I intend to post almost daily, and in roughly chronological order, the thousands of pages of daily love letters that my parents sent to each other during WWII and any other documents that pertain to these letters..
No mail again today and I'm reduced to V-mail as a consequence. There are only four of us in the hut tonight, the rest having taken off for the snack bar, movies, etc. I just got up from my nap (about two hours) and feeling snug and warm, was rather reluctant about going out into the cold, wet, blustery night. So, I'm taking it easy tonight. Reading about the new Allied landings on the road to Rome. About the great New Russian Leningrad offensive, and the “News from Home” in “Yank.” Altogether, the news gets better and better and reading it becomes a pleasure rather than a chore. Last night I kept myself busy writing. I sent off, beside my usual letter to you, one to Dot, another to Jack S., a birthday greeting to Jack N. (he owes me a letter). Tonight I am going to write to Red (I owe him one). Still unable to get straight yes or no answer from Sgt. Murphy in regards to that. 5 Feb. pass, and until I do, there is no point in writing to Ed. Tomorrow, though, I mean to get an answer! There isn't a darn thing of interest otherwise that I might write about. I’m feeling fine; my work (such as it is), is pleasant, and, on the whole, I don't have a thing on my mind (such as it is), except perhaps how it would feel to get on the outside of a malted milk or a pint of ice-cream, or how long yet before I can know ever again the joy and peace of home and family, and how my sweet Chippie might feel again in my arms, and how wonderful it will be to be able to let myself become really attached to my precious punkin. My love to you all.
Devotedly, Your Phil
January 24, 1944
I didn't have to wait a week for the jackpot—it came today. It took me a long, long time to read the three of Jan. 12, 14 and 17. Lou was here as I read, and as I reached the end, Lou said, “wake up.” I was truly with you on your furlough, baby, and so much of it thrilled me, yet made me want to cry. I'm still in a daze and I like it. Oh, darling, you make me wish so hard.
This morning, bright and early, Ruth and I went down town (Betty and Mom cared for Adele), and met Sarah there. Blum’s was having a large clearance sale and Ruth was in the market for a sports coat. I, too, would have gotten something if I had had sufficient funds on hand. Ruth took the day off, having to care for Adele while I worked in the afternoon. She was lucky, for they had one coat, a boxy Chesterfield, a darkish cadet blue with a velvet collar, in her size. It is made of a lovely camel hair, very fine, heavy and warm. It was reduced from $40 to $24. That was the only real bargain they had in a coat. We looked at many items. Time passed quickly and I was soon on my way to Miss Hahn’s. Ruth called to inform me of the three unexpected letters. Gosh, was I happy!
I arrived home at six (Miss Hahn gave me a calendar with a large picture of a dog and Adele made a “large” fuss over the “wow-wow”), and after loving her for a while, I opened your mail. I couldn't read them til I had finished my dinner, but the fact that they were there to be read made me feel so deelicius.
Last night I knitted a while and finished Adele’s peach beret. I didn't really have enough wool to make it as large as I would have wished it. It will serve its purpose, though.
I thought Jack N. would have put in an appearance by now, as it is just past eight. His furlough is just about over, and I'm beginning to wonder if he'll come at all. Lennie called from New York last night and begged forgiveness for not calling or visiting. All I can say is: It was about time. They had the unveiling on Sunday. It is early and they feel it best at this time as they are all together.
I passed up, “Lassie, Come Home” last night. I see you enjoyed it and maybe I'll get to see it yet. I haven't much taste for the movies, somehow. Don't know why. I don't go out of my way to seek a movie as entertainment as I'm generally too tired to dress up and merely enjoy laying around. I often wonder what it will be like when you get back—you with all that travel and adventure tucked under your belt, and a desire to settle into a rut, and me—wanting by that time, to break the bonds and see the world. I have no doubt of the outcome—we always did get along, and I only wish it were tomorrow.
Betty may take a full time job in the post office after some schooling. She isn't sure she wants to work full-time.
There was also a letter from Eddie S. He is living in a detached home that sports a lawn, bushes and trees, bright green in the middle of January.
I know how you disliked returning to camp and I hope you won't have to very much longer. I've been dreaming of you almost every night and I'm so hungry for you. I even smell the paper you write on to try to get closer. Have you heard the latest “crazy” song—Mares eat oats, does eat oats, and little lambs eat ivy? My ever constant love and adoration, baby.
P.S. Try to say kaddish for “pop.”—Mom.
January 24, 1944
Hardly know where to begin today. It was a typically routine day and there was no mail for me again. I was busy all morning and most of the afternoon at the Finance Office transcribing the payroll and tending to a few other matters. This evening, I played cards for the first time in weeks, but since most of the fellows are pretty low (financially) this close to payday, the game only lasted about forty-five minutes. I was lucky again and came out ahead of the game. I think maybe I might manage to make that check $75 after all, but don't count on it.
I was reading the other day that once the “European Phase” of the war is over, there will be demobilization “on a large scale.” The speaker was none other than F.D.R., which is good enough for my money. I don't have to tell you, Sweet, that this was the best piece of news that's come my way in a long, long time. If I knew that I would be one of those free to go home after Germany is knocked out, I wouldn't have a care in the world. Here's hoping anyhow.
My love to all and don't forget the neighbors. A big kiss for Adele, bless her lil heart—and the same for you darling. I am, as ever
I merely got as far as the salutation last night and just couldn't seem to write on. Some kids like to be sung to sleep with a lullaby. Not Adele—she likes “pistol packin’ momma” and repeats the word momma as I finish saying it. Petey used up both rolls of film—mostly of Adele alone. I wanted you to see her in just her dress so we took them on the porch, that is, part of the 16 shots. I stood Adele on the studio couch and when the sun came up (it came up and went down every minute) we snapped, but fast. I took two alone—one in my suit and one in the coat. Don't worry, sweet, I'll have a C.P. (Claire Pruett) picture made in the near future. I've got my fingers crossed—they just have to be good. Adele was hugging her dollie in one pose, two are of Adele and Natalie, one of Adele, one of Mom and Adele and me. Adele, Glo, Glo and me and one of the four Mrs. Strongins and Harry. Gloria is here for the weekend and we hashed over old times. Gloria is angry at Lennie and Lee as they have made no attempt to see her while in New York. What's more, they called at 3:30 on the afternoon of the day they were supposed to be at Frieda’s (Glo’s sister) for dinner and called it off in preference to a date to go out with Jack. After Frieda had gone to all that trouble to prepare an elaborate dinner (she lost her baby recently and really shouldn't exert herself), Glo got really sore. They sure are stinkers if that is the case. After all, they ought to see her, if only to learn of our Jack's whereabouts.
I didn't go to Dot’s party last night, though I called (10 P.M.) and said we would go, (Glo and I). But we decided we were both too tired and would get home too late.
Ethel and Gloria liked my stationary so well, they are both ordering the exact same thing.
I got Adele bottle of cod liver oil ($2.29) and a box of Johnson's baby powder (.21). That powder makes her smell sooo good.
I'm working for Miss Hahn for four hours (1 to 5) tomorrow. Jack N. is supposed to visit us tomorrow, according to Gloria.
I received your V-mail of 6 Jan. 44 and “enticing” is the word for it. (You asking for a furlough to get home 'cause your wife had a change of mind.) I could write a long, long letter on my feelings, but I'd much rather have your arms around me when we discuss such things. Yes, sweet, I am trying to be fair to you, but that isn't my only reason for my change of mind. I'm glad you are so fair with me and I can only say that I love you all the more for it. I've had talks with many wives, and while they think their hubbies swell in that respect, not many feel the admiration I have for you.
I received a three page continuation of V-mail from my brother. He said he thought he was quite a distance from you. The Wymans dropped in this afternoon and made their usual fuss over Adele. I finished Adele’s peach sweater and that started a beret to match. The sweater is large, but she'll grow into it. My cousin Bella sent me one of the dresses she got for Adele. It's a size 4 and she won't be able to wear it for some time. It's a pink color with a full skirt and a lace trim from shoulder in a circular effect to the waist.
Time to go, baby, but don't worry 'cause I'll be back. I adore you my darling, and will always be
January 22, 1944
No mail today, but I'm not kickin’, because the mail has been coming through pretty regularly of late. I am in receipt of practically every letter you have written up to 10 Jan.—and is my file growing! Ruth’s first package of toys are already in the Chaplain's hands. I took it right down to him as soon as it arrived today. Thank Ruthie for me and tell her to keep sending the packages at every opportunity.
This morning the company turned out for presentation ceremonies. Some of our fighter pilots were awarded medals. This took up most of the morning. After a big lunch of roast beef, mashed potatoes, corn, bread and butter, coffee and cake; I went to work on the S/R's. This kept me busy until 4:30, when I knocked off work for the day.
Did I tell you I received Dot’s letter of 22 Dec. yesterday? I think I did, but I don't think I told you that she volunteered the information that Adele is “the prettiest baby I have ever seen, including my own.” Now that is something! While I think of it, Sweet, how about that C.P. picture? I hope you don't think I'm going to be content with those proofs of Wolpe’s. I'm sure that you're not satisfied that they do her justice, either. I'd like a picture of the two of you, Honey, and I'd like to see C.P.’s version of the two sweetest girls in the world. What do you say, Chippie? Do I or don't I get it?
I had been planning to send you $75 on the first of February, representing $30 for Jan., $30 for Feb. and the $15 bonus check of S & D, but my furlough set me back about $20.00, so I'll be sending about $50.00 or $60.00 depending on what's in the “kitty” on pay day. I trust this will be satisfactory, Honey, 'cause I want to do the best I possibly can for you—financially. If you remember, Sweet, you're avowed intention of reneging on the Xmas gifts wasn't too well received by me, and I declared that I would send you the fixed amount of $30 monthly; but since you came through so handsomely at Xmas time with presents for everyone; I'm reconsidering. I'm leaving myself a few dollars (about six, I think) for “investing” (if’n you know what I mean) and if it turns out favorably, I will send the “profits” along to you with March’s check. I hope you appreciate the fact that I'm doing my utmost in this direction, Baby, so don't ever again “cheat” yourself by opposing my intentions or wishes when I specify how part of the money I send you is to be spent. I won’t, for my part, make any undue demands on you. That's a promise. But, if I drop the hint sometimes, like: Why don't you use part of this $60.00 for a real picture at C.P.’s?—well, I'll expect you to take the “hint”—get it?
I'm still waiting for Mom's letter. Evidently it's been held up. Sgt. Murphy still hasn't committed himself on the matter of the 5 Feb. pass, but I'm hoping for the best.
And now I'm going to kiss you, good-night, my darling, so that I may get off letters to Jack S and Dot. A hug and kiss for the lassie. My love to all—especially you, my lovely.
This is a letter from Francis Benis from Columbus, OH, whom my parents befriended when my father was stationed in Columbus:
Jan. 22, 1944 Saturday, 8:30 P.M.
So much has happened the past few months that I really had no thought or time to write anyone.
My news is sad news. My brother Maurice was killed in Wales Dec. 13th and the War Department said all details are withheld until after the war. My dad held up wonderfully, but mother collapsed—my sister Inez was in Texas with her husband and when she arrived came down with the flu, so I took complete charge at Mother’s for nearly a month.
My two younger brothers came in and by this time are on the high seas. God only knows bound for where or what. They hadn't seen each other for fifteen months—My brother Myron came in three weeks ago today from Panama, and since he had twenty months overseas service, may not have to go back, but this week reports to New Orleans for his new station, and we hope it's in the States. Inez went back to Texas two weeks ago. She got to see the three boys, but the two younger had to leave before Myron got in and now, this Sunday, my sister, Mary, has to go to New York on a two week buying trip, so I'll go over to Mother’s every day while the children are in school.
I'm expecting my in-laws Sunday, also my brother-in-law, sister-in-law and baby, and they'll stay for several weeks, so while they are here, I can get over to Mother’s easier as they are so helpful and fine folks, too.
You know Maurice was our best and it's hard to say he's gone, but to us he is always living. You know how religious my folks are, but Dad wouldn't let us cover up mirrors or his picture. Said we should just think of him living away in a distance, helping God to install good thoughts and deeds in all of us, for though his life was short, (he would have been 30 in Feb.), his everyday living was a good, clean one and you should see the hundreds of letters we received from his friends; but the living must go on, even if it's hard to know why a good clean boy should go so quickly, but who are we to question God?
I hope the news you get of Phil is good news and may he come home quickly and safely to you and your big daughter.
Cy said you will get a premium notice where to send the check. He wishes to be remembered to you.
Do write and as soon as things get more settled at home, I'll resume my writing. You keep it up and I'll try to catch up with you! Any chance of you and your daughter coming here for a visit this summer? Think it over—would do you both good if you can make it, so think about it, won't you? Am still awaiting that letter from the Levinsons!!
Regards from us all and may my next letter contain better and more pleasant news.
Please excuse my writing as I'm terribly nervous and it's been hard to sit down and write the few letters I did get off today.
Alice and Stuart say hello—Alice lost 2 upper teeth and looks a fright, but guess we all went through that stage.
Jan. 22, 1944 Ninth Air Force
[Looked up the family tree and not sure who cousin Issy is, but he's cousin to all my father's othercousins.]
How are you? I guess I'm the last person you'd expect to hear from. Well, here goes. I've been in England for some time now. The folks told me you are somewhere in England and so I decided to look you up. Two weeks ago, I wrote a letter to Help Wanted Stars and Stripes asking for your A.P.O. I just got it and here I am writing to you.
You have the same A.P.O. as mine. I would like to see you soon. I visited [and this is cut out by the censor] Write me where I can meet you. How are Jack, Harry and Cousin Harry and Ben.
Carl is in Africa, transferred to a M.P. outfit on account of a bad finger he got while on maneuvers back in the States. I’m getting mail regularly from home. Please write me and let me know what time and place I could meet you.
Yesterday I wrote 5 letters, one to you, to the American stores ordering my gifts for the coupons, to the Benis’, to Max Brown in answer to a recent postal ,and Gloria. After putting Adele to sleep (her noon nap), I went to Broad and 11th Sts. to shop. I looked for some handkerchiefs. They are sky-high and hard to get. I only got three inexpensive white ones that he had had in stock for some time. I am also sending a few others I had. I bought a dollar’s worth of stamps and a few groceries for Adele. I wrapped the package last night and will mail it either today or tomorrow.
Adele has given me some unusually bad days this week and yesterday was a “killer diller.” She now has the practice of holding food in her mouth or throwing it up. She is getting into the “hitting” stage and generally speaking, can be a little terror at times. I was very weary last night and could hardly wait til I got into bed. My mother visited in the evening and I had to hang the clothes. I finally managed to hit the hay at 10:45. Did I sleep? NO I got up seven times, mind you, to put her on the toddy four times and change a wet diaper 3 times. Well, this morning I had to force myself to stand up. There are times that I get so doggone tired, I almost wish I wouldn't wake up. I'm “due” again and that is also largely due to my continued weariness.
Adele forced up most of her breakfast all over the place, and that was the last straw. I put her in bed and lay down myself. I might also add that she gets spanked more often. She gets out of hand with so many admirers to spoil her. Don't worry, sweet, she gets plenty of lovin’ from me, too. When she does something well, I make a whole fuss over it and love her up. When she does the opposite, she gets spanked. She knows what it means, too! She is getting wise and soon will be easier for me to manage.
Yours of Jan. 3 was in the mail this morning. Where in Sam hill did you ever get the idea that I depend on your “winnings” for Adele’s and my keep? Me? I thought you knew me better. Furthermore, do you think I would give you the “go” signal if I did? That irked me and the fact that you decided not to send me anything in excess of $30 per month (if you had it) made me a little mad. I never had any intention, nor have I ever done so, of using whatever monies you may be able to send me for anything but savings, with the exception of the fur coat. The money you are using to play cards is our savings—so far. I sincerely hope I won't need it for anything else, and that too is why the money I earn helps. I think I have demonstrated in previous letters that I can spend when there is what to spend. I specifically stated that you were to hold any and all monies to do with as you choose. When I specifically requested, you had a large excess on hand, or perhaps, such as this month, I find myself unusually short or my desire to purchase some expensive item, did I want you to forward it. You always said you didn't want to save unless it was in large amounts. Well??? You once said I should buy what I want or need now as the money means less now than it will later. You are wrong. You don't get the full value of your money nor good quality of merchandise. I don't mind waiting for the things I want in life if I know I can have them. In this respect, I merely mean personal ownings. I want my own home and I expect you to get it for me when this mess is over. And there are plenty of things you’ll want, and if you’ll have the money saved, you'll get them. $110 per month is equal to $55 these days and it won't be enough to live on when this is over. We’ll be alone—on our own with the child to raise. Phil it's almost three years since we struggled to get on our feet. Now is the best opportunity and I'll never forgive you if you miff it. Perhaps you will do better when it is over, but, sweet, that's one chance I don't want to take. I'd like to know we got off to a head start. Forgive me, darling, if I seem to run away with myself.
I was beginning to wonder if the proofs went astray. I think Wolpe is going to have fits at the delay, but who cares? I thought the serious pose had more to it than the others. You still think Adele pudgy? She isn't even chubby anymore. She is losing weight rapidly and is just right. I hope to use the film I bought shortly. I'm waiting for a warmer day so I won't have to bundle her up. I'd like to get one of her standing alone in a dress, as she is at present. She looks mighty cute in the nude. I don't think I'll be satisfied til I have a picture made by Pruett. I want to wait til she is steady on her feet. She walks nicely but has many spills. She kisses correctly now and when I tell her to kiss me—it's smack on the lips. It sure does feel good. I sure do feel for you at the loss of such a desire. Maybe soon, huh? Did I tell you that we were the only ones to gift Mom on Xmas? Ruth bought the house an Autodex, one of those plastic pod-like things to keep oft-used phone numbers. Harry said they couldn't afford to give gifts with the baby on the way. One minute he's overly generous, and the next he’s as tight as they come. He never runs true to form.
Well, I “fell off”—I'm right back on the 28 day schedule. We received a letter from Jack S. that had been delivered to the wrong address. He keeps repeating that he is safe. He's doing guard duty and hopes to do something more interesting in the future.
This evening I gave Adele her junket as usual, and she doesn't like it. I put the junket away and gave her a banana. As soon as she took the first bite, she started to rub her chest to make “ah-good.”
Those oft-repeated words “I love you Phil” must serve again.
January 21, 1944.
Today was a typically quiet, uneventful one. Your V-mail of 10 Jan. arrived this afternoon together with a Xmas card from Ruthie and a letter from Dot. Dot’s letter, written on 22nd Dec., was a whole month in transit because she hadn't sent it Air-Mail—so don't ever get an idea about saving three cents a day on stamps. Something is being done about the mail situation you'll know if you've been reading the papers that the ETO is devoting exactly twice as much space on the plane to Air-mail—that's both coming and going—so I fully expect the deliveries to be immeasurably more regular.
I've been forgetting in my last few letters to make requests for those packages for the British kids that Ruthie has collected, but don't think it isn't important, Sweet, it is—more than you might think. The Yank soldiers are contributing generously for the sake of the little “blitz” victims—and there are many—too many—who have been left parent-less and home-less in this war. It is becoming quite the thing over here for a squadron or company, to adopt its “own” kid. That way there is a more personal interest in the tyke, and he has the the affection of many fathers. As you say, Sweet, a baby requires a lot of loving—the more, the better. Anyway, we are all trying to help in any way we can, and I'm sure the Chaplain can put those togs and goodies that Ruthie has been good enough to gather in the right little hands. So keep sending them along.
I've asked Sgt. Murphy for a pass on 5 Feb. so that I can go ahead with my plans for meeting Eddie. I'm usually very busy the first three days of the month because of the “Soldiers’ Deposits.,” Ration Report, etc. Then, I am even busier from the 10th through the 15th or 16th with the Pay Roll. I don't know—at least I don't want to take the chance that Eddie might move again after that. So—the logical time for me to arrange a meeting is about the 5th Feb. The difficulty is, some of the fellas will be taking their furloughs then, and since we are only permitted a certain percentage absent, that may queer the deal. However, Sgt .Murphy has said that he will let me know in a few days whether or not it can be managed. Eddie is just about as far from London as I am, so that would be the logical place for our little reunion.
And now, Baby, McFarlin and I are going to take a walk down to the Snack Bar for a “Nosh.” There really is very little to write about tonight, Sweet, but maybe I think of something by tomorroh-oh! just look how I tried to spell tomorrow t-o-m-o-r-r-o-w!
Give my love and a great big kiss to my “petite fille.” My love to one and all. ’Bye now, darling. I love you. (Well, it's a pretty fancy love I feel for you—that's why!
Letter from Phil's cousin Phil, who has the same name.
January 21st, 1944.
My Dear Cousin Phil II:
Where in the hell did you get the queer idea that I have an extreme distaste for writing letters? After being in the army as long as I have, one gets to enjoy receiving mail from his beloved ones, and how does one go about receiving mail? Yes, you guessed it, by writing. By this time, I honestly get a kick out of writing.Phil, did I knock that queer idea out of your head—(I hope).
Phil my life in general hasn't changed much, in spite of the army. Still take a gym work-out twice a week. In fact, I'm writing this letter at the USO—in the same building. Just got through playing (3) three games of handball—and boy they are rip-masters. The boys I played with were New Yorkers, and in New York, everybody plays handball. The handball courts would be enough to bring me down here in Wash.—but thrown in with it are free eats, which usually consist of Jewish rye bread, (the kind you can really dig your teeth into) corned beef, baloney, knishes, etc.; nice girls to talk to, ping pong—and free writing paper and envelopes. Not bad, aye? Phil my feelings for your dear daughter are the same as my first letter—so I'm not going to repeat it all over again, but if you wish (and with my permission) you can reread my last letter about her.
Phil, your family are all well—and like good Americans, are taking you boys being away in their stride—just like you'd expect them to.
I'm still fortunate enough to see my beloved ones nearly every week, but of course no one can tell how long that will last, of course, when my present heaven on earth comes to a short lap, I'll take it in my stride like my cousin and brother “over there.” Phil no one can tell, but maybe someday I'll join you all over there. I'm enclosing Eddie's address—please write to him. He's in North Ireland. Ed writes that Harry Weinman is someplace near him.
The following is a very funny story. Your wife was very thoughtful and sent Sidney Brown a little something. What, I don't know. Two weeks ago I and Em received a letter of thanks from him for a package he though sent. You see Phil he remembered that I once went with an Evelyn (Cohen) and he took for granted that my wife sent the package. I wrote to Sidney and straightened the whole thing out—so now everything is O.K. Well, Phil II, I'm gradually getting writer's cramp, so I'll say so long for a little while.
Your Cousin Phil I.
P.S. Phil did this little note convince you that I enjoy writing letters—contrary to what you thought?
Well, how do you like it? I'll be disappointed if you don't, as I've already ordered a double portion. It cost me $0.60 (wholesale) ($1 retail) for 100 of these single sheets and 50 envelopes. On the next batch, I'm having PA. spelled Penna.
Yesterday I was the “deadest” Chippie you ever saw. I arrived home at six to find your V-mail of 10 Jan. 44. I'm glad you told me that there won't be any mail from the time you were on furlough. I'm sure the jackpot will be worth waiting a week.
Adele was so happy to see me that she darn near jumped out of Ruth's arms to get into mine. She hugs me and kisses me and won't let me put her down. Yes sir, it is a grand feeling!
Al had to report to his draft board on Tuesday for a hearing and got a six months furlough, as they now call it. I told him to stick to the board in New York as they are definitely more lenient. It's mostly due to Ethel's pregnancy. She expects the baby around my birthday.
After eating and getting Adele to bed, Ruth and I went downtown. We didn't get into town until 8 and had only an hour to shop. Ruth is unusually hard to fit and we had a picnic. We finally got a lovely lovely dress—cost $15.95. Can you imagine? $16 for a dress for her! It is worth it, though. It's a pale purple with a dark purple suede belt. It's made beautifully and I won't attempt to describe the intricate details of the dress. It does have one trimming I'll mention—silver hob-nail buttons. It had a round neck with a bow-tie effect, well-padded shoulders, three quarter length sleeves and a full skirt. I almost bought myself a lovely grey sports dress, but I'm going to wait til I have more time to shop—and more money.
Remember those coupons I had and I was supposed to get a sheet and pillowcases. They were unable to fill my order and I got two large Turkish towels and a thermos bottle. That is, I ordered them. I'm still waiting for them.
Received a V-mail from brother Eddie saying he had arranged to meet you in London. I'm wondering if you saw him while on furlough.
Adele set a record yesterday. She didn't wet a single diaper. Ruth caught her every time. And, Sweet, you ought to hear your daughter saying “momma” with her clear bell-like voice. I have a feeling she'll really begin to talk soon. Some babies do things gradually. Not Adele—she tries to startle everyone. She calls Mom “ba-ba.” Adele doesn't actually know enough to call me “momma,” and I doubt if she will for a little while yet.
Goldie is starting to blossom forth. I think you ought to write to them. I think they're a bit disappointed that you do not mention your reaction. Write them a nice letter, baby, will you?
It's time to say “I love you Phil” A kiss from your “chips.”
January 20, 1944 (10:30 P.M.)
My Own Evvie,
Here I am again a little late, but well—here I am! Glad to see me, Sweet? You're looking lovely—as usual. I'm still reading your last batch of letters and still finding items of interest that I had previously overlooked. Your letter of the 31st is so full of the charm of Adele that I shall never tire of reading it. You want to know what to do about my clothes? Just pack them away and forget about them. There's no sense in having them cleaned; if I keep losing weight, I won't be able to use any of my old clothes. Already. I am some eleven or twelve pounds thinner than when I left home. Sorry, Sweetheart, that you spent such a dull New Year's Eve. I can well appreciate the intensified feeling of loneliness you experience on the Holidays. It is then that I miss you most, my darling. I remember one particular New Year's Eve (I think the only one we spent together) when we were still living at 5447 Sansom. Remember? we had gone in town with Dot and Snuff and two other couples (I think—that part of it is hazy) and I recall that the Aldine and the Boyd were jammed to the doors, so we wound up by ourselves at the Nixon and saw Ann Sheradin in that picture about the ’90’s, which I didn't care too much for (the title escapes me). The picture of the whole evening is fairly fresh in my mind, even to stopping at a cigar store on 52nd Street for something or other, but the details have a way of getting mixed up with those of other evenings. At the time, I know it seemed a pretty dull way to see the New Years in—but what I wouldn't give to live that dull evening over again! You insist on being pessimistic, Honey, about the length of time that is to elapse before I come home to you. I have every confidence that we'll see the next New Year in together. But I'm rather thankful that you take the long-range view ’cause feeling the way you do, you are less apt to be impatient, and since impatience breeds discontent, and discontent isn't easy to live with, you are much much better off feeling as you do.
If you refer back to my first or second “London” letter, you will find that I saw “Adventures of Tartu” quite a while back. Whatever, made me think you saw “Princess O Rourke?” Jack N. didn't say a thing about his love-life in his last—and nothing about any WAC either. Forgot to tell you—received Gloria”s New Year's greeting among the batch of other mail. Today, along with your V-mail of Jan. 5—a New Year's greeting from—you'd never guess! Ruth Crothers of the good ole Label Bureau. Was I surprised! Never mind the cigarette lighter, Sweet, I bought one in London for $1.30 and it's quite sufficient for my needs. You have my sympathy, Chippie, for the sketchy mail delivery—I am plagued the same way. About that 8 x 10 you asked for—I'll see what I can do on my next pass to London. If Ed and I can manage to be there together, I'll see to it that he takes some pictures, too. Glad you like them so much, Baby. The sideburns that caused all the comments were entirely “unintentional” (for lack of a better word). The truth is—I needed a haircut. I don't, as a rule, wear them that long. However, if you really like them that way (and I never could understand why), then that is the way I shall wear them when I get home. Even if everyone else can't bear the sight of it, (and I must confess, I'm one of those), your wish is my command. The “pin” you inquired about is the European Theater of Operations (ETO) Ribbon. In your letter of the 7th, you claim that you mailed off nine letters in one night. Marvelous! But how in hell do you manage it? It takes me all my spare time to write you a fairly long letter. I should say the average “Air-mail” letter, such as this one, takes all of two hours. I'm still curious to know your weight, Sweet, because I can get a pretty good idea from that alone how you look and feel at present. Seems to me you are over-working again—what with doing your own laundry, etc. This always worries me. Ev, and I wish you would find a way to ease up on yourself. Your paragraph about Adele's reaction to my picture was very gratifying reading and my heart swelled with the sweetness of the little scene, but, somehow, I find it rather too much to believe of the tyke. Is it possible she understands all that you imply? Was it really just that way—or are you just trying to make me feel good? If that was your intention, Sweet, you succeeded far better far better than you could have hoped for. Which just about answers all your letters. Now I can look forward with a clear conscience to the next batch. C’mon sumpin!
I took it rather easy all day today. Lunch consisted of meat loaf (spiced and very delicious), mashed potatoes, warm coleslaw, bread n’ butter, coffee, and cherry Jello. So good did I find the meal that I broke a precedent, went back, and did it all over again! What's more—I finished the second edition right down to the last lick—and enjoyed it! I am still passing up breakfast and supper; breakfast because I hate to get out of bed just to walk down to the Mess Hall for dehydrated eggs (which I detest) and coffee; supper because I am never hungry at that time due to the invariably sumptuous lunch. You expressed concern a while back because of my practice of eating one meal, a day. What difference if I thrive on it—and I am thriving on it.
This evening, a company of English entertainers came to the base to play for us. I can only say that now I can understand why the English import American movies, music, jive, etc. The English brand is corny to an extreme. However, it was good of them to take the trouble for us Yanks, and I will say, in all fairness to the Yanks, that they appreciated the good intentions of the entertainers. Under any other circumstances, they would have hooted them off the stage—instead, they applauded generously and even laughed at the very un-funny gags. Incidentally, darling, that is why I started this so late. It is now past midnight and time to hit the sack. Good-night my Evvie. I'm thinking how I used to say it in better days. The sweet feel of you is deeply ingrained in me—and I can recall that feeling it will. I'm doing so now, Baby; no—don't turn over—snuggle up to my back as you always did. Ah, Chippie, that's heaven! G’night, Baby, I love you—
Dearest darling. No mail today—for a change. There was, however, a letter from Gloria. She will visit us this weekend. She says that Jack N., Lee and Lenny are all in New York on furlough. Jack is seeing his old flame—Frances—no less. That guy will never learn. Gloria says that Jack will see us on the 24th. I'm kinda disappointed, for he has neither written nor called since he landed in New York. I guess he's too busy enjoying himself. It's swell that they may all furlough together.
Mom, Harry and Goldie went to a movie this evening. Mom finished with the dentist today after many semi-weekly visits. Flora and Marvin are home again for ten days. I went in to see them and found only Flora home and we chewed the rag for awhile. She couldn't get over Adele.
Ruth isn’t going to school tomorrow, so I'll be working all day. I promised to go downtown to help her with some shopping (tomorrow also) and may not find time to write my evening daily stint. I'll try, but if I don't find time to write, I'll make up for it with a longer letter. OK, honey.
Anne and I went walking with the kids. Richard had tonsillitis recently. Never a dull moment with children. He also fell halfway down the cellar steps, and her father caught him. He opened the door himself. Room to say I love you so much!
January 18, 1944
Arrived back in camp after very slow trip. The train stopped at practically every cow crossing, and it wasn't ’til 10:15 that I reached the good ole barracks. I didn't get bored, though, as I read my detective stories all the way through and completed all but one story. Directly I arrived, I made for the Orderly Room to see if there were any letters awaiting me. The Mail Orderly was already in bed, though, so I had to hold my impatience in leash ’til this morning. I hadn't eaten since 12 M. and I rolled between the covers feeling very very hungry. So famished was I that I was moved to ask Klein to wake me up for breakfast this morning. Klein laughed—and I couldn't very well blame him, as it takes nothing short of an earthquake (or fresh fried eggs) to get me out of the sack in time for breakfast. As a matter of fact, Chippie, on the one occasion when did have fresh eggs instead of the usual dehydrated product (and I mean, it was an occasion!)—I preferred to grab another hour’s sleep instead. So you can imagine what it entailed in the way of effort and how powerful was the inducement to inspire that effort. I mean, I actually got out of bed this morning! But then the inducement was two-fold: (1) I was hungry (2) I was fairly itching to get my hands on my mail. Well, Sweet, to make a long story short, there was a pile of mail awaiting me. Air Mail of the 1st and 3rd and V-mail of the 27 Dec. and 28 Dec. and 1 Jan. Correction: The first letter is dated 25 and 26 Dec. (That's the sky blue pink one.) Too, there were two letters from Eddie dated 2—7 Jan. I came back to find myself swamped with work. I'm still trying to find the time to get the files in order. Somehow there is always something more important to be done and the files are still a mess. Service Records need some going over too, and that's something else I never seem to find the time for. Today I was busy typing the Officers’ Pay Vouchers among the other things; tomorrow I have to prepare the forms for Soldiers’ Deposits, Reimbursements for men on Detached Service, etc., etc.,—and so it goes, one thing after another—and I never do get to the files and the S/Rs. Tonight I'm pretty weary and your letters, coming in bunches like this, will take a lot of answering, and I hardly know where to begin. As usual, I'll start at the beginning—but before I do—I want to tell you of the conflict that goes on within me after reading your letters. I'm thrilled to pieces while I'm reading your account of Adele's current activities, or your own expressions of love so tenderly expressed, and I literally glow with good feeling. A little after I’ve finished reading, though, the reaction sets in. I get to thinking of you, Sweet, and the good times we have known and how the lassie would feel in my arms, and the peace and love I experienced in “our” room, and the fun we used to have shopping for your clothes, furniture,—and oh so many, many things that flashed through my mind and heart. It is then that the wave of longing hits me, and the feeling of helplessness and frustration is almost more than I can bear. My antidote for this is a simple one. I look ahead and fancy the war over and myself walking down 8th Street, then opening the door to see you and Mom and the punkin—and taking you all in my arms and kissing you, and so on. Baby, in my mind's eye I have lived for this scene over a thousand times and savoring the sweetness of it somehow manage to allay the tearing futility of longing.
Now, to answer your letters. No, Sweet, I am not at a Liberator Station, although I've seen hundreds of them overhead. Lt. Reuter, who is censoring the mail now, has told me that I might inform you that I am at a Fighter Base (P-47 Thunderbolts). So now you needn't wonder about that anymore. I was delighted that you saw your way clear to buying Xmas gifts for everyone, nor can I find any fault, whatever, with your selection. You may rest assured that I'll write to Mr. Silver first chance I get. Don't expect that chance to come soon though, Honey, ’cause I barely managed to find time enough to write to you. Ed has given me a pretty good idea as to his whereabouts, and though it is quite far from here, I'm confident I can arrange a meeting when I get my next pass. The probability is—we'll meet in London. Then I owe letters to both Jacks and Red, and I hate like hell to keep them waiting, but my days are full ones and sometimes I just don't find the time to answer all my mail. Especially when it “piles up” on me as it has of late. Seems to me no one has any cause for complaint to Santa Claus. But, I’ve read your letters over countless times, looking for some reference of the gifts you were to get for yourself and Adele from me. What about it, Sweet? Am I being dense? Was it an oversight on your part? Or—didn't you buy those all-important gifts? Harry’s “Bulova” sounds like a handsome watch from your description, and I can well believe he's like a kid with a new toy—I don't think he has ever owned a wrist-watch—or any watch for that matter. By the way, are the parents-to-be giving any thoughts to the matter of a name for the new boy. How do I know it'll be a boy? Well, I dunno—I guess I just feel it. Anyhow, how about submitting the possibilities—I sure would like to think about a name for my one and only nephew. I can well understand Harry and Goldie's desire to find a place for themselves before the baby comes; and their dilemma is real and disturbing, what with the uncertainty of Harry's status in the draft, but I don't see the necessity or the advantage of worrying about these things before-hand. For the time being.I'm being they are fairly comfortably situated, and I, for one, think it would be the sheerest folly to even contemplate making any sort of change when things are in such a state of flux. Plenty of time for change when conditions are more settled. In the meantime, the back room is plenty big enough to accommodate the three of them comfortably. Tell them (Harry and Goldie) for me, that they are fretting themselves prematurely and needlessly. Maybe something else is worrying them, of which I know nothing. If so, I'd like to help them in any way I can. You said, Chippie, that it is going to be extremely difficult for Goldie to manage as things are when the baby comes. I wish you would tell me why you think so, Chippie, ’cause after thinking it over, I don't see why it should be any more difficult for her at 4906 than it would be any other place. Or are you hinting that what is really bothering you is that it may entail more difficulty for you? Please elucidate on this subject, will you, Baby?
You again make reference to “our next baby.” I think you were well aware of what those words mean to me, Darling, but I can't help but wonder if you would reiterate them so glibly if I were at “home” and in a position to do something about it. I wish I could believe that the prospect is is as exaltingly thrilling for you as it is for me. I’ll take a lot of convincing on that score, Baby mine.
Your “blue” letter of 3 Jan. brought with it a lock of Adele's hair. Ah, Chippie, what a moment! What waves of tenderness swept over me as I contemplated the glossy red-chestnut curl! I touched it, smelled of it, kissed it, wrapped it carefully in the tissue, and tucked it carefully and tenderly in my wallet. Kiss the punkin for me to repay her for the loss of her curl. I don't wonder you didn't have the heart to cut it yourself. And what do you mean she’d be “your little girl now.” She always has been “my little girl,”hasn't she? I'm always glad to learn that you are knitting something or other, or planning to, so when I read that you were embarked on a veritable series of sweaters, I feel very good indeed.
I can easily understand that Ben has plenty to complain about—not everyone is as fortunate as I in this respect.
Good of you, Sweet, to remember Jack N.’s birthday. Frankly, I had forgotten, but he'll never know, 'cause I'll write to him and wish him Happy Birthday!—and he'll think I'm very wonderful, indeed, that I remembered his birthday.
I was surprised and flattered no end to read about kid brother Jack’s request for my picture—I never knew he cared! I think I may have photographer make up another half dozen pictures. Then you could give one to anyone who would like to have one. It will be some time before I'll get the opportunity to reorder.
Your P.S. (not me) is a toast to the German Navy—“Bottoms Up”—remember? German Navy? Never heard of it—is there any such? A goodnight kiss, Sweet;—time for lights out, I'll continue tomorrow.
Yippee-e-e!! Six (6) beautiful letters from my ever-lovin’ Chippie today—and what perfectly scrumptious news! I was kept very busy all day and when the mail came in I was still fussing around with the files; but when Hegen started handing me letters, I promptly dropped what I was doing, parked -er-er self on a chair, and preceded to race through all six letters. (I read them at my leisure after work.) They are as follows: Air Mail: 31 Dec., 5, 6, 7, Jan., and V-mail: 30 Dec., 2 Jan.
Let's see now—your letter of the 31st Dec. was almost entirely about Adele's new bag of tricks—and delightful reading they make too. I can just see her as you describe her, and can well appreciate the comedy in some of her antics. She must be very precious, and how I envy all who are lucky enough to be close enough to touch her and see her and dance with her. (Tell you a little secret if you promise not to laugh at me. I confess I felt a distinct pang of jealousy the first time I read of the way Adele “takes to” the boys—especially when I read of her “dancing” with them. I realize how perfectly ridiculous this reaction is, and I haven't conquered it yet, but there it is, just the same) (and I'm at a loss to understand it.) I might mention, too, though I guess I shouldn't, that the same unreasoning jealousy hit me when I read up your jitterbugging with Petey. Don't condemn me for this wholly unbecoming trait, Sweet; it is entirely beyond my power to stifle, and I beg of you to understand an emotion which I am very ashamed of and incapable of understanding myself—and understanding, will write nothing to induce in me that perfectly miserable feeling, which, happily, is a stranger to your own un-jealous heart. If this is a little beyond you, (as I must admit, it is a little beyond me), still, I know you would be good enough to spare my feelings. The very thought, narrow though it may seem, and as it undoubtedly is, of anyone holding you in his arms, even for the perfectly innocent pastime of dancing, makes me squirm with a misery I could never begin to describe. I remember telling you something of this a long time ago, Sweet, but I'm not surprised you forgot it, the whole thing is so ridiculous. Still, if you love me, and would spare me this pain in the future, I should be most grateful. Strangely, my jealousy (I know no other name for it) is just as fierce where Adele is concerned, so try to be careful, for the sake of your very unreasonable hubby, who, withal, loves you and your daughter very dearly (perhaps too dearly). I can't—in all justice—ask you to forgive this weakness, I don't deserve it—I only ask you, Sweet, to humor me in this matter. Please.
You say something about a favorite “snap” of the punkin, which you are being asked by Sarah to enter in the “Daily Mirror” contest. I'm not entirely sure which snap you are referring to, unless it's the one in which she is holding onto the fence and has her face half-turned and smiling that adorable smile of hers. But that is all beside the point. You ask me what I think of the idea of entering the picture in the Baby Contest. I don't have the right to forbid it—I can only tender my views on the subject (and what with the above paragraphs, you'll probably be thinking I'm a pretty queer duck by the time I’m through). Right now on this Base, there is a similar contest, but while I am supremely proud of my daughter's very obvious charms, I did not for a moment consider entering her picture, of which I have many, as a participant. Why?Well, I've been forced to think about the “why”—you remember Wolpe’s contest—and I think I have it figured out. When I turned the idea over in my mind, I was aware of a definite distaste for “beauty contests” where me and mine are concerned. Being well aware of the abnormality of my feelings in regards to this, I asked myself “why?” Why the “distaste” for a very usual institution that more normal people didn't think twice about? My inner self told me “why.” It said—if you enter your child's picture in this contest, you are declaring to the world at large that you think she is the prettiest child extant. This, in itself, is the soul of vanity, as each parent feels pretty much the same way about his offspring. Vanity is a synonym for self-esteem or self-praise—and you know what they say about self-praise. It stinks! I agree. Some less-thinking people would argue that pride, not vanity is the factor involved. I dis-agree! Pride is a very private emotion. Proof: If a man is secretly or unspokenly proud of something, his emotion is pride, pure and simple. But let that man start to brag about the object of his pride and immediately he is looked down on as a boaster and a braggart. His pride degenerates to vanity and vanity is—etc. And that, my Sweet, is why the thought of entering Adele in a “Beauty Contest” is anathema to me. Finally, the “most beautiful baby,” when you think about it, is just as much an accident as the ugliest baby. She is an entirely spontaneous creation. Neither she, nor her parents, nor any agency whatsoever, is responsible for her beauty or ugliness (whichever the case may be), so why does she deserve a prize for an attribute that owes its being to no one but fate and nature? The more I think about it, the more ridiculous the idea is. Remember—Self praise stinks!—and I (and I hope you), am not a stinker! Not knowingly, anyhow. Nuff said?
I haven't fully answered your letters yet, Sweet, but it's almost time for “lights out” and I don't want to hold this up another day—so—I'll bid you the fondest good-night, remind you of my all-enveloping love for you, and close with the heartfelt wish that the day is not too long coming when I will be able to demonstrate the extent of my affection to the utmost. My love to all.