May 4, 1944
We're having regular summer weather—too darn hot as far as I'm concerned. The temperature has been in the 80s for the past few days. I was supposed to work for Miss Hahn this morning, but my brother Jack became ill suddenly and my mom had to take him to the doctor. He has been running a temperature of 102° and probably has the grippe. I had to postpone my trip to Miss Hahn but intend to go tomorrow. If everything is O.K. Instead, I did lots of housework, cleaning the porch windows, woodwork, floor, cleaning the downstairs in general, same for the upstairs and even managed to squeeze in a bit of knitting. Oh yes, I started Adele’s white sweater and the back is almost done. Yesterday, I found time to catch up with my correspondence by writing to the Benises, Milt, Syd and Gloria. I'm all caught up for a change.
Adele has taken such a fancy to cars that she becomes unmanageable if I do not let her sit in a car she chances to see. She loves “Cas.” When Phil took us for a ride on the boulevard and chanced to stop the car for a light or such, Adele made a swaying motion, as if to push the car onward. Well, Daddy, guess you’d better buy us a car. I love cars too, if that means anything. Adele wore a green and white polka dot blouse, yellow overalls, green socks, white shoes this morning. This afternoon she wore that thin pink, rose-sprayed dress Tant Bosh gave her last year and which was much too large last season. Tonight, for the first time, I have discarded her sleepers in favor of the seersucker pajamas, which are quite attractive.
I don't think I told you that Miriam Brown has been trying to become pregnant since she had the miss. When she visited us, she didn't know whether or not she was, and I understand she took a Rabbit Test. She still doesn't know and I guess we won't know till she knows, eh?
Harry says there is plenty of work to be done on his new job and hopes to lose some weight. Goldie's brother returned home this evening, after a three day visit. He played with Adele a great deal and she enjoyed his company.
Adele has a tendency towards spitefulness, and this invariably leads to a licking. She also has a tendency towards being pigeon-toed (her right foot) which fault sometimes persists in children til they lose their baby creases. I intend to have Dr. Gayl look her over in the near future and if there is anything to be done, I'll do it. I'm not worried, so don't you be. Natalie was like that til she was seven years old and there was nothing that could be done about it.
I'm terribly tired this evening and would like very much to relax, but I can't. I must first wash some crib sheets as I haven't a clean one and my mother is unable to find the time to wash for me. Guess that brings us to the end of another day, honey, and here I am right on your lap. I love you, baby!
5 May 1944
I had intended to write last night, but I became involved in a little game of chance and played til very late. This, by the way is “last night's” letter—don't let the date confuse you. Tonight I will write for today, and the date-line will still read as above.
Seems to me I promised in my last to answer yours of the 15th. On reading it over, however, I find it is mostly about your reactions to the C. P. proofs, and I already have given you my opinions on the subject. Then there are a coupla paragraphs about your routine (and Adele's)—about your grandmother's gift to Adele (more surprises!)—and that week-end trip to England you are having hallucinations about. I don't doubt that commercial airlines are planning such excursions, and the price of $50.00 maybe within the bounds of reason, but (and I hardly think it's plausible) even if it were possible for you to make the trip—you wouldn’t; believe me! You are positively correct in assuming that I would be dead set against the idea. Moreover, in spite of your over-dramatic insistence that you would grasp the opportunity 'cause you think it would kill you to pass it up, I would make very certain that you would have no incentive to make the trip, I would simply refuse to meet you—even if I could (and the chances are I couldn't). Don't for a moment put it in the same category with the Columbus visit. The issues involved are entirely different. Since you know I would forbid it, you must also know the reasons I have to justify my attitude, so I won't bore you with them. Besides, as you say, it's probably “poppycock,” and really nothing to squabble about. I only mention it because you specifically asked if I would agree to your making the trip. Darling, you are so typically feminine—I won't embarrass you here by telling you why—I'll just be masculine—and tease you along by making you wonder what I have in mind. Needless to say, I am terrifically flattered by your offer to cross the Atlantic in a plane for the mere privilege of spending a day or two with me. On the face of it, one might not consider your conduct remarkable, but when I remember your fear of planes, and the water, and the importance of $50.00 in your bank-roll—well, I can't help feeling a little awed by your willingness to undertake so daring an adventure. Knowing full well your brashness, and your unswerving persistence when you go after something you want very much, I shudder to think what the outcome might be if it were in any way possible for you to follow your inclinations. At the same time, I’m no little bit thrilled by the mere thought that you mean what you say. Thanks a million for the compliment, Baby. You may take it for granted that your devotion is returned in full measure, 'cause I would go to the very gates of Hell for your sweet sake. To end our little discussion, though, permit me to point out that I would no more ask you to cross the sea for my sake, than you would ask me to go to Hell for yours. Nuff said?
The mail yesterday brought me your letter of the 27th (with Mrs. Benis’ enclosed and Ruth’s of the 17th.
Poor Mrs. Toppy! I feel for her—and all the rest of the family. It brings home full force the realization that we have been very lucky thus far. If you ever feel you have cause for complaint, remember, as I often do, that while I sit here on my fanny in the Orderly Room, Americans all over the world are suffering and fighting and dying. It is because this is never far from my mind that I have no patience with gripers (or “bitchers”), as we call them in the Army.
I was very glad to hear that you finally got around to see Lil. It was most considerate of her to send you home via taxi. The large bunny she got for the punkin must be a beaut. I'm never very much surprised at Lil’s “affaires d’amour” because, emotionally, she is the most unstable person I know. While I would deplore her conduct and designs in regard to her newest “friend” in anyone else, I think you were most wise, Chippie, in condoning her behavior and intentions. Everything considered, she would be no less than a fool to act in any way other than she has decided. Don't make the mistake, Sweet, of telling her my views in the matter, at least not as I have worded it, or reasoned it. I expect to hear from her shortly and would not be too greatly surprised if she confided in me—or even asked my opinion as she did yours. In that case, I will tell her what I have told you, but without mentioning those things which I know would wound her sensitive feelings.
Chippie, there is one subject which recurs from time to time in your letters that is most irritating to me. Whenever you have occasion to refer to Harry and Goldie or some of our friends or relatives who have had the good (?) fortune to stay out of the service, and especially when you speak of their opportunities to “stow it away” (meaning money), your envy of them sticks out in every word. What’s more, you take no pains to hide this feeling, which is most unworthy of you and something I find it impossible to condone. In this instance, you choose to make Harry, Fay, and Anne your points of argument. You claim that you have to “hand it to him,” presumably for the fact that he obtained a better-paying job with Freihofer’s than he had at the Signal Corps. I must say that I'm not a bit proud that he did so. Working for the Signal Corps he at least was directly aiding the war effort, infinitesimal as that aid might be. I know your argument: he feels his first duty is to his wife and child, and if he can make more money at work, not connected with the war effort, it is his duty to take advantage of that fact. Nuts! If he was so exclusively occupied with saving money for that purpose, he certainly has a funny way of showing it. You know the inconsistencies involved better than I do and because you do, I’m even less proud of you for having the bad taste to hold him up as an example to me. In this case, you'll forgive me if I don't appear to be even a little bit flattered. You’ll also understand why I refuse absolutely to consider him a model of something-or-other that, it appears, you would have me emulate. Perhaps I'm attributing thoughts to you other than your words seem to imply, but the basic truth that you admire a course of action which I consider petty and grasping, cannot be overlooked. I would welcome any clarification or justification of your viewpoint as regards this, Chippie. As for Fay and Anne—well, I just don't begin to understand you. Tell me if I'm wrong—You mention the fact that they both receive financial aid from their parents; that they buy lovely clothes; that they go to expensive shows, etc.; and that “they have their allotments to themselves,” which, you beg me to guess, they are “stowing away.” What, may I be so presumptuous as to ask, are you trying to imply? That you are being “cheated” out of all the privileges they enjoy? If so, are your new fur coat and suit and top-coat, if you bought nothing else, so “un-lovely”? Or do you envy them the fact that their hard-working (no work is easy) parents supply them the “essentials” so that they may spend part of their allotments on “lovely clothes” or “expensive shows” or, even, so that they may “stow it away”? If this isn't your implication, then what, in heaven's name, is? If you do envy them their circumstances, then you do so alone. They are entirely welcome to all their “blessings”—for my part. Your very next sentence beats the hell out of me: “I don't really mind, for I have all my dreams wrapped up in you and ‘our’ future—.” No, Chippie, it won't do. If you really didn't mind, you would never have mentioned everything that preceded that statement. Or—if you did mention it at all, you would have written it quite differently. I know you do mind (though I don't think you should) very much, indeed. Michael Berry is the fact that although I was too disheartened to mention it at the. I've time you wrote pretty much the same thing on other occasions. It's as you claim, your dreams are wrapped up in our future. Why do you constantly harp? I hate to use the word, but it fits on other people's presence. I don't think I have ever been accused of being particularly obtuse, but I just don't get the connection. The give-away is the fact that, although I was too disheartened to mention it at the time, your wrote pretty much the same thing on other occasions. If, as you claim, your “dreams are wrapped up in ‘our’ future,” why do you constantly harp (I hate to use the word, but it fits) on other people’s “presents.” I don’t think I have ever been accused of being particularly obtuse—but I just don’t get the connection. Your obsession, if I may call it that, with “our future” and all your most intimate desires and hopes and dreams are deeply ingrained in me, Sweet; but again, you don't flatter me by repeating them. Why? Because if you gave me credit for average intelligence and good-faith, and believed my many professions that I will do the best I possibly can for my family, you would know that each repetition of what I knew (before you ever put it into words) is increasingly ambiguous. Your assertion that “our future has to be what I'm hoping, or I'll be terribly disillusioned and disappointed” has the ring of familiarity. But that isn't as important as the fact that you are being most unwise, Chippie, in voicing so drastic a sentiment. The pressure you are bringing to bear on me is terrific, if you only realized it, and I'm not thanking you for it. I think you care enough for me to be a little more unselfish in this respect. You think I'm making much do about nothing? Bear with me, then, while I explain why the “pressure is terrific”: You are saying, in effect, Phil, you must deliver all my dreams and hopes exactly as you know them to be, or else—The “or else” part is, according to your own admission, “disillusionment and disappointment,” two things I would spare you at any cost. Well? What am I supposed to answer to that? The only sufficient answer I can imagine could only be “Evelyn, I guarantee it.” Sorry, Baby, I can't guarantee it—I wish I could. If I said I could—I would be insulting your intelligence. Dreams and hopes, my darling, are fine things to have, but not if the failure of any of them is going to result in “disillusionment and disappointment.” I know it is impossible to be disillusioned if one has no illusions. The trouble with your thinking and feeling, Sweet, lies in the fact that you don't appreciate the difference between “illusion” and “dream” (or “hope,” which is practically synonymous). Anyone who harbors an illusion (especially where the future is concerned) is, flatly, a fool. If you don't agree, look up the meaning of the word (also disillusion). On the other hand, it is not only natural to dream (or hope) for the future—it is downright inevitable. The person who has no dreams for the future falls in one of two categories, (1) Insane (2) Dead. Even if the fault lies only in your unthinking choice of words, your meaning and intent are crystal clear, and however hard I try, I can't escape the feeling that you have offered me nothing less than an ultimatum. That may not have been your intent, but it is certainly the effect. I think you understand now why I “don't thank you for it.” To close the subject, which must be as distressing to you as it is disturbing to me, I want only to say a final word: Please, darling, for both our sakes, reconsider that statement. At least, for my edification, even if you mean it exactly as it stands, reword it so that I may count on you to be content with whatever my utmost efforts to make your dreams come true may produce. That, my darling, is the ultimate promise I can, in all good faith, make you. If you wish, I will promise you the world, but don't tell anyone about it. I hate to be laughed at. For my part, I ask only that you love me always, in spite of any deprivations or privations, the future may hold in store for us. If you, for your part, ask no more of me—that I can guarantee, and I here and now do so.
I am forwarding the “plan” for your comment and criticism. I cannot guarantee that I will build it (or a reasonable facsimile thereof) for you some day—I can only promise that I'll try like hell.
When all is said and done, one thing you can count on—come war or flood and famine; come hell or high water, I am your lover; your husband;
5 May 1944
Three V-mails arrived this afternoon, so here I am again. The bulk of my beginning-of-the-month work is finished. “Business” was remarkably heavy this month. Believe it or not, the boys banked, or sent home, or bought War Bonds with, almost 50% of the total payroll. This, I don't have to tell you, is a remarkable record, and one which I don't expect to see duplicated soon again. In the “heat” of writing my earlier letter today, I completely forgot to mention a most important item. Two of your packages arrived yesterday. They were the “Oh Henrys and the three boxes of Stevens chocolates with the bag of Bond’s cookies. I can't thank you enough for them, Baby. I had just finished my last box of Chiclets yesterday, and was wondering how long it would be before those packages would begin coming through—when bingo! I figure if you could manage to send off a package every two weeks, I'll be well supplied. I'll try to remember to include requests at least that often. Now to the V-mail—.
The first one is dated 18 April. You were reading “Kings Row” and were reluctant to put it down long enough to write to me. I don't blame you a bit, Chippie. By the way, who is Renee in the book? I thought Parris’ childhood sweetheart was Cassie. I mean to read it someday. You were in a hurry to get started to Dot’s and didn't write much more of anything except that the punkin slept uninterruptedly through the night, which I'm almost glad to hear, knowing how much it means to you. The fact that she's eating more and drinking less milk doesn't seem unnatural to me. Seems to me it's a logical example of cause and effect.
The second V-mail is that of 26 April. You say, to begin with, that my letter of the 20th answered your query as to the food at the new base. Good thing I anticipated you, 'cause I have still to receive your letter containing your query. That was quite an outfit you bought for the punkin, and I heartily approve your plan to keep me posted via snapshots. Which reminds me—Do I get any of those C.P. pictures? Since you will probably have only one of each pose made, you will, no doubt, be reluctant to part with any of them. I won't press you for them at this time, but I may ask for one of each of you as some future date. For the time being, I have a clear image of what the proofs look like in my mind's eye, but when the image begins to fade with time, I may importune you for the pictures. Does that arrangement suit you, Chippie? The 26th was the night you visited Lil, and I learned the details before I ever read of your attention to do so. That's the mail for you! You say you voted in the primary elections, but you neglected to tell me how you voted. Seems to me you promised to inform me, but if you think it's none of my business, just forget I asked about it. You were up most of the night with Adele. I was wondering how you intend to cope with that problem if and when you go back to work.
Your V-mail of the 28th informs me that you got another box of Milky Ways for me. Good deal! What's this about the $5.00 Jack sent me? It's the first I heard about it, and the reason puzzles me. Since you've already spent it, I see no need for your taking it out of your allotment check just to send it to me. At the moment, I'm free of debt and a coupla pounds to the good, so I don't need it. Besides $5.00 over here is as easily spent and no more thought of than a dollar bill at home. You might even better appreciate the disparity if I told you that I have often won or lost that much in one hand of poker. I'm curious to know why Jack sent it, though.
Too bad Seymour couldn’t get into the Navy. In the Army “physicals,” they don't measure legs—they just count ’em.
Today is Friday. Monday is my day off and I intend to go into London for the first time in over five weeks to see a coupla shows and take a Turkish bath. It's been quite awhile since I wrote to Limey, but as yet I have not heard from him. Eddie owes me a letter, too. Which reminds me that I owe Mom a letter. Tell her I'll write within the next few days. Give her my love.
My best love to the punkin. To you, Sweet, the fullest measure of my devotion. I'll be seeing you at 5 in the easy chair! My love to all.
P.S. Please send candy.
May 4, 1944
Well your last 2 letters pleased me as I explained in the last v-mail with the super special request. Now, there is no mistaking the clarity of your expressing your desire for confectionary. I can’t within simulate the excellent style and superbly superb manner of taking advantage of the space offered in a V-mail that you can obtain, but I am scribbling them off to you in a hurry. ? ? ? received epistle from you rate an immediate reply.
As for us, I know the Post Education Plan for soldiers is still in the bill stage and is not quite definite. I will check with Serviceman’s Services and let you know. The candy, alas, is also not quite a definite fact—I just have priority in the next shipment of Hershey Bars that my girl friend who works for wholesale ? will get some (what sentence structure). I hope to get it soon and ship it out to you immediately.
Now for the matter of Jack’s snaps in New Guinea, a background. I have ordered a set for you and expect them this following Wednesday.
That settles all the questions. I believe when all the pending matters are concluded—(e.g. obtaining candy bars and snaps) I’ll pass them on to you.
So long for now. Be Good!