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I had a very nice Christmas (thanks for the lift Constance Moore!)

27 Dec

December 27, 1943

Camp Haan, California

Happy New Year

Dear Mom

Considering I wasn’t at home. I had a very nice Christmas. I really enjoyed myself.

I’ll start out and tell you all about it: well, Daryl Keller, Ray Gaspar and I left Friday evening for Los Angeles, we got there about 9 p.m. and couldn’t find any place to sleep. We wandered around L.A. in U.S.O. clubs and all around. Everybody was in that Christmas Eve spirit and it was a lot of fun just to walk around. We went to a hotel lobby and went to sleep in the chairs but pretty soon a guy came around, woke us up and asked us if we wanted a free bed, we said sure so he led us down the street and into a building where they had a lot of cots and we slept there. It was a Jewish organization, but they were awfully nice. We had a free breakfast too.

About 8 a.m. Saturday morning I left Ray and Darl to go out to Aunt Bess’. I got a street car out to Universal Studios, or rather I meant to go to North Hollywood and I got off there by mistake so I was lost. I was walking up past a little hotel and I asked an old man where Lockheed Aircraft was and he told me where it was then asked my where I was from. I told him and he said he had been to Roanoke a lot and then said he was going up the road and he would take me part the way.

He owned the hotel and took me in and showed me all around. I met his family and then he got the car out and took me up as far as he was going (that’s California hospitality for you.) I finally got over to Aunt Bess’ and spent the day over there. Audrey had a lot of her friends over and I had a real nice time. Edgar who is stationed down in San Diego got to go home for Christmas. I slept over their Christmas night and I had planned to meet Darl and Ray at Hollywood and Vine so I left Aunt Bess’ early Sunday morning.

We rambled around Hollywood sight seeing and having a good time in general. Sunday afternoon we decided to go to Beverly Hills so we started hitchhiking. Well we were standing along the side of the road and (this is the best part of our trip) here comes a big Chrysler New Yorker with a beautiful girl in it. She stopped and picked us up. We got in and were talking to her about the weather, Hollywood, and stuff like that. Ray asked her if she had ever been to Beverly Hills before and had she ever seen them making movies. Well I thought I had seen her before and I was trying to figure out where. And when we drove up at the Beverly Hills Hotel I decided to ask her who she was so I did, she just said “Oh, I’m Constance Moore.” I guess you know we were three pretty surprised soldiers to find out we had been riding all that way with a movie star.

In the tennis court at the hotel we watched Katherine Hepburn play tennis for a while. We walked around Beverly Hills for a while and saw some of the stars’ home. After that we started back to Camp. Now you see why I said I had a pretty nice Christmas.

Guess I’ll close for now. I hope this Christmas will be the last one I have to spend away from home.

Love to all, Tommy

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Had a swell time at the Hollywood Palladium on 40¢

21 Nov

November 14, 1943

Camp Haan, California

Dear Mom

I’m feelin’ mighty fine this Sunday. I was on a pass til 6:00 this morning and I got a ride to Hollywood and so I went over there. I went to the Hollywood Palladium and had a swell time on 40¢. The Palladium is Hollywood’s biggest dine and dance place and it’s really beautiful inside. They had Les Brown’s Orchestra playing and it’s only 40¢ to service men. I hope that you all come out here some day. There’s lots of things to see. Audrey wants me to take her dancing there sometime. She doesn’t get out much since her husband left. I would have gone over to see them yesterday if I had had a full weekend pass, but I just drove up with the mess sergeant and back early this morning.

We will be going out on the desert for a week or maybe two and we will probably get our furloughs after that. I’m awful anxious to get home. I miss you all so much. I’ll be glad when the war is over and I can be free again.

                                                                                               Love to all, Tommy

I went to the Hollywood Canteen

15 Nov

November 8, 1943

Camp Haan, California

Dear Mom

I am back in Haan now and living pretty good for a change. I’m afraid that we aren’t going to get our furloughs as soon as I expected. It may be the last of December or in January as they have added more time on our training. We will have to go out on the desert for a couple of weeks too, sometime before we get the furlough. I hate for that to happen. I was counting on being home for Thanksgiving, but then I will be able to save more money and there’s a chance that I may get home for Christmas. Anyhow I don’t feel any too badly about it although I am disappointed.

I was over in Hollywood yesterday and I spent the day with Aunt Bess and Audrey. I really had a wonderful time. After being around strangers for so long it felt mighty good to be with my own relatives for a change. Audrey and I went over and had dinner at the Vega Air Terminal, in a real nice restaurant called the Skyroom. It sits up and looks out over the airfield. While we were eating lots of Passenger planes and Flying Fortresses and other army planes, too, came in and landed. The air terminal is right there at the Vega plant and it was really thrilling for me to see. When I was coming up to their house I was about five blocks from the plant and I never saw it until Audrey showed it to me. That is the way it is camouflaged. It looks like a big hill and has houses and everything on it.

I went to the Hollywood Canteen too. I saw Marlene Dietrich, Claudette Colbert, George Raft, Adolphe Menjou and a bunch of others. I only had from Saturday night til Monday morning off but it was the best trip I’ve had. I hitchhiked all the way there and back and got there a lot faster than the bus.

Don’t worry about me because I am feeling ok now and I weigh 132. The only thing I find hard about being in the army is being away from home and all you folks I love so much. I didn’t realize how much everybody around home meant to me til I left. As long as I have such a swell family and sweetheart back home, being in the army isn’t so bad. The work is monotonous and everything but you get used to it.

When I get out of the army I will have gained a lot in many ways.

Guess I will close for tonight.

                                                                                               Love to all, Tom

Things must be changing around there

12 Nov

November 8, 1943

Camp Haan, California

Dear Pop

I got some more post cards for your collection now and I’ll try to send one everyday. With Bill wearing my clothes and dancing and Charlotte having a date, things must be changing around there.

We were issued 6 pairs of socks and turn them in for new ones when they get the slightest hole.

Love, Tom

Hollywood Canteen, Hollywood, California

L.A. is full of zoot suiters

27 Sep

September 27, 1943

Camp Irwin, California

Dear Pop,

Here’s another card for your collection. We’re putting in pretty full days here and we don’t have lights. I never expected Bill would start wearing my drapes. If you want to see plenty of zoot suits you ought to see Los Angeles. L.A. is full of those Mexican zoot suiters and they’re mean as everything.

Love, Tom

A portion of "the floor of fame," Grauman's Chinese Theatre, Hollywood, California

If you hang around in front of a studio you can see lots of beautiful girls

11 Sep

September 9, 1943

Camp Haan, California

Dear Mom,

I got your package. Thanks for the candy and stuff. It sure does come in good out here. We have a pretty nice place here at Haan. We are sleeping in barracks, and the food is good. We are getting more sleep now too. We get up at 5:45. Veronica Lake is going to be here Saturday night and I may get to see her.

Our next period out on the desert won’t be so hard because we will have more time. Last time we put in about five weeks training in three weeks. It will be cooler then too. They have a rainy season here too, sometime during the winter months, and they say it really rains. We are not doing much now. I had a two day pass Monday and Tuesday and I may get a weekend pass but only half of the Battery can leave at one time. We may have to go out and set up gun positions around March Field tonight, but it will only be for a few hours.

We got the news about Italy surrendering and 17 Nazi divisions being trapped yesterday. The news keeps on looking good. The news keeps on looking good. You may be right, it won’t be long before we’ll be coming home. I hope so anyhow.

I had a good time in Hollywood yesterday, it’s always a lot of fun to go over there. I believe I like there better than I do New York. Right in Los Angeles it’s not so nice but on out in Beverly Hills and Hollywood it’s really pretty. All of the best shops and theaters are in Hollywood and if you hang around in front of a studio you can see lots of beautiful girls too. I was in Paramount Studios and I saw Gary Cooper, C.B. DeMille, and Martha Rae working. I saw part of the set used in “Reap the Wild Wind” and those ships used were only about 2 feet long and almost the whole picture was made in one room. I got in the studio with some other soldiers. I had to leave in time to get back to camp, but I think I can get another pass when I go back and I’ll be able to see more of how pictures are made.

I’ve gotten all of Dad’s cards but I’ve been getting them two and three at a time instead of one everyday. I like to get your mail and with a package from Aunt Emma and you, I have plenty to eat now.

Love to all, Tom

Don’t ever worry about me cause I’m getting along ok

8 Sep

 

 

 

 

 

September 8, 1943

Camp Haan, California

Dear Mom,

I’m back in Haan now and I will try to keep up my writing from now on. I was on a pass over in Hollywood Monday and Tuesday. I ate dinner in “Sardi’s”, the place where you hear that radio program “Breakfast at Sardi’s.” I had a good time over there and I want to go sometime during the broadcast.

We are going back to the desert in two weeks and we will stay for eight weeks or more. After this next stretch is over our Basic will be over and we are due to get furloughs. I may be home for Thanksgiving. I’m hoping and praying that we will. I’m getting so I don’t mind it much and I like what I am doing. Don’t ever worry about me cause I’m getting along ok.

I got Aunt Emma’s box today and I will be looking for yours. Tell Charlotte I am looking for those cookies and if I get them I’ll send something. One thing I would like for you all to send me sometimes is a newspaper from home. I sure would like to see one. I am going to send you a copy of our camp newspaper.

I’m pretty tired so I will close for tonight. I’ll write again tomorrow.

Love to all, Tom

P.S. I got all of dad’s cards.