Edward J. Thomas - World War II

Dear Mom and Harry (March 30, 1943)

This letter will answer quite a few letters. I will also answer Issy and Mac in a few days. Answering your March 18th letter as to how I like the place, I would say I hate to answer. But if this was a vacation place in the spring time, it would be a pleasant place. There is little time to admire the scenery in the Army. Our free time is spent shining shoes, cleaning rifles, washing our mess kits, and scrubbing our cartridge belts. These have to be ship-shape for inspection and officers always find something wrong.

Water was actually freezing the other morning, but it has been like a summer day lately. I heard that strawberries will come out shortly. I hope you are going to shows without me. It’s wise to make the best of any situation. Maybe later I will enjoy bowling, pool, ping pong, tennis, swimming, the library, and picture shows.

The two dollars you sent me was a surprise, thanks. All I had was 20 dollars I took to Custer. It shouldn’t be necessary to send more as the Army should pay me soon.

Harry your March 18th letter suggested that I call home, and I would love if the lines weren’t so long and it takes about two or three hours to get Detroit after the operator receives the call. The mountains in southern Tennessee may be the Cumberland Mountains.

Anniston seems to be more than 600 miles (Distance between two cities calculator) from Michigan judging by the train ride. (It's actually 618 miles as the crow flies, very good Uncle Eddie.) It is possible that Anniston is closer than Gene’s home town in Kansas.

Camera certificagte Fort mcclellan baseThe camera you got me arrived, and it was the kind I was hoping to get. I took some pictures of the boys here, but on the sly, because a permit is needed. I saw the Company Commander today and was given a certificate to take pictures. I will send some when they are developed.

Harry, did you pick up my C books? If not maybe you can get Gilbert Burnoide (sp) who went with me to work at Fords to pick it up for me. John Ports has some nerve to have you help mate mink after pumping us for information and then buying somewhere else.

I received my first Detroit News Sunday. It was Friday’s paper. Today (Tuesday) I received Saturday and Sunday copies. That is pretty quick and will try for a month. Mom, I will get to your next letter later, and don’t feel bad as you write better than many college graduates.

A couple of hours ago I received your insured parcel containing towels, candy, socks, soap dish and dictionary. Thank you. Did you make the cookies? They were delicious. Don’t send more now. I only have a full trunk and my hand bag also is full. The rest would have to go on my shelf, and that is not allowed on inspection days. The candies got me to eat more and my complexion is going to the dogs.

Harry I will answer your other letter. See if you can read up on Alabama and give me some information about it, especially Anniston. With Love regretfully. Sign off Ed
P.S. could you send me one of those pencil flashlights and four batteries. I bought a flashlight but it is too big and I can’t get batteries. If no flashlight is available then send me four standard batteries for the flashlight I have.

Boot camp early April 1943

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