January 25, 1944
Jack N. put in an appearance late this afternoon as did your letter of Jan. 8, plus the one for Jack. He saved me the trouble of mailing it to him. I haven't time to comment on your letter, baby, but I will tomorrow. Jack, Harry and Goldie, Milton, (who is home on a three day pass) Sylvia and myself are going out (I don't know where). Milt has the car, so we can go most anywhere. Jack and I were reading over many of your letters, baby, and both got a big kick out of it. Gosh, how I wish you were here. Just seeing Jack has made me feel so lonesome for you. Your letter to Jack, as usual, was more informative and your views on sex were more detailed than any I have read from you. I'm happy to know you feel the way you do—it helps so much. So long for now, sweetness, all the love I bear for you and a great big hug and kiss.
This is a letter from Jack Nerenberg, Phil's best friend:
January 25, 1944
(delayed by travel)
First off, I must apologize for the trouble I shall cause you as you try deciphering what I write. I'm doing so aboard the train, which is swaying me from Chicago to Denver. Having apologized, I'm now licensed to write like hell; let the apostrophes fall where they are pushed.
The peal of Adele Bara’s laughter still lingers, so recently have I heard it; for as you now know, it was only yesterday I saw and heard her and your loved ones.
Phil, my emotions were such on seeing them, I find it hard to believe how anyone that's a man (supposedly) could be so stirred. What I intend to relate cannot possibly do you any good, for it shall only heighten your yearning. On the other hand, I find that the mention of my Mom in my presence, saddens me, it likewise creates a warmth within me.
When I first entered, no, even as I approached your house, it seems as though I were in a dream so did the familiar bus ride make me feel. The church, the drugstore, the tinsmith, the gone headquarters where I stopped to read your name and Jack’s on the service roster, all those pervaded my being with a nostalgia akin to that brought on by a look into the old family album. Through it all, one thing I was terribly aware of; I wasn't to see you, this trip, Phil. I miss you in my way as much as does Evelyn in hers. Than that I cannot come closer in describing my feelings.
As I continued in my seeming dream I found myself waiting for an answer to the bell I was hardly conscious of ringing. Mom came to the door, a beaming smile welcomed me to your home even through the window of the porch. As I kissed her and knew she was real, she knew she was the closest I could physically come to my Mom and I knew I was the nearest to the reality to be, your homecoming, and I found myself wishing for Mom and for Ev that I were you, but there.
Then as we unclinched, my eye traveled the length of the rug to behold at its end the playpen of the bundle of loveliness which is sweet Adele Bara. And who should be in it? Why none other than the same, but lovelier? Phil, she's a knockout and a honey and as clever as can be. Her antics are boundless. How so much can be in one so young is indeed puzzling. You say “Pistol Packin.’” She'll say Ma-Mah clear as a bell. You say “sit down,” (on the living room stairs) she’ll consistently do as follows (by the numbers)
1. Place hands on stair.
2. Place folded right leg between hands.
3. Raise her fanny.
4. Waddle some, first touching right “cheek” to step, then left.
5. Extricate and straighten right leg that got caught under upper half of left in the process.
6. & 7. Smile and bounce.
Oh yes, she does bounce. The wonder of it all is how she retains her balance as she goes up and down so very, very hard.
I'm certain Evelyn has related to you the above and all else regarding the little princess, so I won't get into more, but back to where I was after first seeing Adele Bara, who convinced me that sometimes a kid can resemble one parent almost beyond belief. H’ya beautiful. I'm sure that what there is of Evvie in her shall manifest itself in years to come. What then, could there be more to look forward to?
Well, after I finished gazing in awe and closed my mouth, I ran upstairs to find Ev in a house dress. Just ss for you, she said if she knew I were coming at that hour, she would be through and prettied up. She looked damn nice, anyway, and just as you would have done, I kissed her. Eat your heart out! Go ahead, who cares. (Anything to snap him out of how he felt two seconds ago).
Gee, Phil, we spent a few lovely but lovely hours together, missing you beyond words. Her head buried on my shoulders, we three were very close. You didn't notice, but I was all choked up as she lifted her chin and I was helpless to stifle the shivering wetness of those beautiful tear dimmed eyes.
Then the next morning I was awakened to confront none other than Adele Bara whom Evvie had brought in. There it was we four together. Did you notice how I help them both, and had the right to. For wasn’t it we who worried and fretted Adele into and Ev back to this world in those suspenseful moments that decades were no longer than on Nov. 19, 1943.
Then at noon we breakfasted with Harry and Goldie (who didn't want to work on my account and didn't) and Mom. We had gone out the previous night and returned late after topping off the evening with a seafood supper, which brought to mind the laughing spree of the last one, remember
At about 2:00 P.M., Ev, Adele and I took a little walk (with stroller). Lord how beautiful your kid is as the sun highlights her features and the blue A.S. monogrammed suit adorns her loveliness. We tried unsuccessfully to obtain film. It will have to be another time that I shall be able to enjoy photographing her.
Oh yes, the night before and the night after, on the two occasions I saw the Anapolskys, they couldn't get over how well Evelyn looked and said as much, voicing my opinion, especially after I saw her dressed in a new hairdo.
Phil, she's holding up swell, believe me. Else I wouldn't mention it at all. She did cry that Tuesday night, but that was because seeing me, but not you and me, was a little too much for her, as it was almost too much for me, seeing yours, but not you. She has a reserve built up and knowing it, she is much stronger.
After Adele, Ev, and I returned, I jumped into the house to take my coat and leave of Mom and Goldie (Harry had left after lunch to woo Lady Chance of the Pony Chances). Then Ev, Adele and a neighbor (Sarah), walked me to within a block of the bus stop before Ev and I realized that we should have gone to 5th St. for the 47 car to Aunt Lizzie's. I guess we weren't thinking too clearly, our emotions dulling our facilities somewhat. We returned back and stopped at 8th and Rockland and I was glad that the neighbor was there. It was less of a hardship, saying goodbye to Ev in her presence.
After crossing Rockland, I turned and waited till Adele threw me a kiss. She must have known how I felt holding her close a moment before. There they were, Adele, smiling brightly and Ev smiling sadly. I couldn't turn my head away, but somehow I managed for I had to, else they would have seen the tears in my eyes and known of the pain caused by the congestion within my forehead.
When you return, please do as I suggest. On a mild sunlit day, ask Ev to take Adele to the corner nearest your house. Ask them to stand to the right of the signpost (as one would see it from the west). Then walk directly across the street (west). Then turn. Then remember Adele as she was at 18 months. Thus will be recreated for you the mental picture I shall always carry with me of those who have become so dear to me through you. Please God, so be it.
The highlight of my New York furlough was meeting a beautiful girl; not beautiful by the standards of Billy Rose, but by yours and mine and you and I know how much more rigid are our standards. Her eyes, though, by anyone's, but double.
If she will have me, that's my wife to be.
It seems a little too much to hope that on three occasions we spent together, I could have gotten the idea across to her. I shall have to substitute words on paper for me in the flesh to convey to her my feelings. If someday I should introduce you to Adeline Nerenberg, you'll know how successful I was.