San Pedro, California
September 5, 1918
My dear Mother,
Got two letters from you this morning -- the first I've had -- and they were addressed all right.
Have taken my second shot but an hour ago so haven't had time to get sick -- the first shot didn't hurt me at all but they say the second one is the worst of the three.
I ate my first meal in mess at noon today since Monday noon -- have been here in the hospital since Tuesday. The whole camp is sick with influenza, and at every muster a few "drop over" in a faint and are carried off, and after a day or so of chills and fever they are back again. My fever was up to 103 1/2 but we got splendid treatment at the ward, so I got out after staying two days. I only ate four bowls of soup from Monday morning til Thursday morning, when I got out. I'm still pretty weak, but am feeling better because I've eaten two meals since.
Got a letter from Cousin Mabel also this morning and she said for me to consider their house mine whenever I get liberty. The fellows who went out of detention camp last Monday got eight days liberty, but when we get out we will be lucky if we get 24 hours. I sure will be glad to get out of here and away from all the confusion of detention camp. If Jesse Parish is in San Pedro, he is within a hundred yards of me, but we can't mix so haven't seen him, but will try and find him as soon as I get out. Mare Island is pronounced just like it's spelled (so Californians say) and not Marie.
I haven't been vaccinated yet. One good thing about my getting sick and getting to go to the hospital is that I got out of guard duty. Some of the fellows have been on for four or five days because detention camp has so few fellows in it now. It had 1100 at one time and not over 250 to 300 -- every day some going out and no recruits coming in. To tell the truth there are not enough in camp to properly run it, and they have suspended drill altogether.
Our meals have enough to eat in them, but sometimes they are not exactly what we'd like -- every once in a while we get a real good meal though. But I'm going to buy me a T-bone steak covered with butter the first night of liberty. We have meat almost every meal and I believe that's one reason so many are sick. There has never been a fatality from sickness since the camp was built 16 months ago so there doesn't seem much danger after all.
I'll be sure and look up Maude's cousin the first chance I get.
Another camouflaged ship is lying at anchor over by the make-believe ship, waiting to take a bunch of sailors on their first cruise -- they set sail tonight I suppose.
We will have another chance to go swimming Saturday but I'm not going -- I don't like to swim in the ocean, regardless of what people say. The water tastes like salts to me.
Darned if I wouldn't keep at least one share if not all of my oil stock -- something might come of it, and even if a little would mean a great deal to you and Father. They haven't given us a chance to make out our insurance yet but will before we get to "the ship."
Will look for a letter every day or so, and you know how I enjoy them, but don't write me when you have anything you had rather do.
They furnish us with needle and thread so you needn't send that. I meant to ask you to send pictures and albums, for I got away without a picture.
Am glad June Donald got his commission -- I'm going to write Miss Jettie in the near future.
Will try and write at least every other day.
Love to all of you, your son,
P.S. The reason my writing is so poor today is because the YMCA is closed and I'm writing on a box.