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Short Sheeting

Posted by on March 31, 2014

February 26, 1943. A two page letter from Dad to Home. Dad tells Anna he heard from the Weiss’ in Chicago. He says that “every other weekend we get a pass good for 100 miles and if you want to go to Chicago, all you have to do is show the ticket and you will get a special pass. They go alphabetically one week from A to L and the next from M to Z. I might go to Chicago if things come out right.”

From the looks of things he will only have 3 or 4 chances to make that trip. “I am going to stay here for 7 more weeks as it will require that much to complete this course which formerly was a 3 month course.” We also learn the gist of what he will be doing. “Ordnance work entails making out requisitions and being able to use all different catalogs and books…to get some kind of equipment from a depot…so the fellows can have it when they need it. We don’t do anything with things that whirl in circles up above the hemisphere. I presume that is taken care of by a different department.”

He says that after four months in the Army he qualifies to apply for one of the “100 or so courses offered at colleges. I will check further into it and make sure as perhaps I could pick up a radio course on the sideline.”

He has yet to be assigned to a specific post or camp but says, “If I make out good I may get some more stripes. When you get out of here they tell your Commander what rating you should be given and if you are made a chief clerk you’re a sergeant, staff sergeant, master sergeant all depending on what you have done, what you are doing now and how you make out. When you deal with Ordnance it’s an all screwed up affair. You don’t know where you’re going or coming.”

He offers a picture of life in the barracks. “…at night when the guys don’t know it they put cornflakes in their beds and sugar right under the blankets on the sheets, so when the fellow crawls in he has something scratching him. I never was a victim. Another trick is short-sheeting. We have two bed sheets. You sleep on one and have the other one on yourself under the blanket. What some fellows do is fold the top sheet in half and tuck the overlapping sides of the sheet neatly under the mattress and when the fellow lifts the upper part of the sheet and crawls in he just gets in halfways and wonders why his feet don’t reach all the way down the other end of the bed. They push down with their feet and the more they push the more it tightens up.” He also details another prank. “Also, they like to fold the legs of the iron cot beds under so when a guy lies on his bed and develops enough weight, the whole bed flops on the floor as the legs give in under the bed.”

He closes, “I hope mama and papa are getting along alright as well as Theresa-Marie and Eddie. May God Bless You all and keep you.”

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