This letter is written from a farm kid going through boot camp at Parris Island Marine Corps Recruit Depot

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Dear Ma and Pa: 

   I am well. Hope y’all are too. Tell Brother Walt and Brother Elmer the Marine Corps is easy and beats working for old man Minch by a country mile. They really ought to join up quick before all the places are filled.

   I was restless at first because they make you stay in bed till nearly 5:00 a.m., but I am getting so I like to sleepin in late. Tell Walt and Elmer all you has to do before breakfast is smooth your cot and shine your boots and buckles. No hogs to slop, feed to pitch, mash to mix, wood to split, hay to lay… practically nothing. Men gots to shave but it is not so bad, they’ve even got warm water.

   Breakfast is strong on trimmings like fruit juice, cereal, eggs, bacon, etc., but kind of weak on the pork chops, fried potatoes, salt cured ham, steak, sausage, gravy and biscuits and other regular breakfast foods, but tell Walt and Elmer you can always sit by some city boys that live on coffee and doughnuts. Their food plus yours holds you till noon when you get fed again. It’s no wonder these city boys can’t walk far.

   Speakin of walkin; we go on “route marches” which the Platoon Sergeant says are long walks to toughen us up. If he thinks so, it’s not my place to tell him different. A “route march” is about as far as to our mailbox at home. The countryside is nice but awfully flat. We don’t climb hills or nothin. Them city guys get sore feet and we all get to ride back in trucks. The Sergeant is like a school teacher. He nags us a lot. The Captain is like the school board. Majors and Colonels just ride around and frown. They don’t bother you none.

   This next part will kill Walt and Elmer with laughing. I keep getting medals for shooting! I don’t know why. The bulls-eye is purt-ear as big as a chipmunk’s head and it don’t move, and it ain’t shooting back at you like the Higgett boys do at home. All you got to do is lie there all comfortable and hit it. You don’t even load your own cartridges. They come in boxes.

   Then we have what they call hand-to-hand combat training. You get to wrestle with them city boys. I have to be real careful though, they break real easy. It ain’t like fighting with that ole bull at home. I’m about the best they got in this except for that guy Jordan from over in Silver Lake. I only beat him once. He joined up the same time as me, but I’m only 5’6″ and 130 pounds, and he’s 6’8″ and weighs near 300 pounds dry.

   Be sure to tell Walt and Elmer to hurry and join before other fellers get onto this setup and come stampeding in.

Your loving daughter,

Gail

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Letter from a hillbilly mom

Letter from a college friend

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