January 1, 2011

League Island

Philadelphia Naval Yard
League Island
January 15, 1919

Dear Mother and Father,

Have been looking forward to a letter from you ever since I've been here, but none have come. There is some ignoramus in the post office, for I sent my address to New London.

Didn't do a thing all day. I have fallen into luck ever since I've been in the outfit. As long as I'm here I won't have to do a thing but send and receive blinker and semaphore -- and when we do, we just lay down on a bunk and take it easy -- that's when we are receiving.

Haven't been to town since the first night. To tell the truth, I have been badly bent, and today all but three cents went up in smoke for cigarettes. But my friend Duncan (a Wichita Falls boy) has enough to keep us in smokes until Tuesday, which is payday. I don't draw much, for my Liberty Bond and insurance come out, as well as 40 cents for the hospital fund -- altogether about $12 out, but will be more than enough til next payday, when perhaps I can at least start to pay what I owe father.

Has the influenza gotten worse there? Haven't heard of any for a long time in this part of the country.

The Blakeley goes into commission about the 25th of March, and in about a month goes to China to the Asiatic Fleet for a while. I won't go of course, for I haven't at least a year to do -- the amount necessary to go. They might not come back before 12 months, so they don't want to take any fellows who would have served their time before then.

It warmed up yesterday and the ice melted off the water, but there are still chunks all over the bay -- looks like ice in an ice cream freezer when the freezer is half full of water.

I did a washing the other day that looked almost like a family washing. Three suits of winter underwear, 1 of summer, 8 handkerchiefs, 6 pairs of sox, and a sweater. I put on summer underwear the other day and haven't taken them off, but think I'll change back tomorrow.

I played basketball tonight at the YMCA -- they have a big gymnasium and showers and swimming pool. I took a swim last night after a good shower. Will go in again tomorrow night.

They are giving a dance at the recreation center tonight. I think there is one at the K of C too, so I'll go up after I finish this. It's about 9 o'clock but they allow the lights to stay on til 10:30 here, and we can get in when we want to. No regulations since we aren't in the training camp part of the Yard. All the fellows but a few are regular Navy men waiting for new ships.

Don't know whether I'll get to Washington or not, but hope I do while I'm where I can.

Have no place to put the Kodak if I had it; my sea bag is absolutely full, and I have to pack things tight to get them in at all.

How is the oil well coming you are interested in? Is quail hunting as good as other years? I surely would like to get somewhere where I could see some woods and country. Ever since I've been on the east coast, I've been stationed right on the water, and it would take a long time to get out of town. Newark and Trenton have villages so thick between them they might almost be connected as one, although several miles apart.

The right address is this: League Island Navy Yard, Philadelphia, Barracks 307, U.S.S. Blakeley Detail. So write it here -- the ones you wrote to 207 and addressed the other way will get here too, though I will watch out for them in 297.

My love to all of you -- your loving son,

P.S. Haven't heard from Boone or Richards. If you would ever see little Rene Richards, though, you wouldn't doubt him in the least. I can see Boone in Dallas if he doesn't pay me before I get out. I'll never ask Rene, for it though.

(Postmarked Philadelphia, Pa., January 17, 1919)

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