January 21, 1944
No. 1

Dear Folksies,

       Things here continue pretty much the same except that once again we have some boarders. How long they will be with us, we know not. They are just female and I had to move three of my wards-full of patients down from the second to the first floor, so as to accommodate this menagerie. Bill Kuzell has been on leave this week with Paul Stratte, and as a consequence I have taken Bill’s wards and have been kept pretty busy. I still am in supreme command of the diphtheria wards and the other day George Wood assisted me in trying to get rid of some of our persistent carriers by yanking their tonsils. George did one and I did the next two.

        Incidentally, George has been swell to me and has taught me quite a bit, letting me do a couple of appendices on some of his patients – no I don’t mean more than one appendix per patient. We’ve gotten to be rather good friends – he’s really a peach of a person.

        Roy Cohn was gone for a short time, having gone back to Africa temporarily to take friend Samson’s place, as the latter has dermatitis of the hands that would not permit him to operate. However, the dermatitis apparently cleared up rather rapidly and Roy was soon back with us again. Vivian Steger was transferred a few days ago. Why, I know now.

        Our, or I guess I should say “my” basketball team, has had a slump. The boys made me their official manager after I got them in the tournament and then, when I talked them up a great deal and had quite a goodly group to witness their first tournament game, what do they do but play the lousiest game that they had played to date. They weren’t really even playing basketball, and as a consequence, they took quite a beating from a team that they should have had no trouble beating. No one was able to play that night at all!

        Then, last night, in the second game of the tournament, they did O.K., but lost by a mere one point. Last night’s game, however, was a darn good game and we didn’t mind losing that one so much, but coupled with the loss of the first one it kind of leaves us in the cellar so far as the tournament standing is concerned. Maybe they’ll do better in the next games, however.

        Of course, one difficulty is that we haven’t had any basketball with which to practice — in fact there are very few on the Island, and the only practice the boys have been able to have has been in actual games. At any rate, it isn’t an elimination type of tournament, but each team is to play every other team in the tournament and the team who has won the most games out of the 15 games will then be the winner and will travel to Africa to play the winner of the North African basketball tournament. Who knows, maybe the boys will have a winning streak from now on.

                                                                                            Loads of love,

rene-transparent

.

Watch for the the rest of this letter
on January 26, 1944

René tells his parents that he has been operating with George Wood.

Roy Cohn is back with the unit after spending some time in Africa.