October 27, 2010

The Basics

Naval Training Station
San Pedro, California

August 26, 1918

Dear Mother and Father,

Got in Los Angeles at 7:30 Tuesday morning and got out here at camp about eleven o'clock. The first thing they did to us was to cut all our hair off with the clippers. Then came mess -- all this time we didn't have uniforms of course, but about 2:00 we marched over and were issued our mattresses and hammocks.

Next taken to another building and given our sea bags and three suits of whites, 1 of blues, 6 prs. of sox, 6 handkerchiefs, 1 blue cap (they are out of white caps until Monday), 1 pr. shoes, 1 pr. gloves, 1 pr. leggings, 1 whisk broom, 1 hairbrush, 1 comb, 1 scrub brush (think of giving us combs and brushes after clipping our hair), and 5 suits of underwear. All clothes have to be folded and these rolled in a certain way, and each garment tied with strings about 15 inches long called clothes stops. Then everything put in our sea bags. We sleep in tents -- three hammocks to a tent.

Have seen several large American steamships and two foreign ones come steaming into the harbor -- also saw two American submarines go out to sea. Whenever a steamship comes by, all the fellows not from Texas yell "Big ship, Tex" for they make fun of us because we don't know much about ships. All Californians are called "plum pickers." Detention camp is nicknamed "Goofie" (at least that's the way it sounds) and all of us are called Goofs.

We haven't taken our first shot -- in the arm -- but expect to get it this afternoon, also vaccinated.

Standifer and I have met several boys from Dallas we knew -- at least I have met them and he knows them. They are out of detention Saturday so we won't see them much. When they get out, all men go to what is called "The Ship" -- a big building about 600 ft. by 150 ft. and is marked by paint into different parts of a real ship, but it will be many a day before I get on the ship.

You see pictures of blue water. The Pacific is just as blue as can be, and small boats are always going in and out, but up to now I haven't had any time to look at them much.

We get up at 5:30 -- have plenty of time to dress and wash -- then report to the drill ground, where all the companies go through Swedish exercises for about 30 minutes. Then get breakfast and are off until 8 o'clock, and go to assembly when the bugle blows.

We drilled all morning. Aunt Maude said if I didn't get time to write her for you to send her my letters -- you can either do that or tell her I'll write her as soon as I get time.

It's time for noon mess so will stop -- will write every time I get time. Will send my grip home today.

Give my love to all the kiddies.

Son Heywood

P.S. I wired Aunt H. but she wasn't at Maricopa when I went through.

(Postmarked San Pedro, California, August 26, 1918)

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