World War II

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3rd WAC CWS Hq. Detachment
Camp Detrick
Frederick, Md.
13 December 1943

Bryant College Service Club
Bryant College
Providence, Rhode Island

Dear Service Club Members:

Little did I think when I was at Bryant helping to wrap packages to send off to the men in the service that someday I too would receive a package from the Club.

Packages mean a lot to us in the service (WACs anyway). Whenever a package comes to a member of our platoon, which is called “Loafer Lodge” because we have a sign over the door which originally said “No Loafers” and now says “Loafers,” everybody shares in it. Your package came on Saturday, and as it happened that was my Saturday afternoon off. So, we had the whole weekend to enjoy the contents and enjoy it we did.

I haven’t run across any Bryant men or women here at camp, but there was a girl in my Basic Company, Margaret Straus, who graduated in 1939, but she is no longer in the Service.

Sunday we Loafers decorated our Christmas tree. It really looks quite nice as it has a very symmetrical shape, and has lots of decorations. We are having a Christmas party on Christmas Eve, on Monday before Christmas a dance in the Post Theatre, on Tuesday we sing Carols in Frederick, Wednesday the USO is having a dance for us, and so far there is nothing doing on Thursday night. You see, the townspeople and the post are doing lots for us.

I know that I would like more letters like the one that I received a few days ago telling all about the Bryant men and women in the Service.

The town of Frederick is quite small, and is very historical. Barbara Freitchie is supposed to have said “Shoot if you must this old grey head, but spare your country’s flag.” The only trouble was I had to come to Frederick to find out that it is a myth. The nicest part of being stationed here is that I can go home on a three-day pass, and that we are only 50 miles from both Washington and Baltimore, and as we have no bed check on Saturday night, we can go to either city and spend Saturday night and Sunday.

Both cities are very cordial to Service people, and both offer much in the way of entertainment.

The girls will probably be interested to know about our bed check and the life of a WAC. We get up at 6:15, to the sound of recordings of marches, fall out for Reveille to the sound of the bugle and a cannon at 6:30, have mess at 6:40, and drill or do PT at 7:15. We are supposed to report to work at 8:00 but very few of us can make it. We work until 12:00 then have from 12 until 1 free. Then we work until 4:30, stand Retreat at 4:50. If we are busy we work until 5:00, and we have mess at 5:15. We are free from 5:00 on until 12:00 on week days, and on Saturdays we are free from 12:30 if we do not work on Saturday afternoon or 5:00 if we do, until 1:30 on Monday morning.

The life of a WAC is exciting, but not so glamorous as many think. We are on the go all the time, but must remember that we cannot have our hair on our collar, to salute all officers, to act like a lady at all times, and many other things. Life in the barracks is grand, and you meet all types, kinds and ages of people. We are now entitled to all the benefits that men receive, free mail, insurance.

I am doing stenographic work here, shorthand, typing, etc. All ideas of placement of letters, abbreviations, etc., go flying out the window when you work for the War Department. A letter starts at the top of the page and continues until it is through, and stops, regardless of space at the bottom of the page. Well, it is all in a lifetime, and you soon learn to forget all you learn[ed] about placement of letters.

Thanks again for the candy which you sent me. The girls too send their thanks.


Jo [handwritten signature]
Josephine Gifford

P.S. Just found out that my furlough has come through and I will be home for seven days from the 21st to the 28th of December.

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