March 20, 1944
"Our" big night is here again, our third. My only wish tonight is that our fourth will find us reunited or about to be reunited. I feel as though I've matured in those three years into womanhood. I've experienced and learned many things, mostly, I think, to my advantage. Don't you think I've changed a lot? You have changed too, for the better. I guess "love" does that to people, the desire to be right and to be loved completely. As time goes by, I realize how lucky I was. You were the best thing that could ever have happened to little immatured me. They say it's not wise for a girl of 18 to marry at that age, but if the marriage is as successful as ours is, then it's okey dokey with me and my daughter. What do you say, baby?
I remember our first anniversary clearly. Did you ever really know how happy and surprised I was? I shall never, never forget that particular moment when I discovered the box of jewelry in among the lovely bouquet of gladiolas. I never dreamt that you could surprise me so completely and I loved it. Perhaps it was because I never expected it of you. You never were too sentimental. The Army seems to have made a regular sentimentalist out of you and it's perfectly alright with me, especially where I'm concerned. Later in the evening you fell asleep and that was that. I'm hoping I'll never have trouble with your sleeping habits once you return. It always threw me off, cause you were rested and I was tired. I had to work twice as hard to keep up with you. I certainly wouldn't be able to do it now. I have a picnic keeping up with Adele let alone keeping up with you. I wouldn't mind knocking myself silly right this moment, if only you were here. I doubt, though, if I’d do you much good, cause I fell off last night and felt lousy all night and all day.
Your three back letters of March 1, 2, and 3 were in the mails this morning (the free ones) and saved me from being disappointed. There was also an anniversary card from the family. My sister gave me a white crepe blouse, tailored with a scalloped collar and pocket, long sleeves, that is quite attractive.
We had another heavy snowstorm today, to make matters worse. We had more snow these past two days than we did all winter. It's fairly thick and I have no desire to go out at all. It's freezing cold.
My father finally landed a refrigerator for my Mom. He happened to see an ad in the Sunday papers and decided to follow it up. It's a 1942 model G.E., practically brand new. Besides that, the same family had a lovely maple bed and bureau for sale and my dad bought that too, all for $215. My grandmother is leaving us (you can just imagine how sorry we all are!) shortly and my mom would have been without a refrigerator again. She's elated about the whole thing, and I don’t blame her. The maple set is for Ruth. Ruth had her hair done at the beauty parlor the other day - gettin' to be a glamour babe.
After I finished writing to you last might, I wrote to Milton and then a *thank you" letter to Goldie's folks. I hope you'll get the opportunity to get that Jewish letter off to them in the near future. Then I caught up on my pressing, which had accumulated. While pressing the last piece I felt funny and knew that I was unwell. I made some progress on the sleeves of Mom's sweater today and hope to finish the whole sweater shortly.
Harry just returned from a second visit to the doctor and he has been put on a diet. He weighs 221 lbs. Everyone around here is trying to reduce except me. I guess the only way I'll ever gain weight is by getting pregnant. Who's giving who ideas?
Adele says "Har ra" for Harry. She was a mess today, just cause I wanted to rest a little. She wet her pants and even "went" in her pants, for which she was soundly paddled. I couldn't wait til I got her into bed this evening.
I called Dot and we chewed the rag awhile. Snuff has been making $80 per week and it's going to be quite a change for Dot. From $80 per week to $80 per month. She's going to pay her mother $40 per month. She says we'll get together more often once Snuff goes away.
There isn't much else to say, baby, so I shall close now with the earnest wish and prayer that I'll be saying I LOVE YOU in your ear softly in the near future. Phil, darling, I want so to put my arms about you, hold you, caress you and make love to you this evening. I wonder why!?? Guess it's really love, huh? Three big kisses, one from each of your women, me, Adele and Mom.
P.S. Goldie's baby is due June 9th and I've mentioned it before.
P.P.S. I'm glad you got the package of Stevens candy and the hankies. I've mailed two packages since then.
20 March 1944
Today, as you no doubt are well aware, is an important date for “us.” On this, the third anniversary of our marriage, I deem it fitting and proper that I renew my marital vows to love, honor and cherish the girl who has, in the three years of marriage, proved herself as wife and mother worthy of the greatest measure of my devotion. I want you to know, darling, that I am most humbly grateful for the privilege of calling you wife. I have had occasion many times over in the time since we made our vows to each other before God, to thank Him for sending you to me and for making me worthy in your eyes. Our love has been tested in the harsh crucible of war, sickness, separation, adverse domestic conditions and the torturing experience of childbearing. Through it all, I was acutely attentive to the state of our relationship. I doubt if you were aware at any time that I was constantly on the alert for the least sign of deterioration in our love for each other. Certainly many unions have been breached by less potent forces. Yet it may be said of our own that the ties between us were bound ever tighter by each succeeding trial. We have found our strength in each other. May it ever be so! Now, more than ever before, I am in the signally peculiar position of being able to consider our association objectively. I see a young couple in a far-away living room, standing before the Rabbi, and pledging themselves to each other forevermore. I see them dressed in their finest, huddled close together on a New York-bound bus; impatient for the privacy of the hotel room; impatient to pick up the thread of the future; thrillingly in love with love—and each other. I can see that same groom, a scant 10 weeks later, weary and thirsty and distracted; literally pushing his body through the rigors of Infantry field training; hating the everlasting trekking through the Maryland woods; the burning summer sun, the throat parching dust, the tedious hours of lying in ditches, the bite of gravel on knees and elbows, crawling through mud (and worse), cursing the flaming sun one day and chill rain the next. Through it all, counting the minutes ’til week-end leave when he would be free to hurry home to an ailing wife and a bedridden mother waiting in a dingy apartment. I see that bride tossing on a bed of pain, waiting, waiting for the loving arms of her soldier husband, hating a world that could breed so much of pain and loneliness and sordidness together with the wonders of love and beauty; praying fearfully that the Army would see fit to return to her, in her sore need, her absent husband. I see that gloriously happy moment of homecoming for the soldier; the wonderful resurgence of hope and initiative; the happy, exciting days of home seeking, shopping for furniture for the new home; the distinctive thrill of planning and decorating; the pride of possession; the unbounded satisfaction of a job well done. I see the bride and groom blissful in their new environment; proud as punch of themselves, and each other; knowing all the while that someday the soldier would be recalled to the Army to do his share for his country at war; snatching the little joys of the moment with one eye on the mail-box, and savoring each morsel of pleasure to the utmost. I see the young people studying long hours the crucial question of the advisability of bringing a child into a world of chaos and war. I see the soldier taking his courage and convictions in both hands and persuading the undecided and apprehensive bride that to deny themselves the right to progeny was a tacit admittance of cowardice and defeat; a supreme concession to the enemy, and a crime against nature and the unborn child. I see the understanding born of love and faith in her mate overcoming the doubts and fears and prejudices of the wife, inspiring her to even greater measures of sacrifice; imbuing her with a new fortitude and sense of triumph. I see the prospective young mother bidding a tearless and inevitable farewell to her soldier—at last, returning to his duty—painfully cognizant that his adoring young wife would be suffering all the travail of childbirth within a scant nine or ten weeks. I see the soldier, nine weeks later, making the long trip home on three-day leave; happy once again in the arms of his beloved Chippie; happy in the company of family and friends; laughing with the rest of the jesting crowd in the cab hospital-bound; derisively unbelieving of the doc’s assertion that his wife’s symptoms indicated the imminent arrival of the baby; stunned at the impact and significance of what was happening; pacing (in spite of himself and his privately a pre-determined conception of how he would comport himself at the crucial time) the hospital corridors; worrying the hospital personnel with incessant inquiries; contemplating the five-minute old infant in the arms of the nurse and trying very hard to believe that this was his very own daughter, and failing widely in his earnest efforts to convince himself. I see the young father making a nuisance of himself; belaboring each passing nurse and doctor with his anxiety for the welfare of the new mother; looking with heart-stopping dread at the waxy pallor of her in her exhausted unconsciousness; sitting at her bedside with the fright so big in him that he almost forgot to breathe; living again only when his beloved began to show signs of life. I see the soldier moving with the company to a “staging area”; rushing to his comparatively near-by home in the summer evenings; delighting in the “little girl” look of the mother of his beauteous Adele; chafing with impatience on those evenings when he was unable to leave the post; reveling in each precious moment with his more than ever, adored wife and glorying with her in the perfection of their newest and dearest acquisition. Finally, I see the soldier on a troop ship bound for England, together with thousands of his counterparts.
Further than this, my darling, I cannot contemplate “us” objectively. The soldier is too pressingly “me,” and the young wife too realistically “you.”
I have outlined the high spots of the three years since our marriage solely to prove to you that I have ample cause for my conviction that I am singularly fortunate in possessing a wife that's a paragon of all the womanly virtues. As time goes by, you give me Increasing justification and incentive and reason for loving you. Thus, when I say I love you three years more than when I married you, you shouldn't have any trouble understanding the phrase.
I grant you, Sweet, that our third anniversary could not be rightly called a happy one, but you should bear in mind that it might have been worse—much worse. Let us be grateful for the fact that the future is ours, and look to it with the faith and confidence you displayed when you when I left for the Army last September, 1942.
In closing, I want you to know that I have every confidence in our eventual re-union, and that, not too far in the future. Certainly the bulk of our time of separation has been passed. We are on the way home, Sweet. Keep well and happy and see to it that Adele is a true reflection of your loving care and a credit to the principles which were responsible for her being. Keep yourself the same loving wife and lovable Chippie as always—for me