I intend to post almost daily, and in roughly chronological order, the thousands of pages of daily love letters that my parents sent to each other during WWII and any other documents that pertain to these letters..
I do not have the typewritter & am using this means, the the only one I could use, without a typewriter. Your letter of the 12th, received yesterday, was in reply to my question of the “#4906 break." I hope you didn't expect me to show that letter to anyone, for you know how deep it would cut. I'd appreciate if you'd write a reply as I suggested, so that I may give it to all to read - something nice -
The day was spent cleaning our room - a thorough job - & took most of the day. Petey made a snap of Adele, but I don’t expect it to be good.
Adele's Dick test showed a positive reaction, but the Doc feels she should have one more shot, in about three weeks. (darn it!) If I don't take Adele's tonsils out in June, they cannot be removed until October. In all probability I will wait until Oct. Syd Brown is home on a 30 day furlough & does not yet know whether he will be discharged.
I love you!!
30 May 1945
The weather cleared today, and we had some really nice weather. My cough is all but gone and I'm feeling fine again. Capt. Brownlee meant what he said about doing something about my indigestion, ’cause instead of sending me back to my unit, he is having some tests made in order to determine just what is at the root of my trouble. Today he sent me around to the X-Ray department to begin what is known as a “G.B. Series,” which is nothing more or less then a series of X-Ray pictures to determine if my gall bladder is functioning properly. This is a rather involved procedure. The first step was taken early this afternoon, when an X-Ray was taken of my gall-bladder. When I got back to the ward, I was given half a tumblerful of a purple dye to drink down. A little later I was given a stiff dose of mineral oil. In about half an hour I'm to report to the mess hall with a note which says "fat-free diet." Later tonight I'll be given an enema (how I dread the prospect), and tomorrow morning I'm to have no breakfast. All the foregoing, of course, is in preparation for another X-Ray, which they are going to make tomorrow morning. After that - ?? If you remember, Sweet, I went thru pretty much the same procedure at Lockbourne early in ’43, and the result was that they decided I have a “nervous stomach", but as far as doing anything about it - well, they just didn't. This time, tho’ I’m going to press for action, and I think I'll get it. I told the Capt. about the tests they made at Lockbourne. "What did they find out,” he asked. "I have a nervous stomach,” I answered. "What did they tell you to do about it"? "They told me not to eat fried or greasy foods and to try not to worry.” The Capt. laughed at that - then he told me that he had handled many cases like mine, etc, etc, and that as soon as I was feeling better he would see what could be done about it. I thought that he was just trying to be congenial at the time and that he would forget about it and discharge me from hospital as soon as my cough had disappeared (in which case I fully intended to remind him), but I had misjudged the good Captain, ’cause he came round bright and early this morning and told me to go round to be X-Rayed. He gave me a slip on which was written "G.B. Series - Chronic indigestion" to give to the X-Ray Technician. After I drank the dye, I had to lay on my right side for an hour, which wasn't too hard to do. I've been taking it easy the remainder of the day, just lying on my bunk and listening to the radio.
Well, darling, there isn't any more to tell for the moment, and I have to run along to the mess-hall and my "fat-free diet,” so I'll leave you for a while. Here's a kiss, baby. I love you so much! And here's a kiss for Adele, too. My love to all. Hasta Mañana
Just finished a V-mail to Gloria (high time, too), and now I'm all set to talk to you again. I'm feeling O.K. now, and the only trace that is left of my recent illness is a little cough that will be gone soon. However, I may be here for at least a few days because I told the Doc about my long suffering with indigestion, and he is going to see what he can do about it. He seemed almost pleased when I told him about. it. At least he smiled as happily as a kid with a new toy as he told me quite frankly that that sort of thing was right up his alley, and implied that what he didn't know about it wasn't worth knowing. Which is all very fortunate for me, because more Army doctors than you know about, seemed entirely uninterested and unwilling to do anything constructive about my condition. This Captain Brownlie, though, appears to be most interested. I got the impression it is his specialty and hobby. Deep down, I don't think any doctor, no matter how well-intentioned, can cure me as long as I am in the Army and have to eat Army chow. I'm convinced that the only solution is strict and prolonged diet, which is a physical impossibility in the Army, but I’m thankful, nevertheless, that someone is going to try to do something about it.
In the meantime, I'm having a nice enough time of it. I've read three books so far. "Slogum House” by Mari Sandoz (remember it?), "There's One in Every Family" by Frances Eisenberg - a very light humorous novel that amused me, and "My Dear Bella" by Arthur Kober, which is a series of sketches about a Bronx family, Ma and Pa Gross and their young and only daughter Bella. It is true to life and written in Yiddish dialect, which is the funniest part of the book. I think you'd enjoy it, Sweet, so try to get hold of it. When I'm not reading, I'm either dozing or listening to the radio. There are two loud speakers, one at each end of the ward, and thru these at intervals during the day, we hear the news, music, and transcribed records and radio programs such as the Edgar Bergen show, etc. Then, of course, a good proportion of my time was spent writing that 14-pager, the V- mail to Gloria, and now this. The ward is filled with former combat men, some former PW's, etc., who swap yarns some of the time. I usually lend an attentive ear to this talk, ’cause some of these fellows have had some unusual experiences, sometimes dramatic, but the ones they usually talk about are the ones they found funny or sexy, with plenty of the latter. I often wonder what you would think, darling, if you could hear about some of the things that guys and gals are wont to do under circumstances peculiar to war-time—Most of the fellows are going home in a few weeks, and while they try not to be impatient, it is pretty difficult, and even if they don't talk much about it, one can see how preoccupied they are with their thoughts of home.
I was just thinking how ironic it would be if my unit were shipped home before I could get out of hospital - but I guess there isn't much chance of their moving anyplace before I get out of here, altho' I don't think we'll be in England more than another few months. You have, no doubt, seen in the newspapers that some of the 8th Air Force have flown home, and that more are scheduled to do so, but that doesn't mean we will do likewise. On the other hand, we may. The 8th Air Force is now in the process of re-deployment, but different units are destined to go straight to the Pacific, while others will be sent to the states. Of the latter, some will be disbanded, while others will be re-outfitted and re-trained for eventual action in the Pacific. It's no use trying to guess what I am destined for - I can only be certain of one thing - that some change in my status will occur in the near future. I can only hope that it will be a happy change. I know you are praying for me, honey—
I'm missing your letters, sweetheart, and it's hard to do without them. Too - it makes it so much more difficult for me to write a really long letter, altho’ I haven't done too badly here of late - huh? Guess I'm just about all writ out now, so I'll close this with my usual large measure of love to you, the punkin and all.
I love you dearly, my Evie, and am, as ever
P.S. Continue to write to APO 559 until I advise you differently. Thank you!
May 29, 1945
When you write to me again address me as Mr. and send your mail c/o Miss Marjorie Mann, Borden General Hospital, Chickasha, Okla. A-5
Yup! I got a C.D.D. and after five more days I’ll be cleared from the hospital and on my way to Marjorie.
I intend to find a job in photog. in Oklahoma City and we’ll see each other about three times weekly. When we’ve saved enough, we’ll go East.
After that I’ll probably take up on one of the ex G.I. programs to lead me to a research job in photog. I’m not sure. I’m certain only that if God grants us health we’ll have a happy and prosperous life together.
I hope you’re all well, and I sure wish I could hear from Phil once in a while and from you often.
I’ll write in a couple of weeks and let you know what goes.
P.S. Marjorie uses her maiden name because she’s not allowed to “date” patients. It would look like hell if she were married to one. It might even mean her job. If I get anything decent, to hell with it if she can’t be known as Mrs. N.
Did not have the opportunity to write yesterday. After I wrote to you on Saturday I met Ruth at Lerner's and tried several dresses on. There were two that appealed to me and Ruth will try to get them for me with her discount. Harry Weinman came over for dinner and asked Ruth to go out with him. So it was that both Harrys, Ruth, Goldie and myself went to the Logan to see "Hotel Berlin", which was a "stinkeroo" and then to Scotty's for sundaes. It was kind of late when we got to bed and I could just about get up at 7:30, when Adele awoke. Adele and I had breakfast and went out to play on the porch. She played with her toys, while I tried to make some progress with her sweater. I finished sewing the front and back together and started on one sleeve. Mom didn't get up until 11:30 and since she had slept with me so that Harry could have her bed, it wasn't until that time that I got to straighten up our room. At 12 I prepared Adele's lunch, fed her, bathed her, washed her hair and put her to nap. I washed some clothes, ate lunch, cleaned the living room set with the hand sweeper and put the covers on (with Harry W's help).
May 29, 1945
Never did finish, but here I am again. Sunday night I took Adele up at 8 o'clock and lay down on the bed till she fell asleep. I slept that way until 1:30 - that's how tired I was. At 1:30 I came down, had some milk and cake and went right back to sleep. Monday I got into work early and went straight to Dr. Gayl's with Adele after dinner. He gave her the Dick test and I have to go back this evening for the reading. Dr. Gayl and I discussed the advisability of taking Adele's tonsils out and he told me it would cost $50.00. Since I do not have mail from you and it may be that you are on your way home, I do not believe that I will have them removed until the Fall.
All of which brings me right up to date. The weather continues cool and we’ve been having plenty of rain.
On arriving home I found your letter of May 12th which I will comment on tomorrow. Adele weighed 36 1⁄2 lbs. Monday night & I weighed 117 1/2. I'll say my usual "I love you, sweet,” so I can get this into the mail.
There was no mail from you yesterday, but there was a nice letter from Jack Nerenberg and a confirmation of their marriage from his wife. Her parents' name is Mr. & Mrs. Lorenzo Beckley Mann. Jack took my suggestion and spent a whole evening writing to you. Now you'll have some first hand information concerning him. He is still at the hospital and is impatiently awaiting a discharge. He says, "Can you picture me going to bed every night at 9? This is a very boring life!" He goes on to say that he hadn't seen Marge for 23,040 minutes. He knows I feel sorry for him, but he should compare the time we haven't seen each other. Does that make him feel better? No - he still feels badly - so there now!
Last night was another of those unexciting evenings. In fact, we're so slow at work that I could type to you all day long, providing I could dream up enough to write about. Strangely, and because I do have the time, I find it almost impossible to concentrate and write and write, much as I want to. I caught up on my correspondence at work yesterday by writing to Seymour, Gloria and Milt. I got home early, had dinner, bathed Adele, fitted more of her clothes so that I could put them in a wearable condition, showered, set my hair, knitted, etc.
Oh yes! Syd is back in the States and will be home today or tomorrow. Harry Weinman has been transferred to Fort Dix and is home from Friday to Monday night on pass. It's getting to be like old times with some of the boys home! Phil, I don't know whether it's hope, or just because I want it to happen so much, but I feel that I will see you soon. Perhaps you won't stay here, but I do feel that I will see you soon. It's really the first time that I had such a feeling and I hope that I'm right. It's not often that I feel this way. I won't be disappointed if I don't, but I feel, almost certainly, that I will! I shall be a very happy girl when the last week of May in over. I dislike the prospect of spending three nights of a week in a doctor's office, especially when I know that the needle may cause ill effects. Adele has been eating nicely and looking well and I hate to think that I shall have to cause her further hardship. Oh well, it will all be over in a week.
I'm still at work and will visit Ruth at Lerner's before going home, to see if I can buy myself some cotton dresses. It's a lucky thing for me that the weather is cool, or I'd be without anything to wear to work. Since I do not have much to say and want to get a letter off today, I shall post this when I leave work. If I did receive mail, I will answer it tomorrow.
I forgot to tell you that yesterday was the 24th anniversary of my folks. Next year we'll have to have a party to commemorate?? the occasion. I love you so much, baby, and wish that I could give expression to that love by actual demonstration.
*Coincidentally, when I had just begun to ready this post, I spent a day in the emergency room and was diagnosed with Influenza A. My husband, Saul, came down with it the day after and we both spent a miserable week in bed recovering. We know just how you felt, Dad, as you were suffering and recovering.
May 25, 1945
No mail today, though I had been expecting some. Most everyone has had mail up to the 18th of May, so I'm just a week behind, with yours of the 11th. Saturday is usually my lucky day, so here's hopin'!
There's one question I've been meaning to ask you for a long time. I wanted to show Adele your violin and when I attempted to open the case I found it was locked. Do you remember locking it or where you put the key? Hope you’ll be able to play it for her in the very near future. I'm sure she'd like that.
I brought home a dozen boxes of camphor for Ethel and she and Al picked them up last night. Camphor is very scarce and she was very grateful for the favor, especially since she received it at cost price, I had bathed Adele and had put her in her crib when they walked in. As soon as she heard their voices, she called, "Al, Al I want to see you!” I brought her down and she gave Al his usual hug and kiss. God but she's crazy about him! In the meantime Mrs. Ochroch, our new next door neighbor caught her attention and since Mrs."Otok” always gives Adele a piece of candy, she asked for it on this occasion. So Mrs. “Otok” went to get Adele a piece of candy. While we were waiting on the porch, Ethel said “Adele, I’m going to give you a nickel for a dixie.” Adele replied, “I’m going to put the money in my penny bank”. Ethel, who doesn’t like the kid much (not much!) almost ate her up. Ethel asked Adele what she was going to do to her daddy when he came home and she said, “I’m going to give him a tiss and a hug and he’s going to buy me a tar (car)”.
It was rather late when she finally fell asleep and I finished washing. However, I still have piles and piles of sewing to do and proceeded to put up two hems on two of Adele's dresses. I ironed them, read the newspaper, corrected the mistake I had made on Adele’s sweater and was in bed by 11:45. So ended another very routine evening for me.
Really, honey, I'm finding it more and more difficult to write daily, when I have so little to write about. I shopped and shopped for a hat for Mom but to no avail. I gave her $5 instead, and told her to buy whatever she liked.
I read an article in last night’s Bulletin that stated all of the 8th men except those particular outfits of the 8th to be shipped directly to the Pacific will be flown home within 30 to 60 days. Now all I want to know is does that or does that not include you? I realize you know no more than I do, but perhaps by this time, you have been enlightened to some extent. Gosh, it doesn't sound at all believable that I might possibly see you within a matter of days!! Don't worry I’m not going to feel or believe anything until you're right next to me - in the flesh! Did I tell you that I'm just wild about you? I didn't l Well, I am, in fact I love you so much I could eat you right up. Um -
Shall I take a page out of your book and say right off the bat that I am writing this from a hospital bunk - or shall I be sensible about it by starting at the beginning and telling you of the circumstances that brought me here? Since I always made fun of you for your fondness for the former course, I guess I'd better be consistent and choose the latter - On the 21st of May I left the base on my first pass in seven weeks. I had 72 hours, which I intended to spend in London. The 21st being Whit Monday, we weren't permitted to travel by rail, so I decided to spend the afternoon and night in Colchester and start out for London by bus in the morning. Neither the Woolfs nor the Marks were at home when I called, so I headed for the movies to see "Something for the Boys". I enjoyed only two things about the picture: (1) The very attractive settings. (2) Vivian Blaine who is the loveliest red-head I ever did see - and talented to boot. Carmen Miranda, whom I used to enjoy is beginning to pall -there’s so little variety about her performance. Perry Como is good-looking, and has a very pleasing voice - I look for him to make the gals forget all about Frank Sinatra. If I had a voice like Michael O'Shea's, I'd certainly never use it for singing! After the show, I went round to the Marks on the chance they might be back. They were, so I spent what was left of the night there. There were two other G.I.’s there, one of whom has a mess of points and is probably on his way home by now. The other guy, an immense hunk o’man standing about 6’4” and weighing about 270 lbs. spent the evening trying to convince us he’d go nuts if they kept him in the ETO much longer. He wanted to go home, and couldn’t think or talk about anything else. We left at 11:30 and went to the Red Cross Club, where we spent the night. In the morning, I stopped at Bert’s shop to visit with him a little while, and then went ’round to the depot to catch my bus. I had to change at Chelmsford. Bretton Wood and Romford, and made the last stage of the journey, from Upminster Bridge to Leicester Sq. via the Underground. Altogether, it took me about four hours, but the weather was nice and the landscape interesting, so I didn’t mind. Arrived at Leicester Sq., I went directly to the Eagle Club, where I filled up on a toasted cheese sandwich, hot waffles, and malted milk (not to be confused with the U.S.A. variety). Sgt. Murphy had told me that me that he might be able to come into London, and that he would meet me at Rainbow Corner at 8 P.M. if he did get in. When I finished eating, it was just 4:30, so I looked around for a move in which to “kill” the intervening time. “Picture of Dorian Gray,” playing at the Empire, looked interesting, so I decided to give it a try. I had read the story and liked it, but the picture somehow failed to capture the qualities of eeriness and suspense of Oscar Wilde's bizarre tale. Incidentally, I learned that Angela Lansbury was not the little girl who played the lead in "National Velvet", but the baby-faced blonde who played her older sister. She plays the role of Dorian Gray's first love and first victim. It is difficult to put one's finger on where the picture failed. I only know I was disappointed with it. I came out of the theater into the mellow sun-light of a lovely spring late afternoon. It was then about 6:45. Having more than an hour to spare before my date with Murph, I went back to the Eagle Club to pick up the camera I had borrowed from Karl Schoemerren, and which I had loaded with that roll of film you sent me. With camera in hand, I strolled through the bustling crowds and traffic toward Trafalgar Square. I tried to get a decent view of the crowds and general scene, but found that the range of the camera was limited. Arriving at the Square, I poked about looking for something suitable to photograph, but aside from the tots feeding the flocks of pigeons, I saw nothing that I thought might interest you. Being too shy to involve myself with the elders of the kids feeding the pigeons, I wound up taking no pictures at all. I waited at Rainbow Corner for Murphy ’til 8:30, and then concluded that he hadn’t come in, so I left a note for him and went back to the Eagle Club for a bite to eat, and to determine how I would spend the remainder of the evening. It was too late to make another movie, and I never was one to find any fun in “pub-crawling" especially not without company, so I was stuck. I was about to settle down to getting a letter off to you, when I suddenly remembered something I had often wanted to do in London, but never got around to. Klein had told me of the two big dance halls in London, the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden, and the Palais in Hammersmith, where there was dancing nightly. I had heard some glowing accounts of these places, but I wasn't prepared for anything like what I encountered. Covent Garden is only a few minutes ride on the UG, so I set forth for the Royal Opera House. The nomenclature of the place should have given me some idea as to its appearance, but the lavish appointments and decorations, are so contrary to what I have seen of all public places in England (with the exception of the better movie-houses) that I was completely surprised and at once delighted with it. Two balconys that extend half-way ’round the hall, and whose facades are decorated with great numbers of three candelabra red-shaded electric lights, give an air of luxurious beauty to the Hall. Rows of small tables and chairs are set up next to the balcony rails, and these provide an excellent vantage point for those who just come to watch the dancers. The floor itself is highly polished hardwood parquetry (like the flooring in the house in Chestnut Street). There were two orchestras - Teddy Foster and his band, and an all-girl aggregation, whom I liked even more. The music, like most music played by the bands over here was entirely American, and predominantly jive. The dancers (about a thousand, I figure) were a conglomeration of English civilians of both sexes, English military personnel of both sexes, and American service men, with a sprinkling of WACS. The English girls, in the main, were more smartly dressed and made up than I've ever seen them, and quite a few were good to look at. Their dancing, however, isn't in the same class with the Americans. They seem to lack the easy grace that is born of a real liking or appreciation of rhythm. Most of the girls "jitterbring" (or what passes for it over here), but I have still to see one on whom it looks good. For that matter, now that I think of it, outside of Klein and one or two others, I haven't seen the smooth, on-beat, type of jitterbugging that I used to enjoy watching back in Philly. When it comes to dancing (of any kind) our own crowd (Snuff, Bob, Yale, Phil, Bill Cooper, Jack N.) had it all over any group of G.I.'s I've ever seen at a dance - and that's not just blarney, either. After watching many, many guys in action, I can’t help but feel that I'll get along O.K. when the time comes when I'll want to dance again. It's only after watching a Jackie N. perform that I feel my inferiority in this department—but we all can't be dancers of his caliber, can we honey? A sidelight about English dances you might find interesting because the Americans have no counterpart for it - the “ladies’ excuse me" sessions, during which the gals are supposed to “cut-in". I had heard of this custom. This was the first time I saw it in practice. Immediately after the “excuse me” was announced, a number of the more venturesome girls, who had spent most of the evening on the side lines looking on, because they weren't asked to dance, made their way to the center of the floor, and after scouting the dancing couples a while cut in wherever their fancy pleased them. Unfortunately, the floor was so crowded, that my view of groups of "cutters-in" was often obstructed - and so I was cheated out of an excellent opportunity to observe something of the feminine psychology that would be evidenced from the bases on which they chose partners. For the rest, the floor is the shape of an elongated oval, the band-stand is situated about three-fourths down the length of the hall, rather than at the very back, which is a very happy arrangement, because the music is equally audible from any part of the hall, and the dancers, can dance completely around the island formed by the bandstand. To top it all off there is an elaborate system of lighting, whereby the mood of the music is enhanced and augmented by appropriately colored ceiling lights, spot-lights, flood-lights, etc, etc. Altogether, it was a very happy thought that prompted me to visit the Opera House in Covent Garden. I spent a very pleasant and entertaining evening there - and gained a myriad of lovely impressions which are tucked away in the "permanent file" of my memory.
I left the dance just before it ended at 11 P.M. in order to a void the rush to the cloak-rooms, where I had checked my caps and ditty bags. Taking the UG, I went directly to the Turkish Baths in Russell Square. There I followed the usual relaxing procedure, which you already know, and was in bed by 1:30. I slept until 9:00 A.M. (23rd), when I rose, dressed and checked out. When I came out-side, I was disappointed to find that it was raining, chilly, and generally miserable weather. My first stop was at the Eagle for breakfast. After eating I loafed for an hour in the lounge listening to a performance of "Tchaikovsky's 4th", (one of my favorite symphonies) on the radio, and glancing over the news. I had promised myself a show (at least one) on this pass, so I went ’round to the booking office of the Prince of Wales Theater and inquired about a seat for either the matinee or evening performance of “Strike it Again", the sequel to "Strike a New Note" which I saw last year, and for which I sent you the programs, and which I enjoyed so much. Well, Sid Field is again the star of the show, and he is a great success here in London. The show it self is doing a tremendous business, and tickets are always hard to get. On inquiring, I learned that the only seats available for that day were a few in the first row at 14/ (don't bother converting Chippie, I'll tell you in a minute how much it is in American dollars and cents) for the matinee, and nothing whatever for the evening performance! Well, 14 shillings is about $2.80, and more than I had meant to spend for an afternoon's entertainment, so I tried a few other theaters in the vicinity. It turned out to be just so much wasted effort - they were all sold out, some for weeks ahead! By the time I finished the rounds, I began to feel that those seats "for "Strike it Again" were a downright bargain at 14/. I was even relieved, when I got back, to find that a few were still unsold! Without further ado, then, I bought a ticket and headed back to the Eagle to wait the hour or so ’til 2:30. I was feeling uncommonly tired about this time, but I didn't suspect anything was wrong until I passed a place advertising ice creams for sale. When I was almost a block past it, I found myself wondering why I didn't respond normally to that sign. Concentrating on this unprecedented behavior of mine, I had to admit to myself that I didn't feel like eating ice cream, or anything else for that matter. Back at the club, trying to relax, I felt uncommonly restless, then weary, then chilly, then too-warm. It finally dawned on me that I was sick and, very likely, running a temperature. When it came show time, I hardly felt up to it, but I would have to be half-dead to give up going - so I went! It may be said to the eternal credit of Sid Field and the company of "Strike it Again" that I thoroughly enjoyed the show in spite of my indisposition. Sid Field has a great talent for comedy, and he can make me laugh as no one else can. But you'd have to see him, Sweet, to appreciate his cleverness. The two feminine leads (you'll find their names in a program which I will include in another letter - [this one will be bulky enough] - I didn't pay too much attention) were a hard-looking but beautifully built blonde, who sang and acted at least to my, entire satisfaction, and a lovely, oriental looking brunette, who danced and sang most pleasingly. The whole performance was marked by the vivacity of the cast, which was made up of a bunch of talented, good-looking, dancing kids in their teens. If you'll save the programs, Sweet, I'll someday try to describe some of the action to you.
As soon as I came out of the theater, I knew for certain that I was a pretty sick boy. Chills ran up my spine and seemed to explode in my head - my hair felt as if it were standing on end - my head was spinning at every other step, and I felt as though I were walking in a dream. I've had fevers too many times not to be able to recognize the symptoms, so I stopped at the Eagle's information desk to inquire where I might go for medical attention. I was directed to the dispensary at Rainbow Corner, five minutes walk away. There, a nurse took my temperature and confirmed my suspicion. I had a substantial fever - 102° to be exact. The M.P.'s took me and two other fellows to another U.S. Army Medical center in London, where I was further examined by a Medical Officer, who thought I had the flu. From there I was taken in an Army ambulance across town to the 150th General Hospital, where I was put to bed, examined by another Medical Officer, who confirmed the original diagnosis, and where I spent a pretty miserable night. The fever kept me awake most of the night, and I ached in every part of me. In the morning I felt no better. About 11 A.M. (24th) I was given my clothes, told to dress because they were moving me to the 7th General Hospital about 20 mi. away in the country. Then followed maddening periods of waiting - waiting for the ambulance - waiting to get to the other place so I could lay down again (I was feeling miserable and impatient with everything) - waiting once we got there after what seemed an interminable time someone gave me a ride, to be assigned to a ward, while the G.I. clerks in the office fooled around with one thing and another, and I fought myself to resist the urge to lay down on the floor, and finally attaining once more to the unexcelled luxury of a crisp, white, hospital bunk, which, at the moment, was the one thing in all the world I wanted. I remember thinking, while I was waiting in the office, that if someone gave me the option of a bunk or an immediate start for home (without the bunk), I should probably choose the bunk! That, honey, should give you a pretty good idea as to how I felt at the time. Since then, though, I've had a much better time of it - (it is now 8:30 A. M. Sunday 27 May). The Medical Offices here examined me shortly after I was between the sheets, said I had the flu (as if I didn't know), and assured me that I'd “be O.K. in a coupla days". I was given four tablets, which I washed down at one gulp (to my own amazement), and which that evening and during the night literally sweated the fever completely out of me. I've felt almost normal, then, since the morning of the 25th, when I embarked on this tale of giddy up and woe (all right- so you don't get it - I know what I mean!). What have I failed to cover? Oh, yes, I'm in a ward of some thirty beds, with a bunch of guys recovering from various kinds of pneumonia, bronchial, and sinus ailments. The crew of ward-boys (G.I.’s) and young American Nurses (some pretty, but all well appreciated) are constantly on the ball, and the care and attention they lavish on us is a thing to behold! Our bunks are made up afresh two or three times each day, our backs are rubbed with a mixture of camphor and alcohol and then dusted with talc an equal number of times, etc., etc. - until one realizes he's going to hate like hell to leave this place to go back to camp! But I am rather anxious to get back for a number of reasons. First, there must be quite accumulation of your letters waiting for me that I'm most impatient to see. Then, there is so much of my work that shouldn't be permitted to go undone, and I doubt if Sgt. Stegman will have time for, what with the numerous other things he has to see to - and finally, I'm due for furlough on 1 June, and unless I get back soon, I'll probably have to forfeit that. I was planning to go up to Meadowcroft again, as I feel more at home there than any other place in England. The Yorkshire moors are at their best this time of year, and I wanted particularly to see them. If you remember, there was that invitation of Comdr. Bower's to stay at Sizgher castle in the Lake Windermere country, which is reputed to be very beautiful, but I find myself reluctant to give up this opportunity to see the Davies' again. I don’t know, Sweet, how long I'll be hospitalized, but I have little hope of getting back to base before 31 May, and that won't give me time enough to make the necessary arrangements to leave on the 1 June. However, if there are any dates open a little later in the month, I'll be able to go then. Anyway, here's hopin!
All this palaver, darling, when I know you are only concerned with the answer to one question - when I expect to come home - Ev, baby, don't think for a minute that just because I try to find some meaning or divertissement in things like trips to London, the Theater, and plans for a furlough in Yorkshire, that getting home isn't almost constantly in my thoughts. The suspense and uncertainty surrounding the prospects for going home is maddening - that is why I must keep myself constantly occupied - on the go - anything to keep that growing yearning within me under control. You, too, Chippie, must be under something of a strain trying to guess whether or not I'll be coming home to you within the next few months, but I remember being reassured as far as your own feelings are concerned by a statement you made in one of your most recent letters to the effect that you are hoping for the best and are prepared for the worst. That's the kind of talk I love to hear from you, darling - It makes it so much easier for me to know that you can face up to anything that may come your way. If it's any comfort to you, sweetheart, I haven't heard or seen anything since I wrote last that has done anything to shake my optimistic attitude one little bit. I might even add that my hopes are being constantly strengthened by certain shapings of events, So don't begrudge anyone the cheeriness of your smile these days, honey. You have more cause to wear that expression than any other -believe me! Don't start to “build up” the punkin just yet tho’, she's too young to be able to check her impatience or to have a dream fizzle out without too great an emotional repercussion. If I didn't think you are adult enough, my darling, I wouldn't allow you to entertain hopes, either.
Well, baby, I think I've told you just about everything you'd want to know (and no doubt a lot that you don't give a damn about), so I'll close this with all my love to you, a kiss (on account) for Adele, and love to all from
The two letters I received yesterday were dated May 7 and May 11. The content of the latter made me very dejected. I had not built any daydreams on your coming home, but neither had I expected to be as it is. I dislike, intensely, the fact that you were transferred to the Air Corps. I never did care for the Air Corps that much anyway, as you know from past experience. In spite of your pleas to be of good heart, I can only say that I feel very bitterly about the whole rotten business. I get a heavy sickening feeling every time I think that it may be "years" before we can get back to any semblance of a decent normal life. I get so terribly disgusted and disillusioned -
The six day week is a break for you - but it's about time something broke our way. Jack N. will certainly be glad to hear from you (and what do you mean by take a cue from you). I've been writing to Jack regularly I'll have you know, else how would I be able to inform you of his doings.
I understood that the point system was based on all happenings previous to May 18, 1945. Is this true? I've heard divided opinions on the subject and would like to know definitely. The Army itself is confused and it will probably be some time before they themselves know what it's all about. All we can or have to do is sit tight and wait for them to come to. I feel that you should be given credit for the year in the Enlisted Reserve, especially since the Army saw fit to allow you a hash mark and longevity pay. That, in itself, constitutes recognition of the length of service. However, it seems that the Army isn't always fair to those who most deserve consideration. I also feel that your age is an important factor, especially since it is such a governing factor in the draft. But who am I to feel!
Got to bed a little earlier last night. I lowered the hem on the greenish colored dress I bought last week because it was just a little too short and ironed a few pieces. Adele has enough dresses, but their either too short or too long. I'm always puttin' 'em up or takin’ ’em down.
Called Dot first thing this morning, as today is her fourth anniversary and I forgot to send her a card. By the way, was surprised that you sent something to my Dad for Father's Day. I've thought and thought and thought about what to send you for the same occasion and somehow I always draw a blank. I know you could always use a package of food, but I want to get you something personal. Perhaps you could suggest something - but if you came home - well -
Goldie is leaving for Poughkeepsie next weekend. She will train to New York and her Dad will meet her there with his car and take her the rest of the way. Her dad is hiring a crib, carriage, etc. and all the necessities, so that it will not be necessary for her to ship any of her belongings. Mom will definitely accompany her, only to New York. Well, sweet, haven't much more room, so will close with the old, but always new "I adore you, sweet" -
I was surprised, upon arriving home from work, to find your check for $55. It seems to me that it came through very promptly. On second thought It is almost three weeks since you sent it, so it isn't so prompt after all.
Gloria sent Mom a money order of $10 and a lovely Mother's Day card. There was no other mail.
Rae was over for dinner and we had a delicious meal, one that I did full justice to. Boy do I have an appetite these days! No matter how much I eat or how hard I try I can't seem to put on that much desired weight. We had schav, chopped herring, tomatoes, lettuce, cucumbers, peppers, olives, blintzes, pudding and delicious fresh rye bread with butter. I forgot to mention the baked potatoes. I had a very generous helping of each item mentioned and left the table feeling very full indeed.
I accomplished a good deal before the evening was out. I ironed a few pieces, washed a bit, washed Adele's hair and my own and set both, bathed Adele and showered myself. I was kind of tired when I came down and decided to relax and read the newspaper and knit a while. After I had knitted about 3/4 of an hour I discovered I had made a terrible mistake and had to rip back. BOY was I mad! It seems no matter how hard I try I can't finish that sweater. I'm working on the second half of the front, just above the armhole. There's very little to do on it and once I've completed the sleeves I'll sigh a sigh of relief.
While in the shower, Dot called. I told Goldie to tell her I would call when I came out. So it was that I learned she had received your v-mail of May 12th. Considering that I had mail up to the 9th, that was darn good time! However, Mom called me early this morning to tell me that there are two air-mail letters waiting for me, and they must have been written on the 10th and 11th. Can't wait till I get home to read them! Dot was very pleased with the fact that you finally got around to writing to her. She sent your love, as requested by you (thanks so much, honey) and said you had a 50-50 chance of coming home. Dot also told me that she read in some newspaper that the Army was going to reduce its point system sometime in July - but I think that's just so much talk. I won't mind, though. Did I tell you that the ouija board was right? When I was out to Dot's sometime last winter we played with the ouija board and it said that the war would end in April, 1945 and that you would come home in November, '45. You'd be just in time for Adele's third birthday and nothing would suit me more. But I wouldn't mind if’n you kinda rushed it up a bit, cause I’m mighty anxious to see you, baby. I wanted to get this off today, so I’ll answer your letters tomorrow. I deposited the check along with the one from S&D that arrived a few days ago, and want to again thank you for sending it along. I Love You, Phil.
It may seem strange, but I find it more difficult to write when there is no mail than I ever did before. Just because I'm looking forward to your letters, there are none.
Harry Weinman came in on a 24 hour pass and spent the evening at the house. Mickey came along with him. It was kind of late when I got to bed and just my luck - Adele awoke unusually early.
Ruth took Adele to her girlfriend's house and gave me ample time to eat my dinner, iron most of my clothes and prepare Adele's bath. Adele had napped during the afternoon and just wouldn't go to sleep. It was after ten before she even showed signs of falling asleep. I have a little saying when it is time for her to go to sleep. I tell her that she must go upstairs, get undressed and lay down in her crib, because the sandman is coming to put sleep in her eyes. She'll generally think of a dozen excuses for her not having to go to bed and sometimes she gets me very exasperated. When she sees me getting a little angry, she says, "I'd better sit down (or whatever the case may be) or my mommy will give me a yickin'". She says "yiddle" for"little" and though I've tried many times to correct her k's and l's she continues to use t's and y's. I hope you get to hear her talk the way she does now for she is so very cute that I almost hate to think of her changing.
I showed Harry the family picture I just sent to you and Adele pointed out everyone on the picture. When she came to herself, she said, "I yook stunning on that picture!" Harry told me you look well and I couldn't help saying it's a fine state of affairs when I have to ask someone else how my hubby looks. I sure would like to "see" for myself.'
Clara Wagman called on Sunday and asked me to forward her regards She spoke to Harold Adams and he also asked to be remembered to you. He had an operation recently.
I've had very little work to do these past two days at Bellet's and have been taking it as easy as possible. If I weren't able to type my last few letters at work I doubt if I could have found the time at home. The parlor set covers were returned yesterday and we each chipped in $1.50 to pay for them. I have to clean the set, buy camphor and put the covers on first chance I get. Considering how dirty the covers were they cleaned very nicely.
Mom may go to New York with Goldie, when Goldie is enroute to Poughkeepsie. She wants to spend some time in New York with the many relatives. We got to talking last night and said how funny it would be if you were to come home when they all left. I told them I'd like it fine if I could have you to myself for just a little while before the gang got hold of you.
We're certainly presumptious, aren't we? Only dreamin', honey. Got to have something to go on. Adele says "Daddy Philip is a dood boy". She's going to give you a hug and kiss when you come home. I'm almost positive she’ll know you. She's going to be a wee bit coy at first, but when she warms up she'll floor you. Sort of reminds me of the treatment you're going to get from
I didn't get the opportunity to write yesterday. It was one of those days when everything is off schedule and you get all mixed up. In the morning I was up before seven and by 9:30 Adele and I were out in the sunshine! I stopped in to see the Feldmans and then went to see Fay. From there I went to 11th Street to do some shopping and brought her back for lunch. When I had undressed her and gotten her into her crib, Harry came over with Al and Paul and naturally, he wanted to see the kids. This only succeeded in getting both kids excited and neither could fall asleep. Harry only stayed a little while and I promised him I would come over to the house with Adele, after her nap. Harry looks fine. He left France on May 4th and said the trip back was really something. He gave me a bottle of Evening in Paris perfume to give to Ruthie.
Al told me a cute joke and told me to send it along to you. Did you hear about the fellow who had 84 points and the army released him? They did! Yeh, his head came to a point! (P.S. That's supposed to be funny!) Trouble is, it isn't. Imagine being in such a predicament!
I had my lunch when they left, showered and proceeded to dress. I wore my blue sports suit and the fuschia colored blouse Gloria just gave me. Together they make a very smart outfit. Adele napped a bit over an hour and when she awoke I dressed her in her little red and green plaid skirt and white square necked blouse, new coat, hat, etc. and she and Ruth and I caught the bus to Harry's house.
We arrived about 4:45 and stayed only an hour. Harry was leaving by 6:30 and we didn't want to stay for the evening. Ethel had prepared dinner for the family and I didn't want to put her out in any way. It so happened that Helen Zamsky was staying and her father had driven her up, so Ruth, Adele and I were lucky enough to get a ride back. Etta, Nat and Vicki were there and left when we did.
By the time Adele had her dinner, had her hair washed and was bathed it was 7:30 and I had dinner at that time. H & G were supposed to go to a dance and though they rushed a bit they left rather late and went to a movie instead. Both kids were up when they left, so Mom and I went upstairs and stayed with them until they fell asleep, which was about 9:30. I did a little sewing while upstairs that I had been putting off for some time. When we came down I was in anything but a letter writing mood and spent the remainder of the evening knitting on Adele's sweater and listening to the radio. I was in bed, by 11:15. Goldie and Diana are leaving for Poughkeepsie within the next two weeks and will be gone for most of the summer.
There was no mail today. I feel that I will relax when I know from you exactly how you stand on points, etc. and I shall be looking forward to hearing from you within the next few days. I love you so much, baby, and I sure do wish I could look forward to “seeing” you that soon.
It is now 11:15 P.M. and you, in all probability, are turning over over on your other side, as the expression goes. I, on the other hand, am very weary and about ready to "hit the sack", if'n you don't mind my quoting you. I worked for three employers today - Mr. Bellet, Miss Hahn and Mr. First. I worked for Mr. B. from 8:30 till one, at which time I had lunch with Anne at H. & H. I arrived at Miss Hahn's at 2:15 (I hadn't seen her for several months and she called late last night, asking me if I could possibly come in today as her regular helper was ill) and stayed until 6. Once arrived home I had dinner, read your letter of May 9th, with receipt for $55 enclosed, and put Adele to bed. When I finished washing and cleaning Adele'a shoes I went into Mr. First's and typed a Will and some bills, for which he paid me $3.
There is no need to tell you how happy I was that "a" letter had finally come through! Naturally, I'm looking forward to a letter giving more definite information about your status as a serviceman in the weeks to come, but I'll just have to be patient. Your letter was very sweet, honey, and if’n you don't mind, I think it would be a good idea to save what you can at the present time in the soldier's deposits so that you can come home with some spare cash. We're going to need a lot of it then and I think you'd feel a lot better if you had some to start off with. If you prefer to send what you can to me you may do so, but I would prefer to see what you could save in the time left before you do come home. Whatever the case, you may rest assured that the final decision is in your hands. I do feel that it is no longer sensible for us to invest what little we may be able to save In bonds, so I shall put any reserve I may have in the bank. Satisfied?
I have some good news - Harry Weinman is home! Syd Brown wrote to the folks not to write to him any more, as he is on his way home. Mom went over to see Harry this afternoon and Goldle and Harry went this evening. Thls is the first time I have ever been left with the two kids. Goldle didn't want to go but I insisted. Harry is coming over tomorrow, so I'll see him then. I may be selfish in this respect, but I've warned everyone that if you do come home that I want you all to myself the first night. When I get through with you, they can have what's left. I'm hoping you'll agree with me.
Harry, Goldie and Mom are most anxious to know your reactions to my decision to give up the house. It wasn't really my idea, but since I did speak up everyone has climbed off his high horse and decided it might be a good idea to stick together until such time as apartments and the like are obtainable. I don't get as many complaints as in the past and if we do stick together there will be but one change - the rent goes up because I'm tired of sponging. Don't for one minute, get the idea that we don't get along. We do get along nicely, considering the relationship, but it is difficult for all of us. All I know is that I'm going to be a happy girl when you come home and we get settled for once and for all. I Love You so much, baby.
19 May 1945
We are enjoying lovely May weather here. It was one of those Saturday afternoons that are meant for picnicking, or a long drive in the country, or a day at the races. Speaking of races, I am reminded to tell you that Klein and I went to the movies, whence we just returned to see "National Velvet” the picture you said was regarded so highly there at home. It was a beautiful, heart-warming picture with the same quality of good feeling that distinguished “My Friend Flicka". In addition, there were the exciting racing sequences (I must try to get to see the Grand National), and the superb acting of the beautiful little English girl, her mother, and the entire cast. It's unlike me to forget to note the names of the principals, but I only think the girl's name is Angela Lansbury (and a sweeter kid I never saw), while the name of the actress who so competently played the part of her mother escaped me entirely. Donald Crisp and Mickey Rooney, of course, it's impossible to miss. Otherwise, it was a rather ordinary sort of day. Oh yes, almost forgot to mention that I received three of your V-mails today and one yesterday. They were those of 3, 5, 7, 9-10 May. The last mentioned rubbed me the wrong way, Chippie. Not because of anything you said, or failed to say, but because you split it up to cover two days. I've never reproached you for interrupting a long “regular" letter to continue on it next day, but I wish you wouldn't, if you don't mind, do so with anything as skimpy as a V-mail. Let's both be a little more generous in future in the amount we write, since we're not writing daily as we used to do shall we, honey?
Your letters call for no comment, since they are crammed full of your daily comings and goings, some news of our neighbors and friends and the family, Gloria's most recent visit (I must write to her soon), your most recent acquisitions in clothes and lingerie (I sure would love to see those “pernts”, you tease, and I guess you know I wouldn't be content with just seeing them), and your erroneous computation of my “pernts" - I mean the Adjusted Service Rating kind. You should have known that inactive service would not be counted, but I guess you indulged in a little wishful thinking, huh?
Forgot to tell you that I managed to get off a V-mail to Dot, but I'm still waiting the opportunity to write some real letters to everyone l have been neglecting. Tomorrow (Sunday) would ordinarily be a day off and I could get a lot of writing done, but Lt. King has told me that I’m to work in the afternoon, so I'll probably have only time enough to finish this, which I am interrupting because it is time for lights out and our date. G’night, honey,—you know I love you very much—
20 May 1945
Hello again, baby~
Guess I shouldn't have mentioned the nice weather we've been having, cause it clouded up and rained like hell this afternoon. I took advantage of my morning off by doing what most G.I.'s have been dreaming of doing for a long time now, namely staying abed as long as one pleased. Well, I pleased to sleep ’til 11 A.M., when I got up, dressed, worked and went to lunch with Klein. We have chicken on Sundays, which I don't eat, but which Klein dearly loves, so he always makes it a point to accompany me to lunch on that day, when he treats himself to two portions—mine and his.
This afternoon I cleaned up some work in the Orderly Room while it rained pitch-forks outside. After work, I looked up Karl Schwoerer, who had agreed to loan me his “620” camera.
Tomorrow afternoon, Chippie, I am leaving the station for the first time in seven weeks. I'm going on a three-day pass to London, where I have long wanted to go, but didn't because of that promise I made to you when the buzz-bombs were falling. It'll be good to get to the Turkish Baths, Albert Hall, etc. once again, and I'm looking forward to it with the keenest anticipation.—Which reminds me that we are now free to reveal in our letters home, just about everything that has happened to us, or that we have seen since we left the States.—So if there is anything you would like to know about, honey, or anything that has been puzzling you—just fire away, and I’ll tell you. I know you have been wondering of the meaning of the asterisks I put into my letters from time to time—I can now reveal that they meant the sirens had sounded to warn, in the early days, of approaching enemy aircraft, and latterly, of approaching buzz bombs. Of the former, I haven't seen any, because they always came over at night—but they certainly caused us a lot of inconvenience during the winter of 1943 and spring of ’44. Being the Ordnance Company, we had to man the AA defenses of the station whenever there was an alert. When the sirens sounded, we piled out of our sacks, scrambled into our clothes in a chilly barracks, and stumbled around in the dark (if it happened to be a moonless night) to the vehicle, which drove us down to the various gun sites around the field. Then we usually shivered away in the cold night air for an hour or so until the all-clear sounded when the truck came round to pick us up again. We often heard the jerry planes overhead, but we were under orders not to fire unless the planes dropped bombs or strafed installations on the field. This they did on only two occasions, when they dropped a few anti-personnel “butterfly” bombs and an HE shell, which dropped on a runway, putting a hole in it (which was repaired next day) and slightly damaging a few nearby planes. I wasn't on the gun crew on either of those nights, but a few of the fellows who were, got a good scare out of it (to say nothing of getting all muddy when they hit the dirt). Luckily, there wasn't any real harm done. Best of all, there were no casualties. But, believe me, Sweet, it was no fun at all getting out of a nice warm sack in the dead of night to go dashing out to the guns in freezing weather. Sometimes we “sweated out" the all clear as long as two hours and more. Some day, if you ever want to hear about it (which I doubt) I'll tell you more about it. There is much more to tell about the buzz-bombs, which came over from July ’44 ’til about March ’45. It just so happened that our base is situated in what was known as "buzz bomb alley,” which means that we were in the line of flight of the bombs aimed for London. When I say “came over" I mean just that! For a period of a coupla months we were alerted from one to four and five times each night. Within fifteen or twenty minutes we heard the tell-tale throb of the motor of the robot bomb and soon after, the ball of fire that was the burning exhaust gases of the jet-motors. Some of the bombs were plainly seen as they passed directly over our heads at a height of only a few hundred feet. At first, when the alert sounded, we all used to pile out of our sacks to “watch the bombs go by", and yes, to hop into the nearby trenches when we heard one of them "cut out", which presaged their dive to earth. Occasionally, but not often, a bomb would drop a few miles from the base. The blast was terrific even from that distance. Often, we counted two and three bombs going over at the same time. Toward the end, however, when the novelty had worn off, I, and a few others in our barrack, didn't bother to get out from under the covers when the alert sounded. I had one anxious moment on this account—The alert had sounded. A few of the men got up at once to sweat out the doodle-bugs. I didn't see any sense to getting out of bed to see something that gains nothing by repetition. I dozed off again, only to be wakened by the sound of the robot’s motor sounding apparently directly overhead. Abruptly, the motor cut out. I knew what that meant—that the bomb was starting its dive to earth. A hundred thoughts ran thru my mind in that moment. My first instinct was to hop out of bed and make a dash for the trench just outside the door. But I wasn’t so panicky that I didn't realize before I had a chance to move a muscle, that if the bomb was indeed on it's way down that I’d never make it to the trench before it hit—so I just lay where I was for a few frozen instants. Luckily, the bomb had malfunctioned, and instead of going into a nose dive (as it was supposed to do) it glided off at an angle and landed a few miles from the station, exploding with a roar that shook all the surrounding country. The fellows who had gone outdoors got the worst of it, ’cause when the motors cut out what seemed to them immediately overhead, they with one accord jumped into the trench which in itself wouldn't have been so bad, were it not for the fact that it had rained steadily the few days preceding, and the trenches were knee-deep in water! You can imagine how the guys felt about all this—They were browned off plenty, believe me!
Well, darling, there will be no more doodlebugs, thank God, and the trenches have all been filled in and we're just marking time and wondering what comes next—and hoping, to a man, that it will be home.
Any thoughts I might have about home just now would only bore you to tears—you've heard them from me so many times, so I'll conclude this with a few words that I pray will never bore you coming from me—I adore you, my Evie—A kiss for Adele. My love to all.