Monday, May 10, 2021

Post #334 - April 3, 1944 Bob Leiberman Finally Got Up Enough Nerve to Sing at a Night Club—The Swan Club at Broad and Olney and I Was Amused at the Apprehension of the Three Novices


April 3, 1944 

Dearest Baby,

I had a thoroughly enjoyable time this morning reading over your long typewritten letters of 14 and 28 March, which arrived this day. I think they are both longer than your usual typewritten letter. The simultaneous arrival of two letters of such different dates struck me funny. Leave it to the post office to get things there on time.

I looked up Red's things and found the following: three black ties, six tan ties, a shirt (gabardine) and three hats, one olive drab with goldish braid, size 7-1/4, the other two gabardine, size 7-1/8 and 6-7/8. They are all rumpled and I'm debating with my-self about the advisability of sending them along as is or having them cleaned and pressed. I think the latter would be best, since you say packages arrive in a terrible state. Do you want every thing or a portion of what I have? I'll wait til I hear from you. I gave Petey all your former Army clothing - remember?

You surprised me by failing to remember my birthday, not that it is unusual for you. You've been remembering everything else. So I really can't be mad about it. You did mention it earlier in the month and you do know, but neglected to mention it, in your letter of 28 March I mean.

Rest assured, sweet, that I shall inform you, beforehand, in detail, of my "voting intentions". Don't I always inform you of all? Tut, tut!

I called Dot and explained about the V-mail. Apparently you were the one with ideas for Dot said nothing that led me to believe she had misinterpreted your words.

I'm glad you approved of my buying the $100 bond. I wasn't sure you would and don't know why I felt that way. I'm glad, too, you will accede to my wishes not to visit London when you know of air raids and such. I was genuinely sorry to learn that my mail has been held up so long. I know, full well, how it feels, baby, and I can only sympathize with you. I'm sure you have been rewarded for your long wait by now - right?

In the letter of the 28th you say your prime consideration is that I take the best possible care of myself. You ask me not to work for Miss Hahn - that it tires me too much. I'm sorry I must disagree with you, honey, but I don't work when at Miss Hahn's - I sit on my “ask me no question” and type or take shorthand. My mother does all the work, caring for Adele. Adele and the house is much more work than a clerical position. That's why I'm rather anxious to return to work (with your approval) for I feel it is most advantageous to me physically, mentally and financially. Everyone around here waits for my two hands to do everything and in spite of my efforts to let things go I'm always busy and always tired. You did curb me to a great extent and I was grateful. I only wish you were here now - things would be mighty different. At any rate this job idea is worth a try. If I don't like it I can always quit. My grandmother is moving next week (or the week after) and my Mom and I will get down to some serious planning then. 4906 will always be ours if we can upkeep it, but that isn't what I want. Besides, with Goldie’s baby due in the near future and my experience in that field, I shall be called upon to tax myself even further. Goldie says she has no patience for kids, other than her own and possibly Adele, (just possibly) and I'm not anxious to care for anyone's baby either - I've had more than my share of that. I love kids, but I don't like to take care of any, except my own. If I worked five days a week (that's the only way I’d accept a job) I'd have two whole days to devote to Adele, which would be more than I devote to her now. When you're in the house there's always something to be done. Please, sweet, say it's okay!

Bob Leiberman finally got up enough nerve to sing at a night club - the Swan Club at Broad and Olney. He says he's going to try to do something about it and he should be able to now, with the shortage of men, not to mention singers.

It's too late to post this tonight, so I shall continue tomorrow. You always get my letters in bunches anyway. In this way you will have them in consecutive order. This will be the exception rather than the rule. Good night, angel, I love you so much!

April 4, 1944

It just struck me that I could tell you more about the "briss". I wore my suit, new white crepe, scalloped-edged, blouse, my brown high heeled shoes (not the new ones), brown bag (new), fur coat and fur-trimmed hat. Everyone wanted to know when I bought my "new beaver coat". I said last year and that it was mouton, not beaver, much to their surprise. Ruth and Sarah cared for Adele. Adele's cold is the same and it always takes quite some time for these things to disappear. Adele is a regular problem when bed time arrives and I am not there to tuck her in. She keeps crying "Momma" and doesn't fall asleep til she is "all in". Everyone agrees that the lack of fatherly affection is responsible for her increasing attachment to her mother. Dot doesn't have that trouble with Hal.

Uncle Sam promised to fix our oven door and sink but didn't show up. He called today and said he would be here and we're waiting for him. He hasn't been well of late and has been doctoring. He had some pieces of left-over tonsils removed yesterday and had logical reason for not putting in an appearance, which is unusual. If he doesn't show up we will have to get a plumber tomorrow. I washed the ceiling and part of the walls of the kitchen yesterday and you should see the difference - from black to white. The kitchen is in sad need of painting, a painting that will have to wait.

When Gloria was here we got to talking about "first nights" and Gloria thought we each ought to get a sheery, sexy nighty and gown set to start off on the right foot. What do you think? I asked her how she fared sexually and she was reluctant to answer, not sure of what to say. I admitted I had my good and bad days and when she saw I was truthful she replied in kind. Yes, I guess we all have our good and bad days. She says they are giving boys from New Guinea furloughs after 18 or less months of service for the jungle plays havoc with their minds. Since there is a constant changing of men, Jack stands a good chance of getting a rating. She definitely expects to see him about next March, even if the war isn't over. Gloria bought a maple three-quarter bed and bureau to match. She is living with her mother and wanted to furnish her own room, saying she and Jack would use the set immediately after his return, til they have time to seek their permanent set, which 

isn't a bad idea.


We have a guest today - Mr. Chase. Consequently I have dropped everything and am taking it easy. I did do some general cleaning and have been working on this from time to time. I won't be able to finish "So Little Time" as Mickey must return it tomorrow and can't, not even for the extra money, hold it out any longer. It is a rather deep book, concerned with the mental aspects of one Jeffry Wilson, his work, his married life, his children and most of all - the war. It's the sort of book that requires close attention and is slow reading. I might have finished had it not been for this. 

I had been way ahead of my correspondence and felt good about it. Now, however, it is piling up, darn it, and I never feel right about it either. I had a letter from Syd and that is the last letter he owes me. I owe him one in reply to this. I've tried to keep ahead of Syd, but we always catches up. Tante Bosh is having change of life and last week something very unpleasant happened. She went to the bathroom during the night. When she tried to make her way back to the bedroom she suddently felt faint. She fainted dead away. Uncle heard her fall and jumped out of his sleep. When she came to she didn't remember falling. The next day her eye and thereabouts was the color of a rainbow. Unc was kidded unmercifully at the briss. She will take needles to ease it over.

The weather has been miserable, cloudy and chilly and damp.

Uncle Sam put in an appearance at 8 P. M. and we're trying like the devil to fix that g-- d--- sink. Here's hopin’!

Dot called and is writing to you tonight. Snuff leaves on April 20th definitely. Thanks for sending your love via Dot. I hereby return it double. Please, Phil, refrain from writing in the "devilish" vein hereafter and you'll save yourself lots of trouble. Some people just don’t understand. I know I didn't and it annoyed me numerous times until I finally became accustomed to it.

I understand Adele is to be gifted shortly again. My cousin Bella promised me two dresses for her birthday and came through with only one. She's coming up to see us with her "steady" beau and will bring it along. I got this morsel of information via the folks. I see all, know all - and tell you all.

We tried the little red print dress Mr. Chase gave Adele on her today and Adele made quite a fuss over it. She admired and patted it and showed it to everyone. It has a round white collar, a kick pleat down the front and puffed sleeves. It ties in back. Adele let loose with her barrel of tricks. She loves to show-off and since Mr. Chase was a newcomer she went to town. I told her to pull his hair - she softly patted his baldiness, then looked to see his reaction. She calls him "pop". She played hide and seek. She saluted Daddy. She repeated her vocabulary. When asked whether she likes something she nods yes. She says "box" and when she sees a box she must have it. She says "bye-bye,” waves her hand prettily and throws a French kiss. She also says "door". She goes to the dining room windows and calls the birds. She runs to the window like lightening to see a "horsy". She likes the way they prance. You know how you pucker up to call a dog? Well, she does that too. She did something new today. She piled her blocks up high and she never could before. I let her play in the pen even though her cold isn't completely gone.

Well, doll (as Harry would say), I'm just about "writ" out or hadn't you noticed? I might add that I couldn't get the thermos bottle for the Asco coupons I had saved and exchanged them for a lady's wallet, which I hope to receive shortly. Note: Dot received your letter of 17 March today and read it to me. I didn't receive any mail and have no letter dated 17 March. Room to send along a hug, kiss and oceans of love and I do mean "ocean". I am

Your Eve

3 April 1944 

Dearest Evvie, 

Sorry you had to wait so long for this, darling, but circumstances prevented my writing these past few days while I was in London. The "circumstances" were a few of the fellows (Burdine, Moats and Jurkovac) who accompanied me this trip, Usually - when I go alone - I manage to find a few hours to dash off a few pages to you, but it would have been downright rude of me to leave them to write a letter, and I didn't want to risk their jibes if I tried it. However, since I am on CQ tonight, I hope to make up for those nights I didn't write, 

When I look back on the past few days, I am conscious that there was really nothing extraordinary about them. We did the usual things - movies, baths, etc. The "baths" rate a few lines. Moats, Burdine and Jurkovac had never been to a Turkish Bath in their lives, and while they wanted to try them, they were rather leary. At the last moment Jurkovec reneged and went off with a coupla other guys, Moats had made up his mind to go if it killed him (and from the way he acted and talked about it he wasn't sure he would survive it); Burdine, even more fearful, hated to back down lest he give the impression that he had less nerve than Bill. I forgot to mention Barnes. He was the only one in the party that was really eager for the bath, although it was new to him, too. Anyhow, after we had had a snack at the Eagle Club directly on arriving, we hunted around for the means to kill the few hours 'til 10 o'clock, when we had decided to go to the Baths. "Madame Curie" caught our eye, and we decided to see it. Moats and Burdine were deeply disappointed in it. Barnes and I were far from bored, but at the same time, we weren't greatly exalted or thrilled by the tedious "romance of radium". The acting of Greer Garson and Walter Pidgeon, of course, was their usual excellent brand, but somehow the plot didn't lend itself to pleasing picturization. Definitely not a great picture (in spite of the rave notices). After the show - another snack at the Eagle. We loafed a while. When it got to be 10 o'clock we made our way to Russell Square and the baths. I was amused at the apprehension of the three novices, who made valiant efforts to affect poses of nonchalance, but only succeeded in reminding me of kids whistling thru a grave-yard. I had dwelt at great length on the various aspects of the bath so that they would have some inkling as to what to expect. I tried to impress on them that although the heat was probably greater than they ever experienced, they would get used to it before very long and even enjoy it after a while. Nevertheless, when they got their first whiff of the heat (140 degrees) in the coolest of the three "hot" rooms, I saw their immediate desire to bolt written on their countenances. I pretended not to notice their discomfiture and settled down in a steamer chair as if the temperature weren't 140 degrees. This apparently reassured them. In a few moments they were all comfortably (more or less) ensconced likewise. After we had been sitting thus for fifteen minutes or so - and when I felt they were getting bored, I got up, motioning for them to follow me, and proceeded into the next room (180 degrees). This proved too much for them. They stood for a startled moment inside the door waiting to determine if their senses weren't playing them false - and, suddenly realizing that it was every bit as hot as it felt at first try, precipitately, and with one accord, bolted back into the other room, where they stood shaking their heads ruefully, laughing at themselves, and waving "nuts to you" to my coaxing to give it another try, Finally, Burdine worked up nerve enough and came inching in. Moats and Barnes, not to be outdone, followed close behind, Burdine, inspired by his own temerity, went a step further and braved the last room. He only got one foot over the threshold, however, and feeling the overpowering humidity, suddenly thought better of it. He came back to where we were sitting exclaiming that now he knew what Hell felt like. Moats and Barnes decided to see for themselves. They were back very promptly to agree with Burdine and to add a few impressions of their own. It was inconceivable to them that anyone could live in that heat, and when, in answer to their queries, I told them the temperature in that room was 210 degrees, they were almost convinced of it. Just to prove to them that it was possible, I proceeded, with an exaggerated show of nonchalance, to park myself in there, pretending that there was nothing to it. I had all I could do to keep up the show, 'cause it happened to be hotter than usual that night (215 degrees) and I had difficulty breathing. Eventually, the others came in and stayed a few minutes. By this time I had all I could stand, so I suggested we adjourn to the steam room. This was the most difficult "phase of the operation" and the others found it impossible to stay for more than a few seconds at a time. We returned to the dry heat. I put our numbers on the board for massages and we settled down to wait our turns. By this time we were all as weak as kittens. After we had our rub-downs, though, we felt a lot better, When we got to bed it was 12:30 and we wanted nothing better than to sleep. Next morning we awoke feeling fresh and fit for anything. The three "initiates were singing the praises of the bath and promising themselves to do it again on their next passes. Of course this was highly gratifying for yours very lovingly, 'cause it was on my say-so that they went in the first place. The rest of the "holiday” wasn't too unusual. We saw a few more shows: "Standing Room Only” a very satisfactory comedy, "Tornado", the other half of the double-feature, a rip-snorting action film in a mining town locale, and "They Got me Covered” with Bob Hope and Dorothy Lamour. The latter moves at a mile-a-minute clip and between the "Nazi-spy plot and Hope’s machine-gun humor, it manages to be a highly entertaining film. Every spare minute was spent at the Eagle Club, where we packed away prodigious quantities of baked beans on toast, flap-jacks, and Pepsi-Colas. Saturday evening we thought it would be a good idea to go swimming at the YMCA, if we could get bunks there. When we got there we found that they were full up, as far as sleeping accommodations were concerned, but we could swim if we liked. We took a look at the very creditable pool and were almost tempted, but the prospect of dressing again after a swim and traveling all the way to the Hans Crescent to sleep didn't appeal to us, so we decided against it. Instead, we went directly to the Hans Crescent to book bunks. Having done so, we looked in on the ball-room where the jitterbugs were in their glory. There was a GI band - and were they good! The joint was really jumpin' - what I mean! I don't have to tell you, Chippie, that nothing could have dragged me away from there. The dance broke up at 11 o'clock, but after the gals had all left, the orchestra converted themselves into a military band and put on a show for the GI's. They played some marches, made like a glee-club, put on some solo numbers and generally made themselves entertaining. We turned in that night "tired but happy", as the saying goes. The next day was Sunday and we slept until 9:30. We breakfasted at the Eagle and went looking for a movie. However, we had forgotten that it was Sunday and that the theatres didn't open until 3 P.M., so we had to find something else to do, Barnes and Moats decided to go to Petticoat Lane to see if they could buy something to send their wives. I was almost broke and couldn't see the point. Burdine invited me to join him for a few brews, I couldn't see that either, so it turned out I was "on my own" after all. Thinking this would be the ideal time to get off that long-overdue "London-letter", I started back thru Leicester Square to the Eagle Club, I hadn't gone a hundred yards when I spied "Junior" Crossman and one of his buddies coming straight towards me. It seems we're destined to run into each other whenever either of us, or I should say, both of us are in London. They were on their way to Rainbow Corner for some doughnuts and cokes. When they asked me to join them I accepted, only too glad for their company. They had just come off two weeks maneuvers in the field, and their experiences made good listening, I left them about 2 o'clock when we had agreed to meet at the Eagle for lunch. When I got there, the others were already eating. At 4 o'clock we picked up our gas masks, coats, etc. and headed for the station. The train was late and we were weary of standing when it finally did pull in. To add insult to injury - we didn't get seats and had to stand for two hours before the train emptied sufficiently to afford us seats, Just to top it off - we also had to stand in the truck that took us from the station to the base! When we finally did get to the barracks we were plenty tired, as you may well imagine. The first thing I saw on looking over at my bunk, was a V-mail. It proved to be yours of the 22nd March, and I read it thru before I even bothered to take my mask off my shoulder. I had expected to find much more mail, but I was thankful even for that, so undependable has the service been lately, Today brought me two more V-mails (23rd and 24th March). At this time, Sweet, I want to inform you that I don't mind V-mail - if it is typed single-space and to full capacity! 

It is very late now, Baby, and I know you'll forgive me if I save answering your V-mails until tomorrow, I'm keeping that 5 o'clock date faithfully, It's wonderful to be “going steady" again! I'm remembering those nights when I used to bring you home after a date. How sweet - and how thrilling were those moments on the sun-porch, and how unforgettable the ecstasy of your embraces and your kisses - - Oh, to be "home" with you once again, my Chippie - - -! ! I love you so much, Baby! 

'til tomorrow - 

Your Phil