Saturday, December 17, 2022

Post #677 - July 1, 2, 1945 The Way Things Stand Now, I'm a Cinch to be Home in November At the Very Latest


1 July 1945

My Sweet,

Sorry I didn't get to write to you during the last few days of time, but I was in London on pass, and somehow I didn't get around to writing. However, I have a few items of good news that should more or less repay you for my lapse. But first about London—I was only on 48 hour pass, it being only two weeks since I had 72 hours at Walton-on-Naze. This time I didn't go to the Turkish Bath, remembering that the last time I did so I wound up in hospital. Instead, I went again to Covent Garden. Nor will I pretend that I didn't have an object in mind. A recent letter of yours, telling me that you saw Sonja Henie in "It's a Pleasure!,” which moved you to remark that you “just loved" to dance, and that when I come home we will practise and practise - until we are almost as good, reminded me that I hadn't danced since the company party in Norwich in November 1943. I got to wondering whether or not I still remembered how to dance, so I made up 
my mind that I was going to Covent Garden to dance (if I still could). The floor was very crowded as usual, but there must have been at least 3 girls to every man, and a whole flock of them were watching from the side-lines. After a hasty look ’round (I dared not look too long lest I weaken in my resolve), I spied a girl with a lovely face, very dark and very beautiful, so I asked her to dance. I hadn't danced more than half a dozen steps with her, though, when I was heartily sorry I had picked her. She was “heavy" and clumsy, and it was like pushing a dead weight around. I didn't ask her again. Then I noticed a young chick (about 18) leaning against the wall in the background. She was built pretty much on your lines, Chippie, and even had a slight facial resemblance to you, but it was the fresh, demure look of her that attracted me. I decided to ask her next. In the meantime, I had to go to the men's room. When I came out, she was gone. I guess I got discouraged, 'cause the next thing I knew, I was up in the balcony—watching. A little while later, on glancing around, I noticed half-around the balcony, a girl that looked like she might be the one I had missed. I walked around to investigate. Sure enough, it was her. She was sitting beside her sister, (I learned later) watching the dancers. When I asked her to dance, she looked surprised—probably because one doesn't ask a girl way up in the balcony to dance. But she came along willingly enough. This time it was a different story. She was light as a feather on her feet, and while she was far from an experienced dancer, she made up for her inexperience by her grace and lightness. Moreover, she flattered my masculine ego by remarking that she liked dancing with me because I was so easy to follow—ahem! Well, that was good enough for me, and it was evidently good enough for her, so we had the rest of the dances together. You will be happy to know, Sweet, that I managed plenty O.K. with all kinds of rhythms; tangos, rumbas, swing, waltz, merely by adapting my old straight step to the tempo. When I tried to “swing out,” though, I found that my partner just didn't know how to jitterbug, but I got around that by speeding up my dancing and “double-stepping" - that she understood. And that, honey, should give you a pretty good indication that while I may be a bit rusty in my dancing, I haven't altogether forgotten how. As for that “practising“ - just you ask me, baby, just you ask ~ The next day I spent mostly in the movies. I saw "Princess and the Pirate" (and loved the surprise ending - and Virginia Mayo), and "Thunderhead, Son of Flicka", which was a beautiful and interesting picture, even if it did lack a plot. At the Hans Crescent, where I went to get a bunk for the night, I ran into a friend from the base here. His name is Bernard Rothschild. He's a native of San Antonio, Texas, and a helluva nice guy. Did I tell you that Marty Weinstein was transferred and is destined for the Air Force of Occupation in Germany? Well, Bernie didn't see me when I walked into the big dining-hall at the Hans Crescent. He had two girls with very hebraic features, and figures like Ann Furr’s in tow. After I had my food on my tray, I walked over and sat down at the table next to Bernie without being noticed. Bernie was saying something about the Army to the girls, when I interrupted with "yeah, it's a rough life, isn't it?" He looked around quickly to see who the fresh guy was, but his features relaxed into a smile when he recognized me. Naturally, I was introduced to the girls, (who did terrible things with their lip-sticks), Connie and Fay Gottlieb. They had come up to the dance at the club with Bernie and were having a bite during the intermission. We talked a while and then went into the ballroom when the music started. Strangely enough, I wasn't in the mood for dancing that night, or my natural backwardness was reasserting itself, ’cause I sat down to watch. The band was G.I. and very good, but I made no attempt at dancing. Not, that is, until a cute little blond came over at the end of a number, which she had been dancing to with a G.I. and parked herself the chair next to mine. When took out my cigarettes I naturally offered her one. She accepted, and seemed to take it as a signal to start up a conversation. I learned before long that she was Scotch, but was working in London. She was very friendly and very cute, and reminded me a little of Sonja Henie when she smiled. I told her she looked like a little Swede. That's when she told me she was Scotch, and that her name was Barry Mac Neil (only the way she pronounced it it came out Bor-r-r-ee. When the band started to play “Stardust." I asked her to dance. She was a good little dancer, too, but in spite of her tininess, not quite as light or graceful as the other girl, whose name, incidentally, was Nora Randall. However, we got along very well together, and I did enjoy myself. When the dance was over, Bernie asked me if I would like to go along to the Gottlieb's with him and the girls, and keep him company on the way back (it was quite a long way). I was wide-awake and it was still light out, and the prospect of going to bed just then wasn't particularly appealing, so I said I'd be glad to. I met Mr. & Mrs. Gottlieb, had tea and cake with them, and discussed actors and actresses with the girls. We only stayed about an hour or so and then started back. It was about 10 o'clock when I finally hit the sack, but by this time I was ready for it. The next day I went to the movies in the morning after breakfasting with Bernie. I tried to get him to come along, but he doesn't care much for movies, and preferred to browse around. Before I left him, though, we made a date to meet at the Piccadilly Hotel at 4 o'clock, when there was a tea- dance. I went to the Odeon to see “I'll be Seeing you" (mainly because I wanted to get my first look at Shirley Temple since she grew up - I used to love her as a kid). It proved to be a very different sort of picture. I enjoyed Ginger Rogers and Joseph Cotten. Shirley is a very cute and attractive young lady—no argument about that—but her acting struck me as being noticeably self-conscious. The “crying scenes" were quite too forced to be anything but embarrassing, and I have a hunch that Shirley is through with dramatic roles. I can't understand why they don't cast her in a musical - she is certainly trained for it, and her good looks are most appealing. The tea-dance was an experience. The room where the dance was held is on the
order of our own Hotel clubs. The small dance floor was surrounded by tables, and five musicians held forth on the 
small stage. The violinist, who was very good, was assisted by a drummer, bass, sax and piano. They played very nice music, gypsy, latin rhythms, Viennese waltzes, Swing - everything. The lighting was provided by ornate wall-fixtures that gave off a pinkish glow that had the effect of neutralizing the gals make up. Bernie was waiting for me, and we went in. The first thing I noticed, after being seated and looking about, was the evident "class" of the women who, here too, were greatly in the majority. On closer inspection, however, and by close observation of their actions, mannerisms, and comportment when talking to the men who danced with them, I recognized them for what they were—the notorious "Piccadilly Commandos" - the high-priced variety. In spite of the fact that only about a fifth of the Americans remain in England, they still seem to do allight for themselves. - Sorry, honey, but the boys are yelling for me to put the lights out. G'night, sweetheart.

2 July 1945

Hello again, Chippie—I'll continue with my narrative now, 'cause outside of putting in a busy day, there isn't anything more to report. There wasn't any fresh mail today, either. Now - where was I? I see I was talking about the tea-dance and the "commandoes", but there isn't much more to tell. Bernie and I had sandwiches, tea, and cakes, the latter being very fancy (for England) and tasty. Bernie danced a few dances with different girls while I chewed the fat with a Lieutenant who joined us at table. So I killed the few hours remaining ‘til train time. So much for that. Now, for the news I promised at the beginning of this letter ~

First, and most important, I am no longer on the alert for transfer. Major Woolsey told me the glad tidings as soon as I set foot in the Orderly Room in the morning. The way things stand now, I'm a cinch to be home in November at the very latest. Unless,
 of course, the Army decides to give us in the Service Group another "screwing" (Pardon the expression, honey - I don't know a nicer word that would fit). The Fighter Group boys on our base just were awarded their 7th battle participation award today, which automatically makes every one of them eligible for discharge from the Army. - And we have been working side by side with them these past two years; usually doing the heavier and more important maintenance on the planes - and we have 35 points less than they. It means the difference between getting out of the Army in a few months, or sweating out the Pacific War! The guys in our Service Groups are going nuts with the injustice of it all. Some of the fellow's have written to tell their congressmen about it. American papers are receiving letters on the subject, and the Chicago Tribune printed a powerful editorial about it. Just wait until some of the Service Groups get back to the States, and the G.I.s get an opportunity to tell their folks about it - I promise you all hell will break loose if something isn’t done about the situation, which is explosive now. I've been playing with the idea of writing to Drew Pearson about it - I may yet! The Fighter Group boys are sympathetic, and freely admit that we are getting the rawest of deals, but there isn't anything they can do about it. I get so burned up when I think or talk about it, that I feel I could bust a strut! - But enough, before I really do blow my top! The second item of interest is that the final critical score will probably be about 75 points, which means that if I do get home, there is very little likelihood that I'll ever be sent overseas again. By November I'll have a current total of 81 points, which should be enough to get me out of the Army a few months later. Altogether, honey, (this business about BP stars notwithstanding), I'm pretty optimistic about my chances, aren't you? Item No. 3 - Now that I’m no longer alerted, I’m eligible for furlough. I expect to leave on 12 July and return on the 20th, I haven't quite decided what to do yet; or where to go, but I'm playing with the idea of going down to the south-coast to the lovely seashore resort of Torquay for the first few days, and then to Yorkshire to spend the rest of my holiday with the Davies'. Item No. 4 - I'm pretty flush at the moment, having held onto my money pretty well here of late, abetted by the fact that I won a few pounds at cards. My original intention was to send you the money to pay for those last few dresses you bought - after I returned from furlough, but I've decided that rather than risk spending it, I'll send off $130 tomorrow and get by on the remainder. I hope you find no fault with this arrangement, honey.

Well, Chippie, it's getting late again, and I think I've covered just about everything except, I love you so much, baby, that I get all trembly whenever I think that our long-looked-forward-to reunion may be imminent, and certainly cannot be more than a few months away. Chippie, if you could only know how sweet you are in my thoughts and heart and mind ~ Here's a kiss for you, darling. Give the punkin a good squeeze for me, and after you've delivered my kiss to her, tell her yet once again that I love her very much: My best love to Mom, your Mom and Dad, and all the kids. Regards to our friends and neighbors - I hope they don't hold it against me that I can't write to them occasionally. Tell Dottie I received her letter of 19 June, noted the contents, and will make a real effort to answer her soon. In closing, here's another kiss for you, my lovely ~

Your Phil

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