Friday, February 12, 2021

Post #287 - February 5, 6, 1944 In Walked Milt, Tante and Miriam and “Junior” Crossman is the Tall, Good-Looking Canadian-American on My Right Hand


February 6th, 1944


Didn't have the opportunity to post the letter yesterday, as you will note. 

I received the two towels (all white, large and very nice) I ordered with my coupons. Mom received another form to fill out regarding her allotment from you. I'm sending it off today. 

Adele had me up all night (the night before last), and yesterday, I felt weary all day long. I managed to finish with my pressing and a few minor duties and lay down to nap with Adele. However, for the first time since she was born, Adele went straight through a whole day sans nap. At this time, Milt (who has managed to get home every weekend since being stationed at Camp Pickett), called to ask if we wouldn't get him some liquor on our books (it's rationed, you know.) I had just about dressed Adele (I was still not properly attired) when in walked Milt, Tante and Miriam. Miriam's twin brother, was home on a two day leave from overseas and she came home from Florida to see him. She looks swell, better than I ever remember. At any rate, and to make a long story short, Mom, Adele and I spent the day at the Browns. I hurriedly dressed, readied Adele, threw the few necessities I need when traveling with Adele into a bag, plus three pairs of my shoes that needed lifts (the brown, dubonnet and copper). I acquired a bottle of Four Roses (the fellow asked me—“you’re past 21, aren't you” and I couldn't help laughing. I had left Adele in the car with Tant and Miriam. She played nicely but suddenly (I guess she missed a familiar face) she started to cry lustily. She all but threw herself into my arms as I got into the car and hugged me tightly. Then we went shopping on Marshall Street and I bought Adele a set of underwear (a shirt with sleeves and panties that button on all around). They had size 2 or 4. I didn't want the four as I knew it would be much too large, so I settled for the two at a cost of $1.29. I can't button the panties unless I pull a bit. They fit (skin tight) and are neat as a pin. Hereafter, I'll buy larger sizes. As long as she wears it the rest of the winter, I'll feel that I got my money's worth. That's a lot of money for a set of underwear. In the same store, I bought sleepers— scarcer than diamonds. What's more, they have rubber buttons, and elastic backs. The sleepers are baby blue flannel with a colorful rabbit printed on a pocket. The pocket is on the left side of the chest. They cost $1.49 and I could not get an extra pair of pants to button on, as is the customary practice when buying sleepers. I also bought a pair for Dot’s baby. Adele had a grand time honking the horn, steering the car, etc., etc. Milt got a big kick out of her. Milt had put Adele’s walker in the truck and it came in handy at Tant’s. We let Adele play with a kitten—poor kitten. She insisted on turning the kitten's face so that it looked straight at her. Sylvia was also there for dinner. Adele discovered a little stuffed black and white dog, which was once Bea’s, and now it's hers. Tant gave her a box of Nestle's chocolate and a jar of blackberry jelly. That's the first time Adele had chocolate milk. She drank every drop. 

Tant managed to get two white metal Venetian blinds (royal blue bands) for the living room and a stunning pair of blue satin drapes ($17). Unc put an inlaid linoleum in the store at a cost of $100. It really makes the store. After dinner Adele, who hadn't slept a wink all day, got cranky. I took her upstairs, rocked and sang to her til she fell asleep. I put her on the large bed and put chairs all about the sides. About 8 P.M. we were ready to leave. I merely wrapped Adele in a large automobile blanket and got into the car. She awoke, but stayed still. Unc gave her a dollar as it was the first time she visited them. She took it and held on to it. She had some milk as soon as we got home and went right back to sleep. Phil, someday we must get a car. There is nothing that compares with it when it comes to children. It's a necessity in transporting a child, it teaches him a lot as he sees things, lots of things he wouldn't see ordinarily. 

I gave my dad your three suits to wear to work. I thought they'd serve their purpose that way, if you don't mind. 

Baby, Sunday does funny things to me—a terrific wave of nostalgia hits me full force in the morning. I lay back in bed and dream of past Sundays when I curled up close to you. God what I wouldn’t do to curl up to you now! 

Adele almost said “baby” today. She tries very hard to say everything. For instance—when she wants a piece of bread she'll say—“ba.” Ethel, Al, Paul and Mickey were over today. They made their usual fuss over Adele. 

I inquired about Halvah on Marshall Street. It only comes in 6 lb. packages. I'll get 2 or 3 lbs. and send it along if you like. 

Oh darling, I'm so hungry for you. If I could only hold you to me a little while! I’d better go now, before I melt away— 

I love you, Phil darling— 

Your Eve 

P.S. Ruth is trying to get me a decent pen. Milt promised to take my typewriter to a shop situated across the street of their store the next time he comes in. 

P.P.S. Forgot to enclose Jack's letter as I mentioned in a previous letter. Here it is. 

Hans Crescent Club 

February 6, 1944 


This is my second night in London—and I have just about given up hope that Ed will put in an appearance. Needless to say, I'm deeply disappointed. The only thing that could have happened, as I see it—is that he failed to get a pass. Certainly 15 or 16 days is time enough for him to get my message. However, I had foreseen the possibility that he wouldn't make it—so I instructed him to look for my message at the info. desk. In this manner, I was able to leave the club without the fear of missing him. I made perfectly sure in my notes that he would know where to look for me anytime at all during the day. But, apparently, it was all for nothing. I haven't given up hope of arranging a meeting, yet, though. You can bet I'll keep trying. 

I'm sorry, Sweet, that I was unable to write on both the 4th and 5th, but circumstances made it unavoidable, as you shall soon see. Perhaps this “longie” [I hope] will serve to compensate you somewhat for the two letters I didn't write. You see, Honey, on the evening of the 4th, I was so busy getting everything ready for the trip that I'm didn't allow for anything else. I had to shine my shoes, run around to borrow hankies and underwear because my last two week’s laundry never came back and a dozen other trifling details that consumed the evening. As for the 5th, I'll come to that presently. Anyhow, I arrived in London yesterday about 5 P.M. It was a clear, sunny day, and looked and felt almost like Spring. The countryside, viewed from the train window was very pretty and I enjoyed the ride—for a change. This trip, the train was right on time (unbelievable—but true). I wasted no time at all, you can bet, heading for the Hans Crescent, and, I was almost afraid to hope—Eddie. You can appreciate my chagrin, then, when on arriving there and inquiring at the desk, I learned that Eddie had not checked in. I hung about hopefully for awhile, but as I was very hungry, I decided to leave a note for Ed, should he come, and go to the Eagle Club for supper. Almost the first person I saw when I strolled into the lounge at the Eagle was “Junior” Crossman! Remember that tintype I sent you a while back that you disliked so much? Well, “Junior” is the tall, good-looking Canadian-American on my right hand. He's a nice kid, no foolin’, and I think he was as glad to see me—as I was to see him. He told me that “Streamer,” the other guy on that tintype, was hurt while on manuevers. Well, Chippie, we “chewed the fat” for a while and then, discovering that neither of us had eaten supper, and the Eagle being overfull, we decided to look for a place to eat. We found a cozy little place called “Chicken Inn” in Haymarket. We dined very satisfactorily on hamburger steak with onions, boiled potatoes and cabbage. For dessert, the menu said “creamed caramel.” Alas, it didn't nearly live up to the picture suggested by the name. It tasted like nothing at all—and was I disappointed. Supper over, we wandered out into the street—and the mob, and when I say mob, I speak as a cosmopolite who has had experience with crowds in New York and good ole Philly. In the last named places, the pedestrians at least gave the motor traffic the privilege of using the streets. Over here, they're not that magnanimous. The poor taxi drivers are forced to crawl along behind the pedestrians at snail’s-pace. They don't even dare blow their horns in protest. And what a mob! A civilian (any sex) is a rare, almost extinct creature. If you want to see the United Nations, Chippie, come to London. Oh, darling, if you only could! Where was I? Oh yes, we were “drifting with the tide,” as it were, when we noticed we were just outside the Leicester Sq. Theatre, where Olson and Johnson are starting their run in “Crazy House.” Junior was all for dragging me in. I insisted on “Phantom of the Opera” at the Odeon—or ”As Thousands Cheer” at the Empire. Junior is easy to get along with, so we walked? on, etc., etc. until we came to the Odeon. Well, Chippie, we took one look at the queue, did a prompt about-face and pushed our way across the street to the Empire. Same thing! (only more so); honestly, Chippie, that was the longest line I ever saw. It was fully a hundred yards and four rows deep. All at once the comparatively “unbusy” Leicester Square Theatre seemed a very nice place to be. And that's how come we saw “Crazy House.” It's the usual Olsen and Johnson slap-stick. Very funny in spots and very unfunny in others. In between there is some pretty good music and “production numbers.” Not a complete flop—just fair entertainment—and better than nothing at all, if’n you know what I mean. After the show, we parted company, as Junior had to be back in quarters. I don't have to tell you where I went. You guessed it! Just like a homing p-i-g-e-o-n, (no d, Chippie) I headed for the ever-lovin’ Turkish Baths. From then, until I was “tucked in” about two hours later, it was a repetition of all the other times. The fellow in the bunk next to mine turned out to be a communist and something of a philosopher, and, like most communists, nothing would do but that he expound his philosophies to me. Luckily, I wasn't a bit sleepy, so I listened patiently and attentively while he discoursed for fully half an hour. When, at the end of that time, he paused to take a breath—I began. His smug convictions rather irritated me, and consequently, I determined to pick his pet theories to pieces if I could, and I had detected dozens of flaws in his logic as he rambled on, so I had plenty to work with. Lady, you should have heard me for the next half-hour, it would have made you proud—I even surprised myself! I proceeded to take the essence of his theories, and slowly, surely, uncontestedly, and irrevocably—tore it all to hell. So irrefutable was my logic, that the dazed and disillusioned “commy” could only lie and stare. Long after I had ceased talking, he was still trying fervently and concentratedly to find the answers to my arguments. When I fell asleep, he hadn't yet found them. I have to laugh now when I think of it. I don't know if you see the humorous side of the little episode, but it certainly tickled me. This morning my “friend” lost no time in starting the conversation again, but he painstakingly stayed clear of theorizing and philosophizing. We talked of our respective families and our work. When we got around to the latter, I discovered that he used to be an importer of costume jewelry from America. This immediately brought to mind those “zircon” pieces you were asking about in your “longie” of 8 Jan. I told him of your request and he convinced me that I was a fool for trying, or even thinking of buying anything of the sort here in England. The prices, if you could find the stuff in the first place, are roughly five times what it would be in the States. Besides, there is 100% purchase tax on “luxury” items of this type. So, Baby, I guess you'll just have to bide your time until I get home to go shopping with you. All out of paper, now, Honey, and it's too late to get more 'cause the info. desk where I got this is closed, so I'll say so long for the time being. I’ll continue tomorrow. G’night, Sweet,—I love you. 

February 5, 1944—through 8th 

Dear Phil, 

I certainly got one big kick out of receiving your V-mailed birthday greeting. Thanks a lot. 

This looks rather odd, skipping a whole line between lines. However, I feel I must do something to atone for the near legibility of my train written letter you should have received long ago. About that, I must comment in passing. Like I read to Ev, I had no intention of sending it to you via her. Why, I can't exactly say because the reason won't come to my conscious mind, but remains vaguely in my subconscious thinking gear. Perhaps you can bring the matter to light for me. Will you try in your next? 

And now to answer your letter I skipped because I was anxious to get off the one about my visit to your loved ones. Incidentally, wanting to get it off as soon as possible, and not wanting to wait until I got your address from Ev (which I thought I had all along) is the reason I sent it to Ev first. 

While I was there, I read about your furlough which “now they gave it to you” and about your eye, “the roving one” and I sure do think Evelyn is among the most fortunate of wives of “ponded” servicemen. Not alone for how endeared you are to each other, but for the fact she has a husband who if he hasn't mastered the use of the written word has come so near doing so that only the severest and most learned of critics can discern what little lack there might be to perfection. Through your letter, you come as close to her as it is humanly possible under the circumstances. 

When you said to me that my position was more likely not permanent in relation to the army you scored a possible. (Incidentally, I was one of the four in my whole company who did likewise with an M-1 when we had to zero our rifles at 300 yds. and hit five silhouettes in the shimmering snow starting at the first, which was 100 yds. distant and progressing to the fifth, which was 500 yds. away. Not bad, eh? I used only 5 bullets and approximately 40 seconds.) I'm not doing photography anymore. My company officers deigned to sever themselves as much as officially possible from the Engineers board with whom I was doing said photography, which left me with my company, severed. 

Now, I am one of the boys, and it's not too bad, especially since I'm looking forward to being transferred to a photographic assignment such as I outlined to you that night I rode with you to the bus depot in New York. I expect it to come through because of the seeming sincerity of the important office working girl I saw at the Eng. Corps office. On my account, she's called Washington several times. This last, when I was there, she learned my transfer was in progress and told me so. Here's hoping. 

It was very interesting to learn of your “sexual status,” especially since I see how utterly different is that of the married men here. Unless it's just braggadocio, fully 85% of them “get it here” in Colorado. 

Now I'm about to resume after a three day lapse between “Dear Phil” and the above “Now.” I took a trip to Colorado Springs. It's a beautiful city and its natural wonders are many. Next trip I shall see the wonders. This trip I saw a lot of dancing, wide clean avenues of modern businesses and beautiful homes, the one synagogue during Sunday services, after which a Jewish meal was served, and a delightfully soft bed in a sparkling clean, if not up-to-date, hotel room. The $2.00 charge seemed ridiculously cheap, but who am I to worry about the $3 more I would gladly have paid the owner had I known how nice it would be. 

We departed at 9:00 P.M. Phil, it's impossible to describe the feeling that awes as you as through the speeding auto window you see majestic snow capped mountains as they rise gloriously from white covered plains. Their shapes are moon silhouettes, each a seeming fantasy in black and white. The ribbon of white that centers the winding road is easily discernible, sans headlights, so bright the night. 

The distance of 160 miles, the last 18 of which were snow and ice, was covered in three hours because traffic is nil. The Springs thermometer never read below fifty. The Hale, fifty below. No, I'm kidding (about that night) it was only 18 below zero. 

I’ve received Mail from Evvie. Suffice it to say that each of her letters (beautifully written, too), and yours tends to make me more aware of the rarity that is our friendship. In it (the friendship or this letter) she asks, and I quote, “How have you fared in your correspondence with Adeline? Do you realize, Jack, that the girl you marry will be my closest friend, as close (in friendship—ed.) as you and Phil? I can't help wondering about “her,” the future Mrs. N.” 

I'm sure it wasn't necessary, but I couldn't resist the parenthesized observation. Just as I couldn't resist saying “about 12,000 feet.” after I'd written someone, “I shared a bottle on the bus back to Camp Hale from Denver and got to feeling high, 

As Ever,