Letter - May 14, 1942

Elizabeth Bayley Willis Papers. Box 1. Manuscripts and University Archives, UW Libraries.

May 14, 1942

Dear Mrs. Willis

Sorry that I didn't write to you sooner but we were busy getting settled. We arrived here (Camp Harmony) on Friday afternoon May 8 and there were many to greet us. They were the people who came before us and they helped us to get settled.

The camp is divided into four areas, Area A, B, C, and D. The areas are then subdivided into sections. My house number is A-6-46, that is, Area A section 6 apartment 46.

The barracks with their rooms were not what I expected them to be, but they are comfortable enough. It is a framework of wood with shiplap over it. The walls between the rooms don't quite reach the ceiling and if one talks loudly he can be heard at the other end of the barrack. In each room there is a wood stove which takes care of the heating problem, for in the morning and night it gets quite cold. Although the living quarters are close, one can live comfortably.

We've hung curtains and drapes, made our own furniture and have tried to make our room as much as possible like home. Everything is a little crude but it's all right for a little crudeness fits into the picture. It's a place for old clothes and boots because when it rains the streets get muddy and when it becomes hot, you eat a lot of dust, so the boys say.

There are six mess halls and when it's time to eat, we line up outside. By the time the doors open there is a very long line, so the early birds eat first. The food is all right but I think I could stand a little more, and as always, it could be better.

You ought to see some of the signs they have by the doors. Some of them are very funny and would give you a laugh. There was one which was very well suited to the place, "Knot Inn." It's very well suited because the boards have many knots and some times they fall out and leave gaping holes.

The place is entirely surrounded by a barbed wire fence and soldiers watch on towers and march back and forth along the fence. Sometimes we talk to them and they are friendly. I don't mind them watching me and I believe that the others don't mind either. Everyone seems to be contented and have adopted themselves to the change even though many things are lacking.

Right now I would rather be in school and be with all my friends. Well, I have to hit the hay now and when I say hay I mean hay, for the mattresses we have are filled with hay.

A pupil

P.S. I wanted to say good-bye but just didn't get around to it. Thanks for all you've done.