March 18, 1945
Last night I was so ill I thought I’d die. I finally got unwell, but it seemed as if a terrific force hit me. My head ached so much it made me cry. I was up all night and feel very weak today. I took it easy most of the day. I spent the afternoon typing a long letter regarding my grandmother’s estate that I had promised to type for my mother.
I did two other things today—I bought Adele three pairs of light-weight overalls—chocolate brown, light green & powder blue. I bought a blouse from Fay (one that her mom brought from the factory—with a tiny damage) for $2.75. It’s a pale pink sharkskin rayon with tucks all the way across the shoulders, back and front.
The thermometer reached 86° yesterday, so you can well imagine how hot it was. It was unusually warm today, but not quite as warm as yesterday. I’ve discarded Adele’s snowsuit, for it is too warm for the weather we are having.
Goldie’s folks will be leaving soon—so we’re having an early dinner. They gave Adele a floating soap dish. I’m going to have my first taste of champagne tonight—here’s a toast to you, my dearly beloved.
18 March 1945
You’ll note by the date-line that I am writing this the “morning after the night before.” That’s because I didn’t get the opportunity to write last night (as I shall explain a little further along)—but rather than “cheat” you out of the letter for 17 March, I decided to cover my activities of that date this morning. Thus, what I do today will be duly recorded in a letter which I shall write tomorrow, etc.—
Yesterday, the 17th dawned gray and cool with threatening rain-clouds in the sky. I spent the morning and the greater part of the afternoon getting bathed, shaved, hair-cut, and my clothes from the station tailor. By 3 P.M. I was ready to start dressing. This was my first opportunity to wear my civvy shoes since they arrived, and before I tried them, I was almost certain that they would be sizes small. After wearing the roomy, broad-toed G.I. brogans steadily for two years and more it was small wonder that I took it for granted that my feet had spread to some extent. Imagine, then, my surprise and gratification when I put them on and found them a perfect fit, and as comfortable as I ever remember them! The heels are a bit run-down, but the soles and uppers are good, so I’ll make my first stop this morning the shoemaker’s and have a new set of heels put on.
I left camp at 4:30 P.M. on the “train-run” truck and was in town by 5:05 P.M. On arriving, I went directly to Bert’s shop, to find both him and Ev and two girls waiting on some 10 or 12 G.I.’s and Tommies, who just about filled the tiny place. Their greeting was “well, look who’s here!”—and no wonder! I was pleased that they even recognized me after my absence of some three months!
Evelyn had left Nigel in the keeping of a neighborhood girl, who had to leave at 6 o’clock, so we hopped into a taxi about a quarter ’til and went to the house. Nigel, who is still about the best-looking boy of his age (9 months now) I have seen, had grown noticeably since the last time I saw him, and it was mighty sweet holding him while Evelyn washed and changed. While she fed him, I told her all about the swell time I had on furlough. Bert, who is ailing with a painful boil where he sits, came in about 8 o’clock, and we had tea shortly afterward. Mr. Cohen, Evelyn’s father, called from the R.R. station at 9:30, and Bert went off in his recently acquired car to pick him up. They were back in about a half-hour, Bert lugging the high-chair that he (Mr. Cohen) had brought from London, and Mr Cohen carrying a small, portable RCA-Victor set that he had just bought for £20 ($70.00) second hand! He was offered £30 ($120.00) for it about an hour later—and refused it! Can you believe it, Chippie? You know the type of set I mean—your mother was contemplating buying you one ’way back in 1940. I was further amazed when Bert appeared delighted with his father-in-law’s luck in picking up such a “bargain”! When I expressed my amazement, he told me in all seriousness that he’d gladly pay £30 a piece for a hundred of them, and guarantee to dispose of them within a week at prices ranging anywhere from £35 (140.00) to £40 (160.00)! Mr. Cohen told of an interesting experience to illustrate the point that many British people have more money than they literally know what to do with, because of the dearth of things to buy: He was dining in a London Restaurant recently, when a friend, whom he hadn’t seen in four years, and whom he hardly recognized, approached him to remind him that he owed Mr. Cohen £25. Telling him (Mr. Cohen) to wait a minute, he walked over to the check-room, and returned carrying a large valise. This, he nonchalantly placed on the table between them, and calmly proceeded to open. Mr. Cohen said he almost passed out when he saw the contents, for the suit-case was literally jammed full with £1 and £5 notes! (Boy, what a spot for a red-hot crap game!)—And I can’t even get hold of a measly wallet-full of the stuff!
For supper, to top off an evening of surprises, and which we sat down to at 10:30 P.M., Evelyn broke out four (4) of the biggest, juiciest steaks complete with fried onions, baked-beans, and mustard pickles, that it has ever been my pleasure to sink a fang into—(oops! sorry if I turned your stomach with that last, Sweet).
The taxi, which I had booked earlier in the evening to take me to the Red Cross Club, honked for me at exactly 12:00 M.
This morning, I slept ’til 8:30, when, feeling well-rested, I rose, dressed, went out, and got the morning papers, which I read over breakfast here at the Club. After that, I procured this stationery in the office, and settled down in the lounge to write.
I find this place very comfortable and attractive, so perhaps a few lines of description might be well-received by you, honey—
The phono-radio is currently giving out with “Straighten up and Fly Right” for the edification of an even dozen of G.I.’s who are lolling about in the circle of easy chairs arranged before the instrument.
Against the opposite wall, two more G.I.’s are engaged in a red-hot game of ping-pong, while another dozen or so G.I.’s look on. Between the two, in the center of the large, square room, which is attractively painted in light green and ivory, with a green-and-ivory patterned linoleum floor covering, there are more easy chairs (all occupied) and a long table, which is strewn with American magazines like Life, Time, Newsweek, Sat. Eve. Post, etc. and out-dated newspapers from all parts of the U.S.A.
The dining-room, which opens off one of the corners of the lounge is somewhat smaller, but ample to attend the needs of the soldiers who frequent the Club.
Which all brings me completely up to date (except that it’s “Rum-Boogie” on the radio now). I might also mention, baby, that it’s a lovely, sunny, Sunday afternoon, which just matches my mood which, in turn, was made happy by the wonderful news I just finished reading in the papers. To all appearances, according to the military analysts, the last big battle to occupy Germany and end the war, is now shaping. Here’s hoping, my darling!
I’m about ready for lunch, which is now being served, so I’ll take my leave, for the time being, with a loving kiss for you, my lovely, one for my adorable adolescent, Adele (good—huh?), and love to all. Mind if I kiss you again, baby? I love you so much! Just remember, Sweet,—wherever you are, you are the constant companion of
Your adoring Phil