I received 2 letters from you today, 1 this morning + another one when I went down at noon, also one from LouElla. Your air mail of the 24th came this morning, and the regular mail of the 26th came at noon, LouElla’s air mail mailed on the 27th I got at noon so that is really speedy. Class is now reconvening after lunch so I shall finish this tonight while I am Hall Hostessing.
I am now on duty on the first floor + if there are not too many calls I should be able to write this letter.
Well, tomorrow we shall get our assignments at 8:30. Ruth + I am crossing our fingers that we get the same assignment. As I told you, so far we have been together, at the hotel the first two days and here for the rest of the time. We like our roommate very much. She is as nice as she can be, but she smokes like a chimney + is a little messy about letting her clothes + things get all over the room. It is a good sized room with a wash bowl in one corner. We have three cots marked one, two, + three. The showers + johns are just around the corner from our room.
There are 134 in our class, some in hosp. service, some in camp service, and 42 of us in club overseas as staff assistants and assistant program directors. As you know we are staff assistants. Our group is quite nice as a whole. There are some who couldn’t be mistaken for anything but social workers, + there are some quite attractive ones.
This whole week has been devoted to setting up + running a hotel as club. We have gotten many points on housekeeping + all sorts of data on food. Our teacher is Miss Lindsley who really knows her stuff. She started the Williamsburg Inn, and the Dodge Hotel here.
On Wed. we went to the Quartermaster where Miss Mary Barber showed us + talked to us about all the dehydrated foods. We sampled dehydrated potatoes made two different ways, two different kinds of butter, one with a cheese flavor + one with glycerin in it, some dehydrated apple nuggets which were very good, and some of the chocolate. It was terribly interesting seeing all the different foods, kits, + how they are packed.
We have three girls in our class back from foreign assignments, two from Iceland + one from Africa. It has been so interesting to hear them tell about their experiences. A Mr. Gilbert, a Red Cross man, just back from Africa and Sicily spoke to us the other day. He said, “Girls don’t take a whole lot of stuff, 9 times out of 10 you will be near a PX + can get things you need like soap, tooth paste, brushes, etc. He kept reiterating, take perfume! He said, “Why you girls can get anything you want.”
Wherever Red Cross Clubs are set up it is at the request of the Army. We work hand in glove with the Army, get all our supplies + anything we need through the Army.
Any rules we have to follow are made by the commanding officer at the particular area where we are. The Red Cross does not say you can or cannot do this or that.
We had a grand time Wed. night. We all met at the Mayflower, Jim Boswell, who I told you is an instructor here in Basic Rec. (and believe me the girls are wrecks when they finish that course) Frances Rayburn, Nancy Bascom, Eleanor McBride, Ruth, Tommy Pittus (who was in town + Ruth was going out with him anyway), Franklin Ferris, + Stan Something (we couldn’t pronounce his last name) He is Polish + has something to do with Lehman Food Committee. We all took off in a surrey and everyone standing in front of the Mayflower wanted to go along.
Yesterday I had to leave here at noon + go down for my uniforms. I was lucky enough to find everything. I had to have quite a lot of fitting on the jacket + skirt as I had to get an 18 so it would be big enough in the shoulders. I took it to Mrs. Crain who Jody Childress recommended to Ruth. I got must my suit tonight so I shall be all set for inspection tomorrow. I have to go back to have my other things fitted maybe tomorrow afternoon. I went down with another girl in our class. Marion Mahn from Denver, quite attractive, + I wish you could have seen us lugging those huge boxes full of everything along the downtown streets. There was a steady rain + I was trying to hold that awful collapsible umbrella in one hand + was almost loaded down to the sidewalk carrying two big boxes and a paper bag by the string in the other + my purse must have been under one arm. I wrote Uncle Hugh last night in answer to his letter telling him there wasn’t any place I wanted him to tell his friend I wanted to go in particular. I told him that I should rather take a chance and see where I wind up.
I haven’t any idea where Mimi was sent. The don’t even tell us sometimes until we are out two or three days on the ship.
I have spent the evening running up + down the steps after people. The telephone rang constantly from 7 to 10 when we stopped being on duty. I discovered that the girl who was in charge of the desk tonight is Cookie Brandon’s sister-in-law. Cookie is Nell Atwood Armstrong’s sister-in-law. This Brandon girl is very nice, and we had a grand time talking.
Tomorrow at 8:30 we get our assignments. (you can see how many different times I have taken this up. I have already told you that once.) From 9:30 to 10:30 we are going to have a coffee (that is our class) on the 2nd floor lounge of this building. At 10:30 we have uniform inspection, and from 11-12 graduation.
Nancy Bascom is awfully nice + we like her a lot. She is quiet, very amiable, and very capable in a nice quiet way.
My polo coat arrived yesterday just before I went downtown, thank heavens! I really would have been waited [sic] down with that other coat. The package you sent was here when I got back late yesterday aft.
I sent the diapers home because they have suggested a very good quality cheese cloth which we have purchased. I don’t know where I am going to put that big dictionary. It’s so huge I may have to send it back.
This has been lots of fun but as you have guessed we never do catch up with ourselves.
It is now 12:15 + I must wash my stockings + a few other odds +ends. We also are supposed to hand in a paper tomorrow on the 7 main points we got out of all the lectures.
The Am. Univ. is at Mass. And Del. But you don’t have to put it on. Write it as I show it on this envelope.
If I don’t answer all your questions, just keep asking them or make out a questionnaire. Tell everyone hello for me + that I am sorry I can’t write but there just isn’t time. Again I use my letter folder constantly. Lots + lots of love to you.
Recommended CitationMetcalfe, Mary, "Letter Written by Mary Metcalfe to her Mother Dated October 29, 1943" (1943). Metcalfe, Mary. Paper 7.