April 4, 1943
After a week of taking it easy, I’ve decided to take up writing again. I received the box of brownies last Tuesday and although they were a little under the weather, they were still edible. Thanks Mom and congratulations on your becoming an A.C., as you call it. I don’t think they’ve found my records yet but they know about my status. [Dad was born in Canada, and did not yet have his U.S. citizenship!]
I received quite a few letters during the week from Mom, Dad, Kay, and one from “Buck.” Three of these letters were dated March 19, and I guess they were some of the first ones written. It was the first news I had of Dad’s freak accident, and I do mean freak! You’re a pretty lucky man, Dad, in that you came out of it so easily, but you’re still unlucky, that you got it in the first place. However it wouldn’t be right for you not to have something to worry about.
I have two stories to tell you, one is amusing, and the other is tragic; however, you should not worry over either of them, as they are just as liable to happen here as there. Last Tuesday or Wednesday, a group of Engineers were out in the woods, blowing up tree stumps. They had planted a charge and stood back for it to go off. When it failed to do so, a Lieutenant and seven soldiers walked over to see what was the matter. Just as they got to it, they had taken their last steps, for it went off and killed all of them. That’s what is thought to have happened. The examining officers haven’t released the official report yet.
The other night I was tired and went to bed early. Some of the fellows came back from the P.X. crying and laughing at the same time. Somebody either planned or accidentally dropped a case of tear gas. Immediately the alarm was given to put on our masks. In my first experience with gas, where was I but in bed, reading a magazine with my gas mask on.
The routine we’re following is pretty much the same as the Field Art., classes, exercises, movies, marching, etc. It’s not quite as tough, but it will be as time goes on.
(This penmanship is very poor as I am writing in bed). Tell Kay [Dad’s younger sister] that if she gets the urge to play tennis, she can use my racket; but make sure she loans it to no one and always puts it in the press when not in use. [A place for everything, and everything in it’s place . . . no wonder I married a man who lives by this same philosophy!]
I am enclosing an article from a Texas paper that might give you a laugh. Make sure Johnny sees it and his mother, and Gus. It will give them something to argue about.
Until I write again, love to all, Murray
[the article: “In Ireland You Have to Call Long Distance to Get Room Service in Hotel Room, Elevators Are Run by Timetables].