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Training in the USA

February 15, 1944

Letters from Theodore Katz

sketch of woman smoking next to no smoking sign

Ted's sketch of one of the charming beauties at the Tullahoma USO

[postmarked February 15, 1944]

Monday – 7:00 P.M.

Dear Helen –

As Sam and I are not affected by the schedule which requires the rest of the Company to work till 10:00 tonight – I find myself comfortably settled on my uncomfortable bunk – amidst the quiet of an almost empty barracks. Of course, the others will be able to sleep till noon tomorrow, while we go on duty at 7:30 AM, as usual.

This is the only time I don’t mind being in the barracks – it gives me the privacy which is always lacking in the Army – and to say it is unusual would be the height of understatement – because for the past year and a half – privacy has been a non-entity for me – it’s been impossible to be alone for even a moment. – And there are times when one would like a little peace and quiet – times when one can write a letter, for instance, to you without the feeling that I’m sharing you with the four or five men clustered about the bunk and interrupting with requests for matches, cigarettes, anything to eat, money, - or offering coarse bits of advice on what to include in the letter – all in fun, of course, but annoying and distracting all the same. So, tonight, I’m alone with you at last – in spirit anyway.

What shall we do tonight, Helen? – Shall we go dancing or go to a movie – or stay in and listen to the radio – or, shall we just stay in? Come to think of it – it’s cold out, the weather is miserable – and look at all the privacy we’ve got. And in case we want to dance – we can roll up the rugs – I guess I decided that.

Eva is fine and sends her regards to you – she says I look as though I miss you – and I always thought I had a poker face. Sam and the boys with  wives here got a scare to-day. If you remember – in yesterday’s letter I told you of the order restricting us to the barracks until they were cleaned. Well, as soon as that order came out, it seems that the “Lip” ran out and called his wife to tell her of the news. This was before he knew what the restriction was for – Later, Eva called Sam and he told her that he would be delayed until the barracks were cleaned. Eva then called Mrs Lip – to see what she was doing that evening and she (Mrs. Lip) asked Eva how could she think of anything like that with all the horrible news – and when Eva asked “What horrible news?” – Mrs Lip answered “Why, don’t you know the 603rd is moving out!” Whereupon, Eva laughed and told her what the restriction was for.

This all makes a long story – but, word got back to the CO that someone had called his wife, during the restriction, - giving her information which, in case we were to have been moving, would be a serious offense. So at 4:30 in the afternoon – he called a meeting of all men with wives in Tullahoma – to tell them that unless – the man admitted his guilt by tomorrow AM. – he would press an investigation and if he found the man he would be liable to a courts-martial. Well, the Lip denies everything – and thus far the CO suspects all the husbands. I’ll let you know what develops.

Today’s art class – depicts some of the charming “beauties” at the Tullahoma USO – into which we wandered last night, - to find a dance in progress – I knew you’d be interested in the types – so I send them on to you – to add to the collection – I think they speak for themselves.

I am also enclosing an advertisement to give you an idea of the sort of entertainment this place has to offer.

Tomorrow night – I shall be on guard again and if I find time during my tour of duty I shall write to you – if not, I know you’ll forgive me – because, in spite of anything I can do about it, physically speaking the Army comes first – or as someone once aptly put it –

“I could not love thee, dear, so much –
Loved I not honor more.”

My folks send you their regards and convey my best wishes to your sleep roommates.


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