Cu-Chi, Sunday, March 23, 6:30 pm:

 

It's  really  nice  to have a half-day off once a week. It makes the weekend seem like a weekend  instead of  just another day.

From the  tone  of your letters you seem disappointed that I'm just  the General's  barber.  I  know you  aren't really  but  it does sound sort of weird when people ask you what your husband is doing in the war, to have to say  "He's the General's  barber." Well  I've  been thinking all day about a title for me that would sound impressive enough  for you   to   spread  around.  Well  here   goes.  I'm  the "Non-commissioned officer-in-Charge  (NCOIC)  of  the  25th Infantry  Division's   Headquarters  personnel hygiene  and grooming detachment  under  direct  supervision  of  Major General  Ellis  B.  Williamson,  Commander,  25th Inf. Div." How's that?  Sounds impressive huh?

Well, my Bic pen just broke so I  have  to be  careful while I write.

I  wrapped your  china  today  and  I'll  send  it off tomorrow by boat so it ought to come in about 3-4 weeks.  (I hope)  It  costs $25.60 by airmail and $4.10 by boat so it's coming by boat.  I just hope it gets  there  in  one  piece. I'll  insure  it  for  $50 so if it breaks I can buy another one.

We're having a "short-timers" party  for  the  1st  Sgt that's  leaving.  He  bought  steaks and bar-b-qued them and iced down some beer and cokes and we're having a party  this evening.  It sure tasted good.

I  went to church today and was given the Home teachers district leader job here in Cu-Chi and also I have  to  give a  talk  next  Sunday.  I'll either talk about the 2,000 sons of Helaman or the trials of Job.  I  think  either  one  is appropriate.

Today was  a slow day at the barbershop but yesterday I got over $12 in tips.  They add up real quick but I  spend it as fast as I get it.

No  letter  from you  tonight so I'll probably get two tomorrow.  I still love you anyway.

This job of mine gets better everyday although it  gets more  monotonous.  I'm exempt  from ALL extra duty and only work 8-12, 1-5 with Sunday afternoons  off.  I  still  can't believe  there's  a war going on around me.  It just hasn't got to me yet.

I'll try and call again this week or next on  my  lunch hour,  which  is about the same time I got you last time 8-9 pm.

 

Cu-Chi, Monday, March 24, 6:30 pm:

 

Do you realize that  in a  little  over  one week  of barbering  I have received over $94 in tips.  But I've spent $118.75 on misc. junk like a fan,  radio and  iron  for my barbershop,  some  bamboo wallpaper, pants, chinaware and small items.  I'll start saving some of that money now  that I don't need too much else.

Now  a  little  about  the mail.  You might think that these letters take a long time to get to you but here's  the reason.  I  write you  in the  evening when the day is the prettiest, just cooling off and after I've had my  shower. I  put  the  letter  in the mailbox and it doesn't go to the post office until the following afternoon  at  4:30  pm and then it leaves the APO post office for shipment to Bien-Hoa where it's loaded on a plane for  the States.  (the world) So  it  seems like it takes a long time to get to you but if anything special happens I'll take the letter right to the post office and it will get to you one day sooner.

.

Your adventurous  husband doesn't really have too much exciting to tell you.  Oh yes, I  sent  your  china  off  at noon  today.  I'll send you another set to give to Larry and Barbara and I'll send Jim and Ilene a set and by  then Ron and Marlene will want  one1  etc.  There's  no  limit  on chinaware so I can send as many as I want.

I went out to the bunker line at noon  on  the way  to mail  your  china.  I  wasn't  very  impressed by the whole thing.  It was just a bunch of broken down old sandbags  and a  little  barbed wire.  It's no wonder that the VC got into this camp three weeks ago and blew  up nine  big choppers. If  the VC really tried I bet they could just walk into this place.  But don't worry.  They  keep  the perimeter pretty well guarded since the last attack.

I  can't  believe  these people here.  They get drunk every night just to  forget  this  place.  Then they  start again in the morning just to get an early start.

Well I have to go take a shower and go to bed now.

 

Cu-Chi, Tuesday, March 25, 6:15 pm:

 

I  got  your package  this  evening.  Thanks  for  the little flower in the pot.  I'll put that in my  barbershop so  everyone  can  get  inspiration from it,  but especially me.

It's funny to get answers to questions  I  wrote  last week  in today’s  mail.  But I try and stay loose.  Now that you tell me to  go  ahead  and pick  out  the  china,  it's already  on  its'  way.  It  shows we  communicate by means other than letters.  Why just this minute I  got  a thought that  I should go over to the MARS station and call you.  So you must have been dreaming about me  since  it's  2:30  am where you  are.  Thanks for dreaming of me but I don't want to wake you.  You need your  energy  to take  care  of  my daughters.

I  think  I'll write letters tonight since I don't have a whole lot else to do.  It's nice to look  forward to the evening when I  can  relax  and write you my thoughts and problems.

The hootch girls (17 & 19 yrs old)  have  a  nice  name for  me  already.  Since  there's  no J  in the Vietnamese language it's very hard for them to call  me  Jake.  So the other  day we were having my Vietnamese lesson for the day and I came across the word for tall which  is  "cao"  (cow). And  I  said cao and pointed to myself, that I was tall, so now I'm called cao.  Affectionately,  of  course.  The  two hootch  girls  names  are Lan (the one who cleans the barber shop) and Hai, who works next door but spends a lot of  time in the barbershop.  Neither  of  them speaks English but between the GI Pigeon English  they  know  and the  little Vietnamese I've picked up, we get along fine.

We had a  little  excitement last night for a change. As I was  getting  into bed two mortar  rounds went  off somewhere  close  and  I headed for the bunker next door.  I didn't go in because no more went off but it definitely  did scare  me  somewhat.  Then about  3:00  am a helicopter was flying right above my hootch shooting his  machine  gun at something or  another.  I lay there watching the tracers go shooting down like falling red stars.  It  at  least  looked real, you know, like a war or something!

Today was  a busy  day  at  the  shop and I picked up $l5.80 in tips.  If it keeps up this way  I'll be  sending you  $200  a month more, since that's all I can send without them asking questions.  The rest I'll spend and  send home in  gifts  so  I  can please everyone.  I guess the Lord is taking care of us like always.  I sure hope I  can pay him back someday.

I  don't  really  know how  I  can write  three pages everyday but since I can't talk to you direct I guess I  try and write  everything that I would say if I were there with you.

 

I was just talking to one of  the  guys,  Sgt  Tom,  an Indian  from Oklahoma,  who is really wanting to go back to the field.  He's going nuts around here  because  they  just can't keep him busy enough to suit him.  He's been telling me some of his stories and it definitely sounds like fun to be  out where the action is but I can't afford it.  When the Army will give me Sgt's pay and $l0-15  a  day  for  cutting hair,  I can't afford to turn them down just for the sake of excitement.

p.s.  R&R in Hawaii in Sept. OK??

 

Cu-Chi, Wednesday, March 26, 6:45 pm:

 

Well I earned my  money  today.  I  cut Major General Williamson's   hair  and  gave him a  neck  rub with  the vibrator.  He's real quiet but I could tell he  liked the neck  rub if  not  the haircut.  The Chief of Staff came in this morning.  He's the most feared man on post because he makes  these jokers act and dress right.   He is always nice to me and even remembered that I was  from L.A.  and asked me how  it was.  I  was flattered that he even bothered to remember the barbershop  let  alone  that  I  was  from Los Angeles.  Otherwise  it wasn't  too busy today, only $1l.50 worth.

That's my exciting news for the day so  I'll  quit  for now  until  I come back from the movie, maybe then I'll have something more to add.  Bye!

OK, I'm back.  The movie was French and sort  of  dumb, no plot but women and violence.

I  put  my  flower  up in my barbershop today and made everyone happier,  especially  me.  A package  of   cookie crumbs came today but no letter.  Maybe tomorrow.

I  move  into my barber hootch Saturday and then I can start making improvements in the place.  My brain just isn't working tonight so I'll quit while I'm ahead.

I  might  get to go to Saigon Friday to get my clippers sharpened.  A camera, single lens reflex,  can be had  for  about $50.  The other kind is cheaper of course.

p.s.              Today was  our anniversary.  I had to leave you three weeks ago this morning.  I hate to remember such things.

 

 

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