December 10, 2010

Listeners School

New London, Connecticut
November 27, 1918

Dear Mother,

Have received a bunch of letters from home that were forwarded from Pelham Bay, but haven't had time to answer -- and that's no lie, for this school is surely hard and I've a long way to go if I make the course. We muster at 8:30 and have lectures til 12 o'clock, 1 hour and 15 minutes for chow -- lectures til 5 o'clock, and we are off for the day. As we have to take notes on all lectures, you can see that they have to be transcribed in a large notebook and ink, and drawings put in. For the last two days I've started in again at 6 and worked til 9 or perhaps taps, and still have lots to do -- it's hard to keep from walking uptown when most of them go, but I gotta stay if I want to do any good at all.

There is a mixture of physics, geometry (with metric), and horse sense, as well as being able to concentrate while listening to submarines so as to cut out all other water noises. Am due to go out on a sub chaser tomorrow but hope they will let us stay on Thanksgiving Day. I listened on instruments on shore to submerged subs, and you would surely be surprised how far you can tell the difference between one and another boat -- can even hear the knocking of the engines and count the propeller revolutions. I heard one very distinctly several miles away. Are supposed to be able to hear one between 30 and 50 miles with some of the instruments, but those are under ideal conditions.

Slept about half the night last night -- cold -- gosh, I thought morning would never come. I see I'm going to have to buy two more blankets. When the decks were swabbed down yesterday, the water froze and stayed on all day, and now that they have been wet again there is thicker ice -- it's been freezing every night I've been here, but usually melted in the daytime. The temperature is much lower here than in New York. Saw where the average through yesterday was 33 degrees but here it never got to 30 degrees all day. Back from breakfast and just saw a Boston American which gave New London's weather, and the average temperature was 24. It got down to 17 degrees -- of course it gets that cold at home, but darned if I'm used to this weather now.

Haven't been able to get the girls' caps. You know they won't let anyone send official clothing home if they can help it, so I'll get them as soon as they will issue them to me. I haven't sent grandma or Aunt Hattie's pictures to them yet -- just can't find the time to wrap them.

Am going to put on winter underwear in a little while. It's lots more trouble than summer ones though. I saw in the paper about a week ago that J.D. Worley, formerly a Bowie-ite, was wounded in France.

I can't put in for a discharge like Father suggested unless I have an excuse, and I have none, so will just have to wait. About 5 out of our 25 who came from Pelham were notified that they were the first to get out in a week or so. They either had dependents or wanted to go back to college.

Have got to muster in 25 minutes, and as I have to polish my shoes I'll stop. Got a letter from Julius, and he is in New York on an 8-day furlough. He thought I was still at Pelham Bay -- now I won't be able to see him. When can I ever go to New York? He would just be coming back. Chilton is with him -- I've never gotten Chilton's letter.

From Your Loving Son,

(Postmarked 2nd Battalion, State Pier, New London, Connecticut, no date)

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