March 1, 1944
Your immense (Feb. 22) letter arrived this afternoon while I was in town and it was the final touch to a perfectly perfect day—at least it was for me. Today was a year since Tante Shush passed, and I'm glad I have something better to remember this March 1 by. I wrote the envelope to this letter this morning, little dreaming that I would have the typewriter at my disposal this evening. It took the repairman exactly two minutes to put this thing in order. That, plus a new ribbon (all black) cost me $3. It's much less than I thought it would be. He said I could get at least $100 for the typewriter if I decided to sell it, and that after the war it would only be worth about $40. Do you think I should? However, I would positively want to get another brand new one after the war. I could sell it and put the money into a bond and then cash it in after the war. I’ll also talk it over with my mother. (Uncle Nish bought Bea a nice portable, but paid $50 for it).
And now for the high spot of my letter! I went downtown with Sarah this afternoon after putting Adele to sleep AND bought and bought and bought three things—big things—a coat, shoes (dressy) and a handbag. Now for details: I saw the enclosed ad in the paper and really went for the backless toeless shoe pictured in the center and the handbag. Can you picture me pay $9 for shoes at I. Miller’s? Well, that's exactly what I did. The heel is not nearly as high as demonstrated, in fact, I'd say it was half the size. It's a high heel, but comfortably so, and one of the most flattering, good-looking pair I've ever possessed. They are rich brown tone and I bought them mainly for my fur coat. I'm getting ahead of myself, though.
I left the house at 12:15 and met Sarah at Snellenburg’s at one. The one single coat that she had seen was still there (reduced from $40 to $15—I can’t get over it, except that the coat is rather soiled and will need cleaning immediately) fitted me perfectly, (the sleeves have to be lengthened just a trifle for my long arms) and I bought it. It's a very light beige color, double-breasted with a very low cut sports collar, two rows of three large tan colored buttons, two deep pockets with flaps and a small inside pocket on the left breast. The back has a small wide belt that holds in place two large pleats on either side of the back. It has raglan shoulders, well-padded that make me look like a football player or sumpin’, and very flattering lines. I hope to have a snap of myself wearing it as soon as we have some nice weather. March came in like a lion, for it was windier than windy, and I don't mean maybe. (The material is 100% wool, very soft and good looking, and the lining is a lovely rich satin).
On our way out, I suggested we pass the handbag counter and spied a bag very similar to the one pictured in the ad—cost $4.95. Since there is a tax to go into effect on bags, and since I haven't a decent one, I decided to get one right then and there. It has four pulled-in pleats in the front and the zipper top. I yanked the handle off already (that's the kind of junk they put out today and I think I can fix it myself. The leather (oh yeh!) is fairly nice and should wear well. It matches the shoes perfectly. The bag pictured was very tiny and not half as nice as the one I bought. I bought the coat and bag on Betty’s charge account as my check did not come through today and if it doesn't show up tomorrow they are going to hear from me. (I don't have to pay Betty til April 15).
We walked (or were blown) down Chestnut St. to get the subway when we chanced to pass I. Miller’s and I recalled the ad when I saw the shoes displayed in the window. Luckily, I had my ration stamp with me. I tried them on, liked them and bought them—just like that. I'm still in a daze, but it feels so o good. That's the best remedy for what ails me, especially when I go at It so wholeheartedly. It's only the beginning, for I'm sorely in need of several dresses, which I fully intend to buy in the near future.
I'm working all day for Miss Hahn tomorrow and it will help me out of my present predicament. I really shouldn't have spent so much money, but I think I'll be able to squeeze through, even though I may have to borrow at the end of the month.
I'm glad, sweetness, that you derived so much pleasure from the snaps and (and I said this yesterday) I'll take that Clare Pruett picture next week. First I must get Adele shoes, as her present ones are positively a mess. I'm against your suggestion to melt your school ring and make Adele a baby ring. I’d rather melt your school ring and remake a nice ring for you, very much, if you don't mind. I'm not going to buy Adele any jewelry at the moment, and perhaps we'll get to buy her that together in the near future. Hope you're in accordance, sweet, as it does mean quite a bit to me.
Don't worry, honey, I'll squeeze in all the chocolate I can and have asked Ruth (she does all the shopping and pulls all the strings for such things) to get me a box of Milky Ways, Mars etc., or whatever she can get her hands on. As I said before, I have a box of Stevens chocolates on hand and have ordered another box of chocolates and a box of chocolates straws.
I thought your Valentine offering very cute, dear, very cute indeed. As for saying anything “Fresh”—don't worry—I'm not bashful with you. I don't like to say fresh things anyway, unless you're right here and then—(I'll really get “fresh”).
Harry and Goldie went downtown to buy him a hat to match his coat, or rather go with this coat. I was supposed to go to Marshall St. with Mom today (this evening) If the checks came. Rae came over for dinner and took Mom in town to see a show “Jane Eyre” with two passes Mickey had given her. They had intended to go shopping first, time permitting, but time didn't permit.
Had a nice letter from Gloria today and she hasn't heard from Jack for a long time and feels he's on his way again. Mom is kind of worried, as usual. Did I tell you that I wrote six letters the other day? How does the typed letter line up with the written? Don't compare! What a difference! I do have lots to say this evening and I'm glad I'm able to type such a longie. This will never get into the mail tonight (I'm very tired now and making too many errors) as it is past nine. I told Mom to dash off and had to do the dishes and put Adele to bed. I washed as many dishes as Adele would let me while she was up and had to leave it til I got her to bed. Then the sink stopped up and I said the hell with it, and sat down to type. That brings me up to date, baby, except that I still have to wash a few things before hitting the hay. Adele wet all her overalls while I was gone, “Did” in her panties and whatnot. Just shows you the care a mother gives a child. Goldie never offers to stay with Adele or even watch her, and is terribly finicky about doing any sort of laborious work in the house. She even saves the ironing board for Harry to put away! I won't judge severely as she is pregnant, but, nevertheless, she isn't inclined to be overly ambitious. On several occasions I could have gotten out had she offered to just look on Adele—but nothing doing. I still don't like to leave her with Mom, although I trust Mom with her more than I did before, except that Mom can’t take her up and down the steps and that's one of the more important reasons. I feel best when I leave her with Ruth or my Mom and have come to depend on them exclusively when I wish to leave her. Adele her carriage and hichair are being moved to my mother’s so that I may work all day tomorrow.
I forgot to tell you that I weighed myself recently (after Adele's illness) and weighed 118, which is pretty good. I think I dropped a few pounds while she was ill and I'm doing my best to put it on again. I think my bust has developed a bit, at least Mom mentioned it—so there now. Think I'm “fresh”? (Boy, I'd like to read your mind right now!)
Sarah and Betty have been perfectly wonderful to me, Phil, and they shall be my everlasting friends for it. They have been a great help to bolster my crumbling morale since our separation, and I appreciate it no end. Room to send all my love, precious Phil, and a kiss from Adel-e, as some call her.
March 1, 1944
My Own Darling,
Today I am CQ once more. The first day of any month is usually a busy one for me. This 1st of March was no exception. What with Soldiers’ Deposits, money to be cabled home for those desiring it, reports to get it out, etc., it was a very full day. I had very good hopes that today would bring the “jackpot,” but there was no mail at all. This is the sixth mailless day for me, except for that V-mail I received yesterday. However, I hope I shall find enough to talk about to fill this page. I think you would consider that a pretty big letter, wouldn't you, Sweet?
I had a helluva time just now trying to get a fire started, and only succeeded after fooling around with it for about an hour or so. I still have the bunk to make up. If I manage to finish this by then, I expect to hit the hay by 10 o'clock. At first I had every intention of writing all those letters I owe to my correspondents, but I'm much too tired for that, and somehow, the time slips by almost unnoticed. It will take me to the small hours of the morning to knock out the three or four letters I owe.
The picture at the theater is Red Skelton in “Whistling in Brooklyn.” Red Barnhart had asked me to go with him, but since I am CQ tonight, I couldn't accompany him. I must rise early (6 o'clock) tomorrow morning to kind of do the chores of a bugler (without a bugle). Needless to say, it is a thankless job, bugle or not.
Last night I invested what little I could afford—and lost! All I have to my name now is a couple of pounds. Hope Eddie doesn’t arrange a “date” in London this month, ’cause then I'll be forced to borrow again and I hate to do it. I'm surprised I haven't heard from “Jack” Gutkin I've written twice to him about three weeks ago, but I haven't heard a thing.
Well, Chippie, here it is the beginning of our “big” month and although I had had hopes at one time that I would be back home by now, it looks very much as though I won't make it. Still, it wouldn't surprise me too much if this proves to be the decisive month. So you see, Baby, I'm far from discouraged. I feel that we are nearing the end of our time of trial. Just how long it will be before I can see you, once it is all over, is difficult to say. The “powers that be” can't seem to make up their minds about it, but I don't think it will take more than a few months. You said a while back that you don't expect to see me home before ’45, but I don't think you really believe that, Chippie. Maybe I'll surprise you yet!
Now that I've started the second page, I'm trying hard to find thoughts enough to fill it.
I might mention that I haven't received any of the packages yet. I sure could go for some chocolates right now! Or better yet, Ev, how's about taking a walk to Ben’s with me for a malted milk or a Sundae? At the moment, I am chewing a stick of the Double-Mint gum that you were good enough to send along. You have no idea how precious chewing gum is over here, Baby. While we're on the subject, if you can manage to get that halvah, I wish you would include it in your next package. Send as much as you are able, 'cause there are plenty of guys here to help me eat it.
It is very quiet here, in the orderly room. The stove is red-hot now and the heat feels good. Red was just in to inform me that the picture was very funny. He didn't stay long because he's in the throes of frying a quail and a rabbit that he shot while hunting yesterday. Here he comes again. He has a piece of the quail that he wants me to taste, but I don't care for it. I told him I was just talking about him—he says “hello.”
It's after 10 o'clock now, Sweet, and my bunk still isn't made up, so I'll say good night now. A great big hug and kiss for the punkin. My love to all, and the same old brand of love for you, my Chippie.
Your devoted hubby,
P.S. I'm “fresh out” of Air-Mail envelopes; hope this “Free” mail reaches you just as promptly.
March 1, 1944
Dear Cousin Phil,
How are you. I received a letter from Evelyn and upon request I got your address and the addresses of your cousins also. So you are in England, and I understand that you contacted Jack. I hope you both finally get to see one another. I bet there would be plenty to talk about. I sent the kid your address and so did Evelyn send you Jack’s. My 2 brother-in-laws are somewhere in England also, and in my next letter to you I’ll send you their addresses, one’s a Staff Sergeant and the other a Corporal. 2 swell guys. First I hope you get to see Jack. I hear your kid is adorable. We received a letter from your Ma and she raves about her. You must be a mighty proud Daddy. I guess Evelyn wrote you that my husband is in North Africa, but he doesn’t expect to stay there long. I’ll give you his address anyway. Pvt. Carl J. Furr 32893347-6702nd L.B.T.S. A.P.O. 600, C/O P.M.N.Y. Every time I get mail he has another number. Well coz, I’ll have to say so long for now. God bless you and may this whole mess be over real soon so that we can all be together again in the very near future.
Regards from the folks.
Keep your chin up.
Translation of Yiddish Letter from Bella (a.k.a. Rebecca Strongin) to her son, Philip
March 1, 1944
My Sweet and Precious Son Philipka,
I can write to you that we are all fine, healthy and are proud to hear good news from you, my precious son. I have read your loved and precious letter with great pleasure. I am happy to have heard that you are in good health and see that you write so sweetly in Yiddish. Every word has a healing effect on my heart. Forgive me for not writing to answer your letters right away. You know that every day I am busy preparing supper and with housework and in the evening I am dead tired. I sit myself down alone by the radio to rest at the end of the day and that is how every day passes quickly by.
Nu? And soon I will become a very proud busy lady when Ethel, who is expecting any day, goes into the hospital and gives birth. When that happens, I will be going to their house to take care of Paul. I will be cooking supper and afterwards, when she comes home from the hospital, God willing, Goldie will be next, and because of that, I will be busy again.
May God continue to give you good health. It was good to hear good news from you as it alleviated much of my anxiety and I am very happy to be busy so that I don’t dwell on other things. This is what my life is like, my dear son. I do not have so much worry now that I received your letter. Because it was three weeks since your last letter, my anxiety level was beginning to affect my health, but now that I have, thank God, gotten this good letter from you, everything is all right. Now that I understand that you didn’t write for a while because you were busy driving for the base, I forgive you. I know that we are all busy.
What else can I write to you? I’m sure Evelyn has already written to you about my allotment. I know this situation will make you happy. May God grant that you find yourself home next week and that would make me even happier. May God forgive me for bringing this up, but I suppose that Evelyn has already written to you about Goldie, and that she doesn’t do anything around the house. Because Evelyn writes everything to you, therefore, I have not much to write to you.
This I am happy to share with you. I am delighted to tell you that your daughter, Adele, is my entire life’s pleasure. She is a doll and very intelligent and very sweet. She should live a long life only with luck! May she continue to grow in such a way that when you return home in good health, you will be proud of her. Amen!
Phil, Adele, the little “pisher,” (a Yiddish endearment?) just ran into the kitchen, saw me writing this letter to you, and she said “Da-da, da-da!” A blessing on her head! Amen!
Greetings from everyone, and I beg you, Philipka, when you have time, write me a Yiddish little note to let me know how you are faring. I wish you would write to me to let me know what you would like for your birthday.