31 January, 2011

31 January, 1944

438th AAA AW BN
APO 527 % Postmaster, N.Y.
England
31 January, 1944    1600
Dearest sweetheart -

First of all – your picture came today! And I love it! I didn’t want to let you know how anxious I was about getting it, darling, because I was really afraid it might have been lost – but sooner or later everything gets here I guess. I kept trying to remember what the picture looked like, dear – and now that it’s here – it’s swell. And I like what you wrote on it, too. I’ve already shown it to the boys and they feel better now, too, because they’ve been wanting to see what I’ve been talking about. Now everything’s fine. I like the folder very much, darling, and rather than keep it as a wallet right now – I’ve got it up on a small shelf near my bed where I can see it every time I enter my room.

In connection with pictures, Sweetheart, I haven’t neglected your request about a picture of myself for you. I have had two sets done already (three, counting Camp Edwards) and I can’t seem to get one I would like to send you. You have enough bad ones of me as it is. The last set I had done in London – a few weeks ago. Although they’re glad enough to take your money, they whisk you in and out before you know it. They’re all busy and independent. However dear – I’ll try again.

30 January, 2011

30 January, 1944

No letter today. Just this:

* TIDBIT *

[Note from FOURTHCHILD: Upon his return from London, Greg received the orders shown below. His name has been removed, as usual, for privacy reasons. The order was issued by Colonel Plank and signed by David C. Bunin, 1st Lt, AGD, Asst Adj Gen. Some abbreviations are explained in brackets and others are listed below the orders. Also below the orders is a *TIDBIT* within a *TIDBIT* about Colonel Plank.]


RESTRICTED
HQ EBS SOS ETOUSA APO 517

PAC TWX LN-4301, Hq SOS, 10 Sept 1943, the following named O [officers] will proceed o/a [on or about] 7 Feb 1944 to the Royal Society of Medicine, 1 Wimpole St, London,W.1. on temp dy [temporary duty] to attend the Inter-Allied Medical Conference on War Medicine, to be held on 7 Feb, at 0900 hours, and upon completion of such temp dy will return to proper sta [station].



28 January, 2011

28 January, 1944

438th AAA AW BN
APO 527 % Postmaster, N.Y.
England
28 January, 1944    1315
Wilma darling -

As I mentioned yesterday, I still don’t know your exact schedule, but if it’s a normal one – you should just be returning from lunch. Oh – heck – I forgot about the time difference. That means you’re probably just getting to work. Well – I hope you have a pleasant day, dear.

I haven’t mentioned the weather for some time, darling, but I can’t pass over the past few days. They’ve been beautiful, with the skies sunny all day (except for the hordes of our planes overhead) and the air fresh. It’s just like late March in New England.

In my present set-up I’ve been doing more visiting to the various sections of the batteries and as a result most of my mornings are spent getting into and out of a jeep. By now my cheeks are pink and I end up ravenously hungry, darling. I just got back from lunch and believe it or not dear I consumed and enjoyed five medium-sized pork chops and were they good! The food has been good on the whole, darling, but very plain and the big trouble has been in between meals. There’s just nothing to munch on and the days of ice cream, milk shakes, cokes etc. are gone until we get back, I guess. I think I’ll probably be able to stand it, though.

27 January, 2011

27 January, 1944

438th AAA AW BN
APO 527 % Postmaster, N.Y.
England
27 January, 1944    1330
Dearest sweetheart -

The mail has been erratic this week, but good. Although there have been gaps in the dates – the fact is, dear, that I’ve been hearing from you regularly now for several days. When I got a letter from you day before yesterday, stamped Jan. 14 – I was tickled, but last night, darling, I got one stamped January 17th and getting mail in 9 days is really something. It’s a shame it can’t be like that more often.

By now, sweetheart, you must be well entrenched in your job and yet I have not received the letters which tell me actually whom you’re working for; but I know it’s for at least a dress and sweater shop. That’s darn good experience, dear, in handling people for a starter and you won’t be sorry for it I’m sure. One of your letters should have more detail and I’m looking forward to it, the hours you work, when you get home – etc. It certainly should help pass the time more easily – and I know – that’s what we’re both striving for during this lonesome stage.

26 January, 2011

26 January, 1944 (Postcard)

[Note from FOURTHCHILD: This "real photo" postcard (left picture) was mailed on January 26th and received on February 23rd, 1944. It is a picture of St. Mary-le-Tower on Tower Street in Ipswich, about 40 miles from Honington. On the right is a picture of the church today.]





26 January, 1944

438th AAA AW BN
APO 527 % Postmaster, N.Y.
England
26 January, 1944     1400
Wilma darling -

Two more letters from you today as well as one from your Dad – and if you don’t think this has been a good week so far – you’re mistaken dear. And your letters are swell. Before I forget it, sweetheart, will you please stop belittling your letters? They are not ‘boring’ and not ‘nonsensical’, and whatever in the world makes you think so, dear? I love your letters for their directness and sincerity and because of these qualities – you become more vivid to me. I wouldn’t have you write them otherwise for anything, sweetheart. When you say you feel futile and frustrated after finishing one, dear – I do too, but I know it’s just a substitute and that after the war I’ll be able to tell you what and how I feel.

I love to have you think about the future, darling, because I do so much myself. I honestly don’t know what the set-up will be in Salem after the war. It seems that Mrs. Tucker is still holding an office for me and expects I’ll be back. Yet Frank M. will probably want to go back, too. Since Mrs. T. has converted my office into a living room – I don’t know what she has in mind. That office was a good spot – as you would more easily realize, had you lived in Salem, darling. Where we’ll live at first is also a mystery to me. There aren’t too many spots available and right now I think Marblehead is a bit too far. As for schooling – I honestly don’t know. The thought of a sort of honeymoon after the real one, combined with brushing up in medicine for a few months appeals to me strongly, darling; yet I know that the longer the war lasts – the more anxious will I be to get started right after our marriage.

25 January, 2011

25 January, 1944

438th AAA AW BN
APO 527 % Postmaster, N.Y.
England
25 January, 1944      1345
Dearest darling Wilma –

I ought to have my head examined for some of the things I write, dear, particularly anything that sounds lonesome. You wouldn’t believe me if I wrote I never was, but it’s something better not to write about. Honestly, darling, if I’ve sounded very lonesome in my letters I haven’t meant to. Perhaps my expression of love for you makes me sound that way in my writing.

Today I got the letters which yesterday I wrote were missing. That practically completes me up to date to January 9th – except for one letter in early January that must have told me about the job. In your letter of Dec 29 you refer to a lonesome type letter I wrote you earlier. Someone ought to kick me for having written it. I can only say, darling, that it was the holiday season, I hadn’t heard from you, and we are so far away from each other. I can also say that no one letter you ever wrote me so far did more to make me love you than that one I’m referring to which I received today. Really, darling, you are just the tonic I need. It was a swell letter and must have been difficult to write after having received a sad one from me. And your drawings!! There’s no doubt in my mind that one of our four children will be an artist – well, a cartoonist anyway. And when you drew a picture of a ‘smile’ I didn’t smile, dear, I roared. I’m glad you like the name of Mrs. H.G. A.; I like the sound of ‘Mrs.’; your picture depicting my kissing you or vice versa had me puzzled, darling. I didn’t know who was who. I tried to get a hint from your drawing of a diamond ring – as to what type you like; anyway you made it sparkle, sweetheart, so I’ll do the best I can; the bride and bridegroom look like a couple of sad-sacks (if you’re receiving the YANK, you’ll know what I mean, dear), but I like the idea! And finally, the pièce de resistance! The home! I can see it all, the picket fence, the arch of roses, the trees (what kind?), and the colonial (or was it?) style home with nursery for 4. Sweetheart – you shall have them all – and more, for you are without a doubt the sweetest and most lovable girl a fellow could ever hope for – and don’t think I don’t know it.

24 January, 2011

24 January, 1944

438th AAA AW BN
APO 527 % Postmaster, N.Y.
England
24 January, 1944    1620
My dearest Sweetheart -

Sometimes I hear from you, and when I get through reading you letters I feel so full of joy and love for you that I wonder at my own reactions. I don’t wonder darling that I’m in love with you; I know that; but the sensation is one of feeling so close to you, of wanting you, of realizing that someday you’ll be mine alone, of everything that is so mysteriously wonderful about two people in love – that I know you must know what I mean when I say I sometimes can’t quite analyze my reactions.

Sweetheart – as the days and weeks go by and become months I find that you are just as sweet and thoughtful in your letters as when you first told me you loved me. That is the gratifying thing to me, darling, that whatever magnetism first attracted us to each other is still holding and growing stronger. In one of your letters you warned me you would have to give me another lecture for even intimating that you might have hidden thoughts and feelings that you might try to veil from me – so as not to hurt me, for example. Darling – I didn’t write that to cause any trouble between us; I guess you know that. It’s merely that I feared I might not be able to hold you. Don’t censure me, dear, for my thoughts. I just couldn’t bear anything like that and when you’re alone as much as I am – the mind runs away with itself.

23 January, 2011

23 January, 1944

438th AAA AW BN
APO 527 % Postmaster, N.Y.
England
23 January, 1944     0900
Dearest darling -

It’s been some time since I wrote you so early in the day. Actually I like to because it seems to give me a good start for the rest of the day, dear.

As I wrote you by V-mail, yesterday was a busy day and involved my getting set up in a slightly different way than most recently. As you see, my APO is still the same and everything is actually status quo, darling, so don’t start worrying.

I’ve been re-reading the last batch of letters I received from you dear, and I enjoy them just as much with each new reading. There are several parts where I just couldn’t help laughing out loud. Way back in December, for example, when the so-called flu epidemic was on – it seems that Shirley was sick. I’m proud of your ability to take charge of things, dear. I have no doubt at all that you will make an all-round competent mother and wife – but then, I decided that a long time ago, sweetheart and that’s among the reasons for my loving you. What actually made me laugh about the Shirley incident was your account of the string running from one girl to the other, thru the corridor. That really must have been something. How any of you got much sleep, is beyond me.

22 January, 2011

22 January, 1944

V-MAIL

438th AAA AW BN
APO 527 % Postmaster, N.Y.
England
22 January, 1944
Dearest Sweetheart,

It’s not often I resort to V-mail but today was a busy one and involved many changes. I’m still busy, dear, but I had to take a few minutes off to write a few lines.

I don’t expect any mail today, darling, but I’m expecting a few recent ones any day now. Yesterday I finally sent out the box of knives, forks, ash-trays and miscellaneous items – so when you see a large box for you, don’t expect too much. Your mother will probably think I’m crazy for troubling to send stuff like that across the ocean – but then, dear – we have our sentiments.

Tomorrow I’ll write you a long letter, darling; I still have some things to discuss with you – from the big batch of letters the other day. For now, dear, so long – and

All my love
Greg

21 January, 2011

21 January, 1944

438th AAA AW BN
APO 527 % Postmaster, N.Y.
England
21 January, 1944 1345

Dearest darling,

I’ve always appreciated the fact that you wrote me regularly but it hit me with a bang yesterday evening when the mail was distributed. I got 36 – count ‘em! 36 letters, darling and most of them were from you, believe it or not. There’s not a fellow here who has anyone write him more constantly – be it wife, girlfriend or fiancée. Before I forget it, dear, in one of your letters you seem almost surprised that I referred to you as my fiancée to one of the boys, here. I know we’re not officially engaged, but darling – when I think of you so often as my wife, fiancée actually seems awfully tame. I haven’t written that to anyone in the States because I wouldn’t want to embarrass you, dear. I wonder if we could get engaged by mail? I know the sort of ring I want you to have and I know my dad would help me get it. What do you think, darling, or do you just think I’m crazy? It’s really not as foolish as it may sound. I’d love nothing better. Let me know what you think.

Your letters, darling, go way back to November, even, but most are from the early days of December – up to around the 17th and 18th. It seems that a bunch of our mail was inadvertently shipped to Italy and had to be sent back here. It was most welcome, though, and believe me, dear, I spent a pleasant evening reading. My file is now almost complete. There are one or two gaps. I expect some more, too, because the last letter I had from you was written January 3.

20 January, 2011

20 January, 1944

438th AAA AW BN
APO 527 % Postmaster, N.Y.
England
Thursday, January 20, 1944   1530

Dearest Sweetheart –

I got back from London about an hour ago, changed clothes, washed and I’m now ready to write you, dear. I stopped at the mail office but there was no mail – which I couldn’t understand. However – a few minutes ago I was informed that they had just brought back 10 bags of mail and this must be the batch I’ve been waiting for. It better be, or I’ll be keenly disappointed. There was one letter for me – from Frank M. and his APO is 515 here in England. He hasn’t been here long. I’ll write him later. It will be nice if I can meet him on a pass. He says he was home for Christmas, the lucky stiff – so I may be able to get hold of some local news. So far he’s been following me wherever I’ve gone.

Well, darling, now about London. Having raced around on my first visit, I decided to just take it easy this time and relax. Pete couldn’t make it this trip, but I went in with a couple of nice fellows, Ted A. and Larry D.. We got to London about 1300 on Tuesday and checked in at the American Officers’ Red Cross Club – the Reindeer Club, so-called. They had rooms for us, and I must say, for the 1st time since I’ve had any contact with them, the Red Cross is doing a fine job here in England.

19 January, 2011

19 January, 1944

No letter today. Just this:

* TIDBIT *

Greg wrote these postcards while relaxing at the American Officers' Red Cross Club during this 48-hour pass to London. He sent the first to Wilma's parents, and the second to Wilma. In both cases, the censor's stamp was placed over the text of the message, so that the address would be clear. The word "FREE" was written where a stamp would be placed. Wilma's annotations on the postcard sent to her parents indicate that it was received on the 25th of February, more than a month later.

A Royal Warrant allowed the words "Fine Art Publishers to their Majesties the King and Queen and to Her Majesty Queen Mary" to be imprinted in addition to a logo bearing the words "By Appointment". These two postcards seem to come from a series as they are labeled "Gravure Postcard London" Nos. 14E and 14D. That they bear words of encouragement regarding the war effort from the Prime Minister indicates they were produced early in the war, as the London factory was destroyed by bombs on the 29th of December, 1940.

18 January, 2011

18 January, 1944

No letter today.    Just this:
 
* TIDBIT *
Wilma sent this comic to Greg from the Boston Traveler, dated 18 January, 1944.  Her annotations are even better than the comic!  Her additions include: an "A" over the garage, the car defined as a "convertible", a sun drawn in with the words "sun always shining for us", clouds scribbled out and labeled "no clouds", an arrow pointing to "our house", and the dog labeled "a scotty, perhaps?", Harvard Square pointing to the trousers.  When she sent this, Wilma had not yet learned to drive, adding to the joke between them.

Nuts and Jolts, 18 January, 1944
Syndicated for three decades, Nuts and Jolts was a stand-alone panel cartoon featuring an ever-changing cast of everyday people doing silly things. Bill Holman took over the panel in July of 1935 upon the death of Gaar Williams, originally using a number of different titles. The gag panel began to be called Nuts And Jolts in July of 1939 and was syndicated by the Chicago Tribune - New York News Syndicate until 1970. 

Bill Holman was perhaps best known for his fun-filled strip Smokey Stover, featuring the wacky adventures of a fireman. Holman loved word play, and all of his features were flush with puns. The panels of Smokey Stover regularly included sight gags, humorous mishaps, absurd vehicles and bizarre household items—including oddly-shaped furniture, clocks, vases, and personal items. Crazy framed pictures which change completely from panel to panel, with subjects literally jumping out of the frames — added to the overall lively foolishness that pervaded the strip. 
  
His most frequent nonsense word by far was "foo". Holman peppered his work with "foo" labels and puns. Smokey often called himself a "foo fighter" rather than a "firefighter." Holman also used the word "foo" on signs, lists, license plates, and the character remarks randomly yet frequently. The phrase "foo fighter," also taken from Holman’s strip, was used by Allied aircraft pilots in World War II to describe various UFOs or mysterious aerial phenomena seen in the skies over both the European and Pacific Theaters of Operations. Today, “Foo” is used as a ubiquitous sample in all forms of writing software, including for use as class names, variable assignment, database username/password combinations, temporary filenames, and the like. 

Back of Comic advertising a  Woman's Suit for $24.50

17 January, 2011

17 January, 1944

438th AAA AW BN
APO 527 % Postmaster, N.Y.
England
Monday, January 17, 1944 1530
My darling –

What shall I do – I miss you so? I try to act gay, tell jokes, play bridge, read, and countless other things, but sweetheart – I end up missing you more and more. This morning when I arrived at the hospital, my men wanted to know why I looked so blue, so again I told them I was in love with a “lovely girl whom I couldn’t see, couldn’t kiss, couldn’t make love to – until the war ended”. You know what they said, sweetheart? One of them said, “Boy, she must be some girl to make you look and feel like that!” another one added that he had been with me for eighteen months and I’ve never acted the way I have since I met you. He said he’d been watching me and he knew the symptoms from sometime this summer. So in defense, dear, I said “Oh – it’s not that bad!”; to which, in unison, they all joined with an “Oh! Yeah!” Now, as we used to say when we were children, how do you like that for apples?

Anyway, darling, it should be very apparent to you how much I miss you and love you. No doubt men have written often before the way I have. If they were all as sincere as I am, sweetheart, they must have really been in love.

16 January, 2011

16 January, 1944

438th AAA AW BN
APO 527 % Postmaster, N.Y.
England
January 16, 1944   2215
Dearest sweetheart –

Today, for a change, has been a very busy day – comparatively, that is – and as a result I’m writing you later than usual, dear. Last night, as I told you, I was O.D. at the hospital and it was comparatively quiet. Earlier in the evening I played bridge and ping-pong at our club. I lost in the first and won easily in the second. Can it be that the brawn in me is stronger than the mind? Don’t answer, darling!

This morning a few things arose which necessitated my going for a little ride. Some of our outfit is in another spot and Charlie Wright has been with them. It’s possible that in the next few days, I may go there, and he here. It has no significance, the APO is the same and the situation is identical with my present one. At any rate I went down to see him and talk things over. We had several things to take up. One was the subject of promotions. In a new table of organization just issued, there are several promotions open to our men, that is – the medical detachment men – and although I am the one who makes them, I like to get his opinion of how the men are doing etc.

15 January, 2011

15 January, 1944

438th AAA AW BN
APO 527 % Postmaster, N.Y.
England
January 15, 1944   1530
My dearest Wilma –

Saturday afternoon again and still not immune from the thought of the delight and joy I once derived when Saturday used to roll around. I’ve missed several of them now, but I’m not getting accustomed to it. The reverse is true, I fear. My longing for you seems to become more acute and keenly felt, darling, regardless of how time slips by and becomes the past. Despite the fact that one day is like another, I can’t seem to overlook the identity of Saturdays, Sundays or Holidays.

I wonder sometimes whether I was fully appreciative of the pleasures I enjoyed after meeting you, sweetheart. Each week-end was a full one and more so as I think of them now, because they stand the test of time and retrospection. And paradoxically enough, the more pleasant the retrospection, the more acute the remembrance – the worse is the longing, the missing, the wanting.

14 January, 2011

14 January, 1944

438th AAA AW BN
APO 527 % Postmaster, N.Y.
England
January 14, 1944      1100

Dearest darling Wilma –

I’m enjoying a short pause in my morning’s activities and I thought I’d start a letter to you. You are so omnipresent in my mind, dear, that with the first free moment in a day – my first reaction is to write you.

If the lines are crooked, sweetheart, excuse it please. I’ve been writing so long on my fancy lined paper that I find myself concentrating on trying to write a straight line. This paper isn’t much better – but as a matter of fact, paper is quite a problem in England and stationery is just about unobtainable. So G-I paper comes in handy.

I really expected a letter or two from you last night, but none came. It was one of the fullest, longest evenings I’ve spent since we arrived here, darling. There was no movie on – and the only entertainment was a U.S.O. show which was visiting here. Somehow I didn’t feel like going to that. A few of the fellows did – and consequently there were only 3 of us around our recreation room most of the evening. I listened to the radio and sat in an easy chair, with my eyes shut – just thinking of you and home. Always, darling, I find myself noting the day, date and hour and imagining what we, you and I, would be doing if I were in the U.S. (Note: it always ends up satisfactorily!)

13 January, 1944

[Note from FOURTHCHILD:  Apologies for the delay in this letter.  Internet connection problems on the thirteenth!]

438th AAA AW BN
APO 527 % Postmaster, N.Y.
England
Thurs. January 13, 1944 1400

Dearest sweetheart –

Yesterday evening, just when I needed it most, I got a letter from you, a V-mail dated December 27. It was written late one evening when you had expected not to be able to write to me because of a busy day which you had coming up, but you did write the next day, too, darling, because I’ve already received that letter.

Bless your heart, dear, if you want a number, you can have one and if I thought it helped one bit, I’d write it all over the envelope. The mail is slow, dear, but even sporadically – it’s wonderful just getting a letter. There must be another bunch due because they’ve been very scattered this past week. I still haven’t received several from the second 10 days of December, and I’m still driving our mail clerk crazy each day asking him whether or not anything that might contain a swell picture has arrived for me. I drive him crazy, sweetheart, because I ask him twice a day, regularly, and of course he goes after the mail only once a day. But one of these days – it will come, and when it does, the whole outfit is very certain to hear about it.

12 January, 2011

12 January, 1944

438th AAA AW BN
APO 527 % Postmaster, N.Y.
England
Wed. January 12, 1944 1400

Dearest and only sweetheart –

I’m at the hospital now – sitting in the O.D. room at a small desk. I’m facing the window and as I look out it’s gray and raw-looking, dear; but I’m looking westward and projecting myself all the way back to Boston and Newton. It’s just off there – in the horizon, between those two old fir trees. What a wonderful mechanism, darling, is the so-called mind’s eye! I can actually picture myself getting out of my car, clicking my heels up your cement walk, reaching for the bell, trying to hear the gong and then waiting those few impatient seconds until I caught sight of you; then a short kiss with a quick glance behind to see if the outside door were shut and the neighbors not peek-a-booing. I can see that, sweetheart, right out in front of me right now – and I even find myself wondering whether you’re wearing a sweater and skirt, a black dress – or perhaps the deep purple one with the long V neck. It rarely made any difference to me, darling, because you always looked lovely to me.

But what would I be doing over at your house on a Wednesday afternoon? Well – let’s suppose it was our house on a Wednesday afternoon; I would have by now finished my morning’s work and no office hours Wednesdays! But heck – it’s cold and certainly no day for golf. Well – I don’t mind, dear. Oh – so you’re glad, are you? Really. I am too. It’s a swell day to spend together; where will we go? You know, dearest – that will probably go on from 1400-1630 and we won’t even leave the house. What will we be doing? I’m going to let you do a little supposing, too, darling. Anyway – it’s about time to dress – I mean for going out in the evening, of course – so we do and go out to have a few cocktails, dinner, theater, bridge – or anything else that might have been arranged. Gosh, dear, it’s getting late, what do you say we head for home? No argument?

11 January, 2011

11 January, 1944

438th AAA AW BN
APO 527 % Postmaster, N.Y.
England
January 11, 1944    1245
Dearest sweetheart –

I have just finished my lunch and am resting comfortably in a large soft chair. I was just about to read the daily Stars and Stripes, but I felt like writing to you first, dear. The Stars and Stripes is just for soldiers and costs us about a cent and a half a day. It has 4 to 6 pages and contains the latest news of the world, plus news of interest to soldiers in the European Theater of Operations, plus Li’l Abner and Terry and the Pirates – and that’s something darling, after reading the cartoon-less English dailies. We also have the “Yank” – British Edition, which comes out once a week and cost threepence or a nickel. I’ve tried sending you the “Yank” – but I don’t know yet whether it will get to you, dear.

Yesterday, again, was a long slow day. When I got through writing you – and my folks, I wrote Grandma B. a short note; then I wrote Col. P. a rather long letter. I had heard from him the day before from Fort Bliss. He’s rather discouraged about not getting anywhere. He’s so disappointed at still being in the U.S. – and yet having been a soldier in both wars. I envy him, though, in a way. He mentioned, for example, that he had called his wife, Anne, a few days before. Next to seeing you, Sweetheart, that’s the one thing I would like to do most. Yesterday I heard a rumor that it was possible to call – but I’m having it investigated today by our Special Service Officer.

10 January, 2011

10 January, 1944

438th AAA AW BN
APO 527 % Postmaster, N.Y.
England
January 10, 1944   1345

Darling Wilma -

I had a pleasant surprise this noon in the form on an unexpected letter, – unexpected because we don’t usually get our mail until about 1700. This was a letter inadvertently sent to the wrong post-office but immediately returned here. And it was recent, too, darling – written on December 28th. It’s sweet of you, dear, to take stationery along even when you’re visiting. I know that I don’t feel as if I’ve completed the day, sweetheart, until I’ve written to you – and it’s nice to realize that you apparently feel the same way.

Yesterday was a dismal, rainy, long Sunday and the afternoon and evening seemed interminable. But we managed to get through it and here it is the start of another week. We – i.e. – about 7-8 of us stayed around the Officers’ Club – our own I mean – all day. I read an old issue of Time Magazine, Dec. 20th, and I appreciate that magazine even more than I used to. Now that you’re out of school, dear, you could do worse than to read it from cover to cover. It really keeps one up to date and intelligently, too.

We played some Ping-Pong, darts and Bridge, of course. Surprisingly enough – none of us has played poker since coming to England, and it’s just as well. If you lose your money, you’re stuck – because you just can’t draw any checks and you have to wait until the following month.

09 January, 2011

09 January, 1944

438th AAA AW BN
APO 527 % Postmaster, N.Y.
England
Sunday, January 9, 1944 1045

Dearest sweetheart –

I’m getting an early start today. As I wrote you last night, I was O.D. I got up about 0800 this morning and only had a little bit of work to do. I’m now in my office and have just read a few articles in a medical journal. Then I felt like jotting a few lines to you, darling, and so here I am.

Last night was very quiet. Besides writing to you, dear, I finally wrote to Shirley, thanks to the last name which you supplied for me. I have no special interest in writing, but Stan asked me to, and that’s why I did. I also wrote to my brother-in-law and of course to my folks. I then went over to the Officers’ Club but there was very little doing.

I have just re-read your letter of the 24th of December, which came after the one of the 27th. I liked it very much, sweetheart, as I do all you letters. I see no reason at all dear for your being apologetic about your letters. I find them all enjoyable and interesting – regardless of the subject matter. I’m glad you like mine. The fact that you find them so coherent and concentrated – makes me wonder – I always hated composition in school, and I don’t believe I ever got higher than a B+, and then only once. I never could think of a subject to write about. So, darling, if you find my letters coherent – it must be because I like the subject matter, and that could be, dear, that certainly could be –

08 January, 2011

08 January, 1944

438th AAA AW BN
APO 527 % Postmaster, N.Y.
England
January 8, 1944   1630

Dearest Girl –

The mail, I believe, is getting better and I hope you are aware of it too. In today’s ‘Stars and Stripes’ – a daily paper published in the E.T.O. – there was an article on the new planes that are carrying Airmail in addition to V-mail. Although it won’t work 100% – it implied that most Airmail from and to the U.S.A. will actually go by air across the ocean. There’s a definite thrill in reading a letter from someone you love that was written only 7-8 days ago. It makes you seem a little closer somehow.

Today, Saturday, I’m O.D. again, but I haven’t been too busy. There’s been nothing really new here to write about, dear – but in this case, no news is good news, I believe.

I have just re-read, for the umpteenth time, your letter of December 27, after you had been over to my house. I enjoyed it so much and I’m so glad, darling, that you were able to get over. I know my father had written me that he hoped it would materialize. Gosh it would have been swell to have been there with you and my family. I want you to know, sweetheart, how much I appreciate your being so friendly with my folks. Not only does it make you know them better, and they you – which is certainly what I want, but you also undoubtedly make me seem nearer to home by your presence. My folks know how I feel about you, darling, and would have liked nothing better than to have seen me married to you. My mother’s one regret was that I hadn’t met you early enough. That was my own fault, I guess – but anyway, knowing how close you and I are, it must give them great pleasure to see you around, darling. I hope you see them often.

07 January, 2011

07 January, 1944

438th AAA AW BN
APO 527 % Postmaster, N.Y.
England
Friday, January 7, 1944   1500

Dearest Sweetheart -

It’s a dark, light-rainy Friday here in England – but I don’t feel too blue, somehow. I’m in the battalion area and it’s quiet here. My radio is playing and I’ve just re-read several of your most recent letters. I can’t tell you, darling, how much I’ve enjoyed your letters – particularly the last few. Despite the holiday season and all that goes with it – you seem genuinely happy to be in love with me – and you can’t imagine how happy I am in that realization.

Your determination not to go out should change, dear – only so you won’t get too bored sitting around waiting for me. On the other hand, nevertheless, I hope you make it clear that you belong to me, by engagement or any other way you want to put it, darling. Mind you – if you had enough diversion – I certainly wouldn’t want you to go out with anyone but me. Where I am – there are many officers about me, we hang around together of an evening, play bridge, see the movies etc. – and anyway, I’m at war and shouldn’t expect to go out. As I wrote you before darling, use your own judgment. You must know, though, that I’m glad you had the will-power not to plan on New Year’s Eve. I would have felt queer – as I’m sure I will anytime I do find you’ve been out. As for Stan’s not telling you you should – I rather think that’s our affair or an affair involving your family’s wishes and you – and none of his. I still can’t make Stan out. If you remember – in our early days, we found he was telling you one thing, and me another. I don’t like that.

06 January, 2011

06 January, 1944

438th AAA AW BN
APO 527 % Postmaster, N.Y.
England
January 6, 1944    1415

Dearest darling Wilma –

Unlike some days, when I actually don’t know what to write about, today I just don’t know where to begin. When I got through writing you yesterday, darling, I received about eleven letters in a bunch – easily more than any other officer. Six of them were from you, two from my father, one from my brother-in-law, one from Lillian Z. in Salem, and one from Dr. C. and wife in Salem. And think of it, dear – your last letter was dated December 27 – which is amazing in itself! That’s the best service I’ve had yet – 9 days. Your other letters were for the days preceding the 27th and I’m now missing several letters from the middle of the month. There doesn’t seem to be much doubt that Air-mail is coming thru way ahead of regular mail and at least equal to V-mail. Getting a letter from you only 9 days after you wrote it is wonderful and I hope my mail to you is beginning to be as good. Incidentally Lillian Z. wrote that everyone that had met you that night in Salem had liked you and that if I were going to marry you it would be very nice and they were all anxious to know you better when we got to Salem. You remember I had written some of the people we had met in Salem and had told them about us.

05 January, 2011

05 January, 1944

438th AAA AW BN
APO 527 % Postmaster, N.Y.
England
January 5, 1944   1530

Dearest sweetheart -

Well here I am back at APO 527 after having spent the past 2 days in London. First I want to tell you that I was unable to write those 2 days – i.e. I could have written but I couldn’t mail my letters except at an Army Post Office – so I decided to wait until I got back here, dear. I hated to break my continuity of writing, darling, and these past two days are the only ones I’ve missed since the day I arrived in this country. I know you’ll excuse me.

In one of your letters, Sweetheart, you wrote that you wanted me to tell you just what I was doing, where I was going, what I was seeing etc. Well – as you know by now – that’s just what I have been doing – even to the point of apologizing in one of my letters for the possibility of boring you with details. But since you want to know, dear, I’ll write about everything I do – just as I have.

My visit to London was better than I expected. As a matter of fact, it was quite thrilling. I’ve heard of London, read of it and seen it in the movies and actually to visit it, walk its streets, see its buildings etc. – was something to remember. I’ll start at the beginning.

04 January, 2011

04 January, 1944

No letter today.    Just this:

* TIDBIT *

about the Plea of the Archbishop of Canterbury
and the 1943 Bermuda Conference

In his 1943 Christmas Day letter, Greg mentioned hearing England's Archbishop of Canterbury, William Temple, Germany's Dr. Goebbels and America's President Roosevelt delivering propaganda messages over the radio, and called it all "bunk" that doesn't make anyone feel better. Perhaps part of that cynicism came from knowing what the Archbishop of Canterbury had said before the House of Lords the previous March, and what had become of his words a month later, in April of 1943, at the Bermuda Conference. Here are copies of what the Archbishop presented followed by the outcome of the Bermuda Conference.

According to America and the Holocaust, from "American Experience" on PBS, the Archbishop of Canterbury, William Temple, stood before the House of Lords on March 23rd, 1943 and pleaded with the British government to help the Jews of Europe. Ever since news of Hitler's plan to annihilate the Jews of Europe reached the public in late 1942, British church leaders and members of Parliament had been agitating for something to be done. Temple's plea, below, marked the culmination of the clamoring. As copied from Hansard, HL Deb 23 March 1943 vol 126 cc811-60, the Official Reports of debates in the UK Parliament, here are his words:

03 January, 2011

03 January, 1944

No letter today.    Just this:
 
* TIDBIT *

Christmas Day Show, Armed Forces Radio Service, 1943
Recording

 
In the letter dated 25 December, 1943, Greg described the Armed Forces Radio Service Christmas Day Show as not particularly funny but, next to a letter, "the best thing to cheer up a guy" because it was a piece of "home". It was recorded before a live audience on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood, California as part of the "Command Performance" series. These shows were not broadcast over domestic U.S. radio stations, but were sent directly overseas by shortwave. Some of the programming responded to requests from soldiers for particular performers or musicians.

The Christmas show recording below was opened and closed by Ken Carpenter (leftmost, below), and Bob Hope (rightmost, below) was the Master of Ceremonies. It includes a speech by then Secertary of War, Henry L. Stimpson, and a rendition of "Summertime" by Dinah Shore (two to the left of Bob Hope, below). Also on the recording are Kaye Keyser as well as Jack Benny with Fred Allen. It is not the recording heard by Greg, but one that was recorded the same day.  Likewise, the picture below is not from this show, but one imagined to be similar to this...

Command Performance c. 1944, CBS Studio, Hollywood
with the Armed Forces Radio Military Orchestra
conducted by Major Meredith Willson, on the podium
[*TIDBIT* within a *TIDBIT*: Major Meredith Willson, who conducted the Armed Forces Radio Military Orchestra, is best known for writing the book, lyrics and music for "The Music Man", 1958 Tony Award winner for Best Musical.]

02 January, 2011

02 January, 1944

438th AAA AW BN
APO 527 % Postmaster, N.Y.
England
Sunday, January 2, 1944  2100

Dearest sweetheart –

The mail is finally starting to approach something like what it should be, although it is still jumpy and difficult to figure out. Today, darling, I received two letters from you – one a V-mail dated Dec 13th and the other an Airmail dated Dec 20th. That would certainly make it look as if Airmail were preferable – but it’s not constant. At any rate, dear, I was tickled at hearing from you and to know that my letters were finally reaching you.

In that connection – I wonder whether you got the letters I mailed to Wilder. Some of them no doubt arrived after you left school, and I hope you arranged to have your mail forwarded to your home. Incidentally, in reference to your question about your mail being censored, to the best of my knowledge, it is not. By that I mean – no one I know or heard of has ever received a letter from the States that has been opened. They do censor outgoing mail – but as we understand it – only from civilian to civilian.

01 January, 2011

01 January, 1944

438th AAA AW BN
APO 527 % Postmaster, N.Y.
England
Saturday, January 1, 1944 1500

Wilma darling –

Here it is another year started and I’m not around to start it with you dear. Whenever I next see you again will be the real start of the year for me, I know.

I wrote you about how I celebrated New Year’s Eve last night. I guess it was the sanest, safest, soberest New Year’s I’ve spent since I was eleven years old. We broke up the “party” at 0030 or thereabouts and went to bed. We didn’t have to get up until 0800 as this is celebrated as a Holiday for American Soldiers. I don’t know if I mentioned it to you before, but the English people proper have no celebration that amounts to anything for New Year’s Eve – while in Scotland it’s practically a National Holiday.