About Me

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In 1943 I was drafted into World War 11 right out of Madison High School, Rochester, NY. This is my story as told in the letters I wrote home. They’re all here, all 192 of them. Spend some time with me as I describe my experiences in basic training and then off to war. They were written in an attempt to help me feel close to my family and to let them know what was going on in my life. It’s the first time I was away from home and I have to confess that I was homesick. My folks were Esther and Jacob Kaplow. We were four children in this order: Arnette, Ruth, Bob, and myself.

Eat meat & butter!

Ben describes his experiences of settling in on his second day at the Army’s Reception Center. The excitement prevents him from sleeping even though he’s tired. He’s looking forward to going to permanent camp. Envelope Addressed from Camp Upton, Long Island, N.Y.

June 27, 1943
Monday Night
Boy, I’m tired but I can’t sleep. It’s my own fault too. I was goldbricking today. I had easy jobs all day. In the morning, all I had to do was help clean up barracks - move all the beds all around a few times - sweep - clean every nook & cranny - cleaner than home ever was - blankets folded a certain way - duffle bags put just rite.

In the afternoon we went to the Officer’s club where they're building a tennis court. In 3 hrs I dug 3 post holes & took a sun bath the remainder of the time. I fell asleep & have I got a case of sunburn. Everything went pretty well today. Wasn’t as sweaty although the sun was out all day. Boy if Grandma could see the food I eat - meat & butter.

Couldn’t get in U.S.O. tonight - Officer’s dance. Most of the bunch that came down with me pulled out today. I got hopes to go Tuesday. Disregard first letter & write me - Didn't go on K.P. (Kitchen Patrol) - next barrack did. I think it’s our turn tonight.

Finally got my equipment arranged - Winter in one duffle bag & other equipment in other bag. Wish I had a smaller furlough bag but I guess this will be alright. - P.X. (Post Exchange) was closed all day so haven’t spent a single cent in camp - except New York City. Swell bunch of fellows here - make friends with everybody - but non-coms are tough as hell. Give my best to everybody & write me & hope that I leave for Permanent Camp tomorrow.

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