Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Letter 85- April 1, 1944

April 1, 1944
(Camp Crowder, Missouri)

Dear Mudder and Dad,
At last! After not receiving any mail from you for over a week today I got a pile of letters and also two packages. I received the money order too. It seems that my mail has been floating around all over the camp for the last week or so. And I thought the Camp Abbot P.O. was bad. Thanks a lot for the money and the packages.

Today is G.I. Sunday. It’s really Saturday but for the first time I’ve been in the army I’m getting a two day weekend. It’s really sumpin’. I slept this morning until 8:00. That wasn’t so late but after getting up at 5:30 all the time it was like staying in bed all day. After getting up, getting a shower and shaving I went to the Service Club for breakfast. Then I went to the library and started reading the March “Atlantic.” I got pretty interested in that and the next thing I knew it was noon. Since then I’ve been reading my mail and eating those swell cookies.

I’m picking up a little in my code work. I was getting pretty discouraged awhile there but now I’m up to receiving ten words a minute so I feel a little better. It’s funny but my trouble lies in distinguishing between the characters. I have them memorized perfectly and can transmit quite fast but when it comes to receiving I have a tough time. I am getting there though. I’m determined not to fail. Fizzling out on things was always my great weakness but this army life has made me so aware of the necessity of succeeding that I’ve just got to make it. Of course, there’s no reason to believe now that I won’t succeed.

I’m enjoying life around here more and more all the time mainly because I’m now treated like a soldier instead of a trainee. I get more work and responsibility but I’d rather have it that way. Being an Engineer they’re using me now as an instructor in demolition, mines, and booby traps, the basic techniques of which are being taught to the Signalmen in this company. Life is pretty easy compared with Abbot but this sitting all day long is ruining my appetite. I now weigh a good ten pounds less than I did when I came in the army—160 now. However, my shoulders are becoming better developed and I’m hard all over.

Here in the barracks everyone’s from New York. You know the kind. Either you’re from New York or from the sticks. What saps! Here’s some of their names—Wasielewski, Wartislavski, Merriaslowski—the dumbest bunch of Bohemians I ever saw.

However, there are also some A.S.T.P. college men here too, so I do get to talk a little common sense now and then. We have quite a few Chinese fellows here and you couldn’t find a nicer bunch. One sleeps right next to me and we pal around quite a bit. His name’s Tall Kay Lou and he’s a cousin of the Richard Lou who is in the movies. He’s a swell fellow. He was born in this country but was brought up in Hong Kong. His family is evidently quite wealthy. His father runs several businesses in Seattle and several in China. Most Chinese here are pretty stiff in the way they act until they see you don’t hold their color against them but then you couldn’t find a more pleasant people nor as sensible. Lou is really a funny duck. He was asking one day what I thought of England. After I told him, he said he (was) surprised so many Americans dislike England. Then he told me what the Chinese think of England—Wow! What a speech.

The war news sounds pretty good these days. Despite our air losses and the Italian fiasco, the Russian drive toward Czechoslovakia and Hungary looks pretty good. So does our raids on islands like this Palau—so near the Philippines. Maybe this war is nearer over than we think—I hope.

Must close,

Best Love,

P.S. If Richard is still around say hello to him for me.

(sketch here)

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