July 6, 1943—W.T. Jack: My Life In Service

July 6, 1943

I shall begin with my first furlough-Jne 3rd, 1943. I went by bus from Elgin Fld, Fla. I hate to say it, but I almost wish I hadn’t gone. Conditions at home still bad—worse, even. None of the gang were there—only the Hamils—and now I loved to see them. When sweet Patsy threw her arms around my neck I nearly cried. Even Petey “hugged my neck.” Of course, Mona was as lovely and wonderful as ever. D.J. Rogers was back for a visit & I enjoyed seeing her. All the Holmans were together for the last time in a long time. They treated me like a little tin Jesus (but don’t they always?) I went on to Austin, and how thrilled I was to see the place again. Seeing Bill again brought a lump to my throat. The only thing worthwhile in this world are friends, and I have the best.

Got to see Carrie Rucker for awhile. If it hadn’t been for Lois I could have seen Durwood. It was like this—Lois & Francis were to come up to get my radio or send a wire to the contrary. Nothing happened and I waited & waited. Finally, I went back home hoping that I would see Lois when she came in on leave—but she didn’t come nor did she write. Very sad. I got my T.S. Card from the chaplain. I haven’t heard from Lois yet—she probably is married, engaged, or something. So what? I got over Scruggy—I can forget her just as easily. Anyhow—I got a wire calling me back to the Field. Got back on the 18th & left on the 19th for a STAR unit at Auburn, Ala. The school was lovely & I had a nice vacation. After a series of tests, I was chosen for Engineering School! Which just goes to prove that miracles can happen.

I left Auburn with nothing but pleasant memories – how different from Elgin! There were 124 of us on the train. Sleep was next to impossible, but I still enjoyed the trip. Atlanta, Richmond, Philadelphia, Washington & New York – all were swell. We had a lovely view of New York looking across East River. I can hardly wait to get back to really see the place.

The train pulled into Boston at 2:00 Sat. noon. We were piled into trucks like a herd of cattle to be taken to our new home. “Home” turned out to be an enormous bldg. My “room” only had around 800 men in it. I wonder why they call us Privates? Everyone was given the week-end off so naturally there was great rejoicing.

My first act was to find a theatre where I saw the play “Junior Miss.” The theatre itself was all gilt & red plush – just as I had always imagined. The play itself was just grand. I began exploring the down-town section. There seemed to be nothing but movies, bars & restaurants. Is that bad? I saw a very good stage show with Virginia Weidler, Cliff Edwards and the dancer just back from entertaining in Africa – Mitzi Mayfair. There was a band but the only outstanding feature was a woman band leader. What a drape-shape! And such clothes she didn’t have on!

Of course, I saw my usual quota of movies—Stage Door Canteen, Mission to Morroco were the only ones worth mentioning & they weren’t very good. Sunday p.m. 3 of us walked down into the tenement district. Now I know what it feels like to be whistled at. Three very obvious creatures eyed us up & down—whistled & said, “Lonesome soldier?” God I felt silly. Temptation knocked but I resolutely closed my ears. That glow around my head is a halo. There are so many things to see and do, I don’t see how I’ll ever get around to half of them.

I haven’t heard from anyone since I got to Auburn except Geissman—bless his heart. For some odd reason he said in his letter that he had great expectations of me. Maybe my ambitions aren’t so wild after all. Bill & Rucker both were encouraging, Rucker especially. I can hardly wait for that great day when I tell my folks! They can rant and rave all they want to, but my mind is made up. However, I doubt that they will even realize what I mean. Well – I hope I have the initiative to keep this thing up. I fully intend to enter my thoughts, actions, etc. from day to day or rather about once a week. A daily record would become damn dull.

About S. Kay Nash

S. Kay Nash is a writer, editor, and bibliophile. She lives in Texas with a mad scientist and a peaceful contingent of dogs and cats.
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