Lester’s letter from November 18, 1941, less than three weeks before the attack on Pearl Harbor, describes routine life for Navy recruits. Perhaps he did enjoy a “liberty” in town and was witness to a scene like the one in the post card he sent home. He is looking forward to a trip home over the Christmas holidays.
November 18, 1941
I have just finished writing to Uncle Loren & I guess I should have made carbon copies as I can’t think of anything that I didn’t tell him. I hope your good weather is holding out as well as it is here. The sun has been shining fairly steady the last few days. It is still warm here. You must have been having some bad weather there. Did you have my anti-freeze tested? Also did you get my battery from Fred? I intended to give you the money to pay for it but forgot to do so. Tomorrow is pay day but by the time we get our bills paid there won’t be much left. I have a little other money so I will have enough to come home.
We received our grades yesterday but this is the first time I have had time to write to you. Here are my grades: English 87, Spelling 94, Arithmetic 95, Mechanical Aptitude 93, General Classification 93, with an average of 93. I was one of the five highest in our company, So I should get to go to trade school. I don’t know where the school will be but it may be here at the Great Lakes.
We have to go to a show or something tonight so I won’t have much time to write tonight. Did Josephine tell you that I have received the rating of a petty officer? I was made a squad leader as a result of the first bag inspection. We had another inspection today & I made it ok, too. There were about three or four others in the sixty on this floor that had good bags. I didn’t tell you about my rating before because it isn’t permanent & I didn’t know if I could hold the job. I’ve gotten along ok so far so chances are that I will make it now.
We go over to Paradise this Saturday so we will start getting some liberties then. I haven’t found it bad here except that there isn’t anything to do on Sunday afternoons. We’ve walked all over the place where we are allowed to go & we can’t just study or write letters all the time. We usually have time in the evenings during the week to keep up on our correspondence. If there is anything you want to know which I haven’t told you, ask some questions. Frances sent me some papers & Josephine sends me clippings once in a while. She sent me some candy this morning & I didn’t get time to open it until tonight. I didn’t get to read my letters until this afternoon. I got four letters today. Everyone wrote on Sunday, I guess. That means no more until the last of the week which won’t be long at the rate the time is going. We got another haircut today. Just when my hair was getting where I could part it. It will grow some more tho, I guess. I’ve gained almost ten pounds. Paul, I enjoy your letters. Keep on writing to me. I will write you a special letter someday.Lester