Photo: Alan Graham 1958


When I arrived at the camp in November, 1954, there was no mailroom. Instead, a daily (except Sunday) Mail Call was held in the parking lot of the Orderly Room. Everyone would gather in a makeshift circle and listen intently for his name to be called. The mailman would ceremoniously break the official seal on the mailbag with a grand flourish, and tantalizingly extract the letters one by one, shouting out the names written on them. Letters were flung in the direction of the responding "Yo!", and passed along by the assembled throng. Perfumed letters were indiscreetly sniffed by each passer-on, and any thinly encrypted messages on the outside of envelopes, like "S.W.A.K." or "XXX" caused great hoots and cat-calls. Everyone knew who got what, and a CARE package loaded with cookies and other goodies would always bring a crowd of friends to your tent. NOTHING was more important than Mail Call. It was our link with the real world, and it was essential to morale. Essential, that is, unless you got a "Dear John" letter. Then it was off to the PX to drown in cheap beer. Shown sweeping out the Mail Room, located in one end of the Commo barracks, is Hoyle, the mailman. The Mail Room never replaced the camaraderie of Mail Call, but it was appreciated when the weather was bad. The Mail Room and the Commo barracks were in the same Butler Building.