some letters today.  Sort of expect Fred down.

7-31-43:  Going to write to Dorothy tonight.  Got a letter from her yesterday and answered it last night.  Went to Chinese show last night.  Couldn’t understand it.  Didn’t make sense.  It was my first and last.

8-8-43:  Made my first trip to Hell Gate this morning with water trailer.  It rained on my way up and part way back.  Road was sort of slick.  Saw Fred and he said he was coming down next Saturday. 

I haven’t gotten any mail now since last Sunday.  We just finished our noon chow.  We are going to have duck for supper.  Some of the boys cleaned them this morning.  We’ve had them running around here for the last few days.  It reminded me of home to have ducks around.  They are the colored kind though.

We got our first ration of American beer last week.  It sure tasted good in comparison to this Indian beer.  We got 12 cans of Pabst Blue Ribbon and Rupperts beer.  We also got 24 pack of cigarettes this time.

I washed some of my clothes last night before dark.  Coveralls are the hardest to wash as I wear them every day and they get dirty, greasy and sweaty.  If I use a brush I can do a fairly good job, if not, grease spots will show.  A person has to keep his clothes dry over here or they’ll mold if they lay around long.

On your last letter of July 11th you spoke of having the wheat cut.  I don’t suppose that threshing will take as long this time.  Probably by the time you read this it’ll be over.  Did you have any oats this year or was it too wet to get them in?  I hope that your corn crop turns out better this year than it did last.  I imagine that it is rather hard to buy corn anymore and is rather high.  A person can’t make much on hogs if he had to buy all their feed.  The price of hogs has come down too hasn’t it?

I often get to thinking about things back there and it makes me eager to get back on the job again.  I keep planning on what I’m going to do.

I am surprised to hear of Harvey Crowder getting married.  When I was around home he was just a kid yet.  He probably married some young thing that doesn’t realize what it is all about yet, but got married because everyone else seemed to be.  Maybe I would have been better off if I had gotten married when I was a few years younger.  If I could have found one with some money it might have worked.  Ha!

One of the boys bought some souvenirs that look nice.  He bought a little ivory goddess and a pair of red pajamas for his wife.  He also has some silver pins that were made over here.  Some of the fellows were buying stones such as rubies, etc.  Until they found that they weren’t genuine.  That sort of dampened their interest.

I would like to have a few things to take back, but I’m in no hurry and I sort of hate to let go of the money.  I guess it would be all right to have a few things, but not too many.  I’ll have to close for this time.  Hope you are all well.  Write often.

PS:  I forgot to tell you that you might as well save the money that it costs to buy air mail stamps.  The postal authorities sat that letters sent air mail seldom travel any faster than ordinary mail.  When there is a bag of mail to go out they sent it whichever way there is room for regardless of whether it is by plane, train, or boat.  I’m going to take advantage of the free postage from now on and save that 6 cents.  I would write more V-mail but a person can’t write enough on them.  If he could type a letter on them it would be all right.  Even at that, after it is reproduced it makes small print.  I think I’ll mix V-mail with regular mail.  I told Dorothy the same thing as she has been sending all her letters air mail and has even been sending me air mail stamps.  There doesn’t seem to be much difference in the length of time it takes the different types of letters to get here.  It all depends on the mail service anyway.

8-10-43:  Made 2nd trip to Hell Gate today.  Stayed for dinner.  Talked to Fred for quite a while.

8-11-43:  Went to river tonight.  Water was very swift and cool.  Laid the windshield down on the weapons carrier.  Shaved my chin whiskers off tonight after having over two weeks of growth.  It was a good start.  Maybe I’ll try again sometime.  Got our PX supplies last night.  Bought some peanuts, pencil leads and Kleenex.  Handy to clean my glasses.  Haven’t gotten any letter from Dorothy or folks since week ago Sunday.  Should be getting some any day now.  Received letter from Aunt Mary Trill yesterday.  

8-12-43:  Signed payroll this morning first thing.  Made trip to Hell Gate today with water trailer.  3rd trip.  No mail at all today–11 days now since I heard from folks or Dot.  Corgialotti came back today from hospital.  Road good.  Sun shone all day–hot.  In case I forget, we call the 24 MP [mile post]–Pissin’ Post Junction–sign along road where the drive is.  Wrote V-mail to Dot. tellng her of Christmas parcels.  Fred bought me 2 large bars of Palmolive soap today.  Cost 3 R’s (96 cents) way too much to have to pay for soap–these robbing Hindus!

8-19-43:  Wrote to Dorothy tonight.  A couple of nights ago got our second ration of Am. beer and other supplies.  Got 2 packs of gum and 1 carton of cigs.  besides candy (Walnettos) and mints, etc.  I have very urgent desire toWedding Photo 11.14.1942 be home tonight as I gaze at Dorothy and my wedding picture.  I hope she realizes how much I miss her and would like to be back home.  I suppose she misses me and wishes just as much that I were there.

8-21-43:  Has been terribly warm today.  Was on fatigue, but didn’t work very hard as was too hot.  Went after sand from river and took a swim while we were there.  3 natives fishing.  One swam across river with his fishing pole and fished on other side.  Wrote 3 letters tonight.  Got V-mail from folks dated Aug 3rd.  Boys here played volleyball with team from above and got badly beaten last evening.  Have felt tired and blue all day.  I think I’m getting homesick.