Wallace's Tent on Salisbury Plain

Wallace's Tent on Salisbury Plain
Writing a letter with candle on clipboard, see Oct. 16 letter

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

January 29 and January 31, 1944

January 29, 1944 Saturday evening

Good evening, my love -- Life has got me astounded again tonite. It does that every now and then. Sometimes for good things, sometimes for bad, sometimes for nothing at all but the surprising turns that events take. All I can do is sit back and say "what a rat race" or some thing else that doesn't mean anything. It just fills you with wonder at the world.
Today things haven't been at all bad for  me, but I've bee "astounded," as above, by one thing after another. I did fail to qualify as a machine gunner, but only 8 men in the platoon did qualify. So it won't count against me, I guess, but what raised my temperature was the fact that I am a good enough shot to be the only machine gun expert here. I just goofed off good at the wrong time. You fire two target groups with a machine gun. I was feeling great and was shooting along in great style for half the group. Then I simply forgot to change my sight setting at a change in range. Consequently the last half of the target only had a few scattered shots in the bull. I knew that ruined me as far as total score went, but I shot as I should on my second group and got the highest score of the day on one group. I know I could have done as well as the first group if I'd been on the ball. Oh well, just lost a chance to look good, that's all.
We had another of our other-worldly inspections today -- for which I was preparing last night (result: no letter). Guess what? I didn't get a gig, and haven't in over a week. And the inspection today was so tough that only about 10 men are not restricted, to say nothing of not gigged. That is another thing that astounded me, and made me very worried over some of our boys. Lt. Shalala is very unreasonable, I fear. On four men's rifles he claimed to find a speck of rust, and he said he would send these men before the board Monday. It sounds fantastic, but he usually does just what he says. The trouble is Tom O'Donnell is one of these men. This better not be as serious as it sounds. Men who are "boarded: are usually on the way out. Here's hoping for the best.

I am staying in to walk guard tonite, for one hour, but I am surrounded by sad, sad men who are restricted as I have often been. Burton, a Colorado man, is about as low as a man can be. He was one of the "rusty" rifles -- the word rust has an exceedingly wide meaning here -- and has a wife in Louisville. Restriction is a major punishment for him, while it only annoys me.

Today we started our course in Teacher Training. We have a civilian teacher, and I see that we are going to get a rubber stamp method of teaching that I may have to unlearn in the future. I shall busily try to pick the good points they no doubt have, from the stilted method I know they will teach. We are all thru with communications now.
For the first three days of next week, I am going to be our platoon leader. My first big job. It shouldn't be too tough, tho.
It is Sunday now. I'm doubling up on this week-end letter, since it will go out at the same time as if I sent two. Guard was uneventful last night. Today I slept oh, so luxuriously until 10:30. Went to the post library and read a little psych. just to feel at home. Then I went to a movie with Austin and Ray Bowles. "A Guy Named Joe" and a good picture. Well worth seeing.
Got your Wednesday letter yesterday wand was glad to read it, Hon. Not because of the content, but because you told me your troubles. That's good. Don't want all the troubles to go from me to you. I can imagine how exasperating your children can become, and am very much in favor of old fashioned discipline when they deliberately fail to cooperate. The teacher must always control the situation, and should take any steps necessary to do so. The less antagonistic, the more cooperative, the method the better, of course. But at all events get tough if you have to.
Hope the situation over Pearl has cleared up O.K. Sounds from here like a good situation for a long private talk with the aim of gaining good rapport and maybe getting her to cooperate "in order to help other children." If the parents interfere, a lot of soft soap until you got what YOU want would be in order. In my baker days I found soft soap very effective with the typical parent. Both children and parents are more easily out-maneuvered if you don't show that you are angry or working against them. In case of "court-martial" you can tell them to fly a kite and get a job in Louisville or someplace. Which would be very  nice. Don't worry about it, anyway, Bun. Just another teaching problem to be handled unemotionally. Let me know all about it.

By the way, when we get to Tibet, I still think you could ski on snow and that we could call on the Llama as well as ride on one. But those are no doubt problems that will settle themselves when we get there. In the meantime, feel sure that I feel like the roof of top-less house you compare yourself to. Do what you can to round out your routine until we are together. Being together is the only real cure for both of us, but until then do whatever seems to relieve the tension of being apart, rather than just "sweating it out." Silly as it is, I find that treating myself to candy bars or cokes makes me feel as tho I had had a break. I say "what can I do that will give me some fun?" There's nothing to do, really, so I say "well let's go to the P.X. and see what looks good." So I run over and carefully pick out the best 4 cent candy bar I can see, and eat it slowly, seeing how it's made and reading the wrapper and comparing it to other bars. Then I come back feeling as tho I had had some time to myself. Elapsed time: 10 minutes. When you feel low, do yourself a favor. It helps.
Now I have to go and study for a machine gun exam. I do love you, Honey, more than all the world and I always will. I think of you all the time, at least subconsciously, and fell as if we were pretty much the same person even if we are apart. We just fit, Bunny.
Always yours,

January 31, 1944 Monday

Dear Honey,

Last day of January, payday, first day of our sixth week at O.C.S. I'm still here, which is something and can't yet see definitely what can toss me out. Hope things continue to hold together as well thru February.
Your birch bark letter came thru today. Very unique stationery, I must say. Real serviceable tho. Was very glad to hear that the incident over Pearl blew over so nicely. Must have been a relief to you. Glad you got in to the Speaks concert, too. Must have been fun and a break in the routine of Westmoreland. How is Grammie? Cheerful, I hope. I intend to write her sometime but it's one of those things that just go slipping by. I haven't written home yet this week. I usually do on Sunday, but things closed in on me before I got around to it. Ma likes to get a letter, too, I think, so I'll send it as soon as I can.
Today I acted as Section Marcher for our section -- which means I was top man for about half the day. During military law and drill to be exact. The Company Commander left, so I took over his job, since the platoon leader is next in line. It is great fun to be official, and everything went smoothly. Went over an obstacle course a couple of times. It was an easy one, I thought. Then we double-timed way around the enormous parade ground I have told you about.
Did I mention that I have moved from the 4th squad to the 1st? Well, I have. And today I moved my stuff down into the first squad room. This will bring me in with a new bunk-mate named Braley and put me in a new bunch of fellows to some extent. Not a radical change, tho.
Nite now, Honey. It's almost bed-time and it won't be long before we'll be dreaming together as usual. I love you and miss you very, very much.
Yours forever, Bun,

Sunday, January 27, 2008

January 27, 1944 Thursday

Dearest Honey,

Three big letters came this noon. and I took time off right then to read them all. Best vacation I've had in a long time and I am very glad I took it. Was sorry to hear how much “uncomfortableness” you had last week-end, but thought you sounded very cheerful in spite of them. Mind over matter, I guess. Nice going, Bunny.

Of course I was sad to hear about your mother's sight. It is one of those things that seem as tho they can't be real, but are. She is such a wonderful person that I bet she will take it in her usual wonderful way. We must do everything we can for her, but I don't know as there is much we can do, actually, except admire her. She has about everything I admire in a person, too. We'll be like her when we get old.

Was glad to hear that our “thought-wave” communication is good up at Westmoreland. Was a little worried, because my letters are so short these days that I can hardly hint at all the things I want to tell you. I do think them tho and send them up to you at all times. Little thoughts and big ones, and just attitudes and love and understanding at other times. If you aren't getting these, I was afraid you might forget that they do go on. Then all you would see is what I write to you, and that isn't enough. I love you all the time, Honey, and plan to be around to continue doing so for always plus 6 months. We'll never really be apart.

Yours forever, my Bunny,

Saturday, January 26, 2008

January 26, 1944 Wednesday

Hello Hon,

Well, I'm a good boy this week and will not be restricted this week-end. Don't plan to celebrate tho, will just sleep a little longer Sunday and maybe see a movie here on post. I think I'll be on guard Saturday of this week, but I don't know whether I'll be a private or a what. A what, I hope. That's less work.

Tonite at the P.X. I bought a copy of the little Infantry Journal publication “Psychology for the Fighting Man.” It's a simply written book that gives the problems, and possible solutions, of the line soldier. Not technical, but solid psychology, and ten times better than Dale Carnegie stuff. Naturally, I won't read the book but it is one that I have wanted to have on hand for some time. Military psychology is a subject that more military men should study.

Gee, Honey, I feel a little tired tonite for some reason. Just comfortably so. Enough to be relaxed and not care much about what happens. Guess that isn't a good way to feel in the middle of a week, but it's more fun. I miss you more when I feel like this, and very easily lapse off into day dreams of when we can be together. Feel tonite that our best bet would be to go to the south seas some where and spend our days laying around under the palm trees. We would live off the land, of course, and just talk and love and rest all day. Ho-hum. Sing me a song of the islands--

All right, now, Tondelayo, I've got to study my military law for at least an hour, so please go 'way just for that time and I'll meet you in bed very soon. 'Bye now. I love you, my Bunny, more than all the world.

Yours always,

January 25, 1944 Tuesday

Dear Bunny,

Nice balmy spring day today. Almost warm. Never have spent such a temperate January. In spite of the weather I have a minor sore throat. Nothing that slows me down at all, but spoils me resonant and colorful tone on commands.

I received your Friday letter today, which is very unusual. Tuesday is usually a blank day as far as letters are concerned. Very glad to see the jinx broken.

I would imagine that grades in your school would be inevitably subjective, since you have so few in each grade. But on the other hand, your well-thought out opinion would perhaps be better than an objective grade because you can know each student so well. Do you mark them relative to each other or to their own potentialities? Most everybody agrees that any type of school marks is not good in an ideal system, so I don't know as it matters how you arrive at a necessary evil. Just want to know how it works out in practice.

Glad the P--- boys left as happy little morons, anyway... I once tested a little girl who was a moron on any standard, but a very nice little girl. If people are helpful and friendly and well-meaning, they don't have to know much to get along well.

About this time I could use a lot of relaxation with you, honey. Absence does make the heart grow fonder, I find. It is hard to be eternally waiting for things to get better so we can be together. The easiest way for me is to convince myself it will be a long, long time before the war is over. Then you can lose the feeling of constantly expecting something to happen tomorrow, and maybe be happily surprised. I love you all the time, bunny.

All yours always,

January 24, 1944 Monday

Dear Honey,

Turned our ever-changing attention to the Cal. 30 air-cooled machine gun today, and to codes and ciphers in communications. Also started a new course in military law. Codes and ciphers is interesting, as you might imagine. We work with coding machines and books and find out how they work in the armored force. We just learn armored command systems but the basic ideas of cryptography are taught, too. Les Jenkins got his commission in the signal corps and we are getting enough in communications for me to see that he has a very fascinating and specialized field. Being a radio operator would be fun, tho the technical side is very confoosin'.

Using a “lil Abner” word makes me wonder if you've met the latest character in the strip. Silent Yokum is his name, and he never speaks unless something real important comes up. Consequently he hasn't uttered a word in 40 years. Last I saw of him he was just getting shot thru the head, but didn't consider it important enough to break his silence over. His poor sweet silent little self! I repeat, “lil Abner” is a challenging and stimulating comic – the only one that really has something on the ball.

You said in today's letter that you repeat “I love you,” Bun, and I hope you always will, because I mean it sincerely every single time I write it, and never use it without thinking so. Tonite I love you as much as I ever have. Your last two letters I have appreciated more than most any you have ever sent –they really had some solid points in them, and made me proud to have such a perceiving wife. Maybe the psychology books are making us see things in the same manner.

All yours,

P.S. Thanks for the correct pronunciations on those words. They are colloquial words I guess, but more widespread in the areas I've been booted into than the pronunciations we use correctly in New England.
[sketch of eastern United States with “ve'hicle area” in the northeast, and “vehic'le areas” in the southeast and Colorado]

January 23, 1944 Sunday

Dear Marjorie,

Just finished a letter to the folks, and when I went to address it, habit made me put your name on the envelope! So I have the envelope for this letter all made out now. “Miss Marjorie Ann Nelson” just automatically goes on my envelopes.

This week I am again leading the cloistered life of a restrictee. Have it down to a science now, however, and have had a very enjoyable time. Over at the waiting room there are about 10 old books that somebody had nothing else to do with, so they left them there. I picked one up at random and read most of last evening. It was “The Cathedral” by Hugh Walpole, and was a nice soft change to indulge in for an evening. Got my eyes all tired, and didn't get to write you as a result. It was all about the wrangling of the priests in a cathedral town in England, and the conservatism in the little town. Not very exciting, and with a flowing style that was pleasant to read. Relaxing. Slept 10 hours as a result.

Today I have rested some, too, and hope to some more. It isn't that I'm tires but that I enjoy doing nothing for a while after running all week.

Found out that my much-gigged bunk-mate Bryant is not only a junior R.O.T.C. from Ohio State. He has a master's degree in floriculture, no less. I was surprised, altho he is old enough to be more than a junior. He has even less hair than I, but it hasn't turned gray yet. Not that mine has. However, he is a little disappointing to me in spite of his intellectual look. His sole interest in floriculture seems to be in the money he can make from it. He has it all figured how he is going to take some new variety of flower that somebody else develops and raise it in quantity before anyone else.

We are listening to the Philharmonic now, as I feel that you are doing, too. The Brahms concerto is just beginning. I enjoy this program a lot. You know, I have a secret belief that the violin would have been my instrument if I had started early enough. Remember when I was very young I used to want one and that once my folks nearly got me one. Wish they had. The French horn is very nice, and you always have an alibi when you goof off on it -- “world's hardest instrument” and all. Not as versatile as a violin, tho.

Took a short nap and am now ready to continue. Sleeping is fun, isn't it? I pretend you're there and we are so comfortable. You know, Hon, it isn't being away from home that bothers me. It's just being away from you. I'm sure I would feel very much at home in Tibet if you were there. You could enjoy skiing in Tibet, and we could go call on the Llama on Sundays – or would we ride one one? Anyway, I think we could be very happy there. You'd be all set for the weather, tho. Very much like Westmoreland.

We do have one recreational facility here at O.C.S. It is a dilapidated old police dog named Streaky. I guess he's over 100 years old, but he never has outgrown his puppy days. His one passion is to chase a ball and bring it back to a candidate. He has a football, a baseball, and one big stone. He uses the first two outdoors on weekdays. The stone changes his game to a parlor sport for the day room. He's a friendly old boy, but creaky. Don't say creaky squeaky, now.

Did enjoy your letter last night, Bunny. Read it over and over. Yes, we will have some readjustments to make when we are together, but as long as we can be as understanding as we are even in our letters, we will have no trouble. We can't lose what we've got. It's much too important.

I love you forever, my Bunny,

January 23, 1944 Sunday

Dear folks,

Got a good long letter from you-all this week. Also got letters from Marjorie and Rev. Ralph the same day. Felt very well supported by the home front.

This week has been, as usual, routine. The formula doesn't change from week to week. Same schedule. Fired submachine guns this week, and I made expert in that. That entitles me to another medal which I don't think I'll ever get.

Again this week I am restricted to our area. I find it very easy to pick up the 5 necessary gigs. The restriction isn't anything, tho, just keeps me from going to Louisville and spending money. I haven't picked up more gigs than most of the men, I just group them better – getting an even 5 each week.

I do not get as tired as I did on the bread truck. Physically this is easier than basic training was.

Had a whole bunch of exams this last week and I got O.K. in them. Everybody does well here, so it's only occasionally that my test-cracking abilities sparkle forth. Twice, tho, on a first aid exam and on a communications test, I have glimmered a little. Due more to my experience at writing tests, tho, than to knowledge. You get so you can figure out what they want. All the tests here are objective ones, usually with complicated instructions that seem aimed at confusing the student. They keep telling us that we should learn to instruct “the average man,” whom they seem to picture as an absolute idiot. Poor guy, he could never understand our test instructions.

Love to all,

Friday, January 25, 2008

January 21, 1944 Friday

Dear Honey,

Friday night again so quick. Friday is the day we have to get ready for the inspection tomorrow. These inspections are right out of this world, as are many things here. The theory of relativity does not apply to much of the work here. A thing is clean or it is dirty, it is all right or all wrong. 'Tain't so, of course, but that is the assumption they work on.

Went to the range and fired our Buck Rogers sub-machine gun for record today. At long last, I qualified as an expert on something. Fired 88 of a possible 100 points on a short range where sihouette targets pop up here and there for 3 seconds and you try to mow 'em down. 80 points is all that is needed for expert. After that we fired for fun and I wasted government money to feel like a killer – took a whole magazine full of shells and fired the whole thing into one distant target in one big burst. Rate of 450 rounds per minute. Really makes your teeth chatter to hold the trigger back and just let it ride. [drawing]

Got a big morsel of morale tonite. Got letters from you, Mama, and Rev. Ralph. Last is his form letter, but interesting. Who else could I want to write? Honey, you don't have to feel guilty about missing writing now and then. Would be a very insufferable person not to understand that you would write unless conditions were impossible. Would rather have you keep good care of yourself than write when the two conflict. I love you much more than to just count the number of letters. Naturalness is the big thing with us; when writing doesn't seem spontaneous, let's not. Best way, I think. Writing you is very spontaneous with me, however. I am also getting ink all over my hands as I write this. Must go wash.

I love you,

January 20, 1944 Thursday

Dear Bunny,

Very routine day today. Had our communications exam, but that's about all. Strange silence from the gig department all this week, as far as I'm concerned. Must be improving, I hope. My bunk-mate Bill Bryant of Ohio State is taking it now. He has a staggering total for the cycle and was still climbing last I knew. If you get out of the groove just a little, they come with great rapidity. They are a part of the press that endeavors to turn out a standardized, interchangeable piece of equipment known as a second lieutenant. The motto here “We mold leaders” is very true. Conformity down to the last small habit. They haven't given us any positions to sleep in yet, but it wouldn't surprise me at all.

I'm griping because this type of training is an exact prototype of of what Nazi education would be. But it is the best of a fundamentally wrong kind of education. It's Army and G.I., but it is efficient, it accomplishes the end they want, and they do not pretend to do anything but work toward that end – to manufacture 2nd Lieutenants. I admire it as a working example of a highly organized system. To use testing terms, it is valid and reliable. Does what it sets out to do consistently and well. It is such a good example that the fundamental errors of regimentation, authoritarianism and conformity can be seen more clearly than in an ordinary outfit where they are poorly applied.

Found today why a 2nd lieutenant wears a gold bar on his shoulder. It is because you couldn't see it very well if it was on his socks. No need to laugh. Noone has yet, and I've been trying a long time.

I love you, Honey, and think of you a hundred times a day.

Yours always and always,

January 19, 1944 Wednesday

Dear Honey,

Love you very much tonite, and wish we could be together. We both need the rest it would bring. Hope you are all well now and bubbling over with energy. Don't want to rub it in, but the weather here is sunny and like an early spring day. I am very pleased with Kentucky weather.

You would have liked the little gun we started work on today – the new M3 submachine gun. It's a new version of the Tommy gun, but looks like a Buck Rogers affair. I draw: [drawing of gun with arm and notation “this hump is improvised – don't know how it got there”]

The human arm, so called, is put to show relative size. It is not part of the weapon. These little things are what tank men use instead of rifles. If I go to the armored command, I'll use one. If I go to armored infantry, I'll get a carbine. Both are nice.

That ends today's gunnery lesson. In communications our lecturer showed what he really thought of one of our models of radio. He told how the model was a little old, but was giving excellent service in all theatres, how reliable and rugged and powerful it was. Then the radio suddenly ceased to operate at all for the demonstration. He exclaimed “Dilapidated old thing – beats the hell out of me how anybody runs it.”

This is the rodeo season out west, I guess. At least our cowboys are getting the call of the saddle. The main cry heard over the squad room, apropos of anything, is “Take a deep seat and a long rein and LET 'ER BUCK!” The last is yelled to be heard back in Colorado.

Still wish I could sleep near you for about 50 years, Honey, but guess I'd better get busy. Oh, don't worry about my trying to get restricted or anything. I shall contribute ½ my cerebral cortex and four fingers to get thru this place. It challenges me, somehow. Want to see if I can.

Always all yours,

January 18, 1944 Tuesday

Evening, Dearest – I'm using up some old stationery I have around before I invest in some new stationery.

Felt like a brother of Annie Oakley as we fired the carbine at the range today. Everyone does well at it, but it's nice to get high scores. Got 10 consecutive bull's-eyes at 200 yds and fired 94 points of a possible hundred there.

Met George Patten at the P.X. tonite as usual waiting to call up his wife in Louisville. He calls her about every nite and sees her week-ends. Must be very monotonous for her in the interims, however. That way isn't for us, Hon. Think how disappointed we'd be when I was restricted week-ends if you were in Louisville!

If I am ever going to gain weight, this is the place I will do it. As a rule we have field work half a day and half a day of class work. That makes it that I get an enormous appetite, but don't get too tires physically. And as you know, we eat like kings. I chuckle with glee at each meal and eat just as much as I can crowd in, in the time I can afford. Guess there's no limit to how much I can eat. If time were no factor, I'd just live in the mess hall.

Today we continued radio procedure in our L.S.T. class room. They have 2 or 3 nets rigged up, 5 stations to a net, and we operate the stations thru different situations. Three men to a set, so we all get plenty of chance to speak. My radio voice is probably golden – but I don't know, you can't receive your own message when you are transmitting.

You will go home this week-end, won't you? Been quite a long time now. Give my love to Grammie. What you can spare of it, anyway.

We are taking a course in mess management now, too. Expect to be wise in the ways of kitchens when I'm thru – so be prepared for rigid inspections of our kitchens. Nothing served from over a 50 gallon container, no cigar ashes in food, etc.

'Bye now, I love you to pieces,

January 17, 1944 Monday

Dear Bunny,

Not quite so pushed today. No official duties, just myself to keep care of. Today we started studying the carbine -- a little rifle that has largely replaced the pistol, you know. Two questions are bothering me that perhaps you can look up for me. Is it carbine or carbeen? And can “position” possibly be used as a verb – to position something. These outlanders are always coming up with something new, and tho it seems wrong to me, so many people use it that it makes me wonder.

Today we had our communications class in a building made just like a landing ship for tanks, an L.S.T. They used it for experimenting on loading tanks into such ships, etc.

As far as instructional methods are concerned, we get the very best here. Of course, it's all factual material that lends itself to good teaching. They have an elaborate series of visual aids – charts, diagrams, big photos, etc. -- and a demonstration crew for each department. Also fine movies, and well presented lectures. The tests are all objective and usually pretty good. Guess one guy writes them for all departments, at least I'm getting on to the style, which is consistent. All the instructors are quite well trained. They do know how to teach the stuff they have to.

Exasperating as it is, I got 2 gigs instead of the 1 I figured on at the Saturday inspection. That puts me over the hump for next week-end. If this doesn't stop, I'll get very, very angry. But then, it wouldn't do any good. And it is less expensive to stay in week-ends.

Was pleased to see the financial department in such good shape. We'll soon be rich at this rate, especially if the income tax keeps working in reverse! I have to spend more for cleaning here than before – lot of dry-cleaning necessary every week. But that's beside the point, which is that I love you and always will.

All yours,

January 16, 1944 Sunday

Dear folks,

Hope everything is in working order at 23 Pleasant Street, and that none of you has frozen up yet.

This last week for me was a grand rush from one duty to another. I was a table waiter, a squad leader, and a corporal of the guard in addition to my regular duties. Am beginning to wonder just how much a pair of bars is worth. That's in my busy moments. When I'm not too rushed I appreciate the efficient services and luxuriant quarters we have here and think I never had it so good. More work, better treatment. That's about the story.

This week I couldn't go anywhere if I wanted to. Collected over 5 gigs last week so I am restricted to the area. It is a very easy thing to be restricted and I expect to spend a good many week-ends in.

Ken Wiggin left today for North Carolina – the 78th Infantry Division. He hopes he gets a furlough when he gets there. So he may be up around Keene soon. He's to be a father soon, you know, and has a small hunch it will be twins. Says he'll take to the hills if it is. They would make life too complicated.

Glad to hear that Marjorie is better now. Guess she had quite a time for a spell. She seemed pleased that her pupils were so glad to have her back after she was sick.

Fired the M1 rifle for record again on Saturday and earned another sharpshooter medal. From now on we take up a lot of different weapons up to the big 75 mm tank gun.

Your loving and best son,

Thursday, January 24, 2008

January 16, 1944 Sunday

Dearest Marjorie,

Well, Wig is leaving today at 4:50. Have seen him only occasionally lately, but today he sets out for Fort Buckner, N.C., as a corporal in the 78th Infantry. Really hate to see Big Wig go, and can see that he hates to leave, too. It's not because he's missing a chance at O.C.S. at all, but I just feel sorry that he won't be with us anymore. Probably he's getting a break, as far as breaks go in the army. If a fellow was a born army man and wanted to make a career out of it, it is possible that O.C.S. is an opportunity that you should feel bad to miss. But Wig isn't like that. He is naturally a little sorry to leave, but only because society in general counts it as uncreditable to leave O.C.S. for any reason. Hope he can get a furlough where he's going, and get into something that he enjoys and has some time to himself in.

This morning I worked over at the mess hall for a while and when it threatened to develop into something resembling K.P., I signed out for church. Happened that only a Catholic service was on when I signed out, so I saw the light as a Catholic very quickly and went to mass.

Had a good time at church because it gave me my first chance to think for quite a while. I'm getting way behind on my philosophizing these days, Bun. Consequently feel as tho the world was going by without my soaking it in or understanding it. This afternoon I have been reading my Pi Gamma Mu Social Science magazine, which is very solid and heavy. Good to see they're still turning out such a tolerant and intelligent periodical. Most people go to sleep over such stuff, but I'm afraid it's just the type I'll read and write “when I have my way.”

I decided that the army and the Catholic church are alike in that both are elaborate systems that teach one way of doing things – not the reason but the method of doing things. The fact that they teach a method makes it so that the only reasoning members of the systems are those at the very top. The others simply do things because they are told that is the best way. It requires you to do things without knowing the reason – arbitrariness. And prohibits a man from doing the thing as he thinks it should be done – discourages initiative and self-adjustment and it inhibits the man. The systems have the advantage of standardization – with everyone doing things the same way, the parts within a system can only get so bad. The heads know just what will come from each unit and that it will not get below the group standard. When reasons for doing rather than methods are taught, you don't get standard results. One part may be much worse than the worst unit of a method-teaching system. On the other hand, the best may be far better, and anyway, the individual is in a better psychological position. The big point, tho, is that in the army and Catholic systems, their particular method is soon and inevitably confused as the only method. Then they become artificial, unadaptable to new situations, and keep individuals from ever seeing the real world. They mistake their system for reality. That is why I am against teaching any method or doctrine. That is training, not education.

In order to teach children to think, you haven't got to preach socialism or present any bombshell opinions. The main things would be to present the facts and the problem and guide them, not to a particular decision, but to one that is at least balanced and intelligent. To un-indoctrinate them so they can do this is a big problem, too.

There, never mind reading the fore-going if you don't want to. Got a nice letter from you today, with the two news flashes on the Boston Tea Party. Glad your children are as enthusiastic about you as I am. Shows they have good sense. Also the state trooper reveals taste in figures. You'll have to watch yourself now that they have your fingerprints, tho.

Your watch I like more every day. Am astonished every night at how bright it is in the pitch dark. Very fascinating.

Damn, this is a long war, isn't it? I get so tired of it that it seems it can't last much longer; but when I think of how nice it will be when it's over, it seems unreal and very distant. Guess we'll just have to relax and wait it thru. 'Bye now.

I love you,

January 15, 1944 Saturday evening

Dear Bunny,

Please understand that the army of the U.S. is the only responsible factor in my not writing the last couple days. We have been on the move every single minute of both days. Not the frantic kind of busy you get sometimes at school. When we are at class we get a 10 minute break every hour, and during study hours we are not phenomenally busy. But during our own time – when we may write letters if we can – then the pressure is really on. I had to get ready for an elaborate formal inspection today as well as look after my squad. Also we were late coming in from class because of range firing. Combined, these things put any time to write or even think in a complete black-out. Couldn't even get my squad duties done right in the time allowed. I love you as always, now that I have time to think about human beings. Perhaps more. Yes, certainly more. I have had to read your letters by snatches here and there. Actually. Never was in a place where I didn't have time even to read a letter all at once. Enjoyed them, tho. Am glad you're getting better. Today's letter sounded as tho you were feeling like yourself again. Don't overdo things when you go back to work, Hon.

Bill Smart is the boy who drew the tanker pictures. He's a good egg to have fun with. Looks like a tank man should – English bulldog type. Of course, it is “Smaht” to all New Englanders, and the westerners and southerners get a lot of fun asking us why we leave out “R”'s. One instructor asked his name, He said “Smaht,” so the instructor takes down “Smythe.” He's been “Smythe” or “Smat” ever since. Also he picked up 3 gigs for sleeping in class the other day. Anything else you want to know about our artist?

You referred to “jigs” the other day in a letter. Correction please in army terminology. It is gig – as in goo, the last as in kog. I am an expert in gigs of all types, and will no doubt have a lot to say about them in the future. So I want you to know the functioning and nomenclature of the M1 gig. It is a result of getting over 5 of them that I am restricted this week-end, and have a good start on getting restricted next week-end, also. Gigs are tallies that show the seriousness of any mis-step. Dusty locker = 1 gig; dropping rifle = 2 gigs; late for formation = 3 gigs, etc. 5 gigs holds a man in over the week-end. He signs in every hour Saturday night and Sunday, and usually waits on table Sunday. Not a tough restriction, tho – plenty of time to rest, which I need this week. Tom and I are in the barracks now passing a quiet evening at the radio. It's so good to let down after such a week. Now, I don't believe gigs are too serious, tho they obviously do not help a candidate's status. Work here seems to divide into 2 parts. One is class work – with lecture, practical work and written tests. As at school, only longer hours. Keeping good grades is important, and I think I can do O.K. in them, if what we've had is an example. The other part is known as Drill and Discipline – D&D we call it. It is an organized department that has charge of our barracks, chow, and conduct in addition to instruction in commands and drill and instruction of troops. They give out the gigs and grade us in leadership and face and suitability. Here is where my difficulty will come. My drill and commands and instruction are passable. At least, I feel fine giving commands and haven't been criticized much on them. But the little things they have in D&D, I hope they don't count too much. Like remembering small details, and being strict with my men, etc. They still like a blood and thunder type of commander, and I just don't go for it. You've got to be arbitrary, which is very much against everything I believe. In general, D&D gets in my hair. It is what takes up my spare time and makes you do things the G.I. way. I humor them, altho their whole program is the essence of what I don't like in the army.

Thursday, Friday, and today we fired on the range mornings. Shot for record today, just as we did at Wheeler. Had more fun, but guess I;m not as good in cold weather as in hot. Shot 175 at Wheeler, and 174 here! That qualifies me for another one of those sharpshooter medals, and adds 3 points to our gunnery exam Monday. I was all set to get an expert medal this time (180), but got off on the wrong foot in rapid fire. If my last 9 shots had been even average I would have made well over 180. I was high man in the platoon on slow fire. Got the wrong wind correction and grouped my last 9 shots on the 4 and 3 rings instead of the bull's eye. T.S., they say.

We came in from record fire at noon and frantically laid out our equipment for a full field inspection. We were ready at 2:15 which is some kind of a record, I think, considering the situation. Only got one gig on the whole inspection, which is very good, considering the average.

Now I can let down for the first time this week. Guess I'll clean up and go to bed early. I'll probably listen thru the Hit Parade – now started. It comes an hour earlier here than we are used to it.

Met a very interesting character on the range. An exaggerated Justin Gallagher from Arkansas. He's one of the best pistol shots in the world – has the record for consecutive bulls – he's a tech sergeant, very funny and a good instructor. Likes to talk about Arkansas and the marksmanship there. It is used primarily on revenuers he says. He calls the moonshine they make popskull. One drink of it pops your skull open.

Going off to bed now, Bunny. Sleep tight and take things easy. I love you all the time and just wait for the day when we can be together and do things our way.

Always yours,

January 12, 1944 Wednesday

Dear Honey,

This is just a line to let you know I am thinking of you and love you. Got your Sunday letter today and read it off and on between my rushings around as table waiter. In addition to my other jobs I m now a squad leader again, and corporal of the guard tomorrow. What a rat race! Quite fun, tho. We fire tomorrow and I had to fix up my rifle tonite. Even replaced a part – felt like a real mechanic.

So glad to hear you are better. Makes me feel much better, too. I love you very much.

All yours,

P.S. I did write, at least, didn't I?

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

January 11, 1944 Tuesday

Dear Honey,

Tuesday is my day of silence from Keene and Westmoreland, so no letter today. Wonder how you are, tho. Much better and resting, I hope. My bunk-mate came back from the hospital today. Was very glad to see him, mainly because I'm tired of policing up for two.

This morning we had dry fire on the M1. Practised sighting and aiming and positions. Same stuff I got twice at Wheeler. In communications we are taking up voice procedure – we go around talking in the phonetic alphabet to each other. “Haxo[?] 1, this is Haxo two. Pass the butter. Over” “Haxo 2, this is Haxo 1, Wilco. Out.” Much fun for all.

Well, Honey, I'm beginning to relax for the first time since I've been here. No reason for it, except that you just can't go on being tense. Get more tired than usual when you're table waiter and just don't have the energy to be excited over anything. I work along at the usual rate but don't get so worked up over things done. It's the only way. Just let things roll along, doing what you can but not trying to turn the world around all alone. It goes by itself pretty well.

Feel real philosophical tonite, but have to quell the urge in favor of my drill regulations which I am memorizing daily, tho not fast enough for the powers that be. Read a little Confucius for me if you are able – think I have a book about him by Lin Yutang up at 23 Pleasant. Never read it myself as I wanted to.

Wig will ship out soon for North Carolina – as a corporal in a line outfit, they say. The 78th Infantry Division, or some such. He's in casual quarters now, loafing mostly. Hope he gets a furlough.

Bye now, Bunny. Get well for me, and remember I love you all the time.

Your embryo tanker,

January 10, 1944 Monday

Chapters 3-4-8-9

Hello Bunny, I am using this unorthodox heading because I am writing this during our study period, which is strictly illegal. I can afford the time from study, tho, and they didn't give me any time of my own today, so I'll take some. Was table waiter you know and had 94 other things to look after, too. My bunkmate, Bryant, is in the hospital and I have to take care of our area all alone.

Now, how about you? Gee, I don't enjoy having you sick. It must be pretty miserable, so you be sure to stay in bed as long as you have to to get entirely well. Got the card you had written today, and was glad to hear from you, anyway. I'll understand if you don't write until you feel able. Just take it easy and specialize on getting well and maybe having a couple days rest after you're all better.

Are you having to call off your piano duo appearance? I suppose so. That will leave the Westmorelandians something to look forward to, tho, at some future date. And no doubt your substitute is glad of the chance to make an extra shekle or two. So everything will turn out well for everyone, yo kin plainly see.

We had a test in communications today, and started on the M1 rifle. We've had it all in basic but then we took in about one week what we covered this morning in four hours. I think we had a week of practice on rifle in Georgia before going onto the range. Here we start range work on Wednesday nd go much deeper into functioning and nomenclature of the rifle.

Here it is 8:00 o'clock already. The time I told myself I'd have to get down to studying. Guess I was right, too, but I'm certainly a slave driver with myself. Hate to stop. I love you, Bunny, and am thinking about you particularly hard until you get better.

Yours always, Bunny,

January 9, 1944 Sunday

Dear folks,

Another big week has passed, without anything special coming up. We drove tanks and half tracks most of the week. Over regular driving courses and Saturday on an all day convoy. Had a lot of exams, got a lot of gigs, and had a new officer put over us. A strict one that we all hope meets with a fatal accident soon.

Last night a bunch of us went to Louisville and saw the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo. It was a great program and worth traveling to see.

The high point of the week came on Saturday, when they gave us an exhibition on using a tank's fire extinguishers. They set a great big fire with oil and dramatically trained the extinguisher on it. The fire blazed merrily on at the same rate and then as they increased the stream it burst forth about twice as big as it had been. It continued until it burned down by itself. A dignified officer put on the exhibition, so we got the biggest laugh of the cycle. Seems the wind blew the extinguisher gas away as soon as it came out.

Next week we start our gunnery course, taking the M1 rifle first.

How's everything in Keene? What does Russ do these days. Logging? This is the time of year when the farmer sits before his fire and roasts chestnuts, I thought.

We are kept just as busy here as we expected to be, and it looks as tho we'll be busier than that next week.

With love,

January 9, 1944 Sunday

Hello my Honey,

I'll bet you're listening to the Sunday p.m. symphony the same as I am, Mozart's piano concerto, etc. -- the program comes at 2 p.m. here. Hope you are fine today, and doing something you like. I love you very much.

Yesterday we took lunches and went on an all-day convoy with half-tracks and 2 platoons of light tanks. It snowed, but was fun. Many funny things happened, which I liked best of all. Got out at 5 and Tom and Jim and Herm Schofield and I took off for Louisville. After scampering around for rooms and tickets we made an exact tie with the first note of the Ballet Russe in “Serenade.” It was a very beautiful program, and of course we will have to see some ballets together often in the future. Like poetry, it looks ridiculous at first, but as you get “into” it, you understand it more. The grace and dexterity of the men gave me the biggest thrill, I think, tho there are many things I will remember from the program. You can jump up into the air and flutter your feet the way they do, can't you? Really very difficult to do, I'd say, but fun to watch. The ballerinas are sexless things, pretty muscular in the legs and flat-footed. However, far be it from me to it against them, the lack of sex appeal made them better able to express other things in their dancing. The orchestra was very good. It was an A-1 program all around and a big cultural event for me. Also made me feel good because when I was in New York I bought tickets to see them and failed because I had to come back to get into R.O.T.C. I caught up with 'em, tho.

Back to the Hotel Seelbach for a few drinks and a long sleep. Tried an “old fashioned” and found it to be one of the best. Tom and I came back to camp right after a breakfast of tomato juice, boiled eggs, coffee and toast. Now we are listening to the New World Symphony, I'd say, by the sound.

Your watch is seeing service every day. It gains just a little every couple days. Will have it regulated sometime because it's capable of being on the button I can see. It isn't serious enough to go to any trouble over, tho. I like it an awful lot, and always say “hello, Marjorie” to it when it shines up at me in the dark. Can't help appreciating what a lucky fellow I am to have such a girl – almost said wife. Tom and Jim and Herm haven't and they wish they had very much. Tom, particularly. We are much better off than they are. They haven't got anything to look forward to, even.

Yesterday almost everybody picked up a whole lot of gigs and I didn't, so it about evened our totals up. Guess we'll have a big crew in next week-end. One got 8 gigs in one day, beating my own record. Misery loves company. We finished our mechanics course yesterday and start on gunnery tomorrow. M1 rifle all this week. Tomorrow, Tuesday and Wednesday, I'm on table waiter, so will be very busy – will try to write, tho, if I get any time off at all. Thursday thru Saturday we are on the range and have to get going an hour earlier than usual. Gunnery lasts for weeks and weeks as a course. Can't get over the types of things I'm doing. So far, they have been much more enjoyable than basic, but nevertheless are things that just don't happen to me. I'm quite nonchalant in a tank now altho a month ago it would have been easier to imagine myself as a pursuit pilot or something. Very interested to see where all this ends. Life is full of surprizes, isn't it? Win, lose, or draw we've got some colorful days ahead. A full range of emotional experience is better than just a hum-drum routine life, don't you think? You see more things, anyway.

We have just a sprinkling of snow here, and cloudy, muddy weather. It gets the Colorado men, but reminds me a lot of New England. Opposite from Georgia, Kentucky is a state I'd like to visit with you after the war. We'll come to Louisville and I'll show you where I've been there and maybe go to some new places. Saw the Gold Vault building at the Fort today, for example. Oh, Bunny, we've got a lot coming.

I love you, I love you, I love you,

Dear Bunny:

This is an annex to my Sunday letter containing:
1.One (1) Ballet program
2.Two (2) tanker portraits by Bill Smart
3.One (1) tanker portrait by W. Russell
4.All my love
Yours always,

January 7, 1944 Friday

Dearest Marjorie,

Well, today was on of those days. Nothing went right. First, we got a new Tac officer again -- one that looks like Boris Karloff in a bad mood and acts like an angry field manual. "Strict disciplinarian," he says. Second, repercussions from my form 5 were sudden and violent. 3 gigs for the form 5, plus 3 more for dust around the bunk. For a grand total of 6 gigs for one day! That's really travelling, even for me. It means restriction next wweek-end, not the one coming but the one after.

Wig has been relieved of his candidate duties and is over in the casual department waiting shipment, as I mentioned. My bunkmate -- Ohio State man -- is at the hospital now. 3 other N.H. men have dropped out, and another has been in the hospital too long to catch up with us.

I do hope your grippe is better by now, honey. I have been very lucky in not having even a mild cold yet.

When you get to a dictionary will you make certain of the correct pronunciation of "vehicle" and "obstacle." If I've been wrong 21 years I want to know about it.

I love you always, honey, you know,
All yours,

January 6, 1944 Thursday

Dear Honey,

Have just a very few minutes tonite, hon; had a whole lot of laundry to roll, rifle to clean, boots to wash, shoes to shine and still have to clean my combat suit before 7:30. Have time tho to let you know that I still exist, and am thinking of you.

Today I became acquainted with the O.C.S. "suicide system," which consists of filling out forms on yourself when you do something wrong. Seems that when we fell out for class this noon I was among the first to fall out. But, to my ghastly surprize, I found that I didn't have my necktie on. I knew full well I was licked right then, but I made a supreme effort and ran back in, put on a tie and fell back out. Things didn't break my way, so I was late by about 30 seconds for the formation. Nothing left to do but make out a "form 5" on myself for such an obvious misdemeanor. It only counts one gig tho; but it hurts to have to report yourself.

So you make a public performance next week. I know you'll knock 'em off their feet. Do good, Bun.

I have been contemplating a portrait of a tank man in combat suit for some time, but haven't felt that I could do justice to such a big theme. Confidence bolstered by the request of my public (in mass), I shall start considering it right away. Time permitting, it will appear in the next issue.

I love you, Honey,

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

January 5, 1944 Wednesday

Hello honey,

Time out now for my daily relaxation. What would you like to hear about tonite? It rained today here, and we drove light tanks over a precision course where we maneuvered into narrow spots and backed out, etc. Also did some on another course with half-tracks and 6 x 6 (2 ½ ton truck – which has 6 axles, all driven). Got very muddy, but in our combat suits we are dressed for the mud and none gets onto us.

Last night I read over my 1943 diary some, just to see what it looks like now. Usually I write a sort of synopsis at the end of a diary and will this year if I ever get time – which seems doubtful at present. Looking it over, 1943 seems to have been about the biggest year ever for me. Changed me a lot, too. Really changed my major and got going in Dr. Carroll's office, met you and got engaged, first got out of the north-east, became something of a soldier – against my will – and began to have some personal opinions that I believed in myself. Before, I hadn't been convinced of much of anything.

Do you keep a diary now? I can't just remember. Anyway, 1943 no doubt had some things in it you will remember. You spent a small minority of your time with me, and much more writing. You got your first school and stopped being a “pupil.” To get on the other side and be a teacher is a big accomplishment. What else did you consider “big” for you in '43? We both seemed to stop playing and get ernestly started in life, proper. Show plenty of power, too, tho not in the easiest terrain to travel in. A tanks shows its power in rough terrain, tho. And it can roll right along when it hits a smooth piece, too. Lot to admire in a tank, nothing stops them.

Bye now, I love you,

January 4, 1944 Tuesday

Dear Honey,

Today we completed another phase of our training, as we drove three more types of vehicles. The half-track, the 2 ½ ton truck and the peep, known some places as a jeep. We drove them all quite a lot, most of all the half-track. They don't waste time on instruction, they just spend an hour or so on theory of all vehicles, then we jump into any one and take off. Went over a mud course that exercized the cars if not the drivers. The peep will go almost anywhere the big ones will go. Has a four-wheel drive.

Last night I could see my watch even when it was completely dark. I strapped it on the inside of my wrist for the night, so I could see it just opening one eye. I think of you whenever I look at it. It keeps very good time, too. I didn't even wear it out driving, since it was pretty rough going. But I took it to the lecture this afternoon.

I was rated at squad drill this afternoon, but of course I don't know what they wrote down. Our Lt. Browning has been replaced by Lt. Johnson as our “Tac” officer. He's a good man, too, as all are here. Got a 95.5 in our first exam on engines. Just a natural, as yo kin plainly see.

Gee, according to my Gruen, it's already seven o'clock and time to hop onto my rifle. Had to get some name tags tonite, so it cut down on our after-supper time. By the way, we haven't carried our rifles except in drill to date – and have been carried in trucks to all our driving areas instead of footing it. And the food is still very, very good. Lot of compensation for the grind.

I love you always,

January 3, 1944 Monday

Dear folks,
Have a lot of things to say, but just no time to say it in. We aren't fanatically rushed, but everything is scheduled down to the last minute and I guess they don't intend us to correspond a great deal.

How are Gregory and Laura and Justin and Merellyn? Fine, I hope and I wish I could see them all.

Marjorie sent me a beeeeautiful Gruen wrist watch that is turning every one just green with envy. She also sent other packages that have led me to believe that Christmas is a year-round affair.

I spent New Year's weekend in Louisville with a bunch of N.H. men who enjoy sleeping and big meals. Ate in the very best of places they have to offer. This state is ever so much better than Georgia. They seem to like soldiers in Louisville!

Ma, I'm driving the biggest dam tanks you ever saw, and having a lot of fun at it. My old baker truck days are lived again as I expertly nose up and over some crag or splash thru a mud gully. There's no danger to them, but their power satisfies the savage in one. They will go anywhere. Two big Cadillac engines in our little 16 ton tanks, and a Ford V-8 job in the medium 32 ton affairs.

I have also mastered the theory of engines and maintenance and have started on radio communication. Have done O.K. so far, but people are leaving the place all the time so you can't plan on a thing. Very true, too. Guess Wig is leaving soon because of his bad eye!

Love to the whole family and a Happy New Year. Take care of Marjorie, she talks about you a lot, and Grammie has written a couple letters to me, even!

With love,

January 3, 1944 Monday

Dearest Marjorie,

It came today! Darling, it's perfect. There's nothing I need more than a watch here. When we have candidate offices, particularly, and I very much need something to wear for you – same thing, maybe, as your diamond is to you. I know it will mean as much to me when I wear it. It's the first real good watch I've ever had and I will keep the very best care I can of it. The sweep second hand is just what I can use when I'm giving S-Benet's again. One is essential to correct timing, and timing is extremely important.

Got a whole bunch of letters, Laura's package you sent, and the boric acid, in addition to the Gruen. Thanks again for everything. I know I'm redundant, but I know you're the best girl anywhere and I love you. The men are tired of having me show off my watch already. The case is a treat all by itself.

I hardly had time to do more than look at it this noon, and didn't put it on and wind it until tonite. We were busy cleaning up from our tank driving.

And did we have fun driving today. We drove all morning over a tank course about a mile long – all full of mud holes and gullies, etc. A passenger car couldn't move in any part of it, but it was child's play for the tanks. I took both the medium and light over it with great success. You shift the big one, but all you have to do is press the accelerator and go in the light. You steer it by two sticks that break each track alone when you want to turn. Sort of spin the thing around. I got an “excellent” rating driving both types. Got a big thrill, and my face all splattered with mud. We wear flashy crash helmets (no danger of a crash, however – it stops bumps on tank sides). This has got the infantry beat for fun.

We started on communication this afternoon. Going to become a radio expert in the next couple days!

Got to stop now. Want to thank you again for the watch. You're very wonderful.

Yours always,

January 2, 1944 Sunday

Dear Bunny,

It's been a long time now since I last wrote to you. I didn't write on Friday or Saturday, and I'm sorry because when I don't write so many things pile up that I want to tell you that it is hard to remember them all. First, Honey, Happy New Year. And I hope it is for us more than anything. Second, I always love you whether it's a good year or not; and tho we'll have a real wedding day that will mean a lot to us, today will have a very special meaning to us any year. This is the day we chose to get married, and from today on I can't help but feel that we are a little closer to being married than if we hadn't had this day. [Note: Wallace and Marjorie had planned to marry on January 2, 1944 but had to change their plans due to Wallace's posting].

We had a big week-end in Louisville that was a poor substitute for having you. Tom, Jim Doon, Paul Lawler and I got a hotel room at the Seelbach Hotel, as I told you over the phone. We ate excellent meals at all the best places, played ping-pong at the U.S.O., and spent luxurious hours in our room sleeping, ordering things from room service and drinking in prescribed officer and candidate style in the privacy of our boudoirs. Scotch and rum flowed rather freely and led to some late and intellectual discussions. It's all there was to do, and made a good break from school routine. We slept until noon on Saturday, and one on Sunday.

Very nice telephone call we had, wasn't it? By far the best we ever had over such a distance. You seemed very near and for a while I forgot that you weren't talking to me at my house. The telephone is a wonderful invention. Hearing you so plainly was worth anything, Hon.

I spoke with Wig tonite and he says that he was officially notified Friday that he was no longer a candidate, and would be here only until the adjutant general's orders came thru for him – two weeks, maybe. I didn't know that when I called you. It's a damned shame. Wig would do very well at this type of training. We have been around together an awful lot, too, and it will be tough to have him go. He has no idea where, but we'll watch and see if he gets a furlough, etc. It may be a hiint on what will happen to many of us. However, he hasn't left yet, so you mustn't count him out. I left the 10th Battalion on paper many, many times at Wheeler. Two weeks is a long time around here. Guess this is the last stop for the old N.H. gang, tho. Even those that stick thru will be scattered when we graduate.

We got paid Friday, and I got $54.85 in cold hard cash. Paid Tom $5.00 for the fatigue clothes I got. The Hotel and week-end cost about $15.00. That seems astronomical now, but that's the way it figures. Lucky there are no more holidays coming. I'll enclose $20.00 for you to pay for the phone call with, squander whatever you want, and put the rest in our account. That leaves me about $15.00 for the month of January. Don't imagine I'll be spending much. Altho the same four of us are going to try to see the Ballet Russe in Louisville next Saturday, barring gigs, exhaustion and lack of transportation. Louisville gets top flight musical attractions.

I've got a couple tank pictures and the marriage license that I will put in another envelope. We drove these last Friday and will drive them some more tomorrow. Also servicing and crew jobs. There are 4 men in the light M5 and the M4 has 5.

I haven't had a chance to finish my 1943 diary yet, but I plan to soon. My main plans for 1944 are 1) to marry you and 2) to keep thinking straight in spite of the environment and if possible to learn some more things that I can use later on. It's hard to keep on learning (other than the G.I. way), but it's one thing I don't want to stop doing. If my fondest dreams come true, the war would end and we would be able to live together while I finished up college. I guess that's asking quite a lot, but I have put a lot of faith in 1944. Hope it comes thru for us beyond my two minimum requirements.

I love you very, very much,

[Separate sheet]
To you alone I will make the horrible confession that I don't know the town in which my father was born. So I haven't included it in my half of the license. If you are a diplomat, please find out. I don't know, I just don't know. I guess the best idea is to have this thing filled out, and as soon as rumors of my getting home start, to push it thru. Carry on,

Wallace's letters home during World War II

On this blog, I will publish Wallace Russell's letters to his fiancee (later his wife), Marjorie, and to his family during the year 1944. The year begins with Wallace at officer training school and ends with him fighting in France.

After some catching up, I will publish the letters to correspond to the day of the year they were written.