11.19.1942 Camp Robinson, Arkansas

This is the first of the letters sent from my mom’s dad to his mom that I have. There may be earlier letters not in my possession, and if so I will update this. Included with this letter are three somewhat faded pictures. The first is a small photograph of, I think, Jack’s mother. The second picture shows the Eiffel Tower up close. The third is a picture of what I believe to be the Arc de Triomphe. The letter itself is written on one sheet of yellowed military paper. The return address on the envelope reads (slashes denote new line) “Pvt J F (his last name) (32556742)/ Co “C” 108th Med. Tr. Bn./ Platoon #1 U.S. Army/ Camp Robinson, Ark.” I translate this as “Private (his name) (I have no idea what these numbers are)/ Company “C” 108th Medical Battalion/ Platoon #1 U.S. Army. Camp Robinson, Arkansas”. The letter was sent to “Mrs. M.J. (her last name)/ 17 Bostwick Ave./ Jersey City, N.J.”. The letter is transcribed below, spelling is preserved from the original.

Dear Mom:
I just received your letter with the two buck in. Gee I never thought you would return the two bucks. I had a feeling that you were a sure thing for the Saturday Night Bingo. If not for the “Jack-Pot” surely the “Round Robin”.

I know your only kidding when you say that you aren’t going yo play Bingo anymore. I’ve heard that too often to believe it. You know way down deep inside that you can never trust that enticing game. Remember what Barnum use to say “There’s a sucker born every minute and two to play Bingo”.

In one of your recent letters you asked me if I needed any money. Well it’s a fact that we don’t make much money but it’s also a fact that we don’t get much time to spend money. When we do get the chance, we discover that everything we buy is very cheap. Like the movies. We can go to one of the camp theaters and see a double feature for only 15 cents. The pictures are all new too.

Another funny thing is church. When I went to my first Sunday Mass in this camp the Chaplain told us not to leave any money in the church. If we did he would get very peeved. All the magazines and telegram papers in the back of the church are free. There are also prayer books, rosarys, crucifixes and medals free for the taking.

This Chaplain is one of the most interesting men I’ve ever heard preach. He has been all over the world and the little religous tales he tells us are from actual things he has seen or picked up on his travels. (a big change from Sacred Heart, eh mom)

Now about the O.C.S. I’m not going to try for it just yet. There are a lot of reasons why. One is my age,another is I lack the experience. You see if I was an officer I would have to stand in front of a bunch of troops and give orders. The Preparatory School is more or less based on a fellows ability to give commands. If you flunk the Preparatory School you lose all chance of ever trying the O.C.S. So since I lack a lot of army experience I think it is best for me to wait a while. If I want I will always be able to try later. And I will do so when I think I have developed sufficient capabilities.