Friday, October 14, 2011

Off to War! Letters From Camp: Don't Show This to Mom

So here we are taking a look in Mom's archives (closet) at some letters written by the brothers during WWII. Reading through them, the first thing that struck me is that while the boys enthusiastically signed up, the first letters back bemoaned the rigors of camp life and training.

It must have been a shock to go from a relatively cushy life of making your own decisions about where and when you did everything to being given orders about every detail of your life. But the brothers acclimated fast and even came to like the life.

Below is a letter from my Uncle "John" (not his name, see post below) who complained most bitterly at first then went on to stay in the Army after the war. Notice near the end of the letter, after all the grumbling, he says, "I've learned to enjoy this life". So see, already he's getting accustomed to Army life and enjoying it a bit! Buy, hey, who likes to go on duty at 1AM when just 6 months earlier you were out partying?!!

And the language is a tad salty so you'll see lots of ** where the offending words are;) Hey, it was war. The reference to "death warrant" refers to Dad's notice to go for a thorough physical. See post below about Dad's hands.

HOTEL SHERMAN SQUARE: New York, no date:

Don't show this to Mom
Hello lug,
Say, Pat, I hear you just received your "death warrant". Well listen, buddy, you have every reason in the world to stay out of this damn place and by Jesus you'd better do just that. You hear this line of s*** that the army makes you a man -- well, ol' buddy, I've been in here six months, and outside of gaining a few pounds, this damn place ruins a guy.
I have talked myself into trying to like this life, but, Pat, it is no good. There is nothing here for anybody, and especially for a person like you - so stay the hell out of here.
A person has to take too damn much s***, which I know you could never do, so ol' buddy so if they do happen to call you up for a physical, you have all the damn physical defects in the books. The hell with those guys. Pat, as I said before, I've learned to enjoy this life, but, boy, you'd never go for it - so stay out.
This is kinda funny - me telling you what to do - I guess, in fact I know, you'll take care of yourself, but I wanted to drop you a line anyway, so I just used this as an excuse. Well, buddy, I'm going to grab a few hours sleep before I go on duty at 1:00 tonite. Take care of everything, and I'll probably see you at Xmas.

Dad didn't go to war because of his physical challenge but he did work at a munitoins factory. Here he is at work at ABL in Western Maryland.

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