Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Post #302 - February 22, 1944 Dr. Gayl Moved to Elkins Park Today and The Familiar and Attractive Front of My Home and Yours, Baby, is Very Good to Look Upon and A Letter From Jack Strongin in New Guinea


February 22, 1944

My Own, 

Out of v-mail and not having much to say am resorting to this stationery. Adele’s temperature was normal all day and generally she is vastly improved. Her gums must pain terribly, as she got blotchy (a few reddish spots on her face—a teething rash) and was cranky beyond management. I made her take two naps, which helped immensely. When I put her to sleep the second time about 1:30, I was so dead tired that I flopped across the bed and slept soundly for two whole hours. Adele had rested fairly well during the night, giving me a chance to catch up on my rest during the day. She was unusually trying hence the tiredness. I awoke feeling totally rested and wide awake for the first time in a few weeks. It rained all day and was dark and dreary. I did a lot of cleaning and little things. The house looks neat and clean. 

The politicians have arranged to register voters in their various sections tomorrow and I hope to straighten out my registration once and for all. Mom and Goldie will register, too. 

Doctor Gayl moved to Elkins Park today. He had moved his offices earlier and now has changed his residence. 

Goldie gave me the enclosed prayer and if you insert the correct sex where necessary, you'll find it very beautiful—or so I think. 

Al had a tooth pulled and had a hemorrhage that is keeping him in bed two days. There was no delivery of mail today and I'm looking forward to tomorrow's mail. I love you, my precious Phil!

Your Eve

February 22, 1944

My Own Darling, 

Yesterday afternoon, just as I was finishing up my work for the day, your two letters of the 2-3 and 4 February arrived—together with Jack N’s of 25 January. All three letters were delectable in the extreme. So gratifying where they, in fact, that I spent the rest of the evening reading and re-reading them. Then, too, there were the 16 snapshots to be considered—and re-considered—and re-re-reconsidered, etc. Altogether, I think I have a pretty good excuse for not writing last night, eh, Chippie?

About the snapshots: No mere are words of mine, can tell you or make you appreciate how very welcome they were (and are). As pictures, I agree with you that they left much to be desired. You didn't say who took them, but I presume it was Pete. I want to thank the person responsible for all the trouble he took on my behalf and I want him to know that I appreciate his good intentions, but I think he would make better pictures if he reckoned with the glare of the sun, looked out for bad shadows and held the camera just a little steadier when snapping. As I said before, sweet, the pictures as such are pretty poor; but as a reflection of you and all my dear ones in your present circumstances and environment, and as yardstick by which to measure the progress and development of the punkin, they left very little to find fault with. I thought everyone looked in the pink. Evidently, rationing has had very little effect on any of you. The punkin is very sweet and beautiful in most of the snaps, and it did her daddy's proud heart good to see how well-formed she is, and how fair of face and mien, and how she stands on her own sturdy little legs. My Chippie looks very smart, indeed in her new attire. The fur coat is just as I pictured it—and very good looking. The suit is very natty and most becoming. As far as I can see (but I must admit—not very clearly) you look very well, my darling, and on the whole, taking everything into consideration, I am very, very proud of you and the punkin. It is difficult, from the pictures, to distinguish clearly just how Mom is looking these days, but her well-loved features are readily recognizable and brought a warm response in my heart. Harry and Goldie look fit and ready for anything. It just struck me (and I don't mean to be facetious), that they're certainly a couple of “solid citizens” and shouldn't experience any difficulty whatever in their coming ordeal. Let’s hope the newcomer turns out to be another “solid citizen.” Somehow I just can't picture them producing anything but a boy. As a matter of fact, if I get an announcement reading, “it's a girl,” I'll have a hell of a time getting myself to believe it. Gloria, the only other member of the family I haven't mentioned, was very sweet and demure in her “little girl” dress. I don't know why the neighbors failed to get their pictures taken, but I spotted Betty and Sarah in the background, and Natalie, of course, posed with Adele. “Nanna” is certainly getting to be a very attractive young miss, and her added poundage is becoming. Last, but far from unimportant, is 4906. The familiar and attractive front of my home and yours, baby, is very good to look upon after these many months, and many's the time I wished myself there. 

I should have known you would remember St. Valentine's Day, sweetheart, and I feel a fool for having forgotten it myself. Then, to make matters worse, I implied in my last letter that Ruthie had remembered where you had forgotten. My humble apologies, Chippie, for having so misjudged you. As for my own defection, I can only say that I remind you each day that you are my one and only “valentine.” In answer to your clever little verse: 

I've read much better poetry, 
—With “meter,” “rhyme” and “symmetry” 
I've heard more honeyed words than thine 
—Still, you are my valentine. 

Your intention of buying a gold bracelet for the punkin reminds me of something I had in mind a while back, but forgot to communicate to you. I was thinking that for very little cost you could have my school ring melted down and made into a “baby” ring. The school ring (as such) doesn't mean much to me and I really wouldn't miss it, especially since I've grown accustomed to being without it. You might get an estimate and let me know the particulars. By the way, I still don't know what, if anything, I bought her for her birthday. My plexiglas watch crystal for your and Snuffy’s information, like Bon-Ami “hasn't scratched yet.” That color combination you have selected for Mom’s sweater is very attractive. (I can just picture it.) 

You ask me again if your letters to me are censored. I've already advised you that they are not—so if you have anything real “fresh” to say, don't be bashful. 

Jack's letter of the 25th January is a masterpiece of sympathetic writing. Evidently, he was deeply moved by your reception. As for my being jealous of Jack, I am happy to report that I feel no vestige of that unhappy emotion on his account. What I said before in that connection, though, still holds true, so please be careful, will you baby? I will say that I envy Jack the rare privilege of having you confide your tears to his shoulder, but the knowledge that they were shared in my behalf is even more gratifying and I don't mind confessing that the contemplation of the little tableau brought a lump to my throat, too. I can't make up my mind whether we're blessed or cursed with the gift of sentimentality, but certainly it is that that quality in us engenders a host of conflicting emotions. I say “we” because I place myself in the category of sentimentalists together with you and Jack. 

Since I returned from London the other day, I haven't done anything out of the ordinary run-of-the-mill chores. My work in the Orderly Room is keeping me increasingly busy, but once in awhile I catch up with my work and I have an hour or so to kill. That's how come I'm able to not walk. An hour or so to “kill.” That's how come I'm able to knock off a letter of this size. 

You want to know if I care for Tuna or Sardines, etc. Ordinarily, yes, but under the circumstances—no. You see, in order to really enjoy something like that, I'd have to procure mayonnaise, bread, etc. and that's a little out of the question. Really, Ev, I miss those things very little. We are uncommonly well fed here, and now that we are getting ice cream regularly (every Tuesday), I don't want for a thing as far as food goes. Of course, the shortage of chocolate candy is still acute, and I, for one, rarely get my fill of it. So next time you send off a package, don't waste any space whatever that will hold even a lick of some sort of chocolate. If you really want to earn my undying gratitude, you could do so by sending me a box of Milky Ways, Mars bars, Oh Henry, or something of the sort. Plain chocolate, such as those large Hershey bars or Nestle's are especially welcome. You needn't worry your pretty head anymore when you are trying to decide what to put in a package for me. Just send any of the above as frequently and as copiously as you possibly can. You can advise all the other interested parties to that effect. If there is anything at all which I cannot obtain over here, I will ask for it specifically. Finally, remember that it takes some six or seven weeks for packages to get here, so mail early and often. I thank you! 

The snapshots, while they serve admirably to allay my hunger for the sight of you and the cherub and the family, do not fill or lessen my desire for a real picture. In short, when do I get that Clare Pruett picture? You have been putting me off for two months now, Ev, and I feel I have a right to be impatient for some concrete evidence of your good intentions. Now—how's about it? 

And now it's time for supper and that ever-lovin’ ICE CREAM. Hope it's chocolate tonight. 

A hasty “au revoir,” my darling, and a lingering kiss for you. A great big hug for the punkin—and my love to all. 

Your adoring 

February 22, 1944

My dear G.I. Brother,

Received your letter in which you gave me somewhat of a reprimand for not writing you a lengthy letter. I can assure you, dear brother o mine, that it's no fault of mine. I wrote you a long epistle, in detail, a little over a month ago, and it was one of my best compositions. However, it is quite possible that it was lost. After all, anything could happen to it between here and where you are stationed. I'm presuming that that letter will not reach you, so will tell you in this piece of scribe just what is cooking here in tropical Guinea. My outfit is a detachment of Headquarter Company. We have a very nice area and our tents, although not luxurious, are quite comfortable. There are four G.I.’s to each tent. All tents are uniform. The furnishings consist of four canvas cots with mattress and two blankets, four improvised foot lockers, table (center of tent), Gasoline lamp, and a wash stand at the rear of the tent. All tents have wooden floors and mosquito nets over every bunk. 

We are able to obtain from the supply room, Bomb sprays (insecticide) and insect repellent whenever needed. You can be sure that we take every precaution to avert getting Malaria. At every dinner we have an officer check to see that all the boys take their atabrine. We have Revelie every morning (excluding Sundays) at 5:25 A.M. and breakfast at 6:00 A.M. Breakfast usually consists of cold storage eggs, bacon, stewed fruit and coffee. Some days we have pancakes. After breakfast, we prepare our tents for inspection. By that time it is 7:30 A.M. and we go to our respective jobs. I was a P.X. warehouse man up until a few days ago and now I'm doing office work for P.X. supplies. I can't tell you just what type of clerical work it is, for it is quite confidential. We quit work at 4:30 P.M. (one hour off for lunch) and chow at 5 P.M. Sometimes we have extra duty after dinner. Usually my leisure moments are from 6 P.M. to 11 P.M. At 6 P.M. I go down to the stream to bathe and take a swim after which, I write letters and all my time after writing is spent sketching portraits of the fellows here, going to shows, playing table tennis, and making souvenirs from discarded shells and Aussie coins. Lights go out at 10 P.M. and so ends a day in New Guinea. The chow here is excellent considering the conditions here. We usually have ice cream and pie (your favorite dish) on Sundays. The climate is tropical, hot during the day, and cool evenings. Cleanliness is absolutely necessary in this part of the world, where diseases are plenty. We kid around with the natives, but close contact with them is taboo as they are a diseased ridden lot. Here are a few native words and translations: Kai Kai (pronounced Ky Ky) for food, Mary, when referring to a girlfriend or wife and Pom Pom for intercourse. The natives here practice polygamy, for they can have more than one wife. One wife costing them 1 pig. They are very friendly and have a great hatred for Japs. They’d just as soon kill a Jap as to look at him. The natives are doing a good share of the work here and are certainly doing their part to get this darn war over with with our side victorious. It is not rare to see members wearing G.I. apparel. Just the other day I saw a native use a G.I. overseas cap for a handbag. 

Oh yes, Phil, the natives are of the Fuzzy Wuzzy type. They are called “Fuzzy Wuzzies,” for they have long fuzzy hair. Here's a rough sketch of one. 

In my next letter I will make a good sketch in pencil. I can't send you any sketches as I give them to the fellows who pose for them. So far I have made about 30 sketches of the fellows here (one hour sketches) and certainly have improved. I visited a battlefield and honestly, Phil, the booys had a very difficult job driving the Japs out sometime ago. The jungle is very dense and you can't see what is ten feet ahead of you and realizing the Jap were expertly camouflaged, they had to fight an unseen enemy. It's really tough fighting in this type of terrain, but the infantry is doing an excellent job under adverse conditions. Hoping that this letter will satisfy you, I remain 

Your Loving “Kid” Brother
Pvt Jack

P.S. I'm enclosing our Newspaper, “The Guinea Gold”