Friday, July 8, 2011

Adak, June 14 1944

My Darling…

I did not write yesterday but instead sent you a little booklet which the Army gave all of us. It tells about the Aleutian campaign from the bombing of Dutch Harbor until the present. Dashiell Hammett wrote it and some of the local artists drew the illustrations.

On the whole the booklet is an excellent job. And I imagine that it will fill a need. One of the minor gripes around here is that the folks at home do not know anything about the war in this area—its history and current problems. This booklet was designed especially to send home. The Army even furnished the envelope and instructions about postage.

On the other hand a few jaundiced GIs have expressed a fear that the homebodies, receiving these fancy pamphlets, will say “they must not be having much of a war up there to be able to turn out books like this.”
This has been another good day for everything but sleep. I “won” mail call by a mile: two letters, a book, a New Republic, a New York Times, a PM. One of the letters was a bill from Fortune (I hope you have sent them a check for six dollars) but the other was from you. It was the one you wrote in answer to my D-Day letter, which made the round trip in eight days. That is the best time yet and makes me feel very close to you, my plikka.

You mention that Mrs. Usedane is due to spend a night at the house, and that you hope to get a picture of her to send to me to give to Bill. I hope you can do it. But I don’t think she will be coming over. Bill told me some time ago that she had accepted the invitation in theory rather than in practice because, much as she enjoys Jean, she is tired out by long sessions with her. She is hard at work on practices for a recital she is to give at the University this summer: Brahms, Beethoven and Bartok.

Another visitor you are not likely to have is Virginia Green, Bill Green’s wife, whom I told you might come to talk about Mexico. Bill wrote to her about us and suggested the visit. Yesterday he received her answer. He showed it to me. Of you she said, “People like that scare me.” Of me she said, “I don’t believe I would like Murray. Isn’t he rather temperamental? And he sounds sort of smug. I think you had better find out about Mexico from him.”

I think that her opinion of you stems from my once telling Bill that I had convinced you that we should only entertain people who interest us. From something Bill said while he was writing a let6ter one night, I think he attributed the idea to you. As for her opinion of me, I think that it shows that Bill must write a rather good letter. His reporting of personalities, if not of direct quotes, seems to be accurate.

My smugness amazes even me. I am so superbly satisfied with the way we live. To be more accurate, with the way we lived and will live. I like our friends, I like our dwellings—not even excepting a certain cockroach cubbyhole in mid-Manhattan, I like our books, I like our records. For that matter, I sort of like you. I am even smug about my smugness, verdad?

But one thing which I object to very strongly in myself is my theoretic liking for “the people” and my actual dislike of a very large number of individual people. My attitude toward them is, I fear, supercilious. I have formed several deep dislikes for men simply because they represent attitudes to which I object. On the other hand, I believe I have managed to conceal my dislikes. And I have not mentioned them to anyone except you.
You are right in your estimates of Bill Usedane. He is reserved, intelligent and gentle. Only once, in fact, has he really let down the bars in talking to me. That was the night of the invasion. We sat up in the personnel hut and talked the sun into the sky. He has written a short story on anti-Semitism, somewhat like my “Smart Boy” piece. It is based on an experience he and his wife had on their honeymoon.

They stayed at a rather fancy and very empty beach resort. Everything about their stay was pleasant, in fact, idyllic. On the last day, just as they were about to leave, the complimented the proprietress on the appointments of the rooms and the overall d├ęcor of the establishment. She said, “Oh yes, we cater to a very god clientele, people who respect quality. And we keep the Jews out.” It was Mrs. Usedane’s first contact with overt anti-Semitism.

My other good friend here, Vern Jackson, is due to be transferred soon to another post. I will miss him. But in a way his move may work out to my advantage. In the first place, I may stay on the graveyard censor detail. I have grown to like it better than any other work I have done here. Considering my negative reaction to the first days on the censor desk this constitutes quite a change. But the days go pretty fast on graveyard and censoring seems more interesting than crypto. Jackson has had a long run on the graveyard detail and since I am filling in for him now I can hope to have an equally long tenure.

This would have another advantage. Vern has been going over to the supply warehouse, about half a mile from here, every night and practicing the violin from 6 until 10 or 11. I am going to see if I can’t “borrow” the warehouse for that period now to do my writing. It would be a real chance to work in complete solitude—and I can think of nothing more appealing. I have tried to write for the last three days in the hut, but there is always the radio and a very noisy card game and occasional roughhouse interruptions. Also there is the temptation to spend all day playing chess with Ray Howe, who is now leading me eight games to six. The warehouse would be the perfect solution. I will see the officer in charge tomorrow and let you know how it comes out.

I am editing the first six chapters of the novel, and have made a few changes. For one thing I lengthened the shooting scene at the end of the first chapter in an attempt to heighten the suspense. I have brought a bit more political interpretation into chapter three where Angel meets the Indian. And I have lengthened the fifth chapter somewhat t raise doubts as to whether the killer really caught the train and also to point up the inefficiency and political duplicity of the local police. I intend to retype the whole forty pages in a day or two and will send you a carbon of the new business.

About the sinarquistas. You mention an article in the May 29 PM. I don’t get the Sunday edition up here, so if you could commandeer the article—or get another at the stand in front of the downtown post office—it would be helpful. The delivery of papers up here is perplexing. I still get an occasional PM or Time for April. Today’s pair were the Times for the 18th of May and PM for the 22nd. The PM had the second of two articles the first of which has not arrived yet. Confusin but amusin, to quote the sage of Dogpatch.

Deliveries of packages seem to be even farther off schedule. So far I have received the slippers and the bed lamp and one of the books, Sunburst, which came today. I think the things you send yourself come faster than those Bill [James] handles. By the way, what give with Bill? And I have another request. It will probably make you laugh. I’d like some vitamin pills. Either the shotgun variety or those with lots of sunshine. The yellow stuff is rather a minus quality here, and so far green vegetables. 

You asked in today’s letter for a copy of the answer to Woody’s ends and means [Woody Wirsig]. I’ll remember the carbon paper. He is logically correct of course. To deny yourself support from demagogues you dislike is to deny yourself power. On the other hand, as Jacqueline [Ford] once pointed out, there are no such things as ends and means. Each act is an end in itself. The links in the chain are of equal value and brass means do not alternate with golden ends. A bad act remains a bad act. I still shy away from the unfavorable act regardless of its consequences. Woody looks at the consequences and weighs between them and the desired second act. His view is the only workable one. It is pragmatically correct. Granted power, I suppose I should have to accept it. But while the discussion remains theoretical, I can quibble. And while quibbling, I can justify myself on the grounds that, as Koestler quotes, a change in the means automatically changes the ends. “Show us not the goal without the trail.” I’ll be writing Woody in a day or two. I wrote Pete, and Carmen, and Bill yesterday.
All my love, darling. More tomorrow,

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Adak, D-Day report, 3 am Tuesday, June 6, 1944

Dearest Nunny…

We got the news at 9:57. I was working on the swing shift at the time.

The work was routine and everyone was very bored. Lou Cooley, my partner on the desk, was at the far end of the operations room, Rotarianing with some of the boys. The traffic chief, a short, blue-eyed, red-faced Swede had opened a front door because the oil stove was overheating and I was arguing with him to close it because the draft was cold on my legs. He yelled “did you ever work next to a hot stove” and I yelled “did you ever work with a cold wind on your legs.” The guys near the stove tried to drown me out and the guys near the door tried to drown him out. The switchboard phone rang and I went over to it. In the evenings the censors handle the ACS phone switchboard.

I always have a  hell of a time with the contraption. This time I expected more trouble than usual because two calls were coming in at once. I answered and a real excited voice said, “The invasion’s started. Tell the boys.” I said thanks and started flipping switches to answer the other call. On the second try I got the ringing party. He said, “Let me speak to Coolie.” I called Lou and as he came to the phone I told him quietly the invasion had started. He said “Sure,” and answered the phone. Then he said, “What! When?” He turned to me and said “The invasion’s started. Somebody just picked it up over the local station. They interrupted a regular program to put it out. Tell the fellows to turn on the radio.”
I yelled “Hey fellows, the invasion is on. Turn on the radio.” The room froze. Everyone looked at whoever was nearest him. The spell broke immediately. No one believed it. I shouted “Honest!” and ran back to tell the boys who were locked in the crypto room. 
Jensen, the traffic chief with whom I had been arguing went to the switchboard and started twisting dials. No amplifiers were free and he put on a pair of headphones. Everyone clustered around him except Cooley, who was working the switchboard which was going mad. There was little excitement. No one really believed it. Half a dozen of the fellows said “remember the AP gal who punched out a story like that by mistake.”
Jensen said, “They say it is the real thing. Eisenhower’s headquarters. Official announcement.”

“I won’t believe it,” a tall rosy cheeked boy said. “I won’t believe it.”
“Yeah, after all this time…”
“It had to come sometime, why not now?”
“Why now…?”
“Shuttup. What’s he saying JJ?”
“I can’t understand them now at all.”

Jensen put down the earphones and I picked them up and listened at one while another man listened at another. Someone was talking very rapidly through a blur of static. I could not catch a word. I gave up the receiver.

A stack of messages had accumulated on the censor desk for, in spite of the excitement—the  dull, shocked, strange excitement—the key men in the room were still at work. I went back to my desk and started censoring. The wind from the open door still whipped about my legs but they were no longer cold. My hands were like ice though; each finger seemed a fist. My chest was tight with excitement and when I was writing it felt as though I had to move my entire torso to move the pencil. I suddenly realized why I had not been able to understand the speeches on the radio. They had been in French.

By a quarter past ten the invasion was an accepted fact. The talk had swung to where the landings had been made. One rumor was Dieppe, another at L’Orient, still another Dunkirk. Finally someone phoned from one of the huts to say that it was officially announced that the landing was on the northern French coast. A few moments later it was narrowed to Normandy.

“Good,” said Lou, “that’s right next to Holland.” Cooley is one of our local strategic optimists but the elimination of the Pas de Calais area and all of Belgium from the European front is a bit exuberant even for him. I kept myself from correcting him, though. Not out of politeness but simply because I was thinking of an island and a church and an omelet with ashes in it. Normandy in June. Somebody came in to say that a report on the pre-invasion bombing was that the coastal area had been pounded by tremendous aerial formations, that in some areas observers felt nothing could have survived the naval and aerial bombardment. Normandy in June and omelets at St. Michel, and croissants and chocolate in a tiny bakery and a fenced off spot where a king was forced to do penance.
I told Lou that Normandy was west of Holland by a couple of hundred miles. He didn’t argue.

The talk shifted to strategy. Would we hit Holland too? Would we attack Norway? Would we hit Southern France? Ignoring the Alps, Lou insisted our troops would drive overland from Rome into the Riviera. Somebody suggested Greece. Another Bulgaria. What would Russia do? Where would the Russians attack. How much longer for the war in Europe? Three weeks. You’re crazy, three months. Aw, we’ll be lucky to finish it this year. This year! Christ man, we’ll be hitting them from all sides. How they going to stand that. What do you think the Japs’ll do? Oh the hell with the Japs, how’d you like to be in Paris tonight? Or Berlin? 

That sort of talk carried us through until quitting time. The graveyard shift brought in extra details fished from the short wave. The Germans had made the first announcement. Radio Tokyo had had some reports on the fighting. Tokyo claimed there were big air battles in progress. Our radio said we had absolute air supremacy over the Channel and that resistance on the beach was surprisingly light. 

Big arguments were going on at several points about the time difference between here and London. This argument was extremely foolish, because, after all, we operate on Greenwich Time. Our day begins at two o’clock in the afternoon of which is really the day before. In other words we are ten hours behind London. But some of the arguments had us really, two days ahead of them. They must have done it with War Time.

The bull sessions lasted all the way to the mess hall. Just as I was leaving the operations building, Usedane and Vern Jackson—the two men I feel closest to in this outfit—came in. They had been climbing our local mountain and missed the first announcements but had been listening attentively and intelligently since reaching their huts. We all three looked at each other, silently. Bill said, “I’m glad our remarks were wordless.” We smiled at each other and passed on.

Everyone was hungry at the mess hall. The radio was booming. The local station’s corporal commentator, an incredibly boring boy, was droning on about channel topography and promising to keep us all informed. Somebody yelled “turn that bastard off and get some music.” Somebody turned him off but got San Francisco which was giving a resume of the news. It was the first journalistically presented account we had had. Everyone was quiet, eating pork steaks and pears. A few were frankly not interested in the news. One of them read the cartoons in a January issue of Colliers, and another, the boy who had said he wouldn’t believe about the invasion, kept reading the latest issue of the ACS news bulletin. He occasionally read items aloud. 

After dinner I stayed by the radio. Russ MacDonald, one of the crypto men, and Junior Huttala, the Elma Finn, stayed on, as did a couple of KPs—but they had to. We  finally picked up WABC. I heard CBS covering the invasion. They did an excellent job. It made me feel very useful, listening to that show.

And now it is very late. Bill Usedane and I have just settled the fate of the nations. We’re agin em. Seriously, it was a good bull session. I delight in finding someone moodier than I.

Your letter today (#8) was excellent. About it, more tomorrow. Until then, goodnight my sweet. I love you so very much.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Carmen Fett, 1944

Photo by Rosa Morgan
Carmen lived at the houseboat and worked at Boeing in 1944 while her husband, the surrealist painter Bill Fett, was in Mexico. She hated her factory job and spent evenings on the lounge chair recuperating, no doubt being ministered to by Rosa. Her note on the back of this photo enjoins her friends not to show this picture of "esta horrible mujer" to anyone, especially Bill.

from Phyllis Goldschmid to Rosa Morgan and Carmen Fett, 28 June 1944

Dear Rosa and Carmen,

First I want to tell you how much we enjoyed last Wednesday with you...It was so nice to eat your horseradish stuff again...Gusti too I know was very happy to see your place and to be with you again.

Now we looking forward to seeing you this weekend  and we do wish you could stay until the Fourth...we can take you sailing and way out in the country and two days are really not long enough...for say nothing of job hunting. In fact if you will just move down bag and baggage we'll be happy. We are enclosing a couple of old bus tickets for you to see if they are still good. 

I have been hovering over those glads we planted to try to get at least a shoot up before you get here and there may be some results. In any case we should have home grown peas      and roses.

Otto learned of my tiff with the law when I came home and told him about the day.... I must have used an unhappy voice because he said...You sound as if a great tragedy had happened so then I had to tell him everything. But he only beat me a little.

I liked that soldier quite well....He is really very nice and we hope he has occasion to visit here sometimes. 

And now I hear my boss' footsteps     so we'll be seeing you when you come.



Adak Island, 28 June 1944

It seems I am always packing.

My change to APO 948 has been approved, at least by all local powers, and currently I am sweating out receipt of orders from Seattle. I am supposed to be ready to go at a moment’s notice when the orders to arrive, so today I reloaded my barracks bags. 

I will probably travel by Milair: by Army transport plane. That means my total weight allowance is 300 pounds, including myself. So I will have to ship one of the barracks bags. Most of my packing time was spent wrapping books in old socks, long underwear and wilted fatigues.

Now the bags are untidily lined up beside my bunk and there they may remain for weeks and weeks, this being the Army. On the other hand, I may be out of here at any time. You had better begin writing to the new address…

Springfield rifles in sunnier days
I have several hopes about the trip. One is that I do go by air. Another that it is a clear day, for I can imagine no more beautiful scenery—especially as I will be going in the right direction. I would also like to go before Saturday as on that sad occasion there is going to be an inspection of rifles. This is in line with the re-GI-ing of the post in general and the ACS in particular. My weapon, which hangs on the wall behind my clothes, is an old Springfield, an ’03 which I suspect hasn’t been fired since the Battle of the Marne. Getting it ready for inspection would be like getting Haj ready for a dog show.

The reactions to my impending departure were not even faintly flattering. Hoiman (“The Goiman”) West said, “Scheiss. There goes the typewriter.” Paul declared, “They can’t do that to us. Not when you just got the hotplate.” And Ray rumbled, “You can’t go until I’ve finished reading the book (Barnes’s Intellectual and Cultural History of the Western World).” Of such stuff popularity is made. 

In a way I hate to leave. Especially the hut. While it is crowded and usually too hot [Murray thought anything above about 55 was too hot, an attribute that suited him well to later life at Trout Lake], it nevertheless is what I am used to as an Aleutian home. And we have been improving it steadily. Since I have come we have built a couple of walks leading into it, shoveled dirt around the edges so that the wind no longer whips through the floor, erected a urinal  and put up the storm porch which Perry purloined. Currently the engineers in the hut are planning a running water sink and an oil pipe running to the fifty gallon drums which sit outside the hut.
But there are certainly compensations, even as to leaving the hut. We have become a poker hut, one in which a game is always in progress. This means steady noise, cigar smoke solid enough to fill chinks in the floor, and occasional bad feelings. For me it has been an especially bad development because the games are always played at our end of the hut and it is practically impossible even to keep a lien on my typing stool, much less to concentrate on writing. 

In my last letter I mentioned that I was going to replace Terry Moore, a friend of the Elliotts and Jameses. The subconscious of a former sports editor must be permanently warped. The man I meant was Johnny Moore. Terry Moore exists. In fact there are a couple of them: (A) an infielder with the Giants; (B) a welterweight who once fought 12 rounds with Barney Ross.

Good Bill Green has a letter from Moore describing his station. Moore was not particularly enthused, but his unhappiness seemed to stem from the fact that he was not doing the same sort of work that he and Gene had done in Seattle. He spoke of going on a fishing trip and seeing fox and caribou, which would indicate a more interesting assortment of wildlife than we have here. 

It is true what the strange sailor told us about worms. On the other hand, there are increasing numbers of birds—the early ones of which are bound to be disappointed. We are also getting an early spring influx of insects, including some surprisingly sturdy limbed daddy-longlegs. At one time this forlorn foxhole was commercial foxhole. A trapper bred blue fox hereabouts. I saw his shack the other day. When things were the worst in this area, he turned loose his animals and took to the hills. Later he was evacuated, and now he is back, serving the Army in a civilian capacity. It is said that his foxes are reproducing madly and that if he can round them up after the war he will be in the money. But that is rumor. I haven’t talked to anyone who has seen any of the critters. How they keep hot here I don’t know.

When you finish The Telephone Booth Indian (and by the way, I haven’t received any New Yorkers recently), you had better turn to the Mark Twain set and read “Life on the Mississippi” because that is the number one project on our postwar list—just while we are deciding where to go next. And I would also sort of like to show the Columbia who is boss. Box Canyon still bothers my conscience. And so do the last two hundred miles of the Danube.

I see the Republicans not only went back to 1920 to get a Harding candidate who represents zero squared, but made the farce complete by picking another Coolidge as the vice presidential candidate. Looks like we have to vote for that man again. (How about the straight Prohibition ticket?) Up here all tidings of the Republican doings were received with momentous unconcern. I doubt that the Demo conventions will raise any more excitement.

Dewey and Gover
From the fact that Willkie immediately congratulated Dewey, I assume that he is going to follow the oldest of political axioms: If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. Of course there is always the excellent chance that he was always with them

One of the more interesting things should be watching the Luce publications chew up all those nasty things they have been saying about Toothbrush Tom. (Did you notice the repetition of the joke which came out after Dewey was pictured with his Great Dane: “I’m going to vote for the big man with the little dog.”) There was an amusing editorial in a recent Life entitled “Advice to the Republicans.” In it, Life said that it was “non-partisan” but would choose between the GOP and Democratic candidates later. It advised the GOP to think twice before nominating Dewey. By implication, at least, it was for Taft or Bricker. Ugh. 
Roosevelt, Fala, and Ruthie Bie

We had a swell letter from Howard Lewis yesterday. I’ll send it along as soon as I have finished it. Somebody pulled the wrong card from a file and he was yanked right out of his beautiful Miami Beach project and deposited, unadmittedly disgusted, at the Muroc Army Air Field—right in the middle of the Mojave Desert. He is doing publicity work there and still talks as though he expects to be sent overseas before the business is over, although I suspect that his eyes will keep him home. [Howard was in fact sent to Italy, where he earned a Bronze Star.] He sold his “Why I Fight” essay to “This Week,” the New York Herald Tribune Sunday supplement, for $250. Distinctly not fodder.

There is a short story in the June Harper’s, “Look at Miss Memford,” which you should not miss. Neither should Phyllis. John-Boy’s Harper reviews are progressively poorer. He seems to me to be busy justifying himself for becoming wealthy out of his writing. He should take his money for granted and quit rationalizing. He has a lot to say of more interest.

Keep writing, my sweet. Your letters are so wonderfully like you.

Adak Island, 30 June 1944

Hello Darling...

My orders came through this afternoon. My transfer to the new post is approved. I will leave by plane as soon as it can be arranged, quite likely tomorrow. My next letter is likely to be from APO 948. 

The change is coming just in time. It will probably save me, at least temporarily, from the epidemic of GI-ism endemic here. The disease may spread to all posts in the Aleutians but I hope to be able to retain my semi-civilian immunity at least a while longer. 

The latest mark on the fever chart was the announcement that hut inspections by the officers will start on Saturday. This will be salubrious in that really efficient cleanings will be done at least once each seven days. But we all expect it to lead straight to a hospital-like, barracks-like, like-nothing-else-in-the-world regimentation of bed arrangements. As a literate corporal commented tonight, "It's bad enough to be celibate without having to be sterile."

Bacall and Bogart marching in support of the Hollywood Ten
There is a rather interesting article on Humphrey Bogart in the Life on June 12--a bit too heavy on the Luce style of goshgeewhiz adulation, but with some pretty good cracks. It seems that HB and Mrs. B battle joyfully in their spare time. One day in running away from a crowd of autograph hunters (and muttering "filthy little monsters" as he ran) HB slammed the car door in his wife's face. "Why you cheap little ham actor," she started and gained momentum with each syllable. The kids listened in awe. Finally one shut his autograph album with a snap and said reverently, "Gee, she's even tougher than he is."

I must get some sleep, my darling. More tomorrow. 


Adak Island, 2 July 1944

Rosa darling…

How much I miss you! How impossible it seems that nearly ten more months must pass before I can return to you. When I left I knew I would be lonely. But I thought I would be able to cram my time too full of work and reading and writing to think. I thought by keeping busy I could push loneliness aside. It does not work. 

One the job, the hours drag. I sweat through the day minute by long minute. “Fifty nine more make an hour and seven more hours will make the day almost over. Then go to bed and when I wake up there will be only 300 more days…Now fifty-eight more minutes and…” As slow as that.

When I try to read, each good sentence, each well-turned phrase, reminds me of something. In Moby Dick I find, “Ship and boat diverged; the cold, damp night breeze blew between; a screaming gull flew overhead; the two hulls wildly rolled…” And I am on another ship than the Pequod, a freighter, calm in the Columbia, its engine sounds melting into the steady splash of the water pushed by the bow, a gull, steady on black wings, quiet overhead.

The spell breaks. I am back in a hut thick with cigar smoke, foul with thoughts of casual fornication, bleak with the intolerance of the Aryan.

Strange that I had not realized that without you literature would become Timestyle, that good music would turn into Grand Ole Opry, that good talk would fade into passive politeness. Even friendship fails to reach deep when you are not present.

Today we had our first inspection since the ACS went into the army. In preparation for it each hutmaster was given a many paged pamphlet outlining the regulations. In style this guide to the GI’s varied from the patronizing to the peremptory, all overladen with what is known as army terminology.

Army terminology represents the lowest common denominator of official expression. It could serve as the ultimate refuge of the illiterate. Behind barricades of impenetrable syllables—a veritable defense in depth—the most inefficient must feel secure. Beneath a camouflage of synthetic syntax and superimposed present passives the most inept may conceal his movements. A message in the military manner is the secret weapon of the obscurantist. It is a grammatical smokescreen, effectively concealing meaning.

As an example of the new grammar, I present the following: “Wet and muddy clothes resulting from outside work complicate the problem of housekeeping and is so recognized; however by the exercise of care, co-operation and ingenuity on the part of each man, this factor can be minimized, if not entirely eliminated.”

But for the direst of doubletalk, I suggest: “The way a man takes care of his own personal quarters, the neatness and ingenuity displayed in obtaining orderliness and efficiency in the confined space at his disposal, is a good yardstick for the measurement of the man himself…Bunks to be made up promptly upon arising; uniformity of appearance should be practiced so all bunks in one hut will look alike.”

That sort of thing must be catching. Today when I came to the censor desk I found one of the more recent arrivals busy running through the foreign phrases section of the pocket dictionary. He was hunting for an impressive phrase to put in a note he was leaving for the workers on other shifts. Feeling very much like Manuel instructing the redcoats on how to greet guests at the hotel, I suggested “reduction ad absurdum.” So help me, he used it as the signature. 

Incidentally, I believe the same lad is responsible for another note. It dealt with a tentative arrangement for something and began, “Attentive plans for…” This, of course, was his attempt to copy a message over the telephone.

But back to the inspection. Our hut passed, without comment, such scrutiny as it was given. The only man in the hut at the time of the inspection was in bed, sleeping off the effects of the graveyard shift. He was awake with the inspecting officer arrived but thoughtfully pulled his head under the covers and snored snappily until the door slammed. I believe all the huts were approved, even the one in which a rifle was found nailed to the wall. 

While the general reaction to the inspections is not one of overwhelming enthusiasm, I don’t think they are a bad idea. Our hut was really clean, top and bottom (although not inside and out), for the first time since we have been here. And if this first inspection is any indication, things will not be carried to the point of idiocy: there will be no feeling in the pockets of suits on the hangers as at Adair, no check to see all spare shows are laced to the top as at Adair, no scrutiny of the inside of the fire extinguisher as at Adair. We hope.
Of course it is not very important to me one way or the other. I’m still sweating out my place to APO 948 and at the worst should be out of here before the next inspection. I’ve been packed for four days but can’t get the rabbit-faced wretch who is supposed to check the bags to do his job. This Everett simpleton is too busy to work. He is a pleasant character, like Koski squared.

And so, with a plaintive bleat, I bring another letter to the folding point.