La Junta CO Oct 4, 1943
As I start this letter I wonder if it'll turn out to be long or short
but by the time you finish it you will hear of very good (if not
definite) news so bare with me for this one time only.
A few days before your letter I received Sal's new address and I'm so
glad he's nearer home and away from that other discouraging place.
So finally Lucille is teething… it looks like her curiosity will find
her putting teeth marks all over.
Should I say I'm surprised over that Charlie or his wife? I don't know.
The will to learn and achieving some knowledge through that learning is
what counts. I wonder how they'll come out of all this .
Although my mind isn't bothered with his, how should I put it? Anyway
you know what I mean . Just imagine me talking about "the will to do"
Listen, you've got no bone to pick with me, altho' I appreciate your
kind offer in a bone. But…. A ,bone…. Tch, tch,… Why not a steak. I'd
like that better. Well, anyway, your prophecy (did I spell it
correctly?) may after all come true and you are a true, true, friend to
reveal such good tidings because I too feel that by the end of this
week(my fingers crossed0 or at least by the 15th I hope to collect that
kiss Lucille Promised me in person. I can't say much more except that
the Major O.K.'d our releases but we may have to wait for it to go
through the usual channels. I will tell you more of this when next I see
you. In fact, do not answer this letter until I write to you again.
Maybe I won't need to. And also this news I have imparted to only you
and your husband so keep it secret for awhile longer. If I do get out I
wish to surprise the folks and also the family in it's entirety. So I
close with regards to all and love to Lucille hoping soon to see you in
(no envelope) Oct. 10, 1943
What a wonderful sunny Sunday morning this is , pass the blanket kid
course something has happened to the weather. And such a picturesque
scene with trees all around and birds humming., flowers blooming, and
listen to that beautiful singing, why it's our C.O. serenading us and…..
Club that you. Why did he have to wake me up for anyhow. If life could
be like this then everything would just be dandy I guess.
So it looks like you will have to be disappointed again cause we must
still wait some more We won't get discharged until they get a
replacement on this field. The major told us that it's only a matter of
time now. I wonder how long that will be.
Out here , the weather is terrible. Four seasons all in one day. Of
course we could build a fire in the stove but we're waiting for the next
man to do it. At one end of the barracks one of the boys finally gave in
and made a fire/ I happen to be on the other end and the boys on that
end are made of much finer stuff, and as I freeze on.
Did I tell you about our first aid course. I've learned some interesting
ways how to make a bandage and how to apply a tranquil too. If there's
someone you don't like and his neck bleeds just let me know and I'll put
my practice in use. Last week we held a class in Chemical Warfare out in
the open. Several gasses were used and we were to name their respective
odors,. Of course it was only a small concentration of each and they
couldn't harm us. We took a will of Phosgene, Musterd, suisite, etc.
(the odors were like horse radish, new morn hay, apple blossom, fly
paper, etc. All this I read out of a book because truthfully I couldn't
tell one from another because they all stunk the same to me. You should
see me run out of the way like a jack rabbit each time they let go of a gas.
And so finally they caught up with us on calisthenics by issuing cards
to us and having to have them punched each time we go. Darn those
calijumpics they've given me a pain in the legs so that each time I move
a foot I can hear my bones cracking. Must be old age creeping up in me
at last, the villain. I've been dodging that guy for a long time now and
he's finally got me cornered .I wonder where that fountain of youth is
located anyway. But I keep my spirits up somehow. Just like the spirit
of '76. Onward forever onward. I wonder whatever happened to the drum
and the piccolos anyhow. Do you know.
And so with that puzzle on my mind I will close hoping you will continue
to write to me here until I am certain of that hopeful day of days when
I shall leave all this behind me. If only Lucille will bear with me just
a little linger. Not very much longer I hope.
Regards to all from
Wed. 20 Oct. 1943
You need not send me a cane, I just oil up the joints and it seems to do
the trick. No more bones cracking, only flexibility is setting in. When
they get through with us, we'll go in got aerobatics. You wonder what
would happen if you were to cut your finger… nothing much ….it'll only
I wish I could of surprised you sooner by my home coming but you know
how it is. Remember when I used to write about that clerical job/Well,
this is a sort of a hide-an-seek game. Now I've got it, not I ain't….
I'm afraid it's going to be the dame old game with my discharge. And to
top it all , I just received a letter from one of the boys in Miami
Beach. Let me quote you a few passages so that you can see the situation
I am in:
Quote"--- and while I don't want to seem to dampen your hopes I have
heard that it's virtually impossible for anyone to get out of the place.
C.D.D.'s are virtually out. All the men that were eligible for it here
(he means Miami Beach) were reclassified to active service, and told no
matter what their physical condition. They would be given a job
according to their ability. All of our gang that is left here, and we
are all limited service, are now marked active duty. Even poor old
Hess(this fellow must be passed 38 years) is now on active duty list.
Etc., etc., etc., So that is why I say that you ought not to bank too
heavily on a discharge--" unquote.
All this has me thinking and I am now in the wondering stage, kidding
myself that maybe there is still a chance. All wasteful thinking I calls
it but I just won't give up hopes. What is your opinion?
You're telling me…. I agree with you. They all smell so bad that a skunk
wouldn't associate wit them. Including many a brass hatter.
So glad you heard from Frank and U hope you'll hear from Larry soon. I
can just imagine how happy that sort of news makes you that even I would
celebrate but not over an extra half glass of wine. Tch, tch, I can see
you can't take it (hic - hic) Excuse me,, that was the extra glass of
beer I had on Merry, Oh, you don't know him? Let me tell you all about him:
Here we are again, The Three Musketeers. We went celebrating the other
day(over what? - over nothing. Just celebrating.) Guess where? Over the
P.X. Restaurant on the base. Now, one of the trio, Frank Merendino by
name, but we call him Merry, tried to put one over on us. Here is what
happened. As we entered the P.X. I bought a round of beer(They come in
bottles) and while we're drinking. Merry suggests something to go with
it, so Emma (that's the other musk, his names' John Emma) decides to buy
so merry orders a sandwich and a side dish of French Fried Potatoes.
(And to think we had just got through eating supper.) By this time we
we're all through with our beer so Merry buys the next round of beer.
Then he suggests per-a-la-mode intending to have me buy it so Emma & I
get in a buddle and a conspiracy ensues. Of course, this all is in fun
and it ends up where merry pays for the pie and I for the ice-cream. He
is now in for it cause the very next evening we wind up at the P.X.
again, Emma buying the first round of beer this time, hoping to get
Merry stuck for the sandwiches even tho' we weren't hungry but this
scheme fails. By this time we had finished the beer and before Merry
know it his beer was gone without him drinking more that a quarter of
the bottle. I bought the next and Merry winds up buying peanuts, cheese
crackers and also the beer besides us smoking his cigarettes. We're
always in some sort of argument. This time it's overran Italian word. In
English I believe it means Ruffian although the meaning is more harsh in
it's Italian form. He claims it means "mice or cute boy" because his
Mother called him that many times when he was a kid. And so we kid him
along. He's only twenty-two and is quite tall. His fatigues have shrunk
on him and he looks quite comical in them. Like he had outgrown them
he's the one I play chess with what a battle we have. It takes over an
hour to finish just one game. Emma doesn't care for this game, instead,,
he plays pool with Merry and the two at this game are a scream. Whenever
we three play pool we always get a forth to join us and then Merry and
Emma always team up against me. When it's ping-pong, then it's Emma and
I against Merry. What a trio. You should see us. Tonight we're going to
take in a movie. Now a little of something else.
I'm now doing the second shift this week therefore I work two hours in
the morning around the supply and six hours in the afternoon at the
parachute building. This morning we did some landscaping. You'd be
surprised at the amount of knowledge we've accumulated around this berg.
landscaping consists of raking and pulling out weeds. Also I am an
unlicensed Pilot. I pile it here and I pile it there. Then along comes a
dust storm, oh heck, what's the use. The fellow that works with me says,
when we get out of this army we can write a book that'll never end with
all we go through. How true it is .
This letter is being written while I'm working. Once in awhile I am
interrupted by someone coming in for a parachute. And I thought the rush
was over but they still come in.
And now for some news all in one scene.
So you wanted to be a meanie but I know you can't be/ If you fell that
way again just take it out on the flies because they're meanies. Yep, we
still haves some lift. H just killed two last night (mm, I'm a sure
killer, oh , oh). You should see the flies we have around here. Their
size is the same but oh what a temper they have. If I chase them away,
they just get madder. First they circle around my head and them before I
know it they zoom down at me, buzzing away like mad. They're quite a
persistent bunch around here.
Charlie wrote and told me about his troubles and just the other day
Addie wrote to me and told me about Ann. Ant not forgetting your
husband, J just wrote to him the other day. We correspond with one
another frequently. Gosh my writing must of sounded like music to
Lucille that it put her to sleep. I didn't know my words sounded so sweet.
Well, I think this sought to make up for all my previous scrimpy letters
that I sent you and so with these final words I'll close with best of
regards to your folks and your aunt a& Red, with a great big kiss for
Lucille, my sweet little sweetheart from
La Junta Co Thurs. Oct.28, 1943
After a strenuous day of hard labor I came back for mail and noticed
your cheerful letter awaiting me with bells on. During the course of
your writing you got yourself all twisted up, that even I felt like I
was getting a cold all over again. Believe it or not (with apologies to
Ripley) I too had a cold for a while, a sort of lingering cold and it
couldn't make up it's mind whether it wanted to get better or worse. But
finally it turned out for the better,… not the cold but my health.
Oh, oh, so you're making me out as a bad man from the whilly west. I
would never think of interfering with somebody elses job. Oh, no, not
me. By the way, did you know that me and work get along swell I ;ole
work, yes siree, I can sit and watch work all day long without it
bothering me for a moment but somehow these clucks around here don't
seem to like it that way. They much rather see us tangle with one
S just like them to be that way. I can't understand it . And starting
Monday, yes . This coming Monday, Nov.1, 1943, I'll put that down in my
book as Black Monday; we will begin working on a twelve hour shift, from
six in the morning to six at night. We are in for it now and it's going
to be tough going from now on. To make matters worse, we can't go to the
P.X. Restaurant or the Post Exchange in our fatigues anymore .That means
we will have to dress up in our O.D.'s from now on, after working hours
in order to go and have a beer. It's sure getting worse and worse around
here but they can't keep a good man down, not me anymore. Let them dish
it out, what do I care, I'll show
em how I can take it …..(oh yeah?).
Is it my sense of humor that has returned to me or am I getting giddy
lately. I believe it's the latter. You know how insane persons act.
Well, it won't be long now. Before I join them in the act and the role I
will play will be Shakespeare running all over the place crying over and
over again "Oh what fools these mortals be." But if working a twelve
hour shift can bring the war to a close sooner, then I would gladly do
it. But I've seen too much going on that I have my doubts. Why, even the
war prisoners are having a better time than we are that's why I can't
understand these things at all. --But, the heck with all this . I won't
worry my silly head over these trifles anymore. Nope,,, not me. And I
mean it this time too. (What? don't you believe me?)
So even your cousin has been disappointed. Oh well, that's the last
straw. I'll drink my poison straight from the bottle. I won't discuss
about my discharge anymore. If I get my walking papers they you will see
me in person, otherwise, I ''just go on as though I never was offered a
C.D.D. I can understand how though it is ,as much for you folks back
home as it is for us, I'm so glad my letters are interesting and amusing
but somehow I felt maybe they might bore you once in a while. I'll try
to keep it up and I want to thank you very much for your lovely letters.
They have brought me many moments of pleasure.
Now listen Jean, put away your pistol and listen to reason. Just because
I called your daughter, sweetheart was no reason for you to go a
-gunning for me. Ah, believe me, I had no ill-designs, on my bended
knee, I swear. I'm on my right knee. My other knee hurts. Ah reckon
Lucille had something to say, huh! What does she say anyway.
If Lucille ever heard me play she'd probably fall asleep on me. Did I
ever tell you the time when Charlie was over my house reading a paper
and I was passing away some time on the piano. Well, your right; he fell
asleep on me. Any your husband too. He dood it. Oh, those two… what an
audience they'd make. Even in our day room when I sit down to play for
passtime, they always turn on the radio. I guess they want to show the
rest of the boys just how much better I sound compared to the radio.
Ain't that swell of them . Such nice boys.
They have parted the Three Musks for this week. Emma is on K.P. and how
he is a-moaning. Merry is working in the afternoon 'til late and I am
Did I ever tell you about the soldier who went around picking up papers?
Well, this particular soldier went around all day and all he did was
pick up a paper, looks at it and says to himself "No, that's not it."
One day while he was doing this the C.O. notice him and sends him over
to a Psychiatrist. Well, to make a long story short, he is finally sent
before the board and they discharge him from the service. When they
handed him his discharge papers, he takes a look at them and says "mm,
And so I close this letter hoping I will hear from you again and please
remember me to your folks, brothers, and to Red and his wife. And please
give my love to sweetening…oop, excuse please, I mean Lucille. Be good
and always remember to keep my chin up. So long for now from