Saturday, April 2, 2022

Post #513 - November 18, 19, 1944 Eddie Gave My Folks a Pretty Good Idea of What He Went Through and It’s Really a Miracle That He’s Alive and Limey’s Company Were All Wounded in France, and Very Few of Them are in Any Shape for Further Soldiering


This is what the house looks like today that corresponds to the address on the stationery above from Philip—20 Barn Hall Avenue, Old Heath, Colchester, England 

November 18,1944

Dearest Phil

I haven't anything to do at the moment (I'm at work) and decided to type a few words to you. I can't think of anything exciting to say, so I'll just gab about this and that - okay.

I don't think I’ve told you that my cousin Bella is getting married sometime in December. Which also reminds me that Miriam Brown is in her ninth month and her baby is due sometime in December. She, by the way, is carrying very nicely, being small and well rounded. She looks grand and feels well, too. I think she's going to have a boy. Don't know why I feel that way, - just a feeling. If it is a boy, she'll name it Richard Allen (which is her choice at the moment, but don't quote me).

Today is Richard Arcaro's second birthday and I intend to get him a little gift. Fay works at the boy's Dept. of Blauner's on Saturdays only (til Xmas ) and promised to get me something at 20% off. She can't get me anything beside that this year, as the rules regarding discount are too strict. Last year, if you will recall, I bought myself slips, panties, bras and bedroom slippers. I would do a repeat this year, if she got me the discount, as I need a supply of all those items, but since she cannot, I shall buy them gradually.

I don't think I told you, either, that Goldie took Diana to a skin specialist and he said the condition was nothing at all - just something that some kids go through. He did say that the mother (Goldie) is extremely nervous and gets aggravated too easily, Goldie spent one morning crying her eyes out, cause the baby's skin was so bad and nothing seemed to help it. Now that the doctor has reassured her she has more or less resigned herself to the fact that you go through a lot before you raise them up.

Nov. 19, 1944

There was no mail for me and I was naturally depressed. Eddie called long distance, but won't say where he is, nor when we can visit him. He doesn't even want us to write to him. He gave my folks a pretty good idea of what he went through and it's really a miracle that he's alive, from what I can gather. I also got the impression that he's "playing" a little for the benefit of the Army and wonder if I'm right. Is that what you meant in your letters?

I got the cutest little cocoa brown and tweed suit for Richy and Anne rather liked it. However, let me start at the beginning. When I left work, I went up to Blauner's and selected the gift. From there I caught the subway home and stopped at the Cameo Shop on Broad St. to buy myself some hose. Once home, I had lunch, did a few little things, picked Adele up at my mother's and headed for the shoemaker's to take out her shoes. We stayed out a while and then I brought her in, and started to prepare her dinner. I got her to bed rather early for a change and then I washed quite a few things and then ironed. When I had finished I was pretty tired, but I went over to Fay's to pick up the little suit and went over to Anne's, I stayed at Anne’s til 11. While there (many of her relatives were just leaving when I got there) she got me interested in a bottle of Avon toilet water called "Attention". Her cousin had brought her three bottles, though she had only ordered one (her cousin sells the stuff) and she just had to take all three. So I took one bottle off her hands. The "stuff" has a nice, clean, sweet smell and only cost me $1.39.

I went right to bed, once arrived at home. Adele woke at 4 A. M, and then again at 6:30, so I didn't have too much sleep. I've been rather busy all day today, but i'm just about finished now. Adele is wheeling her doll carriage to and fro while I endeavor to bang off a letter to you and it is becoming extremely difficult, hence the many errors. Sorry I must dash tike this, sweetheart, but that's how it is with kids.

I'm going out to see Dot & Snuff this evening and will tell you all about it when I see you next. (Guess I slipped, eh?). Must close now, dearest, so am doing so with a big, big hug and kiss and all the love of

Your Eve

19 Nov. 1944 

Dearest Ev,

On this dreary Sunday afternoon I am at the Woolfs, where I arrived about two hours ago. We just finished lunch. Bert had a date with Dave Dee to go riding and they left about a half hour ago. Evelyn is washing the dishes after feeding Nigel and getting him out in the pram. —So, I am left to my own devices, and what better device than to write to you, my Sweet. - But let me begin at the beginning. - When I wrote last, I was in the Gloucester Red Cross club. You know already what I had done up ’til then, so l will go on from there. There was a dance at the club, so I looked on ’til about 10:30, when I went to bed. It was a pretty poor exhibition, as dances go. The G.I.'s were, except for a few exceptions, very poor dancers. The girls, if anything were worse. Most depressing of all, though, was the appearance of the girls. They were a slovenly, drab, and awkward lot, and I thought the G.I.'s must be pretty hard up to even want to dance with them. I got fed up watching and left.

Next morning, I was up early, ate breakfast at the club, and repaired to the R.R. station, where I waited about half an hour for the train to Swindon. Arrived there, I waited around some more for the bus to Shrivenham. That is where I had been told I would find Harry. The town itself is tiny, but the camp is immense. It consists of many brick buildings of various sizes over an area of a few miles. The place was built in 1938 by the British, and was supposed to be their version of our West Point, but the war intervened, and the Americans took it over as a sort of replacement center. I went directly to the personnel headquarters, where, to my great relief, I found that Harry was still there. The Sgt. who was helping me called "C” company, which was the company to which Harry was attached. He was informed that Harry was out to dinner. It was just 12 noon, and I was famished, so I headed for the mess-hall myself. Limey was to be given the message to report to the personnel office when he come back from dinner.

The mess-hall is immense. There must have been between four and five-hundred G.I.'s there, but on opening the door, the very first person I saw was - the Limey! Can you imagine that, honey?! He was sitting sideways to me, but some instinct made him turn his head, and we saw and recognized each other simultaneously, Well, Chippie, you can well imagine how we felt, what we talked about, etc., etc. I know you and the folks want to know how he looks, so I'll give you my impression. He looks just about like I remembered him. His face is a bit drawn, but otherwise he is the same old Limey. Not so backwards, perhaps, and with a new self-confidence, but essentially the same. His injuries are nothing to worry about - a bit of shrapnel in his right shoulder, and a bothersome left ankle, which was fractured and is very slow to heal. So I spent all that day with him, and all the next day, and left only the next morning because he was due to leave shortly. There is much, much more I could tell you, Sweet, about what he told me of his experiences; of the adventures and wounds of his buddies; how brave, and disillusioned; and lonely, and homesick they all are, but that will have to wait for another time. Suffice it to say that I saw and talked with Limey, and saw and learned much of interest. As to where Limey is bound - I really don't know what to think. Despite the fact that they were all paid in francs, I can’t believe that they are going back to France. They were all wounded over there, and very few of them are in shape for further soldiering. They are all re-classified as "Limited Service" now, so it is conceivable that they will be used in various capacities for behind the lines, but even that seems too much to ask of them.

I took my leave of Limey yesterday morning (18th) and caught a hop into Swindon. There, I inquired after trains to Carmethran, where Eddie S. is supposed to be stationed. I found that it meant a seven to eight-hour trip, and because I was most reluctant to undertake another long trip, and my funds were running low to boot, I decided to let it go, for the time being. Accordingly, I booked for London, which was only an hour-and-a-half from Swindon. I killed the rest of the day seeing a coupla pictures in London. They were “San Diego, I love you" with Louise Albritton, Jon Hall and others. It was a nice, refreshing swift-moving comedy. I liked it. The other half of the bill was Gloria Jean in "Reckless Age". This one wasn't too hard to take, either. Then I saw "Rainbow Island" with D. Lamour, Eddie Bracken, and Gil Lamb. This one was very corny, indeed, and wouldn't have been worthwhile at all were it not for the beautiful settings in technicolor.

After supper, at Isow's, where I had potato latkes (of all things), marinated herring and hamburger (Jew style), and the best rye bread I’ve tasted in the ETO, I went to the Hans Crescent Club, where I booked a bunk for the night. It was then 9 o'clock, so I stopped in the ball-room to watch the dancers 'til bed-time. However, I was more tired than I thought cause about an hour later I found myself getting very drowsy - so I picked myself up and went to bed. I slept like a log until 9:00 this morning, when I rose, dressed, and headed for Liverpool St. Station. The train to Colchester was held up all along the line, and finally pulled in a full hour late! I called the Woolfs directly I arrived to see if they were home. Evelyn answered the phone and told me to come on out. It took me a full hour, ’cause the bus was so long coming (I didn't have even two shillings left for a cab!), but I finally got here. Evelyn let me read your letter to her and Bert, Sweet, and I must tell you how proud it made me to read it. They thought it a “lovely" letter. I fully agree. Ev feels badly that she hasn't had the time to write to you, but she will. She thanks you for the bottles and "teats” and the rattle, and is making good use of all items. It may please you to know, darling, that Nigel gets all excited, and laughs aloud when someone shakes the rattle for him. But Bert talked Evelyn out of the candy-bar that was meant for me, and I made out like I was real mad about it. Serves me right for not opening the package before turning it over to them!

Well, honey, I don't have to be back in camp 'til tomorrow night, so I guess I'll loaf around Colchester 'til then. And ’til then, I'll say a very fond good-night. I adore you, my Chippie. A kiss and a hug for my very own punkin. Love to all. Harry sends his love to all.

Your Phil