This appears to be the last of the communications that are in my collection of WWII letters. My father returned home in time for his beloved daughter, Adele’s third birthday. Philip and Evelyn Strongin lived and long, happy and blessed life together with all the usual ups and downs that most families experience. We were all privileged to help them celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary. Philip died in June of 1993, and Evelyn in August of 2009.
Sunday, February 5, 2023
Thursday, February 2, 2023
Nov. 4th, 1945
In recent elections Alfred Edwards increased his majority by 8000 and poor Cdr. Bower was knocked out by labor candidate.
Telephone Normandy 238
My dear Philip & Evelyn,
It gives me the greatest pleasure to address you thus, for I think by this time you must have had that wonderful and happy reunion. First of all I want to thank Evelyn for her kind letter, Philip for your letter before leaving England, and yesterday the first copy of that delightful magazine arrived. For your great kindness in making us a present of such a generous subscription, we both thank you most sincerely. We were so sorry not to have had a last visit from Philip, but maybe the next time we meet it will be in the United States.
Some 50 years ago, or nearly that, my grandmother with most of her family landed in Philadelphia, and I have never seen or met any of the family. I look forward very much to a trip out one day & then I shall have a host of friends to visit, including you dear people. Someday when it is possible again to get negatives developed here, I will send you some pictures of the garden. We are all well here, but longing for peace really to become a fact. Apart from the release from danger & the glorious knowledge that precious lives are no longer being sacrificed, we hardly know the war is over. Conditions are infinitely worse in so many ways, not the least the food problem. Our meagre rations have been cut and our surgeries get bigger & bigger. For after five years of very bare living, this further cut is showing itself in the health of the community. No one grumbles for we know it is the price we must pay for war, but it complicates life. Wallie & I are alone now, for our maid has left & Tim has gone to the Far East, and somehow one doesn’t manage so well on just two rations. We are ourselves alright for we haven’t to do heavy manual labor but it’s most difficult for the men on the furnaces here to exist on it. Many of them are going to work on potato sandwiches and jam sandwiches. The cut in the meat has made a big difference to them. The rations now are 2 pts. of milk per week, 1/2 lb. of meat which must include some corned beef, 2 ozs. butter, 4 ozs. margarine, 1 oz. cooking fat, 1 pint dried egg every 2 months. But what the winter will bring for the rest of Europe I shudder to think. If we weather this winter without serious epidemics, then I think the silver lining will appear, and after the next harvest, the world shortage will be adjusted. I give you these details for I know Philip was always so interested. I am so thankful now for my domestic science training. By the way, I am broadcasting at present every Wednesday at 8:20 a.m. on the Kitchen Front. I have another three to give. I give my last on Nov. 21st from London. I don’t suppose you could get it in America. It’s on the Home Service programme. Do forgive this sheet of paper. I have exhausted the supply at hand & did want to finish this tonight for my broadcast keeps me so busy now—2 days each week in London. Tim has got his brass hat. He is a Commander now & is in command of H.M.S. Home Sound bound for Hong Kong.
We miss you all so much but do come & visit us some day. Our dearest regards to you all. Write when you can.
Mabs & Wallie Davies
Tuesday, January 31, 2023
Post #709 - October 31, 1945 I Want to Go Home, Ev, and I Just Won't Feel Good Again Until I Realize That Wish
31 Oct. 1945
For want of something better to do this evening, I went to the movies to see - don't faint now - “20 Million Sweethearts” with Dick Powell, Ginger Rogers and Pat O'Brien. What, you never heard of it? Well, I'm not surprised. It's only eleven
years old. Let's see, you were only about twelve back in 1934 when it first showed. I remember I enjoyed it then, but tonight it seemed cornier than hell. The acting was hammy to the point of being sickening. Dick Powell mugged all over the place, and Ginger Rogers looked harder than nails. What waste of time!
There was no mail from you today. Seems like I'm only getting one letter a week these days. It's not entirely the fault of the APO either, cause I noted you only wrote two letters between 10th and 18th Oct. You can do better than that, baby, I know. I know, too, that writing is become an increasingly difficult chore for you, but it's very difficult for for me to wait for a week for a letter, too, so I’m askIng you, darling, pretty please, to write at least every other day.
Nothing new broke around here today, but 8th Fighter Command is supposed to let us know what cooks by this week-end. Maybe I'll have some really good news for you then, honey. I certainly hope so; this “sweating” without anything happening is getting on my nerves—but proper! Sometimes it’s like I’ve been here all my life and am destined to stay here for the rest of it. I'm trying so hard to be patient, but there's a limit, dammit!—Never in my life have I felt myself so powerless to help myself. It's a lousy, humiliating feeling and I'm yearning to be rid of it.
Read in today's S+S about a Phila. woman who fell or jumped out of a seventh-floor window downtowns, landing on another and killing her, too. The name of the woman who fell is set down as Mrs. Rose C. Ostroff. I was wondering if it might not have been our fire-insurance agent, who, if I remember correctly, spelled her name Ostrow, and I'm almost sure her first name was Rose.
Today was pay-day. I'm flush again, but that doesn't keep me from feeling low. I want to go home, Ev, and I just won't feel good again until I realize that wish. I love you so much, my darling. My love to Adele - and all.
Monday, January 30, 2023
Post #708 - October 28, 1945 I Received Your Letter of Oct. 17, Yesterday, & You Were in a Bitter Mood
Oct 28, 1945
Here I am again, after not I writing since Friday. I just hate to write & don't seem to give a hang whether I do or not. Darling, I hope, for both our sakes, that you soon will be home.—
I did nothing special this weekend—except for some shopping. I bought myself a white sports blouse, a grey gabardine sports dress—and a black hat – which I hope you'll like. It's a fairly large sized hat with a good sized brim, made of needlepoint & can be used for both sport & dress. I had a veil put on for extra effect. I still have a few more things to buy for myself, but I'm doing it gradually.
Today my dad, Ed, Jack & I went down to South St. to get each a suit & coat. Harry W. & Mickey met us, as Harry wanted a coat, too. Well, Sweet you haven’t the slightest idea of what it is to get "half-decent” clothes at a fair price—it's simply impossible.
However, luck was with us. Harry got a blue colored covert box coat for $45, - & that is a cheap coat! Jack got a navy camel hair Chesterfield for $60 & with sheer luck—a chocolate brown suit for $40.00 & we had to talk plenty to get it at that price.
Best of all was the coat Ed got. Someone had given a deposit on it & had left it there too long so the fellow sold it to Ed. I want you to buy the same identical coat, providing it looks as well on you as it does on Ed & you can get one. It is a beige covert officer's military coat with a lining that is removable & cost $65.00 & it's well worth it. For a man's coat, it is positively striking!
I wish we were going shopping tomorrow, in spite of the ordeal.
Baby, I'm missing you so keenly these day that I'm almost beside myself with that feeling of “I want you!” I love you so much, Phil dear.
Gosh, almost forgot to tell you that I received your letter of Oct 17, yesterday, & you were in a bitter mood. I hope, since then, that you have more cause for rejoicing. Baby, I love you! See l can't even write sensibly anymore!
Sunday, January 29, 2023
23 October 1945
All day I had been looking forward to this evening. I was sure there would be some mail. But no such luck! This morning I walked to the mess-hall and then to work in wind-driven rain. Despite my raincoat I was soaked through by the time I got there. I felt miserable all morning as a consequence, but I could do nothing about it 'cause we started processing at 9 o'clock, and I was busy ’til lunch-time. When we called a halt for lunch I still felt (hell, I was!) wet and miserable. So instead of going to eat, I pulled my chair close to the warm stove to dry off and continued reading “Razor's Edge”. At 1:30, when we resumed work, I was fairly dry. The afternoon went much better. I noticed a familiar face among the fellows being processed. It was a fellow I hadn't seen for six years. He wasn't even an acquaintance, although I had seen him from time to time around 40th and Girard. Yet I recognized him right off the bat. He didn't know me from Adam until I told him who I was. He didn't know me even then, but during the course of our conversation it became apparent that we had many mutual friends. It felt good to talk to someone who lived in the same neighborhood as I did and to hear news of fellows I knew and went to school with. He's a short, blond fellow. His name is Joe Goren.
It was 5:00 by the time we finished processing Hq Squadron, 412th Air Sv Gp. The rain had stopped, but a gale was blowing. I walked to the mess-hall thinking all the while about the four or five letters that I felt would be waiting for me. I rushed through supper in my impatience to get back to the hut. You can imagine how disappointed I was when I learned that no mail at all had arrived for me! Hope tomorrow will bring some mail. After five days without I get awfully impatient and somewhat alarmed.—
There isn't much I can tell you tonight, honey, so pucker up for my good-night kiss. You know, darling, that I love you very much. My dearest love to Adele and all.
Saturday, January 28, 2023
Post #706 - October 22, 1945 I'll Be Following the Same Routine and Walking Those Same Six Miles From Now On
22 October 1945
I’ll bet I walked six miles today. Twice I walked to and from the Chapel, where we set up the processing line today. That's more than four miles. Then, this evening, I hiked to and from the theater. That's two more miles. So if I come home with too much poundage on me, you won’t be able to say that it was for lack of exercise. And this is only the beginning. I'll be following the same routine and walking those same six miles from now on. Since I have no alternative, I hope I'll be rewarded for the drudgery by the loss of at least ten pounds.
The picture I saw was "Over 21", with Irene Dunne, Alexander Knox, Charles Coburn and others. I didn't care too much for it. The reasons are too numerous to mention. In particular, I didn't like Alex Knox. The guy has no personality, no charm, and despite the big build-up he got for "Woodrow Wilson", I don't think he can act. Irene Dunne, however, is a gal of another color (if you’ll allow me to mutilate a cliché). She must be how old now? Forty? Certainly almost that. Yet she is still fresh and charming, and possessed of a slim curvaceous figure that almost any gal might envy. Luckily, she was almost the whole show, and she made it bearable solely by the sheer charm of her personality.
The mail is apparently held up again. I haven't had a letter in four days. I'm hoping to get a few tomorrow.
I'm reading "Razor's Edge" in fits and snatches whenever I get a coupla free minutes, at mess, etc. I don't know quite what to make of it yet. The plot, if there is one, is developed very slowly. I’m beginning to wonder just what Maugham is trying to prove. That's the way I feel about it now. But that in itself makes for an element of suspense. Besides, I never read anything of his before, and I learn a little something from each new author I read, so I'm being educated even if I’m not entertained. The urge to write grows stronger every day. One of these days I’m going to bust loose. I can feel it. And once I start, I'll never stop; I feel that too—Which reminds me that I didn't comment on the information that "Mike" was returned by “This Week". Well, Sweet, you know that I expected nothing else, so what can I say? Guess I could say "I told you so, but I hate people who say "I told you so”—so I won’t say it ~ Personally, I'm perfectly satisfied with my first effort. It may not be well written or sufficiently interesting or perhaps it's lacking in certain
essentials necessary to a short story, or it may have all those faults, but I'm content merely because I was able to put an idea down on paper that people can understand. I suspect that the greatest fault of both “Mike" and "ETOUSA Interlude" is that they are so "typical" that they are commonplace, and therefore uninteresting. It struck me only today that they both have that quality in common. Did you notice that, honey? Wonder why I am moved to write stories that must have had a thousand bases in fact? It also occurred to me that had "Mike" actually been published, we would, in all likelihood have been deluged with letters from gals all over the country wanting to know how in hell I got “their” story, etc, etc. Bet you never thought of that! Think it over, Chippie, and tell me if I have grounds for thinking that or not. I think I told you that I had coupla stories "in my head.” One in particular begs to be written, and when I get around to it honey, I promise you it won't be typical. I might even venture to say it's not like anything you ever read before! I've been “building up” to a writing mood these past few weeks. I think the next time I get an opportunity—which means a few hours of free time, and an atmosphere of peace and quiet in a place where I won't be interrupted. Don't know when I'll attain this combination of requisites, but when I do, you can bet your life I'll knock out this next story. I haven't thought about its title ’til now. As a matter of fact, I'm not sure that it will be a story, in the accepted sense. I do know that it must be written in the first person, and I've been thinking that it is more fitting as a monologue; you know, the type of thing you hear on the radio. The more I consider it, the more I'm convinced it would be more effective in that form. Yes, I think I'll do it that way.
It's almost time for lights out, Sweet. Hope I haven't bored, you. I love you very much, my Evie—Here's a kiss for you, and one for the punkin. My love to all.
P.S. - This time next month???
Friday, January 27, 2023
Post #705 - October 21, 1945 A Teletype Had Just Been Received Setting Our “Readiness Date” Forward to 6 November!
21 October 1945
It is a rainy Sunday evening. Before settling down to kill the evening with W. Somerset Maugham's "Razor's Edge", I thought I'd drop you these few lines.—The other fellows in the hut are getting ready to go to Colchester via the liberty-run, rain or no rain. The radio is giving out with some Limey vocal music, which is the same as saying that I wish it were something else.—Between the radio and the hubbub the guys are making, I can hardly hear myself think! Didn't write yesterday but went into town instead to spend the evening with Bert and Evelyn. It turned out that Bert had a date to go pubbing with one of his sailor friends, and Evelyn was set on going to the movies to see "Mr. Skeffington.” I did have supper with them, though, after which Bert drove us back to the center of town. I stopped at the Marks' but the house was dark—they probably went to London for the week-end. Walking along wondering what to do with myself the rest of the evening, I came to the “Headgate Cinema,” a second-rate movie-house. But they were showing a first-rate picture - "Enchanted Cottage.” It is a beautifully inspiring love story and I loved it. Robert Young and Dorothy McGuire left nothing to be desired as the romantic leads, and Herbert Marshall turns in his usual masterful performance.
When I came out it was 10:30. A full silver moon filled the streets with pale light. The liberty-run bus wasn't due to start back ’til 11:30, so I walked down to the parking lot, found a stone wall and just sat and admired the the scudding clouds and the illumined blue of the sky until it was time to start back. It was just midnight when I came back to the hut. I undressed in the dark and hit the sack.
This morning broke gray and rainy. It's been that all day. I slept in ’til 10:30, when I dressed and went to lunch with three of the boys. Sunday means chicken. Being very hungry I ate it, but I didn't enjoy it. Even now I'm trying to get rid of the taste— ugh! Don't, Chippie, when I come home (and wait until I tell you the good news!) ever offer me chicken! I never want to see the stuff again. Remember that, will you? But I’ve kept you waiting too long already to tell you this—In the mess-hall I met Sgt. Murphy, who wasted no time telling me that a teletype had just been received setting our “readiness date” forward to 6 November! Did I tell you that the last Groups that moved straight to POE to board the Queen Mary the same day did so on their “readiness date" ? That was on 10 October. We're hoping that we will also embark on our “readiness date". There is a chance that we will, but don't count on it, Chippie. If it does turn out that way, though, you can look for me to be home on 12 Nov. and a civvy by the 15th. Wouldn’t that be sumpin’?
There was no mail for me either yesterday or today. I'm mighty anxious, baby, to get your letter of the 14th! When I think what might happen back there I get a queer sinking sensation in the pit of my stomach.—My whole life and being are wrapped up in you and the punkin, Sweet. If anything happened to either of you I'd have nothing left to go on with—or for. Do you think I'm being silly and morbid, honey? Perhaps so, but it is more or less instinctive to worry about those that are dearest to one's heart, and when an incident occurs to arouse ones fears, such as happened last Sunday, the feeling of apprehension isn't easy to shrug off. Please try to understand my concern in this instance, Ev, and don't think me overly sensitive because of it, it's no more than natural ~ The fact that we are so many miles apart has ever been, in itself, a source of worry for me. I feel cut off from you and utterly powerless to come to your assistance in an emergency. My constant prayer is that God keep you and all the family safe and well.
That's about all I can think of to tell you tonight, my lovely, so I'll close this, as always, with the reminder that you are the beloved and adored of
Love and kisses for Adele. Love to all.
Love and kisses for Adele. Love to all.