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Gerald R. Rees Papers: Transcripts - MS 1007
A hot bath and shave does wonders to a person; I can sit down and write a letter in civilized fashion again and have a lot of lost time to make up. My friends have probably abandoned me by now. I've lost track of Burt Frost and had lost Jack till you forwarded his letter.
The uncivilized parts of Texas are a regular menagerie at this time of year. A few days ago a swarm of grasshoppers moved in on us; got in our food, tents, blankets and everything. Swarms of mosquitoes and gnats, some huge spiders that made short work of whatever grasshoppers that came their way, tarantulas, lizards, scorpions, a pet armadillo, rattlers and blacksnakes not to mention water moccasins in the small streams nearby, rabbits, cattle wandering all over the place-all these were everyday sights the last few weeks. The cactus plants are something to contend with-walking around at night I've had stickers drive through a leather shoe or canvas leggin and into my leg. Believe it or not, one of our trucks got a flat tire from a cactus needle. Praying mantises and walking sticks are interesting to watch. This isn't meant to sound unpleasant-it's really fascinating to see all these things in nature.
The Blades you sent were most welcome. They were the only papers we saw, and were news no matter how late they came. You sent the parts I was interested in, and I'm glad you took the trouble to send them.
Sometime when you're downtown, get me about four pair of heavy cotton sweat sox, size 12. They are the most comfortable ones to wear in G.I. shoes, I find, and usually only a quarter a pair.
Nothing new to report, I guess. Hope everyone is well and happy.
Ask Pop if he'll put the enclosed receipt with my other insurance stuff.
[Oct. 8, 1944]
Surprisingly enough, we have a little time off on a Sunday morning, although I have to stop and count days to till that it's Sunday. We worked all last night, bug so far I haven't begun to feel sleepy. It's very convenient to be able to catch short cat-naps at odd moments, and I find that it's possible to keep going for a long time that way.
This time of year necessitates a constant changing of clothes. At noon it is almost uncomfortably hot, in the evening and morning we need a heavy wool undershirt, and at night it really gets cold. We have three wool blankets apiece and need all of them. The weather must be ideal at this time of year in Ohio. Back-to-school weather, but no back to school for this would-be-college material and a lot more like me. Just wait till next year, though.
Any mention of future plans-immediate future, I mean-is necessarily vague, and I'm sure you understand why. The most interesting things that will happen are the very ones that I can't write about, so I'll have to continue talking about the weather. Thanks for the clippings and local news.
Did Aunt Sadie get any better and is Margaret Jean there now?
Must seem funny to live in a grey house after 12 years in a cream-colored one.
'S all for now.
Camp Bowie, Texas
Oct. 14, 1944
First item of importance: I expect to get another three-day pass next Saturday-Sunday-Monday, so will you send post-haste Jane & Jim's address in Houston, and also drop them a card asking them to let me know if they expect to be home Saturday night? If I wait till your letter gets here, It wouldn't leave enough time for me to write them and get an answer by Friday. Present plans would call for a place to sleep in Houston on Saturday night, since I'm a little low on funds (don't tell them that). Sunday I'd like to hitch-hike over to Galveston and go swimming in the Gulf. (One of our boys did that recently and says it's a swell beach and good surf.) As you may gather, right now we're not doing anything very important, so everyone's getting three-day passes that wants them. I'm getting interested in this state of Texas and am very anxious to see Houston and the Gulf of Mexico before we leave. There's also a football game at Houston between Southern Methodist and Rice Institute that I'd like to see.
Last week's trip was as much fun as I had hoped it would be. The questions in the letter you wrote Wednesday were mostly answered in the letter I sent Pop, I guess. Jack hasn't changed noticeably, but you'll see that for yourself pretty soon; he'll be mighty glad to see you and Pop again.
I'm sending an old barracks bag with some stuff which has been given to me at one time or another which I won't be needing for a while. The half of a pup-tent may be useful as a covering from rain or dampness for something; anyhow a large piece of canvas always comes handy. The new fatigue suit will make good work clothes some day. The book of logarithm tables is addressed to you, but you probably won't be interested in it, so just put it with my books. I sure will be sorry for you folks if you move before I get home again-but I hate to throw that stuff away.
Will probably think of more things later, but this seems like all for now.
Hello-here I am on guard again with plenty of time for reflection and letter-writing. This shift from 12:00 to 2:00 A.M. is the hardest one to keep awake.
Your Friday letter came Saturday afternoon, just after I'd mailed my letter to you asking about Jane's address. I hope you wrote to her so I'll get word from her by next Friday, although that's calling it pretty close.
Sorry you had to go to so many places for sox. I just went to the Athletic Supply store on Superior St. last time and had no difficulty at all, so I didn't realize what a chore I was placing on you.
E. & J. should have arrived in Orlando by now, and I certainly hope they find a place to stay. It's a crime how many places there are where children are not allowed. Lots of the fellows here are bringing their families down for short stays, and are running into all sorts of difficulties because of it. So far Eleanor has had good luck on living accommodations, though.
Not much to report on from here; we are having endless rounds of inspections, a few classes, and not much else. Tell Pop I'm sending that Power of Attorney paper along-that way he can open a bank account in my name, cash my war bonds, cancel or borrow on my insurance, or anything at all just as if he were me. It might come in handy some time.
Write you next about a trip to Houston, I hope. Looks promising.
This afternoon they hauled all of the noncoms (non-commissioned officers, including corporals and sergeants) over to the parade grounds to see a big review in honor of, and speech by General Ben Lear of "Yoo Hoo" fame a couple of years ago. He's now commanding all of the ground forces and is quite a big shot-had a retinue of five Packards and several lesser generals. It left me singularly unexcited. He is the most cordially hated of all generals by the army as a whole, ever since the "yoo hoo" incident.
This outfit, by it's nature of equipment has the best assortment of things to work with that I ever saw. The last few days I detailed a man who had been a civilian carpenter to build me a box for my radio. We found tools, lumber, hinges, bolts and everything wee needed. You should see it-all good plywood with sponge rubber padding that will take that radio through anything without damage. Being a sergeant has advantages; we worked in the middle of the battery area, and no on asked any questions. We get away with murder. A fellow who used to work for Every-ready is getting me some batteries, which means we can have news and music wherever we go.
Tomorrow night, barring unforeseen monkey-wrenches in the wheels of army administration, should see me on the way to San Antonio for three days. I'll write from there if things go as they should. Eleanor wrote and told me how to find the place.
Received a letter, and a good one, from Uncle Fred, of all people. It must be a real effort for him, and I was doubly pleased to hear from him. He seems to be busy and in good spirits.
Also received more Blades and enjoyed them very much.
Hate to hear about that Sunday you spent in bed, and trust it won't happen often.
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