5 December 1943

Dear Melvin,
(A letter from Orville to Melvin)

Nothing could be more natural on a Sunday evening than a cup of good coffee and seeing you in the smoke-haze eminating from my pipe. Needles to say, the pastoral setting calls for an over-due letter. So, look out! Arlo breezed in from Camp Gruber last Sunday AM for a 24 hour stay. He brought a girlfriend along and we had a good visit. If Dorothy could have been here for Thanksgiving we would have had quite a bang-up time. It was quite cold when they were here and it was funny watching them shiver. In fact, I was darn cold myself, but didn't admit it. Mrs. Chase and Marcella finally got moved into their new room. Painting did wonders for the old inner-sanctum of the Hyde mis-administration. The ceiling is done in cream color, the walls in Buff, and floor a pea-green. But the effect is simple beautiful. I am planning on having our room done also before long. Dean Chase, at Dow city, is getting better, and he promised me a few days ago that he would paint the room for me. I don't think the paint will cost much, and the room sure needs it. The Draft-Board Room only cost $80.00, work and paint included. I doubt if the paint comes to more than $10.00. I don't think I wrote you that Eleanor, Loty's sister, died on the 2nd of November. She took sick about the time you left with infection of the blood stream showing up in the form of abcesses. The baby, Sherilyn, has been with us since August. Guess the army is building you up in muscle, Vim, vitality, etc. etc. etc.! When you get thro, the "Village Smithy" of poetic fame will have nothing on you! We'll have to spot a chesnut tree when you come so you will feel at home! Don't feel too bad about losing the corporal ranking for you now have less to worry about. We'll never know the difference 50 years from now anyway. Michael Murry, the CO att. will leave for the Navy school as soon as they call him. He was given a commission. A mistake, however simple, will make a commissioned officer quite rosy in comparison. Dr. Floyed Sarff leaves for the Army Dec 15th drafted. Esther Artist said REN was drafted for Dec 1st but haven't heard if he has gone or not. (Yippee!! Hope so!) Well, the panty-waist pain next door still hangs on like death to a dead n-----. (and I do mean dead). Working loudly, yelling at each other as usual. It's the court-house laugh provoker! It seems they understand each other! The Relief Load is down to 50 cases even as Nov. 30, 1943. I'm just drifting along now waiting for A.D.C. to take over half of the case load about Jan 1, 1944, and about 2/3 of the present total cost. I don't know what will happen then - I doubt if they will keep my office open for only 25 cases after Feb 1st. If they do close my office, they will probably consolidate in name only giving me the whole works for a while. If that happens, we will just sit tight until you get back. I should be ready for a county 11 by next September anyway. So don't worry. We'll try to preserve what headway we (you and I) have made until you can take up again where you left off. The Board is growing dissatisfied with the personnel and the time will come when a good opportunity shows up. Loty and I hung wall paper in grandma's kitchen yesterday - and am I stiff - can't even reach around to wipe! That's bad, eh? Well, guess I'll quit. Pipe is empty, and the smoke haze is clearing - the coffee pot is empty - and there's Walter Winchell on the radio.

Good nite,

The gang (Chases, Eileen, Loty) enjoy your letters very much. It saves time for you to write one of us. Try someone else next time V12: Mrs. Chase, or Marcella, or Eileen; so they won't feel I'm hogging it.