June 25, 1944
I didn't write for the past two days and it's all due to Diana Jean, who requires lots of attention, and has been keeping us all on our toes. I was so tired Fri. & Sat. that my mind refused to function properly. I still have lots to do, but it can wait until I feel completely rested.
I have so much to say that I don't know where to start. Well, Friday afternoon Goldie and Diana came home. Goldie isn't feeling so well; she's having a terrible time sitting at all or even laying. She must have had quite a few stitches and the pain is terrific. She tends to the baby, but nevertheless Mom and I are kept busy every moment. Friday night—let’s start with Fri. morning. I washed, scrubbed and cleaned the house. Then off to work. (I'm thankful for an opportunity to sit on my fanny for a few hours). In the evening I had supper, bathed Adele and put her to bed. Betty had made Diana's formula before I got home, which saved me the job. Shortly before 10 P. M. I oiled and bathed Diana and changed her clothes. I didn't actually bathe her, sweet, I sponged her. I think she looks like Harry and will be another Strongin baby. She's very small and very skinny, but I think she'll be a quite a cute kid someday. She's not as white and pink as Adele was—she's darker complexioned. She has tiny black hairs and a tendency to frown, at which time she wrinkles up her brows. She gives us a big smile every now and then.
Undoubtedly you're most anxious to know what Adele thought of her. Well, dear, Adele didn't even make a fuss about her. She merely called her a doll and imitated a baby crying. However, she imitates perfectly every move Diana makes. If Diana chances to raise her arm, Adele follows suit. So much for the H. Strongins.
Sat. morning I went to work, as usual. During the course of the morning Mom called to tell me to stop at Freda's place and pick up some diapers that were on order for Goldie. I was a half hour late for work, but nevertheless I left a half hour before the usual time in order to get to Freda's (Harris) place before they closed. She works for Sol Levy, who sells baby things and novelties, at 1011 Filbert. While there I decided to inquire about a rag dolly for Adele. Sure enough they had but one rag doll that was the thing I had in mind. It retails for $4, but I got it for $2. The whole things is made of rag and is very attractive. The doll has some blonde curls and is wearing a bright red bonnet and pinafore. The rest of the body, except the face, is made of a red, white and yellow material. It was raining all morning, though it did stop from time to time. When I left Freda's place I walked over to 10th St. and then decided to take the 47 at 9th St. When I reached 9th I walked one black north. I had to wait for the trolley and there was a nice dress store on the corner. A rack of dresses caught my eye. They were reduced from $3.99 to $2.99. To make a long story short, yours very lovingly bought herself a pretty navy blue, white flowered pinafore with ruffles that run from the waist in front to the waist in back. It can be worn without a blouse and that's really why I bought it. The store also had many wool suits and spring coats reduced, but I saw a car coming and was anxious to get home. I'll get a good dress when your check arrives.
When I got home (drenched to the skin) I changed and brought Adele over from my mother's. I played with her a while and then washed a whole cellar of clothes. My mother's washing machine broke down and it's costing her some $50 to have it repaired. It amounted to a whole cellar, cause I also washed Diana's diapers, etc. As soon as I get home on Sats. my mother dashes down to her mother's place. What hectic lives we lead!
I don't think I mentioned that on Fri. your letters of June 13th and 15th came through and I'm really up-to-date now. I'm sorry you didn't like my D-Day report, honey, but I do know that I wasn't in a writing mood that evening and perhaps I didn't say all the things I meant to. I can't truthfully say and I was excited—I wasn't. It was a sort of anti-climax for me, as I knew it would happen when your mail failed to arrive. Besides that I knew it would take place in France. I had read a v-mail that someone had sent to Mr. First and in it he had said the following, "I am going to ----- classes, so that when we land I can talk to the ------ girls." The only words that would fit were French and France and it was a dead give away. Everyone, without a question was relieved that it had finally started, but, as I've said before, most people were aware of the price we would be called upon to pay and this more or less sobered them.
The bookkeeper in our place is most interesting and I'm a most tolerant audience. The other people in our place don't have time to listen to him, but whenever he talks I'm all ears. Phil, he actually went to school with Hitler, was tortured by the Nazis by having his fingers and toes broken and—I could go on and tell you many things he has told me. He told us that he is 57 years old, but I never would have guessed it. He is an Austrian Jew.
Last night after I had bathed and put Adele to sleep I started to press her many things. Dot called and I learned that Snuff was not taken again this time. It seems that they must call you within 90 days after your physical or they can't take you until you've had another physical. So—Snuff has to take another physical and wait to be called again. Lucky ain't he!
I don't know if I've told you or not, that Mom is still under Dr. Fischbach's care. She is sticking to a strict diet and has lost some weight. He is a wonderful doctor, young and good-looking in the bargain and married. He is so pleasant and takes his time at each visit. He has hopes of helping Mom's feet and legs. What's more, she's actually sticking to the diet, which is sumpin' for her.
When the doctor called last night I got to talking with him and asked him about Adele's feet. He told me to definitely look into it now, as 19 months is time enough. He recommended me to the same specialist Lil mentioned, but said that the doctor likes to make a fuss about everything little thing and that it would run me into a lot of money. He said they are very busy and there aren't many around. Dr. F. knows Dr. Rosenzsweig well, having interned with him. Betty gave me another idea. She told me to call the Red Cross and ask them what they could do for me in this respect. After all, servicemen’s wives and children are entitled to such care. I don't like the idea of starting up with the Red Cross, but I do intend to call them and inquire. If nothing can be done in that direction, then I'll go to Dr. Lefkoe. I may use the check you sent for that purpose, instead of getting a dress and shoes for Adele. I'll let you know what I plan to do later in the week, after I've called the Red Cross.
Adele has been sleeping fairly well, and has been behaving well, which all makes me very happy. Her legs and feet aren't that bad, but the idea that they aren't just so annoys me. However, it isn't going to annoy me much longer,
Honey, I just wish you could see your little girl. She's a regular darling, and her efforts at speech has improved by leaps and bounds. She drinks from a glass by herself (even gets insulted if I help her) and is making good progress eating alone. I put the food on her little spoon (she calls it a "poon") and she holds it very daintily between the forefinger and thumb of her right hand and then she shoves it into her mouth. For the first time since Adele was born, I'm actually beginning to enjoy her. I'm looking forward to this winter with great anticipation. When a child nears 2 yrs. they have passed the danger stage and the stage of minute care. And—I hope that maybe her daddy will rejoin us! Adele's hair is getting long and I can no longer make a curl in the center as I did before. Instead of making a curl, I twirl her remaining hair (after making a part on either side of her head) on top once, put a little beret in to hold it, and then arrange the rest into little curls. I merely fluff out the sides.
I learned today that Mayer Taylor came home the other night, having completed 50 missions. He will have a 30 days furlough. I saw him and he looks grand. It set me to wondering how you looked and when I'd see you. Phil, I'm sorry if I seemed selfish to you cause I worried about your safety, but what did you expect? Remember, I do love you and you are my husband ! I have a brother there too and I was worried for him, too. Sure I feel sorry about all the boys—my heart goes out to each and every one. A flash has come over the radio that Cherbourg has fallen and that today was an exceptionally bad one for Berlin.
I have much more to say, honey, but I hope you'll forgive me if I cut this short. Mom and I want to take in a movie, even though we are both very tired. It's about a month since I last went to a movie and there's a good picture playing—Cover Girl.
See you tomorrow, darling, but in the meantime I leave you with this thought—I love you deeply, baby and am
25–26 June 1944
The double-date above is copied from your practice when you haven't had the opportunity to write the night before the morning after. Of course—you can't mind!
First, the reason I didn't write yesterday: I was just busy enough during the day to prevent it. In the evening I went with Klein on the Officers’ liberty run. There was no mail from you or anyone else to be answered, and Klein had been asking me if I wanted to meet some new friends he had made at the “bris.” It was a lovely evening, perfect for a ride to town—so I went along. The “bris” was a pretty “rough” affair according to Klein. Everyone got potted. Bert got sick watching the circumcision and, generally, a very merry time was had by all. Klien, who is no novice at the art of drinking is still feeling the after-effects. So you can imagine what a prodigious amount of “the hard stuff” they must have put away. On the whole, I was pretty lucky that I couldn't get out that night. (There's no telling what your usually well-behaved hubby might have done at such an affair!!?) After taking in a movie “We're in the Army Now” with Jimmy Durante, Phil Silvers, Jane Wyman and others, which was a very fast-moving and, at times, hilariously funny comedy—we went visiting.
The first people I met were a nice quiet couple in their middle thirties. They have a daughter of 14 months, whom I didn't get to see ’cause she was asleep. The wife’s sister, who looks about twenty-five, is on the stoutish side, and has a husband in the Canadian Army, lives with them in their small apartment behind their beauty-parlor, which seems to be very well equipped for this part of the country. They were very congenial and I enjoyed the half-hour we spent there.
Then we went to see the “Dees.” They have a rather large dress factory. A rather large apartment has been built into one wing of the factory. I don't know how many people are in the family. I only met the two Messrs. Dee and their wives. It was a rather odd scene we walked in on. Seated on the two place davenport was one of the brothers and his wife. At their feet lay a large mongrel of chow and collie derivation. They were talking to an American T/5, who sat in a chair opposite them and scratched the ears of a beautiful German police dog. His name is Bob—(the G.I., not the dog.) In another corner of the room, sat the other brother, quietly listening to the conversation without participating and absently stroking the long black fur of a cute Persian kitten. His wife sat in the other corner of the room. Perhaps the most surprising feature of the little tableau, was the profusion of musical instruments in evidence. In one corner was a shiny black instrument with piano keys. It looked like a spinet, only I couldn't perceive any space for the strings. When, puzzling over it a while, I asked what it was, they all looked surprised and said, “a piano, of course.” (Next time I'll take a good look—I still don't know where in hell the strings could be!) Lying beside the piano on the floor were two Mexican “bean shakers.” (I don't know the right name for them—but you know what I mean.) In the opposite corner, carelessly strewn about, lay an accordion, a guitar, a mandolin, and, I think, a banjo. Seems the whole family is musically inclined. The next time I visit, I hope to hear them play. When they learned I could play the violin, they promised to borrow one for me. They are a very lively bunch, have a great liking for fun of any kind (and jitterbugging in particular—can you imagine?), and promise to be the happiest acquaintances I have yet made. They are all in their late thirties, and all big and stout, except for one of the wives. It must be a picnic to see the four of them jitterbugging! I'm looking forward to my next visit with them.
Your letter of 16 June, containing the latest snaps of Adele and your V-mail of 17–18 June just arrived.
I agree with you, Sweet, that the punkin looks mighty “cute” and that she does look much older than her nineteen months. Yes, she looks every bit of three years old. What a delicious little bundle she is. But on one point I do not agree. She definitely does not have the short, bowed, “Strongin” legs. Maybe I'm crazy, but while I admit they are slightly bowed, (although not nearly as much as they looked in pictures taken just after she started to walk), they seem exceptionally long to me, in relation to her over-all height. As a matter of fact, these pictures reassured me rather than otherwise. I'm sure you need have no cause for alarm, Chippie. Her legs will be as straight and as lovely as your own. I'm convinced of it! I'm glad you think those two large curls on her forehead are cute—I don't. But then I never did care for curls at their prettiest. She is sweet, though, curls or no curls, and I'd give the world to be allowed to hold her—just once. Don't be too sure that I won't see her before her second birthday, either. There may be things brewing that you and I know nothing about or, to be more exact, things of which you know nothing, but which I have a hint of. I must warn you, Chippie, not to build any roseate dreams on this last. I just mean to point out that I can imagine circumstances that would allow me to be home for the punkin’s second birthday. So don't despair of such a possibility just yet, darling.
Diana Jean, no doubt, was as unprepossessing as any baby of two days, and I'm not surprised that you hinted she wasn't exactly a beautiful baby. Neither, for that matter, was our Adele (at least, I couldn't find anything attractive about her after a like period), but that doesn't mean that she won't develop into every bit as pretty a child as our own punkin.
Was that a thousand dollar bond Goldie's father presented to the baby, or did you accidentally stick another zero into the figure? If it was as written, then I can only say it was a most generous gesture on his part; nor do I wonder that Harry is all excited about it—who wouldn't be?
Baby, I think I know pretty well what has been in your mind here of late, and that gift, if I know you, didn't do anything to ease the “strain,” shall I say? You must feel pretty deeply aggrieved at the way the world in general, and U.S. Army, in particular, has been treating you. I can understand this attitude in you, Honey. It is a typically feminine one. For my part, I'm very glad for Harry and Goldie and Diana Jean. Nor is there any tinge of envy or bitterness to mar my joy in their good fortune. For you see, I still consider myself the luckiest, most fortunate guy in the world. Worldly goods in themselves are of very little concern to me. When I lose the reasons for aspiring to plenitude in the way of material things, only then will I feel any vestige of unhappiness. I don't have to tell you what those reasons are, you know full well. Your thinly-veiled hint that “there are so many things that (you'd) rather save ’til you see (me)” speaks volumes in itself. It tells me that all my suspicions as to your mental outlook are correct. More, it tells me exactly what's biting you. There's hardly the need to read between the lines. Those “things” you would rather “save” to tell me in person are not news to me. If you only knew the indifference I feel for those incidents that invariably aggravate you, because you attach an importance to them out of all proportion to their actual capacity to affect our lives in any way, you might begin to understand my reluctance to make an issue of them, now or later. Your conscience is clear, I know, darling. You have ever done your utmost for the welfare and convenience of my mother, my brothers and their wives. No one knows that better than I, and I love you for it. The fact that any outward evidence of appreciation or gratitude on their part is not forthcoming, or that the insincerity of such expressions are proved by their subsequent behavior, does not alter the fact that irritating as all this may be, it reflects in no way on you. For this reason, if for no other, you should be impervious to any hurt they intentionally or unintentionally inflict by their inconsideration for you and your interests. Do you think for a moment, Chippie, that I am unaware of the psychological difficulties you have incurred since, and because of my leaving home? Or that I am unmindful of their effect on your thinking. Rest assured, Sweet, that even had you never as much as hinted at these things, I would have known, or at least felt, the “atmosphere” there at home. You see, I know pretty well the people involved, their situations and circumstances, and the potential points of differences and discontent. Thus it is not too difficult for me to imagine the character of your grievances. But, Ev dearest, this much I must impress on you. True it is that you are very sensitive to moral injustices that I would either be ignorant of, if I were the recipient, or disregard as unimportant. The difference between us in this respect is due to your feminine regard for those things which I, man-like, don’t care a damn about. This is all very indefinite (intentionally so), but I think you will concede that I have a pretty good grasp of the things you imply, even if I am ignorant of the details. I wish, sweetheart, that I could help you out in this direction, but I think you realize that under the circumstances I am without the means to do so. I can, however, leave this thought with you: When you consider that you are being ill or unfairly treated, or taking taken advantage of, try to make allowances for the frailty of character in others, and learn to avoid their mistakes; even to profit by them in your dealings with others. Be proud that you are considerate of others, regardless of their own petty jealousies and animosities, snd however you may be ill-used, it will lose its sting in the satisfaction of knowing that you were the better character, because you wouldn't stoop to a like measure.
Don't envy anything in anyone. I don't care at all for the type of person who is mortified at someone else's good fortune, and bitter because it didn’t accrue to his own lot. Rejoice wholeheartedly and without reservation in a friend's good luck, and wish for him the things in life that you find good. Beyond that, think not at all of your friends’ affairs. Reflect on your own blessings that you wouldn't trade for anything else in the world, and be properly grateful for them. Those who take their blessings for granted soon find that, all unknowingly, they have permitted them to slip through their fingers. (All this philosophizing, too, has been as broadly set forth as possible, but you know that I know to what specific cases I refer and that I comprehend your trends of thought. Tread most cautiously then, my Sweet, when you come to me for sympathy. Understanding I can always guarantee you, but be very sure that you yourself are blameless when you seek to condemn someone else. I say, if you are blameless—if your own conscious is clear, you will have no need either for understanding or consolation. I have already explained why.
Once more, I must ask to be excused for “sermonizing,” Baby, I can easily see how it may be distasteful to you. But it is as much a part of my duty as a husband to let you know how I feel about certain issues as it is your wifely prerogative to reject and disagree with my views. So much for that!
You express some concern about the German robot planes. The truth is, Chippie, there is about as much chance of getting hit by one of these hit-or-miss projectiles as there is by a bomb dropped accidentally by one of our own planes. In either case, we think very little of the possibilities, and I assure you, worry even less. Does that re-assure you, darling?
Don't fret yourself, Mommy, that you couldn't reciprocate on the occasion of Father's Day. It is enough for me that I am kindly remembered. That much I feel I can count on.
Ethel’s idea that you will “present me with a son” after I get home is typical of her line of reasoning. I presume she feels that you owe it to me. That's silly, of course, but I just don't get the significance of your own remark at the time: “I said I wasn't sure, but it were a real long time since we got together—who knows?” Does that imply a lack of confidence in your own ability to reserve that decision to yourself— that resolutions arrived at in the cold light of reason will disappear in the fire of passions too long pent up? That's what it sounds like to me. Still, I know you better than to really believe that such might be the case. If your intention was to puzzle Ethel, and so evade the question, you couldn't have framed your answer better. The real meaning behind the remark certainly eludes me—unless it's the one I've guessed at. Would you care to enlighten me, Sweet?
The first paragraph of your V-mail informs me that you were readying a package of 5th Avenue bars for mailing. Glad to hear it, Honey, ’cause the Peanut Chews are rapidly becoming “all,” (as Red would say). Which reminds me that I haven't spoken of that worthy for some weeks now. That is because he has been on detached service with another company on the base here, and I see him but rarely as a consequence.
Sorry to learn that you weren't feeling well on the 18th. Waiting to hear that you snapped out of it O.K.
I'm wondering, Sweet, how you behaved in the midst of the recent festive doings at 4906, when your heart must have been over-full and your emotions stirred to such a pitch that you evince the desire, or need for, “a good cry.” I note that every time you were made aware of someone else's good fortune, you show a tendency to self-pity. You immediately start to talk “money.” As here: “Phil, I feel like a good cry. I've begun to realize how much of a break I've had when I found myself able to return to work. Someday, I'll tell you why, someday, when we can talk to each other.” That's what I love about you, Chippie, you're so subtle! At least you mean to be. I think I have already made it clear that I know what goes on there in spite of your very evident reluctance to name names. Envy is a thankless emotion at best, but when it has the power to cause you to feel a sense of personal affront, and to move you to self-pity, then I can only deplore your tendency to harbor it. Whether you choose to admit the fault or not, darling (it's not a nice thing I have charged you with), I know that I'm not misinterpreting the facts because I have noted the same reaction in you too often to be mistaken. In the spirit, then, in which it is given I want you to heed my advice to rid yourself of this emotion, which, if you don't recognize it for what it is, will cause you no end of unhappiness in time to come. It is a mean and selfish thing to live with and most unbecoming in one of your character and inherent fineness. Before you utter the instinctive protest, Baby, think long and hard and without bias of what I have said. Then tell me how you disagree and your reasons for begging to differ. I’d welcome a discussion on the subject, if it will help you straighten it out in your own mind. There are so many things that our minds are reluctant to put a name to. Writing about them imposes the necessity for naming them, and thus brings them into the light for examination, analysis, and correction. That is why I have such a clear insight to the workings of your mind, Baby. Your daily letters are an education that way. (Don’t let that prejudice you against writing, now!)
In conclusion, Baby mine (and it’s about time, don’t you think?), I want to reiterate my admonition to count your blessings (you have admitted to a few in the past), and to prize them above all things. Everything will then come right—you’ll see! I adore you, Ev, with a love born of mystery and increased by understanding. I never cease being mindful of, and grateful for, the fact that I am
Your loving husband,
P.S. My love to all.
P.P.S. The clipping proves that I am not the only guy in the world that thinks and feels that way.
P.P.P.S. I find it necessary to send this piece-meal. Hope they all reach you at once. Bye now!