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The Betty H. Carter Women Veterans Historical Project

Letter from Lynn Garber to Catherine Katopes, circa 1943

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Object ID: WV0122.4.007

Description: Katopes’ friend Lynn Garber describes her current WAC experiences, including her job in medical supply, and possible transfer to another department. She refers to her post as a “civilian setup,” notes her dislike of the civilians, and claims her CO prefers civilians to military personnel. She tells of the working conditions, including hours and forced exercise, and describes how time is spent after closing up for the day. She provides a humorous description of the living quarters they are provided.


Biographical Info:

Collection: Catherine G. Katopes Papers

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:

Dear Katopes:

Certainly hope you got a better job or else like the place better than I do here. After all these months of dodging I'm finally back in the medics myself and the job--or else the job it should be--I like but I can't say a damned thing for the place. I had an interview with the Post Surgeon the day after I got here and convinced him that I didn't want lab work but would do better at the administrative end. He was convinciable [sic] and right now I'm in Medical Supply and supposed to go to another department as soon as I get thru here. But at the rate I'm going I never will learn the ropes here for they are so busy fooling with the stuff that they don't have time to teach any one 'n besides my boss' wife is expecting a baby any day so he's not much use to a soul. I'm under a 1st Lt., MAC, and he is a pretty good Joe but he gets these lazy streaks now 'n then that rasp considerably on my nerves...

The Post stinks--it is primarily a civilian setup anyhoo, there are around 6000 of the G.D.C (See if you can figure that out) and only some 500 or so military personnel so you can see what happens. It seems that the CO of the post favors the GDC's rather than the military so that makes for a fight. I refuse to do anything for them that I don't have to so I should be well liked in no time. The men like the WAC's--so that is something in our favor. Last night we were over at the Club and started playing blackjack and before we had finished there were three WAC's and four army men with us--they are mighty nice to us and that is the only thing that saves the situation. You go to work at 8 AM and quit at 4:30 PM and I mean quit. Everyone closes office and leaves--you are required to take one half day a week for at least two hours exercise--I take mine on my bed sound asleep--but that half of the day can be neither Saturday afternoon nor Monday morning. I've been back to FO once and have a standing reservation at one of the hotels for every weekend. There is nothing much to do after hours but go to the club and soak up stuff. Most of the men are married and those that aren't are GI wolves--however, all in all the place wouldn't be too bad if there were some chance for recreation. I like the prospects of the job but I can't say much for the place --this isn't my idea of a duration plus assignment and yet rumor hath it that we will soon become permanent--there are people who have been here since it was opened who are still trying to get away....ho hum... and I would so like to be somewhere in the 9th SC

The quarters we are furnished stink, too. There are eight of us to a latrine--sharing two living rooms with two beds each in the bedrooms. The shower is so small that you actually have to back out to be able to turn around or else wash one side one week and the other the next. There is only one width of boards on the floors and the wind whistle thru it like it did thru Boomtown. In fact, they were originally built for civilian personnel from whom $10 rent per month would be collected--and we are allowed $45--we have tried to get cleard [sic] so several of us coulr [sic] get an apartment but the higherups [sic] say they are adequate and as long as such are furnished there is nothing we can do but gripe--and how we do that...

Time for chow--at least, we get one good meal a day--we are allowed to eat mess at the hospital--all the officers do -- and we get a scrumptious meal for 35¢--every once in a while there is some compensating fact that pops up...

So mayhaps I should stop this sad tale of woe and let you have a chance to spout off--how you're doing??? Lemme hear from you whenever you get the time...

Love 'n stuff 'n things, LLG