In this letter, my Dad is still waiting to get shipped out and he includes a beautiful description of watching the sun rise on guard duty.
9 June 1944
Hey – oh happy day – I got your #3 letter today – my first mail in a month! Also a note from my playwright friend from Crowder – but that was all. Very encouraging, though, and I imagine the rest will be coming along regularly now – anyway, I hope so.
So you’re playing golf up there now. That’s fine – golly how I wish I could join you – and meet the Lawes. Let me know everything you do – it may seem commonplace to you, but I will love to hear it. Also all about Karen. What she does & says etc. Knowing what you guys are doing is the next best thing to being with you.
We all pulled Guard yesterday. 24 hrs – 4 on & 8 off. I had a fine post with another guy (which is always more pleasant than being alone) way the hell up on top of a hill. It was practically straight up, and we were puffing & sweating when we got there, but then it was beautiful. Could see for miles, and the guys in camp looked like the proverbial ants. Our shift was 3-7 AM & PM.
Seeing the planes zooming a way up there and watching the sun rise was lovely. Way off in the valley a toy train puffed long, and as the sun came higher we could watch the shadow of our hill climbing down the ridge across the way and force the dew up around the trees. Occasionally we could hear the louder orders of some mom-com (?) as he called the company to “a -tens-HUT”, and jeeps and stuff warming up before they went crawling off. We were lucky to have a clear night, but by afternoon it was misting & raining again. Damn – trying to get clothes dry is a problem here.
There are NO cleaning & pressing or laundry facilities in the ETO (European Theatre of Operations) so we wash – and wash – and are lucky if we get time to do it when there is hot water. My O.D.’s were filthy, and when I finally got them clean it took 3 days for them to dry! Lucky we have two sets. They came out beautifully, by the way – and if you like criss-cross accordion pleats in pants they look fine. I pulled them out when wet (shirt collar is pretty good) but without proper hanging facilities it didn’t help much.
We were an extremely mad outfit a couple of days ago. Our duffel bags finally arrived from our last camp – all intact – except for our candy, cigs, gum etc! (symbols of upset!!) Also my brand new Oxford’s which I hadn’t worn even once! Altogether I figure I’m out $9.35 – and we turned in a list to the office, but not much hope of recovery – or compensation. W.D. not responsible for personal prop – are we burned. Don’t bother to send my other shoes (lucky I didn’t bring them, hmm?) ’cause if we don’t do any better with passes in the future I can’t use them anyway.
I’m going to try this letter on straight air mail. Let me know results, will you? It was (?) nice hearing from you Mary darling. Scribble off notes whenever you can. Add them all together & mail ’em. Tell me all the little details & things. And I could use another money belt. Can’t get ’em here. Also some adhesive tape (1″ roll), some (doz or so) band aids, and a couple of packs of Exlax gum. Home made candy would always be nice – & canned fruit. Gee, but it was swell to hear from you, Mrs. B – Mr. B.
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