April 18, 1944 – 75 years ago in a WW2 M.A.S.H. Unit

April 18, 1944
No. 16

Dear Folksies,

            Things are really beginning to be “Springy” around here now — the blossoms are coming out, the flowers are beginning to bloom “tra-la, tra-la,” and some of the men have even taken up Victory Garden planting. One of the boys, the fellow who runs our showers, has set up a nice little garden plot in which he has planted radishes, onions, and I don’t know what else. He planted the radishes one day and it wasn’t more than a few days before he found them coming out of the earth at a great rate. Really Jack & the Beanstalk style.

              The sun-bathing is now going along in full tilt and officers, nurses and men are showing up with reddened faces and arms these mornings after having been exposed to the sun the afternoon before. We have a pretty nice set-up for sun-bathing right here on the top of the roofs. Patients go up on the roof of their respective buildings and the men also find their way on the same roofs. The nurses have a section just above their quarters and we, likewise, have a secluded section above ours. The walls around the roofs serve a double purpose, keeping the wind away from us and also acting sort of as The Walls of Jericho — separating the officers and nurses sections so that various stages of undress can be permitted on either side.

            A couple of the more foolhardy have gone to the beach and have come back with stories that they “did swim,” but most of us have our doubts for, though the air was warm enough, the water still has that next-to-freezing appearance. But, I guess it really won’t be more than a couple of weeks before all will be trotting to the beach in the afternoon and swimming in the Blue Tyrrhenian once again.

            Oh, yes, while I’m thinking of swimming. Will you send me a new pair of swimming trunks, preferably blue, but not really particular, size 38.

            Chuck Schwartz recently returned to us after a short period of detached service as medical officer for an outfit that was short one, and while away he learned the art of parachute jumping. Not out of necessity, but just because it was a thrill to him. He actually did make one jump from 900 ft., landing without a scratch. He was really all pepped up when he came back after that. He also had some rides in gliders and that was quite an experience too.

            Had some good English beer the other day. My ex-London-cabby friend, referred to as “Spooky” doesn’t drink it, and since they get a ration, he offered his to Daib and myself. It really tasted mighty good.

            During this last week I was attending the Malaria School Lab course and it was really excellent. It was given by Capt. Connell, the ex-Dartmouth Parisitologist and he is most interesting. He also gave us some dope on intestinal parasites, amebae, etc. which was also very good.

                                                                                         Loads of love,

rene-transparent

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Watch for my next letter
April 22, 1944

René tells his parents that Chuck Schwartz recently returned to the unit after a short period of detached service.

“The sun-bathing is now going along in full tilt,” René tells his parents. Pictured left to right above are sunbathers Eddie Welles, Mattie (Carleton Mathewson) and Bret Smart