January 18th, 1944
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.