Edward J. Thomas - World War II

Sat. Jul 29 Germany introduces the ME 163, the war's first jet.
Thur. Aug 3 the Allies capture Myitkyina, Burma but with heavy losses.

Below letter written by Edward J. Thomas

3 August 1944 Thursday

Dear Mom, Harry & Izzy:

I am enclosing another letter of Stanley's which he wrote in answer to the
letter I sent him during my furlough. Apparently Stanley is very interested in spiritualism as I once was and probably will be again, I am afraid, when I am ready to answer his letter. The book which Stanley searched for so long, entitled"The Unobstructed Universe" was known to me in the Aleutians. At that time I also knew that Stewart Edward White wrote it. I haven't, however, read the book yet.

Stanley seems pretty well convinced that there is life after death because
of the evidence given in this book. As far as I am concerned, there is one thing that would stop me from believing as he does. I believe it is quite possible that a living mind may have supernatural powers because there are so many ligitimate cases of persons able to perform extraordinary mental stunts. It is definitely known that some people have powers of telepathy and others haven't. What I am not sure of yet is whether living minds actually communicate with spirit minds. I haven't come across anything that would definitely prove it. The fact that a person feels the presence of a spirit or the fact that he appears to communicate with one is not proof, even though his feeling and communication may be positive and genuine to himself. It is not proof because there is the possibility of living minds unconsciously communicating with other living minds on earth. They receive messages like some radio operators who are mystified by certain sounds and then come to the conclusion they are receiving messages from some other planet when
actually they are receiving them from someplace on earth. That's what I am going to tell Stanley and make him just as doubtful about the subject as I am.

I gratefully received your package of doughnuts, tarts and candy, but I
regret to say I didn't pick it up at the post office soon enough. Everything
around here is pretty well disorganized and sometimes I don't go to the post office every day because I am not able to arrive there on time. When packages come into this camp, the post office takes the names off the packages and lists them on a sheet which they hang up on the wall. I didn't refer to this sheet for same time and therefore never called for any package until the post office brought, it to my attention. How long the package remained at the post office I don't know, but it was there long enough to allow the raspberry tarts to become moldy In spite of that, they looked very appetizing and I was even tempted to eat molds and all. The doughnuts, however, were all right and I made a meal of them. I like receiving such delicacies once in a while but for the present it is not so convenient to receive them. Later on when everything is permanently settled, I will be glad to get now and then any palate tickling confections you can send.

About a week ago we had a ferocious storm. It began when I was feeling
my way toward the tent about midnight. The wind stepped up to a high velocity and the wash pans on the benches outdoors began to clatter and take off like birds. After entering my tent, I lowered the canvas wall on my side. Others were waking up and doing the same until finally the walls of the entire tent were down.

It was hard to fall asleep because the loose walls of the tent made loud
slapping sounds. About an hour later my doze was interrupted by terrific noises. The world seemed to be going mad. There was a clamorous deluge with lightning and thunder and a wild wind which made the entire tent puff and flap like a fighting rooster. Everybody was awake now. Many were out of bed, some trying to secure the tent walls and door flaps and others were getting their pup tents out to protect themselves or their equipment from leaks. I remained in bed and wondered how much longer the tent would last. I waited for it to be blown away any second. The storm died down, however, in about 15 minutes and allowed me to go back to sleep with some relief.

A couple or hours later I again was awakened by another storm twice as
strong. The tent wall was hitting my bed like a ramrod. Rain came into the
tent in big sprays and water dripped from the roof almost everywhere. Some of the beds were turning into bath tubs. The boy on my right stood in his bed and contemplated his excessive humidity and dedided to roll up his mattress and blankets and transfer them to another vacant bed across the aisle where he thought it would be slightly dryer. The boy on my left picked up his blankets and went through the storm into the huge garage about 100 yards away. The other boys were either sitting up or standing in bed cursing like dead-end kids and wondering what to do. I remained lying oown, thinking that there was no use in trying to improve my situation or do anything about my barracks bags and hand-bag which were on the ground. What was the use in fussing around, I thought, if the tent was going to come down eventually and drench everything. To keep the rain from soaking through the blanket which covered me, I grabbed another one which lay on my barracks bag and threw it over me.

In the morning everybody had the problem of finding dry clothes with which to dress themselves. My trousers were saturated completely. Fortunately I had a dirty pair under my mattress which were dry. My shirt which hung on the bed post was half drenched. I put it on anyway. Dressing had to be done in bed because the ground was muddy. After putting on a dry pair of socks, I stuck my feet into my wet shoes and waded out of the tent to work.

Harry, in one of your letters you gave me the annual weather report for
Tennessee which stated that violent storms are rare. After the storm I experienced, I think must interpret your report quite differently than I originally did. The word "violent" in the report really means furious enough to blow building down.

Izzy, you asked me if I had done any bowling in Memphis. Yes, I did--one
game at the Catholic Club. I made up my mind never to go there again. The
floor was slivery, the balls were nicked and out of round and the pin boys comeup right to you after you are through to ask for a tip. 15¢ for the game plus 10¢ for the tip makes it 25¢ a line on an alley I wouldn't play free of charge. My score was 113 but I shouldn't count it at all because the alley and balls were too much below standard.

Mom, I received the ballot card which you sent me with your last letter.
I filled it out and am sending it today to the City Clerk of Detroit. I hope the Socialists will be on the ballot because I would like to have a chance to snub the Democrats. I don't like the way they are running the Army. I heard yesterday that a soldier for failing to salute a colonel was bawled out, court-martialed and busted. Now,that isn't democracy--that is Nazism. Of course, there is no other party I can hold responsible for this except, the Democrats. I wish I could put the blame on the chicken-brained Republicans just as easily as Hitler puts the blame on the Jew's, but I can't.

As a result of that storm, all of us have moved out of our tents into the
huge garage nearby. It was something I never wished to do because the garage is too crowded with double bunks placed closely together. The air is foul and hot with very little ventilation to improve it. The tents, on the other hand, were well ventilated places because the walls could be raised to allow the cool night air to pass through. Storm or no storm, I think if I had my own way I would remain in the tent.

In my next letter I'll give you an idea of what my work day schedule is.
I was going to do it in this letter but the storm blew in and cluttered it up
too much.

With love, Eddie


Letter from Jerry at Camp Robinson

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