Mary Metcalfe

Document Type

Personal Letter


[Transcription begins]

Sat. Nov.20th

Dearest Mommie,

I finally got some mail the day before yesterday, one from you + one from Jane.

I think you had better send the pictures back to me at 930 H St. N.W. – Washington, D.C.

Send all my mail there from now on + wherever I am sent it will be forwarded.

Serving coffee + doughnuts at our Club was discontinued yesterday due to the lack of heat. Usually the cafeteria is colder than it is outside. It is too bad because of the boys however.

I thought I would die laughing at the part in your letter which mentioned something about this place being glamorous. An army camp is definitely not that + least of all this one. This has been a marvelous experience for what is ahead. Did you read about the explosion at Yorktown last Mon. night? We were just about to settle down to sleep when there was something that happened which sounded like a combination of a terrific storm starting something falling on the roof, + an earthquake rumbling. Those who were outside said that the whole sky in one direction lit up before all the vibration started. I think Yorktown is about 12 or 15 miles from here.

I’ll tell you the names of some of the girls. There are so many of us + they are coming + going all the time. Every Mon. some leave as eleven of us plan to do this Mon. Then the new group always arrives on Tues. afternoon.

One girl who is here + came down with us is Virginia Force. Her family lives in St. Louis on Clemens, used to live at 525 Clara. She has lived in Kansas City for some years. She likes to have a finger in the pie. She reminds us a bit of Mrs. Lewis.

It is now Sunday morning + everyone is standing around the stove having breakfast which consists of nescafe, graham crackers, vanilla wafers, chocolate snaps, ritz crackers + we started off with oranges.

Today is my day off so I shall spend it packing, washing, + ironing a few things + trying to get some letters written.

Received another letter from Mimi yesterday + she is apparently on the high seas by now. She said her letter would be mailed about a week after they sailed. She seemed to think they would be aboard ship about 60 days.

We had some tournaments last night at the Rec. Hall, ping pong, checkers, bridge + a snapshot contest. I ran the checker tournament. Knowing nothing about running a checker contest I found one of the boys to do it. They are always ready to help do anything. As you probably know our work at the service club is with the G.I. (soldier). It is amazing how many are kind of foreign, Italian, Mexican, + the type from New York + New Jersey. Their pet expressions are “you ain’t kiddin,” + “see what I mean?” They love to jitterbug so we have learned something about that. We have had dances almost every night + you can imagine the rush we get with so few girls for dancing. They are all so nice to us + appreciate anything we do. We speak to every one as we walk around camp. Whenever we are walking along the road + a platoon comes marching along we usually get an “eyes right” command. There are always whistles, + at night they always howl like wolves when we walk along. They really would do anything for us I believe. Some of the language is beyond words as to grammar. We may have an odd way of talking after three weeks here.

We look at their pictures, read letters from home, listen to them talk and sew on buttons + chevrons + things for them. Mrs. Strong would die if she could see me with the needle.

One of the GIs who works at our club all the time has nicknamed me Happy because he says I am always smiling. The girls all call me Chee, Cheechee, Chitsy + everything but Chichi.

We have had lovely weather for the past four or five days. Yesterday it was hot.

It is really quite confusing to write a letter. At the moment one of the girls is teaching another one how to jitterbug + rumba. This is going on at the foot of my bed. I think I told you before that my bed is right by the stove at our end so there is almost always a gathering there.

For the past week we have been eating at Mess Hall 6. Our barracks is in area 6 so it is just about a block away. This is a big Mess Hall. It is cafeteria style. We get a partitioned tray which we get filled with whatever there is to be had. We drink coffee, tea, water or whatever there is out of soup bowls. There are no glasses or cups.

It is almost time to go eat so I must get dressed + I shall finish this later.

I have now packed most of my things + have just finished washing two blouses, pajamas, some socks + panties.

I shall tell you the names of a few more of the girls in our group. One girl who just came down on Tues. is Charlotte Cassell from Baltimore. Her nickname is Maggie (I don’t know why) + she is lots of fun. Yesterday afternoon + last night we were playing with a couple of boys who have more energy than they know what to do with. We played Pig with them + that crazy game of scissors, paper + stone and if you lose you get thumped on the wrist. We were sore from laughing by the time the evening was over.

There is a Marian Mahn from Denver. Her brother was written up in Time. His plane went down in the North Sea + he was on a raft for 11 days. Both legs had to be amputated. He has artificial ones now + is in England. Marian is very nice, a little man crazy. Mary Payson is a tall girl, very nice who went to Smith. Marie Tibbetts (Tibby) from Athens, Ga. Janet Ramage, who has beautiful blue eyes. Maxine Bruce, who has a nasal twang that is something + is from Joplin, Mo. She is a touch nutty about dates + men. Bebe Cadwalader is very nice. She worked on the Baltimore Sunday Sun. She has [sic] an intense sort of person, pointed nose + rather boring eyes.

You ask about the food. It is as good as food can be made in great quantities. Most of the food is starchy. Every now + then we get a meal which seems unusually good.

I didn’t really like any of the pictures of me alone. I look cockeyed in all of them. I like the one of Davie + me looking to the side the best of any. We wanted to give that one as an Xmas present. Let me know if you want any others ordered. I don’t think they are worth it, however.

Rayon stockings would be a good Xmas present. If you can find any Mary Chess paste perfume I should like that. I can’t think of anything else at the moment + especially as I don’t know where I shall be.

Several of us are going to Chapel at 6:30 this evening. We have been told it is quite impressive + we wanted to go before we leave.

I must do some ironing now + I also want to write a couple of post cards + go up to the Club to tell all of my pals good-bye.

How are you + May getting along in the apt.? How is the soldier business at church coming along? Give me all the dope. There is so much to write about in this business, all sorts of little incidents but it is impossible to find time. We may get an assignment in Wash. which gives us more time.

Lots of Love,




[End Transcription]