72: That WAC Business.

27 May

Dear Girls

My dear girls! I approve of almost everything you do–everything so far, but my God, not this! No WAC–do you understand, NO![1] There isn’t anything in it for either of you. I’ve talked to a few girls in the service here and there, and the reaction has not been good–only with the nurses. They liked it because they knew they were doing something vital and worthwhile. The rest of them feel that they are wasting their time, and they don’t like the indignities–neither of you are built to take discipline–especially you Gretch. Anything else but that.

We’ve been having a good time the last week–the rest camp that we had heard about finally came about, but more or less by accident. I like–damn it, that WAC business worries me. There are a hundred reasons why not.

Bought Boswell’s Johnson, unabridged, today.[2] Always meant to read it, and I’m in the mood to get away with some serious reading for a while–we consume quantities of cheap stuff. I enjoyed Barrymore tremendously, as you knew I would, but some SOB stole it when I was half through–it’ll show up soon, when he’s finished with it I guess.

I’m really serious about that WAC business–or would be if it wasn’t so damned ridiculous.

Loads of love though, to my militaristic girls–your heart is right, but your minds are just demented.[3]



[1] WAC: Women’s Army Corps. Emphasis in the original.
[2] James Boswell, The Life of Samuel Johnson, published 1791 and considered “the most famous single work of biographical art in the whole of literature.”
[3] Phil’s unexpected vitriol against the WACs seems a bit out of character, and its origins are not fully explained. It may be a slip back to his old ways as the “family conservative,” exercising authority as the man of the house and breadwinner or, conversely, wanting to keep Gretchen in her relatively well-paying job as an art director. The WACs had an undeserved reputation for immorality; a slander campaign (started by male American soldiers) the previous year tarnished their public image, and Phil may have been reacting to this as well.

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