Great luck! Frank is stationed in Madison, WI, at Truax Field, where he is not only close to home, but in a university town—and girls are plentiful, and so is the food. Meals including butter and “all the milk you can drink” are noteworthy. It was a big deal because several food items, including butter and sugar, were rationed. He asks Lil if she has enough #14 ration coupons (at left is Frank’s pre-service ration book, each number is a coupon that allows the purchase of a rationed item). Lil had complained about a shortage of meat in her 3/31 letter.
Dear Lill and Fred,
How is everything back there? I’ve been moved closed to home now so I’ll be seeing you soon. This is a new field. It started last June so it isn’t even a year old. It looks like the objective of our air attack. We are just outside of Madison, Wis., and that’s really a nice town. I’m going to have a lot of fun here this summer.
The town is long and narrow being situated between 2 large lakes (Menona and Mendota). Its map looks something like this. (See Frank’s drawing in original letter below.) How is Essie and the Blitz? [My parents’ two cars—an Essex and Blitzbuggy. The latter carried Frank to the draft office]. Did you get Essie’s roof fixed? I think I’m coming in next Monday morning and look the old Buggy over. I’ll see you before you go to work. If I get in I’ll get there about 5:30 or 6:00 A.M.
Well I’m finally getting a break getting near a university. Oh Boy! What chicken and easy picking. I went through the university and state hospital yesterday and made several good contacts. I spoke to the head surgeon and got permission to watch an operation. Also, I was in the basement and spoke to the head of the radium clinic. He is a young fellow about 30 years old.
They have a good U.S.O. In town and good amusement for anybody. The camp is a cinch. It’s the easiest I’ve ever been in. Hardly any work and the officers and Non coms are nice fellows. The food is good and you usually can get plenty of it.
Tell mom that I got the letter she sent to Sioux Falls and the money order too, but the Brownie didn’t get here as yet. I’m back with Johnnie Hetzel again but he’s in a different Sqdn [squadron] and 1 class ahead of me.
I got a box of candy from Dutch Mills from a girl who worked there when I was home. Her sister knows you or rather knew you several years ago at church; her last name is Lorig. [Jerry Lorig, who wrote Frank] So now I’m eating chocolate covered nuts of every variety.
What have you been doing of late, Lil, and how’s everything by you? Are you getting along with the rationing system or don’t you have enough no. 14 coupons?
They started me over again in school and I’m taking primary mathematics which is just about as hard as falling out of bed. We are now on logarithms and graphs which I had in high school and college. I pity those poor fellows who have not had any of these courses for their course covers 3 years of math in 2 weeks.
This head of the Radium clinic is a swell fellow and he showed me how you actually use the radium. The only part of the radium you use is the gas emitted. He seals the gas molecules in fine glass tubing and then goes through an elaborate process of finding its strength by the falling of a gold leaf electroscope. It’s really very interesting.
The university campus I can’t describe. I don’t think that anyone would try to. It’s about a mile and a half long and half that wide. There is a big hill in the center of the area which is called Bascom (?) Hill and there are buildings all over it, each one teaching a different branch of knowledge.
I am now trying to write this letter in the dental clinic of the hospital on my knee and to and it’s really improving my handwriting as you can notice. Well, I’m running out of things to say so I’ll close now. I remain,
Your brother Frank
For better or for worse, I do remember rationing books–my dad brought home horsemeat one day and my mom was horrified (no beef around),but Dad loved it. We made due with a lot of things in WWII.