Saturday Nov. 11, 1944
I suppose you’ve been wondering when that other letter I promised was going to arrive. This is it, + I hope I don’t have to chop it off all of a sudden like I did the other one. I really hadn’t finished it, but I decided if I was ever going to send it, I’d just have to stop right then + there.
To date I’ve received three letters from you + one from Maxine Wood at work. Also James [uncle] sent me a little letter with the same cartoon in it that you did. I really got a kick of receiving it twice.
I called him Sunday the 5th + we talked for about ten minutes – in fact until my supply of two nickels ran out. He didn’t have much to say except that I should find out if he could come out + see me. Since then I’ve found out they don’t allow any visitors what-so-ever. I’ve tried to reach him twice but he’s been out. Will try again soon.
You might call the kids at work + tell them to get on the ball + write. There are nine of them + I’ve been here a week + a half, but as I said, I’ve heard just from Max. She sent me six dollars for the four of them I took for the plane ride.
Yes, it was candy the Wave Mothers gave us. Between the four of us who are room-mates we had six ponds of candy which lasted us until about last Wednesday. Now we’ve been buying it at Ships Service when we can. We really eat it up – that + Planters mixed nuts.
The ships arrived Thursday but I wasn’t able to get over to the P.O. until this afternoon to pick them up. I see they are Barbizon + a lot nicer than the other ones I had. Thanks a lot for sending them.
Also thanks for sending along any newspaper clippings that you think would be of interest to me.
When we arrived in Chicago at I.C. station Mavis, Mary Garthy, one of the Rfd Waves, + I took a cab to the La Salle St. station, waited there until after 11 o’clock in order to check our one suitcase, + then I called Eliz. hecker. We three kids went over to her office which was only about two blocks away, + waited until 12 so we could all go to lunch. We had a nice lunch at the Fair, + then went back to the station where we waited until about 1:15. at [sic] that time we went over to the Board of Trade building, got into groups according to alphabetical order, waited for about an hour, + finally shoved off to the station. We left right away on our eventful trip. No one was in charge of us from Rfd to Chicago. You mentioned about my personal interviews + what I might be headed for. We had these just yesterday + my first choice is aerographers mate which means a specialist in meteorology. There will be only 6 or 7 people chosen out of our whole regiment of 1600. You can see what the odds are. Mavis also has this as her first choice. The school is at Lakehurst N.J. + I believe the course is 12 weeks. My second choice is called a specialist QRX who works with the plotting of convoys. I don’t see where it ties in with aviation, but the requirements stated that one should have CAA ground school knowledge + general aviation information. If I don’t get my first one, I’m sure of the second. The specialist school is in Rhode Island, so it looks like whatever I do, I’ll be here in the East.
We just had mail call + I received another letter from you. I certainly look forward to them + when I don’t get any, naturally, I’m disappointed. However, I realize I can’t get a letter ever mail call.
About the slips, please forget about the extra three dollars- keep them for all your trouble, etc. Were you referring to a certain person when you warned me about our boot training? I can’t figure out who it can be. Yes, it is true about everything having to be immaculate. Our rooms are open all the time, so that means things must be in the proper order + clean until 5p.m. We rise at 5:30 a.m. + leave for mess at 6:45. In that time we must get dressed + have our rooms in order which includes making our bunks. Since we usually don’t come back after mess, you can see that we can’t just run when the bell rings. When it comes to making my bunk I don’t have much trouble since they’re made the same as ours at home are except that all the covers must be tucked in. Also the pillow has a special twist. Our bedspread has a navy design on it which goes a certain way, our blanket that’s folded at the foot must be folded + placed just so, + our 2 towels hung at the head must be folded so they read U.S.N. You can see that we have alot [sic] of little details to see to.
In the galley (kitchen) all our cosmetics, shoe + sewing kits, stationery, luggage, combs + brushes, etc. must be arranged in size. Having all this stuff in another room makes it very inconvenient when it comes to getting dressed. If you want to wash you must run in the galley for your wash-rag, soap, + comb, + then into the bedroom for your towel, + finally back to the head (bathroom).
Today, + every Saturday, we had what is called Captain’s inspection. It’s a super inspection job done by special women or men officers. They arrive in the building at 9 a.m. + leave around ten. During that time the girls in each room line up in the middle of the room at attention. You stare straight ahead at some spot on the wall even when they speak to you. In the meantime they’re going over the apartment with a fine tooth comb. Today our room didn’t have a thing wrong with it, although in the other room, which we don’t have anything to do with, had dust behind the mirror + on top of the navy locker. They feel either with their gloves, hand, or kleenex.
You should have seen us Friday night! We scrubbed the floor + waxed them, dusted everything including our bed springs, venetian blinds, moldings, + in the bathroom where Mavis + I put special attention, we scoured everything in sight. The important thing was we passed inspection.
Yes, it’s also true you can get out of the Navy, that is if you declare your intentions during the first few days + especially during your medical. We had it last Monday + naturally I passed. In one department they inquire about your mental attitude + if they think you’re not going to like it or get along, they’ll send you home. We lost three girls out of our section (40 people) that way.
Alot [sic] of the girls aren’t crazy about it here + don’t mind letting you know about it. Naturally we all have our low moments + I’m no exception. However, the big thing is getting used to an entirely different sort of life. Then, too, you must realize that this is a test period + they’re trying to get your goat. After a bit, things let up + we can see where that is already happening.
I got a kick out of what you said Mrs. Kanne told you. In the first place I wasn’t with Jean when she called – I was approx.. two blocks away. Also we’re not having what you’d call exactly a wonderful time, although we all are getting along fine. While we’re here they remove the idea from your head that this is a wonderful adventure + it’s very glamorous or something. Scrubbing + hurrying everyplace helps remove it. But, by all means, don’t worry. As I said before we are doing fine. We like it better + better as we go along.
Last Monday when we had our physicals we also received two shots – one for typhoid in the left arm + the other for tetanus in the right. Tomorrow we have two more – I believe both of them for tetanus.
I’m certainly sorry to learn that both of you have colds. What’s the matter – now that I’m gone + can’t look after you, aren’t you able to keep well? I’ll have to ask the navy for a release.
By now I’m feeling all right after my siege with ptomaine. For several days after I had no appetite at all + even the smell of food nauseated me. Now I’ve started to develop an appetite + I hope I don’t put on weight, as I’m hungry all the time.
After being here a while we’ve more or less discovered that all the good jobs are taken + you take what’s left. Everyone says we would have been sitting pretty if we had joined eight or nine months ago. They plan on closing this school after the class of Dec. 28 goes through.
For example, the Aviation Machinist Mates school is closed, as is Radio school, Link Trainer, Mail Clerk, Aviation Gunnery, Photography, Parachute Rigger, + alot [sic] of others. In other words, we find the field is very limited in the choice of schools. It is especially worse if you have had no previous working experience, in which case you may find yourself assigned to some station doing any odd job or position that crops up. I don’t think this will happen to me.
The enlistment information is very deceiving to alot [sic] of girls in that it says there are 239 jobs to be done in the Navy. Many girls quit the job they had in order to learn a new one. Now they find they’ll probably be sent to do this exact work.
It is now Sunday morning; in fact, it has been for two pages.
Last night we heard Jose Iturbi in person. Only ten girls out of our 40 could go, + Mavis + I, + our two room-mates were lucky enough to have our names drawn. He played a lot of Chopin, 2 compositions of boogie-woogie that Morton Gould wrote for him, Liebestraum, The Fire Dance from the Firebird Suite, + several other selections. He can really pound the keyboard. Did either of you see “Two Girls + a Sailor” or “As Thousands Cheer”? He was in both + in “Two Girls” he + his sister played the Fire Dance on two pianos. Everyone asked for it until he finally played it.
There are no laundry facilities available to us so we do our own. I’ve been able to keep up with that but I’ve sort of fallen behind on my ironing.
Tomorrow we are fitted for our uniforms. It will be the first one for me, but the second for the others. I missed my first one when I was sick, so I may be a few days late getting into uniform. Even so the others won’t be in their blues until Saturday.
Yesterday morning our whole company attended a regimental review. We were just spectators but next Sat. we will be part of the show. It was certainly impressive with 2300 girls in blue uniforms + white gloves + hats marching in groups of 80. They also had two bands who “strutted their stuff.” As they went by the reviewing stand they all “eyes right.” In our review I will be on the very outside line going by the stand. I won’t get to see the “big shots” ‘cause I keep my head straight while the others turn.
Can you get cigarettes? If you want me to I can send you some cartons of Camels, Chester-fields, etc.
Yesterday at the soda fountain we waited in line for 45 min. for a sundae. Just as we got in the door they informed us they were closing because everything was in such a mess. Honestly, we all felt like crying. That’s another thing we’ve discovered about the navy – you wait + wait, usually in line, for everything.
This has turned out to be a book + still it seems like there are hundreds of things to write about. However, I’d better sign off soon. Since this is what it is, would you see that all the family gets to read it? I think Ottie is still in Madison, so after she + Eliz. read it, have them send it on to Mandy.
In the future I hope I’ll be able to write to all of them individually, but in the meantime, they can write me, too.
I’ve been curious to know if you’ve hung up the Wave service star flag they gave me. They got quite a kick out of having two stars at work now.
Thanks loads for the airmail stamps. I’m afraid I may have to put two of them on this.
This afternoon we are all going to see Green Garson in “Mrs. Parkington.” Can you imagine, it’s compulsory that we go?
Although it didn’t seem real to us being cooped up here + not knowing what’s going on, the election is over. Thank goodness Roosevelt is in again! Wednesday morning at Mess someone said they’d heard Roosevelt was ahead the night before, but we didn’t know for sure until a man walked by reading a paper. We all practically mobbed him trying to see the headlines.
Has Jeffer been behaving himself? Tell him for me not to stay outdoors too long + make a bum of himself.
Put my company on my address, too. I discovered it’s a lot easier for them to sort. Its Co. 3011.
Will close now. Lots of love to everyone,
P.S. Don’t worry about my playing poker. In the first place there’s no time. Second, gambling is forbidden. I have no demerits so far!