Tuesday, April 19, 2022

Post #519 - November 27, 1944 A Year That I Choose to Forget Forever and I Love and Admire Your Mother


Nov. 27, 1944

Dearest One,

It rained all day long. My mother and dad had to go to court today and I had decided to go to work, as Ruth was expected home from school early. Sarah had promised to put Adele to bed for me, and kept her promise. I got Into work at 12:45.

Stevens gave Rae four lots in Browns Mills and when the war is over they are going to build a bungalow out there.

Here's news: Richy Lieberman is back in the States, after three yours of overseas service. His APO, before he got back, was 637, your original number. Funny, isn't it.

Snuffy couldn't get home this past weekend, so Dot went down to camp to see him. Dot will be unable to come up for Adele's birthday, but will try to get up first chance she gets.

You asked about the garage in one of your letters. The fellows that rented it are boy scouts, doing their bit for Uncle Sam, and I'm sure they will be careful when it comes to starting fires. The $5 from the garage, Incidentally, isn't mine - it's more house money.

Last night I got to bed early, for the first time in weeks and had such a good night's rest, I actually feel like purring. I wrote to both Milt and Syd today, before going to work, and I hope to get a letter off to Jack N. within the next few days and I shall enclose your letter regarding your post-war plans.

Gee, honey, in just about five weeks, 1944 will be a thing of the past - a year' that I choose to forget forever. I sincerely hope it will be the only entire year we shall ever be separated again. Guess that proves that I'm expecting to see you in 1945, but I have a feeling that a good part of 1945 will pass before we can even contemplate a reunion. I learned a lot in 1944 that I shall never forget, elther, but each year always brings something in the way of knowledge.

Adele is playing in the living room with her doll and doll carriage. She looks cute in her royal blue corduroy overalls and powder blue long sleeve jersey. When night time comes, Adele informs me that "it's too dark outside." It's a bit past 7:30 (no doubt you are fast asleep) and it's time to bathe Adele and get her to dreamland. You ought to hear her sing "zing, zing, zing went the trolley" and "Happy Birthday to you"! She's so cute about everything sometimes I almost take a bite out of her. I sure do wish I could bite into you, sweet, for there is nothing I'd like better. I adore you, honey, and am

Your Eve

27 November 1944

Ev, Dearest 

At Last! Four lovely letters from you just arrived! They are your letters of 1 and 5 Nov., and your V-mails of the 12th & 13th. I’ll start right off by answering your letter of the 1st Nov. This one told me all about that new “lumberjack” dress that so puzzled me when you mentioned it in a later letter. Sounds nice, honey - wear it well! How’s about a picture, huh? (Notice how close I’m writing? That’s because I know this is going to be a real “longie” and I don’t want the envelope to bulge.) You say that you are having trouble sleeping these nights. That’s bad, Sweet, but since I don’t know what it is that is keeping you awake, I don’t know what to tell you to correct the condition. Sorry the mail is being held up again, Chippie, and I can certainly feel for you, but don't let it get you down. I am trying my best to write daily, although it isn’t always easy to do so, and I must say I haven't missed very often in these past few weeks. What surprised me no end was that you said nothing to indicate that Eddie is home. Surely, he must have arrived by the 12th or 13th when you wrote your V-mails! I can’t understand it! - unless you mentioned it in a letter I have yet to receive. So much for your letter of the 1st. Now I pick up your letter of the 5th - and what do I see? I see five closely-typed pages! Now that's what I call a letter! Too bad, though, Baby, that the subject matter couldn't have been happier. I guess you know, Sweet, that you have posed me a pretty stiff problem. I've thought over carefully everything you said, and I’m now ready to tell you what I think about the whole distressing business, and what course of action I would propose. But first, a few words about your unfavorable reaction to my post-war plans: Your reply to my suggestions was "a very definite NO." Then you go on to say that you "detected a million flaws, in the idea.” Then you expound on one of the “flaws", namely that "Do you for one minute, think I would sleep in boarding houses with Adele?" No, Baby, I didn’t for one minute consider that it would be necessary for you to do so, and I'm not thanking you for putting words in my mouth either. I'm sure you will agree that there are at least a few readily apparent ways to correct your so-called “flaw.” But I must say, Chippie, that I’m disappointed that you chose to make an issue of this particular point. I can't help feeling that you will be highly intolerant of any discomfort you may be called on to put up with temporarily while I am trying to “get ahead in the world." And I must confess, Ev, that if I cannot count on you to abide some discomfort with at least a show of cheerfulness (and we must take for granted that there will be such moments), then I am most reluctant to try “to get ahead in the world". You must realize, Sweet, that one does not get ahead without sacrificing something. Not that I take the view that sacrifice must of necessity be involved - but I must be sure that if there is a price to pay, that you will be willing to pay it without murmuring. As you know, darling, I am a most unambitious fellow myself. It is only because I know your predilection for worldly goods that I feel I must make the effort to attain them for all of us. Furthermore, you must remember that the idea was largely yours. But if you have thought better of it, then I’m perfectly willing to forget about it, although nothing you said in your letter tended to sway my judgment that it's a damned good idea. As a matter of fact, I am more convinced than ever that I could make a go of it, provided, of course, that I could count on you to give me moral support if nothing else. However, after some of the things you said in your letter, I’m inclined to be extremely doubtful if I could count on you for even that much. Lest you misunderstand, by “moral support” I mean, among other things, the willingness, if need be, to sleep in boarding houses with Adele!’ One other sentence in your letter tells me all I need to know about how you feel in this connection, I quote - "I hate to hurt you in any way, and you know that full well, Phil.” But one of the sentences in your letter hurt very deeply. You said that I would never have to “suffer privation in any shape or form being your wife. I hope not any more - for I feel that I've had more than my share of it already.” Well, Chippie, I must say I've read and re-read those few sentences a dozen times, mainly to try to understand why in the world my assurance that you would never suffer want as long as I had the strength to prevent it should "hurt very deeply." That beats me! As for the latter part of your statement, I can only say that I'm not particularly fond of the “martyred" tone you assume. You didn't have to make it so evident that you feel the world had treated you badly - even if you do feel that way. I'm more distressed than you might think that you feel this way, Chippie, because I can't help feeling that you'll feel even more "hurt if things don’t go exactly to your liking once I return. Not I, nor anyone else, can guarantee that you won't have to endure various disappointments even after I come home, but when, in all good faith, I try to assure you that I will do whatever I can to shield you from the "hard knocks" that you feel you have had your share of, and am told that my assurance "hurt very deeply; then I hardly know what to think! I get the distinct impression that your attitude is, in effect, "all right for you if I ever suffer again!" I've tried to read some other meaning into your words, Baby, but I can’t. Can you blame me, then, that I resent and am frightened by your expectation that I guarantee your future happiness? I shall do my best toward that end - you know that, sweet, but if I fail, in some measure of attaining Utopia, I reserve the right to hope that you will be as sporting about it as a good wife should. You must learn, my darling, to take the hard knocks of life with equanimity and tolerance, and never cease being thankful for the smallest blessing. That way, and that way only, lies true happiness. So, all in all, Ev, I don't think you're quite ready to pull up our roots in Philly to seek a better living elsewhere. I never dreamed that you were so fearful of your comfort, that out of the million “flaws" you mentioned you choose to give that one. You must tell me about the other 999,999 sometime. As for Mom's objections to my taking Jack N. as a partner, I'm just not interested in what she thinks. I'm old enough to think for myself, and I think she’d be both shocked and surprised to know some of the things I think. Your mother, I think, has the only valid reason for not wanting to see us go and I can readily understand and sympathize with her viewpoint. She, I am sure, is primarily interested in her daughter’s and grand-daughter's welfare and happiness. It is only natural for her, then, to want to see you firmly established, and being fiercely possessive, she has gone, and will go, to great lengths to keep you near her. I don't blame her one bit, then, for failing to see any merit in my scheme. To her, your security lies in being near her, so that, come what may, she can do her best by you. I love and admire your mother, Ev, and will always remember and be grateful for the fact that it was she who gave me the most precious things in my life. I need hardly enumerate them, but lest you think I’m not properly appreciative, I will enumerate them by way of acknowledgement: (1) You. (2) The means that made it possible for me to marry you. 3) A home for myself, my wife, and my family (even if the last were incidental). (4) All the joys that have been mine as a result of my marriage and my home. So you see, darling, I owe your mother a great deal. More, perhaps, than I shall ever be able to repay her. Moreover, did I but think for a minute that she would lose anything by our departure from 4906, I wouldn't even consider leaving, I think I once promised that I would live in 4906 as long as she wanted me to. Nor do I intend to go back on that promise if she chooses to hold me to it - hell, I don't consider that I am doing her any great favor by living there. Rather, I know that it is most generous of her to want me to continue to do so. Fortunately, I am not so blind to realities as my own family seem to be. And the truth is, darling that I would be perfectly content to remain at 4906 for a long, long time to come were it not for two reasons: (1) I don't think it would be quite fair to impose on your mother, who, after all, is entitled to a fair return on her investment, and is hardly getting it under the present arrangement. (2) My unwillingness to be tied to a definite locality because my home is there. Not yet, anyway, while I still don't know where my opportunity or living is. If, on returning home, I can find a decent job in Philly or if you would be content with what I might make at S & D, then I would be content - no, I would be happy to make 4906 my home. I would even want to buy it if your mother could see her way clear to sell it. However, I want it understood right here and now that I will only consider living there if (1) I can afford to pay the rental the place is worth, or (2) if I can buy it. Under no conditions will I consider staying on at the old rate. I feel that your mother has done enough for us already. It's time she looked to her own interests. I always felt rather guilty that she was depriving herself for our benefit, and I loved her for her generosity, but my conscience will no longer let me keep on taking without thought of return. I hope, Sweet, that my attitude is coming all clear now to your perceptions. I'm sure you have no grounds for finding fault with it. (Good-night for now, Sweet, I'll continue with this tomorrow - I love you, Chippie. A kiss for the punkin.)

28 November 1944 

Hello again, darling! 

Nothing of interest happened to me today, so I'll continue where of I left off last night. Now where was I? Yes, I was coming to your own current problem -. Your differences with my family is not, of course, new to me. Your exposition of the difficulties and aggravations involved in living with them only confirms what you have long given me reason e suspect - namely, that all is not quiet on the home front. I'm flattered no end, Ev, that you trusted me to understand the issues involved. I want you to know that I appreciate your frank confidences, and will try to prove myself worthy of your faith in my judgment by advising you to the best of my ability, and by the dictates of my conscience. You must realize from the foregoing, darling, that I am fully aware of what your mother has lost by her unstinting generosity towards us, and I mean all who call 4906 home. I’ll admit, further, that you would be certainly better off financially, and probably mentally and physically, if you availed yourself of your mother's offer to take you in. I have long known (and resented) the fact that Mom hasn't acted toward you as I would have wanted her to. Harry, I know from long experience, is very hard to live with. Goldie, I know very little about, but I have no reason to doubt that what you say about her is true. I'm most heartily ashamed of their attitudes and I must confess, I am ashamed of myself for feeling that way about my own flesh and blood. But I am not one to easily forgive selfishness, intolerance or vanity in anyone, and the fact that it is my own brother and mother who have been guilty of all three cuts no ice with me whatever. If they individually or collectively, were so indifferent to the needs and wants of their son's and brother's family that they practically ignored the interests of his family where it did not concern their own precious selves, then they can hold no brief with me that I am not interested in their welfare. Remember, honey, that all-important “if”! If you consider that such has been the case, that they thought only of themselves, then I'll stand by my statement. Their failure to appreciate that your mother is giving them, as well as you, the best "break" she can, is unfathomable to me. The answer which I must, in all conscience, give you, then, as much as I deplore the necessity for it, is - Yes, move in with your mother. I'm sure that Mom can pay her own way if she moves in with Harry and Goldie, so my conscience is clear on that point. The way you must do it is this: You must announce your decision to move to your mother's place. You can tell them, in all truth, that you feel Adele will have more freedom of action there; that you, yourself, will not be so tied down, nor will you be burdened with house-cleaning, and that you'll be able to save more money against the day I come home. Tell them they are perfectly welcome to remain at 4906, but that they will have to pay a rental of $50.00 per month. (If your mother thinks it ought to be more, tell her that I myself, would rather pay the difference, either monthly, or in a lump sum when I come home,) Tell them that you don't think it would be fair to your mother to accept anything less than a decent rental, and that they shouldn't expect otherwise. That you may leave to their consciences, and I think they cannot fail to see the justice of that. Tell them that you would not hold it against them if they preferred to find other quarters - that the house would be rented in any case. You may also tell them that your mother told me what she proposed to do, and that I agreed that it would be best for all concerned if you went to live with your family. There must not be bitter words, however strong the impulse be to utter them, neither from you nor your mother - that much I ask you to do for me. If any of my family feel called upon to indulge in argument (I don't believe they'll stoop to abuse, but God, help them if they do - ), just tell them that there's nothing to argue about, that you refuse to argue about it, and that I, as well as you and your mother feel perfectly justified in taking this step. I think that’s plain enough, no? For the rest, you can move any time you see fit, but give them a week or two to decide what they want to do, and to find another place if they prefer to move. Take what furniture you'll need, and put the rest in storage. Well, Chippie, you asked me what I thought you ought to do, and I've told you as best I know how. The rest is up to you and your mother. Good luck, honey! God grant that my advice is the right advice, and that He may send me home to you soon, so that I may actively work to the best interests of all of us. One more thing, - I have not said how deeply I am hurt by Mom’s unthinking behavior, and by her apparent coldness to you, my wife. God knows, if anyone should be grateful to you and love you, she should - if only because you are my wife and the mother of her grand-daughter, but even more so because you have ever made her lot easier by doing the work that she, herself, would have been forced to do in keeping house for Jack and Harry and me. Do not feel badly that she says and does things which give you the impression that she's sorry you married me. That, I think, is mostly my fault. She probably resented the fact that all the love and attention I showed her before I met you, was lost to her when you came into the picture. Being a woman, she probably missed those attentions, and instead of placing the blame where it belonged, on me, woman-like, she blamed you. Try to understand her view-point, Chippie. Please be kind to her, even if you don't feel that she is deserving. She has always had the benefit and guidance of a strong hand, and I suspect that she is rather lost without it. It hurts me far more than you might think that I must, in a manner of speaking, tell her to go to live with Harry and Goldie, and it is my determination that I will not allow her thoughtlessness to impede your and Adele's happiness that gives me the strength to advocate the course I have. At that - it's like tearing off a piece of my heart -. Whatever her faults and weaknesses, I shall always love my mother, and it will always hurt me to see her hurt. Therefore, I must ask you as a favor to me, Ev, Baby, to break the news to her as gently as you can. Once I am home, where I can act as a sort of buffer between you, I know that we will all be able to live together in harmony, and will welcome the chance to prove it. When I hear from you that you have told her of your plans, I will write to assure her that she will always be welcome to live with us if she is so minded. I don’t expect her to understand why I have agreed to this, but I shall be desolated if she feels any bitterrness toward me on account of it. I’ll have to take that chance.

There is much, much more I could say, darling, were it not for the fact that it is so late, and I am so tired, and that my heart is so sore within me. God bless you, my angel. I love you so much! My dearest love to my adored punkin. My love to all—

Your Phil

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