Sunday, July 11, 2021

Post #373 - May 24, 1944 Mike Nerenberg is Stationed at the Frankford Arsenal, Having Been in a Bus Accident at Ft. Dix that Broke Both His Legs and After All, It Doesn’t Kill Any Germans, Does It? and Two Letters From Jack Nerenberg


May 24, 1944 

My Dearest, 

This is the sixth day I failed to receive mail from you, sweet. Considering that I have all your mail up to May 13th, I can't complain, but I would like to hear from you soon. I did have a nice v-mail from brother Jack. I finally managed to mail off the package, which contains: box of peanut chews, carton of Bond cookies, and the pictures. I'm awfully sorry about the delay. 

Dearest, I interrupted this long enough to catch my second movie this month. I went with Goldie to the Broad to see “In Our Time” with I. Lupino now and P. Henreid. It was a powerful picture and made me relive our parting once again. I enjoyed it immensely. I believe you saw it. 

Harry went out to West Philly this evening and chanced to meet up with Mike Nerenberg. Mike is stationed at the Frankford Arsenal, having been in a bus accident at Fort Dix that broke both his legs. He gave Harry his address and wants me to contact him. I'll give him your address so that he may write to you. From the address I gather he has an apartment and Harry said he has a child. I’ll call him some time this week. 

I accomplished much in the way of cleaning and general housework today. I try to keep the house looking neat and clean, as much as my ability will permit. I think I should have said “strength.” Well, both. It was cloudy most of the day and I didn't take Adele out til late afternoon. It hadn't cleared up then, but she insisted on going “bye-bye.” She runs to the buffet where I keep her bonnet and sweater, drags them out and says, “bye-bye,” meaning, “Mommy, please take me out!” 

Betty has a colored girl in each Wednesday and her name is Dorothy. We asked Adele to say Dorothy (“Dah-tee”) and she didn't stop saying it all day. After getting her to say Betty and Dahtee, we quickly suggested “Goldie.” She was about to say it, stopped, mused and then said “Dodo.” A short while later we pulled the same trick and she said Goldie very clearly. 

After finishing my daily stint to you last night, I decided to knit for a short while before hitting the hay. I did about an inch of the front of Adele's white sweater-to-be. I don't have much ambition for knitting lately and I have to be in the mood. 

I know I owe you a long letter, baby, but, honestly, I find it hard to write at all when I fail to receive mail for such a long time. I don't have to tell you, my dearest, how your letters keep me going. I love you so very much, Phil! I wonder if you’ll be angry with me for cutting this short. Sweetheart, I can think of only one thing at the moment - that I want you - so much. 

Your Eve 

24 May 1944 

My Darling, 

Your Mother's Day” letter of 14 May just arrived, together with a letter from Gloria in which were enclosed four snapshots of Jack and a very nice letter from Mr. Silver. 

As tickled as you were with the flowers, Sweet, I believe I was even more so when I learned that they and the Cable-grams had arrived on Mother's Day. Naturally, I am highly gratified that you as well as both Moms were so pleased with the remembrances. My only wish is that on the same day next year, I will be in a position to present you all with gifts personally. 

Glad to hear that Petey took a few more “snaps” of you, Baby, especially since you remembered this time to get your delectable gams into the picture. I wait most eagerly to see if they are as lovely as I remember them. I know you are from C. P.’s proofs. 

Keep trying, Honey, to discourage the tendency to left-handedness and the punkin. I wouldn't pay any attention to it in a boy, but I don't like it for a girl. 

I don't know if you have seen the snapshots of Jack, but I think he looks very fit. It certainly was good to see the kid’s features again, and I was reminded how much I have missed him without even realizing it. 

There isn't much doing in this neck of the woods—that is, as far as I personally am concerned. I guess you know the 8th Air Force as a whole has been far from idle here of late! Tell me, Chippie, do you read anything of our activities in the hometown papers? 

Today has been pretty dull for me. This morning I had very little to do, but this afternoon I was called down to the Finance Office to transcribe the pay-roll—and guess what! For the first time since I've been in the Army, I turned out a perfect pay-roll! By that, I mean there wasn't a single mistake in typography, spelling, composition, and a hundred other things that might have been wrong. Not even a strike-out or an erasure marred the perfection of it. It’s an almost accepted fact among Army clerks that the pay-roll without a flaw was never made and never would be. I came to subscribe to that superstition because of all the pay-rolls I have ever seen, and I've seen many, this is the first one that was adjudged perfect by the Finance Dept. If something of the sort happened to me in civilian life, I'd be sorely tempted to hit the boss for a raise on the strength of it, but even though it brings no monetary reward, I feel justly proud of this “freak” accomplishment. I say “freak” ’cause the odds are—it’ll never happen again. (Do I hear you muttering “much ado about nothing?”) I can understand that—after all, it doesn't kill any Germans, does it? But a job well done (however insignificant in the general scheme of things) is rightly a source of satisfaction—so just disregard or try to understand my unseemly enthusiasm. (At least it almost filled the page.) 

Sorry, there's nothing of greater moment to relate, Baby, so I'll just take my leave for the nonce—with the promise that I'll be back tomorrow with more edifying news. All my love, Baby. A kiss for Adele—and best love to all from 

Your Phil 

May 24th, 1944

Dear Evelyn, 

You're a stinker. Why didn't you write? The least you can do is answer my letter. What letter, did you say? Don't give me that stuff. It would have been returned, hadn't you received it. Wait a minute, now. I'm sure I wrote to you,---- or did I? Cheez! Come to think of it, I didn't! 

Honestly though, kid, I can't write to you till I know that I can write as you deserve to be written to. I have to have at least 45 minutes of clear time. Sometimes of course I get off a “shorty” as you term it, but all the more indication that you haunt my conscience as an unanswered correspondent, more so than the many I write briefly to, or at length without the “shorty” in between, but with a far longer interim. 

I don't have your last letter or Phil’s at hand, but one thing stands out so brightly that I thought of it warmingly many times. The suggestion of yours to Phil that we, and Lenny, become three way partners after the war. With all my heart, I wish for such a reality. Here's something else to think about. Sometime, when I see you again, I shall convince you that Denver is the swellest place in the world for such an enterprise, and the most wonderful place of all these United States to begin life anew after the war. Those whom I love and want close to me shall come along or follow. The same for those dear to you and Phil. 

Now, of course, details would be foolishness. But mind, only the best argument in the world could convince me differently. Suffice it to say, now that Denver is God's favorite land else never would He have made it the beauty it is nor given it the right climate for healthfulness. People here grow old so beautifully that you can't help but notice how erect and sparkling they look as you casually encounter them. 

What's the new score with all of you? 

As for me, I'm going along smoothly. I'm not really a soldier, but my conscience is clear. I tried, but my hearing has put me in the class of non combatants. My luck has been such that I enjoy privileges beyond the scope of G.I. imagination because I am fortunate enough to be recognized by an important person as an essential cog in the photography department of the Engineer Board. This important person, the major that runs the board, treats me as though I were his son. Thus far, he hasn't gotten me a rating, but he has tried every conceivable angle and is still working on it. I have become more fully aware of how fortunate I am, and thus have learned to be patient and closer to being contented with my army lot. I am so much so that it hardly phases me that (because the major had me transferred to a company that just returned from Kiska and will stay here for a good time to come) I didn't move to Virginia with my former company. Though Va. is so much closer to home, it's so much hotter than cool summer Colorado. Besides, I'd never gets so swell a job, with so little of being bossed around. Beside the last besides, I couldn't go to Denver every weekend from Va. 

My new outfit is O.K. The boys, after hardship in Kiska, are now, as the officers, easygoing and lax in army regulations. So neither do I get up for reveille nor stand retreat nor come in before 6:00 A.M. on a night pass, nor make my shoes gleam, nor make a quarter bounce on the bed I make up, nor etc. Everyone in the outfit has a Class A Pass, a rarity to gape about in a combat outfit. 

If it isn't clear to you how come I’m in another combat outfit, let me explain. Headquarters of 2nd Army in Tennessee, despite my hearing, will only allow transfer in the unit. (different outfits, but all 15th Special Troops, 2nd Army) not to Army Service Forces.

Now, my major has gotten after Medics here to force them to release me by proving to 2nd Army that a soldier going into battle with a 37% loss of hearing, especially at night, is committing suicide. So, that's the score—I'm waiting patiently. 

Ev, I'm enclosing a letter I started to write to Phil. Would you please send him this one plus that one? He really owes me a letter. I can hardly say more of an informative nature to him than I've told you. But I can use the time I shall save by avoiding duplication. Excuse, Phil old boy. 

My love to you all. 

As ever, Jackie 

This was started 1 day after receiving your letter Phil, but never resumed. 

Dear Phil, 

It was indeed a pleasure to have received so prompt a reply to my last, less one in between. I got a great kick out of hearing that even the censor commended your literary style, and it makes me happy to know that my letters are a source of enjoyment to you. 

Your description of your Passover was awe inspiring to say the least and that episode of nearmiss was really a lulu. I can easily understand how 1944's First Seder night shall make for itself a permanent memory nitch in your mind. 

Phil, old boy, I'm doodling, rather my mind is, so I wonder if you’ll excuse me. My damned watch, I just learned, has tired fifty minutes worth. The time is correctly 10:30 P.M. At 4:30 A.M., I must awaken to catch a bus to Denver on a two day pass. Hence, concentration is futile, except for one more thing. You have instilled my mind, by your writing, with a sort of bounden duty, to transmit to my pen a something or other to close letters with. Here tis. 

I'll get it right this time “ditto” 

May 24th, 1944

Anyway, I sure got a laugh seeing a two, or three tops, year old kid dragging his pants over to the urinal to stand between three sailors in the men’s room of a Denver theater. The kid’s old man was “other ending” in the enclosure nearby.