Lyman County, South Dakota  Genealogy

 Military Letters, WWII

As found in old newsletters.
Transcribed by barbara stallman-speck

Restored   Saturday, March 06, 2010  

  Brookens, Max                     Somewhere in India   April 1945 

 To his parents 

   Will drop you a few lines to let you know that I am all okay and feeling fine. This is the first chance I have had to write since I got off the boat. I wrote Evelyn this noon and now this afternoon while it's hot, I will write you.
    We had a safe trip across the ocean, making one stop en route, and upon hitting the port here in India, we got our mail. I got six letters from Evelyn, including a birthday card and three letters from you folks. You are all doing fine and keep the letters coming. I also got a card Mom that you signed, from the Methodist ladies and I want you to thank them for me. I certainly appreciate it. We came here to this camp for a rest and will then go to our destination.
    I am writing my letter from my bunk in the tent. Five of us sleep in a tent and we have a wood floor. Our beds are quite crude; made out of rough lumber and rope-wove for a spring I sleep on my two blankets and mattress cover and a mosquito net over me, so I do real well. I am getting a nice tan and also turning yellow from taking atebine.
    At night we can hear the jackals and hyenas and all kinds of strange noises. Upon arriving here we were issued a card and can get eight bottles of beer every 10 days. It is warm but it tasted good. There is no such thing as ice. If you think it is hot in the summertime there, you should be here; only 120, but it cools off at night. Believe me, when I get back to the states, I'll never complain again, and I'll never leave. In a couple of months the monsoons will be here and I suppose it will be hell again.
    I just came back from getting my laundry done. I had an Indian do it for me and he sure got it clean. They soak it then scrub it with a bundle of rope for a brush, then beat it on a stone slab. I had two suits of fatigues, three pair of socks, a suit of underwear and two handkerchiefs. All of this for one rupee and eight annos. Oh yes, all of our money was exchanged for Indian money and one rupee like I am enclosing is worth 30c; an anno is 2c. It isn't bad after you get into it.
    At the port we got a day off and went into town and I never saw such sights in all of my life. These towns are all alike, dirty, smelly and filthy. The streets are narrow and everybody walks wherever they want to. The cars drive on the left hand side of the street and have to watch out for the Indians or natives. The Indians run around draped in a sheet, it looks like anyway. They are barefooted and wear turbans. They are all beggars and when we walk down the street we have about 10 hanging around us hollering "buchee" which means give anything. If you give, it is worse than ever so you say "nay" and swing at them. You don't dare hit one.
    The only safe way is to get in a cart drawn by a horse and for one rupee they will take you two or three miles. We always go around in bunches for protection.
    Over here, when you buy anything, you bargain for it. The Indian will probably ask for several rupees for an item and you are supposed to bargain or jew him down. Just like I bought a wrist watch band, he wanted six rupees for it and I bargained with him and got it for two. They consider it a game.
    Well, I just have to close and go shave before the mosquitoes come out. Give my regards to all and keep writing. I really look forward to mail call.





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