10: Law School Had Nothing On This.

Sunday aft.[1]

Dear Gals,

Gee Gretch– your job sounds wonderful–you have no idea how tickled I am that you are so tickled–it sounds like just the kind of work and outfit that you’d fit in with best–magazine all to yourself. Even sounds wonderful.[2]

Your brother is a little busy himself. Law school had nothing on this for number of man-hours spent at the desk–we’re required to be there 9 hrs. a day five days a week, and field problems the other one. Comparatively little exercise–and very good food, I am putting on some weight I’m sure, but I don’t know how much.

Somewhat later

Well, finally got burned–or, comparatively speaking, singed. Got caught in a crap game for [$]10½-I’ll never go there anymore–but I won six last week and at my old faithful, so I’m still about [$]17 ahead since I’ve been here.[3]

Didn’t do much over the weekend. Studied this morning, went to the USO show last night. I’ve seen quite a few of them now, and while they’re entertaining, still they’ve vaudeville, and you can tire of those pretty readily, I think. Somehow they seem to think that soldiers wouldn’t be interested in a good comedy with lots of girls.

We’re learning a lot though, really–but I’ve got to get to get to bed, awfully sleepy.


See you soon.
Stay up for me, but don’t meet me[4]

Editor’s Notes:
“Life as an officer isn’t as tough as Candidates’ Class, but men still are graded constantly on military bearing and command presence. The ROC is more like a graduate school. In ten weeks, officers receive the emergency equivalent of a nine-month course once given Naval Academy graduates at Philadelphia Basic School.

“In the ROC, men study naval law, topography, camouflage, combat intelligence, aviation, artillery, communications, antiaircraft defense and combat principles of tanks, infantry weapons, rifle company, platoon and squad. They learn about mess management, post exchange work, company administration, terrain appreciation, aerial photographs and landing operations.

“In all these and other subjects, class work precedes field problems and work on the actual terrain.”

– excerpt from “The Marine Corps Reserve Officers’ Class” in the 12th Reserve Officers’ Class yearbook, 1942.

Phil and his fellow lieutenants climbed steps like these countless times in the ten weeks of Reserve Officers’ School…

A classroom building at Quantico, 1942.
A classroom building at Quantico, 1942.

…and spent countless hours taking notes in classrooms like these.

Quantico Classroom

Phil was a dedicated poker player, a habit he picked up in college and perfected at Yale. As time went on and his skill improved, he began to play less for diversion and more for the financial benefit–a healthy portion of his winnings were sent home to Margaretta.


[1] Date unknown, written on Quantico stationery.
[2] Gretchen had tired of her job in the department store. While Phil was up on liberty, they happened to bump into an acquaintance who got her an interview as a personal assistant to a magazine publisher. Gretchen very quickly turned this job into Art Editor for one of the smaller magazines, and essentially ran the publication herself.
[3] Phil was a gambling man, and his winnings at poker–“my old faithful”–went a long way to supplementing his family’s income.
[4] The significance of this little sign-off is unknown.

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