17 May 1944
Yesterday afternoon, just after I finished your letter, the mail came in. There were three packages and your V-mail of 8 May. The packages were two of yours, and one of Gloria’s. Altogether, there was a box of plain Hershey's, and a box of Peanut Chews and Hershey Almonds (one package); while Gloria’s contribution consisted of two boxes of Loft’s chocolates. Needless to say, I was delighted with both the quality and the quantity of the sweets. I reckon I'll have enough to last me a month or more. The fact that the other boys in the hut share the candy with me to detracts not one whit from the appreciation and gratitude I feel for your magnanimity. If you could see for yourself, Sweet, how much the guys enjoy the candy, I'm sure you would consider your money and efforts well rewarded. Your packages were only slightly “beat up” due to insufficient packing, but the contents were not damaged in any way. Gloria's package, wrapped at the shop, evidently, and reinforced with corrugated board, arrived in perfect condition. Thanks, Sweet, for the sweets.
In the evening, I was just settling down to write my second letter of the day (on account of the packages, your V-mail, etc.), when one of the fellows from the next hut stuck his head in to ask if I felt like playing some poker. Well, you know the answer to that one, Chippie. Still, if I hadn't already written that day, I think I would have declined. As it turned out, I would have been some $9 poorer had I persisted in the notion of writing instead of playing. At the time, I am a little to the good, and I thought it would be a good idea if I sent along some of my winnings before I lose it or spend it. I'm enclosing two $5.00 bills, which I obtained from two guys who happened to have them. They are yours to do with as you like, but I have a suggestion to make as to their disposal. I would very much like you to take my Mom and your Mom and Dad, out for an evening of fun. Pick out a good play or movie in town, and after the show, take them to Kugler's or some other good restaurant for a meal. If you could find a coupla extra bucks, I'd prefer that you use taxis for transportation. The best evening might be spoiled for them by the drudgery of subways and walking. If you decide on a movie, there should be enough for the taxis, but if you get seats for a show, there probably won't be. I think they would prefer the latter course, Sweet, but you can work that out among yourselves. I'm sure Ruth would stay with the punkin if you explained the circumstances to her. It would be a great source of satisfaction to me, Baby, if you could manage it. Please try. Of course, as I said before, I'm not attaching any conditions to the money—I'm merely suggesting how I would like to see it spent. There may be factors involved with which I am ignorant that would make the idea impracticable, in which case I'm sure you will have no difficulty in finding a place for the money. But I am equally confident that you will allow my suggestions to influence you—n’est ce pâs?
This morning at Sgt. Murphy's suggestion, I made a trip to the General Hospital (via ambulance) to see how a couple of our boys are coming along, and to take his pay to one of them. It took us about fifty minutes each way. I wish, Ev, that you could see for yourself the completeness of the facilities that are embodied in these hospitals for our Yanks. The care and treatment the G.I.’s get here is of the very best, and in contemplating the vastness of grounds and buildings and personnel, one cannot help but feel proud of the munificence and far-sightedness of the Americans. The two fellows I went to see are doing nicely and we expect to see them back with us soon. I was there from 11 A.M. ’til 4 P.M. when we started back. When I got back to my hut, it was a little before 5 o'clock—and the first things that caught my eye were two letters lying on my bunk. They proved to be your long “longie” of the 6th, and your V-mail of the 9th. You can be sure I wasted no time reading them. It is too late now to think of answering them, but I will do so tomorrow.
It's just 11 o'clock, Baby, and I'll give you just one guess as to where and what my thoughts are at this instant—Aw—somebody must have told you!
I'll say my usual “good-night my darling” with the sure knowledge that no matter how I say it, or regardless of flourishes or embellishments, the simple and unalterable fact is—I adore you. A great big hug and kiss for my very own daughter, the inimitable and precocious punkin. My love to all.
May 18, 1944
Your letter of May 13 arrived this morning and it was beautifully written. In it you express my feelings to a "T", though I doubt if I would be capable of expressing myself so ably.
As I write this I interrupt every so often to gaze once again upon the two colored pictures of myself and Adele. Yes, sweet, I got them this afternoon and they are lovely; both of them. I bought a natural color imitation leather frame (double) for 75¢. The other two pictures of Adele didn't turn out so well, as you will note when you receive them. I am going to hold on to the pictures til Monday, at which time I shall mail them off along with a package of candy. I can't get over how well my picture turned out. Did you know, sweet, that I have à suggestion of a clef in my chin? I don't think my smile is natural enough, but it will have to do. I wish, very much, that he had fixed the collar of my blouse - it annoys me.
I’d like to write a little about Adele this evening. She calls soup "up" and says the first letter of every word; for instance: Please would be "pa", dear is "dah i.e. and she now says daddy and mommy. She's learning the “ee" sound. She always fights with Betty and "dodo". When she hears their voices or sees them she goes "ah" (in short, forced breath) (sort of gives them an argument, if’n you know what I mean). She had begun a practice of wetting (not to mention the other) her panties, which practice displeased me no end. She got a real good licking for it yesterday. She also used the word "sis" to be picked up, etc. and made a regular joke of it. After yesterday's licking she changed her mind and decided it was easier to be a good girl. Once, she said sis and hurriedly followed it up with "naw, naw, naw!" When she yells sis I immediately ask her if she has to go. When she nods her head I dash her to the pot or the toddy, whatever the case may be. If I chance to be talking to someone else about her she listens intently and knows exactly what I am saying. Phil, you'll find it hard to believe, but our kid understands everything. She knows how to pull tricks and tries to get away with everything. Whenever I'm mad she looks at me from the corner of her eyes and throws me that wistful look (Aw, mommy - you know!) She looks at the toaster in the morning and points to our reflections. She knows the owner of each piece of belonging around here. The other day I slipped Goldie's (Thought I'd bring it over) apron on and she kept yelling, "dodo", "dodo"! In the morning, after she wakes me up, she puts the palm of her hand to her head and says, "momma, ah aah aah a!" (meaning that she wants to lie down, beside me in our bed.) (Same thing happens before she goes to bed in the evening). When she is shocked she puts the palm of her hand to her chest, draws her breath in and says a long drawn out "u-ah"!
The bookkeeper in my father's place is quitting (She gets $41 per) and he would like to know if I'm interested. I don't rightly know. I'm fairly sure I’d make a good bookkeeper and it does pay high wages. Only time will tell. Mass Hahn also asked me if I’d like to work for her steady as her other girl is leaving for camp and she needs someone daily. I declined her offer, preferring to make a good salary if I return to work. I'm working for her tomorrow for she is without help at present.
I did quite a bit of work today. I house-cleaned, our room. I washed the windows, blinds, wood-work, floor. I dusted, swept the rug, moved the furniture and camphored away most of the woolens. I washed silk things and my mother (who happened to be washing at the time) washed the bulk of my clothes (there was a yardful) in the washing machine. I dusted and swept the rugs downstairs, washed the steps and so forth. When Adele woke from her nap I walked up to C.P. with her to pick up the pictures. When I got back I took down my clothes and gave her dinner. That just about brings me up-to-date.
I might add that Ruth and I had only an hour in town last night, which gave us very little time to accomplish anything. The red play shoes I bought are ration-free, made of all sorts of composition and I doubt if they will last the summer. I've been thinking of buying ankle-strap shoes for dress, but I don’t want to buy them unless you like them cause I'd buy a good pair, a pair that would have to last through two or three seasons. I like them very much, though I doubt whether they are good for my feet. I'm on my feet much too much and my feet might spread from lack of support. Of course they'd only be for dress, but even then I feel the need of more support these days. First I'm going to get, a pair of sport shoes, most likely brown, that I can wear all year round. I’ll try to have a snap made of me in the red shoes, for your approval.
Tomorrow night we're going to have company. Anne and Sammy, Freda and Morris and Gloria are going to stop over enroute to Washington. Gloria, Freda and Morris will spend Friday night here, while Sam, Anne and the baby will stay at Lizzie’s. They'll go to Washington Saturday morning.
I'll have to throw out mom's bouquet tomorrow as it too is dead. Hers outlasted mine three days.
(NOTE: My dad corrected me. The secretary, not the bookkeeper is quitting. She was receiving $28. Thought it sounded too good to be true. Oh weli! - )
Gosh, honey, I'm in the mood for cuddling up close to you and makin’ love! Yep, perhaps we’d better meet in bed, instead of on the easy chair (it's not so "easy" that way - is it?),(Ba a d girl - ain't I?) (Full of questions this evening). (May is fast departing and it's just a matter of days before the (latest Strongin puts in an appearance.) Gee but it, would be swell to have you in bed with me! Just
think - every time Adele woke us up we’d "tear off a coupon" (remember that one?) (I can't help wondering if you'd "wake" at all). Don't worry, sweet, I'd get you "up” some way or other - didn't I always? At this point I'm practically sleeping on the typewriter, so I know, sweetness, that you'll forgive me if I sign off with oceans of love from
18 May 1944
Having very little else to do this morning, I thought I would use the time to good advantage by answering those letters I mentioned yesterday. (Hope I don't get stuck on a single controversial paragraph of yours as I've been doing too often here of late.)
Your “twelve-pager” of 6 May was just crammed full of “small talk,” but it is just as welcome as anything else you might choose to write.
Wish I could see the way your hair looks now that you have discovered what I always contended, that leaving it “unset” after washing, and by patient combing and brushing, it would assume the desired effect. I have no objections to your going to the beauty parlor, Sweet, but if you shorten your hair by even so much as an inch, I'll give you the same dose you hand down to Adele when she’s bad—so help me! Why don't you just let the gal at the beauty parlor cut your hair to even the ends, and give it the same treatment that brought such satisfactory results. As for that “feather-bob” business—it's silly to even consider it. Anybody, who knows what he's talking about, will tell you that you are not the type that would look well with your hair set in that fashion. Neither, for that matter, is Goldie. Gloria, on the other hand, might just possibly be benefited by such a hairdo, since she is round of face and small of stature. But enough of this—.
The pictures you ordered of C.P. (Clair Pruett) are entirely satisfactory, Baby, and I look most eagerly to their arrival. Hope you think to enclose those you are sending me in a double frame!
I didn't mention my “finances,” as you so flatteringly refer to my few pounds, on the 1st of May for the simple reason that they were in a state of flux, and I had no way of knowing the outcome. For that matter, my “finances” are as changeable as the weather (which is a singularly apt simile, if you consider that it's English weather.) Just to illustrate: On the 1st May, I was £4 in debt. By the evening of the 2nd I had cleared my debt and was £4 in the clear. Since then I have had anywhere from 0 to £7 in my wallet. At the moment, I am £4 to the good, but if I play cards tonight and run into some bad luck, I'm likely to be broke by tomorrow morning. This constant fluctuation of my “finances” was the reason for my making that allotment for a bond each month. Whatever happens, I will at least have saved that. When you consider that that 18.75 is about 40% of my total pay each month, you mustn't be too critical of how I choose to dispose of the remainder.
To satisfy your curiosity about prices at the Snack Bar: Sandwiches, (Peanut Butter, cheese, jam, spam)—2£, (3-1/2¢)—coffee, tea, cake—3£ (5¢). Sometimes, as last night, everything is “on the house” and one can stuff himself to his belly's capacity for a total cost of—0.
Glad you take the long-range, or pessimistic view of the eventual state of our re-union, Chippie—it's much easier on the patience that way. Don't ask me again what or how I feel about it. So many factors have to be considered that it could be two or three years just as easily as that many months. The “duration” depends largely on whether or not Japan will continue to fight once Germany is beaten. Then, we don't know whether or not we will be called on to fight in that theater, once the European phase is over. Beside all this, we have no inkling of how long demobilization will take, nor on what basis it will be carried out. So—while I have pretty definite ideas on how much longer we will be at war, I'm just as uncertain as to the time it will take before I will be free to return to you—once and for all. However long the prospect seems, darling, keep in mind that there isn't a thing that we, as individuals, can do to shorten it. Therefore, it would be folly for us to start “chafing at the bit” at this stage of the game. Keep a calm and patient frame of mind, Chippie, and try to stop thinking and wondering at the length of the “duration.” Do not take it from this that my outlook and attitude is undergoing any radical change—it hasn't—it's just that I simply refuse to be discouraged, however obscure our chances for early reunion may appear.
That lemon yellow number that you described sounds like a real cutie. Wear it well, Chippie.
Your description of Adele's reaction to the tissue-paper she found in the dress store was most amusing. But how come? Don’t tell me she has already learned to look after herself to that extent?? Her liking for the bath and the talcum, and the fact that she readily obeys your commands when they are pleasing to her (such as bending over to be powdered), and rebels when told to do something not to her liking (going upstairs to bed), proves that she is not only willful, but intelligent enough to know and indicate her likes and dislikes and that she is every inch the woman (if’n you know what I mean—). The acumen she is displaying in a hundred different ways these days, speaks very well for her development. I'm very proud of her, darling and equally proud of the wonderful job you are doing in raising her. Unlike you, I don't feel that my paternal influence would have helped her to any great extent. What my absence has meant to both of us, of course, is another matter, but I really don't think Adele's lack of daddy's attention has retarded her favorable development in any way. Nothing in your V-mail of the 8th requires any comment. Most of it is devoted to Adele's latest activities, and consequently makes most edifying reading.
In your V-mail of the 9th, you indicate that you are well-pleased with the plans of the house I sent you. If you would prefer, as you indicate, that I say I will build it for you someday, then O.K. I'll say it. However, I should think you would be more concerned with my earnest intentions rather than the way I “sound.” I hate to make promises that I have no way of telling I will be able to keep. It is pointless, I think, for you to pin me down to “I will,” but if you prefer a pointless phrase to a sincerely stated intent to “try,” well—you've had it—and I do mean you've had it!
Your naive opinion that Harry's new job is “war-work” (even indirect) doesn't in any way alter the fact that Harry is for Harry—and to hell with the war. I'm sure, if he had any conscience on this score, he could find any number of jobs that would lend immeasurably more aid to the war effort and more credit to himself than accrues to him in his present task of delivering bread to civilians. If he had any regard for the war effort, he wouldn't have thrown up his job at the Signal Corps. Why he can't get an equally remunerative job in a defense plant, is beyond me. Surely, there's still plenty of demand for 4F’s with his qualifications. You would have a tough time, Chippie, trying to justify his outlook and actions in my eyes, so don't try it.
This brings me to the end of this particular letter, Sweet, and since it is time to go to lunch, I'll take my leave after I say once again that I love you. Best love to the punkin—long may she wave—and all the folks.
More than ever—