Monday

Dear Mother and Dad,

I got a razzing at mail call this noon. I had three letters from you, two from Dad, one from Harriet, Aunt Mary, Esther, and a note from Lesla–nine letters; they told me that I was hoarding. Tonight at mail call I had a letter from you and one from Jane. I am sending the clippings right back to you for my notebook. Thanks alot.

Dad I sure appreciate those letters but for the present I’ll have to write collective as I don’t have time separately. We didn’t have to do anything yesterday and it was hard to settle down today. After reveille we had a few minutes and then went to mess, after that we had time to make our beds and clean up the barracks. Then a little before eight we fell out for classes. I was second in our squad and today I moved up to squad leader. I don’t like that, as you always have to be in step and in the morning you have to report to the platoon Sergeant if the squad is all present or who is absent.

Our first class this morning was on saluting. When, where and when not too. It was a lot of fun. Then we went out and drilled for an hour and then back to the classroom for an hour with history. Then we came back for PS in the barracks as it was drizzly outside. Tomorrow we have a PT test with all kinds of exercises and then the sixth week we will have another to see how much we have improved.
After mess we went back over to the classrooms for an hour in social hygiene, a class on our uniforms and clothing or good grooming. Then we went over to an auditorium and had a pep talk by Maj. Nicholson, commander of the 20th Regiment, who has served oversees. She is a swell person young and full of pip. In fact we have a wonderful set of officers. Then we had a class on Interior Order which was really duties of the MP and how to approach the Sentry.

After mess we had a company meeting and then a meeting of squad leaders and then we had to go in line and get the brass buttons for our uniforms.

Now I am writing to you then I have to shine my shoes, wash some clothes and take a shower. I am saving my letters so you can read them. If you can make a compact package where you send about 6 clothes hangers I don’t think I will need anything else while I am here.
My first weeks of basic won’t be up until Thursday. Then it will be 5 weeks after that. Hope you get a picture that was in the ? don’t send it; I’ll wait until I get home or Boston (unless you get an extra). In answer to your questions I don’t know how many girls are here but most are the WACS in the country are being trained here. Des Moines is for negroes, Chatanooga is about 9 miles away.
Well I will have to close now and get to work. I have so much ahead to do it makes my head swim. Tell Aunt Mary I will try and get her a letter tomorrow. Say hello to the Ballams and everyone else. Keep up the writing; you are doing swell.
All my love and goodnight
Dot
P.S. The letter sounds kinds of jumbled but I wrote things down as I though of them. So far I am having a swell time.
xxx

Above: Dorothy Olds, far right.

The WACs were issued gas masks that they had to have with them from reveille to retreat for the rest of basic training. Their lieutenant told them that they would love them and hate them. Dot confided to her parents that it was an awfull feeling wearing them, and they wore them all the time.The heat in South Carolina during August and September was overwhelming (pre-airconditioning!) for a New England girl. She told her parents that she had never suffered so from the heat and often felt ‘wilted’ from the heat and wearing gas masks just added to it!