Thursday, June 23, 2022

Post #555 - January 19, 1945 You Certainly can be a Cutie When You Want to! and Just Put it Down to My Unaccountable Flair for Liking the Things that No One Else Even Cares About


Jan. 19, 1945

My Darling,

I feel pretty good tonight, for several reasons. I finally got a good night's rest and a nice letter from you, Sweet, dated Jan. 6th. You had received four of my letters and was in quite a mellow mood, so we're even. So you think I sent you the pin-up girl to get a compliment. Well, I didn’t. I just thought she was attractive and since I enjoyed looking at her I felt you would too. I'm really happy that my letters give you such enjoyment and that you remember each little thing about me so well. I think the reason I don't member your face as well as I would like to is mainly due to Adele. Don't feel slighted, honey, for I remember you as well as I'll ever remember anything, but I see you in a different version - your daughter. You certainly can be a cutie when you want to!

When I got into work Ann told me that everyone but me was going to get a raise. She felt terrible cause she had built me up and said she had been in a terrible mood all morning. During the afternoon (and I couldn't get mad somehow) we got to talking about our past lives and she asked me if I ever worked. I told her I had for a short time, but I had to quit my job when I became ill. Mr. B. was entering the office as I spoke the last line and must have thought I had something about quitting, or something very similar. At any rate, Ann told me just before we went home and on the sly that I had received a raise of 5¢ an hour and that I was to act very surprised when he informed me of it, whlch will be tomorrow. That means I'll now be making 75
¢ an hour. I can remember your making that rate when you were home, How times have changed! And I don't intend to stay at that rate for too long either! Between you and me, anyone who stays on the job with him for over a year deserves a medal. Someday when I get into the right mood I'll tell you all about him. When he's in a good mood, which to quite a rarity, he's okay, but it's more the exception than the rule,

We received a card from Rose Drucker (Genshaft to you) that she had a little girl on Jan. 15th (Marilyn Carole) that weighed 5 lbs. 1 oz. She was dyin' to have a girl and got her wish.

By the way, when I was in N,Y. Glo and I looked through the telephone directory and found many, many listings under the name (common though we think It is) of Strongin, so I gave it up as a bad job.

Dot just this instant called to inform me that Fay (through Ellie, who has been with her daily) wants to see me, so I'm going right over. Today is Harold's birthday and I am going to give Dot the $5 instead of buying him a gift. Dot has most everything she needs for him and would prefer the cash. I sent him a card last night. I also sent a card to Fay. Fay is bearing up so well that everyone is surprised. Well, I shall see for myself. She always was a trouper, but sometimes I think it's best to cry and get that terrible weight off of your chest. She talks and talks and talks about Morris, which is only natural.

Well, dearly beloved, I shall take my leave, for it is past nine now and I don't want to walk into her place at too late an hour. I adore you, my sweetheart, and can't tell you how your letter lifted the spirits of your ever lovin’


19 Jan. 1945

My Dearest,

Just received your V-mail of 8 Jan, together with a letter from Mike, dated 8 Dec. Mike's letter was very nice, and he talks like he’ll be coming overseas shortly. Did you know that Frances is expecting, and that his second child is due to make its appearance in May? As nice as his letter was, though, yours was infinitely more welcome, darling. Nothing much happened to yours most lovingly today, except that I went to see "Greenwich Village” again this evening (mainly to watch Sally De Marco dance). Very few things I have ever seen in the movies ever gave me more enjoyment then seeing her perform. She is, to my way of thinking, just about the most graceful female I ever watched dance. If l sound overly enthusiastic, honey, at something that hardly anyone else noticed, just put it down to my unaccountable flair for liking the things that no one else even cares about.

I thought I made it plain that I didn’t have to do K.P. on Xmas day, and that the only detail I pull is CQ, but you insist on harping about that "Sgt. stripe" (little knowing that many Sgts. on this base also pull K.P., Guard, and what-not.) Please, Chippie - no more needling about it - there isn't a thing that I can do about it, in spite of your rather hazy notions about the way promotions are made in the Army. About “referring to Sgt. Murphy in another connection” - the time is not yet.

I’m going to hold on to your present yet awhile ’cause I want to take it into town to get a jeweler to engrave it. Just have patience, honey. In the meantime, remember that I am your adoring


P.S. Love to Adele - and all.

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Post #554 - January 17, 1945 “Killed” was So Final and The Capture of Warsaw and Cracow is the Best News I’ve Read for Months


Jan. 18, 1945

Dearest Phil,

No mail today, but I guess it's to be expected after yesterday's jackpot. I hope, though, that the mail will be coming through more regularly in the future. As I told you in my letter last night, I went to see "Brazil" with Thelma Levin and it was a regular stinkeroo. Imagine, after waiting three months to go to a movie, I had to pick such a rotten one! As if that weren't enough they had to show all the scenes of what occurred at Luxembourg and it made me sick in my stomach as I contemplated how Morris met an early end. I felt tears come again and that sickening fear. I am told that Fay cannot cry, for the realization of it all is not strong yet. Ellie was the only one Fay wished to see and she called Dot to tell her how everything was! A plain clothed man called at the house and told her he had telegram for her and she kiddingly told him that she didn't like telegrams. He told her she wouldn't like this one, came in, seated himself and proceeded to read. She thought perhaps he was wounded or maybe missing, but "killed" was so final, so decisive that she started babbling about "I just mailed him a package for his birthday (he would have been 25 on Jan 16th) and sent him a Valentine". She is still receiving back mail from him too and that makes it seem more unreal.

Ever since Mom owned up that it was a good idea for me to return to work, she has been the essence of consideration and even took care of Adele on several occasions. Of course she was never one to overdo those things, but I'm grateful for the apparent change. And besides, I'm not going out of my way to help anybody - If I have time I help out and if not - well that's all there is to it. So I've decided not to say anything about what we decided for a while yet and if I do decide to say something, I’ll at least know that we see eye to eye on the subject. So, sweet, please don't worry that good looking head of yours about it.

Mr. Bellet stopped over to my mother’s house last night to return an umbrella I had left in his car. Well, my mom got to talking with him on a very intimate basis. After a while they got to the subject of salaries and my mother said the following: "You know, Mr. B. we working people have funny habit, we like to eat” meaning that his salaries could stand a raise. The funniest thing is this: Today when I got in, Anne, the bookkeeper, who tells me everything, said that I, as well as all the employees, may be in for a raise, as Mr. B. had requested a list of what we make each week to determine if it is sufficient. Here's hopin' ! My Mom has had a bit of a cold the past two days and hasn't been too well, though she is up and around. Most everyone seems to have a cold these days.

The whole Feldman gang was just here to see their adored Adele. And do they make a fuss over her! Well, honeybun, I'm just about to the bottom, so before I hit it, I’ll say that I adore you, my darling, and send along a couple of hundred kisses from

Your Eve

18 Jan. 1945

Dearest Chippie,

Another mail-less day. So far this month, I have received only V-mails, those of 1, 3, 4, 7, Jan. I figure you wrote Air-Mail on the 2, 5, 6, so I should be getting them any day now. Last night and this morning, as you know, I was C.Q. Shortly after I finished writing to you, the Mess Sgt. came in to tell me to wake him at 3:00 A.M. I had hoped to sleep thru ’til 5 o’clock, when I had to wake the K.P. Instead, I slept in snatches. This morning (after I had put on the light in all the huts (6:30), and cleaned up the Orderly Room) I went back to my bunk and slept until 11 o’clock. I felt much better then ’cause my headache had disappeared. But I needed a shave badly, and looked like hell generally, so I prepared to the ablution to put myself to rights. Then, looking as well as feeling better, I woke Klein, who had been on guard during the night, and we went to dinner together. In the afternoon, I had some personnel records to check, which kept me busy for the bulk of the working day. In the evening, Klein and I went to the early show to see “Bermuda Mystery,” a typical “B” picture, but not too bad. Afterwards, we stopped in at the Aero Club for snack. There we got to talking with a paratrooper of the 101st Airborne, and a young infantryman of the 2nd Division, who were part of 90 men from the hospital who were visiting our Fighter Station. The trooper was fresh from Bastogne, where he had been wounded, and he had some very interesting stories to tell. The news of the great new Russian surge forward is the topic of the day, and everyone is following it in the papers most avidly. The capture of Warsaw and Cracow is the best news I’ve read for months, and if the Red Army continues as it started, who knows—? Just room enough to close this with a bit hug and kiss for both my Chippies. From

Your Phil

Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Post #553 - January 16, 1945 The War Hit Straight Home this Evening for the Sobering, Sickening News that Morris (Fay’s Husband) was Killed in Action and I Long Constantly for the Day When I will be More than a Memory to You


Jan. 16, 1945

My darling Phil,

You must forgive me, baby, if I sound bitter or disgusted in this letter for I'm in a horrible mood tonight - but write I must! The war hit straight home this evening for the sobering, sickening news that Morris (Fay's husband) was killed in action (I really don't know any of the details, nor do I care). Phil, how can I tell you my feelings! How can I even go to see Fay! I've been in a terrible rut for days and though my trip to New York was a change it hasn't done me a bit of good. Phil, I need you so much -

I haven't written since Friday and believe me, it hurts me not to. I always feel so much better when I have that daily letter in the mails! I had decided to let another day ride, but I guess you'll just have to put up with me this evening.

We've had nothing but snow, snow, snow until it's piled high, both here and in New York. I did not go to one movie or one show in New York. I did nothing unusual, as we did on our few trips to New York - I only visited as many of our friends and relatives as I could. The Gutkins are still very torn about Betty, and Jack's condition, though better than average, is too far from good to be encouraging. Gloria is in a rut as I am from lack of mail - (it's been at least a week or more since I had a letter from you and I doubt if I've had more than four letters in a whole month from you.)

I have so much to tell you that is interesting and I hope you'll bear with me, for my mind just won't work the way I want it to. I'm afraid my nerves are backing up on me for a change. I became unwell shortly after I arrived in New York and hardly slept both nights while there.

I went into work on Saturday morning with my dad and Mr. Bellet and left there at 12:30 to catch a 1 o'clock train. I talked to a young sailor of about 17 and a half all the way in and he helped me with my suitcase and left me at a telephone booth so that I could call Glo and then scampered off to catch another train on his way home. Glo came down in about a half hour and took me straight out to her place in the Bronx where we had dinner. After talking to her folks, I called the various relatives and found only the Gutkins at Rose Brand's place, where they have been staying since the tragedy. Gloria and I rode out there and spent all of Saturday evening there. They literally fell on me and made such a fuss about me, that Gloria felt a little out of place. Just my luck that Carl wasn't coming home that weekend. Frada cried on my shoulder, but Phil, for a sick woman, she's holding up remarkably well and seems to have become stronger from trouble. None of them look any too well and they had plenty to say, but I'm not going into details at this point. Carl was sent back because of very, very bad infected finger (which resulted from K.P. steel wool) and a touch of malaria. Rose's apartment is gorgeous and her new mahogany bedroom suite arrived the day of Betty's demise. Rose and Moe even thought enough to remember to gift Adele with a lovely pink dress and socks, which was quite a surprise to me.

I called Rose Genshaft from Gutkin’s and told her to tell her mom that I would be over the next morning. However, before Glo and I got to bed and got up it was 11 A.M. and I never did get to see any of the Genshafts. After breakfast I called Sonya to learn if, by any chance, she was going out to see Jackie, ’cause Glo didn’t want to travel out to the Bronx, as she had to study for her exams and was rundown from a slight cold. So it happened that I learned that Lizzie, Hilda and Dave were in N.Y. and the whole gang were on their way out to Brooklyn. Glo managed to get a cab and we got there in just a few minutes. I introduced Glo to the gang and then we all headed for the subway. I did more damn riding on subways than I ever did in my life. Glo headed back for home and the rest of us went out to Brooklyn. One of Jackie's cousins, a fellow (in Army outfit) by the name of Bob (from Los Angeles) was also in the crowd. He carried my suitcase and when we got to talking I learned that he visits some relatives of his that live on the 4900 block of Camac St. every weekend, being stationed nearby, though he does live in California. I gave him our address and told him to visit us next time he was in Philly.

The trip out to 60 Carlton Avenue, Brooklyn, made me ill. It was snowing like mad and the train was hot as hell. It was a relief to reach our destination and it was so good to see Jackie. The apartment is modern and very plain and cozy. Sam and Anne both look well and Arny is a regular handsome little lad. I almost ate him up! Anne is due about Feb. 12th and reminds me of a little barrel.

Jackie looks well, but he is anything but normal. I doubt if many can see how abnormal he really is, but I can. His hearing is much, much worse than ever before. I practically had to hug him in order to get him to hear me. His ear pains almost constantly and the only bad effects he really has had is his dizziness. It annoys him more than you think it does that he cannot hear well and I think it gets on his nerves every once in a while. To boot, he has fallen deeply in love with his "lip-reading” teacher, Margie, who is blonde and a college graduate, and has asked her to marry him, which she may well do, providing her parents do not object. Phil, Jack is so mixed up that nothing is really clear in his mind, as far as I can see. He expects a CDD, but that, too, may not be forthcoming. He does want to go into business with you, but I doubt if the occasion will arise for a long time, if at all. He hasn't much faith in your plan and thinks your idea of the amount to be obtained on the GI loan is way, way off and beside all this he hasn't a cent, nor has Lennie, Jack is more concerned with getting married at the moment than anything else – he wants to be loved, as I love you, darling, and he wants very much to be happily married, as he considers us a shining example. I wish very much that he would marry, for I would like to see him married before we contemplate going into business. He said as I did that now was not the time to discuss it ’cause there wasn't one definite issue that could really be discussed. We talked and talked and talked and talked about many, many things. Hilda and Dave left early to catch a train back to Philly and the rest of the gang left right after a delicious delicatessen dinner. Jack and I spent most of the evening talking, far into the night.

Phil, he misses you so much! You, of all his close friends, could do more for him now than anyone. He sort of confides in me, and tries so hard to make me enjoy myself. Please write to him and me, too, for we both need lots of mail.

Monday morning I awoke from a restless night. Jack and Anne went shopping and I tried to catch up on my sleep after breakfast. Sammy left Jack the car, with which he took me in town. I was afraid to let him drive, due to his dizzy spells, but he said he felt better at the wheel, so I let him drive. Sam's car is a little beat up, but it runs smoothly and I enjoyed the ride no end. We went immediately to the hospital, where Jack was to receive a treatment and an audiometer test, which showed that he had improved slightly.

The whole hospital simply reeked artistry. I felt that unreal feeling all the while I was there and felt as if I were in an Art Museum. There were oil paintings, needlepoint chairs, plush rugs, extremely ornate tables and knic-knacs, lamps, etc. Dr. Lempert, whom Jack was most anxious for me to see, is a little runt who looks a bit like a wild man to me, but whose hands are his fortune. One girl in particular, told me of how he saved her life when she was stricken with Scarlet Fever. All his patients, and there were very many, suffered as Jack does, and it was sickening to see. All of them were extremely wealthy as evidenced by their clothes, diamonds and furs, for they had to be to have Dr. Lempert attend them. Jack's operation cost $1000 and they even gave him a hearing aid which would cost $170 regularly.

After the hospital we drove around a bit and headed for Glo's brother in-law's place. He is a wholesale jeweler and since Anne had bought Jack a lovely sterling silver identification bracelet that I intended to get for you (they are $15 retail and $5.50 wholesale) as a birthday gift. He did not have them, so I wound up buying myself something I have wanted a long time, but never had the money for - a stunning, expensive pin. It sells for $25 in the stores and cost me $16.34 wholesale. I wanted to get earrings, too, so that they would set off my new dress perfectly, but they were much too expensive. I gave a deposit on the pin and they are supposed to send it to me C.O.D. Jack helped me select it and it isn't too elaborate. It's sterling silver, plated with gold and has a large square acqua colored stone in the center. It's more or less of a bow shape and there are also four other tiny stones of various colors. Would you mind very much, baby, if I were to consider it your anniversary gift to me? I bought it with that thought in mind. I can't ever be extravagant without feeling non-deserving and Jack noted it. He told me that if I didn't want it to merely send it to him and he would pay me for it and give it to Margie. It seemed so foolish to spend that kind of money on a pin when I need so many other things. What do you think? (I seem able to think of what I want to say clearly enough, but every time I think - oh what's the use of even thinking - you just have to take it whether you want to or not).

Jack took me to a little Italian restaurant where we had a spaghetti dinner topped off with cherry pie and coffee and took me to the train. He could not take me to the movies or really be in a crowd for fear of infection. He took me all the way to my seat on the five o'clock train and kissed me very soundly. He hated to see me go and he ended off with "I miss Phil so terribly. Eve - " and was gone. We stared at each other and he rode slowly up the escalator away from me. It reminded me too strongly of our train experiences and I wanted to cry. I gazed two seats ahead of me to see a soldier with crutches and his wife and son. The sight was a pathetic one and I watched them all the way back home. It took me two hours to get to New York, but only one and a half to get back. I was in the house by seven.

Adele still has a cold in her system and my mom kept her in bed all day Sunday. I thought my mom would be good and disgusted with me when I got back, as she usually does when Adele tires her too much, but this time she was in an unusually good frame of mind. Eddie has been formally discharged, but it will be quite a while till he actually gets home free of all Army authority. Adele wasn't feeling up to par and did greet me quite as much as I had expected her to. She insisted, however, on my holding her and she hugged and kissed me soon after. My mother had cleaned our room thoroughly and made the beds, and everything was fresh and clean. It was such a good sight, for I was so tired I wanted to scream. I found two letters for me, one from Mrs. Benis, the other from Len and Lee. I brought Adele over and went straight to bed with her.

I learned that Syd had come in the day before for a 30 day furlough and will leave on Feb. 14th. He will be stationed at Ft. Dix only as long as it takes for a ship to get ready to get him back. I called him this evening and talked to him a short while. He contracted a cold coming over and can't seem to break it. If he doesn't get here before the week is out, I'll see him Sat. when we're all scheduled to visit at the Browns.

I bundled Adele up early this morning and went to work in spite of the heavy snow. I was busy all day and practically caught up on my work. The fellow that took George Bellet’s job as shipper quit in the meantime, having been reclassified from 4-F to 1-A. Now my dad and I have more responsibilities. By the way, Harry is giving up the station this week and will go into defense work at long last, fearing a 1-A classification.

After talking to Syd, I called Dot, whom I had promised to visit this coming weekend, as it will be Harold's second birthday. I won't be able to make it, but I shall see her as soon as possible. Snuff is coming along nicely and she spoke to him via long distance.

When I had finished speaking with Dot, I called, Fay, as I usually do. Someone strange answered the phone and when I asked "May I speak with Fay" was told that she could not speak. "Why?" brought this: "She had some terrible news. Her husband was killed" when did she learn of it?" "Yesterday" and I felt I would simply faint away. I got terribly shaky and nervous all over and cold and I couldn't help the tears that wouldn't stop coming. Phil, when is this god damned lousy miserable mess going to end??????? When are people going to wake up, people who don't even realize what war is, so that so many others will not have to suffer the rest of their natural lives. Morris adored her and was an exceptionally devoted husband and father. He was so swell to me on those few occasions when I wrote of him and they were so terribly happy. They even wanted to have another baby before he went overseas. He went over in August, just a year after you did and Fay just celebrated her third anniversary in the form of a surprise party, made by her mother, on Dec. 27th. My heart bleeds for her, Phil. I shall have to pull myself together before I see her for I just can't bring myself to go there. We had been counting the days we had not received mail from our spouses together - and it makes me shudder.

It is almost twelve o'clock and I'm almost cockeyed from typing. I may have made mistakes and I'm sure I've not told you all I have to say, but we'll have to save it all for "some day". Each day makes "some day" seem more remote and unreal and I can't even allow myself to hope at times. Phil, will you please do all in your power to write to me more often so that I will not have to wait. and wait and wait and wait and wait until I think I shall burst. I know you do your best, my darling, and don't think that I don't appreciate your every effort, for I'm sure you know I do. Phil, if only you could take me into your arms, and sooth away this terrible splitting headache that just seems to have assailed me, I would be ever grateful. I love you so much, my beloved Phil, and I hurt so much in side with it. Good night, baby -

Jan. 17, 1945

Well, sweet, today I hit that long, long awaited jackpot and it consisted of my letters of Dec. 16, 17, 18, 21, 23, 22, and Jan. 4 (v-mail). It helped my spirits immeasurably and really helped to snap me out of my rut a bit. I learned that Morris died on Dec. 27th, their third anniversary at Luxemburg. Fay will not see anyone, so I guess it will be sometime before I even go over and I'm sort of thankful for that. I'm sorry, sweet, that this is becoming a running letter and that I haven't been able to get my daily letter off to you, but I expect to be able to do so starting tomorrow.

Your letters were all of the same tone as mine have been lately - no mail - black mood. I'm glad you liked the chocolate chip cookies so well and I hope I shall be able to get the chips so I can make more. Did they arrive in good condition? I shall send off your civilian shoes with the design in them along with other goodies I am trying to obtain to make up a package. I already have three large Hershey chocolate bars, one plain and two with nuts. I shall try to get my hands on a carton of Herbert Tareyton, though I doubt if I can. The package should be ready in about a week.

Thelma Levin, who used to live in your old neighborhood and whom Gloria worked with at the Signal Corps, and who moved into their own home on the 4900 block of 7th St, called me a short while ago and asked me to accompany her to a movie. I have lots to do - but to hell with it - I'm going to see a movie for the first time in three months! She wants to see "Brazil" at the Logan. It might be good for what ails me.

I had a terrible night - and tears came. Phil, I get so choked up -

But now I must run, baby, if I'm to get to the movies at all. It's funny the way your v-mail of Jan. 4th read, "this is to tell you that your hubby is still alive and well" - it sounded funny at this particular time - and may I always hear it! I love you so very much, my dearest Phil, and I cherish all that you and our love stands for. I glory in the title of

Your Wife

16 January 1945


Today, the last of my time off until the end of the month, dawned dark and cold and damp. It was a sheer luxury to be able to lie abed until 11 o'clock, when thad to get up - or starve to death!

Today also brought your long typed letter of 17 Dec. Kinda old, but welcome nevertheless. It contained Syd's letter telling you that he is coming home on 30-day furlough. Poor Syd - he certainly sounds bitter! I'm hoping that perhaps he won't have to go back to his outfit in Italy. I can certainly understand why Syd is so disgusted - he has a right to be! With almost 12,000,000 men in the armed forces, you'd think they could afford to let a veteran of 2-1/2 years service overseas remain in the States for good! It's going to be mighty tough for him to have to leave home again after his furlough is up, and even tougher for Uncle Nish and Tante Bosh to give him up again. Somehow, I don't envy him his prospects!

Your letter told of receiving the hankie. Glad you liked it, Sweet! I'll convey your thanks to Dick. I haven't yet shown Red what Adele wrote, but I will, first chance I get.

You go on to tell me about the party over Em’s place in Phil's honor. Your mention of Etta and Nat made me wonder if they ever received my letter. Please advise, will you, Ev? Your few lines about dancing with “Phil Strongin" amused me. Just what did you expect to "feel" dancing with my namesake, anyway? Your ! description of Morty Harris’ parents was funny, too. (I’d give a nickel to know what was in your mind at the time the “thought” about the "combination” that appalled you!) - or do I do you an injustice, Baby? By the way where is Phil stationed now, and what is he doing?

Flash! Just received that piece of plexiglass jewelry I was telling you about in yesterday's letter. I'm very much pleased with the way it turned out. I hope you will be too, honey. I'll mail it off as soon as I can package it properly (it won't fit in an envelope), since yesterday, I have learned that jeweler’s rouge is not quite the thing to polish plexiglass with, but baking soda (slightly damp), or tooth powder (on a damp rag) will polish it to a fare-thee-well.

I can’t think of another solitary thing to say, darling, except - I miss you more than ever, and long constantly for the day when I will be more than a memory to you. My dearest love to Adele and all the family. Remember always dearest - with you, or away from you, I am always

Your Phil

Monday, June 20, 2022

Post #552 - January 15, 1945 Seems Like the Next Generation will be All of An Age—at Least, in Our Family


15 January 1945

Dearest Chippie, 

Last night, after I finished writing to you, I walked down to the mess hall with Klein for supper. I don't usually eat supper, but when someone told me hot-dogs were on the menu, I couldn’t resist. "Dragon-Seed’ which I had seen a long time ago in London, was the feature at the base theater today, so instead of taking in a matinee, I came back here to start this. Managed to get a letter off to Dot last night, so slowly but surely, I’ll be catching up. The only trouble is, once I start a letter to you, honey, I hardly have time enough to write to anyone else! However, tomorrow is another day…

The new Russian offensive, which Moscow claims will not stop before it reaches Berlin, and the elimination of "Rundstedt’s salient" is big news in the papers today, and everyone is more or less excited with the way things are going. The Allies seem to be making good progress against Japan, too. Who knows, Sweet, maybe ’45 will be the year.

I've been looking thru your letters, Baby (and they make quite a pile), but they are, for the most part, "gossipy’ letters that somehow don’t require answers, .

Your "X-mas letter,” though, was nice and long, and I enjoyed reading about the various gifts everyone received, especially about Adele's “stocking". Wish I could have been there to see how she reacted! I think you handled it all very nicely, Ev, even to convincing the punkin that there is a Santa Claus. Don't ever make the mistake of telling her there isn't - she’ll find that out for herself all too soon.

It just struck me that you are, in all likelihood, in New York at this moment. It certainly is a nice gesture on your part to make the trip at this time, and I'm sure everyone you visit will be delighted to see you, especially Jackie. I do hope you find him well-recovered from his operation, and that the Gutkins have gotten over the first shock of their grief. Need I tell you how much I would have liked to go along with you, darling?

There are a coupla specific questions in your letters which I will not risk your ire by ignoring. Eddie, when you visited him, evidently gave you the impression that I was fat! You want to know? - so I'm telling you! When I saw Eddie, I weighed exactly 182 lbs., which, if you remember, is just about what I weighed when you saw me last. Recently (the last time of was in London - when I spent the night at the Turkish Baths after leaving Harry W.) I tipped the beam at 148. Since then, I think I have dropped a few more pounds. So, after all is said and done, and in spite of the impression Eddie got, I am, if anything, thinner than you knew me. Two things may be responsible for Ed’s impression: (1) My face may be a bit fuller. (2) My clothes are very ill-fitting. But never fear, Baby - I dislike being fat just as heartily as you do, and if I do.come home looking too heavy for your taste, I’ll join up at the Broadwood immediately and get rid of the excess by swimming and playing a lot of hand-ball. Which reminds me - you mention Mr. Bellet going to Young's for a work-out. I understand they have a swell layout, including some nifty handball courts, so I’ll join up there instead if I find it to my liking. By the way, Chippie - I haven't given up hope of teaching you to swiM, so don't think for a minute that you'll be alone those evenings when I’m at the gym. You'll be with me - O.K.? (I wish it were tomorrow!) 

I'm returning the picture of Lenny and Lee and ? as you requested, Ev. They look swell, don’t they? I feel a queer premonition, though, on account of "?". There's something about Lee that makes me fear for her. I hope it's nothing more than a silly notion on my part, though. Of course, Chippie, you won't be foolish enough to
discuss my premonition with anyone—

Your V-mail of 7 Jan. just arrived. It was Sunday, and the punkin reminded you to put her “yoshes" on 'cause it had snowed during the night. It informed me that Yale and Shirley are “expecting” too! Now that is news! Seems like the next generation will be all of an age - at least, in our family. Did I acknowledge the receipt of the news that Miriam Brown had a little girl? I don't think I did - but I know about it, and I'm glad. Please tender my heartiest congratulations to Uncle Nish and Tante Bosh. Explain why it is so difficult for me to write to them under separate cover,

So you were kidding brother Jack about who would have the first little boy, eh? (And then you are naive enough to warn me not to “get any ideas"- and then, to top it off, you say " who knows??? etc.) Lady, y’wanna know what I think? No? Well, I'll tell you anyway - you don't know your own mind on the burning question - to have or not to have! Furthermore, dearest one, I'm not thanking you for continually teasing me about it. It means far too much to me to “kid" about it with equanimity. 

Well, Baby, I'm just about “writ out” for the time being, so I’ll sign off now with a big kiss and hug for you and my beloved punkin and all. I adore you, Chippie—

Your Phil

Thursday, June 16, 2022

Post #551 - January 14, 1945 I Don’t Remember That I Ever Gave You Cause to Believe That I Might Get a Furlough at Home and Letters from Gloria Strongin and Milt Brown


14 January 1945

My Darling,

All your December letters have been put in the order of their dates and are living at my right elbow on the small card-table on which I am writing. I'll read three of them commenting on anything that excites comment. I am alone in the hut (my hut-mates are still at work), and I hope to write uninterrupted for a few hours. The severe cold of the past week is now diminishing. A light rain has washed away all traces of the recent snow-fall, but it is still more comfortable to stay close to the wood fire in the oil-drum, which has been converted into a stove. It was a grand experience when I was awakened this morning at 8 o’clock by the chatter of the guys just returned from breakfast. I was snug and warm under the blankets, so the prospect that I
could remain there as long as I pleased was most welcome! I pleased to sleep until 11 A.M., when I rose, dressed, washed, and went to lunch. After lunch, I took in the 1:30 matinee at the base theater. The picture was "Lost in a Harem” with Abbot and Costello. It was the typical Abbot–Costello sort of nonsense, but it had its moments. The one scene I really enjoyed was the oriental ballet to the ballet music from Borodini’s opera “Prince Igor,” (at least, I think that's what it was)! Anyway, I enjoyed the music. Which all brings me right up to the moment I started this. There is very little else of interest to report from this end, Sweet, so I'll proceed to your letters— 

In closing your letter of 1 Dec., Chippie, you ask me for suggestions about a coat-and-legging set for the punkin. I’m grateful for your offer to let me "pick it out” honey, but the fact is I’m not at all clear on the appearance of such a costume. That is, they all look more or less alike to me. Moreover, I regret to confess that I haven't seen enough of them to be able to establish any kind of preference. As to color, I think the combination you suggested should be very nice. Gray and white will show off her coloring, if nothing else, to the best advantage. Sorry I can't help you much with this, dear, but thanks again for asking me.

Your V-mail of  2 Dec. asks a question which presupposes a notion on your part that is entirely in error. You wanted to know if the furlough I took to meet Harry W. "decreases your chances of a furlough back to the States": 'I don't remember that I ever gave you cause to believe that I might get a furlough at home. Where then, did you ever get the idea? The fact is, there is no chance whatever for such a leave, and I believe t've told you that I wouldn't 
take it if it were offered me. I died a little on each of the two occasions when I had to leave you for an indefinite period of active duty, and I don't think I can take any more of the same. At least, I don't want to! I think you understand and appreciate my attitude in this regard, darling. In fact, you give me to understand in your letters, that you feel pretty much the same way about it. Like you, I want our next re-union to be the last one - nothing less will do,

On 8 Dec. you were good enough to remind me of several birthdays, which I should have acknowledged, but which I never seemed able to find the time for. However, I’ll write to both Jacks tomorrow. After all, a belated greeting is better than none and it's just possible Jack N.’s may arrive in time. In his case, tho’, I'll have to address it to you, Baby, as I don't know just where he'll be about 25 Jan.

Your letter of 9 Dec. was a real “longie", Sweet, and is the kind I just love to receive and to read. You tell of receiving five of my letters at once, about Adele's reactions on getting the “yocket,” and other interesting things which I intend to say something about. First, though, about the “yocket"! Yes, Red made it, all right, but what do you mean when you say "I didn't know you saw him that often"? After all, we're in the same outfit so what is surprising about it? I see him almost every day, although we aren't quite as thick" as we once were. His interests are entirely different from mine, so we don't go out together at all. But we are still the best of friends. In a later letter you want to know what happened to “Cpl.” Barnhart? Since then, he has been appointed Pfc, but the reason for his "bust" must remain a secret! Sorry, Baby, I was surprised when you wrote to tell me that you and the punkin had received a Xmas greeting from him, but Red's full of surprises. I knew, of course, that the locket would be much too large for our diminutive little girl, but she’ll be able to appreciate it when she gets a little bigger and older, so there's no harm done, is there? In the meantime, Sweet, you may wear it if pleases you to do so. By the way - do you have any difficulty keeping it polished. If you do, get some “jeweler’s rouge” at any store where they sell military supplies, and you will find that a good rub will bring it to a high polish. I wasn’t going to tell you this, honey, but the temptation is too strong - Right now, I have another item of jewelry in the making for you, and, unless I miss my guess, this will be the prettiest 
piece of all, I won't spoil the surprise by telling you what it is, but I want you to know that the fellow who is making it for me is putting a great deal of time and effort into the task (for a price, of course) but I am convinced that you will like it very much indeed. He's been working on it for three days now, but it’ll probably be another few days before it's finished. I was going to save it for your anniversary or birthday present, but I’m hoping that I’ll have enough money by that time to send you something other than plexi-glass costume jewelry. In any event, I couldn't withhold it from you so long—

In this letter (9 Dec.) you also say quite a “mouthful in retaliation” to my letter ? our post-war plans. It's so hard, sweet, to explain on paper where your concepts are in error, but take my word for it, you are presupposing a number of obstacles that exist only in your imagination. But we won't argue the matter any further - until such time as I can talk to you (what a day that will be!). One point that you have challenged me on, though, has to be discussed right here lest you get the notion that I'm going off “half-cocked", or "talking thru my hat." That is in regards to a government loan, as provided for by the G.I. Bill of Rights. Your objection is that I cannot make such a loan without “security, as well as interest." The quotes are yours, honey, and they speak for themselves. In the first place, a “gov”t loan" is called by that misnomer because the gov”t puts up the guarantee (security) to the extent of 50% of a loan (not to exceed $4000. The loan itself is procured from a bank, bldg. & loan, or other institution that depends on loaning money for their revenue. Furthermore, under the provisions of the Bill of Rights (which is now law), the interest rate cannot exceed 4%. Most important, the gov’t pays the interest for the first year to the institution making the loan. In brief any G.I. or vet can make such a loan to finance a business, provided, of course, that the agent for the gov’t, (who will no doubt be an expert in his line) thinks that said business has a good chance to succeed. That my dear, is the only “security” that the gov’t. requires to make itself responsible for 50% of the money you (or I) borrow. You may check me on any of the foregoing if you're not convinced. I may have been wrong about a total I said I could borrow, but I believed I could get that kind of money from the neighborhood bank if they saw a chance that I would succeed. Security, phooey! Someday, when I have the opportunity, Sweet, I shall endeavor to explain a few things to you in this connection that you have only the haziest conception of. In the meantime, I'll just keep my “bright ideas” to myself. By the way, Chippie, how would the prospect of living in Massachusetts appeal to you? It's not too far from Philly, and it's just possible that something I have in mind in that connection will develop. (You needn’t ask me what it's all about 'cause I wouldn’t tell you. This time I want more than just an idea before I commit myself.) As for my calling myself a "most unambitious fellow, I guess you never will understand what I mean by it, honey. I suspect that our respective conceptions of "ambitions are greatly at odds. Just another thing we'll have to get straight between us - some day. 

I'm most grateful to you, Baby, for being so patient and considerate as regards moving out of 4920. I would never suggest that you put up with the inconvenience and aggravation entailed by remaining there an instant longer than you choose to, but I am grateful that family harmony means enough to you to cause you to delay the break-up a while longer. 

You devote the latter part of the letter to a detailed description of the punkin's activities these days. This was in answer to a request I made for the same. Thanks a million, honey. You wrote it up very cleverly, and I was highly gratified with it all. It might interest you to know that Adele's fear of the dark is hereditary. Mom may have told you that all of us (Harry, Jack and I) were also afraid of the dark as youngsters, and that we refused to go to bed in the dark until we were eight and nine years old. The lights stayed on until we fell asleep, by which time Mom and Pop were going to bed. They switched off the lights then. Your suspicion that the punkin walks pigeon- toed because she thinks it's “funny or cute” may or may not be true, but if such is the case, it occurred to me that you might discourage this tendency by ridiculing her. My thought is that feminine vanity (even in so young a chippie) won’t stand up to ridicule. If you can make her understand that her affectation is ugly or unattractive (by mimicking her and deriding her ridiculous pose), I think she will make a real effort. Don’t you think it's worth a try, Sweet? .

Guess that'll have to do for now, Baby, ’cause the fellows are back from work and I find it impossible to concentrate with all this chatter ’round me. I'll continue answering your letters tomorrow. So long for now, my darling. Kiss my adored little girl for me. My love to all.

Your Phil

Sunday, January 14, 1945

Dear Phil—

Please don’t judge by my belated replies that I don’t enjoy and appreciate your communications. It must be dull for you to get my repeated apologies - so I’ll just skip it - & hope you’ll understand.

Your Chippie brightens the New York atmosphere by her presence this week-end. I sure enjoyed having her here and hope she’ll manage to repay my visits to Philly more often in the future. I’m sure you’ll get all details from Ev - so I’ll let her out-scoop me. Anyhow, we went a-visiting mostly - but nuff sed! I really hope her next trip will be longer & we can do the town properly. Better still, I hope the near future will allow Messrs. Phil & Jack Strongin double-dating their wives at a good B’way show! Well - I can dream, can’t I?!

I keep dreaming of seeing your kid brudder in a nice gray sport suit - & said color would suit you too, methinks.

Yes, we’ve discussed Jack’s chances for furlough pro & con - & have arrived at the same unsatisfactory conclusion. Of course, I have left it up to Jack (I can hear you say “Are you kidding?!’) as he knows the advantages and disadvantages of taking the furlough best. Ev tells me you are also entitled to a furlough after your 18 months, but as you say, perhaps it won’t be wise (but oh so wonderful!) to take this proffered furlough. Golly, all talk of furlough is very unsatisfactory. Let me know if you still feel the way you did at the time of Dec. 2, 1944 writing e.g. no furlough.

Ev & I chatted away most of the time (between visits & especially “bed-time”) & you can imagine our favorite & most frequent topic of conversation. I wonder if Jack’s & your ears didn’t burn! Or did it? Well - a gab-fest does us woman-folk some good - & we sure talked our hearts out.

Really, Phil, I haven’t written before this because I promised myself that I’d really write you a “letter” - instead of my usual excuse for one. Please bear with me, Phil, but when it comes to literary effort, I usually confine it to the classroom, our requirements are a bit too heavy to allow much extra time. I have just finished a theme on Shakespearean drama which was assigned to us 2 months ago - & which this silly student did all in one night - last Friday to wit. I honestly wish you were at hand to help me out, Phil - you could really do the job. Am having my finals this week & as per usual - cramming at the last minute.

You know, Phil - I think school is a good discipline for the mind, but I’d drop it oh so fast to devote my full time to Jack. But, of course, you know that!

Though I really think your question was rhetorical when you asked if it was wise to be so much in love that nothing means anything unless shared with my “other half” - I do think this worthy of discussion. I know how you feel, Phil, and would like to quote something I came across and liked well enough to remember.
“Tis said that absence conquers love;
But oh believe it not!
I’ve tried, alas! its power to prove,
But thou art not forgot.

Perhaps you are familiar with the above. I thought it very appropriate to our lives at present. Perhaps, Phil, our present void will even serve a purpose. At any rate, we will appreciate the nearness of our respective mates in the future the more as a result.

Well, Phil, it’s rather late - & time I ended off. I note your statement about the routine of your life being unchanged. At any rate, let me hear from you in more detail - your thoughts, if not your actions are interesting material for a letter - And I don’t have to tell you that your literacy skill is well appreciated. I only wish you’ll have the opportunity to really devote a career to it in the happy day when you resume your civvies. Of course, I keep your letters - they’re the best written (if infrequent) scribes I get - & only your brother Jack’s letters top them in interest to me.

I have postponed my next trip to Philly until I hear of Sid Brown’s arrival - I’m sure you’ve heard of his pending furlough - & I certainly am anxious to meet this long-absent member of the clan.

I’ll say ’by now - & hope to hear from you real soon—

Lots of love,

January 14, 1945

Dear Phil:

Have a little extra time today, so I’m dropping you a line. I’m feeling fine, and hope this letter finds you the same. Had a letter from Evelyn about a week ago & everyone at home seems to be doing fine. How’s things with you, & what’s new going on? I guess you heard I’m an uncle now. I sure did guess right, as I told them it would be a girl. Miriam & the baby are doing fine from all the reports I hear from everyone at home. Sydney’s latest letter of Dec. 12 tells me that he is relieved of his duties & is waiting any day to leave. I sure do hope he is on his way home by now. I expect you know he is getting a 30 day furlough. He surely does deserve it, being overseas so long. I sure could stand one myself, but I guess its not in the books. We moved again a few days ago, but we are still on the same island. It sure does feel better to be where we are now, for where we were before we were split off from the rest of the outfit, but here we are all together again & it sure is good to see all the boys again. At least here we can see a show once in a while at nights, & that sure does help out a lot. We  also can buy a few things at the PX here. The war news surely is sounding good over here and I expect to hear more good news shortly. Japan is just now getting a little taste of what we have in store for them & I guarantee you they haven’t seen anything yet. I don’t think that day is too far off before you will see Japan down on her knees asking for mercy. Here’s one boy, though, that they won’t get any mercy from for I’ve been through & seen too much of how those yellow dogs work. They asked for it and, boy, they’re surely going to get it. It rained pretty hard here the other day & this place sure is a mud hole. We get a tent that leaks & inside it looks more than a pig pen. That’s the infantry for you, though. Any place is home to us. What a life. Boy, you don’t know how lucky you were to get out of that Infantry Outfit you were in, or do you? We haven’t been doing much since we have been here, & I don’t think it will be too long before we will be moving on, as I imagine they have something coming up for us. I read something that I thought was pretty good last night, so I’m passing it on to you, as you may enjoy it. Here goes:
In a South American Mining Town a Mrs. Smith presented her husband with a 12 lb. baby boy. Mr. Smith was so delighted that he decided he would tell the news
officer. When he entered, he told them he found a 12 lb. nugget of gold, as good as anybody found in South America. The paper anxious to get all the details, sent a reporter to Mr. Smith’s house & this is what he found: 
Does Mr. Smith live here.
He does.
Is he in.
No, not at the present.
I understand he found a 12 lb. nugget of gold.
(Mrs. Smith seeing the joke) answered yes.
Can you show me the exact spot where he found it.
I’m afraid Mr. Smith would object to that.
Ok! iIs it private.
Is the hole far from here.
No, it’s quite close.
Has Mr. Smith been working the claim long.
About 10 months.
Was Mr. Smith the first to work it.
He thought he was.
Was the work difficult
At first, but it got easier after the shift opened.
Is the water plentiful.
Yes, sufficient to carry on the work.
Has he gotten to the bottom yet.
No, but I told him last night it was time he did.
Did you help him.
Yes, I did my level best.
Do you think he will sell the claim.
No, he finds too much pleasure in working it himself.
May I see the nugget.
Certainly, she brought the baby boy out, & the reporter fainted.

Well, Phil, that about winds it up from this end. Take good care of yourself & drop me a line when you have a few minutes to spare. Write you again soon.

Your loving cousin,

Friday, June 10, 2022

Post #550 - January 13, 1945 I Find it Hard to Imagine Adele Doing Some of the Things You Tell Me She Does

13 Jan., 1945

Ev, darling,

Just got back from seeing the second swell picture in two days. It was “Home in Indiana,” and I certainly enjoyed it.

Received your two V-mails of 3, 4 Jan. this afternoon. You seem to be having trouble with my mail again. I’m sorry, Chippie, but maybe these past few V-mails I have written will make better time getting home.

You say that my November bond is way overdue and ask me to trace it. I think, Chippie, that you could get much better results by writing to the Army War Bond Office, Chicago, Ill. Any letter I might write would take about a month to clear channels. So if it hasn’t arrived by the time you get this, just drop them a line.

It was good of you, Sweet, to write on the 4th - even if, as you say, you were not in the mood.

Sorry to hear that Harry is not doing too well with his business, but I was thinking he’ll be pretty lucky if he can stay out of the Army, now that they are putting the pressure on the 4-F’s.

Was surprised to learn that the punkin knows the whole alphabet. As for her singing - do you actually mean to tell me she can carry a tune?? Forgive me if I seem dubious, but I find it hard to imagine Adele doing some of the things you tell me she does.

Tomorrow, I start my “pass,” which, I have told you, I will spend right here - writing a flock of letters. I still have some of yours which I haven’t found time to answer, but I’ll take care of that in the next day or two - you may depend on it, honey.

Until then, darling, I’ll say my usual fond good-night. Give my love to the punkin and all the family. I love you more than ever, Sweet Chippie! I am

As always,
Your Phil

January 13, 1945

Dear Eve:

Received your letter and I was very glad to hear from you. Has Ed been in on weekends yet. I guess he needs a few more months rest before they let him go. I’ll bet he’ll have some real stories to tell me when we both get together again. It was good to hear that Phil is still stationed in England. I’m sorry I forgot when Adele’s birthday was, but I’ll make it up to her.

[Author unknown, possibly brother Seymour]