HOW DO I DESPISE THEE? LET ME COUNT THE WAYS

aluminum tree

Soulless, reflective

Aluminized, monolith

With your colorized

Wheel of misfortune

Alien invader, inspired by

“The Jetsons,” “Lost in Space”

In my home, you have no place

Crass, sassy, sixties reminder, of

Industrial, might made right

Depart, from my sight

Go, back to the smelter

I’ll no longer, give you shelter

How, I despise thee

Aluminum Christmas tree

FALL FEELING

autumnal equinox--avery cotton

Summer’s curtain
Fell, to the sound
Of falling leaves
Hands clasped
Around, cups
Of refreshing
Hot chocolate

A fall festival
Of brilliant colors
Crisp, cool mornings
The bluest of skies
Hills and valleys
Covered with
Blankets of frost

Shortened days
Longer nights
Wisps, of
Fireplace smoke
Apple cider
Pumpkins, halloween
The scary house
On haunted hill

–Picture by Avery Cotton WKRG–

DAD’S WWII LETTERS: Chapter 19, Cherry Pie Dreams, Christmas Venison

Nov. 27, 1944

I received your letter of Nov. 6th. It’s getting hard to find time for my correspondence.  I usually write your letters on Sunday if I have one to answer, but this time I just couldn’t squeeze yours in as I had some laundry to do after supper.

I’ll bet the old ears of corn are really bumping into the wagons back there now, unless everyone is finished shucking corn and I doubt it very much.  I imagine that you folks have yours about finished though.

It sounds good to hear someone talk of canning fruit.  We get canned fruit, but no near as much as I could eat, especially during hot weather when I don’t eat so much of other things.  Our usual fruit diet is pineapple, fruit cocktail, peaches, pears, apple sauce or apple pie and occasionally cherry pie.  I hope you have some cherries all canned just waiting to be made into a nice, luscious pie.  I have hopes of eating some of those home cooked pies before too many more months.

cherry pieFreshly baked cherry pie

I never did learn to eat sweet potatoes.  They have them once in a while for chow.  Neither can I go for these dehydrated spuds.  This dehydrating process is a failure as far as I am concerned.  I’ll take my food prepared the old-fashioned way.  It’s possible I might get to eat some of that beef.  It’s been a long time since I’ve had any good corn-fed beef.  I sure wish that I could have seen the twins [calves].  I’ll bet they were cute.

Your hens are making a few dollars for you now.  Forty three cents a dozen sounds better that twenty.

I guess Uncle George hates giving up the place.  He’ll sure miss the farm chores although, I guess Aunt Minnie will find enough for him to run him ragged.  Next summer they’ll probably take care of all the neighbor’s gardens.

Dorothy said that she took the kids out to the Pitman sale for dinner.

I’m surprised to hear that Floyd and Nellie [Rigsbey] are moving off Bill’s place.  I’ll bet that Bill is upset.  I suppose they wanted a better way out.  Is little Bill old enough to go to school already?  Maybe they’re just getting set.  What’s Clarence Dowland doing now?  I heard that Myrtle was in the hospital.  She was always so healthy looking and full of pep.

Yes, I voted, but I don’t know whether it was legal or not, as one of the fellows from Chicago got his ballot back today.  I sent mine to the county clerk,so that may make a difference.  Anyway, I tried.

I had a surprise today in a letter from Ab [Albert] Wilson.  He was in Belgium when he wrote it.  He didn’t say anything about anything there, but just inquired about Dorothy and old times together that we naturally think of while we are far away from home.  I had written him a letter and he got it while he was still in England.  He seems to be getting around quite a bit.  In that respect he’s doing better than I.

I’m expecting some of my Christmas packages any day now, as some of the fellows have received theirs already.

It’s getting close to bedtime, which seems to roll around awfully fast.  So, I’ll have to close for this time.  I’m well and hope you are both the same.

V-Mail Christmas Card to Mom from Burma 1844Dad’s V-Mail Christmas card to Mom

Dec. 4, 1944

I received your Christmas card and your letter of Nov. 14th.  I wrote a letter to Gene Parker using the address you sent me.  I also heard from Ab Wilson last week and I answered his letter.  He was in Belgium when he wrote the letter.  He didn’t say much about anything over there, but just talked about old times and discussed some of the fellows in the service.

Editor’s note:  Ab [Albert] Wilson, was Mom’s cousin.  When we visited the Wilson farm as a child, the place seemed beset by tragedy.  His father, Bruce Wilson, passed away, leaving his mother a widow.  Ab Wilson returned from duty in Europe after the war, lived with his mother, never seemed to make a go at anything.  The house and farm slowly deteriorated, until their deaths.

I’m glad to hear that you’ve been having nice fall weather.  That should give the farmers a chance to get their corn out of the field.  I suppose when the weather does break, it’ll really be rough.  How’s Mr. Kallal getting along?  Ed mush be having a time trying to keep things going.

I’ll bet that it looks quite a bit different around the house there now, with those trees cut out.  I imagine it does make it quite a bit lighter inside the house.

You don’t need to worry, as I’m still interested in farming and intend to do some of if I ever get out of the army.  Even if I should get out during the middle of a year, I imagine that I could find plenty of work to do to keep me going until the following spring when I could rent me a farm.

I expect I’ll need plenty of help when I first start in for myself because it’s been so long ow that I’ve probably forgotten a lot of things and I can use some advice on a few things.

It looks now like I’ll get home for a furlough sometime the fore part of the year.  If things don’t change a lot between now and then, I’ll probably have to go over for another two years.  That part I hate to think of.

I haven’t heard from Dorothy yet, since she received the flowers.  I’ve been expecting to hear of it.  I received an anniversary card which was awfully sweet.  (Of course I’d think so).  From your description, it sounds like what you ordered should have been a nice bouquet.

Dorothy told me she wore glasses now.  She kept talking about that she thought she needed them and I told her by all means get them, it she needed them, because a person should take care of their eyes when they’re young.  I have to depend on my glasses all the time now.  My eyes bother me too much if I don’t wear them.

It sounds like the horses you’re working must be awfully cagey.  I’ll never forget the time the old gray and black mares of Uncle George’s ran away with me one fall when I was shucking corn.  I was lucky to not break anything.  You should have a nice lot of corn if you haul from the other place.

I hope you’ll excuse my scribbling this letter as I’m writing it rather hurriedly in order to get it done before bedtime  We had a meeting tonight and after that, I had a chance to get my haircut.  Barbers are hard to find over here at the present–anyway, the tools are the scarcest.  I certainly needed a haircut as the hair was growing down my tail bone–as you used to say.

Hope to hear from you again soon.

Dec. 10, 1944

This is a nice peaceful Sunday morning.  We get Sunday mornings off instead of afternoons.  A person can sleep now all morning if he wants to, but I’d rather get up as there is always something or other i have to do.  I was on KP yesterday and I had enough time to wash out some things.  We can hire our laundry done by some natives, but if a person has them wash everything, it doesn’t pay.  It runs into too much money.  They don’t do a very good job on white clothes and often times lose handkerchiefs and socks.  Consequently, I wash out the socks and handkerchiefs and sometimes shorts myself, and let them wash coveralls, shirts and pants that are dirtier.

I got Christmas cards from Aunt Catherine and Aunt Mary T. [Trill] this week.  Uncle John and Aunt Catherine are in Jefferson City, Mo. now as the card was postmarked such.

I received your letter of Nov. 19th this week.  So Clyde Lee is a baker now?  I had the impression that he was a supply sgt.  I don’t know why I thought that, except for what someone said in a letter.  It seems that store clerks turn out to be cooks when they get in the army.

It seems strange for some of these young guys to be getting married, but they’re getting at the age now where they do such things.  Howard, Bob Kallal, & Peachy [Edwin] Leach will be 24 their next birthday.  They are six years younger than I, and that’s hard for me to realize that age is creeping up on me.

I’m glad to hear that you almost finished with the work.  I guess it’s been a good fall to get things done.

It sounds like there are going to be lots of farms for rent next spring.  I wonder where they are going to find renters for them?  It looks to me like all the farmers now have all they can handle without taking on any more.  If i get home next spring on furlough, I wonder what chance I’ll have of working my way out of the army, and back on the farm.  It looks to me like, they are going to have to let some of the men out to take up the farming that the older men are retiring from.  If they don’t, they are going to have lots of farms laying idle pretty soon.

Editor’s note:  Farming wasn’t mechanized, it was still labor intensive.  Draft animals were widely used.  It was no wonder those on the home front felt the additional strain.

Olin Trill has quit Uncle Pete to start trapping.  Some people don’t realize that there is a war going on.  Some day though they are liable to realize it, especially if it lasts another two or three years, which it looks like it might do.  Uncle Pete is going to have his hands full, looks like.  If he should have a sick spell again, he would be up against it.

P. S. Dorothy went wild over the roses.  Thanks a million.

rose bouquet

Dec. 17, 1944

Her it is Sunday morning again and is a nice day as usual this season of the year.  I just got back from church service which we had in our mess hall.  It is the first time I’ve gone since I’ve been up here.  It’s the first time we’ve had church in our own area.  I should be able to make it every Sunday now.

I received your letter of Nov 27th in yesterday’s mail.  John Flowers is the first loss of the men in the service from right around home, I guess, as I’ve never heard of any others so far.  I’m sorry you don’t hear from me regular.  I write every week.  I’ve been hearing from you weekly now for quite a while.  I’ve gotten several letters from Dorothy this week, but for about two weeks before, I only got one letter and a card from her.

I got a Christmas card from Aunt Katherine and Uncle John.  I also got cards this week from the Hounsleys (both) Mr. & Mrs. Bruce Wilson [Ab Wilson’s parents] (they attached a note saying it was about time I was coming home), and from Aunt Mary Trill.

Dorothy sent me the picture this week of you two standing by the new brooder house.  She said that she had sent it to me several months ago, but I guess the letter got lost as I never received it.  So she sent me another, and this time I got it.  It looks like quite a fancy brooder house.  You both look about the same.  Mom, you’re not getting any thinner and you, Dad aren’t getting any fatter.  Ha!

img011

Grandma’s new brooder house

You are probably having genuine winter weather now.  I wonder if you’ll have a white Christmas this year?  Yo;u should have the cribs bulging with corn now.  Is Uncle Val buying corn for Dowland?

I’m glad that you got to go to a nice turkey dinner for Thanksgiving.  It would have been kind of lonesome if you’d had to stay at home.  I hope that I can be home next year at that time.

It seems strange to think of Ed Kallal as a family man, but I guess it happens sooner or later to everybody.

If Uncle George moves the brooder house to town, the next thing they’ll start raising chickens again.  Aunt Minnie will find some excuse to do it.

We just had mail call, but I didn’t get anything today.  I can’t be fortunate every day and get mail though.  Mail call is one of the most important events of the day over here.

I’m sure getting homesick.  I have high hopes of getting back there in the spring.  That’s the best time of year to get back there, only I believe I’d be satisfied to go anytime.

It’ll be chow time in about forty minutes and I’m sure hungry.  I could sure go some nice fried chicken with cherry pie for dessert.  A nice juicy steak would sure taste good.  I don’t know what there is for chow, but it sure smelled good while ago when I walked by the kitchen.

So long for this time.

Dec. 25, 1944

Merry Christmas!  It is almost over for another year.  I started out the day with sunrise church service.  Then I had lb reakfast and worked till noon.  I had the afternoon off.

I did pretty good today on mail.  I got four letters and five cards inclluding your card and letter.  I had cards from all three Horn girls and one from Kallals.  It made me feel full of the Christmas spirit.

We had Deer meat for dinner that some of the boys killed while out hunting.  Tonight we had canned chicken and ham which sure tasted good.

According to reports, you must be having a white Christmas back there along with some cold weather.

I’m glad to hear that you got your standing corn out of the field before bad weather started.  It sounds like you are gong to have everything full of corn by the time you are through with the shock corn.  That’s what looks good on the farm though–all the cribs full of golden corn.

Stock cattle must be awfully high now.  It’s going to be sort of a gamble unless the price holds up good in the spring.  Your hogs should bring a few dollars when you sell them.  I guess you’ve bought corn to feed them.

You say you have four horses and mules to feed.  Do you mean you have two horses and two mules or four horses and two mules?  I didn’t know you had any mules.  I hope that you can hang onto four of the best ones until I get home in the spring (which I hope to do) and find what I can do, or whether I’ll have to go overseas again.  I’m hoping that I can get out of the army and take up at home where I left off.

I’m in good health and am sweating out the remainder of my time over here.

Write often.

PS:  I don’t remember whether I told you or not that I received your package and thanks a lot.  I got one from the farm bureau since.

Jan. 1, 1945

Here it is a brand new year.  I have high expectations of this year.  I’m planning on doing something that I haven’t done in over two years and that is coming home.

I didn’t get a letter since your card and letter.  I postponed writing this a day, thinking maybe that a letter would come today, but decided I’d write anyway.  I try to get off at least one letter a week and more if I happen to recieve another letter in the meantime.

Tonight is show night, but I didn’t go tonight as I’d seen the picture already.  I see quite a few shows just to pass the time.

There is a show somewhere around almost every night.

From reports and letters from back there, you must be having real winter weather now.  I read reports of a blizzad htat swept across form the east coast and caused some damage.  It must be like one of the winters we had befor I came in the army when a big snow came awhile beore Christmas and the weather stayed cold and there was at least a month that the snow never melted off.

I’d sure like to see a winter through back home like that again, although it is awfully inconvenient to do farm chores.  It’d be nice though just to be there.

Since I’m figuring rather strong on being home in the spring or early summer, I’ve been wondering what chances I would have in getting out of the army and getting settled back on the farm.  I know that I can’t find out anything until I get back there, but I want to have the stage all set so that I can go into action immediately after I hit the States.  I won’t have any time to lose, because in some cases, the boys are being whisked right back overseas immediately after getting their furloughs.

What I want you to do is to find out if anything can be done about it.  Maybe the Farm Bureau could advise you.  As soon as I hit a camp back there, I’m gong to see someone that can advise me and see what they advise.  I can’t see coming back overseas for another two years, and then if the war is over having to figure on starting out on my own.  By that time, I would have in six years of service and I certainly don’t want to make a career of it.  It doesn’t seem right that some should have to devote all their time while others don’t devote any of it to the service.

Things are the same as ever over here.  There’s nothing new that I can tell you.  I hope that you are surviving the winter weather in good shape.

Editor’s note:  When was the war going to end?  Every soldier wanted the answer, nobody with a lick of sense was going to ask.  Soldiers didn’t call attention to themselves.  The army did what was convenient for the army.  Excessive griping would be met swiftly with extra duty, or gems of wisdom, “Don’t like it?”  “Then, go to the chaplain and have your TS, (tough s**t), card punched!”  It was better to keep quiet, hope the war ended sooner, rather than later.  Letters home were Dad’s only sounding board.

DAD’S WWII LETTERS: Chapter 17, Calcutta, Back to Work

taj mahalThe Taj Mahal

August 19, 1944

Well, I’m enjoying a fifteen day furlough.  Anyway I’m enjoying it as much as a person could in this country.  I’m in a rest camp and am free to come and go as I please.  It is located in one of the nicest spots that I’ve seen so far in India.  It isn’t so cool always here at night but the days are usually cool here in the camp.  We have a PX here and a recreation center.  We have a pass to go to town anytime we feel like it.  There are no duties.  The only thing we are required to do is to report when the time is up to go back.

I’ve been here five days in a row now and it’s beginning to get a little bit old.  Some of the fellows don’t even stay here, but get a room downtown.  That costs a little too much.  I’ve eaten downtown a few times and a person can get steaks that aren’t as good as they are back home, but they taste better than corned beef and viennas.

calcutta key bookletSoldier’s guidebook to Calcutta

The camp here feeds a lot of fresh meat.  We can buy all the ice cream and cold drinks we want.  They sell cold beer at the PX.  The first few days the weather was nice for going around seeing things.  Today though is one of those rainy days.

A day or two ago I went on a Red Cross tour and saw some native temples and places where they burn the dead.  I had heard a lot about how they burned the dead but was the first time I actually seen it.

It takes a lot of rupees to have much of a time down here but it’s worth it after being in the jungle so long.   It might be the last chance I have for a long time.  I hope that my next furlough will be in the States.

I hope you are well.

Sept. 2, 1944

I hope you don’t think that I’ve forgotten you.  I got back from my furlough in Calcutta last night.  I got my mail (14 letters in all) this morning and now I’m trying to catch up on some of it.

GI's at newsstandSoldiers at Calcutta newsstand

It’s nice in a way to be back, but it was hard to leave a nice place in civilization to come back here in the jungle again and go to work again for no telling how long.

I got to eat lots of steaks, ham and eggs while I was down there.  I got to ride around in taxis which reminded me of home more or less.  I rented a bicycle to ride  a couple of times while I was there and that was quite a sport.  It was the cheapest way to get around as they cost the equivalent of 16 cents an hour.

It’s no telling just where I’ll be for Christmas, but more than likely I’ll still be over here.  You need not send me any soap or tooth powder or shaving cream as we can get plenty of it.  You could send some after shave lotion.  You could send me a fairly good pipe (one of medium weight).  Oh yes, if you could get hold of some small scissors, I could use those.  There isn’t so much that I need right now and there’s no use sending stuff that a person can get over here.  It’s better not to send anything to eat as it usually gets stale by the time it gets here.  I’m hoping this will be my last Christmas overseas or away from home.  Let’s see.  I’ve been away from home for three Christmases now, and this’ll make the fourth.  If I think of anything else, I need I’ll tell you right away.

calcutta 2Calcutta streets

I’m sorry to hear that it’s so dry back there.  It’s too bad you can’t have some of this moisture we have here.  I guess you have enough heat the way it is.  It is cooler here today than what it was when I left.  It may just be one of those days, but it should get cooler now before long and I’ll sure be glad of it.

It’s nice that Kallal’s are able to take a little vacation.  When I get home you can take a vacation while Dorothy and I look after things.

It sounds like you are going to have some beef in the locker this winter.  I hope I get home in time to eat some of it.  Well, I may not get home quite soon enough for that, but I do have expectations of getting home by spring.  If not they surely don’t expect much out of me by then.

I can just imagine how Uncle George is puttering around getting everything fixed just the way Aunt Minnie wants it.  It sounds like the high school and grade school are having a time this year trying to get teachers.  I guess the shortage is getting critical.  The schools will be opening again in a few days as this is the first of September.  I guess everyone has their troubles in war-time.  Maybe the European situation will soon be settled.  I sure hope so, as that’ll simplify matters considerable.  That should give us older fellow more of a chance of getting back to the States sooner.

Uncle George should have a place like the old Barr place so that he could keep a cow or two and chickens to have something to piddle around at.  The way it is, he won’t have much to do and he won’t know what to do with himself.  I suppose though, that he’ll take of Opal’s garden as well as their own, and besides helping Aunt Minnie, that’ll keep him busy anyway during the summer.  I just can’t picture him sitting down and taking life easy.  I suppose Aunt Minnie would just as soon continue living out there on the farm, but she’s lucky that she got to live there as long as she did.

I don’t remember just what was the trouble when I told you I wasn’t feeling so good.  I’m OK now since I had a vacation.  I think I gained a few pounds because I seem to fill out my pants a little better.  A person gets off feed once in a while when it is so hot continuously.  The weather will be getting cooler now along and I hope to be out of here before the next hot season.  Don’t worry about me because if I do get sick, they have good hospitals and equipment to take care of a person.

After you get the crops all in this fall, you’ll be able to sit back and take life a little easier.  That takes quite a bit off my mind as well as yours.  I’m not going to worry about what I’m going to do till the time comes.  I think I’ll just take it easy for a while at first when I get back.

Write when you can.

Sept. 6, 1944

I received two more letters from you today.  The latest was mailed on the 28th of August.  That makes three of your letters I have to answer now.  We sure are getting some nice music on our radio now.  I think I told you that we have one in the tent now that one of the fellows fixed up from salvage parts.  It’s a pretty nice one too, even though it was made of pieces from here and there.

It isn’t quite as hot here now as it was, but is still hot enough that a person still perspires quite a bit.  The reason a person notices the perspiration is that the humidity is high.

What are you planning on doing with the cattle you have on pasture?  Are you going to sell them this fall or feed them through the winter?  Seed clover must be a good price now isn’t it?  I’m not going to worry about renting a farm until I get home and am ready for it.  Something else may come up by then.  The only thing I have to worry about is having enough laid away to get set up in farming.

The picture of Armin Rigsbey and his dad show quite a contrast between the way the soldier was dressed last war and this war.  There is as much difference between the wars, too.  I was sort of surprised to see the clipping showing the picture of Armin’s wife to be.  Seems like all those young fellows that were kids whin I was around home are getting married.  It makes me feel like an old-timer.

I’m glad the weather has cooled off some back there.

Yes, sometimes a person gets pretty discouraged being way over here and at times it seems that the war would last indefinitely.  The longer a person stays over here the worse it is.  Things look better though, now, and I’ve had a furlough. and feel a little more like carrying on.  I just hope I don’t have to endure another hot season over here.  I’ve picked up a little weight since I was on furlough.  I had some steaks and ham and eggs to eat while I was down there.  I’ve had a better appetite since I got back.

Snake Charmer in IndiaIndian snake charmer

As for feeling patriotic, I don’t feel so much so, after being over here and seeing what actually goes on.  I’ll tell you more about it when I get home.

I don’t put much stock in the good things that are going to be done for the returning soldiers.  I’ve been in the army too long and seen too many promises fall through for that.  I think the fellow that looks out for himself and grabs off what he can get will be the one that’s best off.  The ones that stayed home are getting the cream now.  They won’t have to worry so much about the future if they provide for it now.

It would be nice to take a short course in agriculture when I get back.  I don’t want to have to spend much time or money trying to get an education at this late date, though I’ll have to get down to scratching for a living as soon as possible.

Editor’s note:  Dad’s letters reflected realistic views of army life, the post-war world.  What he couldn’t talk about was army waste and corruption.  Dad felt left behind while life at home went on.  After the war, Dad took an agriculture course at the local high school, under Prof. Klaus–also my high school agriculture instructor in the sixties.

As for bookkeeping, I’ve learned quite a bit about it these last eighteen months.  I’m beginning to get tired of it.

Mary Sawtell sure made a nice looking young lady.  She’ll make all the boys run a temperature that she takes care of in the line of duty as a nurse.  Ha!

Well, I’ll close for this time.  I hope you are well.  Write as often as you can.

Sept. 10, 1944 Letter from India (2)Handwritten Sep. 10th letter

Sept. 10, 1944

Here it is another Sunday almost gone.  I worked this morning and this afternoon.  I passed the time by playing a few games of cards.  I played a few games of table tennis this evening.

We had ice cream for supper tonight. We have it quite often ow that we have a way of making it in the company.  We have cold drinks most of the time, too, except when we have coffee.  It sure us quite different from when we first came over here, when you couldn’t get anything like that.

I’m glad that it has turned cooler now.  It isn’t quite as warm here as it was.  The nights are cooler now.  A person has to cover up with a sheet now where before a person wore as little as possible all night.  Before too many weeks we’ll be looking for blankets to cover up with.  It seems like when it does turn cool, the dampness chills a person through and through.

The cow you bought is doing her part to step up production.  i imagine the veal calves are a pretty good price aren’t they?  Boy! I’d sure like to milk a cow again to see how it’s like.  It seems like it’s been a long tome since I’ve done anything like that.  I’d probably have to learn all over again.  i believe I did milk once when i was home last.

By now I suppose you are either in the middle of silo filling or else you’ve finished.  It shouldn’t take too long this year as you’ve got only one silo to fill.  Some of these days you’ll be starting to shuck corn.  that’s something else I haven’t done in a long time.  It’s been about four years since I’ve done any of that.  I think I told you that my corn over here didn’t amount to much.  The best I could get out of the two hills I planted were two small nubbins.  I was going to send some grains home to show how it turned out, but somebody threw it away when i was on furlough.  I had it tied up on a string drying out.

I’m glad to hear that you were able to get some new tractor tires.  Are they any heavier than the others?  What make are they?  You didn’t have to get new ones for the front, too, did you?  It seems like the old ones didn’t last very long as they weren’t on quite four whole seasons.  I guess they did a lot of work though and they weren’t hardly heavy enough.

I was surprised to hear that Uncle Alvin died.  I knew that he was poorly too.  I got a letter from Dorothy written on the 31st of August and she said she was at Dixon at the time it happened.  She was out there, though, after she got back and met some of the folks.  She said that Aunt Minnie was sick in bed then.

Mr. Banks death was rather sudden.  There sure have been a lot of deaths in and around Chesterfield since I’ve been over here.  There have certainly been a lot of changes made.  I’ll feel like a stranger around there.

Ed Kallal must be figuring on running the home place.  Mr. & Mrs. Kallal are getting pretty old to keep up the gait they’ve been going and i suppose they hate to move away and leave the place after they’ve worked so hard to fix it up.

I see by the clipping you sent me the Ed Jacoby family is having their share of trouble with their boys in the service.  I hope I don’t have to spend as long a time overseas as Eldon Miller before I get home.

I’ll close for this time.

Sept 17, 1944

Here it is another Sunday.  It isn’t so nice today, but is cooler this way.  I had guard duty last night so will be through with that for a few days again.

You must have gotten to see a lot of the folks out for Uncle Alvin’s funeral.  Yes, it’s too bad that it turned out that Dorothy was gone.  She met a few of them later after she got back.  I suppose you know by now the reason they were gone, and didn’t get back as soon as expected.  It would have been a good opportunity for her to meet a lot of the folds.

I imagine that by now everyone has their silos filled, unless it is someone who has some exceptionally late corn.  I had a letter from Carl Getz and he said that he had quite a bit of corn to cut up if he got it done.  It’s pretty tough now on the farmers that have to cut up so much corn for the shock as help is so scarce.  He could use a binder though unless the corn is down too bad.  He did talk like some of it has gone down.  I hope you enjoyed the show that you went with Kallals to see.  I don’t see why you don’t go more often.  Maybe you can go after you get through with the busy work.  You might as well enjoy life while you can.  I’m surprised to hear that Jesse Peacock is still out there with Mrs. Costley.  I guess that’s the only way she has to take care of her place.  I suppose she doesn’t want to rent it out and leave the place.  how do these boys court these girls so far from home in times like these?  I guess I’ve been gone too long to figure things like that out.

Will close for now.

Sept 25, 1944

The mail hasn’t been coming in so good the last week or so.  That’s usually the way it is though.  It comes in bunches and I received a bunch of it here a while back and am caught up for a while.

The weather also has been warm again for the last few days.  I’ve had a cold and you know how that is during warm weather.

There was a show tonight, but the weather was uncertain that I didn’t go.  I can’t enjoy a show much in the rain although some of the fellows go anyway.  Well, September is soon going to be gone.  I’ll bet the leaves will soon be turning pretty colors.  It’s been quite a while since I’ve seen anything like that.  Most of the time since, I’ve been where the vegetation stays green the year around.

The other night I got to thinking of the old Rigsbey place where we used to live.  I quite often dream of the place but it is never about anything that happened there.  It’s been fifteen years since we moved away from there.  It doesn’t hardly seem like it’s been that long.  The years that followed sure turned out to be hectic as far as financial troubles went.

After things straighten out after this war, I hope things run a little more smoothly.

Well, there isn’t much to write about seems like so I’ll close for this time hoping I hear from you soon.

Sept 30, 1944

I received your letter of Sept. 11th.

I sent you a letter telling you what I wanted for Christmas.  You’ve probably gotten it by now.  Yes, I’ll still be over here by then.  That’s for sure.

Well, by now I guess you are finished filling the silo in the neighborhood and are thinking about sowing wheat and shucking corn.

It’ll be quite a comedown for Ed Kallal’s wife to move out on the farm in an old makeshift house after having lived in the city.  I guess he wants to hurry up and get settled on the farm before the draft board catches up with him.

Who is the mail carrier now that Myron Parker no longer does it?

The new principal sounds like he believes in large families.  He’ll have enough kids to start a school of his own pretty soon.  It sounds like Chesterfield is going to be a strange place to me when I get back.

It seems like there’s a lot of sickness and deaths around there.

Uncle George will get a taste of what we had if he goes back and forth to feed this winter.  I guess they figured that as long as they didn’t own the place anymore there wasn’t any use of fixing it up.  If Green doesn’t get some one on his place that’s interested in keeping the place fixed up he won’t have much as he lives so far from it.

Editor’s note:  First mention of the new owner of Uncle George Gahr’s farm.  As I remember, the new owner lived in Detroit, Michigan.  Grandpa previously had crops and cattle on the place for several few years.  It was about three miles west of town.

Uncle George’s place in town may not make them a living, but they should have enough to live on now after selling the place.

I wish I could have seen the crops on the old place once again before someone else took over.  Oh well!  By the time I can start out it’ll be like starting out fresh in a new neighborhood anyway.

It’s rather indefinite when I’m going to get back there.  I first thought I would get home for a furlough the first part of the year, but it begins to look doubtful.  Oh well, the later I get back there, the more chance I’ll have of not having to come back overseas again.

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

DAD’S WWII LETTERS: Chapter 10, War Weariness, Entertainment

Jan. 9, 1944

It was hard for me to get used to putting down 44 instead of 43.  Some of my letters I know that I have used the old year.

This is Sunday again.  The weeks seem to roll by.  I’ve spent all of 29 months in the service now and am going on the 30th one.  I sure wish that I could be home after three years of it.

I would like to be home in time to put in a crop in ’45.  I don’t know though, as the war sure seems to be dragging out.  It don’t look like any of the boys overseas are going to get back either before the war ends except those discharged or sent back for limited service.  As soon as the war is over, the boys with the jobs waiting will have the first chance at the discharges.  If and as soon as I hit the states again I’m going to try to get to come home.  I’ve had about enough of this or will by that time and want to do something else for a change.

battle of the bulgeEditor’s note:  In Europe the war took a nasty turn, as the Germans took advantage of bad weather, and American overconfidence.  It was their last-ditch effort to break through Allied supply lines–in what would be known as the “Battle of the Bulge.”

You are having some real winter weather back there now, I hear.  In Dorothy’s last letter she said that it was ten below that morning.  I believe I would freeze to death in that kind of weather.  I don’t think I would get any chillier than I do now of a morning though.

You spoke of having to move the garden in the spring as you had chickens in the old orchard where we used to have potatoes?  That would be all right for a garden wouldn’t it?  It would be a little unhandy as you have to go through two gates.

I don’t know whether I told you or not, that Aunt Mary enclosed some pictures in with her Christmas card of the Horn family.  They all look about the same except Helen and she looks awfully thin.  She did have quite a time when the baby was born, didn’t she?  I suppose that she never picked up since.  The youngster, I think favors the Horns quite a bit.

Well, someday if this war doesn’t last too long, maybe Dorothy and I can have something like that to comment on and take up our time.  That’s when the fun will begin, if you want to call it that.  I hope that we can have more than one as I don’t to raise one youngster by himself.  I’d like a boy and a girl, but I’ll have to settle for whatever happens.   Ha!

Editor’s note:  As it turned out, I was the second son in a family of four–three boys and one girl (another daughter, Julia Jean, died at birth in 1962).

I’m still getting Christmas cards.  I received three today.  I still haven’t received Dorothy’s package, but haven’t given up hope yet as they are still coming in.

You spoke of Wiese’s having a sale.  Is the old man selling out to make room for the younger generation, or is he quitting.

I’m sending you a paper that we get over here to read.  It is put out by the Army and we get it once a week.  It contains a lot of interesting news we have from the outside world except the radio.  It may take a bit longer to reach you than the letter.

I’ll have to close.  Everything is about the same with me.  I hope you are all well.

Jan. 15, 1944

Here it is Saturday night and no place to go or nothing to do which is usually the case.  If I were home now on Saturday night, I probably would just sit around not knowing what to do.

I finished chow a couple of hours ago and have split up wood and carried it in the basha for the stove since then.  I built a fire to knock off the chill.

Last night we had a double feature movie that I attended.  One was a western and the other was a comedy.  It rained on us a little, but we stuck it out and soon it stopped.

I received your letter of Dec 19th yesterday.  You say Leo Rigsbey is in Hawaii now.  That is a pretty nice place from the reports that some of the fellows send back home from there.

I hope they do something about this eighteen months overseas bill.  I’ll be good and ready to go back in another six months.  It seems that everybody is getting tired of it over here.  The climate is such that isn’t too good for a person either.

I suppose that Uncle George looks about the same only a little older.  Looks like he’s undertaking quite a bit to feed the cattle this winter.  I’ll bet he has all he can do all day long with their chickens to take care of.

Well, there doesn’t seem to be much to say tonight so I’ll close hoping you are well.  I hear there has been quite a bit of flu around.

Jan 17, 1944

Received your letter today that you wrote on Christmas day.  Your letter was air mail and Dorothy wrote one on Christmas Day also and sent it with three cents and they both got here at the same time.  So you see it doesn’t pay to send air mail anymore.  V-mail really comes a little the quickest, but I don’t care much for it as they are so short.  You say you got my letters in about two weeks.  On the average with the exception of before Christmas a short time, my letters come in three weeks time.

Our Christmas dinner was nice, but sure didn’t come up to my vision of Christmas dinner back home, especially from your description of what you had.  Dorothy had quite a dinner at her house on Christmas day.  From what she said they must have had quite a program out at the school.  She said that she invited you, but you weren’t there so she supposed that you didn’t have a way.  There were eight in her car so she didn’t have room or she would have picked you up.  She said she put some presents on the tree for you.

War-related, circa 1943
War-related, circa 1943 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Yes, I got a lot of Christmas cards and am still getting them.  I got three today and one yesterday.

It seems that almost everybody back in Missouri is working in a defense plant.  That should sort of give them a lift financially.

I had been wondering if you had any source of wood this winter.  We have been burning wood in our stoves in the basha.  They cut it up with a power saw and split it in large chunks and pile it for us to use from.  There is a detail for this job.  We split it up as we use it and that reminds me of home when we used to have wood in the winter time.

You are getting quite a few eggs now, but the price seems awfully unstable.  I understand that they are high in the cities.  When all the pullets get to laying you’ll have to have a wheelbarrow to haul the eggs to the house.

Is Harold Adam still located in Alaska?  How long has Charles Clements been in the service now?  I remember that he was the conservation agent when we were down there in ’41.

How is Frank Simily getting along?  The last I heard about them was when he was recuperating for an appendicitis operation.  Aunt Mary had told me that Dorothy S. was sporting a diamond.  They’ll probably be getting hitched the next time he gets home.

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

Editor’s note:  The following is a letter to Dad’s parents penned by William R. Barr, a young serviceman from the community, upon his discharge from the military.  It was intended as an assurance of Dad’s safety in India.  The Saturday Evening Post issue dated 12-25-43 included a well-written, informative article by Edgar Snow.  I may include it in a separate post.

Chalmers, Ind.
January 18, 1944

Dear Mr. Adam

Recently I returned from India, having been discharged from active duty with Army because of my age.  I was in the  same company with your son, Clyde; and he asked me to write you upon my return to the states.

When I left late in October he was looking well and his quarters, food, etc., were adequate.  The company has one of the best locations in that area.

Clyde is located in upper Assam.  If you have the Christmas issue of the Saturday Evening Post you will find a good article about the country where he is, and the project going on there.  The title of the article is:  “The new road to Tokyo,” (I think that is correct, I do not have a copy at hand.)  I’m sorry this news is not fresher, but it requires a long time to travel half-way around the world under present conditions.

Clyde is in as fine an organization as I have seen in my travels.  The men are doing fine work.  Of course everyone is anxious to get the job done and to return to the best country on earth

Yours truly,
Wm. R. Barr

Jan 23, 1944

Another Sunday almost gone.  I have every other one off and today was the one.  Now, I’ll have to work next Sunday.

I’ve already answered your last letter so I don’t know how this one will turn out without one to comment on.

Tonight seems to be a night of reminiscences as we all have our pictures out showing them to each other and telling who they are and where they were taken.  Every so often we have to do this.

By now you should have gotten a print of the negative of the picture I sent Dot.  I’m going to give you a little description of the background in the picture.  This was taken one Sunday by one of the fellows.  Due to the shortage of printing paper over here, I could only get the negative to send.  I understand that now we can no longer send pictures of any kind home.  To get back to the picture itself, I was standing on the steps of the basha that I later moved into.  To your left you can see a tent in which I was living at the time.  At the time this picture was taken I had my hair cut real short.  Outside of that and being a little thinner than I was before I left the States, I don’t think that I’ve changed much.  They tell me I have a few gray hairs, but not many.

Dad in India

The basha as you’ve noticed, has a woven bamboo floor that is set up off the ground about 18 inches.  As you’ll notice the roof is leaves from the bamboo.

Jan. 24, 1944

Due to an interruption, I failed to finish this letter last night, so I’ll do so tonight.

I got some mail today again.  There were five letters and a belated Christmas card, but none of them were from you.  I’ll be getting one though one of these days now.

Tomorrow, I see by the duty roster, I’m on KP.  That is one job I hate the worst and it comes around quite often anymore.  It looks like after two years and a half a person could graduate from that job, but I guess no such luck.

I finally received Dorothy’s package on Saturday night and it had the most delicious fruitcake in it besides soe candy, chewing gum and cigarettes & tobacco and stationary.

Write often.  Hope you are well.

Jan. 30, 1944

I received your letter yesterday of the 2nd and one today of the 12th.  So you see how the mail runs.  I also received a telegram from the wife, yesterday in the mail containing birthday greetings.  As near as I could tell it had been sent on the 15th.

The pillow will sure be nice to have, as pillows with feathers seem to be scarce over here.  I have a small one now that have to double to get much out of it as it is so flat.  It is filled with cotton and packs down and doesn’t fluff ut no matter how hard I try.

I got several Christmas cards this year.  In fact most of them came after Christmas.  The one that Dorothy sent ( a nice big one) was mailed the 30th of Nov. and had been missent to another PO and came about a week ago.  The boys are still getting packages.  There were so many I guess it was hard to get them over here in time.  I think the post office did a remarkable job considering.

Dorothy told me that her mother had the flu.  I don’t think she is very well this winter.

I’m glad to hear that you don’t have much to do this winter.  It’ll give you a chance to sort of recuperate for another season.  I have hopes of being home in time to help put in the crops in ’45.  I don’t think the war will be over, but have hopes of getting back to the States by then and if I do that maybe I’ll have a chance to come home to do a little farming for a change.  Anyway, I can try after having been overseas.  There should be plenty of replacements by that time and I sure don’t want to get caught in the army of occupation as that means several more years.

I suppose that it does make a lot of difference in who feeds cattle and an old-timer at the job (although *Finis should be an old hand at it, he just doesn’t take an interest or have the knack) seems to make quite a difference.  I think that the cattle did fairly well when I was feeding them.  Anyway, I took an interest in them and liked to take care of them.  It makes a difference when a person lives right there with them too, and doesn’t have to run back and forth.

Editor’s note:  From records, Finis Wade, [Grandpa’s hired-man], would have been in his early sixties.

I’m glad that you have been able to get the place limed.  It should make a lot of difference in the crops.  Now, if we can just get it tiled, it should be in good shape.

It seems funny to hear you say that the corn is all shucked as the way I remember it, we used to have plenty of shock corn to shuck during the winter (much to my dismay).

You spoke of the price of eggs having gone down 30 and 31 cents a dozen.  One of the fellows whose home state is in New York state says that the consumers back there were paying around 75 cents the last he heard.  There seems to be an awful lot of difference there.  Somebody must be making a lot of money on the handling of eggs.

We fed our hogs the garbage from the mess and kitchen along with rice as grain (rice seems to be a common food among the natives as well as the animals).  In parts of India they raise wheat and barley as well as rice.  They raise many other products which I won’t mention as I would have to refer to a book the same as you.  Rice and tea are about all that I could verify at the present from having seen it growing and consumed.

Thanks for straightening me out on the birthdays.  Dorothy was the only one that I was in doubt about as you had told me the others before.  I’ll have to close.  Write.

Feb. 3, 1944

I received your birthday card yesterday with your picture.  I certainly surprised when I opened it and found you looking out at me.  It is such a plain picture of you both that it made me feel that you were actually present.  You both have a pleasant expression on your faces.  Dad, you are as poor as ever and mom you are as plump as ever.  Ha!  Mom, you seem to have the most gray hair of the two of you.

Your are in the middle of your winter the same as we are but there is quite a difference.  That is about all I can tell you about the weather.  I might add, if the censor will allow, I am reminded of some of the springs back there.  We have been burning wood for a couple of months.

You say that you have ordered chickens already.  You must be going to get an early start this year.  I suppose that you have to get your order in early.  Are you going to raise more chickens this year since you are getting another brooder house or is ti because the others are filled with pullets.

I don’t think I told you yet that I received the second Christmas package from Dorothy with more gum, candy tobacco, cigarettes and a fountain pen, (which I am using now).

You haven’t mentioned the car lately, so I take it that it’s working OK since the trouble last winter.  I think you’ll find if you use it more often it’ll give you less trouble than if you let it sit idle for long periods at a time.  A car motor and the other moving parts are like anything else, which corrodes and rusts from disuse unless they are specially stored.

The news on the Allied fronts seems encouraging enough of late even though it is a slow process wich is no more than to be expected.  We are hoping that the war will be over by the end of ’45.

Oh yes, I must tell you that I saw a very nice show here the other night put on by the “Swing Patrol” of the Air Corps boys.  The captain in charge was none other than Melvin Douglas formerly of the movies.  The “Swing Patrol” was a very nice orchestra to be so far out in the sticks.  It sure was a treat and they gave us a full hour and a half of entertainment in the form of a make believe radio broadcast.  We had an amplifying system but the stage was sort of a crude affair with a tarp roof.

Editor’s note:  The following gives more show information.

cbi roundup

Dateline: January 27, 1944, Entertainment news, “C-B-I Roundup,” pp. 17-18

LOCAL TALENT
To Be Rounded Up to Entertain Troops

Over a period of months, the Theater has been the recipient of various and sundry promises that USO shows would tour this haven known as “the end of the line.”  Al Jolson started out, but went back with some dread disease that probably necessitated the use of a wheelchair upon his arrival in Miami.  Joel McCrae got as far as the Anglo-Egyptian Sudan and turned back because he suspected CBI audience reaction would not be suitable to his 14 carat talents.

That caricaturist, Don Barclay, who was touring with McCrae, decided he didn’t expect quite so much from his audience, so he continued.  Joe E. Brown managed to drag his “fiftyish” carcass this far and put on a series of swell shows that wowed the lads in the weeds.  A USO group of kerosene circuit performers, traveling under the direction of one Wesley Pierce, got off in India by mistake and finally made the grand gesture by putting on a show in Karachi.  Afterwards, Pierce, as reported in a previous issue of this journal of enlightenment, raised hell because he was furnished American coffee and doughnuts and not Scotch and soda.   

It seems that most of these touring prima donnas either become critically ill or lose their ardor “to do something for the boys” while en route.  This situation has caused various “brains” in the Special Service Division to do a little thinking.  (We don’t mean to infer that they have never thought before).  This first product of this thinking was mined by the late Maj. Clark Robinson, who dreamed up the ATC show, “Assam Dragon” which was a pip.

This show covered India and is now making some one-night stands in the Middle East.  Upon return, Maj. John Nixon, Theater Special Service Officer, feels it should be offered to China.  This show was such a success and the “Hurry Up and Wait” show, now touring the Ledo Road, was so good that Special Services said to hell with outside shows, and decided to dig up its own talent.

Joe E. Brown and his crony, Harry Barris, were so impressed with a GI orchestra in Karachi that it was decided to take the band on tour.  Called “Swing Patrol,” This organization is now in New Delhi rehearsing for a forthcoming tour.  Capt. Melvyn Douglas will conduct this trip as an excuse to get out into the Theater and dig up more talent for more of the same.  Should any of you feel you have any talents, be sure and give for the captain if and when he hits your area.

The Theater commander is sincerely interested in these shows and they are being organized as fast as his little body of hand-picked men in Special Service can do it.  Lt. Leonard Bailey, assistant SSO for the 14th Air Force, is working on things from that end.  The business will never be a complete success, however, if you G. I.’s hide your light behind a mango tree.  If you don’t bump into Douglas, write him a letter addressed to Special Services Division, Rear Echelon Hq., APO 885 (Delhi).

There is plenty of latent talent in this Theater.  Don’t be shy.  If you are a pretty hot sketch on a harp, write in.  If you can blow “Pistol Packin’ Momma” out of a cider jug or play a musical saw or recite Shakespeare or do any other damn thing, write Douglas a letter.  His mail has been pretty light since he left home.  

——————————————

I don’t think I told you that I also received a cablegram giving birthday greetings from my wife.  I wasn’t alarmed as she had told me that she planned on sending me one some of these days.  It came in the mail and took two weeks to arrive form the States.  The one that I sent her for our anniversary arrived in a weeks time.

Well, I don’t know much more to say.  I’m still doing KP and guard duty.  I had guard last night and am tired and sleepy tonight.  I think I’ll turn in as soon as I write a few lines to Dorothy.

I’ll have some more money to send some of these days.  I have to save over fifty dollars before I can [send] it by radio as that is the minimum.  I don’t like to send money orders as it is too easy for them to get lost and there is too much red tape to recover the money in case they are.

I’m expecting to get back to civilization by the end of the year or the first of they next.  The sooner the better.  If we don’t, there’s going to be a lot of disappointed boys.  I just hope the second one seems as short as the first.  I’ll have to close for this time.  Write often.

      

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.

DAD’S WWII LETTERS: Chapter 4, Thanksgiving, Christmas ’42

camp slo 2

Camp San Luis Obispo

Camp San Luis Obispo
Nov. 29, 1942

This is a lazy Sunday, there isn’t much activity around camp.  Some sleeping, some are writing letters and others have gone to town.  It is getting cloudy this afternoon.  Maybe we’ll have a rain.  The raining season is about due to start.  So far this fall it has rained only occasionally.  The other night we had a heavy mist which was almost like rain.  

We had a very nice turkey dinner Thanksgiving day with all the trimmings.  We had several guests, mothers, wives, and sweethearts of soldiers.  We had to dress formally with blouses.  The captain made a little speech on Thanksgiving and led the Lord’s Prayer.

I am rather busy nowadays since I’ve gone back to work in the section.  At the present I have charge of the tool truck.  That is, checking out and in the tools taken out and used by the mechanics.  It is somewhat of a job to keep track of all of them unless someone oversees it.  When I started there weren’t any tools on the truck as they were making an inventory of them.  I got in on the job as they started putting them all back in the drawers and I had to figure out places to put them.  There were a lot of tools that I had no idea of what their purpose was. 

Wednesday night I had guard and was lucky enough to get the first shift (6 to 10) and didn’t lose any sleep.  Friday, I had KP.  I am generally lucky enough not to get details on weekends.  We had our weekly inspection yesterday morning and they warned us beforehand that it was going to be tough.  Some of the fellows never passed and had to do extra detail yesterday afternoon which they otherwise would have had off.    

Dorothy said that she was almost afraid to come down to see you until she announces the marriage.  She seems to have a complex about announcing it and I know it is just her imagination.  I’m trying to convince her of that.  She says she is considering going to school next summer and trying to get a grad in a high school to teach.  She said Harvey [brother in Navy] was coming home on leave during Thanksgiving. 

I’ve gained weight since I came back off furlough so the army agrees with me, I guess.  That ride back on the train sure was hard as the train was so crowded and good seats weren’t always available. 

I hope you are enjoying good health.  Will close for now.

Dec. 6, 1942

This was about the coldest morning that we’ve had so far I believe.  There was actually frost early this morning before the sun came up. 

I had guard last night from 10 till 2.  It was beginning to get rather cool about that time without fog.  We got to sleep till 7:30 this morning as it was Sunday and breakfast wasn’t until 8.  Some of the boys came in during the night from furlough.  There is another bunch to leave some time this week.

We’ve been rather busy the past week getting our surplus automotive parts packed and shipped.  I suppose they figure that we won’t be using them anymore and are sending them elsewhere.  We are to go through an intense training in the next few weeks.  The other sections have already started., bu we had other work to do.  

Christmas is just around the corner and outside of sending some card, I don’t suppose that I’ll be able to send any presents.  They told us a day or so ago that if we don’t get them off by this last week, that they wouldn’t reach their destination in time.  I hadn’t had much of a chance to do any Christmas shopping before and since it”s too late now I suppose I’ll have to be content to send cards.   

I bought a bunch of cards the other night at the PX and have them addressed ready to send out.   Some of the people I intended to send card, I do not know their full addresses.  I tried to send cards to most of the people who sent me cards last Xmas. 

I’ll write Wendell D. [Dowland] a letter and see what he thinks of the army by now.  He is stationed only about thirty miles from where we were last winter.  I made several trips from Lakeside to Camp Callan.  That is where we got our expense money.

Did you get a gasoline rationing book OK?  Dorothy’s brother Harvey was home during Thanksgiving and they spent most of their time together.  Dorothy said that she intended to announce our marriage right away and then she went to Kerstein and he advised her to keep it quiet until she got another school.  She also told Mr. Jones and he also advised her not to say anything about it until the school term was over as there was one of the directors that she might have some trouble with he already gives enough trouble.  I don’t know for sure what she is going to do.

Editor’s note:  Mom was advised by the president of the school board to keep her marriage quiet.  Some school board members were opposed to having married teachers in one-room schools.  She could lose her job if word got out.   

I suppose it is up to her, as it doesn’t make any difference to me if she waits until school is out.  It really doesn’t matter so much I suppose as I’m not home anyway.    

I had the allotment applied for this last week.  I also applied for more insurance.  I’m dividing my insurance between you and my wife.  I had my bond cancelled as I couldn’t afford to buy one now.  My wife can handle that now.  She’ll have to do something with money she gets and that’ll be a good place to put it. 

I am stuck on a few addresses and I wonder if you could help me out.  So far I have addressed about 28 cards and am going to have to get more.  I’m sending cards to the uncles and aunts on the Adam and Clements side.

Could you give me the address of the following:  John Horn’s, Helen Horn’s address and name, Viola’s name and address?

If you can think of anyone that I should send a card to I’m open for suggestions..  I’ve covered all the close relation except Weber’s in Iowa and I can’t think of their address.  I have a list of about 43 names so far.  I can’t wait too long before sending them or they’ll arrive too late.

I’ll close for now.

P.S.  Finish those pictures in the role in the camera as soon as possible and send them to me.  I want to see how they turned out.

Dec. 20, 1942

Here it is Sunday again.  We slept late and had a late breakfast as usual on Sunday. 

We had another shot yesterday morning and my arm was rather sore last night.  It is still sore but feels better this morning.  It didn’t affect me this time like it did before.  We were out on the range this week and qualified with the rifle.  I didn’t shoot so good with the 30 caliber as I should have.  It made too much shooting at one time and my shoulder got sore where the gun kicked back and my nerves weren’t steady enough to get a good aim.  I shot off about 100 rounds of ammunition in a day and a quarter.  I haven’t received the package you sent as yet, but it’ll be getting here before long I imagine.  It takes quite a while for packages to travel now as the mails are so crowded.  I’ll let you know of its condition as soon as it gets here.  I think it’ll be all right if you packed it in a good strong box.

I wouldn’t be surprised if we moved out of here soon after Christmas.  They’ve sent for all the men away at school.  Since we’ve been getting rigid training, show down inspections, and shots.  They are transferring some of the men out of the company.  The general opinion is that they are the undesirables.  The ones that they don’t want in the company.

I’ve heard that most of us will get ratings.  Maybe they won’t be so much, but every little bit helps.  We’ll get 20 per cent more pay for overseas duty.  I have taken care of my allotments.  I don’t remember whether I told you or not, but I took out $9,000 more insurance, which costs me $6.90 a month.  I’ve divided it half to you and half to Dorothy.  In other words, you are beneficiary to $5,000 and Dorothy is beneficiary to $5,000.     

I cancelled my war bond as I couldn’t pay for all the allotments.  Dorothy can buy bonds  out of what she gets.  If I get enough moeny over what I need later on I can send more home or take out some more bonds.

I mailed a card with a few lines written on it to Clyde Lee.  I wrote to Wendell Dowland and he answered right back.  He says they sure keep him on the jump.  He said he had to clean his rifle 3 or 4 times one day before they called it satisfactorily cleaned.  I can’t find his letter now.  He didn’t write so much and I remember the one incident he told of

I received about ten Christmas cards yesterday.  I received some from people who I never thought would send me one and I never sent them any.  It is too late now to send them cards.  I heard from a couple of people in Lakeside.  I suppose I’ll be getting more cards this year than I did last, as more people know where I’m located.

I am sending home my old driver’s license and a picture take on maneuvers.  If you look closely, you can see the ruggedness of the rock formation.

When I get overseas you can still write regularly by V-mail.  You can buy the forms and follow the instructions.  I see that they have some forms on sale here at the Post Exchange.

v-mail

V-Mail Posters

We are having steak for dinner today.  I’ll bet we eat better than civilians now, as they aren’t able to get all the meat, coffee, sugar and dairy products they want.  There is a noticeable shortage of dairy products here in camp now.  I’ll close for this time.    

Dec. 21, 1942

This is December the 21st, which is supposed to be the shortest day of the year.  Back there, I suppose you are having weather typical of Christmas, while here it is just uncomfortably cool in the mornings.

I received your box in the morning in good condition.  The candy and cookies are very good.   Thanks a lot.  Homemade cookies and candy tastes mighty good when a person is 2,000 miles from home.

Fred Bratton, who is the boy I went to see, said that it was stuff that came as near from home as he could expect without actually really coming from Arthur [Illinois] which is about a hundred miles from Chesterfield. 

Editor’s note:  Fred Bratton, another soldier from Illinois, became Dad’s lifelong Army buddy.

We haven’t eaten all the cookies and candy yet as it is rather rich and we aren’t used to eating so much of that type of food at one time.  A lot of the boys have been getting boxes lately.  Mine was the first that has come in this hut so far.  I suppose we’ll have it all finished off in a day as we can’t resist picking at sweets.

Most of the boys are back from furloughs and school.  There are a few to come back yet.  Our old company commander, Captain Guiver who has been with the company, left today for duties elsewhere.  Our new commander is a first lieutenant that came into the company as a second lieutenant a short time before we went on maneuvers and was promoted to first while we were on maneuvers.    

We spent most of the day cleaning up around the shop.  For about an hour this afternoon we had to listen to the articles of war, which are read every six months.

I went over to the PX this evening and bought me some razor blades and chewing gum.  Since then I have been cutting down some pictures so that I can carry them in my billfold. 

I suppose that we’ll have another big feed for Christmas.  We had  quite a dinner on Thanksgiving.  The mess sergeant today asked how many were expecting guests for Christmas dinner.  There were quite a few for Thanksgiving.  Every Sunday there are a few of the soldier’s wives for dinner.  Last Sunday there were six.  The married men that have their wives out here are allowed to spend the nights with them.  There are so many out here that about all the available room is taken.  

I received six more Christmas cards today which brings the total up to over two dozen in the last three or four days.  I sent out over forty cards and find that I missed an awful lot of people who have already sent me cards.  It makes a person feel good to know that people think of him even though one is many miles from home. 

Well, I guess I’ll close for this time.  Thanks again for the candy and cookies.  Also for the diary.  If they allow me to keep a diary, I can keep track of the goings on while I’m travelling the world. 

WWII christmas card

Merry Christmas, 1942

Dec 24, 1942

This is Christmas eve and it is a rainy night.  It rained all day yesterday and it is sure sloppy around here now.  Once it starts raining it is so damp that things don’t dry out right away. 

I’ve been getting a lot of Christmas mail.  I got thirteen cards yesterday and one today.  So far, I’ve gotten somewhere in the vicinity of 3 dozen cards.  I got a nice card from Myrtle and Bill Rigsbey.  She wrote a few lines and it sounds just like when I talk to her.  She still kids me about scrubbing the porch.   

The mess sergeant has decorated the mess hall so that it really looks like Christmas.  It looks nice.  I’m sending you a menu of our meals on Christmas day.  I expect that we’ll eat better than most civilians.

I have my insurance and allotment all fixed out now.  My application for insurance has been sent in and I’m sending you the copy.  You’ll get the policy later.  As you’ll see on the application I have divided $10,000 between you and Dorothy.  On the application you’ll see only $4,000 additional to the thousand you already have.  According to the way the application reads, there will only be one policy, which will be sent to Dorothy.   

It probably won’t be so very long until I’m unable to write for quite a period of time.  Don’t worry about it because it is the way it has to be and will be only for a temporary period of time.  I’m not allowed to say too much about it.

I got a Christmas package from my wife today.  It contained a nice set of Avon toilet articles.  There was a tube of shaving cream, can of talcum, can of tooth powder, and a bottle of after shave lotion.  The bos it came in was a little worse for wear, but the contents were OK.  

There have been a lot of Christmas boxes come through the mail in the last week.

We are listening to Christmas songs over the radio tonight.

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

I’m sending the application for insurance in a separate letter as it makes too big a letter to put in one envelope.

In case I’m unable to write any more for a while use the following address to write to me.

Pvt. Clyde F. Adam A. S. N. 36045831
115th Ord. Co.
APO 3492
c/o Postmaster
New York City, NY

Editor’s note:  Dad previously mentioned receipt of a diary for Christmas ’42.  His diary entries will be italicized, interspersed with letters home.  My older brother, George F. Adam Sr., family historian, is credited with arranging entries in chronological order.  The following words were written inside the front cover.  Immediately following were Dad’s first diary entries.

A SOLDIER’S DIARY
TO:  Clyde F. Adam
ASN 36045831
One of the truest and best
Our country may offer–
FROM:  Mother and Dad
12-25-42

——————–

Watch-ACME # on back Pat. No. 2229979
Rifle-Springfield (03) # 819353
 Waist–32″                  Leggings–Medium (2R)
 Inseam–31″               Helmet–Medium
 Blouse–38R              Raincoat–Medium
 Coveralls–36R          Cap–7
 Socks–11                  Shoes–9D

Started Allotment to wife on December Pay $22.00
$5,000 Insurance to Wife
$5,000 Insurance to Mother (6.90 premium for both)
Pay Allotment to Folks starting April–$20.00

Mother’s birthday
March 23-44–62 yrs.
Dad Sept 23–44–62 yrs.
Dorothy Apr. 24–44–25 yrs.

12-25-42:  2nd Christmas in army–had late breakfast.  2 o’clock dinner with turkey and all trimmings. pkg. of luckies and cigar given to each person–lot of guest for dinner–laid around in barracks most of the day–went to service club for a while in the evening.  Rather quiet day-lonesome for my wife.

12-26-42:  On the range again today.  Came in at 4 PM.  Went to the show this evening.  Quiet in hut.  Fred B. and Elven S. gone to town.  Handy is asleep.

12-27-42:  Felt sort of sick all day.  Lay around most of the day–went to show this evening (Palm Beach Story) Fairly good show. Wrote 2 letters.

Dec. 27, 1942

I have been rather quiet today.  I didn’t feel so good and have been lying around.  I guess I had a touch of flu or something.  I feel pretty good tonight.

Yes, I picked up the weight I lost on maneuvers.  The mail has been a lot slower while the Christmas rush was on.  I’m sorry to hear that you didn’t get my Christmas card.  I mailed you one quite a while before Christmas.  It could have gotten lost.  There was about 5 cars eastbound Christmas mail burned up in LA about two weeks before Christmas and that was about the time I sent you your card.

You are having plenty of snow this winter.  I would hardly know how to act in a snow storm anymore.

Is the car running OK now?  It should run right for a while if you take proper care of it.

I am getting Christmas cards even though Christmas is over.  So far I have received better than fifty cards.  I am sending you the names of the people who sent them.

I don’t exactly recall who Mr. and Mrs. John Gallahan are, unless it is one of the Gahr girls.  Uncle John and Aunt Katherine sent their card from Alton [IL].

If I should send any amount of money home in the future, invest it in livestock or something for me.  I don’t know whether I’ll have enough left over from my allotments besides what I’ll need or not, but if I do I’m going to try to save all I can.  Of course, if you should ever need any money, I can have an additional allotment made out for parents which will cost me only and additional 8 dollars.  Starting Dec. 1st, Dorothy is supposed to get her 50 dollar allotment.  It may be quite a while before they get around to paying her first payment, but she’ll get back pay starting at that time.

I don’t know whether I’ll have time to have my picture taken anymore now after payday.  I’m almost broke at the moment.

I’ll close for this time.

12-30-42:  Worked this morning.  Took shot this afternoon.  Had some close order drill.  Stood guard mount tonight–Guard duty from 2-6.

12-31-42:  Pay day–received about $25.00.

1-1-43:  Got the afternoon off being New Years.

Well, this is the beginning of another new year and this is going to be a year full of happenings as far as the war is concerned.  I believe this is the year that the AXIS is going to see defeat.  Some authorities seem to think that we won’t be able to beat the Japs this year.  If not, they’ll be pretty well under control.

We didn’t do much today since it a holiday.  We went through about an hour of drill this morning.  We’ve been getting quite a bit of it lately since there hasn’t been much else to do lately.  We’ve gotten rid of all our working equipment and tool trucks.  We’ve been getting new clothing where the old wasn’t good enough to stand the racket.  Our clothes and equipment are supposed to be good enough to stand six months of wear in the field.  I suppose after that we get equipped all over again.

So you see we are on the verge of leaving for overseas duty.  We expect to receive our orders to move most any day now.  After we once start I don’t suppose that we’ll be allowed to write anyone until we reach our destination.  They do not want anyone to know our location or our movement.  We don’t even have the slightest idea of where we are going as our clothing issue is of the nature to take care of bother moderately hot and cold climates.

Our mail they tell us is censored more or less so I am having this letter mailed outside the camp.  I don’t know enough to give any information anyway except that we are getting ready to move which might be valuable to an enemy agent.  We don’t even know which coast that we’ll leave from.

I haven’t gotten any mail now for the last four days.  I don’t know what the trouble it.  I have been getting at least every other day from Dorothy.

Yesterday was pay-day.  Dorothy’s allotment came out of this pay.  My insurance starts this month and will come out of this month’s pay.  We are to get an increase of 20 per cent in pay for overseas duty.

I received six more Christmas cards after Christmas.  One was from Uncle Carl Meyer and Aunt Bertha.  Aunt Bertha wrote a letter along with card.  She said they had been having some real winter weather.  I looked like I had gained a few pounds.  She said Alvin was still in Rolla [MO] and that they were expecting him home for Christmas.

She said they had about 7,000 chicks on had now and still getting more.

It might be quite a while before I’ll be able to write again, but if I get the chance I will.  After you get word of our arriving at our destination overseas you can send my letters by V-mail.  You can get the forms and write according to the instructions.  Continue to write every week as you nave been doing and I’ll get the mail eventually even if I don’t get it on time.  Don’t send my mail to the new APO until you get the word.  When we are ready to leave, we have cards to send out.

I gave you the new address in one of my letters so that you would have it in case I didn’t get a chance to write again.

I am carrying all the pictures that I can take along in my billfold.  I am going to send those back that I don’t want to take along.  There are a couple of negatives that you can have developed if you like of the camp here.

Clyde & Dorothy in Arthur, IL

Editor’s note:  This picture of Mom and Dad was taken when Dad was on furlough in Nov. ’42, shortly after they were married.  The location was near Arthur, IL, Fred Bratton’s hometown.  This may have been one of the pictures Dad carried in his wallet.

We packed our bags this afternoon to see if we could get all of our stuff in them.  We have two bags–an A bag and B bag.  The B bag goes in the hold of the ship while we keep the A bag with us.  I am taking my sleeping bag along unless they make me throw it out at the port of embarkation.  It will sure come in handy when we get to sleeping out in the open.

I don’t know whether they’ll let me take my diary with me or not, but I’m going to try.  When a person goes to pack he finds that he has a lot more stuff than he thought he had.  If you should need help at any time while I’m gone apply to the Red Cross as they are supposed to give you help either financially or otherwise.

I’ll close for this time.  Hoping you are OK.  I’ll write as often as I possibly can and you continue writing.

1-4-43:  Turned all bedding and bunks in.  Laid around all day till 8:30PM.  Boarded train for unknown destination. 

1-5-43:  Arrived at new camp around noon.  Drew another blanket.  Double deck beds. Mine is on top deck.  Approx. sixty men to a barracks.

1-6-43:  Barracks inspection before dinner.  Laid around barracks all afternoon.  Called show down inspection at 5 PM.  Supper at 5:30.  Finished inspection at 9:30.  Went to PX before light out at 10. 

1-7-43:  Another barracks inspection this morning–barracks in poor condition said the C.O.  Saw a short show on aircraft identification and secrecy of valuable information.  Got two shots (one in each arm).  Arms getting sore.    

Thurs. Jan. 7, 1943

We moved out of our old camp Monday night and travelled to our present location by train.   We arrived here at this camp the next day (Tuesday) at noon.

About all we’ve done so far is stand inspections and clean our barracks.  We have two-man bunks here (one above the other).  These are about sixty men to a barracks (one-story).

We are still in California.  This is a staging area where different troops are gathered together in preparation to going to the port of embarkation.

We aren’t allowed to give the name or the location of the camp.

We got some more shots in the morning (one in each arm).  The  food here doesn’t taste as good as it did when our cooks fixed, but there is plenty of it.  I am gaining weight right along with eating and not doing anything.

The camp is filling fast.

When we got here there were very few here.  I have seen some of the men here now that used to be in the company and were transferred out.  The way our freedom is restricted reminds me of the first few weeks I was in the army and was under quarantine and couldn’t leave the immediate area.

The first night here we could leave to go to the PX and the show.  Last night we had about a half hour to go to the PX.

It has been awfully windy the last couple of days.

I don’t know how often I’ll be able to write, but I’ll write whenever I can.  Note the change in address.  I’m enjoying good health.  My arms are getting sore from the shots, but that’ll wear off in a day or two.  I’m getting used to having sore arms as I’ve had so many shots lately.  Write.

Jan.14, 1943

It is rather warm here this afternoon.  The nights and mornings are rather cool, but as soon as the sun gets up to a good height it is warm.  As you’ve probably guessed I’m still in the staging area.

We are getting plenty of exercise.  We do a certain amount of drill every day.  We’re gradually getting toughened up.  I’m getting so that I can clean my plate of almost everything they put out regardless of how it tastes.  The food wasn’t so good  after we were here awhile as it was at first.  Some of these scrambled eggs they give us of a morning taste so rank I have to put catsup on them so that I can eat them.  They undoubtedly must be cold storage eggs.

Editor’s note:  I wondered if the aforementioned unpalatable eggs might have been powdered eggs?

The mail situation isn’t so good.  I haven’t received a letter since we left San Luis Obispo.  I am expecting to get one most any day now as our APO 3492 mail is all we’ll get for a while anyway.

Newspapers are rather scarce here and I know practically nothing about the news.  Radios are banned.

We got partial pay yesterday.  I got ten dollars which is all that I would get this month anyway as I have some extra deductions.  My insurance deduction this month is double because I have to be one payment ahead.

I had to pay for one suit of coveralls that never came back from the laundry.  I never noticed the shortage in time to turn it in as they have to be reported in so many hours.  That set me back three dollars and 20 cents.  That looks like an awful price for a pair of coveralls, but they are heavy and of good material.  The worst part was that the ones I lost were worn out anyway and needed replacing.

I suppose the weather back there is cold.  It generally is this time of the year.

I hope to hear from you soon.

1-17-43:  On KP Sunday–rest of company off–physical inspection.  Worked 5 AM till 8:30 P.M.

Jan. 17, 1943

I haven’t heard from you now for two weeks.  I suppose that you haven’t started using my new APO number yet.  I have received a couple of letters from Dorothy.

I’ve been on KP today.  We went on at 5 this morning and got off at 8:30 tonight.  It was a really long day and I am really tired.  The rest of the company had the day off.

The Red Cross gave each of us a small green gabardine bag containing a sewing kit, package of cigarettes, pencil, tablet, envelopes, story book, package of chewing gum, pair of shoe laces, bar of soap, and a deck of cards.

I haven’t much time before bed time so I’ll have to bring my letter to a close.  There isn’t much to write about.  I’m enjoying good health and hope that you are enjoying the same.

If you do not hear from me for any length of time in the future, you’ll know that I’m not allowed to write, but I’ll write whenever and as soon as I can.