Letters

19 September 1943

Dearest,
Well, here it is late Sunday morning, and being at the Fort with a few minutes to spend, thought I'd write a few more lines in supplementation of the letter of last night. Got up too late this morning (we can sleep up to 8:30 on Sunday, but I got up at 7:30) to make breakfast; so came over here for a cup of coffee and roll at the cafeteria at this club. This camp would be wonderful, to a degree anyway, if a soldier had the time, also sometimes money, to enjoy its many advantages. Sunday is my only free day, and there's always something to catch up then. Still have some reports to make out. Have found perhaps an answer to the laundry problem. Hope to find a woman in town who'll do it for a moderate sum. The trainees have ample time to do their own wash and many of the non-coms have their wives living in the town of Leavenworth. As to the socks - will buy a couple more pairs. However, may send one pair of trousers to you to wash (the ones that were shrunk so badly), in the hope that you can put them back into shape. Might be you could let them out a little in the legs. It's difficult for me to find the time and ways of looking after details like that myself. Afraid money is pretty easy for me to spend here. It's always something I need: little articles of clothing, insignia (now for the O.D. or winter clothes), laundering, bites to eat, cigarettes, etc.). Hope you will understand and won't expect me to be too thrifty. It's hard to do everything in the most economical way in the position I'm in. However, I'll make, I believe, $16 more when I complete my B. Trng., and get the Corporal's pay. I believe basic pay for a corporal is $66.00, instead of $50 as a private. I've sewed wool (winter) stripes and the 7th Service Command insignia on my jacket. The jacket, stripes and all, really looks good. Except for the jacket we're still wearing summer (sun-tan) clothes, but I'll have to get to work on the O.D. shirts to sew on the stripes; also the coat and overcoat. Played 3 games of bridge with some of the non-coms from the office the other night. They insisted, needing a fourth, you know. Sort of rusty, but did all right. The boys get together sometimes in the evening around a piano and sing. I listen. It's really beautiful somehow or other. You can't understand how beautiful until you're in a soldier's life. Everything from Hinky-Dinky Parley-vous, Over There, the Army Air Force Song, the Caissons Go Rolling Along, to Don't Go Out Much Any More and other sentimental songs. Some of the groups are composed of excellent singers. Heard two young ladies sing at the U.S.O. show the other evening. Two of the best I ever heard: singing songs such as "Russian Lullably, He's 1-A in the Army, Ma-ma-ma-ma-ma. Oh, boy, they had everything. Volume change, tempo, rhythm, part-singing, melody, personality, expression, etc.! Don't misunderstand that I have lots of time for shows, but did see this (free). In a while, things here probably will be better organized and I'll have a little freer, smoother existence; especially after finishing B. Trng. It's quite possible Co. C (and maybe Co. A with it) will move to a new camp site. We'll have barracks at least soon, one way or the other. Co. B. is colored troops and it's thought that Co. B and any other colored Co. will be put in a unit of their own. It'll all be the same unit, but divided by colored and white companies. Wish I had that Army locker with me now. I could surely use it to good advantage. It would make things a lot handier. It's not altogether impossible though that the non-coms here will be issued lockers. The other day in B. Trng. the sergeant in charge of our platoon of non-coms (about 50 of us) said: "Now we'll separate the men from the boys"; and started us in formation to double-timing up a slope with full equipment. Perhaps almost a fourth of the men dropped out along the way before finishing the distance but I stayed. You ought to see our tent encampment we pitched in the field yesterday. Every line was as straight as a yard-stick from from to rear and from left to right. Every tent perfectly in line, and equipment laid out according to regulation in front, and every soldier with helmet and rifle at parade rest in position before his half of his tent. I can pitch a tent, lay out equipment, and reroll pack and assemble equipment into haversack and pack carrier in remarkably short time now. This army life is tough, but it gives me a feeling of pride in myself. However, I still long for home. If I pass the marksman's course I'll be really pleased. You know, I thought it quite touching the night I left Atlantic on the train, to see Guss carry the baby around. I think she really liked it quite a bit. Your letters have been coming, I believe all of them, but they haven't been as frequent of late! Could you get Friday off if I get a 3-day pass in a month or so? Write. Love, Melvin