March 17, 1944

Friday

Bonnie, these two days have gone like hell.1 Very quickly to be sure! Wrote you letters on both days, a continuation of the previous ones, an expression of my love for you!

Lt. Tolhurst finally received three letters from Dottie who has joined the Cadet Nurse Corps. His mail took a long time in coming through! Intimates he’s going to fly all the way there and marry her as quickly as he can dismount from Pegasus and get to the minister! Never can feel sorry we were married before when I notice his antics and how blue he is for not taking the so-called fatal step which is more glorious than fatal, in my opinion. Guess many people are not as well blessed as I am. Bonnie feels the same way. Thank the Good Lord above!

This camp is getting more like the U.S. Army in the U.S.A. Regimentation in its severest forms. Was hoping we’d get away from a lot of unnecessary “chicken”, but that’s impossible. Our C.O. restricted a man from going to the PX for five days because he kept a shovel from supply overnight. Ironic to me. Maybe he’ll put a special guard to keep him from going there or perhaps a big “wanted” poster will be placed all over the area. Some of these things that call themselves officers. The guy can’t even wear the hat on his head as befits an Army officer.

It rained last night, and again tonight as I write this. Stopped for a moment to go to the one horse PX; but it was not open as is usually the case when I need something. Always grousing, that’s me I guess.

The swelling in my eye has gone down. Hope that is the extent of that.

Seehorn just wanted to know if anyone heard the whistle of it. Usually someone says “Yes” without thinking and the other boys get a laugh. There’s no show tonight but the engineer says, “Tom Mix in Cement” is playing.

Every time R. E. Russell, radio operator, opens a bottle of this hot beer, it ejaculates. Now, that’s the wildest beer I ever saw. Naturally because it blows foam all over the entire tent and everyone in it, we all smell like a brewery, and one wards off the fumes upon entering our castle.

That rain threatens to wash Guadalcanal away: Oh well, again tomorrow we’ll become the Army Mud Corp. Nothing like me “muddier”, either.

Some son of a gun went to supply and checked out our candle ration for tonight. These guys are awfully bright. Hope their conscience plays hell with them.

Received a letter from Mom yesterday and one from you to, doll, and it makes me both happy and lonely, too. Enclosed was one from Jimmy Castles.2 He’s in North Africa, Infantry, and in the big leagues, which are plenty tough. Jim wants us to drop our eggs in the buzzard’s nest; and you can rest assured we’ll do just that. Lt. Tolhurst is the original “dead eye dick” with his bombsight.

Gee! But that’s a swell breeze, very cooling with the rain. I can sympathize with the poor devils that were up to their necks in water and mud on the bottom of a foxhole, a year ago.

“Tough and Rough”, these modern stories! Damn what they try to pass for good literature. They pile in a thousand mush ridden sentences, season with fifteen or twenty neurotic characters, salt them with an object lesson in psychiatry and add the spice of an unbelievably complex, complicated bunch of junk they believe is part of the common human mind. Baloney! Such corruption for decent normal people to read: and become models of the stories. Lousy authors ought to be shot. Guess my writing will be colored by the nauseating thought of these infantile, disgusting dissertations. If I become an author, the blasted stories will be entirely different! You can rest assured of that!

This rain has turned into a cloudburst pure and simple. The candlelight is blowing and weird shadows climb the walls the tent.

We flew last night for one hour. Shot two landings, ceiling 1,300 feet and black a pitch outside. No artificial horizon3 on the plane, which didn’t help any. No music, either, as we flew too late at night. All the music I’ve heard since arriving here has been just scrapes a bar or two wafting into the night air.

The music in my solitary life is you, darling. I lay sleepless on my Army cot and your music fills my mosquito net work. Strongly and lovingly it plays, washing the ugliness from my soul. A cool clear melody on my heartstrings, song in the night.

The rain tattoos our tent; its freshness pervades all the air. Our candles flicker in the breeze; and Russell runs outside, naked as a Jaybird to take a rain shower. He could be a savage figure, bleating to his rain gods and beating his chest in ecstasy. Ha! Ha! Will be tickled if the rain quits when he’s well soaped!

The mosquitoes are in the tent. Think I’d rather be wet than to put up with their 45 degree, angled attacks that designate them as anopheles carriers of the dreaded malaria! Ha! Ha! Mosquitoes, we take Atabrine.

Guadalcanal is on our nerves! When in heck are they going to ship us to Stirling, of the Treasury group? One shouldn’t get combat nerves before being in combat! Yesterday was one month on this island. One month too long. Why are we so eager in our quest for meandering? Why do we wish for blood and action swift? Speed of the thunderbolt, exhilaration of mind and body, the burst of a bomb, the clatter of our machine guns. All this for peace and nothing more!

Goodnight my dearest wife, love conquers me, Wynne.

Notes & Commentary:

1 After making daily entries since arriving at Hamilton Field outside of San Francisco on February 12, Wayne made an entry dated “March 16th, March 17th. Thursday and Friday”. Since this entry was completed on Friday, March 17, 1944; I am publishing it on March 17.

2 Jimmy Castles was Wayne’s brother-in-law. James Fred Castles, Jr., was married to Arline Gibbons on April 16, 1942 by Sara R. Boozer, N.P. for South Carolina, Lexington, South Carolina. Index Register of Marriages, Lexington County, South Carolina, p. 43. digital image (http://www.lex-co.com/departments/probatecourt/..%5CProbate%5CImages%5C0040F9AF.pdf : accessed 16 March 2014), entry for James Fred Castles, Jr., 22, of Winnsboro, South Carolina and Arlene Gibbons, 18, of Columbia, South Carolina, marriage license no. 13995.

3 Artificial horizon: See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Attitude_indicator.

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