02 Aug Holidays are coming, Nov 4 & 6, 1944
So poignant to read the end of this first letter, and feel my Dad’s frustration at not being able to find any nice gifts to send his sweetheart for Christmas and their anniversary. He’s asking her to wrap up something else he’s sent and tells her what to write on the card.
In the November 6th letter, some very interesting details about his new living and working situation and a reference to Ayn Rand! I remember my Dad telling me that he was friends with her when he was a struggling actor in NYC – that he used to hang out with her when she was working on The Fountainhead in the late 30’s.
On one of my internet searches I found this:
“Ayn Rand returned to Hollywood in late 1943 to write the screenplay for The Fountainhead, but wartime restrictions delayed production until 1948.”
So in his letter, he was indeed making reference to the film version of The Fountainhead.
4 Nov 1944 V-Mail
Good evening, Mary darling, it is now 11:30 PM – I’m on runner for another guy tonight = again. He had something to do, so I’m working for him. He’ll take my place my next time. Guess what I got today – 5 ltrs! Yours of June 12 & 20 – and May 25!! Also a couple others from Dad & Mom, same vintage. In time, I’ll catch up on all the past, I imagine – if the war lasts long enough – God fa’ bid! You were in the midst of your Concord trip then, and it was nice to find out what you were talking about in your succeeding ltrs. You’ll notice I’m writing with a different pen – borrowed. I got mine out to discover a broken pen point – damn. A request! New (cheap) foundation pen, or a pen point. Can do – you think?
A thought has been recurring to me the past few days. Thanksgiving is almost here – and not long till Xmas. I’m still in hopes I’ll find you some nice things for Xmas and Anniversary presents – but store stocks look awfully doubtful. If I can’t find anything in the meantime, why don’t you wrap up something that I’ve already sent for “My dearest wife – with all my love” signed “Rollin”. And the nicest possible Thanksgiving Day to you, my darling – and Karen.
You know who – Mr. B.
6 Nov 1944 V-Mail typed
HELLO CUTIE PANTS *** HERE I AM DOWN AT NINTH ARMY ORD HQ ON DETACHED SERVICE. THAT MEANS THAT I’M STILL ASSIGNED TO 48TH BN, BUT AM WORKING DOWN HERE ON A TEMPORARY ASSIGNMENT. A FELLOW HERE IS IN THE HOSPITAL WITH APPENDICITUS, SO THEY SENT DOWN FOR A MESSAGE CENTER MAN TO TAKE HIS PLACE FOR A MONTH OR SO, SO I’M IT. THERE IS A SWELL BUNCH OF FELLOWS HERE. SPEAK OUR LANGUAGE, TO PUT IT TRITELY. I’M SURE THAT I’LL GET ALONG FINE WITH THEM AS FOR THE WORK IT IS VERY SIMILAR, BUT WITH ENTIRELY DIFFERENT PROCEDURES, SO I’M STARTING FROM SCRATCH HERE, BUT AT LEAST I KNOW WHAT THE IDEA OF THE WHOLE SET UP IS. THERE ARE MORE DARN STRIPES AND HUNKS OF BRASS FLOATING AROUND HERE THAN YOU COULD SHAKE A FPC AT. A CAPTAIN GOES AROUND WITH A DEFEATED LOOK IN HIS EYES AND FULL COLONELS ARE A DIME A DOZEN. OVER AT TOP FLOOR HQ TODAY I SAW SEPARATE LATRINES MARKED “OFFICERS”, AND “GENERAL OFFICERS” (OF COURSE, YOU KNOW THAT THERE HAVE ALWAYS BEEN SEPARATE LATRINES FOR “OFFICERS” AND “EMS”. THEY TELL ME THAT THERE ARE EVEN SEPARATE MESS HALLS FOR THE GENERALS. AH ME, GOOD OL’ DEMOCRACY. ONE THING HERE IS VERY SUPERIOR. WE MAY GET UP ANYTIME WE PLEASE SO LONG AS WE ARE AT WORK BY ABOUT 8:15. WHEN I THINK OF STANDING REVEILLE EVERY MORNING AT 6:45 AT THAT LOUZY LITTLE BN BMPH! ALSO, WE WEAR NO STEEL HELMETS (ONLY THE LINER) AND CARRY NO WEAPONS AROUND THE AREA HERE. CRIPES, I WONDER WHAT THE SOLDIERS ARE DOING TONIGHT? I’VE JUST COME FROM SEEING WALLACE BERRY IN A LITTLE WESTERN OF SOME KIND ****DON’T KNOW WHAT THE NAME OF IT WAS AS GOT THERE A LITTLE LATE, BUT YOU KNOW WALLY. LAST NIGHT I SAW THE FIRST PICTURE THAT FREDDIE D HAD A HAND IN “JANIE” AND IT WAS FAIRLY WELL DONE. UNFORTUNATELY I WAS JUST TOO LATE TO CATCH THE TITLE (DAMN) BUT I IMAGINE THAT HE MUST HAVE HAD BILLING OF SOME KIND. WONDER HOW AYN’S PICTURE IS COMING? THEY HAVE MOVIES HERE EVERY NIGHT, BUT I’LL HAVE TO WORK EVERY OTHER NIGHT, I THINK, AT LEAST THAT IS WHAT ONE OF THE MASTER SERGEANTS SAID. (CAN’T GET USED TO ALL THESE STRIPES — A POOR ZEBRA WOULD FEEL NAKED HERE) BUT ONE THING I’VE GOT ON ALL OF EM, AND THEY LISTEN TO MY EVERY WORD —- I’M A VETERAN WHO WAS SWEATING IT OUT HERE IN FRANCE BEFORE THEY EVEN GOT TO ENGLAND. LONGEVITY HOLDS ALOT OF WATER IN THE ARMY. BY THE WAY, BEFORE I FORGET IT, KEEP ON WRITING ME TO THE SAME ADDRESS. ONE OF OUR MESSENGERS COMES DOWN HERE EVERY DAY AND I’VE INSTRUCTED HIM TO BRING ME MY MAIL — IF ANY. ANOTHER THING THEY ALL MARVELED AT HERE WAS MY SLEEPING ARRANGEMENT. I THINK I TOLD YOU THAT I’VE PUT MY RUBBER TUBE LIFE PRESERVERS IN MY BED FOR A MATTRESS,DIDN’T I? WELL, I HAVE, IF I DIDN’T — AND IT’S VERY SUPER. OF COURSE IT TAKES A SPECIAL TWO TON TRUCK TO CART ME AROUND, BUT UNTIL I RUN INTO TRANSPORTATION DIFFICULTIES (GOD FA’ BID) I’LL BE COMFORTABLE. GOTTA GO, SWEETHEART (HOW DO YOU LIKE THE TYPING THE TYPEWRITTEN LETTER, I MEAN, STUPIE) NOW YOU BE A GOOD GIRL, WON’T YOU? TREMENDOUS KISSES FOR YOU AND MISS K — PAPPY