Based on the letters of Earl Philip Reinhalter (1922-1953). Edited by his son, Earl Philip Reinhalter (1950-).

<- PREVIOUS LETTER November 29, 1942
Lockbourne Army Air Base, Columbus, Ohio

Sunday Nov. 29, 1942
Hello Ma:
      Well, it's Sunday morning here, the snow is about 1˝ inches deep, and now it's raining. We did not do much the first day here at Lockbourne, which was last Saturday. We have from Saturday noon until Sunday night at 12:30 P.M. to ourselves. So, I went to the movies at the camp that Saturday night. The next day, Sunday Nov. 22, I slept until 9:30 A.M. and then got up, dressed and then ate lunch. After this, I went to Columbus, where I went roller skating in the afternoon and to a movies that night. I ate supper in a restaurant (Thompsons). [Editor's note: This is not the same as the current-day Thompson's Dairyland & Restaurant. That business opened in 1951.] It only costs 35˘ a round trip by bus into Columbus and it takes ˝ hour each way. All of the roller rinks (three of them) only charge half price to soldiers. Tell Kitty that all of the dances which she does on skates, such as the barn dance, two step, 14-step, Mohawk, etc., are unknown up here in Ohio. When I asked the girl who I was skating with Sunday about ice skating, she acted very much surprised. It seems that there is no place up here for ice skating. It is certainly cold enough, but there aren't any bodies of water nearby. Land up here is perfectly flat and the wind seems to blow all of the time. They never heard of indoor ice rinks up here. [Columbus now has plenty of ice rinks and a pro hockey team. - Ed.]

      We practically do nothing but drill every day, but we received a little instruction on Springfield rifles. This post is entirely new and there is not much activity here. A few airplanes now and then land. They are mostly Flying Fortresses. Monday night, I went to movies at the post. Tuesday night, we had a good free show at Lockbourne. Bob Hope, Jerry Colonna, Vera Vague, Frances Langford, and Skinnay Ennis and his band were here. The show lasted one hour and 20 minutes. It seems that all of the soldiers were there, as the hangar was practically filled up with seats. Wednesday night, I was plenty tired, so I went to bed at 5:15 P.M., skipping supper entirely. I was still sleepy the next morning at 6:00 A.M. when we get up. I went to Columbus again Thursday night and went roller skating at another rink.

      Friday Nov. 27, I went to Columbus and saw Charlie Spivak and his orchestra, plus the regular screen attraction starring the Ritz Brothers. Then I came back and went to bed at 8:20 P.M. Yesterday, Saturday Nov. 28, I went to see the Ohio State - Iowa football game at the Ohio Stadium in Columbus. The admission is free to soldiers. It was too cold sitting there, so I left at the half. [Editor's note: The Iowa team was the Pre-Flight Seahawks, representing the U.S. Navy pre-flight aviation training school at the University of Iowa. The high temperature in Columbus on that day was 42°F, and the low was 25°F.] I may go again next Saturday if it's not too cold.

      Well, that's what I have done here at Lockbourne up to the present. Saturday Nov. 28, we moved to new barracks. From now on, when you send me mail, please address them as on this envelope. Notice that my barrack number is not included anymore. On Nov. 19, Kitty sent me a card (it was signed "Pooky Jones," Kitty) addressed to Middletown. [Pooky Jones was a character from the Popeye comic strip. He was the best friend/partner in crime of Popeye’s father, Poopdeck Pappy. - Ed.] It was forwarded to me here - thanks. I received your airmail letter Wednesday Nov. 25. It seems that it took two days to get here because it was postmarked Nov. 23. I had trouble getting it [money order - Ed.] cashed - as Wednesday our Lockbourne post office was low on cash and when I went to Columbus Thursday, the post office was closed because of the Thanksgiving holiday. I finally cashed it Friday and paid off my debts and got a haircut. Yvonne's drawings of stars were very good.

      In your letter, you said that Uncle Ben [Benjamin Reinhalter (March 4, 1889 - June 1, 1969), his father’s brother - Ed.] was glad that I had enlisted. I wonder why the sudden change in attitude?

      Tell Gordon [Gordon Oster (1903-?), his mother’s brother - Ed.] that I am having a swell time in the Army.

      I received Yvonne's card with all of the kiss marks on the back - thanks.

      I received Phus's card with the airplane on the front - thanks.

      I received Kitty's card with the "peep" on the front - thanks.

      Tell Phus that the Reader's Digest has not come yet.

      For Thanksgiving dinner, we had turkey, cranberry sauce, potatoes, peas, coffee, pie, ice cream, cole slaw, bread, celery, and other stuff that I can't remember. I don't think that I can get off Christmas, as they are only allowing 10% of the boys to go. Of course, the sargeants and corporals will be taken care of first.

      Ma, do you realize that I have spent the past five Sundays in different places? The first at home, the second at Meade, the third at Middletown, the fourth in barrack #548 at Lockbourne, and the fifth (today) in barrack #146 at Lockbourne.

      The sargeant says that we stand a good chance of going overseas as non-combatants.

      As far as eating goes, all of the soldiers certainly do feel sorry for the civilians.

      Every weekend, we can get a pass to leave the camp. The Saturday pass is good from 12 noon until 3:00 A.M. Sunday morning. The Sunday pass is good from 12 noon until 12:30 at night. Weekday passes are good from 4:00 P.M. until 12:30 that night. So, you see I have plenty of time to myself. I am going to have to stay in camp one of these nights and wash some underwear, socks and handkerchiefs. Pretty soon I won't have anything clean to put on if I don't. The haircuts are plenty expensive here on the post. Friday, I got my hair cut, singed and some smelly slop on top. This cost 85˘ [about $13.15 in 2020 dollars - Ed.]. Gee, I was surprised!

      Incidentally, is anything important happening in the news? I never see a newspaper anymore. One of the boys just bought a small radio. So, we can now hear the news reports.

      Don't send the sewing kit and letter writing set yet. I wouldn't be surprised if they sent us someplace else next week. Half of the 150 boys which I came up with from Middletown have been assigned; that is, they are sure to stay here for at least 6 weeks for their basic training. I am in the other half which has not been assigned. They took us in alphabetical order. I don't know whether we will continue to stay here until we are assigned or whether we will be sent someplace else to be assigned for this basic training.

      Well, I just finished eating and got my pass to go out. I guess I will either go roller skating in Columbus or else go to the movies.

      Gee, it's sure sloppy out now - still raining.

      I weighed myself Friday and the scales read 132 pounds. I weighed 124 when I enlisted. I did not gain quite all of the 8 pounds, as I had clothes on this time. But certainly not 8 pounds worth.

      Well, it's now 1:30 P.M. and I have to use the bank (toilet). The boys call it a bank because everyone goes in and makes a small deposit.

      Tell Daddy that I had two glasses of Ohio beer. It seemed to be O.K. They don't have any crabs (seafood) here.

The Ritz Brothers film he saw may have been Behind the Eight Ball,
although online sources say that the release date was a week later.
Someone has posted the movie online, possibly incomplete:

Behind the Eight Ball


The Kindle book includes the letters; all 23 issues of the unit’s wartime newsletter “The Squadron Pulse,” which was originally edited by Leonard Stringfield; all 12 issues of the “Pennant Parade” newsletter that Stringfield published while sailing home after the war; complete text of the U.S. government booklet “Pocket Guide to Australia,” which soldiers heading Down Under were given to read; more than 200 photos; pre-war and postwar family history; and over 700 explanatory endnotes.


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