Sunday, January 22, 2023
Post #701 - September 30, 1945 With My Embarkation for Home Presumably Only a Matter of Five or Six Weeks Away, the Time is Showing a Tendency to Drag Interminably
30 September 1945
My Darling Ev,
After three mail-less days, your V-mail of 21 Sep. arrived yesterday afternoon. But it told me hardly anything more than that you had Adele to Dr. Leinweber to have her teeth cleaned; that Harry W. is back in "civvy street", and that you are waiting most impatiently for 16 Oct to roll around. I forget now what particular significance I attached to that date, but if I led you to believe that I might be home by then, you must know how we were swindled out of our rightful places as "866". But, in my case, I don't think the "deal" will postpone my sailing by more than five or six weeks. It's the guys who have only about 65 points, who really got the short end of the stick. They probably won't get home ’til about January.
Yesterday they grabbed me for the processing line again. (I feel like “often a bridesmaid, never a bride"). So I was busy all day. In the evening I was too worn out to do anything except lie on my bunk and read. I picked up Ben Ames Williams’ "Strange Woman" in the Day Room, meaning to read a coupla hours and then drop you few lines, but I got so interested in the story that before I realized it, it was 10:30 (by my new watch, which has yet to lose or gain a half-minute since I acquired it!) - and too late to start a letter—Sorry, honey
Today being Sunday, I slept ‘til 10:00, and lay abed ’til 11:00. (I'll leave it to you, Sweet, to imagine what I day-dreamed about in that hour.) Finally, because I was hungry and it was approaching lunch-time, I dragged myself out from under the blankets, dressed, washed, and hiked to the Mess Hall. I had forgotten it was Sunday, when we customarily have chicken for dinner. Hungry as I was, I couldn’t stomach it, and ate only potatoes and peas. Back I came to the hut still hungry. To take my mind off that uncomfortable empty feeling, I resumed my reading of “Strange Woman". But my leisure was interrupted when Sgt. Fox came in to tell me that Lt. Carney wanted me at Hq to compile some information for a report. I caught a hop on a weapons-carrier to Hq, where Lt. Carney told me what he wanted. It took me only about a half-hour to go through the S/R's and get the dope for him. Before I left, he told me to report tomorrow (Monday) to work in the Orderly Room of my new organization, which the guys refer to with justifiable bitterness as the "3d Mess-kit Rape + Ream Sq.” I don't mind this new assignment for two reasons. (1) It will keep me occupied for my remaining time here. (2) I won't be called on to pull K.P. or guard-duty.
When I came back to the hut (this time I walked the mile from Hq) it was only 3:30, so I killed the time ’til supper reading. By supper-time I was ravenous, not having had a square meal since lunch the day before. For supper, they had my favorite Army meal—meat loaf, pickled beets and onions, mashed potatoes, coffee, and stewed apricots in vanilla pudding for dessert. After finishing this meal, I felt a lot better.
The picture at the theater is "Girl Crazy," which I saw more than a year ago, so I came directly back to start this—
At the moment, I have the hut (and the radio) to myself. Today was pay-day, and most of the guys have taken off for town and various places. It is more than three weeks since I've been to London, and two weeks since I've even left the base. I think I'll go into Colchester tomorrow for the evening to see Bert and Evelyn and the Marks’. Tonight, after I finish this, I must take a much-needed shower and shave.
The Station is fast becoming what is known in G.I. parlance as a "dead base". The PX, dry-cleaning establishment, barber-shop and various other services have been closed down and dismantled. In a few days, the movies and Aero club will close down. By that time, the G.I.'s awaiting shipment will have gone, leaving only us of the “holding party" to hold down the fort. We number, at present, 188 EM and 39 Officers, but I heard Major Shamblin say today that this force will be cut to about 70 EM and 6 Officers, who will be here a few weeks after the rest of us have shipped out. I say "us", because the “excess" will be the higher-point men, and there will be no one on the base with more points than I, since I only missed going with "866" by one measly point. In any event, I don't expect to be on this station more than another two weeks. Where I'll go from here is as much a mystery to me as it will be to you, but the likelihood (practically the certainty) is that I'll be transferred to an outfit scheduled to ship for the States in a few weeks. That's the “sityayshun" as it now stands, my sweet, and you know just as much about it now as I do—at this writing.
With things in the state of flux that they are now, and with my embarkation for home presumably only a matter of five or six weeks away, the time is showing a tendency to drag interminably. But that may be due, in large part, to my comparative inaction these past few days. The strange thing is, that although the time ’til departure for POE is growing shorter daily, I can't yet get excited at the prospect. I think I feel instinctively that the time for that is not yet—that if I allow myself to start “anticipating" now, I couldn't bear the strain for the duration of the intervening weeks ~ But I also feel that the tough period of waiting will be those few hours between the moment I am free to come to you and the moment you are again lovingly ensconced in my arms, that have waited so hungrily for you these past two years and more—So often and so long have I dwelt, in my imagination, on all the aspects of that precious instant of reunion, that I'm almost afraid to admit to myself that all the words I might possibly say to you will stick in my throat. I might even (horror of horrors!) break down completely!" What would you think of your big, strong hubby then, baby? So—if I go to the opposite extreme and greet you almost casually, you will understand, Chippie, that that is my defense against an occurence of the former. After all, a guy that's as easily moved to tears as I am (remember me in the movies?) could hardly be expected to "bear up" under the stress an emotional crisis such as our reunion is bound to be! Seriously, tho’, honey, you must promise not to embarrass me by acknowledging in any way the tears I am just liable to shed on the occasion. And you must not be surprised or hurt by any lack of customary fervor, either, ’cause if I feel myself "giving way", it's conceivable that I will adopt a formality and brusqueness that will be the exact antithesis of what I am feeling - but only ’til we are alone. Once we are alone together, I'll know no reserve. Anything goes—and may the best man win! I'm sure you understand me perfectly, baby—
As for the punkin, I'm almost sure I'll make an ass of myself right off the bat! I remember very clearly my reaction when I came home from Lockbourne on pass once. Someone put her into my arms to hold. It was in our bedroom, and there were a dozen people present at the time, yourself included. The moment I felt her precious little body in my arms, I started to choke up, and when she sleepily put her head against my neck, the sob that started to well almost broke its bounds. I had to turn my back to the assemblage, to hide the tears that started. If all those people weren't there at the time, I'm afraid I would have blubbered like the veriest babe! That is why, darling, I must ask you to insure that my meeting with Adele be a strictly private one—even to your own exclusion if you don't relish the spectacle of your hubby in tears. I'm afraid the punkin might neither like nor understand the phenomenon, and might think the less of her daddy for the apparent weakness, so I’m going to make every effort to “be strong” (God knows, I want to be!) but I know myself well enough to recognize the possibility that I won't be equal to the occasion. That is why I am taking no chances and telling you what to expect and what you must do to prevent embarrassing us all: First, I must meet you alone. Then, I must meet the punkin alone, unless you are willing to risk seeing me in tears. That, I'll leave to your own discretion, but no one else until I have met you and Adele— After that, let them all come! One more thing, honey—In the event that I'll be free to come to you before I can let you know that I have arrived, (and this is the probability), then don't think it strange if I don't come directly home, but tell you to meet me at some hotel in town. I just can't face the prospect of coming home to you—and a dozen other people. I'm sure you will understand and respect my feelings in this matter, Chippie—
Well, darling, I have just about written the evening away. I'll stop now ‘cause I have to save some for tomorrow ~ So hasta mañana, sweetheart. You know I adore you, but if you'll put your arms around me and stand real close so I can get my lips close to your ear, I’ll whisper what is ever in my heart ~ I love you, my Evie—