On March 30, 1942 Lester mailed home two letters in the same envelope, written a week apart. Both described details of his daily life at the US Navy Service School in Dearborn, Michigan as well as trips into town.
March 24 – 1942
It is very quiet in the barracks this afternoon as most of the boys are in the shops. I didn’t go to school or shop today because I had Seaman guard last night & today. That is an outside watch where we “walk a post” for two hours at a time, take four hours off & go back on again for another two hours. We get four hours night watch & two hours day watch. During the time off in the day we are supposed to work in the barracks but I worked this morning removing varnish with sandpaper so I don’t intend to work this afternoon unless someone tells me to. The master-at-arms just came in & asked me to come in the office to write my letter so I could answer the telephone if it rings. I don’t like to miss out on school but it can’t be helped & it doesn’t come very often.
Before I forget it again, I want you to send me a check on the Dunlap bank & the premium amount & address of my United Life Insurance policy. It will be due before long.
This has been a lovely spring day, warm with a southwest breeze. Hope it stays this way for quite a while. Talking about Spring, I had rhubarb pie for dinner last Sunday. It was in a restaurant in Detroit. It sure was good. A friend & I went to the flower show in Convention Hall on Sunday. I wish all of you could have seen it. Flowers of every color, shape & variety. One small room was entirely filled with orchids. A large V was formed by growing flowers. Ponds & creeks had been constructed inside the building. Trees ten to fifteen feet tall were planted & growing. Quite a few entries were in colors of red, white & blue. Wallace would have enjoyed the exhibit of butterflies which I saw. The largest collection in the world. Thousands of them, ranging in size from about a quarter-inch to a ten-inch wing spread. Many of them were from South America. We spent about two hours at the show. Tickets were a dollar but we got in free. All of the places are very generous about admitting us free or at greatly reduced prices.
I see on the work sheet here on the desk that we are invited to the broadcast of “We the People” on Wednesday night. I think I have liberty then so will probably go to it. I had intended to stay home but that sort of opportunity doesn’t come any too often.
The watch I bought seems to keep perfect time & I think it is very good looking. I wouldn’t like to be without it now. The boys are starting to return from school so things will liven up now.
So much noise I can’t think so guess I will have to stop for this time.
Love to all,
Sunday morning, March 29
I received your letter & was glad to hear from you. Did Wallace get the magazine I sent to him? It is quite popular with us.
It snowed Friday night but it is all melted now. The grass is greening up & the birds are singing. Spring must be here. There aren’t many birds here except sea gulls. They are larger than the sea gulls we see at home in the spring.
Another ship went out this morning. The tugs pull them out of the canal backwards, turn them around in the river & pull them on downstream. I don’t know how far the tugs take them.
I went to church this morning. Quite a number of the boys were there. We get liberty next Sunday which will be Easter. I don’t know yet if I will go out or stay on the station.
I’ll try to get a rock for you, mom. Glad you told me what you wanted. I sent a little vase to Aunt Clara for her collection. I got it at the flower show. I found some cute little glass ships too, but I was afraid they were too fragile to send thru the mail. If any of the rest of you have hobbies, let me know what they are. I haven’t seen any cactuses up here. There aren’t any corn fields & the only wheat field is the one that Mr. Fords trade school boys have planted.
Lester Proehl is in the marines, isn’t he? No, you hadn’t told me that Roy had joined the navy.
I have quite a lot of studying to do & a watch to stand this afternoon & clothes to wash so will close.
Love to allLester