Dec. 23, 1944
Today, I received a letter dated October 29th which was forwarded from New Guinea. Nothing much has happened here lately worth writing about. Last night, one of the boys left his tent to go to the latrine. While on his way, he stepped on something that moved. As he turned his flashlight on, he caught the tail end of a snake crawling under his bed. With the help of three others, the snake was killed. It measured seven feet, was completely black, and had two nice fangs. Some native Filipinos said that it was poisonous. Also, we have to be on the lookout for scorpions. I caught one on top of my mosquito net last night. They look something like crawfish and have a poisonous stinger in the tail. One boy got stung on the hand with one. Until his hand became numb and paralyzed, he didn't bother too much about it. He was O.K. after soaking it in hot water for three hours.
Well, as far as enemy action is concerned, things here are very quiet. It wasn't too long ago that Jap paratroopers paid us a surprise visit. Yep, they just dropped in while passing by in a "Betty" bomber. I'll tell you plenty more about that when I get home. I could write a fifty-page letter on that subject if it were not for censorship regulations. [This is likely when he got wounded and was awarded his Purple Heart. - Ed.]
One time several weeks ago, I bought a Japanese dictionary and some hand-drawn maps which were of Japanese army property. I turned them over to the Army intelligence section. It may prove to be of some value to them. After they are finished with the data, it will be returned to me.
We now have electricity in our tents. Every other night, we have movies in the mess hall. We also have our showers set up now. Living conditions are getting good once again. Life is starting to become dull and monotonous, as it was several months ago in New Guinea. Oh well, the last 18 months are the hardest, they say. If I am exceptionally lucky, I may be home by next Christmas. Don't, however, depend on it. It's a long way to Tokyo yet. The Philippine campaign seems to be progressing very well to date. Too bad about Dorothy's brother, Hugh, having to return to Australia. [Probably referring to his Kitty’s friend Dorothy Hammer, not Dorothy Yates, who is mentioned in other letters. - Ed.] Yes sir, he must really have had it rough, living in civilization. Gee! For 30 months, too. It seems that the boys here don't mind being here as much as you would probably think. You see, it's been so long since we have felt concrete beneath our feet, since we walked down to the corner drugstore for a Coke or ice cream, since we have eaten off of plates with silverware, since we have last slept between white linens, since we have dressed in anything other than khaki, since we - well, a heck of a lot of other things which we once took for granted. It's been so long ago that we now don't realize what we do without because we have all but forgotten just what those things were like. There is, it seems, no comparison of our living conditions to something better, for that something better is in most cases a faint memory or a mere inkling of some slight recollection. So, you see, things here are, to us at least, not too bad. The luxury of civilian life is just "out of this world." And that is why, once I return to the States, I do not desire to again go overseas - at least to this theater of operations.
Enclosed is an article out of a magazine pertaining to roller skating. Kitty might be interested in reading it.
Well, that's all for the present. I read Yvonne's two spelling papers and the Sun copy. Thanks. Does Yvonne still have her pet cat?
And so until next time -
P.S. Tomorrow is Christmas Eve - if that's anything.