This letter answers the question about the notes from “Slim.” Turns out he was a real person, but the oddity of him sending his love, followed by Walt saying “pay no attention” is even a little more odd. Anyway, it wasn’t a secret code, and now they are separated.
Today, 6/19, I found a photo of Slim to prove he was a real person. He is mentioned in the letter dated 14 January as Raymond Cyzick:
We get a picture of some of the other men in his new barracks, even some who cannot read or write. That was surprising to me, but maybe it shouldn’t have been that many poor uneducated people volunteered after Pearl Harbor, nor that many people who went through the Depression were poorly educated.
This is the first letter that mentions Rimrock, the hill in the distance. It might be the distant hill in this postcard image: https://www.cardcow.com/175411/camp-funston-fort-riley-kansas/
In addition to the photo of Slim, I found these three photos marked Rimrock on the back. They appear to be part of a series of four, but I only found three:
Walt seems pretty impressed with the cavalry uniform, particularly the shiny breeches, although the idea of polishing them might get tiresome after a while. It will be interesting to see how long he stays with the cavalry unit before moving on to pilot training.
A punctuation note: I think Walt starts rereading his letters and putting in parentheses where he thinks it will help some sentences where ideas run on. Some seem to be an afterthought because they are marked over other punctuation and are darker than the written text. Sometimes he forgets to add the second parenthesis. Other parentheses seem to have been intended as he wrote, although I still can’t understand why he thinks they indicate something different than the use of dashes.
A transcript follows the letter images.
Still O.K.—better be—I am—Boy did I get the “old Nick” walked, worked —talked out of me to-day. We drilled, I waited on the tabled in the mess hall, and also had some rifle instruction and the Articles of War read to me—they tell you what they give you the death penalty for and what they do otherwise. Ha.—and they don’t fool.
How’s Ruby and the rest of the family. I hope they are O.K.
By the way I’ve never thought to ask about Lowell and Alice or whosits from Kent—to save my neck I can’t think of their name, funny unh?
I sure hope I get your letter soon.
D’ya know—I am still sorry I couldn’t call you. If I had a million I call you from here—but it sure is a long ways.
We will be here 8 wks. We have to learn to be a 1st class soldier here in 8 wks (as I already said, Ha) and up to this time they have had 13 wks,—And maybe you think they aren’t pushing us.
You ought to see the Cavalry Uniform (I haven’t recieved mine yet—neither has the rest of the new fellows) It is—(I think) the dress outfit of the Army.
A campaign hat, breeches—tan or a dark shining brown if kept polished right—and I mean polished. Boy! they really look slick.—Wait till I get mine and if I ever get a town I’ll send you a picture.
The weather has been fine, blue sky, not a cloud till tonight—and way up high, I saw a white fluffy one—spells a change in the weather—Will probably get colder then the devil.
I mentioned before how flat it is—I should have said that the flat ground is really level—but behind our barracks—(I really don’t know how far it is as things look different out here)—Is a small hill, I’d say, but it looks pretty big here. It is called the “Rimrock” as it has a layer of rock around its top edge, it runs east and west as far as you can see, and then some I imagine.
The separated Slim and I, but I didn’t mind a bit as I was getting a little tired of him—he was a little to loud. Still a nice guy, but you know.
There sure is a strange bunch of fellows here,—one of them that sleeps in the bed next to mine can’t even read and write. I felt kind of sorry for him and was talking to him (nobody else seemed to pay any attention to him—I finally got around to writing to his mother for him. I think he feels better already.
There are fellows here from Pa—about 2 or 3, some from N.Y., Tenn., Ohio, Georgia, Kentucky, Oregon, Washington, Cal., Okla.—and the Lord knows where. All have different habits—Some are very smart and some are very dumb. The Southerners and Westerners are were slow in speech,—when I get started I can talk 3 or 4 times as fast as they—but I don’t say a—excuse me—much more. Ha.
Well I sure wish I could see you, and I’m glad I have these little pictures with me.
It is 8:50 now and the lights go out at nine so I will see you later.
I see you X
Love Walt X
P.S. If you see Beach tell him I said, “Hello.”
Hello—Ruth:— Wed. nite—8:08
I’m back again:—glad to see you—that’s a fact—y’know that little picture frame—well—I have it with me—Comes in handy. Yes indeed.
Sorry I couldn’t write last night—I was having an important talk with an acting Corp.
By the way—I was made squad leader to-day—over 8 men—how’s that unh?—A good start but, I think I’ll give it up—the men like me alright—but I don’t like to be told myself—therefore I don’t think I should tell them—I might keep it I don’t know for sure tho.
I forgot to tell you about my G.I haircut—ha—Everybody has to have their haircut an inch and a half long—that leaves my wave hanging out in the air—Ha—Funny—Unh?
We have had to riding lessons now—boy!—are they pushing us. We were issued our clothes today—Hmmm—out to see me now—
I just traded breeches with a guy and did I get a good fit.
Did you know?—that this is the West Point of the Cavalry.
That were the best dressed outfit—outside of the Air Cadets.
That I’ve been working so damn hard I haven’t had time to get settled right yet. (I think that is all right as it keeps our mind of things on the outside.)
I sure hope I get your letter soon—it is so darn far it takes a long time them to get back and forth.
Well, I must go and talk to the fellows some, as I want to get to know them better—good idea—Unh?
Wish I could see you—but I guess I can’t—so I (we’ll) make the best of it. yeah.
So long—I see you
X Love X
P.S. Reckon I won’t be able to sit down when I come in tomorrow night. Ha.
P.S. tell anybody that you know, that I know—that we all know—that I said Hello.—
So Long—15 min. till the lights go out—I see you
Kind of hate to leave—but gotta go in more ways then one—Ha.—