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Jan 6, 1944
Somewhere in Italy
Bryant Service Club:
Have just received your letter which, you may be sure, was very welcome. Very interesting news, especially that about the missing boys; particularly Aguiar whom I remember very well, although, it seems so long ago.
It must have been a rather perplexing situation on opening day; finding oneself so greatly outnumbered, though, should have its merits.
Out here, things move along in the same routine. Occasionaly [sic] air raids and such do disturb us, but that's only one of the many things to put up with.
Recently the weather has turned to the cold, even some snow to remind us of back home. Rain was our constant "friend" for quite a while, but now things are drying up very fast.
An interesting fact, here, is the way the women work. While the boss of the house (man) sits beside the fire, the woman does all the heavy work. They carry the wood, build fires, mix sement [sic] and carry it. They carry everything balanced on their head; it's very common to see them prancing about with 50 to 100 lbs. on their heads.
As for their dress; the people wear varied costumes. Thick wool sox and the inevitable sandal which is prominent throughout the country. Just a shoe carved out of a log to fit the foot, then to this they add a couple straps to hold them on.
The whole country might be called very primitive; for tools and working instruments everything dates back to about the 18th century; at least it seems so to us.
The larger cities are much more modern in every way. In Naples, where I had the opportunity to visit, they even run to soda fountains. Seeing all these ancient places really is interesting. Things that seemed so remote--Vesuvius, Pompeii etc.,--just like entering another world very removed from our normal existence.
The holidays were rather quietly celebrated. Naturally, all the result of available, or rather the lack of available material to produce a more noisy atmosphere. the New Year was welcomed in with a distinct bang; the roar of 155's. Very fitting end to a progressive year.
Your package has not as yet been received, but you may be sure that it will be accorded a very hearty welcome, as well as the many thanks for all you and the Service Club are doing for all the boys.
For myself, everything is as well as could be expected. Enjoyed a week's stay at the hospital, (influenza) I say enjoyed because that was about the first opportunity we had of talking to an American girl once more. Since then, though, we have been getting "good do'nuts from Red Cross girls, and in that way we manage to keep some sort of contact with civilization.
This chatter must stop with the waning light, so, with many thanks for your letter and a not too late repitition [sic] of same, I'll sign off.
P. S. Keep up the good work. Those letters are great.
P.P.S. Am enclosing a few Italian coins for anyone who is interested.