T H E A L C A T R A Z A R G U S
GREETINGS TO ALL OUR FIGHTING MEN FROM ALCATRAZ!
Hi, Fellows! Remember those good old Island Bull-Sessions? Well, we still have them every now and then. The other evening we had a triple-header: Fire Drill, "Round Table," and Officer's Club -- and, what with one thing or another, the boys got pretty well steamed up and produced an idea. We asked ourselves: "What are we doing to keep up with you fellows on the Battle-Fronts? And, what are we doing, if anything, to keep you fellows informed as to what goes on, here, on this little segment of "home"? Some of us have labored mightily and brought forth a letter or so, and we have had some success in promoting "co-op answers" to letters received from you. However, none of us were very proud of our achievements and most of us were not satisfied with the methods we were using to keep in touch with you, so, when one of the gang came up with the suggestion that we of the Officer's Club might promote a "regular" news letter which would reach out from all of us to all of you, we decided to tryt it out and see how you would like it. This rather disjointed little gossip sheet we decided to call the "ALCATRAZ ARGUS."
Why The ARGUS? Maybe you remember the fable of the Argus -- a giant with an even hundred eyes - (which should have given him a greater range of vision than bi-focals). We sorta thought that a little increased vision, watchfulness and vigilance, might not be a bad thing for all of us, and, anyway, we'd like you to know that you're not forgotten even though you have "escaped" from Alcatraz, for the time being. We want you to know that we are following you -- even if we are awfully far behind you -- and, needless to say, we are eagerly awaiting your return. In THE ARGUE we hope we will be able to:
So, here goes the first edition, corny as it may be. We'll be mighty glad to hear from you, and to get your slant on this enterprise. So why not drop us a line or two which we can use as our most important material in subsequent letters. Chances are that you will inspire some of our readers to toss a letter in your direction. Meanwhile, here's wishing you the best of everything, and a speedy return.
NEWS FROM THE FRONTS:
From our standpoint, the "F R O N T" is wherever YOU are. This means that there are one heck of a lot of "Fronts" qnd, in the belief that you might like to hear some of what we hear from this rear section, we give you the recordings from the Listening Post as you fellows send it in.
We have had several visits from JOHN DELLING, Senior Clerk-Embalmer, Army Transport USAT Thomas Corwin, % Postmaster, San Francisco, California. JOHN sends us nice long letters with commendable regularity, and we are always happy to hear from him. He's been in the South Pacific for some time and sounds like an old salt. Your letters are always full of interest for us, JOHN, -- keep 'em coming!
FIRST ISSUE- PAGE 2.
Lieutenant WESLEY HICKS, U.S.N., 4014 East Prospect, Seattle, Washington, was over to visit his former mates on this Rock Island last week-end. He was an interested participant mentioned in the "Triple-Header" mentioned in Chappie's introductory remarks, and to him goes our thanks for assstance in developing the policies of this news-letter. You sure did look as though the Navy was doing all right by you, WESLEY, and we are sure that you will do all right by the Navy in that important assignment of which, of course, you could tell us nothing. We're hoping for a letter from you right soon. How about it?
JESSIE C. SHANNON, CM w/c, NCB-B-5, Fleet Post Office, San Francisco, Calif., writes a most welcome letter full of wise-cracks, news, and stuff. Hi, Jesse; we find ourselves wondering if you ever have occasion to ponder on that "advice to the nooly-weds" thesis that the Reverend So-and-So handed out to you, years and years ago, when you were holding down that soft spot in the Armory? We're always happy to hear from, and of, you Jesse. The Armory Watch-Call Service just ain't been the same since you left.
We are indebted to brother Shannon for the address of STF. SGT. ELLIS F. JONES, U.S.M.C, V.M.S. B-24, Fleet Post Office, San Francisco, Calif. Most of you will recall as we do, the quietly efficient keeper of the Main Gate who pounded out those endless Writs of Habeas Corpus ad infinitum, day after day in the secluded safety of the Gate. We were surprised to learn that he is now holding down the Flight Office of that Marine Scout Bomber Squadron, out there where the Nips are the thickest. Here's hoping all goes well with you, Sarge: There's still lots of Writs to be type-writ, back here, when you get through blotting out those Nips, out there.
FRED F. CASSIDY, C.R.T., I Division, USS GUAM, % Fleet Post Office, New York, N.Y., sent us a swell letter the other day. He would like to hear from the old gang at Alcatraz or from Alcatraz, as the case may be. He advises that "everything is going according to schedule" which we take to mean that he is on his way to a new theatre of operations, perhaps, this time, across the Atlantic. BROTHER CASSIDY, you have really been "around" since you left the Rock, and you should have a few new yarns to spin when it is over.
SGT. GEORGE BLACK, Co. H., 508 Paratroop Infantry, APO 464, % Postmaster, New York, N.Y. was, at last report, 'recuperating' in an English Hospital. Mrs. Black called to tell us that GEORGE had been an invasion casualty when his outfit parachuted into France, sometime ago. If you fellows could manage to scratch out a few lines to GEORGE, we're sure that he'd be happy to receive them. We patched up a rather long-winded "Round Robin," here, a couple of weeks ago and sent it to you, GEORGEW; howdja like it? Drop us a line when you can, and let us know how the pillrollers treat you.
PFC. BEN BLOUNT, 39125719, Hq. & Hq. Co., 52 QM Base Depot, APO 250, % Postmaster, New York, N.Y., curled up around a notebook in a Normandy shellhold to drop us a line for which we hasten to express our appreciation. BEN formerly held down a position in the Alcatraz Offices. We sure could use your efficient assistance here, howadays BEN, but we assume that the Army has other and more important things for you to do. Drop us a line when you can spare the time. We're always glad to hear from you.
JOHNNY TORRES and ED ANZORE, also from the ranks of the Island Pen-Pushers, are now flying around in European skies -- JOHN is a pilot and ED is a navigator. We haven't heard from them recently, but are expecting word of their exploits most any day. We'll pass their address on to you when we get 'em.
JERRY CONGISTRE, another ex-clerk, telephoned in recently, to inform us that he was leaving for unmentionable places in the vast Pacific Theatre. JERRY is in the Navy. We're sorry to report our failure to get his address but we're still on the trail of it.
LIEUTENANT HENRY T. (HANK) SCHNEIDER, whom you will remember as our one and only Island Electrician, left us for his first love -- the U.S. Navy -- HANK recently completed more than THIRTY YEARS of service in the Navy, and is now out of the Service and retired to his "ranch" down Menlo Park way.
FIRST ISSUE- PAGE 3.
WHAT GOES ON - ON THE ROCK
Plenty of Strange faces on the Rock, these days; but there is still room for more and we're always happy to see some of the old faces pop into view again. Believe it or not, fellows, we never really realized how important you guys were, until after you were gone. We look forward to your eventual return, and will save up all the work that we can for you, but, in the meantime, if you pass this way, don't fail to stop and say "Hello." We still have a "little" turnover -- that old bug-a-boo of the Service. OLSEN, our pint-sized Engineer recently took a job in 'Frisco; and MC CONNELL, the Chief Engineer, left us for a job in SOuthern California. Good old STANLEY FULLALOVE (no cracks, please) is slated for the Chief's berth. Rumor has it that OLSEN is getting homesick for the Rock.
Nearly all the officers, except the most recent arrivals, are "Seniors." We have the same Warden, same Deputy, same Captain, and same Lieutenants. MR. ROHMAN is back from Springfield, as is MR. BURDETT. Springfield has been contributing quite a few officers.
The many new families on the Rock have served to stir up the Social Activities. There have been several Dances, this past Summer, and more are scheduled. The Officer's Club manages to throw one of those "Dinners," now and then, in spite of the rigors of Rationing. A well-attended "Turkey Feed" at which several Turkeys were consumed and several more put on in alleged entertainment, was the most recent affair. The usual fine cooperation of the Ladies of the Island enabled us to sit down to as wonderful a feed as any G.I. could dream of. Gosh, how we wish that you guys were here to share it with us!
The membership of the Officer's Club manages to stay on an even keel, and the Club Stgore, under the understanding efficient management of Mr. E. G. Green ( a recent addition to our ranks, from the well-known cradle of the Prison Service) is doing a good business - when he is able to get anything to sell. The Club Meetings are well attended, as a rule, and the "discussions" are frequently pregnant with "possibilities" but even the "Elections" are not quite as exciting as in past years when the position of Store Manager was regarded as "something worth scheming for." We remember a couple of times when -- well, maybe we had better forget about that one. You may remember how some of the boys just love to 'rib' one another -- and how some of the fellows will 'go' for a 'rib'! So far, we are happy to report, the casualties have been negligible.
The Island children call themselves "Indians," now, and perhaps they are not far wrong, at that. Chances are that some of you lads remember occasions when the little Indians came close to causing you to go on the warpath by waking you up when you were trying to store up a little "shut-eye" in preparation for a session on the Morning Watch. We've been trying to organize them so that they won't be a bother to anyone but themselves but the chances are that the reformers will wind up "scalped".
Interest of our Island Personnel in Bowling, has increased materially. Besides our own tournaments, we have four teams of Islanders entered in different leagues in 'Frisco. The Island hasn't changed much, although it has had a bit of face-lifting here and there, as a result of which the roads are much safer for man and motor.
San Francisco has changed somewhat, from what you may remember: It is really a Service-Man's Town, nowadays, although the war workers are well represented in the crowds that jam Market Street. Many new Theatres, Restaurants, Stores, and Taverns, have sprung up, and "Penny Arcades" dot the Main Drag until it looks like the Boardwalk at most any Resort. The usual "chiselers" have poured into town, to skim the cream, but the law keeps them pretty well hammered down. The 'likker situation' is getting no better fast, as is the tobacco set-up. There's plenty of either to be had, but the prices are astronomical and the quality "phooey." Most of the old time bootleggers would have been ashamed to peddle the stuff that they put on the market, today. In general, 'Frisco's Market Street resembles the Midway on what used to be Coney Island or Atlantic City, but we can't help liking the old town, just the same.
Our Prison Industries are pretty well occupied with various war work, and a number of the officers are putting in time on the Coast Guard's Shore Patrol, etc. Our list of blood donors doesn't grow as fast as we would like it to grow, but we have made a fair showing, considering how old and decrepit most of us are. Cap'n Weinhold is a regular 'bloodhound' when it comes to tracking down and capturing 'prospects' for the Red Cross Blood-Bank, and he has many a juicy score to his credit. A few of the boys, including the Cap'n, have passed the Gallon Mark, and others are getting there as fast as the regulations permit. We sure do hope that none of you fellows will have to have any plasma pumped into your veins, but, if you do, we hope that it will be available when you need it.
We're still having those "Round Table" discussions, once a month, and quite a few of the "face-lifting" projects around the Island have resulted from the pros and cons. The boss is quick to spot any "germs" of ideas that crop up, and resulting discussion have frequently resulted in changes and improvements in our working efficiency. Once in a while the boys get all steamed up over one thing or another, but I guess we must be getting 'soft' because we haven't had a black eye in circulation for ages.
As for the weather, that old reliable space-filler, it seems like when one runs out of conversational material, the weather is ALWAYS good for a paragraph or so. It is 'Indian Summer' or something, in these parts, now, and the weather is swell. Just like in California -- only different. But, as you may remember, when it is nice here, it is really 'nice' and we're now having the kind of 'nice' weather that the natives brag about. Of course, it is still just a little 'foggy' around the edges, but for the most part, the days are warm and sunshiny and the nights are something to write poems about, or something. What a change from the last coupla "Summer Months." What a relief it is not to have to listen to that leather-lunged old Golden Gate Cow, bellering away on the south end of the Rock; but its so darn quiet now we can't sleep.
FIRST ISSUE- PAGE 4.
PRISON SERVICE ITEMS OF INTEREST (WE HOPE!)
If, and when, you are discharged from the Military Service and wish to apply to resume work at the old stand, remember the following points:
With this letter goes the best wishes from all of us to all of you. We don't expect to produce anything spectacular or wonderful -- that sort of thing is in your department -- but perhaps, we can furnish you with a laugh or two and an occasional bit of information that will help to bridge the gap between you and the place we call 'home'. No news that we can gather will equal the news that you can give to each other, so if you will drop us a line, now and then, we'll try to be the 'happy medium' for exchange of news and info, and just think what a 'lift' you'll be giving to Civilian Morale!
A D I O S .
[NARA-SAN BRUNO:RG-129:ADMINISTRATIVE FILES:P-G NEWSPAPER]