Transcription of Document FFDoc-0234.pdf

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Sherman, Joe

Shields, Frank

Thurs. morning

Hi Frank, Sorry I didn't write sooner but you see we are having only four weeks training to do what took three months in peacetime. So I am kept pretty busy. I only wrote a couple of letters besides the ones to my people.

I am having a swell time and enjoying every minute of it. The time flies here. You have something to do all the time. Here it's three weeks I have been away and I have not even managed to scribble off a letter to my old pal - one of the last guys I had a drink with. I'll try to make it up with this letter.

Yesterday was a busy day. We got up at 4:45 regular awakening time here. We went out to exercise - Gene Tunny. We had a real workout. They tell us that we only have 15 min exercise in the morning but I'd bet anything it's more like twenty five.

Sun morning

I got your letter Friday after having just started writing a letter to you Thurs. You needn't excuse yourself for not writing sooner. I am just as much at fault as you. You can see how busy I am. I started Thurs and the next time I picked up the pen it's Sunday. Boy, when you are busy like down here, you write your letters in two, three or four installments. I can understand how difficult it is trying to find some time, when you are going to school - especially college. It seems we are both in the same boat. I have something doing every minute and when I haven't I write letters to my people and friends. The other correspondence was by postcards. Among the people (friends) who got letters from me were Joe Owens & June White. I got a lot of inside stuff from Joe. Flash!!! Regina Shanohan got married!!! Sob, Sob, Sob. Flash!!! Dan Miney's going to the army at the end of the month. Flash!!! Harry Pollack trying to dodge draft. I was thinking that you, me, Danny, Joe, Ken, Marty Patches go over to the Iceland some night with girls while I'm home. Joe & Danny can't wait until I go home so we can go out. How about the Iceland. I heard so much about it, I don't think it would cost so much and I am sure everyone would have a swell time dining, Dance, etc. I'll call you up Wed, 6:00 PM when I get home and settled. Meanwhile, something will come in the mail. I hope it holds you, until we go out. That party at the Iceland could be a real reunion. It could be for my return and Danny's going away. After that I don't think we'll see each other for some time so we'll make it good. Another Flash!! Just came in ¬®Joe Owens is going with Rose elevator operator. You couldn't have been more glad to hear from me than I was to hear from you. Gee, a letter from someone you know is the greatest thing on earth. I was surprised myself to wind up in Virginia. You see we went to the recruiting station for a final check up at 8:00 A.M. We were through there at 1P.M. From there we headed for Penn Station. I thought I was off for Newport for sure. Then they told us to meet at the spot in Penn. Station where they had brought us at 10P.M. O'clock. Then I started figuring - 23 hrs to Chicago. We are taking a sleeper. We ain't going to Newport. If we were why would they have us come back at 10 o'clock, when we could make it in 4 hrs to Newport. Get there at a nice time - 5 P.M. I thought of Norfolk but I figured the same as I did of Newport. I thought it was only a 6 hr trip instead it turned out to be 11 hrs. We got in Norfolk at about 10 A.M. o'clock. So to my dismay I found out that I wasn't as good as Dick Tracy in patching up little details and get a correct solution. Well, I am glad I got down here. I ain't too near home - Newport - or too far - Chicago and it's swell weather down here. If I went to either of the other places, I would be wearing my blues all the time. Right down here we wear our whites (when we dress up) and denim overalls [work clothes] & blouses, when we work. We usually roll  the sleeves up and it's very seldom that you need a sweater or any extra clothing. We having been exercise every morning in our bathing trunk, crew (skivvy) shirt and sneakers. Lately it's been a bit chilly in the early morning so we wear our denim dungarees, black wool sweater & sneakers. They tell you that you exercise for 15 min but if they said 20 or 30, it would be more like it. Besides doing these morning exercises we usually have a set of 12 different coordination exercises in the afternoon. These coordination exercises are really whacky - move right foot forward, left arm backward, etc. Real crazy. Besides that we have been taken out twice to the parade grounds from about 9 to 11 o'clock in the morning by the instructors. They are all college graduates or sports figures - Tony Zale, our C.P.O. was a member of 1936 Olympic team.

P.T. They get a chief specialist rating - chief boatswain. Exercises are about the only thing they can do. When they pick us up to bring us from our barracks to the drill field in the morning, we get a couple of laughs. The only two commands they know are "March" and "Halt." You want to see them try to get us in position. It's hot stuff. But they really know their exercises. After they get through with you, you know that you have exercised. You want to hear the guys curse Gene Tunney especially the guys that are up over 23 but I rather like it. It's a good conditioner. If you did what they told you everyday for a year you would have every muscle in your body developed. Whey they take us out to the parade grounds we do everything - play games, relay races, and every imaginable exercise. yes, it is some training. That's the physical part. The mental training is just like it. We attend lectures and movies on every imaginable subject - Flag signals, compass, parts of ship, gunnery, first aid, oral hygiene, seamanship, boat drills, rowing, syphilis, conduct on leave, saboteurs. If they don't have movies on the subject, they have model's, diagrams or illustrations. It's very interesting and entertaining. I really like it. It  would be hard to dislike. Yes, we have a happy hour. We also have a smoker every Friday nite. They have a big name band (had Mitchell Ayres and this week Abe Lyman;[)] professional entertainers and amateur boxing bouts (fellows on base).  I have been so busy that I didn't even go to one of them. You are through at 3:30 or 4. You are free but usually you have wash to do or something else. I really wanted to go to these Smokers but I couldn't - too busy. One day I washed ten pieces of clothes, hammock & sea bag. I was out ashing, until you couldn't see any more it was so dark. Another night I had a dental appointment etc.

You can let me have your brother's address, when I come home. Maybe, we'll bump into each other sometime. I'd like to drop him a card or letter. Ween will he get a leave.

That enlisted Reserve sounds pretty good. Too bad you didn't join the Navy. I know you'd like it. It's swell. I passed Captain's Inspection Sat, yesterday. That meant I got shore leave. I went into Norfolk and had a swell time. We had a couple of beers, something to eat (Turkey dinner), and walked around town, went to a Penny Arcade.

I don't know if it was my sister who called but it sounds like her. I don't think that she would fool around with your mother, though. I think that she would have sense enough to wait until you got  on. She always kids around like that but I doubt, if it was she.

I am about 4 to 6 hrs from my aunt in Asheville, N.C. I might visit her, if I get stationed here. I am not being sent to trade school. I am going to sea probably right after I come back.

I got plenty of time to write. You see today is Sunday and we have off. Writitive, ain't I. That's a Winchell.

Wait till you see me. I had my hair cut twice since I have been here. You want to see how these uniforms fit. I look like I was poured into mine. The uniforms are swell though.

As you can probably see on one of these pages, I was out under a tree writing this letter when it started raining. Some of the ink is smeared. We only had about 3 bad days, since I have been here. On two of these three days it rained and on the other day it was real chilly.

I amd getting speechless so I think I'll close.

See you at the Iceland, your pal,  Joe

Just signed my pay receipt. You have to put your fingerprints on back of check.

P.S. If you want to have a good hearty laugh, I'll let you have a look at my Navy Identification Card.

Peter Joseph Sherman

Platoon 504 NOBNTS, Norfolk, VA.

copyright 2014-2023 Francis J. Shields