16 Jul Near Belgium 9-21 & 23, 1944
After reading these letters, I’m beginning to think my Dad’s unit has been traveling through France north of Paris and are close to Belgium, due to the references he makes to wooden shoes. I also found amongst his war relics, a map to Bruxelles and a meal ticket there. And how cool is this? He went to a USO show featuring Fred Astaire!!
21 Sept 1944 V-Mail
Hello, darling – haven’t had a ltr from you in 4 or 5 days now, but realize how you too might be busy – or APO could snafu. Had ltrs from Dad & Fred De Cordova written in JUNE. Hope that some of those old ones will catch up – it’s all nice to get, old or fresh. Went to a little tavern with some of the boys last night. Had a lot of fun drinking the best beer since U.S., playing “darts”, and a small version of pool that they have here. Came back at ten to be runner until 2 AM. Guess they’re letting us out a little here because from now on we’ll be sticking pretty close to the Co. area. I have a still better deal for sleeping now. When these boys came over they had life belts that you blow up. So they hung on to four of them, straightened them out, and used them as an air mattress. One of these fellow has left and given me his – so I now have the life-belts, then my straw mattress (for warmth) and blankets – making a very satisfactory bed. Of course, I won’t sneer at our lil job at home, but this is all right till then – which I can hardly wait. Ain’t good grammar, but I guess you can figure it out. Give Mercedes & Dolores my best, and all my love to you and K
Your ol man Bauer
23 Sept 1944 V-Mail
Mary dear – yesterday was very busy, and very fine – as any 22nd should be! I found it very nice – wooden shoe? Fred Astaire USO show in the afternoon – and a swell ltr (Sept 11 – quick service, hmm?) from you with the wonderful picture of Karen. Ain’t she the sweet lil devil, though? Gosh darn, but I’m sorry to miss all of this stage in her life. Just have to make up for it with the next two or three, hmm? Yesterday also marked my one year in the Army – which I will be happy to forget. The apples grow like grapes on the trees here. So heavy that they put up long poles to hold the branches and keep them from breaking. Not very good for eating, unfortunately. Likewise the pears – but occasionally you get one that’s very good. The natives have 30′ or 40′ ladders that they climb up to pick the fruit – and I confess I don’t see how they do it in those clumsy shoes.
How long does it take for my mail, honey? Does it arrive fairly well on schedule? And is air mail any better? I shouldn’t think it would be any faster for NYC in particular. Let me know if you’d prefer air mail. We’ve set our clocks back an hour now, so it’s dark about 7:30. Nothing much else to do but go to bed. Can you imagine – ME – in bed at 8 PM? I can imagine you – here’s a big kiss from your husband Mr. B – ME stoopie