12 December 1943

Am in Dallas, Texas, on this particular Sunday. Got away again from the ol' grind. Had a "command rest" for the most part of Saturday. It was like this. We had a regular full day Friday, and then Friday P.M. from 7:00 until 3:00 Saturday morning we went on a night problem. Went out on a long hike, pitched tents, did work on compass reading, etc., and returned. Got up at 6:00 A.M. Saturday, fell out for a one-period class, cleaned barracks, cleaned rifles, and were free the rest of day. So we didn't have much sleep the latter part of week, but I slept late this morning over at the YMCA dormitory (cost only 50 cents as at the Service Men's Center at Fort Worth). Last week was pretty rough. Speed hikes, combat practice, rifle firing under attack conditions; always something. We were out in the field one whole day in the rain, marching out and back several miles thru mud. The next day it got cold (Friday) and we shivered in the cold and wet wind over in the hills where much of our tactical work is done. What we're learning may be called "Intensive training"; it covers the whole field in a very thorough way. This is a USO Club Postcard pretty nice city. A lot bigger than Fort Worth, but believe I like F.W. a little better. The U.S.O. here is small and badly overcrowded, but they serve free coffee and food during certain hours. Very nice. These service charitable organizations are wonderful. They have my most sincere thanks. "A home away from home". Feel lonely right now though. Came over here this morning and had coffee and do-nuts and cake. Slept at the Y building. Also had coffee and sandwiches here last night. Got into town too late yesterday to do any shopping, darn it. The stores USO Club Postcard were already closed. Didn't see much in the way of presents; either in the windows or in the big drug-stores. Will continue to try find something as a present for Gus. Can't figure out what you and the baby would like. May send a few dollars for you to use as you see fit, though that may sound prosaic and unappreciative. But things are so expensive now, and hard to find. Glad you're doing so well with your money. By the way, what is the benefit value of that policy you renewed? We must get at least $1000 in bonds or cash to lay away for a new car. That is my hope, anyway. That amount would give us a little extra perhaps to go on. Got a present from Evelyn and family. A box of assorted chocolate candy. Food is always appreciated by a soldier. Candy also is rather scarce down here. We can get a bar or two a day of a very limited number of kinds, such as milk chocolate, and other small bars. If you plan to send something to eat and if sugar is scarce - maybe cookies instead of candy would be better. That's up to you. Can't understand why they don't give us soldiers enough to eat. Perhaps they want to make us mean. They admit it though (the officers) that our rations are figured on a day-to-day basis and that they're always cut 10%. The officers in the company don't seem to know why we don't get full rations. You know, I'd like to have some of that good old Wisconsin Cream Cheese, but afraid that's out of the question. Got a letter from O. Knowlton the other day. Will send it to you in the next letter from camp. Am returning that picture - for safe keeping - though it's hard to part with. It's really a wonderful picture, I think. Looks as if it'll be some time before I'm permitted to see you and the little one. But the war can't last forever, can it? Rather believe German-held Europe will be invaded this winter. That's my deduction. It's difficult to guess further, although things are looking up for us in the war against Germany. Enclosed find ten dollars as a Christmas present. Buy something, or put it into bonds; anyway you wish. Regret that I could not make it more of a Christmas present, but as you said this Christmas may not be as white as others. I don't get to town often enough to do any shopping. They keep us darn busy at camp. Think I'll try to do some more eating, read the newspapers, and then return to camp. Maybe I'll have time to see a show - if there's a good one. By the way, I saw one of the most thrilling pictures ever the other night at camp. "The Battle for Russia". It was tremendously heroic and dramatic and based entirely on reality. It was free to the men of our battalion, and we were almost expected to see it. Like to have you see it if you get the chance, though maybe you wouldn't like a few of the scenes. I know too that you're pretty well restricted from seeing any shows. I thanked Gus for the box of candy, etc. Will send her a present, if at all possible. Write.
Love, Melvin