April 25, 2024

Letter Home From Boot Camp

I am well. Hope you are.

Tell Brother Walt and Brother Elmer the Marine Corps beats working for old man Minch by a mile. Tell them to join up quick before all of the places are filled. I was restless at first because you got to stay in bed til nearly 6am but I am getting so I like to sleep late. Tell Walt and Elmer all you do before breakfast is smooth your cot and shine some things. No hogs to slop, feed to pitch, mash to mix, wood to split, fire to lay. Practically nothin’.

Got to shave but it is not so bad, there’s warm water. Breakfast is strong on trimmin’s like fruit juice, cereal, eggs, bacon, etc., but kind of weak on chops, potatoes, ham, steak, fried grits, shoe fly pie and other regular food, but tell Walt and Elmer you can always sit by the two city boys that live on coffee and already rolled cigarettes. Their food, plus yours, holds you until noon when you get fed again.

It’s no wonder these city boys can’t walk much. We go on “route marches,” which the platoon sergeant says are long walks to harden us. If he thinks so, it’s not my place to tell him different. A “route march” is about as far as to our mailbox at home. Then the city guys get sore feet and we all ride back in trucks. The country is nice, but awful flat. The sergeant is like a school teacher. He nags a lot and his face changes color.

The captain is like the school board, always meeting and making decisions for others. Majors and colonels just ride  around smokin’ cigars and frownin’. They don’t bother you none. This next will kill Walt and Elmer with laughing. I keep getting medals for shooting. I don’t know why. The bulls-eye is near as big as a chipmunk head and don’t move, and it ain’t shootin’ at you like the Higgett boys at home. All you got to do is lie there all comfortable and hit it. You don’t even load your cartridges. They come in boxes.

Then we have what they call hand-to-hand combat trainin’. You get to wrestle with them city boys. I have to be real careful though, they break real easy. It ain’t like fightin’ with that ole bull at home. I’m ’bout the best they got in this ‘cept for that Tug Jordan from over in Silver Lake. I only beat him once. He joined up the same time as me, but I’m only 5’6″ and 130 pounds and he’s 6’8″ and near 300 pounds dry.

Be sure to tell Walt and Elmer to hurry and join before some other fellers get onto this setup and come stampedin’ in.

Your loving daughter,

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