21 Aug Smashed, Dec 29 & 31, 1944
These two letters are both touching. The first is to his daughter on her second birthday. So beautiful. The second is to Mary on New Year’s Eve. He’s getting through these difficult days as best he can. Wonderful description of taking a bath in a “smashed” building.
29 Dec 1944 V-Mail
Happy Birthday to you, my beautiful, flaxen – haired pixie! I’ve thought about you a great deal today, cutie. Have you been having fun? And was Santa Claus good to you? I rather imagine that he was, because I was talking to my friend Herman (the dragon, I’ve never had a chance to tell you much about him; perhaps Mona will describe him to you) and he said that ol’ Mr. C. had some big things planned for you. I’m most anxious to hear from you and Mommie and just what you did Xmas day – and today.
We’ve been working pretty hard the last few days, getting things straightened around here. It’s still cold, and the streets & roads have a thin layer of ice on them. I was thinking that they would be good for anyone who might want to pull a sled, with a little girl on it, around town a ways. You probably wouldn’t understand why so many once-beautiful buildings are all smashed – I don’t understand it myself – but grown up people get involved in a lot of childish things sometimes. Maybe on your third birthday, sweetheart, we can do some good, constructive sleigh-riding. Give Mommie a big kiss and here is a little one for you from Daddy.
31 Dec 1944 V-Mail
Germany 10:00 PM
Happy New Year (almost) my darling! Seven or eight of us are sitting around here in message center – drinking beer!! (at least, what we laughingly refer to as beer – I think it’s about .05%. Tastes all right, tho. But absolutely no effect!) Got a barrel from PX, and here we sit – having a hell of a time! and I mean – a HELL of a time. Main trouble is nobody wants to wait until midnight to go to bed. Reveille as usual tomorrow morning at 7 AM. But I think I’ll stay up – just on general principle. Cripes, a man shouldn’t forget all conventions.
We had our Xmas turkey today. And it wasn’t bad. I don’t know how the hell they cooked it. Seemed to have flaky stuff on it – like deep fried chicken. Maybe that’s the way they did it! Anyway – we had our Xmas turkey. That’s taken care of. Yesterday I had a wonderful bath. The place was all smashed to hell, and as I sat there naked in the hot sulpher water the snow drifted lazily down through the broken dome of the ceiling. I felt like Caesar, or somebody. And to be sitting there in peacetime I’d of had to be somebody.
Oh me. I still have an hour & half to go. Wish we could be out for a walk in the moonlight – ever my lover – I miss you