Letters From Arthur #3: 1943, Mojave Desert

by Jess Clackum

Dear May -

Got your ever so welcome letter today, and you've no idea how glad I was to hear from you. We have been so taken up with desert maneuvers these past few months, I wasn't able to write as often as I would have liked.

Incidentally, I'm terribly sorry to say that I couldn't come east and won't be able to for some time to come. You see, furloughs were canceled and we were only allowed 5 days in either Los Angeles or Phoenix. Having been in Phoenix quite a lot, I thought it a good idea to go to the coast, since I was only 231 miles from Los Angeles.

I arrived at 6 pm and registered at the Biltmore Hotel and then started my 5 days of fun and frolicking. While drinking at the Bar, I ran across a friend who knew a lad who was coming up in pictures. He said he liked me to go up to his home in Beverly Hills where there was to be a party. This started my few days quite appropriately, we had a lot of fun and met several highlighted people you may have seen on the screen such celebrities as Mary Brian, Katherine Cornell, Frances Drake, Ralph Bellamy, Buddy Westmore (the make-up man) and scores of others, I didn't stay too long because there were so many people there whom i didn't know and I felt a little strange. Some of the other lads who came with us left too and we went over to the beautiful hillside home of one of their friends, Frank Hurst, he's a scenario writer under contract to M.G.M. He has a home that I've never before in my life had seen, such grandeur, and even an indoor swimming pool which was adjoining his extensive tropical gardens. He insisted we stay overnight, and we did, since he was quite the sociable and likeable fellow. Imagine me sleeping in a great room on a bed covered with expensive covers, the Head board was of Blue nailed satin and the furnishings were of white birch wood. More beautiful than I can describe May.

We left to have dinner at Bill Sheridan's Rendevous, a Supper Club in N. Los Angeles. Yes, dear I spent an ideal 5 days there. Here I am back again to this desert post. And quite blue. Believe me I would have rather come home. I haven't seen the folks and you all in such a long time, I've missed you all so very much. But I can't do a thing about it, but carry out orders to a "T".

Am well liked here and do a good job of soldiering. In all I get along swell. How's Bill? Why doesn't he write. Send me his address I'd like to write to him, , I would have if only I had his address. I sure miss him very much.

That Joan must be turning out to be a beautiful young lady. Give her my best. How are you feeling May, I do hope you are well, because I do remember you weren't well. Do you like your job at Westinghouse?

Did you ever get to see my Mother & Dad? I hope so. Someday I hope we all can have an ideal family re-union. My sister in law Anne asked about you in one of her letters to me. She wondered how Bill and you were. It was awfully thoughtful of her.

Well May, we leave again on an eight day maneuver, Sunday. It might wind up our stay here on the Desert. I hope so anyway, we are ready for a staging area.

When you get a chance May, write, I shall be extremely happy to hear from you. My best to Joan and Bill. Take care of yourself.

Your Devoted Brother,

Arthur