Varied are the careers which open up to young men when they enter the service of their country. We find some of them doing the most unlikely things. Then again, their war-time work becomes an extension, or a variation, of the profession they had planned to follow before the war cut across their lives.
One of the many graduates of the Eau Claire High School who are using their special talents in Army or Navy is Carl Nicholas, valedictorian of his class in 1930 and winner of a scholarship in music to Lawrence College at Appleton. Carl is now a Private First Class in the U.S. Army and is serving overseas with a group of entertainers who plan to give performances for soldiers in combat zones.
Just before entering the army, Carl, possessor of a fine tenor voice, was appearing on Broadway in the Gertrude Lawrence show, Lady in the Dark. He was also a soloist in the famous Little Church Around the Corner in New York. His first movie assignment was to go to Hollywood to play in the film version of Irving Berlin's This Is the Army. He was in California at Easter time and sang in the service at the Hollywood Bowl. He also took part in the nationwide radio broadcast of This Is the Army.
Carl is the son of Mr. and Mrs. William J. Nicholas who came to Eau Claire from Colorado in 1920. William Nicholas was instructor in physics here for several years. Carl's younger brother, Robert, was valedictorian of the high school class of 1936. He became an electric engineer in California. He is now an Ensign in the Navy.
Mr. and Mrs. Nicholas now live in Waukesha, IL, where Nicholas is an instructor in the Industrial Home in that city.
While Carl is overseas, now stationed somewhere in England, his shadow self is being seen in the film version of This Is the Army on the screen of the Eau Claire Theater. To bring the record up to date, here are quotations from a letter he wrote to a friend in this city, Miss Paula Anderson, shortly after he had visited his parents in Waukesha and while waiting in New York for the order to begin the world tour:
"I was home in Waukesha for a week and, while there, the three of us talked to Robert by phone. He's the same as ever, but I'm getting huskier all the time.
"I wonder if you have seen the movie, This Is the Army? During the number, This Is the Army, Mr. Jones, you might be able to catch sight of me in a moving close-up of the first line, second from the right. It's too difficult to find me in the other scenes.
"We are rehearsing every day now for entertainment overseas. We hope to make all the camps in the European and Asiatic Fronts. Will be able to see an awful lot of country and really get up to the front lines and see some action. I'll bet I'll really shake in my boots during that first air raid. I just hope I get over there before it's all over."