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The Betty H. Carter Women Veterans Historical Project

Letter from Catherine Cox to Bob, 1944

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Object ID: WV0366.4.002

Description: Kay Cox describes the difficulty of training three new recruits, an amusing visit from an officer, and the army's ever changing recruitment policies. She reprimands Bob for a depressing comment in a previous letter and confirms their mutual affection.

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Collection: Catherine "Kay" Cox Letters

Rights: It is responsibility of the user to follow the copyright law of the United States (Title 17, U.S. Code). Materials are not to be reproduced in published works without written consent, and any use should credit Jackson Library, The University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

Full Text: Wednesday Dear Bob,

Now that my old fountain pen has managed to bathe me rather completely in blue blue ink—I shall try urging it across the paper in constructive gestures as a reply to your nice letter. Also the weather is in your favor—in fact last night it was so cold I had to use a blanket for the first time in three months—it was the strangest feeling.

Boy what a great day, yours truly spent. Amongst our other duties, we draw the job of taking our enlistees out to the Brookley Field Station for physical exams. Today’s crew consisted of a 49 year old gal, who insisted on telling how she studied "opry", that it was completely unnecessary for her to go to the dentist because her teeth were all false (which gives me something to look forward to when I am 49) and that she was such a diligent, studious worker that she couldn’t imagine she would be permitted to leave her present job. Enlistee No 2 was a native Russo-German, (now, naturalized citizen) age 47, who was enlisting to “win the war.” No. 1 confided to me that more likely No. 2 true objective was fifth column. No. 3 was a dang fine woman—I mean the kind you knew could do well and you would enjoy meeting socially—she was 38, very attractive, recently widowed and beyond the fact she was completely wrapped up in a 19 yr. old now in the Navy—I enjoyed her. No. 4 was a 20 year red kid, very cute but in my own humble opinion a psychopathic liar. That I had on my hands from 8-4, chasing them around like a bunch of chickens. Answering questions like “how much more, what is next, am I going to pass, etc. The Russian, No 2., would start to tell a story and inevitably end up with, “Vat you call it?” Golly but I would have really enjoyed the day if I could have just gotten off in a corner and laughed a couple of dozen times.

Well, Bob—we had a “wheel” down yesterday—a major, C.O. of a basic training Regiment. She came out of two years seclusion at Ft. Oglethorpe to find out what was wrong with recruiting and the ultimate results as the T.C. sees them. Well they turned the good Major over to us—the girl I usually recruit with and me—so to put it bluntly we gave her the works. We even dragged out a few particularly “tough nuts” and let the Major interview them. We even thickened it a bit by working from 9:00 A.M. until 8:30 P.M. and, brother, we beat bushes. When we got through she took us to dinner (steak, at that) and kept muttering—“Do you do this all the time?” “Six days a week?” “Is it always like this?” And perfect W.A.C’s that we are, we just sat there saying, “Yes, M’am” [sic]. Oh Bob, I do wish you could have an opportunity to take one of your “wheels” on a comparable excursion. There is more satisfaction. I figure we have also done a great service to recruiting, too—as well as aiding the paper conservation program for the complaints from the T.C. will be somewhat reduced if not eliminated completely.

Gee, Bob—this new regime business really sounds rugged—one of those horrible messy paper and everybody going crazy affairs. We get orders like that every so often and it only lasts until we can find corners to cut. For instance, they have set up various and sundry daily interview quotas for us. The latest is 3 concluding—that is three people whom you can say need not be recontacted. Well when we are desperate, or tired we go out looking for the 3 most unlikely prospects we can find. One of these days a “wheel” will find it out—and presto— a new daily interview system. In fact anyday [sic] now—for this one has been in effect three weeks. Guess you know the enlisted personnel are the brains of the Army—the officers or “wheels” dream up new systems, we break them down and the Army progresses. Right?

What do you know. Bob—the water-melon season is over! You see even the South has its seasons. But you talking about Christmas and New Years—oh (grunt). I’d like to be right there on good old N.E. terra firma for the holidays too. I can easily see where any celebration in Mobile would be pretty miserable — at least in Florida last year there were 2000 others in the same boat.

Well Bob—you certainly called it right—congratulations on your P.F.C. You should be happy for it does mean that you are on the right track—even if freezings and T/O’s don’t give you your just rewards. And this doesn’t mean I’ll uncross my fingers—rather I should keep right on hoping for you, if you think it does any good.

Now about Chicklands—Mr. Curwen you are talking. That is where I learned to eat and love fried chicken. I think they run circles around the South’s genuine article over there too. Forgive me if I seem a bit forward—but you wouldn’t like to jump in the car and run over for some next Saturday evening— would you? Perhaps we could even find a football game in the afternoon just to be certain of a ravenous appetite. I have more or less temporary plans for next Sat. but if you are interested—I think it could be arranged. How about it?

Penny for your thoughts, soldier—when do your private speculations say you’ll be a civilian? And then for another penny Bob—what do they say you will be doing? I’m interested because my own on the subject are so inconsistent, varied and confused.

Bob—I have a point of disagreement that I found in your last letter. You speak of the old adage about school days being the happiest. I realize your immediate situation is hardly conducive to joy and jubilation and probably the word of the new regime somewhat overshadowed your outlook—so that with sober thought you would not have made the statement. But, doggone—I just hate to look back and no, I wouldn’t want to go to school for the sake of going to school. If I should return to school, it would be because I felt there was a definite and fundamental gap in my knowledge that was a definite handicap in attaining some particular thing I had in mind. I am comparatively young—twenty-two to be exact—and I anticipate an interesting well-rounded life for some good years to come. Girls naturally look forward to some things different than boys—but I even figure on an old old age that is still interesting and not a horrible Aunt Betty senility. What has been said about the best laid plans of mice and men is certainly true—but I still intend to try and lick it. To look back Bob, with a definite longing to go back has always seemed to me to be playing into the hands of dullness, and routine. There is a lot ahead of you too, that you wouldn’t miss for the world and you know it, that is why I said the school adage was a black G.I. moment and you don’t mean it, Bob. I know we all have those blue clouds every so often, too—fella.

It makes me feel good, Bob—to know that some of your idle thoughts float in my direction. And I guess you know the thoughts about our getting together are mutual. Do you think we could reprimand our respective HQ’s about non-cooperation? I’m looking forward to my next letter—til then.

Your best girl, Kay