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Postmark: 11/01/1943

Return Address:
Pvt. V. Misitano
Co. A. 350 Inf.
APO 88
Fort Sam Houston, Texas
U.S. Army

Oct. 30, 1943
Sat. morn, 10:15

Dearest Mother,

    Just a few lines to let you know that I'm feeling fine and hope you are the same.

   We were out on a 4 days bivouac and got back last night. We had it pretty easy two of the days that we were out there, all we had were classes in the bivouac area, but the other two days we had problems.

   One of the problems was run at night and we walked about 10 mi. It was a night compass march. It was pretty dark and you could hardly see where you were going. I fell once going up a rocky hill, and landed right on a cactus plant. It took me about 3 hrs. to get all the little needles out of my hands, but I finally got them all out.

   We came back in trucks last night about 8:00 and cleaned up our equipment.

   Today we had an inspection of our clothes and barracks.

   I received a letter from you while I was out on bivouac but couldn't ans. it then, so mother I'll ans. it now.

   I'm glad that you liked the pillow top mother, I hope you use it.

   Mother, you said that Rosie showed you a picture of me that made me look awful thin. I don't see where anyone gets the idea that I'm thin. I weigh 143 lbs. I guess that you think I'm thin because all the fat I had when I came in the army turned to muscles (ha ha).

   Mother, I received a letter from Tony and also from Comare Josephine, my godmother. She wrote me a letter thanking me for the folder of postal cards I sent her. She said she hasn't seen you for a good while and is going to visit you one of these days.

   Tony didn't say much except that he had to pack up and go out in the field when he came off furlough and that his co. or div. is ready to go on desert maneuvers.

   Speaking of shipping out, we're on the alert to ship out of this camp very shortly. All furloughs have been cancelled and telegrams have been sent to those on furlough to report back to camp.

   Well mother, there's nothing else to say so I'll close with lots of love to you mother dear, daddy, and the kids.

   Your loving Son,


Supplemental Notes, Quotes, and Anecdotes:

Skinny Picture

This appears to be a picture taken in uniform while visiting a photographic studio in Gainesville. In particular the medals and other indicators of rank and experience are not yet being worn.

As to whether this soldier looks "skinny" is a matter of opinion. He certainly doesn't seem to be carrying any extra weight, though.

Microscopic Cactus Needles (Glochids) in Cholla and Prickly Pear Cacti

The description of having an encounter with a cactus that required hours to remove all of the needles reminds me of experiences I had while living in rural Arizona for a time. The following explanation uses information from the web site.

Most spines are large thorny looking things, but some are fine and hairy, developing in clusters and may ring around the large spikes. These are called glochid spines. Plants with glochids are in the Opuntia family, as other cacti do not bear glochids.

While it's fairly easy to see and avoid the large inch or more long spines, the glochid spines are relatively tiny, maybe 1/4 inch or so in length, and occur in huge numbers at the base of the larger spines and cactus flowers. They are easily removed from the cactus, and barbed so that they remain in the skin until plucked out with tweezers. They are quite irrating and painful, like a paper cut compared to a larger break in the skin.


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