April 6, 1944
(Some thing new - for a change). I received three letters today and that, counting the three letters I received yesterday brings me up-to-date for March, with the exception of the 31st. No doubt that is the London letter you mentioned. Need I add how happy I am about the letters?
Before I comment on your letters I'll "give" with some "news". Harry Weinman is in England and his address (the latest I have) is Pfc. H. W. 33,072,683, Co. "D", 507th Par. Inf., APO 813, c/o P. M., New York, N. Y. Perhaps you will be able to contact him and vice versa. Here's hopin'.
I also had two other letters, one from brother Jack and one from brother Ed. Jack S. expects a furlough shortly and will spend it in one of the large cities of Australia. He said he made a: sketch of one of the fellows with colored pencils and it turned out swell. In a letter to Goldie he said, "The way I feel now I could knock out a dozen kids!” Yeah, man! Eddie's letter was short and contained nothing in the way of news.
Mr. Frommer was rushed to the hospital from work yesterday with a turned over hernia and had to be operated on instantaneously. It happened so suddenly that they could not find time to give him ether and gave him a spinal instead. So far, so good.
Adele's cold is vastly improved and I had her out for a short while this A. M. The weather is nice, but still too chilly. I took my black silk skirt to the tailor in the meantime. When I put her up for her nap, I headed for Wolpe’s and Broad St. to do. some shopping. Wolpe made up the serious pose and I like it very much. Then I went to the Acme and got an order of groceries, etc. If everything is alright this weekend or the beginning of next week with both Adele and myself, and the weather is nice, I’ll positively head for C. P. without a shadow of a doubt. I'm sorry that I must apologize again for the delay. Adele doesn't look well and that is the main cause of delay. Her nose runs continually, and while she is vastly improved, she doesn't look as well as usual. It should be completely well by this weekend.
Sarah has a lovely pair of gold earrings and whenever Adele chances to see her when she is wearing them she begs her to put them on her (Adele's) ears. Adele looks like a little gypsy girl with those gold earrings and holds her head erect to show off. Natalie and I had a catch with the ball to amuse Adele, but she joined in and did alright. All this took place on the porch in late afternoon.
Honey, it is now after ten and I shall relate, in due time, what transpired to keep me from posting this.
I have it from Bob that Richy is now definitely in England so you should be hearing from him in the near future. I can't understand why you haven't heard in reply to your letter. I do know that Richy has been "commuting" between England and Ireland. Why I don't know and you wouldn't expect me to.
Ben made Cpl. and they received a letter from him from New Guinea. Jack is dyin' to see someone he knows and he'll be happy to meet up with Ben, if and when they do.
I intended to go to Ethel's this evening to help out a bit, but they seem to be doing nicely without our help. We're so darn busy trying to get the house in shape for the Passover holidays that we don't have time to breathe, let alone helping someone else.
I was dressed and since my mother received her refrigerator (Frigidaire), which is one of the best on the market, and the maple bureau and bed she bought for Ruth, I stopped over to the house to see all. Everything is very nice and will be put to good use. My mother ordered a few things for my father's boss for Passover and he was going over to deliver it. His boss lives at 4937 N. 9th St. and I offered to go along, being anxious to make the acquaintance of my boss-to-be (I hope) and I had a nice time. You ought to see that home, with wall-to-wall rugs - need I go on - I'm not in the mood for descriptions - suffice it to say everything was lovely. I met Mr. & Mrs. Bellitt (I think that's how it’s spelled) and we talked of many things, including you, sweet. They have three sons, two of whom are in the Army. One of them is also in England. Funny that I don't know them. Their pictures didn’t even strike a familiar note. They were very friendly with the boys who used to live in our house. I didn't talk about a job, cause I have no definite plans and want to wait til I do. I asked him about a metal stroller and he said he expected to have them in stock shortly and could let me have one for about $9 or $10, which is much less than I thought they would be - wholesale. I showed him the picture of you and he said it was nice - but why didn't he smile? I also showed him the large serious pose Wolpe had made, and which I happened to have with me, and he liked her and it immensely. They remember seeing me around, but I don't remember them.
Yesterday I told you that I have three boxes of various 5¢ chocolate bars to send off and a box of Stevens candy. I tasted one of the chocolates in the latter box and they don't taste so good. I guess the three boxes will hold for a while, huh?
Now for some comment on your letters. Both contained requests and will enable me to send off the two packages tomorrow. Ruth works at the five and ten and will drop them off at the sub-post office station on Broad St. You returned the clipping of the shoes I bought and I, too, like the oxfords. However I don't think I'd care for a pair of the same leather - one pair is enough. I need a pair of Oxfords badly and can't do a thing about it just at present. I don't have a ration stamp - I used it for Adele. The new stamp goes into effect on May 1 and I'll get them then.
You say you received the package containing candy, cookies, chiclets, underwear and a hanky. Did you like the cookies? Can you use the underwear? Was the candy in good condition? Was there much left after you passed some of it out? Do you still wish me to send chiclets and chewing gum? I can't get chewing gum, but I think I may be able to get chiclets. I'm concentrating on 5¢ bars, which seem to be a great favorite with you. Am I right? .
Everyone raves about the "Happy Birthday, Evelyn" poem and I'm extraordinarily proud of it. Betty is taking it to the office tomorrow. She begged me to let her show it to one of the girls, who also has a knack for writing. Betty couldn't get over the poem. Everyone thought it clever and original and so it is. I could eat you for being so sweet, my darling. (The girl thought it excellent.)
I'm wearing my new brunch coat today with varicolored flowers and everyone seems to think it is exceptionally pretty. I kind of like it myself.
Phil, dear, I'm having trouble keeping my eyes open and there not being any rush about getting this off tonight, I shall continue on it tomorrow, with, of course, your permission. What do you say, honey, do we or don't we go to sleep instead. Ah, if only we could - we wouldn't sleep, would we, dear? Good night, baby, I'm right behind you, as always, with all my love.
April 7, 1944
Don't look now, but here I am again! Good morning, baby, it's time to get up - or shall we turn over and take another forty winks": I'm in favor of the latter, if'n you don't mind.
No mail today except the notice to pay Adele's insurance. Once that is paid we haven't a debt in the world til next year. YUM YUM!
Adele has a new one. When she doesn't know exactly how to express herself she says "dub dub dub dub." Of all things she now has a sty. She likes variety it seems.
Goldie, Mom and I chipped in (for a change) and got some real work accomplished today. This place got the "once-over" and it needed it badly. The weather was lovely, but I had no time to take Adele out. The knick-knack shelf hanging near the living room window fell down and two knick-knacks broke, the old-fashioned couple that Tante Bosh gave us and a flower-like vase. Hope it means good luck and that you'll soon be with me.
We had a delicious dinner this evening though I doubt whether you would call it "delicious". Tante Bosh gave us a half gallon of delicious wine (I'm acquiring a taste for wine) and just a drop of It made me just a little bit woozy. (Don't you just wish you were here now to take advantage of me?) (Everything seems to be "just".)
I took our picture out of the black frame and put the serious pose of Adele in. I want to buy a frame for the picture and until I do I shall use this one. I have our picture, standing as is, on the chest against the vase of leaves. I hope to get one from my father's place when I go down for a stroller.
My sister bought a yellow spring coat, box style or chesterfield, as they are called. She paid $25 for it and I doubt if it is worth it. The coat is nice, but the material is of an inferior quality, and not to my liking. She is one of the "Sinatra Swooners" and I give her hell for it. No, dearest, I'm not a follower of the "voice". I like his singing, and don't mind listening (minus scream) but he isn't that good. I'll take Bing Crosby any day.
Ruth gives me a tin ear on every occasion about "her" Arthur. That's the red-headed fellow I told you about that sings on the Horn and Hardart hour. I guess you'd call him her first "crush".
Fay is joining her husband next week - with the baby. He is in S. Carolina and thinks he may go overseas in about two months. He got her a three room apartment to share with another couple at $35 each per month. Elsie's husband leaves in May. Yep, the Army is cleaning them all out. Enclosed is the address of Fay's brother, who is a nice guy. I have a hunch he is on the same base with you. He won $125 in a card game recently - whew! - that's a lot of winnings. If you want to meet him go to it.
I can't seem to think of another things to say, except, of course, that I love and adore you, my own, and hope that we will be reunited this time next year. I'm wondering how you spent the evening (I'm sure you are having a Passover dinner) and I can't wait to hear from you. I wish, very much that you were here this evening. "I'm in the mood for love" - aren't I always -
This morning I cleaned up all my work that has been hanging fire. It is just after lunch and since I expect it will be a pretty slow afternoon, I thought I'd take advantage of the lull to answer your last three letters. I forgot to mention that I also received a BIG birthday greeting from Gloria—you know, the kind you unfold and unfold and, well, you know. Hope to find time enough today to drop her few lines in acknowledgement.
You started your letter of 11 March by telling me what you did with the $12.00 you had put aside for Betty. It was kind of all you Strongins to buy Bea those pajamas on her birthday. She's a good kid and deserves that kind of consideration. I'm not surprised the Browns are so good to you. You're pretty nice people yourselves. The brunch coats sound cute—wear them well. I'm glad to hear that you got acquainted with ”Dotsy's married sister” (whatsa matter, hasn't she got a name of her own?) 'cause I like pretty people—and she is definitely pretty people.
You mentioned the pinafore that Goldie's mother made (for Adele, I presume) and deplore the fact that the stitching is poor. It struck me it might be a good idea to go over the stitching in a heavy colored thread (saddle-stitch I believe it's called) like you have on the collar of your brown slack suit. Is it practicable? Which reminds me you haven't told me what you decided to do about that fur hat.
In discussing the merits of nighties as compared to pajamas, you say they (nighties) do have their advantages, don't they, dear?” How the hell would I know—dear?
Sorry, the mail isn't reaching you regularly, Sweet, but those letters you say you are missing will get there eventually.
What's all this about Mayer Taylor? I haven't heard or read anything.
You continued the letter next day (Sunday)—and the Browns were over. Dottie's new address duly noted and recorded. You remind me that our third anniversary was approaching and pray that it will be our last one apart. I'm sure it was, darling. Those tender sentiments you included are deeply appreciated, and if you think the first three years proved anything, then I can only say, “Lady, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet!”—reminds me of a cute joke I read someplace.—Here it is in Reader’s Digest, March/44)—I copy it verbatim: A well known actor notorious for his caustic wit was having a quarrel with his wife. After a particularly biting remark, she burst into tears and said:
“How can you treat me like this when I've given you the best seven years of my life!” “Good Lord,” replied her husband, “were those your best?”
Tant should be grateful for the way you are corresponding with Milt and Syd. I think it's swell of you, Chippie, and I'm mighty proud of you for it. I think a good many people have had cause to change their conception of you since those days when we lived on Chestnut St. You are, whether you ever realized it or not, the strongest personality in the entire family (and I include the Browns, Wymans, and the other section of the Strongin clan), and, unless I'm greatly mistaken, the most admired and best-loved. What a triumph for the “kid“ that everyone “looked down their noses at” a few short years ago! What a vindication of my judgment! Do you wonder why I'm so proud of you, my lovely? Surely, no woman ever gave her man more cause for feeling so!
Jack's valentine is a damn good effort, I think, and a perfect example of what foreigners are pleased to call “Yankee ingenuity.” Just goes to prove that nothing is beyond the talents of the Army—even in the jungles of New Guinea. Bet it's more than Gloria ever dreamed of getting under the circumstances. That about covers your letter of 11–12 March, except for the closing paragraph, to which I can only say “I love you, too, Ev.”
You took advantage of Adele's nap to start the letter of the 13th. Glad you like the idea of my allotting $18.75 of my pay every month from for a war bond. Sort of gives us some compensation for the length of the war, doesn't it? I mean, the longer, the more the more bonds we’ll have, get it? Not that it detracts any from my greatest desire—to see the war end tomorrow—not a bit of it!
Those compliments you were paid on your letter-writing ability were not sheer blarney, I assure you, Sweet. Like good whiskey—you improve with age.
That letter of mine that reached you in six days set some sort of a record, didn't it? I repeat—no one will know about the bond.
Out of the clear blue sky, and apropos of nothing, you switch to talk of the next baby—again. I didn't say a word—honest!
Yes, Chippie, you do make quite a few typographical errors. (But who am I to criticize?) Incidentally, the word is d-e-v-i-a-t-e (not diviate), which takes care of that letter. Now for the 14th.
The hint that Harry W. let drop is good news. I certainly would like to see the Limey again, but I'm having so much difficulty with Eddie and Jack Gutkin that I'm not counting on being able to see him even if he does come to England. Ground troops and combat outfits get very few passes and are usually located in out-of-the-way places. However, here's hoping.
Keep me posted on how Mom is coming along with her diet. Isn't it time you visited the dentist again, Chippie?
It's good to know you are contemplating going to C. P. I suppose that's better than if you ignored it entirely, huh? I've used all the inducements and artifices of which I'm capable to get you to oblige me in this matter, and I've been waiting for action since early December. I don't intend to mention it again—I'll leave it to you and your conscience.
Which all takes care of the current mail. If I get a coupla letters today, I won't be mad.
Until tomorrow, then, sweetheart, I'll bid you a fond adieu. Buy the punkin an ice-cream cone for me—chocolate. Have a Sundae on me while you're at it—(I don't care how I spend your money.) My love to all.
6 April 1944
Just finished cleaning up and dolling up in my “Class A's” preparatory to attending the Passover Seder in Norwich. I have about an hour and a half to kill before starting, so I thought I would get off my “daily dozen” to you.
Yesterday afternoon, after I had finished writing, the mail came in. I received two of your letters (19 and 20 March), and Ruth’s of the 19th. After supper, I was uncommonly tired and laid down to grab 40 winks, meaning to get up in time to catch the second show at the Base Theatre. Next thing I know, someone was shaking me and saying “get up and go to bed!” It was then 10:30—I had slept like a log for almost four hours!
In reading over your letter of the 19th, I find there is very little that calls for comment, although it is very well written and altogether interesting. Two things pleased me. First, your opinion that Adele “has a nice little figure and pretty legs—etc.” You wonder, you say, what my reactions would be to some of the things she says and does. I think I can answer that for you, Sweet. As you are well aware, by nature I am shy and diffident. Demonstrativeness (especially toward an infant), somehow always had the power to embarrass me, make me ill-at-ease and uncomfortable. Therefore, my Chippie, do not be too greatly surprised if I fail to make the customary “fuss” over the punkin when she says or does something exceptionally cute. Inwardly, no doubt, I will be fairly seething with paternal pride and affection, but it may not be reflected by any overt action on my part. Of course, there is always the possibility that I may outgrow this “backwardness” and talk “baby-talk” and make a great to-do over my daughter, just as any normal dad might be expected to do, but if I know myself, and I think I do, I wouldn't encourage you to expect it of me. On the other hand, you know better than anyone that I am far from being “cold potatoes” when it comes to reacting to feminine charms and wiles. If the punkin is anything like the charmer, everyone would have me believe she is, then she can expect plenty of lovin’ from her dad, but only in private and not for public display. Does all that give you a pretty good idea on the subject, Baby?
The other thing in your letter that warmed the cockles of my heart, was the favorable comment your outfit drew when you dolled up to go to Dottie's. I love to picture you decked out in your finest, ’cause the image in my mind's eye is most attractive and pleasing.
Forgive me if I seem to cut this short, Sweet, but if I'm to go along to the Seder, I'll have to hustle. See you tomorrow. All my love, Baby, to you and my other dear li’l Chippie, Adele. My love to all.
P.S. Tell Mom she'll be hearing from me within the next few days. Give her my love.
April 6, 1944
At this moment my thoughts too are jumbled and I hardly know which thoughts, and much less the sequence, come to mind on receiving your long looked forward to letter, despite the fact that it was at 5:45 I received same and it is now but 6:20 of the very same P.M.
I do know however, that you still have to make up to me for the meal I could not enjoy in the keen anticipation of reading your letter when I was done with it, the meal. I took it out at the chow table but hastily replaced it from whence it appeared on admonition from “sarge,” who made a face when I walked in about 15 minutes late. At any rate, I did finally finish, and honestly Phil, it's little things like what occurred immediately after, that bring to light the qualities of our friendship that receive nourishment from a bottomless well that our association has created; for I actually ran to my barracks, threed up the stairs pounced my posterior on my foot locker, withdrew your letter and hungrily started to read. Why can't you write more often? Anything you have to say is such interesting reading that my appetite for same is insatiable. I admit that after about the seventh reading, familiarity dulls the text somewhat, but never to the extent where it's just put aside for good. That my friend is the truth, unseemly as it may sound.
(Honest, censor, this is no bullshit. We've known each other all our lives. O.K.?)
Phil, it's strange how our feelings parallel one’s another regarding reference to last letters before starting a reply. I’m not too certain though that downright laziness doesn't play a prompting role where I'm concerned. Of course, having just read and reread your last, it's simple to refer only to my mind to comment on all your writing, and I think I shall, for it is certainly all deserving.
May I compliment you on accomplishing what I had thought was, even for you, impossible. You’ve kept hidden from me your jealous streak. May I, at the same time, thank you for disclosing it to me as you did, crediting me for not arousing it where it is the most easily apt to manifest itself, Evelyn. Oh how swell that makes me feel!
Now, -- --- I can only say, That’s it ! Your “fitness of things” analysis is so exact that it scares me a little to learn how very well you know my subconscious mind. (Your “Adeline” exposé being no small contribution to said feeling.) It seems that I've inherited from the dearest person to me, a trait that is self provoking, that of being overly sensitive to convention. Despite that it bothers me not one whit, oh well, not one half a wit that laziness shall cause me to address a near future “news” letter to “Dear Phil and Ev.”
It was interesting to know, that, of the similarity of the description between me and Ev. Of course the cause might lie in the fact that we were both describing the antics of that same, sweet, snip of a Strongin. (It seems I've heard “snip” used degradingly. I refer to it only as a cut off the cloth.)
About three weeks ago Lenny received an assignment to photograph en route via plane from Nashville to Reno a radio outfit group. He returned by train and somehow happened to be delayed in Pando, site of Camp Hale. (How he explained the delay to parties concerned does not concern me.) But he was here. During the thirty six hours we spent together it was make believe world we were in. We ate in the same mess hall. We slept under the same roof. We bowled together. I “one day passed” to Denver to ride by his side when he had to leave. What more is there to say? Of course I'm a little ashamed to say that I had him working with me in my darkroom to help me catch up on my printing but compensation was enjoyed because we developed and printed a picture or two of us that a timely present civilian “surveyor” from Washington had made of us. “Surveyor” calls for more pay than photographer, hence the deception. All of which brings to mind a bit of reparteé that tickled the shit out of me as the South would have it. Though terribly lacking in literacy this Southern boy is gifted with a rare sense of humor and wit unabounding and the smile, infectious.
In my jeep, a surveyor had left the tools of his trade. Rod (the boy) on seeing contraptions which boxed and with tripod appeared not unlike my own outfit, said to me, “O.K., Jack,” striking a stance “take mah pitchuh.”
“But Rod,” I remonstrated “this is no camera, but a transit.” (Engineers had taught us both what a transit is.)
“Hell, then,” he acquiesced, “survey me!”
Your pal always,