Every Year Is Different

Tomorrow is the annual Thanksgiving journey to be with family and friends. The weather has certainly been different.

A late autumn snowstorm came the day before departure. Texts to our daughter gave good news–the highways were cleared.

We are travelling with only one dog. Our Maggie passed away this past August. It makes things easier logistically, but I still miss her antics.

She’d put her paws on the rear seat heat controls. We always claimed she was trying to “roast” her canine brother, Max.

Looking forward to feasting and fellowship. Have a Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Posts may be sporadic the next few days.

Post Turkey Day Thoughts

Everybody  was satiated like stuffed ticks–even the dogs.  Turkey leftovers scattered across the floor in a minor mishap–to the dogs delight.

Maybe our extended family is not typical.  There were no arguments over political or other family dysfunctionalities.

With the exception of my bro-in-law not accepting an invite to the festivities, and later falling ill, requiring hospitalization.

That illness took up most of the time following Black Friday.  Nothing worse than sitting in the emergency room with a loved one, and subsequently, in ICU–not knowing the diagnosis.

Someone Named Bob

Talk to “Old Bob” when he first got to work, and a folding chair could be tossed in your direction.  “Old Bob” talked, when his hangover-fogged mind was good and ready.  “Old Bob” was a hard core construction worker and one of my trainers.

Another Bob lives across the street, in my daughter’s new neighborhood.  Whether that’s the crabby neighbor’s name, is not important.  He fits the “Bob” profile.  For clarity, he will be referred to, as “New Bob.”

New Bob has a nice RV, kept cleaned and polished.  New Bob Jr. has a shiny Mustang–he loves the sound of its powerful engine.  New Bob introduced himself by complaining about barking dogs.

Every neighborhood has Bobs.  Bobs make your business their business.    They’re neighborhood crabapples–the get off my lawn people.

Too many Bobs lead to bored pets and pet owners.  Bobs expect to be indulged after late night partying.  No courtesies are ever reciprocated.

New residents find out who their Bobs are in due course–faster, if they have children and pets.  Potential residents would be well-advised to ask the question, “Who are the neighborhood Bobs?” “Are they manageable?”

Old Bobs, New Bobs, Bob “wannabees”–This Thanksgiving, I’m grateful to have all my Bobs in a row.




Days are shorter.  It has finally cooled off.  The Holiday Season may happen yet.  Success or failure depends on competency of the participants.

Thanksgiving morning.  An inept married couple out to impress their relatives agreed to prepare dinner.  Mayhem ensues when things go horribly wrong–including the still-frozen turkey served at mealtime.

The episode ended with store-bought desserts after mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, and Chinese takeout.

The family tossed the hapless turkey carcass out into the backyard.  The family pooch–who normally would eat anything, refused their burnt offering.

Some sitcom will bring out this tired story line again this season.  Which network will it be–if it matters?

Not to say this scenario won’t play out in real life this season.  Somewhere in suburbia, a deep-fried frozen turkey will set someone’s house afire.  Gluttony will give way to ineptitude.

Here’s an idea.  Rather than make an ash out of yourself or your home this Thanksgiving, buy a cooked turkey.  Go out to eat.  Be safe.

Relatives won’t take kindly to being test subject in you untried culinary forays into the unknown.

My family is traditional on Thanksgiving.  There will be no turducken or tofurkey on our Holiday table.  Even though, there is a newly declared vegetarian in the family.  I would be willing to try some tofurkey, however, just to empathize.

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 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.

TO:  Clyde F. Adam
ASN 36045831
One of the truest and best
Our country may offer–
FROM:  Mother and Dad


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.