Edward J. Thomas - World War II

11 July 1945 Wednesday
Memphis 15, Tenn

Dear Mom, Harry & Izzy:

You won't help noticing Stanley's letter which I have inclosed because
it is written on sheets large enough to paper a bedroom.

It seems he is getting a little restless in Long Beach. He says he
would move out right now if it weren't for conditions being so unsettled.
His main reason for wanting to move seems to be the weather. He surprised
me by saying Los Angeles did not have any summer for the past two years.
If he intends to move into better weather, it means he must go farther south.
The only places he could go farther south to a better climate without giving
up his citizenship would be Florida or Hawaii. If the Los Angeles Chamber
of Commerce discovered in what manner he is calling them liars, they would
kick him all the way to Death Valley and anchor him there vri.t.h balls -nd

Stanley's main interest and study still is spiritualism. I guess he
has read too many books in favor of it and absolutely believes that it is
possible to communicate with the dead. Maybe his interest in this subject
was aroused by the fact that Stewart Edward White lives nearby in California. Mr. White's, although dead, is still considered by many to be living because she has been successful in communicating with this world and even has written a book through a medium.

A couple of days ago the Quartermaster Section threw a oarty for a
Technical Sergeant who received an honorable discharge. He is the first
man in our section who was changed into a civilian by Lady Luck. And try
to guess how he got out. Not on points. He didn't have even as many as I
have. He was longer in the army than I, but had not gone overseas.
Neither did he get out on any physical defects. He is young, about 27, and
healthy enough to be a commando. He got out because he was a farmer. His
mother and father were taking care of about 100 acres and needed extra help. The first time I ever knew the sergeant was trying to get out on account of his farm was in a beer garden about four or five months ago. I went over to the table where he was sitting, drinking beer, and looking sad. He told me he was trying to get out. That explained to me why he was looking so sad. He pulled out a long letter which was typewrritten and showed it to me. He told me it was just a rough draft and explained how he worked on it over six months writing and rewriting it and how he expected one of these days to get it in shape. I read the letter. It gave details about his farm near Buffalo--how big it was, how many cows and horses it had and how many acres were planted, and how desperately his father and mother were in need of help. I laughed to myself, thinking that he was just daydreaming, building castles in the air, just to keep his spirits up. I told him there was no harm in trying to throw off his military harness, but smiled at him as if he hadn't even a Jap's chance. A couple of months later after he had his letter written in its final form, he waited for the proper time to send it to the War Department. He mailed his letter right after Germany surrendered and in a very short time received an answer from the War Department saying that he would be discharged. A couple of weeks after that he received his orders to leave for the separation center at Fort Dix. The party was given for him the day before he left. It was a surprise to him. It was held in one section of a nearbv small restaurant. The ceiling was decorated with paper ribbons and the tables were set up in banquet style with linen, candles, and fLowers. After we were all seated, the Technical Sergeant was led in by a Master Sergeant (the blind man with a cane in one of my snapshots) who casually had invited him over and made him believe it was going to be a private dinner just for two. He didn't know what he was headed for until he was almost on top of us. He became a little embarrassed and kept saying, "Why didn't someone tell me about this. Even my best friends wouldn't tell me. Why didn't some one tell me." A photographer came in and took a picture of the whole gang. If I am able to buy a print, I will send it home. As soon as we became settled down to eat, we were told no beer was available. That was a great disappointment to some because they expected to have beer as an appetizer for the steak which was being served. Those who preferred highballs weren't disappointed. Some boys went out for whiskey to a liquor store around the corner. The restaurant furnished the soft drinks and ice. After the dinner was over several, as is usual at such parties,began to call for a speech. The guest of honor rose trying to think what to say and then drawled out a few words of appreciation. He took his time in thinking what to say next. He could do it without too much embarrassment because almost everybody was putting him at ease by creating noise and commotion. I strained very hard to help him by telepathy but I myself couldn't think of a thing to say.

The party ended at midnight with only one man knocked out. It wasn't I,
but I could have been the second knockout if I had taken another highball.

Judging by the way this sergeant received his discharge, it seems as if all I have to do is buy a farm, have some cows put on it·and some corn planted. But I don't think it's that easy. I believe the Red Cross checks up on the property to see that it is actually producing large crops and that there is a desperate need for help. I suppose they also would make sure the soldier formerly earned his living by farming and that the farm was not bought solely for the purpose of obtaining a discharge.

Mom, I want to say a few words in regard to the good news you gave me
about some of our mink. You said one kit from a Black Cross female was
practically all white. I believe it is the one I saw on my furlough, but at
that time it was barely a few weeks old and hard to tell what it would be
like later on. Since you have written that it still Looks just as white,
I believe it may be the beginning of our white mutation stock. The silver
mink born of a Blufrost female is even better news. I hope it really turns
out to be a silver mutation because I think silver mink pelts will sell at
higher prices than pure white.

In regard to that Army job in Washington, I wrote the sergeant who is stationed there that I made up my mind to stay in Memphis for the duration. If I had decided to be transferred, it probably wouldn't delay my discharge, but I couldn't be too sure about that because I could be transferred from Washington to some overseas post from where it would take much longer to return to civilian life.

The only possible way I can see of getting a discharge before the war is
over is through a lowered age limit. If the age limit is reduced to 35, I
don't believe my being in Washington would stop me from getting out of the
Army. However, even if I were sure the time of my discharge wouldn't be
affected, I still wouldn't want to go to ·Washington because of the extra
work required to adjust myself to a new place. In the Army it isn't worth
going through that trouble for a slightly better location or even a promotion
when there is a possibility of a discharge coming soon.

Harry, I understand just how cramped you are for time and if I don't
hear from you during long periods, I won;t wonder why. If I had about 135
mink to take care of after working overtime at a factory, I know I wouldn't
be able to write even a word.

I received your racket and have played about six sets of singles and
three sets of doubles. I find that a tennis player playing singles in this
section of the country really has two opponents instead of one. One is the
man on the other side of the net and the other is the heat. Of the two, the
toughest is the heat.

In the June issue of the American Fur Breeder there is one of the most
intelligent articles ever written on mink nutation genetics by Leon J. Cole.
After having read several paragraphs, I was amazed to discover that at last
I came across a mink writer on genetics who made sense. I looked to see who the author was and found he was a member of the Department of Genetics in the University of Wisconsin. It took a college professor to explain to the mink breeders exactly what takes place in mink heredity. Even then I doubt whether many ranchers will fully understand this article.

Izzy, I was glad to receive the first set of snapshots. I sold them
immediately to one of the fellows. The other fellows by this time probably
have forgotten they have a set coming. Like a fool I was going to suggest
putting in an order at several Cunningham stores at one time, but I happened
to think there is only one set of negatives. If I didn't notice my blunder before mailing this letter anyone could be justified in calling me completely stupid. Catching it in time makes me only half stupid, I hope.

141 is a surprisingly high average in 24 bowling games. It is doubtful
whether I could do it at any time in three. If you keep it up, I'll be
convinced you are much better than I. Right now I can't give you any of my bowling scores because I haven't bowled for the last four or five months except the three games on my furlough. Therefore, instead of giving bowling scores, I'll give you my scores in tennis. When I started to warm up in preparation for playing doubles, I looked worse than a beginner. As a result I was given the strongest partner to keep the sides even. Because of this misjudgement, the sides were unevenly matched. I and my partner won all three sets without trying. The scores were 6-4, 6-3, and 6-1. A few days later I played six sets with Williams who just recently started to play. For a beginner he was surprisingly strong. I won five sets out of six. The scores were 6-4, 7-5, 6-4, 6-3, 2-6, and 6-2.

that is all, folks. This station is signing off. At the next stroke
of the key, the time will be

So long, Eddie

Thur. Jul 5 The Allies Control Council controls Germany's government, also General Douglas MacArthur says that the Philippines are liberated.

Fri. Jul 13 has Italy declaring war on Japan.

Edward J. Thomas Becomes a Sergeant

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