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,

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