This letter begins on 14 January and ends on 18 January. In between, as you will see listed for 16-17 January are a few postcards, mentioned in this letter. Things are not out of order; they are just the result of Walt’s moving from Ohio to Kansas and writing on the fly.
This letter shows a page numbering system—some later letters are written on folded sheets and the numbers really help. At least one page here marks when to turn the sheet over; later he seems more consistent in directing the reader.
Walt mentions how the flat country in Kansas is unlike “his hills.” As I recall from all the quick reading I did in scanning the letters, he mentions it a few times. Walt grew up in a small Pennsylvania town in the mountains of the Allegheny Plateau, and lived on a street that goes right down to the Allegheny River. The hills there are such a significant feature of the area that I can understand why he thought of them as his and missed them in flat Kansas.
The Raymond Cyzick mentioned turns out to be the “Slim” of some other notes. I learned this from a found photo with his nickname and last name written on the back. You can see that photo on the 21 January page.
A transcript follows the letter images.
Wed. 3:00 P.M. -1- Fort Hayes
Jan 14, 1942
Hello Ruth, How are you? Good! I’m fine, thanks.—Sound good doesn’t it. But I still can’t get over the feeling that I had when I was in Girard. When I was there it always seemed as if I just had to get dressed—turn around twice and I was going down to your house—or work 3/4 of a day and it would only be a couple of hrs. till I would be home,—couple more—in Youngstown up to Daileys. Sometimes now I feel when I am doing something that in just a little while I am coming down to see you,—But the time doesn’t come around. Well, it will come around—till then we will write.
I wish I could hear from you, but don’t write yet. There is a big shipment of soldiers leaving tomorrow—nobody seems to know where. I don’t know whether I will be among them or not. We will probably know in the morning.
I sent my clothes back to Aunt Ruth. If you want that sweater you can get it there—You might just as well have it. If you look alright in it. [whole sentence crossed out]
I am going to write on the back of this as I can’t see much sense in wasting it. It may be harder to get later on. As I just took out $10,000 insurance policy.
I am still hoping the 20th will roll around so I can get your picture.
I am going to start writing short letters often instead of long letters now and then, or perhaps I will (
write) keep on as I have been. I dunno—Maybe when ( I) you can write me you can tell me which you like best, Unh?
I hope everybody is fine, O.K., Good etc.
Well I will see you later.
P.S. This is a long letter for me.
P.S. When you write me you had better write a book.
X Walt X
Jan 18, Sun morn.
How are you? O.K. I hope. I am fine—As you know—I am in a Cavalry Replacement Center at Fort Riley, Kan. I think I am going to like it. They say its pretty rugged but I find out. Ha!
We are not allowed to give any facts about the Army at all—So I don’t know what to write about. The country is very flat—a lot different from my hills—my hills—you would think I owned them—unh? We have a nice barracks and mess hall—pretty muddy—can’t go to town for 3 wks. don’t make much difference.
And by the way—You can write to this address.
Private Walter Pittman
Troop B, 1st Squadron
Cavalry Replacement Training Center
Fort Riley, Kansas.
And so I like that. So seal em up—and send em out!!!
I tried to write those cards to serve two purposes—selfish ain’t I—I thot they would serve as a card to you and later as a diary for me. Ha.
We start training Mon. I guess—I hope so anyway—we will only be here for a couple of mo. or so and then we’ll be off for the Lord only knows where.—I couldn’t tell you if I did know, as these will be censored.
I tell you about my buddy—He’s a tall, slender fellow—dark eyes—rather light brown hair—not bad looking—we look like Mutt and Jeff.—But I like him—he evidently likes me. His name is Raymond Cyzick—of Russian, Polish descent,—he’s from W. Virginia and I would sure hate to tangle with him—and he’s been around.
I sure would like to see you! And send that picture as soon as it comes. A bunch of us fellows were showing each other the pictures of our girls and from
I the pictures other pictures I looked at—I’ve know I have the best looking girl of the outfit. And that is no B.S.
This is hearsay—but I heard that there will be no furloughs issued after the 15th of Jan.—But I don’t know for sure. Besides it is kind of soon to think of a furlough. Never the less—I would like to come back for a couple of days—but
I still think I done right—for instance—In our group there is a young fellow—looks and acts like a kid—he’s pretty homesick—he tried to enlist once and they wouldn’t take him because he was to slight and slender looking—So he got married—just for a few months, and then they drafted him—Now I hardly think that is right—Maybe if some single fellow would of enlisted he would have been able to stay at home—but I guess that is the way it goes.—Say I must be pretty well wound up—unh?
Well I think I will mail this as I want to get this address to you as soon as possible so you can write.
I sure do want to hear from you.
So I will say so long
Note on envelope flap:
Slim send his love—Don’t pay any attention.
Give this address to Aunt Ruth.