May 2, 1944
Received your air-mail letters of April 26 and 27 (meant for the 28th) along with the check from Sharp and Dohme in the amount of $3.45. I like the idea of you planning “our” home and it should be sumpin’. I only hope it materializes and in the not too distant future. You know, sweet, no matter how tired or letter-weary I may feel, I ease the tension with a few words to you. If, perchance I should happen to skip writing a day, it bothers me and I feel as though I hadn't been with you that particular day. I do love you so much, Phil!
I cashed my check at the bank and deposited the one from S & D along with $10 of my check, bringing our total up to $140.00. I have $475 in bonds (maturity value) and when I get the two bonds due us from your pay we’ll have that much more. That, dear one, is the up-to-the-minute statement of our present financial outlook. Not bad—not good—but better than it has been for a long time, which makes it sumpin’. Which reminds me, Miss Hahn called and wants me to work for her this Thursday. I have $30 on hand, but have a few outstanding expenses during the month that will eat that up. I still owe $10.49 for the pictures and I want to get that carriage, if and when they come in. I have to get a bottle of cod liver oil ($2.29) and some personal things for myself, not to mention a pair of shoes.
I saw “Lost Angel” as I had planned and it can best be described by the word “cutie.” I enjoyed it immensely. Goldie’s brother “popped” in on us shortly after I had completed writing to you (last night), having promised to visit Goldie before leaving for the Navy. He was rejected in his hometown but enlisted and was accepted in New York. Today he was 18 and we have a lovely birthday cake, which we are going to eat shortly, accompanied by ice-cream. I think I would give you my whole portion—if only you’d come home.
The “ubiquitous” Adele (I knew that one all along) looked lovely this day, decked out in her new bonnet, powder blue overalls, blue and white jersey, and her blue sweater. I went to Broad St. with Anne to do some shopping. We have a new system. I can't go shopping with Adele unless I have someplace to put the package, so I give Anne Adele's walker and take her carriage. In that way the kids get a change (Adele likes the carriage—for a change) and I am able to shop alone. I take Adele into the self-service market, put her in the top basket of the carriages they have for the groceries and put my items in the bottom basket. Keeps her interested and I am able to get something accomplished. Wish you could go along, baby.
I blocked and boxed Stuart’s sweater (it's complete except for the buttons, which I am not able to obtain—I want pearl ones) and put stiffening (Fay gave it to me) in the shoulders of my red sweater. Dot called—Snuff’s appeal for deferment was rejected and he'll positively leave this month. Guess I'm finished, but not with you. LOOK OUT—here comes
1 May 1944
My darling Ev,
The sun shines more brightly, the skies are bluer, and the grass is greener—all because of your two letters just arrived. They are especially cheering because they both contained pictures. More about that later. First, I want to get the “local” news written.
Last night, after a very busy day, I headed for the Base Theater where the USO was presenting a show titled “Loop The Loop.” Like all the other titles of these shows, it was meaningless. However, the show itself was one of the best I have seen to date. There were only six performers, but they all counted for plenty of entertaining. First on the bill was the inevitable M.C. This one was a guy out of Pittsburgh by the name of Lee Simmons. He had a fine understanding of the type of humor the G.I.’s would go for, and he smeared it on thick. As an example of the type of humor, I offer this impromptu bit that had belly-laugh appeal for the assembled mob (me, too, no doubt).
Mary had a little watch (no, you haven't heard this version yet, I'll bet.)
She swallowed it one day
The doctor gave her castor oil
To pass the time away (ha! ha!—but wait!)
But castor oil just wouldn't do
The time she could not pass—
And if you want to know the time
Just look up Mary’s uncle—
He's got a watch!
Before you say what you are about to say—let me remind you, dear, that it is a masculine prerogative (one of the few we have left) to recite vulgar ditties. Don’t delude yourself into thinking what’s O.K. for me is O.K. for you—not a bit of it! In other words—if there’s any “dirty” jokes etc. to be told—I'll do the telling. Catch?
Next were two kids who did a tap dance. One was a little too plump to be appealing, but the other half of the team was a real cutie—a blonde kid from the Bronx, who had all the curves in the right places and a face like Nan Grey’s to match. When there was a typical sun-tanned (unless the makeup fooled me), California gal, who looked like a blatant Hepburn and sang just a little too dramatically to be properly effective. She chose the wrong type of songs to do her strong, but short-ranged voice justice. At the end she sang two songs that suited her to a T (one a negro-Cuban number, the other a risqué ditty)—and these I enjoyed very much. Then there was an English girl, Ann Taylor, whose round-faced beauty reminded me instantly of Jeanette, who “heckled” the M.C. by reciting high-blown poetry, attempting a few steps of ballet dancing, and generally playing the dumb, sweet, innocent, young thing and very competently, too.
The next performer I recognized at once. I once, in writing of another show, described a G.I. drummer as copying the tricks of Jack Powell, remember? Well, here was Jack Powell, himself, in person, but not in the usual black-face. He was always a show-stopper back in the States—and the guys loved him. For some reason I cannot fully fathom, G.I.’s are partial to drummers, and since Powell is “tops” in his line, you can well imagine the reception he received. That, my Sweet, was “Loop the Loop.” I hope I have conveyed some part of the pleasure I derived from it.
After the show, I came back to the hut to find a card game going full blast. I decided to try my luck. Result: +$6.00 (for a change). We played pretty late—too late to even think of writing the letter I had somehow neglected all day. I went to bed promising myself (and you) that I would write “tomorrow” (for the 30th), but fate and the “Soldier’s Deposits” decreed otherwise. I was busy all day long and by the time I started this it got to be six o'clock. I had missed supper, but that's the rule rather than the exception. I interrupted this long enough to accompany Jurkovac to the Snack Bar for cupsa coffee, sandwiches, (we call them jam sandwiches regardless— two hunks of bread jammed together) and a hunk of ginger cake. Which all brings me to the important part of the letter—the pictures.
Just as you were, I was disappointed in the proofs at first look. But also like you, the more I considered them, the better I like them. You can well imagine how long and earnestly I have scanned them since they arrived. I am now prepared to give you my, well-considered opinion, for what it's worth. The following comments are purely my own evaluation, you understand, and are not to be construed as infallible or worthy by accepted standards. On the other hand, my own opinion of anything is all-important to me, however wrong it may seem in another's eyes. I'll deal with you first, Chippie, ’cause the issue is clear-cut. It may surprise you to learn that I was well-pleased with the one pose (that you thought was the better of the two). Why? Because (1) It is natural and unaffected and “unposed.” (2) It “looks” like you. (3) The smile is spontaneous and warms me “where I live.” (4) It is “you,” quiet and reserved, and, I think, faintly wistful, and a trifle, self-conscious. The other one I dislike in direct inverse proportion because it is the exact antithesis of the first. Specifically, (1) it doesn't look like you. (2) It is unnatural and frankly affected. (3) The smile is discernibly “forced” and “does” nothing to me. (4) It is definitely not “you”—it is a self-assured, even arrogant, gal that I don't even know. Odd, isn’t it, to what extent the camera can lie? As for the punkin, since I am not as well acquainted with her as you are, I bow to your judgment as to which of the three poses most resembles her. I will not dwell on that angle. I only know that she looks very sweet to me in all the proofs and I find it next to impossible to express a preference. She is, as you have always implied, a very sweet, appealing and lovely little girl, and that is plainly evident in all three pictures. Therefore, I suggest that you order a 5 x 7 of each. I hate to give up any one of them. You know what to do about yours, of course. I don't care especially for an 8 x 10 under the best circumstances, but if you must order on that basis, make the 8 x 10 the one of the punkin I have marked on the back. A 5 x 7 of you will do nicely. Thanks a million, Baby, for the trouble and expense you are going to to oblige me in this matter. Incidentally, if you want to get a true appreciation of the pictures, especially Adele’s, compare the finished product with Wolpe's work. I venture to guess that you will be very pleasantly surprised and gratified with the completed pictures. Hell, I'm sure of it.
The snap-shot is most commendable. You all look good (yes, even you, Chippie, and I’d think so even if I weren't nine months away from you), the quality of the print is good, and, on the whole, Mr. and Mrs. Paller have good 'cause to be proud of their good-looking children. If I weren't prejudiced against Ruth (Sinatra Swooner), I might be moved to say something very nice about the way she looks, but since I feel as I do about it, well—. Seymour looks to be about seven feet tall and he is really something for the girls to “swoon” over! The punkin looks very interested in what's going on, and faintly amused. You don't look as if you only had four hours’ sleep the night before. I think you look most attractive (and you know I'm not given to blarney), moreover, I like your “different” hair-do. It's most becoming.
I hope I have answered all your questions about the pictures, Sweet, ’cause it is just about time for lights out and I want to get this in the mail before I turn in. I'll answer your two letters tomorrow. And so—hasta mañana, my darling. “Seeing” you once again has been a thrilling experience for me, even if it did bring home to me with poignant force the great love I bear you. A special hug and kiss for Adele, than whom there is none sweeter or more delectable.
My love to all.