Tink showed up on time at 0500. It was his first day on the job, and I taught him how to light the immersion water heaters. We used three outside the mess hall, one for washing, one for rinsing and one with a sanitizer (bleach). We also used two more in the Pot Shack/Scullery. All the stainless steel compartment trays were sanitized again in boiling water before circulating back to the chow line.
We kept trash in 30-gallon galvanized aluminum cans. Once a can was full, it was covered with a lid until being picked up the next day. When these containers were returned, they were scrubbed clean with a Pine-Sol solution. This was a sinus-clearing job and required rubber gloves.
At mail call I received a letter from Jenny and a large manila envelope from St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Glendale. I thought it might be my absentee ballot. I put the mail on my bed while I supervised dinner.
After showering I read Jenny’s letter. She had a calendar in the kitchen and was counting days. We were both preoccupied with time.
I opened the envelope from the church and was surprised by a TIME magazine dated September 13. The label said, “E.E. Hailwood” (Jenny’s father). I scanned the featured articles which were all about the upcoming election, and amazingly, there was nothing about the war. The World section had a small article on the stalled Paris peace talks; North Vietnam was demanding a bombing halt.
In my head I said, “No, no, no, we’re not going to stop the bombing . . . I don’t believe that for a minute. Who in their right mind would put us in jeopardy by doing that?”
I wrote a quick response to my father-in-law, thanking him for the TIME magazine. I also let him know that we were starved for real information from the outside. All we got was the watered-down and filtered Stars and Stripes (American Military Newspaper).