Monday, July 25, 2022

Post #573 - February 7, 1945 The Shower Last Night was Just Perfect and Where Do I Find the Time to Do Anything Worth Writing About? and A Long Letter from Eddy Paller


Feb. 7, 1945

Dearest Darling,

The shower last night was just perfect. The gifts were really lovely and I enjoyed myself thoroughly. Goldie and I got there at 8:30 and the whole gang left at 11:30. The table was set up so beautifully it was a pity to mess it up.  And the food was so delicious that I had two helpings of potato salad and you know full well, baby, that I detest potato salad. The reason I liked it so well was that it had shredded carrots and peppers in it and was a cross between potato salad and cole slaw. I chatted with many of the people present, most of whom were from the neighborhood. I also got to talking with Mrs. Taylor (Syd Taylor's mother) and her daughter-in-law, Sylvia, who once upon a time was my girlfriend. Sylvia told me that Lena's husband (remember Herby Miller) is leaving for the service this month. I never thought they would take him on account of that terrible automobile accident he was in. Just shows to go you!

Milt Brown's girl, Sylvia, called me shortly before I left for the shower to tell me that the snaps we took when Syd and Jack N. were here turned out well and that she will bring them up this coming weekend. There was one pose of Adele (alone) (profile) and she says it turned out beautifully. I'm most anxious to see them and I'll send along to you immediately, babe,

A fellow came into our office the other day selling $1 coupons good for an 8x10 oil painting at the Lorstan Studios. It was only necessary to pay 50¢ so I decided I'd try the one picture and see if I liked it. I want to go to Lorstan's anyway, so now I'm really going. I shall stipulate that it is necessary to send the proofs overseas so that you may make your selection before the colored picture is made up. At any rate, the important thing is that I'm going to have Adele's picture made sometime next week. I want a full length pose and I understand it is extra for such, but that doesn't mean a thing. I want a closeup and a full length.

Feb. 8, 1945

I wrote the above before going to work yesterday and never did get around to getting it finished. So here I am today (just before leaving the office ) trying to make some headway, Goldie called and told me there were two letters from you, so I'm most anxious to get home to see what they have to say.

I had the enclosed letter from Jack N. yesterday and I'm sure it speaks for itself. What do you think, honey? I think he's "cooked" or mighty close to it. But you draw your own conclusions.

Clara was over for dinner last night and I finally paid her for the vitamin pills. She even gifted Adele with $1 for war stamps and Diana received 50¢ for war stamps (as she put it, "I don't know her as well as I know you). Clara also gave me a box of Sucrets, and showed me your v-mail to the Label Bureau Girls. Clara’s impression of Adele was this; "She's much prettier than her pictures". I have yet to see a picture that really shows Adele as she really looks. There is a certain something missing from her facial expression that is most important.

Home again, and I hope this letter isn't becoming too confusing. Your two letters were those of 22/Jan and 24-25/ Jan and I assure you, sweet, that they were most welcome, since it was almost a week since I last had mail.

There isn't anything that really inspires comment except this: I definitely do not want you to take a furlough, unless, as you say, you will go back to your outfit. I still prefer to wait till you can come home, for I feel certain that the longest part of the waiting is over. I think I made myself very clear on that issue.

In your letter of the 25th you enclosed the leaflet about the 8th and I found it most interesting. Yes, sweet, I am proud of the fact that you are part of the 8th, but I’ll be even prouder when you are just plain Mister. (don't mind me, I'm prejudiced).

Also in yours of the 25th was a request for some tuna, cheese, crackers, etc. and I shall bend every effort to send same along within a few days. Tuna is extremely difficult to obtain these days, but I'll get some of it somehow. I'm going over to my mother's when I finish this and Ed and I are going to make up a package of candy and the like.

I am mailing off a six page typewritten letter, written by Ed, telling you, in detail, of  what has happened since he last saw you. He is very poor at correct punctuation and asked me to correct some of the errors he knew he made. I skimmed through it, honey, and made a few corrections, but decided not to spend too much time on it, as I want to get this off and I'm sure you'll understand. It’s a beautiful letter and I never thought he could write so well.

Most surprising of all is this: Tonight my cousin Meyer (Esther's brother, the one who Eddie mentions visited him and who is just about ready to leave for overseas) is being married. He met his wife at Bella's wedding (which was on Dec. 24th) and here he is marrying her. I understand she's very nice looking and very well to do and they both fell like a ton of bricks. The funny part about it all was that Meyer never had too much to do with girls, nor did he like them so well. He arranged for a special three day pass (his last, incidentally) and is being married this evening and will have exactly two days with his wife. How about that! Such is life, they tell me. It all happened so quickly and I couldn't make the ceremony even though I rushed myself to death. I would have liked to be there, but maybe it's just as well this way. Imagine, my Aunt and family will meet their in-laws for the first time at the wedding!

Fay rented her spare room out to a soldier, his wife and 13 month old son for $10 per week and that will help immensely financially. She feels lots better having a lot of company around the house all day long though I thought perhaps the presence of the soldier might cause her some regret. She says it doesn't bother her, so I guess she knows what she's doing. The soldier is stationed at the Signal Corps. I call Fay every single day, just to let her know I haven't forgotten her, even though I can't get over to see her more often.

Miss Hahn called me last night to inform me that she hasn't anyone at all to help her and perhaps I can do something for her. She doesn't know how she'll be able to keep up her business unless she gets some kind of help soon. She's totally helpless without someone else's eyes. I promised to come up Saturday when I finished at Bellet's to help her along. I feel sorry for her and that's why I keep going up to help her out, in spite of the inconvenience to me.

Well, darling, I think you'll agree that I've had my say. I'm sure you've hit a jackpot by this time. I love you so much, baby mine!

Your Eve

7 February 1945


This new policy of mine of writing daily is far easier determined upon than practiced. Just now, for instance, I've been sitting and cudgeling my brains (or what passes for such) for what to write. I've been so occupied with my work for the past few weeks now, that I have only a few hours of an evening to myself, and most of that time is spent writing to you, so where do I find the time to do anything worth writing about? You understand what I'm up against, Chippie? Be it as it may, though, I'm not going to back down on my promise to write every day if I have to think for an hour to get the inspiration for a single sentence. 

Tonight I saw Casablanca again, and so strong is the spell of the beauteous Ingrid Bergman, so reminiscent her acting and actions of my own sweet Chippie, with her frank display of affection, and intimate, heart-warming smile, that all I can feel and think about tonight is how I crave to hold you in my arms—how great is my need of you, and how glad I’d be for the mere sight of you. If I were a drinking man, I would, no doubt, be down at the base pub getting drunk, but being just a little short of a teetotaler, I can only sit and yearn and hug the memory of you close to my heart. I love you so very much, my Eve, that my every conscious thought is in some way connected with you. The greatest cross I shall ever be called on to bear is to be without you. I feel so incomplete away from you, Sweet, that I am often brought up short by the realization of my present empty meaningless mode of existence. It is at such times that I rail inwardly at the fate that has befallen me and so many millions like me. If I only had Adele, darling, as you have, she would, I feel, fill some of the great emptiness within me—that emptiness that is born of and synonymous with the infinite loneliness that assailed me a moment after we parted the last time, and which has lived with me ever since then. Surely, no mortal's happiness was ever so dependent on the presence of his mate and child!

Perhaps, darling, I am being unwise in this confessing my utter dependence on you, and you may think the less of me that I cannot conquer my loneliness and depression, and you may mistakenly assume that I indulge myself to the extent of self-pity, which would, or should inspire some measure of contempt for me in you, but if missing you, and needing you, and loving you almost to the exclusion of everyone and everything else is contemptible, then I can only ask you to try to understand and forgive.

Your Phil 

February 7,1945
Philadelphia, Pa. 

Dear Phil:

In one respect I didn't want to write this letter because its been so long since I last wrote to you and I know you was expecting to hear from me sooner then this but you know the old slogan, "better late then never". I have so much to say that I thought I'd save it all and tell you everything in this letter. My memory is very good and I remember some of the questions you ask me in your letters. By the way, I did receive all your letters including your last one dated October 21,1944. If you remember you ask me whether I knew or heard that I was being sent home. I didn't answer your letter because I was never told I was going back to the states until the very day I left. You remember the day you came to see me and they told you I was going to take some shock treatment, well I told the doctor after I had taken two shots that the treatment was hurting my spine and I wasn't kidding a bit either. So they stopped giving me the treatment and two weeks later they sent me to a closed ward to take insulin treatment. I remained in that same ward till the day I left. Just to straighten out the story the first time I entered a hospital was on August 4, 1944. The last letter they received home from me was dated August 3. I stayed at the 96th Gen. for almost three months and then finally on October 27, I was told to dress and be ready to leave immediately. We were put on ambulances and after riding almost four miles boarded a hospital train for Liverpool where a hospital ship was waiting for us. We no sooner got on then fifteen minutes later we set sail for the land of liberty. Although it took us seventeen days to hit the States we had a swell time aboard ship. Here's the way the routine went: We got up at seven, made our beds, then went to chow at eight. Theres no need to tell you that the food served aboard ship was the best I ever tasted since being in the Army. After chow you could lay on your bed and at nine-thirty make the show which we had scheduled every day in the week, or sleep till dinner if one chose. Ate dinner at twelve, smoked a Camel, and read the ships daily newspaper which featured the news, latest songs, sports, and anything which they thought would interest us. I spent most of my time playing cards, checkers, and kidding with the nurses. (I had to get that in too.) Eat supper which was always topped off with ice cream and apple pie and then listen to recordings and read some worthwhile books. I read "Leave Her to Heaven,” "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn," "Forever Amber.” All three books were top hits as far as the public was concerned.

Unfortunately we landed in South Carolina where the weather is really ideal and the sky is always a powder blue and in one day you can get more sunshine here then all the time spent in England. It was really a beautiful summer day when we landed at one of the ports on November 13,1944. We were greeted by two bands giving out with some of that good old American jive. Naturally the Red Cross was on hand as usual filling all of us with plenty of doughnuts and hot coffee. As we departed from the ship the Red Cross gave us kits which contained soap, tooth brush, comb, a pair of white socks, stationery, cigarettes, matches, and candy. Arriving at the Stark General Hospital by ambulance I was surprised to meet some fellows who I knew at the hospital in England. So you see I was quite at home and not much of a total stranger at all. I was placed in a closed ward where we did have a little more freedom. Every day they would let us go out to an enclosure where we practiced playing hard ball. I always stripped to the waist because it was so hot and you could catch plenty of sunshine. The very same day I telegrammed that I had landed in the States and was feeling good. I remained at Stark General for three days when on November 15 I was put aboard a hospital train which took about fifteen hours to get to Valley Forge General Hospital which is located about twenty-three miles outside of Philadelphia and three miles from Phoenixville. Valley Forge is really a big place and very beautiful too as far as the outside is concerned. What goes on in the inside is another story. Upon my admission to the hospital, I was interviewed by a medical officer (captain), who was later to become the officer who decided my fate for the future. I was placed in a closed ward and treated very nice. We saw movies and U.S.O. shows every night and had various people representing different organizations pay visits to see us. Spending a day at the hospital went something like this: Were awaken at seven-thirty and didn't eat till eight-thirty. In order to keep the morning hours from dragging by I tried to keep myself very busy by occupying all my spare time with some sort of entertainment. So in the morning maybe for an hour or so a few of us would get together and form a tournament in playing ping pong. The object was to loose as few games as possible in the hour that we played. This would make anyone who lost no games or who lost very few the champ for that day. I must say I came out pretty good in the long run. The remainder of the morning I went to occupational therapy where I made wallets, picture frames, key chains, rings, and other ornaments which could keep me busy.

Came back just in time every day for chow. Take about an hours rest then shoot pool for three hours. I'm really getting to be a master at that game. I always made it back about an hour before chow to listen to recordings, play cards, or cut a rug if your hep to the jive. Supper was always the best meal of the three, maybe because I got a bigger appetite in the afternoon. I'd read up on some good books I had started for two hours or more and then make the evening U.S.O. show or movie. We saw all the latest shows which were just beginning to play in Philly when we would see them. I spent all the holidays in the hospital. (Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years) I thought of far better places I could of been and then again I thought of far worse places I might have been. Four weeks after I was admitted to the hospital I was presented to the board which consisted of my captain, a major, and another captain and non-commissioned officer. This took place on December 13th. Following my case I was told that I had received an honorable discharge, section two, cdd, and was to be admitted to a veterans home for further observation and treatment if necessary and to receive all the rights given by act of Congress to all returning veterans including any further hospitalization I may need at any time in the future. All advise, help, and assistance will be rendered by the Veterans Administration. So now you see number thirteen is my lucky number.

Christmas the folks came to see me and I didn't seem to recognize anyone the first time I glanced around. My cousin Ruth and her brother who I believe is now in England came along also. She looked very pretty, so I remarked. Mom and dad look fine though there working just as hard as ever. Sis Ruth has really grown up and she looks very different then when I last saw her. It was a swell reunion, one which I doubt I will ever forget. I forgot to tell you that once we got past Washington the weather changed from warm to very cold. In my stay at Valley Forge the weather was very severe. This is the coldest winter we have had in years. It started to snow two days before New Years. January has brought nothing but sleet and snow and the weather remains very cold although today isn't very bad at all. We had one big snow storm. It snowed for a day and a half without any letup and it was between eighteen and twenty-four inches deep. It hasn't snowed since except for some sleet and snow still remains on the ground from the last storm.

I had my first chance to see Philly when the Red Cross took us to a party at Bookbinders at second and Walnut Street. Philly looked good to me and it would probably look good to anyone who hasn't been home in some time. Its more crowded in town then it ever was and sometimes it gives one the impression that there isn't a war going on. Theres still plenty of men, probably four-f's and married men, not many young fellows at all. There plenty of women and you can still get liquor if you pay the price.

Getting back to Valley Forge, it took another four weeks before I signed my discharge on January 13,1945. The next day I went down to the quarter master and picketed myself out a good fitting class B uniform. In the meantime I signed my veterans papers and on January 24, I was told I was leaving for the Philadelphia Naval Hospital by request of the War Department. The fact is I was sent there in case I got sick again it wouldn't be far to go to get to the hospital. I was the only one in Valley Forge to go there. All the other fellows went to places in Maryland, New Jersey, or New York. They have three special wards for Army cases at the Naval Hospital and they also have a Veterans Administration for veterans. They gave me my discharge button and personals and then, by ambulance, I arrived at the Naval Hospital. After being admitted, I was sent to an open ward where there were veterans from the last war still there. On the twenty-fifth of January I was given a physical and ask some questions. It wasn't till nine that night that they told me I could go home of my own accord. I resolved to stay overnight and start out after breakfast. I got a good nights rest, ate a hardy breakfast, and then went down to the Veterans Administration where I was told my discharge and mustering out pay would be forward to me in two weeks. After receiving a written paper stating that I was discharged from the service on January 24,1945, I took off like a P-38. I got outside the gate there was a taxi waiting there so I hopped in and rode home. The taxi driver happened to be discharged from the Army about nine weeks ago and he was giving me advice on the present situation in Philly. When I walked into the house my mother was the only one home and she couldn't believe her eyes when she saw me walk in.

Darn it I left out part of the story. I forgot to tell you that Eve and Shorty came to see me on New Years day. Shorty is almost as tall as me and he certainly changed although he still stays out all hours of the night. In my opinion Eve looks swell and I know, when you come home you will agree with me. Everybody is working pretty hard and if theres any odd jobs to do they fall on my shoulders since I am not doing anything for the first month or so, but who's complaining?

Now to get back to the house. When I walked in Adele was sitting in the play pen and no sooner did I walk in did she point her finger to a picture of me on the mantelpiece and say "Uncle Eddy.” To tell you all about her might make you homesick worse then I imaging you are so I'll just say that you have a very cute daughter and she is also very intelligent. I think she looks a lot like your mother and somewhat like you (although that is my opinion.)

I have been home a week and a half just relaxing and doing small jobs around the house. I have no civilian clothes, so next week I am going to equip myself for normal civilian life again. Prices are sky high and when you go in town to buy something you often don't have anything to show for the money you spend. So I am preparing to spend three-hundred dollars or shall I say my mustering-out pay for shoes and clothes.

I guess you wonder what I am going to do now, well, I am going to go to college (maybe University of Penna.), as soon as I rest up. Then I have to arrange the whole affair with the Veterans Administration. I am going to try drafting and engineering and I hope I make out good.

When I stroll down the neighborhood I notice how shabby and beat up it looks. Well, after all, help is hard to get and if you wish to rebuild anything today you need a priority. In spite of all I was never as happy to be back in Logan as I am now. It is very deserted, and all the fellows are overseas. They just started a blackout to conserve electricity and fuel. All advertising signs, movie and night club lights are turned off including anybody who owns a business.

It is hard to get anything of good quality unless you pay a high price for what you buy and then sometimes you can't even buy it. Cigarettes, oils, gum, good candy, and various other ideams [sic items] are hard to get. So if you request something you may in any event wait a while before you receive it. We are accumulating candy, gum, cigarettes, and film which you probably requested. As soon as we have enough we will ship the package off to you. Eve gave me your shoes and I packed them and mailed it off a few days ago.

We heard from Sy about a week ago and I presume he is now out at sea. Your brother Jack also wrote and he is still in New Guinea doing good. Your mother is looking very well and Goldie, Harry, and Diana are getting along fine. The house looks just the same and as nice as when you left it.

One thing I would like to ask you and that is about those pictures I gave you when you came up to see me at the hospital in August. Did you ever send them home or do you still have them?

First I want to say that as long as I was in England I always heard from you though I'm sure you could not say the same for me and second, seeing you at the hospital. I was hoping you would be able to receive that furlough for I knew it would be the last time I would see you although I couldn't write such a statement in my letters and like I said before I never was told I was leaving for the states. But I do want you to know that if there is anything I can do for you just write and I will be only too glad to. I don't know how you stand and I am no one to predict how long this war is going to last. Like all, I hope and pray that wherever you are that someone is watching, over you. We all look forward to your return home regardless when it is and I shall always remember that patience is a virtue and always pays off in the long run.

In closing this letter I hope you're in the best of health and feeling fine and that the English weather is the worst enemy you have to combat. With all due respects from both families and also from friends I send you my deepest regards for your continued health and happiness in the remaining time that will elapse until your safe return home once more.

With love from all,

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