May 11, 1944
Sorry that I could not write yesterday and you will learn why when you've read this. As I told you on Tuesday, I decided to visit Ethel yesterday and that I did.
I wore my suit, white blouse, copper pumps and a copper shoulder bag (it held all those things I thought necessary for Adele). Adele had on her powder blue overalls, blue and white bonnet, blue sweater and white blouse. We left immediately after lunch, since Adele woke up at 6 A. M. and I had made her go back to sleep til 8 A.M. We took the "J" bus at 9th and Lindley and got off at Oxford, to catch the 59 trolley. There wasn't a trolley in sight and Adele was becoming unmanageable. Besides holding Adele and the heavy shoulder bag, I also carried the gift for Stuart. As we stood there a car pulled up and a young sailor stopped, said he was going up Castor Avenue for a few blocks and offered to help me with Adele. It was so terribly warm and I felt just a trifle ill from the effects of the bus ride. Seeing that he was sincere I accepted his offer. He took Adele into the car and I got in. He took me right to Ethel's door and helped me and the baby out. During the short six or so block ride from the bus stop to Ethel's I learned that he had been in the Navy two years, had served 18 months on Guadalcanal and was back home for the first furlough of his career. He had married a week and a half ago and was planning to take his wife back to San Francisco with him, so that they might be together til he joined his ship. He offered me a cigarette and when I refused, was amazed. He said he was disgusted with the sight of young girls (as young as 15) smoking and drinking themselves to death. He had just gotten an additional five gallons of gas from his ration board and was returning home. He asked about you and asked if I was going home. When I told him I was visiting my cousin who had just had a baby, he said, "Wish her lots of luck from me.” He was Catholic and 24 years old, having known his wife for eight years They were confirmed together. You are probably wondering why I've told you all this. Well, Harry condemned me for having accepted his offer and I wanted to know what you thought. Both Moms thought it perfectly okay. Why don't people respect my judgment, even a little? Was I so terribly wrong. Harry has such funny, suspicious ideas that I can't help looking at him with wonderment at times. I sincerely hope you don't feel that way. You, as well as he, knows full well that I'm not one to accept rides from anyone, least of all someone I don't know. I’m not easily fooled and thought a lot about it before entering that car. Harry wanted to know what you thought - so shoot!
I ran after Adele all afternoon, til I was so weary I wanted to scream. I can't stand high heels when doing that sort of thing. She finally begged to be "napped" at three and slept on Paul's bed til 4:30.
During that time I took a good look at Stuart, who looks very much like Paul. He's quite a good looking baby, big blue eyes, and that mop of pitch black hair is getting light brown. His face is oval shaped and his features are exactly like Paul's. He’ll be a handsome boy some day.
Ethel loved the sweater and I sewed the buttons she had on. She decided she would like to have his initials put on and I sewed in the outline. In the meantime Paul had a birthday party to attend. It was for a little girl and Ethel had to buy a gift. When she returned she had a package for Adele, containing a lovely blue and white pinafore. It is white cotton material with dark blue polka dots and has three fine rows of blue (about an eighth of an inch) to trim the bottom. It looks some thing like this:
After dinner we managed to borrow a play pen and I had a bit of rest. Adele stayed up til 11 and frolicked with Al. He danced with her and she wouldn't let him sit down for a moment. If he did she tried to get him up again.
Mom wanted to join me, but didn't feel like taking the bus. I called Fay and Morris, thinking they might go up to that neighborhood this particular evening and sure enough they were. Ellie took an apartment a few blocks from Ethel and they were going there for dinner, but not til 6 P. M. I arranged with them to pick Mom up and bring her over to Ethel’s. They called for us and brought us home at 11, which made it swell all around. They have been positively grand to me, dearest, and I'm quite fond of them, as friends. Rae and Mickey spent the night in town, not knowing that we intended to spend the evening there.
Adele is so attached to cars that she refused to leave the car and I had to practically drag her out.
Another thing - Ethel has a bathroom scale and I decided to weigh Adele. She was exactly 29-1/2 Ibs. Then we checked by putting her on the baby's scale, which weighs up to 30 lbs. On this one she was exactly 29-1/4 lbs. I, by the way, weighed between 119 and 120, which means I've gained about two pounds since I last told you my weight. I've got a marvelous appetite for a change and am eating more ice-cream and candy. I'm always buying something for Adele and get the urge myself. That's what's doing it. I'm going to try to hit 125. You know, sweet, my summer clothes are extremely tight. I had taken in the red pinafore I bought last year about an inch and had to let it all out. Want to see me gain weight?
I thought Adele would sleep til about 8. No - she had to get up at six (darn it). I did some house work that took care of the morning and Adele’s nap time. I went to the drugstore for a bottle of white shoe polish. This is the third bottle I’ve bought for her. I use it like water. My sanitary belt broke and I had to throw it out. I couldn't seem to buy another and finally handed a cheap one for 15¢. Everyone recommended the tampon, instead of the pad, so I bought a box. It's not supposed to be used the first two days. I'm always willing to try something new. I recall using one in Columbus (when I didn't have a pad) and I didn't like it cause it was too long. These are very small and should be comfortable. I'm *due" some time after May 16 and will let you know what I think about them.
Harry put the screens in and we're all set for summer. Golly, honey, the warm weather brings back heartbreaking memories of last summer. You had moved from Columbus about this time and I was hoping, so desperately, that I would see you for a little while.
And now for some comment of Ietters 3 and 5 May. This concerned itself with you being the fatherly type. Of course, dear one, I understood your apparent coolness to Adele when you were home, realizing that you didn't want to become attached. I can't say that I liked it, cause I didn't. It really doesn't reflect in any way on your love for her and I'm surprised you thought I could think that. Phil, when I said you were definitely not the "fatherly " type, it was no more than the truth - you aren't. The "fatherly" type makes a great fuss and todo about their offspring, which you plainly state you have no intention of doing, except, in private. I fail to see where showering love on your child (of course within a limit) should be embarrassing to any extent. I want you to shower her with affection and love when you return, to make up for the loss of you all this time. She loves to be loved, a natural instinct of all children. They want to know they are wanted, and that's the only way to show them. Yes, dear, it might be best your way. We'll see someday. I like the way you said "once". I had no intention whatever of hurting you in any way and I'm sorry if I I did. What do you mean when you say "I don't want to "spoil" you by writing too much"? You can’t spoil me that a way. Your ending was novel "In dub a tibly, Your Phil".
On May 5 you neglected to tell me whether or not you "won" playing cards. Guess you didn't or you wouldn't have neglected to mention it.
Next was the subject of money. Phil, do you realize that we are both living in different atmospheres? I'm amongst people (almost every single one) who have and are making more money than they ever had. They are attaining or have attained those few things I treasure, a home, car and nice furniture, all their own. I don't envy them anything, I know we'll have them someday when you have the opportunity to get them for us. It's just that I couldn't see wasting all the time between now and reunion. I’ve been "dead" for all this time, as you have been, and I want the reunion to be free of all worry, especially financial. I realize that the future usually works itself out, but there is no harm in being prepared, is there? I hope to return to work in the fall, but hope the war is over so you can take over.
Sorry I must run now, sweet, but here's all “our” love and
11 May 1944
Didn't write last night. Not that I couldn't have—it was a choice between writing and seeing “Oklahoma” and stopping in at the Aero Club to take in the weekly dance. I hope you don't mind too much that I chose the latter course, Chippie. I was busy all day yesterday and today making up the payroll and was just not in the mood for writing. The two V-mails which arrived in the afternoon, while most welcome, didn't require a specific answer. They were yours of 2nd and 3rd May. I think we saw “Lost Angel” within a few days of each other. You saw it on the 1st. I saw it about the 5th or 6th. Glad you enjoyed it, Sweet. Your letter of the 3rd contained a few questions that require answering. My reclassification does not affect my status in any way. The whole thing was so insignificant, that I do not consider it worth boring you with. Your second question was purely rhetorical and hardly calls for an answer. It was in connection with Goldie’s “feeling elated” because of Harry’s good-paying new job. You want to know if I think “you’ll ever feel so good about something very similar?” To answer you as truthfully as I know how, and I'm very sorry if it isn't the reply you expected, I never thought about it in just that way—but now that you forced me to, I can only say what I think. I think you'll be every bit as elated at my next raise in pay—but only temporarily. If I’m to judge by past performances, and I know no other criterion by which to judge, you will waste no time setting a new standard for me. I remember how you set standards every time I got a couple of bucks more in my pay envelope. I even remember your statement (you no doubt meant it at the time) that you would be content when I hit the 30-dollar mark. I'm very sure that if I am ever fortunate enough to match Harry’s, $60 per week, you’ll be content only as long as it takes to consider how much nicer $75 or $100 would be. I'm not taking exception with your ambitions for me, Sweet, and I realize that all this is your idea of how to get along in the world. But if you think for a minute that “getting along in the world” brings, or makes for true contentment and peace, you're sadly mistaken. But that is where our concepts differ. As far as I'm concerned, there's no happiness without peace and contentment, but if your happiness is only to be found in constant striving for the so-called “better things in life” (which attitude precludes both peace and contentment), then I'm very much afraid that one of us will be forced to change his outlook, if we’re to live in harmony. As to that, you haven't yet convinced me that your way is the more meritorious of the two. Until you do, then, I aim to be content with whatever of the good things of life I am able to provide for my family and myself without the constant threat of striving to “get ahead.” My sole ambition is to make all of us comfortable and secure—no more—no less. If I can manage it on $30 per week, the $60 can go hand for all I care. Only if I can't manage it on whatever income I have, will I strive in any way to make more money. Someday, Sweet, you will realize that the only true happiness lies in being truly content with what one has—regardless of what those possessions leave still to be desired. In the final analysis, I would far rather be poor—and content, than rich and thinking how to get richer. Remember, Chippie, the rich man doesn't get that way by accident. He either inherits it, or he strives for it. I dare you to show me a rich man who is truly and completely content. It's impossible. Why? Because a man must be ambitious after riches to attain them. The mere fact that he is successful in his quest does not change the man's character intrinsically. He is still the ambitious guy who had to be just that, and could no more stop being ambitious than you could change the spots on a leopard. Don't you see that it's nothing more nor less than a vicious circle? Ambition must necessarily be the enemy of contentment. And if contentment is essential to my happiness, then I'll take that. All this, Sweet, is meant in the broadest sense, else it has no meaning. Every man is “ambitious,” for that matter/ even the laziest man in the world has an ambition—that would be to lie on his back and do nothing. There are those whose joy and happiness lies in striving without end. Fortunately or unfortunately, depending on where your happiness lies, I am not one of those. I'm hoping, my Sweet, that you aren’t either. If all of this seems to contradict or conflict with my recent dreaming and planning, let me point out that I am not entirely devoid of ambition. Happily, my ambitions are both fixed and limited, which isn't “ambitious” in the true sense of the word. Moreover, if those dreams and plans never materialize, I won't be overly disappointed, and could, conceivably, be well content with less than a home in the country, duplex apartments, etc, etc. That is the philosophy I would instill in you, my darling—that nothing in this world (and I speak only about material things) should be so important to you that it could keep you from being content with less. Stop thinking and talking so much about money. I realize every bit as fully as you do, that it buys many of the things we want of life, but I also know that all the money in the world cannot buy contentment and happiness, if one relies on one to bring the other. To my mind, contentment is the most precious gift in life; so precious, in fact, that could I but possess it, no amount of riches could induce me to part with it—yet strangely enough, all one must do to acquire it is to want it above all things. A pretty cheap price to pay for, so dear a prize, don’t you think, Chippie? You’ll probably want to know my definition of the word, so I'll try to oblige (how did I get into this anyhow?) It is difficult to put a hard and fast meaning on so abstract a noun, but before I consult the dictionary, (it should be interesting to know how it defines it), I'll give you my concept of what the word implies. It embraces so many things that I hardly know where to begin. I think, in the fullest and broadest sense, contentment is a quality that, once acquired, “insulates” the possessor against the multitude of human fears, uncertainties, discontentments, and dissatisfactions. This is a state of mind that brooks no contention (in the sense that it allows of no deteriorating influence), and depends very little, if at all, on finances. Paradoxically, it is the blessing of the hobo and the “unambitious man” and the envy of the rich. I think that that about covers it. Now let's see what the dictionary has to say—contentment n., satisfaction, which necessitates looking up “satisfaction”—satisfaction n. the act of satisfying; the state of being satisfied; contentment; gratification; payment; redress; conviction. Which is all more confusing than helpful. The synonyms, “satisfaction,” and “gratification”—aren't that at all! They are merely necessary essentials of, or parts of, the whole. Think it over, Baby, and tell me why you are so infernally preoccupied with money. Think a little less of it, and a little more of things like self-respect and pride and honor, which always were and always will be far more important in the quest for ultimate happiness than anything money could buy. Let those who place their faith in Mammon do so. I’ll still take the “unimportant” things like truth, honesty, righteousness, and love, and count my blessings by those tenets. I'll be no less proud of myself if I remain a clerk at Sharp & Dohme for the next twenty years, than I would be, if I made a mint of money and wound up a banker at the end of that time. In either case, I’ll live by my principles, and if you can't agree with them, Chippie, I'll expect you to respect them. If I wind up a financial dud, as well I might, I'll thank you not to hold me in contempt for it. My “goal” is infinitely more significant than the measly $60 per week you set for me. I would have been far prouder had you set a far different “goal” for me: For instance, had you demanded that I be content with you and Adele, to cherish you always—no matter what, to be always kind and cheerful and considerate—no matter what, to be the best husband and father I know how to be, to be the best provider I know how to be (with no “goals” or limits to hamper me and to set a price on my potentialities in this direction) (you see now how incidental to the whole your mercenary qualms are?)—if you had demanded all this of me, I repeat, no one would have conceded your right to do so quicker than I, nor would anyone else promise more fervently or gladly to bend every effort to meet those demands—but when you insult me by presenting me with a request that I bring you nothing but $60 per week, I balk at the thought that you set your happiness and mine at such an unequivocally ridiculous figure. No, Sweet, it is not good to measure your happiness or security in dollars and cents. Measure it, rather, in your lovely little daughter—in the great love your husband bears you, and in the affection and admiration of your friends. I assure you, Evvie, you will be, and feel yourself, infinitely richer than the $60 per week which looms so large across your hopes and ambitions for the future. Were you in my shoes, Sweet, I'm sure you would appreciate far better all that I have said. I didn't mean to preach you a sermon, Honey, but my resentment at your constant references to money, and what you hoped to accomplish with it, was large within me, and I just had to tell you why and how I resented it. I realize what is back of it all, Sweet, believe me, but believe me, too, when I say that you are ignoring much more important issues while you try to figure out how much I ought to make in order to buy all those things you set so much store by. Never forget—you took me “for better or for worse.” Up ’til now, I have your own admission (repeatedly) that it has been more “better” than “worse.” Why, suddenly, are you so fearful that the “better” will become the “worse”? Have you lost faith in me? And if, God forbid, we shall see “worse” days, will you be so intolerant of me that the happiness and love that has been ours thus far will turn to disappointment and disillusion, as to so unfeelingly stated in a recent letter? Does your happiness depend so much on whether or not I am able to attain the goal of $60 per week? If not, why do you repeatedly insist that everything must be “right” for us? What is the alternative?
Sorry, Baby, that I used up all my time (and space) on a lecture, when I might have made it a happier letter for you, but it is essential that these things be “aired out” between us. I know that understanding this, you will find it in your heart to forgive
Your adoring Phil
May 10, 1944.
Well at last I heard from you. Sure has glad to hear from you. Glad to hear that you are O.K. Although I didn't write to you, I thought perhaps that I could make connections somehow to see you. Well Phil, if you will meet me in Nottingham at the Red Cross, I'll be there. Try and be there at 6 P.M, Saturday May 13. I will try and be there if nothing comes up. I'm doing O.K. I hear from your folks occasionally. That's about all the news for now. I'll be seeing you then. Take it easy.