Training in the USA
February 23, 1944
Letters from Theodore Katz
[postmarked February 23, 1944]
Dear Helen –
– And to think that I used to say – “If she could only cook” – and now according to the Testimonials I’ve received I find that you are an expert – or rather you will be when you prove that you can fry eggs the way I can – and make spaghetti the way I like it – I wish I were there right now to taste your cooking – after the awful mess they served us tonight. Hungry as I am – I’d be satisfied just to be there – even, without tasting the food.
I’d be going to Tullahoma to eat tonight but we’re having a terrific storm right now. The rain is coming down so hard and the wind is shipping it up so – that it’s impossible to even see five feet out the window – At one time, I would have said it’s a good night for a murder – but now I say it’s a good night to be on the sofa in the parlor.
This camp is a foul place – and after a month I’ve learned why. First of all it’s practically deserted. It’s a large camp – but 75% of the barracks are empty – because I believe it will be closed soon and all troops evacuated. Therefore, the commissary reguses to stock up on food and as a result our rations are meager – For the same reason – even the PXs have shelves which are almost empty – the whole camp has but one Service Club which is more like a morgue – and two movies – which are like huge barns – with wooden benches instead of seats. The place is delapitated [sic] and badly in need of repairs – In our barracks, for instance, the plumbing is a wreck – and the furnaces never seem to work right. Every time it gets cold in these parts – we freeze – Oh, for those happy days at Meade. There is a real camp – and what a location!
Of course, it could be worse – we might be out on maneuvers again – but what makes me mad – is that there is really no excuse for it. When I’m out in the field I expect all the inconveniences that come with it – and take it for what it’s worth. At least, the food was better in Louisiana.
It seems that this entire letter is taken up with the discussion of food – but you started it in your letter and I’m carrying on where you left off. I got a big laugh out of the girls’ testimonials – Also, tell them I appreciate their letting you practice on them until I get there.
A bunch of the boys just came in – they’d had their truck stuck in the mud (a usual occurrence in the parts) during the storm – they look like a bunch of drowned rats – I’m glad I wasn’t with them. I’m waiting to hear the howl when they go over to the mess hall and see what is supposed to be their supper.
So – you think I sound sad and blue – Well, you should see and hear the rest of this outfit – they all look like a bunch of pall-bearers – and as for their morale – it’s down around the soles of their shoes – but my will-power is of rugged material – and nothing around here can put a dent in it deep enough to do any permanent damage. So, don’t think I’m wilting – It’s just that I wish this were all over – I’m impatient – We’re wasting a lot of valuable time –