18 Sep Shining through adversity, March 14 & 17, 1945
These two letters show a side of my father that I’ve only really learned through reading his letters – despite the most intense adversity, he does his best to create a comfortable “nest” for himself! In the first letter he describes taking over a “room upstairs” that was a wreck and with the help of a buddy, they turn it into a “cozy little nest”! I’m remembering back to his various fox holes in France and his similar efforts. What a guy! In the second letter, he mentions that he can’t stand the smell of himself after not having taken a shower for two weeks! Many of us suffered power outages after Hurricane Irene blew through the Hudson Valley, and I know how I felt after three days of no showering – hard to imagine working under the conditions he describes and going that long without a shower!
14 MARCH 1945 V-MAIL
HELLO, SWEETIE YOU ARE BEING WRITTEN TO BY ONE BEAT CHARACTER! AH’M REALLY POOPED! THIS WORKING ALL HOURS IS CATCHING UP WITH ME AND I’M GETTING SO THAT I FEEL, AND MUST LOOK LIKE A TIRED TURNIP. I’VE MADE A DARN GOOD BUDDY OF MY FILE CLERK AND WE HAVE MOVED INTO A ROOM UPSTAIRS HERE IN THE OFFICE BLDG. IT WAS A MESS — FULL OF BROKEN GLASS, STALE BED CLOTHES, NUMEROUS CRUCIFIXES AND CATHOLIC PICTURES AND AN OLD FASHIONED UNDER-THE-BED TYPE POT!! AFTER A COUPLE OF HOURS WORK WE HAVE MADE A VERY COZY LITTLE NEST OUT OF IT WITH A COUPLE OF EASY CHAIRS, A DESK LAMP, DRESSER AND HAD REAL GLASS PUT BACK IN THE WINDOWS (BOY, A GLAZIER WILL MAKE A FORTUNE OVER HERE IN THE NEXT COUPLE OF YEARS!) WE MADE SUCH A GOOD DEAL OUT OF IT, IN FACT, THAT FIVE OTHER FELLOWS HAVE NOW MOVED OVER HERE, AND MORE ARE WISHING THAT THEY HAD KNOWN OF IT SOONER. THE FILE CLERK (SPALDING) IS A VERY WITTY GUY AND WE HAVE ALOT OF LAUGHS. HE’S ABOUT THIRTY, FROM CHICAGO, AND IS PRETTY WELL INFORMED ABOUT A LOT OF THINGS. BY THE WAY, DID I TELL YOU THAT THE LITTLE “GOOFY” PENCIL SHARPENER THAT YOU SENT ME FOR XMAS HAS BEEN A GODSEND TO THIS HQ? IT’S THE ONLY P S IN THE OUTFIT, AND DOES IT GET YEOMAN DUTY? WE’RE A PENCIL PUSHING OUTFIT (WE’LL GET THE BRONZE TYPEWRITER RIBBON WITH THE OAK LEAF CLUSTER WHEN THIS IS ALL OVER) AND A DOZEN GUYS A DAY COME UP TO BORROW LITTLE “GOOFY”! I’M A LITTLE GOOFY MYSELF ABOUT NOW. AND I’M GETTING GOOFIER ABOUT YOU EVERY DAY IN EVERY WAY! GOLLY, BUT THE BIG TRUCKS REALLY GO A-ROARING PAST HERE ON THE WAY UP FRONT WITH BRIDGES, AMMO, GAS – EVERYTHING — ROLLING AND A RUMBLING, AND I THINK I LOVE YOU, I LOVE YOU, I LOVE YOU, MARY DEAR
17 MARCH 1945
OH, ME, HERE I AM AT ELEVEN PM JUST GETTING AROUND TO WRITING TO YOU, & I STILL HAVE TO SHAVE YET!! HOWEVER, I CAN’T COMPLAIN BECAUSE I TOOK THE EARLY PART OF THE EVENING OFF TO GO AND SEE THE BEST PICTURE I’VE SEEN IN THESE PARTS “GOING MY WAY”. THE FIRST TIME I’VE LEFT SINCE WE MOVED UP HERE, BUT I’VE BEEN WAITING TO SEE IT FOR A LONG TIME, SO I JUST TOOK UP AND LEFT A STACK OF PAPERS ON MY DESK (AND THEY WERE WAITING FOR ME WHEN I GOT BACK). HAVE YOU SEEN IT YET? YOU MUST IF YOU HAVEN’T SWEETHEART, IT IS REALLY VERY GOOD, AND WHAT A JOB OLD BARRY FITYGERALD DOES — WONDERFUL!!! I GOT YOUR MAR FIRST LETTER YESTERDAY AND BIG STOOP MARY NOTICED THAT I HAD MOVED BACK TO HOLLAND BUT NOT THAT I WAS IN A NEW ORGANIYATION!! BUT IT WAS A VERY NICE LONG NEWSY LETTER SO I FORGIVE YOU. MAIL WAS PERHAPS SNAFUED AND YOU GOT ONE OF THE LETTERS AHEAD OF TIME. IF I DON’T SEEM TO MAKE MUCH SENSE TO YOU IT’S BECAUSE I’VE BEEN SHUFFLING PAPERS AROUND UNTIL I’M SEEING SPOTS, AND I CAN ALSO HARDLY STAND THE SMELL OF MYSELF!! HAVEN’T HAD A BATH IN TWO WEEKS (TODAY) BUT EXPECT TO TRAVEL ABOUT FIFTY MILES TO GET ONE TOMORROW!! SHAVE IN COLD WATER EVERY NIGHT (COULD GET A CUP FULL OF OF HOT IF I WANTED TO BOTHER TO HEAT IT OVER A LITTLE STOVE, BUT WOULD RATHER HAVE MORE COLD WATER AND CLEAN THAN A DAB OF HOT AND DIRTY! DOGGONE, I STILL HAVE TO LAUGH EVERY TIME I LOOK AT THE PICTURE OF OL KAREN! AND AT NIGHT WHEN I CRAWL INTO MY SLEEPING BAG I THINK ABOUT HER SAYING HER PRAYERS FOR ME. MAKES ME FEEL DAMN GOOD. GOSH!!! BUT I LOVE YOU GUYS **** MORE & MORE & MORE!!