Tuesday, October 11, 2022

Post #628 - April 12, 1945 Harry W. Thinks You are Mad at Him or That He Didn't Treat You Right When You Visited Him and Here on the Eve of Victory, After Doing So Much to Make It Possible, Our Great President has Passed Away


April 12, 1945

My darling,

I hardly know how to say this, cause I'm sure you'll feel just as badly as I do about it. I broke the bracelet quite by accident first thing this I morning and I feel so badly I can't throw off the mood. It cracked right on the side of the heart and I felt as though something inside of me cracked. I could never use the bracelet as it was, so I can't understand why I'm so let down. Can it be melted and remolded, or could you possibly have another made slightly smaller in diameter than this one? I have neither a bracelet or a wrist watch and would very much like to have one or the other. I've even thought of matching a bracelet to the moonstone set, but I wear the moonstone set so infrequently that I wouldn't think of it at the moment. Everyone thinks the bracelet is lovely and different and the workmanship is perfect. Exactly how do they shape these things anyway. Shall I send it back to you if it can be repaired! I shall be waiting your reply and hope that something can be done.

Mom and Ethel have both been asking me to write a little on Harry W. It seems that all his letters to the folks contain information that he is most disappointed at not hearing from you. He thinks you are mad at him or that he didn't treat you right when you visited him, so both Mom and Ethel have prevailed upon me to get you to drop him a line and reassure him, as he feels very, very badly about it. How's about it?

Phil, I am writing this after work - I just received the terrible news of President Roosevelt's demise and it has taken so much out of me that I am shaking. It is not even as much a blow to the nation as it is to the Jews in particular. How could God be so cruel! He was so tired! God grant that those who follow in his path be as good and wholesome as he was. It's so awful, just the thought of it. Naturally, I didn't believe it at first, but it is true and a shock to every single person who loved and respected him.

It's really difficult to say anything after the shock, but I do want to tell you that Betty Jane finally arrived and she is positively lovely. In fact she is the loveliest doll Adele now possesses. The company who forwarded Betty Jane is one of the company's from whom we purchase most of our dolls and they make nice stuff. I'm still heartbroken about the bracelet and will see If I can do anything to have it repaired. If it isn't possible, would it be asking too much to have another made? I'd also like to have two tiny hearts of plexi-glass that could be made into earrings, so that it would be a complete set. I put the bracelet together with Duco cement and it seems to be holding, but I can't wear it as it is because it is too large for me. If you will recall I have very, very tiny wrists. But enough of the bracelet. Adele is as pleased as punch with her new asset and I'm sure were you here you'd receive your full share of loving sentiments from her. In the meantime I'll have to send them along with an equal portion, and perhaps more, of my love for you. I received your v-mall of April 5th today and it requires no comment. I shall await your letter of the date previous. I am and always will be

Your Eve

12 April 1945

Dearest Darling,

I've been and come from the Davies'. That doesn't sound like much in so many words, but I assure you it was quite an experience. In the first place, it was a very long trip to make just to be able to spend a full day with my friends at Meadowcroft, but I expected the visit to be worth the trouble before I ever started, and I'm pleased to state that I wasn't one whit disappointed. There was one drawback, however, Sweet, and I'm hoping that you will overlook it. As usual, I spent the evening before going on pass getting ready for it, i.e. bathing, shaving, and getting my clothes in order. That is why I couldn't write on that date. I left camp at 12:30 on the afternoon of the ninth and after riding constantly 'til 12:15 A.M., arrived finally in Middlesbrough, where Doctor Davies and Commander Healy met me. About 8 o'clock in the evening, when I changed trains at Doncaster and had an hour to kill, I called them on the phone. Realizing that I would get into Middlesbrough about midnight, I told the Doctor that I would stay over in a hotel there and come out in the morning. But he wouldn't hear of it and insisted on meeting the train regardless of the time it arrived. Naturally, I felt rather guilty about keeping him up so late and tried to dissuade him, but he just wouldn't have it any other way. The trip up, while it was long, was neither tedious or boring. Three of my buddies were going to Doncaster, and I had them for company that far. They played pinochle while I read Thorne Smith's "The Bishop's Jaegers". It is an extremely entertaining book, and I was thankful for the opportunity to read it. I finished it just before we reached Doncaster. It was certainly good, when I was waiting my turn to show my travel warrant at the gate at the end of my journey, to see Dr. Davies and the Commander waiting just beyond. They both greeted me very warmly, and as tired as I was, I felt immediately that I had been repaid for the long trip by the hearty grip and welcoming smiles of these two gentlemen. We piled into the Doctor's car, and arrived at Meadowcroft in a matter of twenty or so minutes. Mrs. Davies was up and waiting for me and greeted me with every show of pleasure. For my part, I was so glad to see that dear lady that I had to restrain an impulse to kiss her. Next time, I'll not bother to restrain that impulse. Judith and her school chum, Elizabeth had waited 'til 11:30 for me to put in an appearance, but Mrs. Davies insisted then that they should turn in. An Australian flyer, Lt. Charles Carey, an old friend of the Davies', who was spending his twelve-day leave at Meadowcroft, was also waiting up for me. After the introductions and the usual amenities were disposed of, Mrs. Davies brought out cheese and bread and beer and I broke my long fast. I was starved, and I don't remember anything ever tasting as good as did that midnight snack. We all finally retired about 1:30. I shared Commander Healy's room with him. The beds were just big enough for one person apiece, but very comfortable. At that, I was so weary I could have slept on the floor! In the morning, I awoke about 9:30, and much as I would have liked to lay abed awhile longer, I thought I had better get up, 'cause I heard the others at breakfast downstairs. Accordingly, I made haste to shave, wash and dress. When I came downstairs and into the dining room, the others were all at table. First, I was introduced to a newcomer, an American G.I. from Mississippi who had just arrived about 7 o clock in the morning from London, where he works in the Judge Advocate's office. His name is Carl Weil, he is about 33 years old, and was a practicing lawyer in civilian life. Then I was introduced to Judith, who is deserving of a detailed and long description. She was, I noticed immediately, wearing navy blue shorts that revealed an athletic pair of legs (you can stop smirking, now, dear). Somehow, I had expected her to be dark-haired, and for that reason, I, at first glance thought that Elizabeth, her black-haired chum, was Judith. However, the girl I met had a great quantity of dark blonde hair worn loose and long (I know I don't have to remind you, honey, that I was always partial to that type of hair-do - or would "hair-don't* describe it better?). Her features, which are rather indeterminately babyish and without a trace of make-up, are attractive - even pretty, but they certainly give no indication of her temperament, as I soon found out. She seems to have a particular aversion for the womanly graces, bounds about the place like a 14-year old boy, and has no womanly sense of modesty at all. She is so unspoiled that she saw nothing wrong in inadvertently showing (during her frequent tussles with Charlie) a good deal more of her legs than is commonly considered decent. It may strike you that this display was born of vanity, but if you could see her in action, and talk to her, I know that you would dismiss this thought as unworthy. She's just a big kid who is too inexperienced to know any shame for her body, but is a very attractive and charming miss in spite of her strenuous efforts to play the rowdy. Too, she is very young for her seventeen years, and is just in that stage that despises the very aura of sophistication. Her parents, as I have told you, have their hearts set on sending her through Oxford, but whenever anyone even mentions school, she makes a little moue' of displeasure. She is fed up with schooling and makes no bones about it. I couldn't help feeling sorry for the kid. These are the years she should be riding to hounds (her first and only love, evidently) and having dates and fun generally. As far as I can gather, she has had very little fun and no dates yet, nor, if her parents plans for her materialize, will she have any of either for five years yet. When discussing this with Mrs. Davies, I remarked that it seemed a pity that Judith would be all tied up with schooling when she should be enjoying the best years of her youth. Her answer to that was "Well, Philip, we must sacrifice something if we hope to attain anything, mustn't we?". I had no answer to that one, although I might have pointed out that finding a husband and being a wife should be enough career for any girl. Certainly, Judith isn't the “career girl" type. One needs only to look at her to know that she was meant to be someone's wife. But maybe I'm prejudiced against careers for girls. To my mind, the average one has one function and purpose in life - to be wife and mother, and nothing else but. Guess I'm old fashioned, huh? At any rate, I tacitly agreed that there are two ways to look at it -. While Judith was passing me things across the table, bringing me tea, etc., I talked to Charles and Carl. - But I've forgotten to tell you about Liz. She is smaller and slimmer than Judith, but every inch a lady. The exact antithesis of Judith. I loved listening to them. They talk so beautifully, so grammatically, and so intelligently, that I couldn't help contemplating how different they are from American girls of the same age, and not only in comportment, either, but even more so in their ideas about everything and their current interests. However, lest I give the impression they are stodgy, I must admit that they are full of fun, and even Liz didn't consider it beneath her dignity to tease Charlie, who is deservedly a great favorite with the girls, and to roughhouse with "Tim” as they call the commander. The Commander, for his part, has the time of his life with the two roughnecks, and it's a real treat to see him laughing so hard that he's entirely helpless in their hands. After breakfast, the Doctor went off on his rounds, Mrs. Davies and the girls cleared away the breakfast things, and Carl, Charlie, and I adjourned to the living-room, where they immediately chose books from the well-filled book-cases and I put on the Elgar Concerto played by Yehudi Menuhin. This time I got to play all twelve sides of the set before being interrupted. The women had cleaned up the dishes, made all the beds and finished the house-work by that time. When they came in, we went out into the garden, which is just beginning to sprout a variety of blooms and is very colorful. Later, Mrs. Davies took us all down to show us to the butcher so that he might be moved to letting her have a little more meat than her rations called for. Evidently the butcher was impressed, 'cause there was enough lamb for all at lunch. After shopping, I went into the Doctor's office to visit with Mrs. Payne for a bit. I had a very nice chat with her until we were called in to lunch.

The Doctor comes home for his meals, and presided at table on this occasion. Mrs. Davies, who is a very accomplished conversationalist, and a very well informed person withal, kept the conversational ball rolling all through the meal. She has a very winning way of asking you about the things you would want at to talk about, but might hesitate to discuss spontaneously. Thus, she would ask me about you and the punkin; pop a few questions at Carl about his law practise, and pump Charlie about Australia. Altogether it was a most congenial gathering at table that afternoon. For dessert, there was delicious home-made goose-berrie pie, as only Mrs. Davies can make it, made even tastier by the addition of hot custard. After dinner, we (the girls, Charlie, Carl and myself) adjourned once more to the living-room, where we made ourselves comfortable around the hearth. The girls didn't stay long, though, 'cause they had to help Mrs. Davies clean up the dishes and prepare supper. The Doctor came in soon afterward, and started to read the paper, but dozed off directly. Carl and Charlie, who had resumed their reading, promptly followed suit, and yours very lovingly, not to be outdone, also dozed off. This pleasant interlude lasted 'til 4:30, when we were all called in to tea. There were a variety of home-made cakes to choose from, and lest I feel deprived, I sampled a little of each. After tea, during which Commander Healy returned, we went out to the lawn in the rear of the garden to play at bowls in the warm late-afternoon sunshine. Judith and Liz came up with a mug of beer for each of us and made wry faces while we drank. Carl and I (the Americans) played against Liz and Charlie in the first game. Mrs. Davies, coming out to watch, immediately began rooting for “The Empire,” and exhorted Charlie and Liz to give their best for it. However, since Carl and I were mere initiates to the game, her cheering was superfluous, 'cause we poor Americans were outclassed from the beginning. After they had soundly trounced us, Judith and Commander Healy played Liz and Charlie while Carl and I looked on. It was during the course of this game that I remarked Judith's entire lack of self-consciousness (I don't know what else to call it). She had put on a skirt over a pair of plain black cotton panties, which she displayed in their entirety every time she stooped to retrieve a bowl without any vestige of embarrassment. To tell the truth, she was so naively unconcerned with what she showed, that it was impossible to hold it against her. One might just as well chide a baby for the same sort of thing. I'm sure that she is the most innocent and unaffected and wholesome girl it has ever been my privilege to meet. Believe it or not, honey, I feel cheapened by the mere fact that I could even think of it as an indecent display! Do you begin to understand the girl I'm finding it so hard to describe and explain to you? Well, we played until it was time for supper, enjoying the competition, the lawn and the sun, to say nothing of Judith's teasing of Commander Healy. Supper consisted of Canadian bacon and fried fresh eggs, topped off by delicious pineapple sundaes, made with ice cream that Mrs. Davies made herself. After the table was cleared, we all went in to the living room, where the card table was set up, and the seven of us (Mrs. Davies, Judith, Elizabeth, the Commander, Carl, Charlie and myself) played a game of progressive rummy, which is a swell game in company, and which we all enjoyed. There was a great deal of good-natured badinage throughout, and a great deal of laughter. Mrs. Davies was phenomenally lucky, and just managed to come out ahead of me when the scores were added up. Then, at my suggestion, we all went up to the music-room (the Doctor was home again by this time ), where we spent the rest of the night singing. That is, the others sang while Mrs. Davies played the piano and I accompanied on Judith's violin. We played and sang English folk tunes like John Peel, Annie Laurie, Drink to me Only with Thine Eyes, In the Gloaming, Smiling Thru, various excerpts from Gilbert and Sullivan, and sea shanties like Blow the Man Down, etc. Everyone pitched in, and we had a really merry time of it 'til midnight, when, tired but happy, as the saying goes, we sought our respective beds. Well, Chippie, there isn't much more to tell. I left Meadowcroft at 12 noon with Judith and Liz, who walked me to the bus, but not before I had made arrangements to meet the Davies' in London on the 30th when they are taking Judith back to school. I will meet them then at the Savoy, where they will stay, and we will all go out to the theater in the evening. The latter was my suggestion, and I'm hoping the Doctor doesn't spoil my treat by getting the tickets before I can. They have been so very nice to me that I won't feel exactly right until I have reciprocated in some way. The trip back was more tiresome and monotonous because it was in the nature of an anti-climax. Actually, though, I made better time on the return trip because I went by way of London. There was, in the same compartment on the train, a little girl of three, traveling with her mother and aunt, who was so cute and clever that I couldn't keep my eyes off her. Naturally, she brought thoughts of my own punkin to mind, and I wished very much that that young mother and child could somehow be supplanted by you and Adele. I arrived back in camp at 11 o'clock, and had a hell of a time making my bunk up in the dark. I had asked Dick Stahle to make it up for me if I weren’t back by ten o'clock, but he had to go off somewhere and delegated the job to Klein, who promptly forgot about it. This morning, I resumed my work where I had left off. It was a lovely Spring day, and what with the war news getting better hourly, I was in pretty high spirits all day. To add to it, there were quite a few letters awaiting me. They were your letter of 30 March, your V-mails of 31 March and 1 April, a very nice letter (with a smashing joke included) from Dot, and a belated card from Lil. This afternoon brought your letter of 25 March and your V-mail of 5 April. It is much too late to attempt to answer them now, darling, and since it is now 1:40 A.M. I know you will condone my closing this letter now.

Just got the lamentable news over the phone that President Roosevelt died suddenly tonight. That's fate at its most ironic. Here on the eve of victory, after doing so much to make it possible, our great President has passed away. It is too tragic to contemplate --

Good night, my darling. I haven't told you how muched I missed you and wanted you with me during my excursion to Yorkshire, but you may take it for granted that you were in my thoughts every minute. I adore you, my Evie. My best love to the punkin and all.

Your Phil