17 Aug 6th Anniversary blues, Dec 21 & 22, 1944
These two letters cover a lot of different territory: in the first one, Dad tells about his adventure driving a Major around the country, sleeping between real sheets and eating a real egg! Light and breezy. The second letter is written on December 22nd, their 6th anniversary, and the last paragraph is heart wrenching. His loneliness is really getting the better of him. He also details the destruction he’s seen in the town of Aachen, Germany.
21 Dec 1944 V-Mail
Hello, my darling – Hey – I’ve been neglecting you lately, haven’t I? But I haven’t received any mail (except today – ta ta ra ta te TAN) a Variety, and READERS DIGEST for Nov! What happened to April through Oct?) for about a week. I had a very nice trip yesterday and today. Drove Mj. Steward (in a civilian Chevy) back through Maastricht, Liege and a few other little Belgian towns, one of which we stopped at some friends of his to have supper and sleep & breakfast – and then to some other friends for more breakfast – this time, ham & a real egg! Both were charming families, and the first homes I’ve been in since Bill & Ellen’s on May 9! It was a grand feeling. Had a few cognacs – admired an old fashioned Xmas tree – listened to a few records, including “Clare de Lune” – and finally went to bed between 2 clean sheets. It was so damn comfortable I couldn’t get to sleep until about 12:30!! Drove around in Germany today – saw interesting places – and all in all spent a most enjoyable 24 hours almost a vacation to get away for even such a short time.
I’m getting pretty sleepy (after all, it is 10:00PM!) but I’ll be dreaming of you tonight, Mary dear – ain’t this Anniversary Eve?
You know who
22 Dec 1944 7:00 PM
SOMEWHERE IN GERMANY
HAPPY ANNIVERSARY, MARY DARLING. (YOU’LL HAVE TO PARDON THIS TYPING, BECAUSE ALMOST EVERY TIME YOU HIT THE “A” IT JUMPS) AND, AS IT SHOULD BE, I GOT YOUR DEC 11 LETTER TODAY ***FAST, HMM? AND I’M STILL LIEING IN THE AISLE FROM KARENS SNAPPY “OH, GOD, GIVE ME SENSE”!! WHAT A GAL. WHAT SHAME ABOUT MERCEDES AND PAUL. I’VE OFTEN WONDERED ABOUT THEIR HOME LIFE, AND FIGURED IT WAS FUNNY, BUT THOUGHT IT MIGHT BE BECAUSE OF FINANCES. I’M VERY SORRY TO HEAR IT. I DO MISS THE FUNNIES (BUT NOT AS MUCH AS YOU AND KAREN, BUT MORE THAN YOU MISS ME. YUP.) AND WOULD BE HAPPY IF YOU WERE TO PUT THEM IN A BUNDLE AND SEND THEM ALONG, ANYTIME. DO YOU CIVVIES EVER SEE “SAD SACK” OR “UP FRONT WITH MAULDIN” OR “HUBERT”? THEY ARE THREE EXTREMELY FUNNY CHARACTERS TO US GI’S. “SAD SACK” IS IN THE “YANK”, AND OTHER TWO ARE SINGLE PICTURE JOBS IN THE S&S. IF YOU WOULD LIKE SOME OF THE ONES WHICH I THINK ARE FUNNY, SAY SO. MANY OF THEM ARE A BIT RISQUE, AND ALL ARE STRICTLY BUCK PRIVATE HUMOR, BUT I THINK MOST WOULD BE FUNNY TO ALL WITH A BIT OF EXPLAINING. IT’S RAINING UP HERE AGAIN, AFTER SEVERAL DAYS OF VERY WET FOG. NOT NEARLY SO COLD AS THE FIRST FEW DAYS THAT I CAME IN, HOWEVER. I HAVE JUST MADE ANOTHER IMPROVEMENT ON MY SLEEPING ARRANGEMENTS. PICKED UP A BUNCH OF ROUGH COTTON (READY TO BE MADE INTO COMFORTERS) AND FILLED UP MY MATTRESS COVER WITH IT INSTEAD OF THE STRAW WHICH I’VE HAD ALL ALONG. IT SHOULD BE ALOT WARMER, AND IT FELT VERY GOOD WHEN I TRIED IT THIS AFTERNOON, ALBEIT A BIG LUMPY. I’LL SEE TONIGHT HOW IT IS FOR A WHOLE NIGHT. I GOT TO THINKING TODAY HOW RATHER NUMB THE HUMAN BODY CAN BECOME TO PHYSICAL COMFORTS. IT HAS GOT TO THE POINT WHERE YOU ALMOST FORGET THAT YOU HAVE A BODY FOR ANYTHING EXCEPT A COUPLE OF LEGS TO GET YOU AROUND AND A COUPLE OF ARMS TO DO A FEW THINGS WITH. AS FAR AS DERIVING ANY JOY FROM THE BODY ITSELF —WELL, THERE JUST AIN’T NO SUCH THING. I ASKED A DUTCHMAN WHO SPEAKS A BIT OF ENGLISH THE OTHER DAY ABOUT THIS XMAS DEAL. SEEMS THAT DEC. SIXTH IS ST NICHOLAS DAY, IN WHICH EVERYBODY GIVES PRESENTS TO EVERYBODY. THEN XMAS DAY IS ANOTHER DAY TO GIVE PRESENTS. AND FOR GOOD MEASURE, THEY ALSO GIVE PRESENTS ON NEW YEARS DAY!! WHAT A COUNTRY.
AACHEN IS QUITE A PLACE. A BIG TOWN, BUT I DIDN’T SEE AS MANY PEOPLE THERE AS I HAVE IN THIS LITTLE BURG. REASON IS THAT IT HAS BEEN SO THOROUGHLY MINED AND BOOBY TRAPPED, I GUESS. IN THESE GERMAN TOWNS, YOU DRIVE STRICTLY ON THE BEATEN PATH AND WAIT RATHER THAN TAKE A CHANCE RUNNING OFF THE TRACK A BIT IF YOU WANT TO PASS SOMEONE. DROVE DOWN ONE STREET THAT REMINDED ME A GREAT DEAL OF RIVERSIDE DRIVE. BIG APARTMENTS, AND NICE, BUT PRACTICALLY EVERY ROOM OF EVERY BUILDING EITHER SMASHED OR FULL OF HOLES OF ONE KIND OR ANOTHER. I CAN REALIZE NOW WHAT WAS GOING ON WHEN WE USED TO LOOK OFF IN THE EAST FROM MAASTRICHT EVERY NIGHT FOR ABOUT A WEEK AND SEE THE REFLECTION IN THE SKY OF THE FIRES THAT MADE IT LOOK AS THOUGH THE SUN WAS GOING DOWN THE WRONG WAY.
THERE IS NO NEED TO PRETEND, MARY DEAR, TODAY IS THE BEGINNING OF A VERY TOUGH COUPLE OF WEEKS FOR ME. TODAY, OUR ANNIVERSARY. SIX YEARS MARRIED TODAY. FIVE YEARS REALLY, BECAUSE WHAT THE HELL KIND OF A MARRIED LIFE COULD YOU CALL THIS PAST ONE FOR US? AND THEN MONDAY, XMAS. AND 29TH KAREN’S BIRTHDAY, AND THEN NEW YEARS. AND HERE I AM, THOUSANDS OF MILES AWAY FROM WHERE I WANT TO BE. OTHER DAYS COME AND GO AND I WORK AND TRY NOT TO THINK ABOUT IT TOO MUCH, BUT THESE DAYS ARE SPECIAL, AND WORK OR NOTHING ELSE HELPS MUCH. I MISS YOU, MY DARLING. THE VERY TENDEREST OF KISSES, AND WARMES OF HUGS FOR YOU TONIGHT. AND SOME NICE LITTLE ONES FOR KAREN, TOO.