This letter offers more information that it is among the first letters sent home. It recounts Walt being examined, fingerprinted, sworn in, and inoculated as a new soldier.
Walt mentions seeing a movie, Babes on Broadway (1941), the first of many references to the popular culture of the period.
You can see below that the scanned letter included a little 3″ x 4″ souvenir mailbag from Fort Hayes. It contains these stock army images on little cards:
Pretty much, this is a letter about waiting around and getting ready for something to happen. As you probably know, the attack on Pearl Harbor happened in December of 1941, just a little over a month before all these soldiers are going through enlistment procedures, so there is a lot of uncertainty about when and how they would enter the war.
Jan 12, ’42
I was going to say How are you?—but you can’t write me yet so I hope your O.K.—I am fine-but a little lonely.
Just as I finished your letter yesterday they called us for Physical exams—I passed.
Sun. nite—yesterday—Three of us fellows went into Columbus—ate a ham (illegible cross-out) and coffee—went to “Babes on Broadway and back to the Fort at 11:00.
We were fingerprinted this morning and will probably be sworn in sometime today.
I will be sent somewhere (I don’t know know yet)—for 13 wks. training, then from there to wherever they assign me.
I (illegible cross-out) miss you a lot Ruth, some times I almost wish I hadn’t enlisted, but I think of better times to come. It will be better when I reach a destination,—then I will be able to here from you.—Funny talk for a Soldier,—Unh? How do you like that Unh? I don’t know where it came from—just poped up.
I am anxious to get that picture of yours, but I guess I will have to wait.
See you later today. Love—Walt. time 10:30 A.M.
Hope your Mother, Father—Ruby—Grandmother are O.K.
I have just been sworn in as a soldier—I am now a soldier—can you imagine that. [pointing to the word imagine: I can’t think how to spell it.] [written above sentence: I just remembered]
Thanks, I knew you could.
We will probably get our uniforms tomorrow—:
Guess I’ll have to buy a pencil everybody wants to use this pen and it is running out of ink.
See you later
Back again:— Time 8:55
I didn’t go out to-night as I hear we have to get up at 4:00 as there is a shipment of soldiers going out. Some to Texas—Some to Mississippi.
Damn fools turned lights out 9:00
Love Walt. I wrote a lot in 5 min didn’t I
Tues afternoon 1:30
M ‘ Honey:—
We recieved our uniforms today. I haven’t decided how I look as I need a shave. We also got a “shot” in each arm for typhoid and a vaccination.—Arm is kind of sore. Ha,
We are just sitting around now waiting for something to do—some of the boys feel a little ill from the “shot” in the right arm.—otherwise everybody is O.K. and is anxious to “get on the move.”
I am sending some pictures of the Fort.—(I think that is what they are—I didn’t look at them.
I think that I will sign off.—Wishing I were there or you were here.
P.S. I’ll be seeing you,