Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Post #553 - January 16, 1945 The War Hit Straight Home this Evening for the Sobering, Sickening News that Morris (Fay’s Husband) was Killed in Action and I Long Constantly for the Day When I will be More than a Memory to You


Jan. 16, 1945

My darling Phil,

You must forgive me, baby, if I sound bitter or disgusted in this letter for I'm in a horrible mood tonight - but write I must! The war hit straight home this evening for the sobering, sickening news that Morris (Fay's husband) was killed in action (I really don't know any of the details, nor do I care). Phil, how can I tell you my feelings! How can I even go to see Fay! I've been in a terrible rut for days and though my trip to New York was a change it hasn't done me a bit of good. Phil, I need you so much -

I haven't written since Friday and believe me, it hurts me not to. I always feel so much better when I have that daily letter in the mails! I had decided to let another day ride, but I guess you'll just have to put up with me this evening.

We've had nothing but snow, snow, snow until it's piled high, both here and in New York. I did not go to one movie or one show in New York. I did nothing unusual, as we did on our few trips to New York - I only visited as many of our friends and relatives as I could. The Gutkins are still very torn about Betty, and Jack's condition, though better than average, is too far from good to be encouraging. Gloria is in a rut as I am from lack of mail - (it's been at least a week or more since I had a letter from you and I doubt if I've had more than four letters in a whole month from you.)

I have so much to tell you that is interesting and I hope you'll bear with me, for my mind just won't work the way I want it to. I'm afraid my nerves are backing up on me for a change. I became unwell shortly after I arrived in New York and hardly slept both nights while there.

I went into work on Saturday morning with my dad and Mr. Bellet and left there at 12:30 to catch a 1 o'clock train. I talked to a young sailor of about 17 and a half all the way in and he helped me with my suitcase and left me at a telephone booth so that I could call Glo and then scampered off to catch another train on his way home. Glo came down in about a half hour and took me straight out to her place in the Bronx where we had dinner. After talking to her folks, I called the various relatives and found only the Gutkins at Rose Brand's place, where they have been staying since the tragedy. Gloria and I rode out there and spent all of Saturday evening there. They literally fell on me and made such a fuss about me, that Gloria felt a little out of place. Just my luck that Carl wasn't coming home that weekend. Frada cried on my shoulder, but Phil, for a sick woman, she's holding up remarkably well and seems to have become stronger from trouble. None of them look any too well and they had plenty to say, but I'm not going into details at this point. Carl was sent back because of very, very bad infected finger (which resulted from K.P. steel wool) and a touch of malaria. Rose's apartment is gorgeous and her new mahogany bedroom suite arrived the day of Betty's demise. Rose and Moe even thought enough to remember to gift Adele with a lovely pink dress and socks, which was quite a surprise to me.

I called Rose Genshaft from Gutkin’s and told her to tell her mom that I would be over the next morning. However, before Glo and I got to bed and got up it was 11 A.M. and I never did get to see any of the Genshafts. After breakfast I called Sonya to learn if, by any chance, she was going out to see Jackie, ’cause Glo didn’t want to travel out to the Bronx, as she had to study for her exams and was rundown from a slight cold. So it happened that I learned that Lizzie, Hilda and Dave were in N.Y. and the whole gang were on their way out to Brooklyn. Glo managed to get a cab and we got there in just a few minutes. I introduced Glo to the gang and then we all headed for the subway. I did more damn riding on subways than I ever did in my life. Glo headed back for home and the rest of us went out to Brooklyn. One of Jackie's cousins, a fellow (in Army outfit) by the name of Bob (from Los Angeles) was also in the crowd. He carried my suitcase and when we got to talking I learned that he visits some relatives of his that live on the 4900 block of Camac St. every weekend, being stationed nearby, though he does live in California. I gave him our address and told him to visit us next time he was in Philly.

The trip out to 60 Carlton Avenue, Brooklyn, made me ill. It was snowing like mad and the train was hot as hell. It was a relief to reach our destination and it was so good to see Jackie. The apartment is modern and very plain and cozy. Sam and Anne both look well and Arny is a regular handsome little lad. I almost ate him up! Anne is due about Feb. 12th and reminds me of a little barrel.

Jackie looks well, but he is anything but normal. I doubt if many can see how abnormal he really is, but I can. His hearing is much, much worse than ever before. I practically had to hug him in order to get him to hear me. His ear pains almost constantly and the only bad effects he really has had is his dizziness. It annoys him more than you think it does that he cannot hear well and I think it gets on his nerves every once in a while. To boot, he has fallen deeply in love with his "lip-reading” teacher, Margie, who is blonde and a college graduate, and has asked her to marry him, which she may well do, providing her parents do not object. Phil, Jack is so mixed up that nothing is really clear in his mind, as far as I can see. He expects a CDD, but that, too, may not be forthcoming. He does want to go into business with you, but I doubt if the occasion will arise for a long time, if at all. He hasn't much faith in your plan and thinks your idea of the amount to be obtained on the GI loan is way, way off and beside all this he hasn't a cent, nor has Lennie, Jack is more concerned with getting married at the moment than anything else – he wants to be loved, as I love you, darling, and he wants very much to be happily married, as he considers us a shining example. I wish very much that he would marry, for I would like to see him married before we contemplate going into business. He said as I did that now was not the time to discuss it ’cause there wasn't one definite issue that could really be discussed. We talked and talked and talked and talked about many, many things. Hilda and Dave left early to catch a train back to Philly and the rest of the gang left right after a delicious delicatessen dinner. Jack and I spent most of the evening talking, far into the night.

Phil, he misses you so much! You, of all his close friends, could do more for him now than anyone. He sort of confides in me, and tries so hard to make me enjoy myself. Please write to him and me, too, for we both need lots of mail.

Monday morning I awoke from a restless night. Jack and Anne went shopping and I tried to catch up on my sleep after breakfast. Sammy left Jack the car, with which he took me in town. I was afraid to let him drive, due to his dizzy spells, but he said he felt better at the wheel, so I let him drive. Sam's car is a little beat up, but it runs smoothly and I enjoyed the ride no end. We went immediately to the hospital, where Jack was to receive a treatment and an audiometer test, which showed that he had improved slightly.

The whole hospital simply reeked artistry. I felt that unreal feeling all the while I was there and felt as if I were in an Art Museum. There were oil paintings, needlepoint chairs, plush rugs, extremely ornate tables and knic-knacs, lamps, etc. Dr. Lempert, whom Jack was most anxious for me to see, is a little runt who looks a bit like a wild man to me, but whose hands are his fortune. One girl in particular, told me of how he saved her life when she was stricken with Scarlet Fever. All his patients, and there were very many, suffered as Jack does, and it was sickening to see. All of them were extremely wealthy as evidenced by their clothes, diamonds and furs, for they had to be to have Dr. Lempert attend them. Jack's operation cost $1000 and they even gave him a hearing aid which would cost $170 regularly.

After the hospital we drove around a bit and headed for Glo's brother in-law's place. He is a wholesale jeweler and since Anne had bought Jack a lovely sterling silver identification bracelet that I intended to get for you (they are $15 retail and $5.50 wholesale) as a birthday gift. He did not have them, so I wound up buying myself something I have wanted a long time, but never had the money for - a stunning, expensive pin. It sells for $25 in the stores and cost me $16.34 wholesale. I wanted to get earrings, too, so that they would set off my new dress perfectly, but they were much too expensive. I gave a deposit on the pin and they are supposed to send it to me C.O.D. Jack helped me select it and it isn't too elaborate. It's sterling silver, plated with gold and has a large square acqua colored stone in the center. It's more or less of a bow shape and there are also four other tiny stones of various colors. Would you mind very much, baby, if I were to consider it your anniversary gift to me? I bought it with that thought in mind. I can't ever be extravagant without feeling non-deserving and Jack noted it. He told me that if I didn't want it to merely send it to him and he would pay me for it and give it to Margie. It seemed so foolish to spend that kind of money on a pin when I need so many other things. What do you think? (I seem able to think of what I want to say clearly enough, but every time I think - oh what's the use of even thinking - you just have to take it whether you want to or not).

Jack took me to a little Italian restaurant where we had a spaghetti dinner topped off with cherry pie and coffee and took me to the train. He could not take me to the movies or really be in a crowd for fear of infection. He took me all the way to my seat on the five o'clock train and kissed me very soundly. He hated to see me go and he ended off with "I miss Phil so terribly. Eve - " and was gone. We stared at each other and he rode slowly up the escalator away from me. It reminded me too strongly of our train experiences and I wanted to cry. I gazed two seats ahead of me to see a soldier with crutches and his wife and son. The sight was a pathetic one and I watched them all the way back home. It took me two hours to get to New York, but only one and a half to get back. I was in the house by seven.

Adele still has a cold in her system and my mom kept her in bed all day Sunday. I thought my mom would be good and disgusted with me when I got back, as she usually does when Adele tires her too much, but this time she was in an unusually good frame of mind. Eddie has been formally discharged, but it will be quite a while till he actually gets home free of all Army authority. Adele wasn't feeling up to par and did greet me quite as much as I had expected her to. She insisted, however, on my holding her and she hugged and kissed me soon after. My mother had cleaned our room thoroughly and made the beds, and everything was fresh and clean. It was such a good sight, for I was so tired I wanted to scream. I found two letters for me, one from Mrs. Benis, the other from Len and Lee. I brought Adele over and went straight to bed with her.

I learned that Syd had come in the day before for a 30 day furlough and will leave on Feb. 14th. He will be stationed at Ft. Dix only as long as it takes for a ship to get ready to get him back. I called him this evening and talked to him a short while. He contracted a cold coming over and can't seem to break it. If he doesn't get here before the week is out, I'll see him Sat. when we're all scheduled to visit at the Browns.

I bundled Adele up early this morning and went to work in spite of the heavy snow. I was busy all day and practically caught up on my work. The fellow that took George Bellet’s job as shipper quit in the meantime, having been reclassified from 4-F to 1-A. Now my dad and I have more responsibilities. By the way, Harry is giving up the station this week and will go into defense work at long last, fearing a 1-A classification.

After talking to Syd, I called Dot, whom I had promised to visit this coming weekend, as it will be Harold's second birthday. I won't be able to make it, but I shall see her as soon as possible. Snuff is coming along nicely and she spoke to him via long distance.

When I had finished speaking with Dot, I called, Fay, as I usually do. Someone strange answered the phone and when I asked "May I speak with Fay" was told that she could not speak. "Why?" brought this: "She had some terrible news. Her husband was killed" when did she learn of it?" "Yesterday" and I felt I would simply faint away. I got terribly shaky and nervous all over and cold and I couldn't help the tears that wouldn't stop coming. Phil, when is this god damned lousy miserable mess going to end??????? When are people going to wake up, people who don't even realize what war is, so that so many others will not have to suffer the rest of their natural lives. Morris adored her and was an exceptionally devoted husband and father. He was so swell to me on those few occasions when I wrote of him and they were so terribly happy. They even wanted to have another baby before he went overseas. He went over in August, just a year after you did and Fay just celebrated her third anniversary in the form of a surprise party, made by her mother, on Dec. 27th. My heart bleeds for her, Phil. I shall have to pull myself together before I see her for I just can't bring myself to go there. We had been counting the days we had not received mail from our spouses together - and it makes me shudder.

It is almost twelve o'clock and I'm almost cockeyed from typing. I may have made mistakes and I'm sure I've not told you all I have to say, but we'll have to save it all for "some day". Each day makes "some day" seem more remote and unreal and I can't even allow myself to hope at times. Phil, will you please do all in your power to write to me more often so that I will not have to wait. and wait and wait and wait and wait until I think I shall burst. I know you do your best, my darling, and don't think that I don't appreciate your every effort, for I'm sure you know I do. Phil, if only you could take me into your arms, and sooth away this terrible splitting headache that just seems to have assailed me, I would be ever grateful. I love you so much, my beloved Phil, and I hurt so much in side with it. Good night, baby -

Jan. 17, 1945

Well, sweet, today I hit that long, long awaited jackpot and it consisted of my letters of Dec. 16, 17, 18, 21, 23, 22, and Jan. 4 (v-mail). It helped my spirits immeasurably and really helped to snap me out of my rut a bit. I learned that Morris died on Dec. 27th, their third anniversary at Luxemburg. Fay will not see anyone, so I guess it will be sometime before I even go over and I'm sort of thankful for that. I'm sorry, sweet, that this is becoming a running letter and that I haven't been able to get my daily letter off to you, but I expect to be able to do so starting tomorrow.

Your letters were all of the same tone as mine have been lately - no mail - black mood. I'm glad you liked the chocolate chip cookies so well and I hope I shall be able to get the chips so I can make more. Did they arrive in good condition? I shall send off your civilian shoes with the design in them along with other goodies I am trying to obtain to make up a package. I already have three large Hershey chocolate bars, one plain and two with nuts. I shall try to get my hands on a carton of Herbert Tareyton, though I doubt if I can. The package should be ready in about a week.

Thelma Levin, who used to live in your old neighborhood and whom Gloria worked with at the Signal Corps, and who moved into their own home on the 4900 block of 7th St, called me a short while ago and asked me to accompany her to a movie. I have lots to do - but to hell with it - I'm going to see a movie for the first time in three months! She wants to see "Brazil" at the Logan. It might be good for what ails me.

I had a terrible night - and tears came. Phil, I get so choked up -

But now I must run, baby, if I'm to get to the movies at all. It's funny the way your v-mail of Jan. 4th read, "this is to tell you that your hubby is still alive and well" - it sounded funny at this particular time - and may I always hear it! I love you so very much, my dearest Phil, and I cherish all that you and our love stands for. I glory in the title of

Your Wife

16 January 1945


Today, the last of my time off until the end of the month, dawned dark and cold and damp. It was a sheer luxury to be able to lie abed until 11 o'clock, when thad to get up - or starve to death!

Today also brought your long typed letter of 17 Dec. Kinda old, but welcome nevertheless. It contained Syd's letter telling you that he is coming home on 30-day furlough. Poor Syd - he certainly sounds bitter! I'm hoping that perhaps he won't have to go back to his outfit in Italy. I can certainly understand why Syd is so disgusted - he has a right to be! With almost 12,000,000 men in the armed forces, you'd think they could afford to let a veteran of 2-1/2 years service overseas remain in the States for good! It's going to be mighty tough for him to have to leave home again after his furlough is up, and even tougher for Uncle Nish and Tante Bosh to give him up again. Somehow, I don't envy him his prospects!

Your letter told of receiving the hankie. Glad you liked it, Sweet! I'll convey your thanks to Dick. I haven't yet shown Red what Adele wrote, but I will, first chance I get.

You go on to tell me about the party over Em’s place in Phil's honor. Your mention of Etta and Nat made me wonder if they ever received my letter. Please advise, will you, Ev? Your few lines about dancing with “Phil Strongin" amused me. Just what did you expect to "feel" dancing with my namesake, anyway? Your ! description of Morty Harris’ parents was funny, too. (I’d give a nickel to know what was in your mind at the time the “thought” about the "combination” that appalled you!) - or do I do you an injustice, Baby? By the way where is Phil stationed now, and what is he doing?

Flash! Just received that piece of plexiglass jewelry I was telling you about in yesterday's letter. I'm very much pleased with the way it turned out. I hope you will be too, honey. I'll mail it off as soon as I can package it properly (it won't fit in an envelope), since yesterday, I have learned that jeweler’s rouge is not quite the thing to polish plexiglass with, but baking soda (slightly damp), or tooth powder (on a damp rag) will polish it to a fare-thee-well.

I can’t think of another solitary thing to say, darling, except - I miss you more than ever, and long constantly for the day when I will be more than a memory to you. My dearest love to Adele and all the family. Remember always dearest - with you, or away from you, I am always

Your Phil