28 February, 2011

28 February, 1944

438th AAA AW BN
APO 527 % Postmaster, N.Y.
England
28 February, 1944       0900

Dearest darling Wilma –

Today is a nice fresh day for the start of another week. No matter how you look at it – it’s that much closer to my seeing you again. Yesterday was a typically quiet Sunday, with chicken for dinner and reading and napping afterward. More than that – I was even able to listen to an old Jack Benny program at 1900 – but that made me feel quite lonesome so I didn’t enjoy it too much. Later in the evening I read February 7th edition of Time Magazine which came in the mail yesterday.

Oh – one thing I did hear on this radio that interested me – was that new song you mentioned. Saturday afternoon, B.B.C. had a direct hook-up with NBC in New York – and I’ll be darned if they didn’t play and sing that ditty about “Mares eat oats, does eat oats” etc. and then when Time had a write-up on the song, I really felt up to date.

In the next couple of days, darling, I may be going on leave. The orders aren’t out yet – but I asked for March 2nd – 8th, which actually allows me to take off sometime on March 1st. I’ll tell you where I intend going; I believe that’s allowed. I don’t believe once I get there that I can tell you. That’s a funny thing about censorship in the Army, dear. From various fellows I’ve spoken with – there are 2 or 3 popular places that Americans have been visiting on their leaves – one is Edinburgh, another a place called Blackpool – north of Liverpool – and on the coast – but West coast; another is Bournemouth – on the South coast. I’m not considering the latter, for obvious reasons. What I believe I’ll do is pack my bag and head for Blackpool and see what it’s like. If I like it, I’ll stay; if not I’ll head for Edinburgh. But at any rate, I’ll be under no obligations to anyone – so I’ll just wander along and see the sights. It will probably be expensive – but what the heck, darling, during some part of this war I’m sure I won’t be able to spend any money, so I might as well now. The point is – that I’m not particularly in need of a Leave – but if I don’t take it, I merely lose it. That’s why everyone is taking his in turn.

27 February, 2011

27 February, 1944

438th AAA AW BN
APO 527 % Postmaster, N.Y.
England
27 February, 1944    Sunday Morning

Dearest sweetheart –

Some of my men have just left for church and it’s reasonably quiet right now. Again there’s just the faintest touch of Spring already in the air – and I’m willing to wager, dear, that Spring here in England will really be hard to take – if everything the poets have said about it comes true.

Yesterday, darling, I got some bad news – not from home or you – but from right here in England. We have, or the Red Cross has a system of traveling Clubmobiles, so-called which travel over the countryside stopping at certain spots to give the soldiers some hot coffee and American type doughnuts. Well one of them hit us yesterday for the first time. I was getting my share – out on the road where they stopped 
and was talking with another officer. One of the Red Cross workers yelled out from the truck and asked if I were from Boston; she thought I sounded as if I were. I said ‘yes’ and ‘why’. She asked me if I knew a fellow from Boston named Zetlan. Well, dear, that’s a rather odd name and I knew she must be referring to Maurice Zetlan – Al’s younger brother – who I knew – was a Bombardier here – in a Fort. So I told her the fellow I knew was actually from Salem and she said that I was right and added that he had a brother named Al. I was then sure we were talking about the same fellow. The crux of the story, darling, is that he was killed about 3 weeks ago when his plane crashed during a take off for a bombing raid. I can tell you this because the death has been published. Well I was stunned. It seemed that she met him a few months ago and got to know him really well. He was a swell fellow, very nice looking and from what I heard – a helluva good bombardier. It must have been a terrific blow to Al and Lil because they were very fond and proud of him. Their mother and father died within the past 3-4 years and the boys were very close to each other. I felt rotten all day and realized I had to write. I had written Lil only a few days before in answer to her letter that all was well at home. Honestly, dear, it was one of the most difficult letters I’ve ever had to write. The only solace I was able to give them was the fact that I knew where he’s buried and if possible I promised to go to his grave and say a prayer or something.

26 February, 2011

26 February, 1944

438th AAA AW BN
APO 527 % Postmaster, N.Y.
England
26 February, 1944        0945

Good morning, sweetheart –

It’s kind of damp and raw here today – but maybe it’s nice in Newton now. Anyway it’s another Saturday morning and they sure are rolling by.

Yesterday, darling, I wrote you about inspecting officers, etc. There’s only one thing more irritating than getting ready for inspections – and that is getting ready and not having the inspectors show up. That’s what happened yesterday and my boys were pretty angry about it because they really work hard getting ready for one. Yesterday, too, I didn’t get any mail from you dear, but that was the first day in some while that I’ve missed.

I’ve just re-read a letter of yours from early February in which you mention some dizzy song about horses eating oats – or something. No dear – we haven’t heard it here at all. As a matter of fact the current rage, for some reason or other, is still “If I Had my Way etc.”. Some orchestras have started playing “They’re Either Too Young etc.” recently but no one here has even heard of “People Will Say We’re in Love” which I imagine must be well on its way out at home. They really don’t have a decent band here at all – from those I hear on the radio, anyway. They never seem to loosen up at all. It was a pleasure the other morning to hear a re-broadcast half-hour program with T. Dorsey and company. He really gave out with “The One O’Clock etc.” and an oldie “And the Angels Sing”. It was in the morning and during sick call at the Dispensary where we have a radio. I had to stop what I was doing just long enough to prance about a little.

25 February, 2011

25 February, 1944

438th AAA AW BN
APO 527 % Postmaster, N.Y.
England
25 February, 1944        1010

Dearest sweetheart –

I suppose if we had to fight the war without any inspections it would be a very dull war indeed. No sooner have you gotten over one of them, but you’re preparing for another. We thought we were through for awhile after the one I wrote you about a few days ago; today, however, we’re getting ready for two inspecting teams, from different sources. At least we hope to kill two birds with one stone.

Darling, when I’m running an office of my own, again, you’ll have to announce special inspection times, so I can “buck” for them – as they say in the Army. I’ll probably come to attention when you enter the room, salute and say “Sir, Captain A., commanding the Medial Detachment, reporting.”

Anyway, dear, while I was waiting for the inspecting teams to make their appearance – I thought I’d write you a few lines anyway – for a start.

I got your letter of Feb 12th – yesterday and that’s the fastest service in a long while now. From what you write, darling, you’ve really had some snow in February. I rather miss it. I used to like plowing around in it – and pardon my pride, dear, but the sidewalk around our house was always the first one cleaned. How’s that? Even when I was practicing in Salem – I used to insist on helping clean the sidewalk after a storm, although Mrs. Tucker would insist it wasn’t quite the thing.

24 February, 2011

24 February, 1944

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

Dearest darling Wilma -

I’ve really been a different sort of fellow since I heard from you concerning the possibility of our becoming engaged. I’ve felt close to you up to now, dear, but just the thought of being engaged to you makes me feel so much more attached to you. I wrote my folks and told them what I had in mind and how I felt about you. I know they’ll be heartily in favor of it. So the big question is your folks. I’ll not write them until I hear from you in answer to my letter of a couple of days ago.

This morning, dear, it was beautiful outside. There was a good sky and a fairly strong sun. The air was still ‘twangy’, but there was just the earliest suggestion of Spring to it; it was the kind of morning we used to look for our baseball mitts and start throwing ‘em around. I took a ride to the Station Hospital where a couple of our men are. The countryside looked so fresh and clean. Gee wouldn’t I love to have had you to go walking with or riding with! I got back at noon, ate, and after a few things were taken care of – I started this letter.

In one of yours, which I received a few days ago – you mentioned an incident about a Jewish nurse named Aronson. I remember the name because I had a patient by that name who died – by the way – following an operation for an ovarian cyst. She was extremely fat and a poor surgical risk. Dr. Finnegan operated and I assisted. She died from a condition called paralytic ileus – which means the bowel distends and refuses to work. It occurs occasionally after an op. and more usually in old, obese people. Anyway – this nurse was related to her. I didn’t know she lived in Salem – and I don’t know why she should wonder if I were married. I’m not worried about rumors, darling, because in this case it’s no rumor. Anyway, you should have told her you were going to marry me – and that would have taken care of the matter.

23 February, 2011

23 February, 1944

438th AAA AW BN
APO 527 % Postmaster, N.Y.
England
23 February, 1944

Dearest Sweetheart -

This afternoon I received a few more letters, scattered, but precious nevertheless. They were from Jan 27, Feb 3, 6 and 10th. First, darling, let me take up the subject of my “bashfulness” – as you put it. I guess maybe I am. You know, dear, I never discussed the subject of girls very much with my folks. Most of the relationship, and it’s sincere, in my family, has always been a tacit one. So that for example – if I brought you home to meet my folks – as I wrote yesterday, that meant more to them than all the statements of love in the world. But of course there comes a times when you do have to say something. Before I left – I spoke to my folks and told them I had met a girl who I thought would make me happy and who cared for me. I told them it was unfortunate that I had to leave so soon – because I knew if I stayed around I would want to be engaged to you and marry you. They echoed my feelings of regret that I hadn’t met you sooner. The point is, darling, without my actually using the words “I love her” – they knew how I felt about you.

The letter my mother quoted to you – was free translation and although I don’t remember the exact words, knowing my mother – she’s as bashful as I am and didn’t want to embarrass you, perhaps. This is awfully hard to explain, darling – but I am doing the best I can.

22 February, 2011

22 February, 1944

438th AAA AW BN
APO 527 % Postmaster, N.Y.
England
22 February, 1944       1300

My dearest Sweetheart -

Washington’s Birthday, I believe – and just another day here. Yet I feel particularly happy today because yesterday I received your letter of February 9th in which you answer a question I put before you some time before then – by mail. At the moment, the details seem insignificant, darling; the fact is that you are willing to be engaged to me, and that’s what counts.

Let me answer an important question right away. You ask why I decided I’d like to be engaged, now that I’m away. One thing you must remember, darling, and that is that I felt I’d like to be engaged to you before I left – but I didn’t want you or your folks to think I was rushing into things. I’d have liked nothing better though, I can assure you, dear, because I knew then that you were the girl I’d like to marry.

I knew your age, dear; I felt your folks believed you were young, hadn’t seen too much of the world, etc., – and if we spoke to them about an Engagement, I knew they would resent it – and rightly so, too.

21 February, 2011

21 February, 1944

438th AAA AW BN
APO 527 % Postmaster, N.Y.
England
21 February, 1944      0930
Dearest darling Wilma -

Another early start today but this time because I have a few things to do later and I wanted to be certain I had written to you first. I’m going over to visit one of my other batteries this morning and we’ll probably have lunch there. I also have to visit the Medical Supply Depot and take care of our monthly requisition. That’s usually a long drawn out affair.

Yesterday, darling, was quiet and restful all day. In the evening there was a little excitement, shall I say; I went over to Operations and found that very interesting. Incidentally, darling, if I ever mention “excitement”, please don’t say anything about it to my folks because they’d worry themselves sick – and unnecessarily, too. I got to bed at 2230 and was awakened at 2315. I was later awakened at 0315. It was almost like the old days in practice, i.e. the getting up –

I got two more letters, sweetheart, yesterday, written the 19th and the 20th, and a very nice letter from your Mother – who intimates that someone in the household is fond of me. I wonder who?

20 February, 2011

20 February, 1944

438th AAA AW BN
APO 527 % Postmaster, N.Y.
England
Sunday Morning
20 February, 1944        0930

Dearest sweetheart –

One thing you won’t have to worry about is my staying in bed late. For one thing, I expect to be busy with my work and the hospital, and for another – I never did indulge in the well-known luxury. Maybe I never had the right incentive, dear. I’ll probably be able to change on very short notice though.

Down here – some of the fellow are allowed to sleep a bit later on Sundays, but I inevitably awaken at the usual hour. This morning there’s very little to do and that’s why I’m writing so early.

Well yesterday I got a few letters from you, Sweetheart, and most welcome, too. I got one from January 19th, Feb. 2, a V-mail from February 4th and an airmail from the 7th of February. I read them all with interest and noted particularly your various moods, dear, in your writing. In one – you seemed just a little bit tired, darling, and in that connection I wanted to mention this before – you know how much I love your letters and want them, but I know that sometimes if you’re out for a day or an evening, that it must be difficult for you to get a letter written. In that case dear, you know I’ll understand. If you’re very tired or blue, or upset in any other way, it’s hard to write. In my own case it’s different. I can usually write almost any time of the day or evening. If I happen to be blue or discouraged (I’m never physically tired), I wait and sure enough, later in the day I feel better and then I write. And I know I have more time than you, anyway.

19 February, 2011

19 Februrary, 1944

438th AAA AW BN
APO 527 % Postmaster, N.Y.
England
19 February, 1944        0930

Dearest sweetheart –

Saturday morning has become inspection morning once more. There was a time when it was felt that once overseas – we could do without the pomp and circumstance that we had in garrison back home. But here we are having it again. I suppose if we ever get to some real front lines – action will have to stop on Saturday mornings to allow inspecting officers to come around. We’ve already been inspected this morning, dear, and everything was found to be all right. They don’t usually bother us very much, anyway – but it’s the idea of it that I don’t like. Oh well – enough of that.

The Saturdays really do roll along. Despite almost 20 months of being in the Army and having one day just like the other, I still can’t shake that feeling of having done something a little bit different on the week-end. I don’t suppose I’ll ever lose that feeling, darling, and it’s just as well.

18 February, 2011

18 February, 1944

438th AAA AW BN
APO 527 % Postmaster, N.Y.
England
18 February, 1944       1030

Dearest darling Wilma –

Well this makes a run of 3 days of bleak wintry days – and yet it never gets as cold as our own dear New England. Today we are having snow flurries, but it hasn’t amounted to much. Nevertheless I’ve been sort of reluctant to do much traveling about in an open jeep, so here I am again at the Dispensary, getting off an early letter to you, dear.

Last night we spent another nice quiet evening in our quarters. Thursday is ration day and we got our allotment of gum, soap, chocolate bars, matches and tobacco. One of the boys had received a box of chocolates – Apollo, I didn’t know they were still making them. They came in rather good condition and we gorged ourselves. All of us had some reading material, and we just sat around and took it easy. I received 2 copies of the Boston Herald yesterday, January 4th and 8th. Despite the age, dear, you’d be surprised at what good reading they make. Just to see a familiar picture or read the name of a street you know – is very satisfying. And the sport page keeps you up to date on home activities. In addition – I got my first copy of the Pony Edition of Time Magazine. It was the January 31st copy – and reading a magazine here that is only 2 weeks old or so is something. I’m glad my brother sent me it.



The Apollo Chocolates Box
F.H. Roberts Co., Boston, MA Since 1898
 

17 February, 2011

17 February, 1944

438th AAA AW BN
APO 527 % Postmaster, N.Y.
England
17 February, 1944        1240

Dearest sweetheart,

I’ve just finished lunch and here I am somewhat near the usual time – ready to write you. Today is just like yesterday, with perhaps less rain – but with the same rawness and general nastiness. Fortunately I can do pretty much as I please – and so I haven’t been out very much in the past two days.

One of the officers here has two officer friends stationed not far away. One of them is a Bombardier, the other – a Navigator – but both in different outfits. They were down to visit us last night and it certainly was interes
ting to get first hand information about some of the raids these boys had been on over Germany – all the ones you must be reading about in the papers at home. What struck me was how matter-of-fact both of them were. Also I was impressed with the pride each showed in talking about his “Fort”, what ‘she’ had been through, and how ‘she’ could ‘take it’. I could tell you lots more, darling, that would be interesting – but not allowed.

16 February, 2011

16 February, 1944

438th AAA AW BN
APO 527 % Postmaster, N.Y.
England
16 February, 1944        1015
Dearest sweetheart,

I’m at the Dispensary now. Sick call is over, the place is clean and quiet. It’s raining a steady downpour at about a 50ยบ angle – much like a New England rainstorm during a Northeaster. Because the weather is so wet and bleak outside, I’ve decided not to visit any of the sections this morning and that explains my writing at this hour, dear. It’s warm and comfortable in here and quiet enough to dream. I shaved a short time ago (electric razor – because I don’t have to have my face too smooth these days, darling). I’m sitting at a desk, smoking my pipe. I’m wearing the conventional O.D. shirt and trousers and wearing a sleeveless O.D. sweater. 




In front of me – across the room and between two windows – is a sketch of some plasma bottles and how to use the needles, tubing, etc. for the administration to a soldier in case of shock. At my left, above a row of benches is our bulletin board, particularly conspicuous with a large scale Venereal Disease chart which I made up recently. It traces the cases month by month that this battalion has had and I’m glad to say that for 2 consecutive months the graph-line has been on zero, dear. Now, don’t you feel better about human nature? At my right wall is a large scale map of the section of England we’re in, with many familiar New England names on it. That, sweetheart, about completes the picture of myself and my surroundings on this mid-February morning.


15 February, 2011

15 February, 1944

438th AAA AW BN
APO 527 % Postmaster, N.Y.
England
15 February, 1944 1115
Dearest darling Wilma,

I don’t expect to finish this before lunch, when I’m left alone. I haven’t written to you in the forenoon for some time now. I happen to be free at the moment.

I’ve just looked at your letter of the 31st in which you toasted me at dinner. That was thoughtful, darling, and believe me – I would have given anything to have been with you that evening. Incidentally, you’re still a two-drink girl, aren’t you, dear? It’s just as well. I never could like a girl who was heavy drinker – and boy! there are plenty of that kind around.

Your news about the 570th was interesting. They should be through their training by now – but the usual procedure is maneuvers and then overseas. Incidentally no outfit like that one is in the E.T.O. – so if they do come overseas – it won’t be in this direction. I guess it’s just as well I stayed with this battalion, dear, because I do feel it has been lucky so far. And yet in my early days here – I couldn’t help but think that had I stayed with them we’d have been engaged and who knows – even married. But everything must be considered as happening for the best. The ability to leave you and find that I love you more – your loving me, even though I’m away – that adds up to an awfully strong point to our love for each other. I have never felt more certain about anything, sweetheart, than I do about my love for you, and I know you feel the same way about me. But I don’t want you to feel ‘years older’, darling. And the feeling for fun etc. shouldn’t leave you at all. If anything – you should merely be saving it up, because that’s what I’m doing.

Late last night I got your letter of January 22. You can see how screwed up the sequence is, but each letter is a symbol in its own right, and the order really makes very little difference. You give me some of the reasons which led you to give up your job, and I don’t blame you one bit. Of course – as you say – being my wife would be a 24 hr. job, but it would entail being my companion, confidant, mother of our children – and what job that you know of gives you a 50-50 split of the profits, darling? And all expenses, naturally. The job is yours, dear, and I’m not advertising for anyone else. And don’t forget. I am not asking for previous experience!

I suppose working in the bridal shop must have been hard to take, dear. I think about our getting married very often when I’m alone. I wonder what it will be like, will I be excited, nervous, in a hurry to get the actual thing over with, I think not. I’ve had so much time to think about getting married that I know I’m going to enjoy it immensely. I suppose when the time comes I’ll feel somewhat differently, and you’ll be there to remind me of it – i.e. that I said I wouldn’t be nervous.

You mention reading; you certainly should do some if for no other reason than to keep your mind working. I’m not doing a heck of a lot myself, for that matter – but I try whenever there’s something available.

Darling, I must mention again how nice it is to get your letters and find that you still love me. I know I keep repeating that – and I’ll continue to do so. I don’t want you ever to forget my appreciation. Your letters have been so helpful – you’ll have no true idea until the time comes when I return home to you and tell you. I’ll be able to tell you what my thoughts and feelings were on these long winter days and nights in a faraway spot, alone a good bit of the time. It’s then that your letters stand out like beacons, darling, giving me the lift that nothing else could match. I’ll tell you about it, someday, and you’ll really know what I meant.

I love you so strongly, dear, that I know my words are constantly falling short of what I feel. But I can only repeat over and over again that I love you and won’t rest completely easily until I can marry you, call you my wife and take you with me to our own home. Then, perhaps, darling, will you know what I mean and how I feel when I say I love you strongly. For now dear, I can only say so long, once more, but keep in mind always that my love for you will always exist and grow stronger. For now dear –

All my love
Greg
 
* TIDBIT *

about Carolyn Gardner and Roe v. Wade

In yesterday's letter, Greg spoke of Dr. Stuart Gardner and his wife Carolyn Gardner. What he did not mention, but probably knew, was the story of how Carolyn Gardner contributed to the eventual Roe v. Wade decision giving women the right to choose whether or not to carry a pregnancy to term. Much of the material here was taken from a book written by David J. Garrow. This book, Liberty and Sexuality: The Right to Privacy and the Making of Roe v.Wade was published in 1994.

An 1879 Massachusetts statute, brought about to fight debauchery, stated in part:

“whoever sells, lends, gives away an instrument or other article intended to be used for self-abuse, or any drug, medicine, instrument or article whatever for the prevention of conception or for causing unlawful abortion, or advertises the same, or writes, prints, or causes to be written or printed a card, circular, book, pamphlet, advertisement or notice of any kind stating when, where, how, of whom or by what means such articles can be purchased obtained, or manufactured or makes any such article shall be punished..."

Anyone who violated this statute faced stiff fines and imprisonment. The first successful change in the law came from Margaret Sanger's 1916 arrest for opening the first birth control clinic in America. The Federal case that grew out of her arrest resulted in a 1918 decision, which allowed women to use birth control for therapeutic purposes. The next amendment of the law came in 1936 when doctors were given permission to distribute contraceptives across state lines. While this decision did not eliminate the problem of the restrictive "chastity laws" on the state level, it was a crucial ruling.

On June 3, 1937, five days before the American Medical Association’s landmark birth control resolution acknowledged that contraception merited a physician’s attention – Lieutenant Charles Duffee and 3 others of the Salem, Massachusetts Police Department, armed with a search warrant signed by John McGrath of the Salem Board of Health, raided the North Shore Mothers Health Center on Flint Street in Salem, one of seven birth control clinics operated by the Birth Control League of Massachusetts (BCLM). Undercover policewoman Beatrice Clark and a female colleague had just left the clinic. Dr. Lucille Lord-Heinstein was in the midst of seeing patients, and the patients were detained and questioned while the officers packed up the clinic’s medical records and supplies. Dr. Lord-Heinstein, nurse Flora Rands and social worker Carolyn T. Gardner were arrested and taken to Salem police headquarters for questioning, and all three women were charged with violating the Massachusetts birth control statute by distributing contraceptive devices.

The Salem clinic had been operating for seven months, and the BCLM had heralded its opening by announcing that it had “the backing of a large committee from Salem and nearby towns, comprised of leading physicians, ministers, public spirited citizens and representatives from the boards of welfare agencies.” The BCLM had also noted that, in the opinion of its lawyers, “advice given for medical reasons does not come under prohibitions of our statute.”

But when the three Salem defendants appeared in court on June 22, Judge George Sears refused to return the patient records that had been seized and set trial for July 13th. The prosecution’s first witness that day was Policewoman Clark, who testified that she had first visited the Salem clinic in late May under a false name, and then had returned on June 3 along with a civilian woman, Rose Barlotta, whom she had paid for her assistance. Mrs. Barlotta had been examined, was found to have severe hypertension, and was fitted for a diaphragm, which she had turned over to the officers as evidence. Defense attorney Robert Dodge put all three defendants, plus three well-known Massachusetts doctors and prominent clinic chairwoman Dorothy Bradford on the stand, and Judge Sears said he would reserve his decision.

On July 20, Sears entered a verdict citing a previous Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court affirmation concluding “I must find the defendants guilty” even though they did not believe “they were acting contrary to law.” He imposed a fine of one hundred dollars upon each of the defendants, and the league filed notices of appeal. The cases against the three Salem defendants, plus a fourth colleague, clinic volunteer Pamelia Ferris, were set for a hearing in Superior Court. On October 15, Essex County Superior Court Judge Wilford Gray upheld Sears’s verdicts against Lord-Heinstein, Gardner and Rand and levied a hundred dollar fine against Ferris.

Fifteen Massachusetts doctors wrote to the membership of the Mass Medical Society to ask that each doctor join in a statement of protest. “Two fundamental rights of physicians have been violated,” they declared. “First, in the seizure and holding of confidential medical records by the police; second, by police interference with the right of physicians to practice medicine in accordance with accepted methods.” Within several weeks more than 1700 Massachusetts doctors, more than one third of those in the state, joined their petition of protest. However, on May 26, 1938 the Massachusetts court unanimously affirmed the Salem convictions, saying that the statute was clear and relief should be sought by changes in the law and not from the judicial department. The Massachusetts League decided to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court as to whether a state legislature may interfere with the practice of medicine under the guise of police regulation of morality and health.

On Monday, October 10, 1938, the US Supreme Court dismissed the Massachusetts League’s appeal of the Salem convictions. The Gardner ruling, as it became known, shocked and disheartened the Massachusetts activists.  On Friday the four Salem defendants appeared in court and each paid their hundred-dollar fines.

In 1965, Griswold v. Connecticut, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the U.S. Constitution protected a right to privacy. The case involved a Connecticut law that prohibited the use of contraceptives. By a vote of 7–2, the Supreme Court invalidated the law on the grounds that it violated the "right to marital privacy". The argument was built on the claim that it was a violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to deny unmarried couples the right to use contraception when married couples did have that right under Griswold. Justice Brennan wrote that Massachusetts could not enforce the law onto married couples because of Griswold v. Connecticut, so the law worked "irrational discrimination" if not extended to unmarried couples as well. Since Griswold, the Supreme Court has cited the right to privacy in several rulings, most notably in Roe v. Wade in 1973. The Supreme Court ruled that a woman's choice to terminate a pregnancy was protected as a private decision between her and her doctor.  And that is the story of how Carolyn Gardner played a part in the events that led to a woman’s right to choose.

14 February, 2011

14 February, 1944

438th AAA AW BN
APO 527 % Postmaster, N.Y.
England
14 February, 1944       1230

Dearest Valentine –

I have never before really felt that I had a Valentine until this year – or at least had what the word ‘Valentine’ stands for. Whatever it is, I’m glad you’re mine and I’m yours. I wonder if you got the cards I sent you. The choice was limited in this country, but anyway – you must know what I mean.

Back about a month ago I began thinking about Valentine’s Day and how girls like to be remembered on such days, and how you were being left out in the cold, so to speak. That worried me, darling, because I don’t want you to miss out on completely everything. Anyway I wrote to a couple of places, dear, and I hope you were remembered. I won’t mention what or where. If you got it, darling, I hope you were pleasantly surprised. If not – well then I’m the one who is disappointed. Today is a bleak, barren type of day, dear, but only moderately cold. Last night I was listening to the American Forces Program and heard the news from home. It seems as if winter has really set in – in New England. I’m glad you’re not working now, sweetheart, because it would have been awful to have trudged back and forth by street-car in that kind of weather.

This week I’m supposed to have another 2 day pass – this past week-end as a matter of fact. I’ve had no particular incentive to go though and so far, have no plans. Perhaps the latter part of the week one of the boys will be able to take off and I’ll go. I’ll let you know later.

13 February, 2011

13 February, 1944

438th AAA AW BN
APO 527 % Postmaster, N.Y.
England
13 February, 1944       1100
Dearest sweetheart –

Sunday morning again and were we married now and living in Salem – I’d probably be all through rounds at the hospital and a couple of house calls – and back to the house to bother you in your attempts at getting dinner prepared. After several hugs punctuated by at least a corresponding number of kisses, you’d finally chase me off to the den or library (if we have either) to read a journal or something. Yet, darling, here I am all by myself in my quarters in England. It’s dull and gray today but my imagination is helping me. I will not allow myself to become blue, dear; I just can’t when I know that where you are right now – you’ll be thinking of me. Just that thought makes me feel better.

I got another letter from you, sweetheart, yesterday. This much has been amazing. I’ve got a letter from you every day, and although they weren’t in sequence, particularly, who cares? It’s almost as if you were only 50 miles away and I could expect a daily letter. I hope I haven’t been spoiled.

12 February, 2011

12 February, 1944

438th AAA AW BN
APO 527 % Postmaster, N.Y.
England
12 February, 1944       1235
Wilma, darling –

I notice that today is the 12th. That should make it Lincoln’s Birthday back home. Here it’s just another Saturday, of course. For that matter it wasn’t much of a holiday back home. And Monday is Valentine’s Day. The days slip by before you realize it. That’s the paradox of being over here; there’s little or nothing to do, time should drag and yet the months are slipping by.

In that connection we got notice today of furloughs for the men and leaves for officers. In the States – these were given every 6 mos. In the ETO apparently the practice is 7 days every 3 months and our time is approaching. Gosh how I used to look forward to time off when I was in the States. Now I can’t seem to get excited about it. I should be one of the first, dear, to get a leave because my last one was in June – and several of the boys had theirs after that. Where to go and what to do is the question. There’s really no incentive when you can’t get home – but the advice is to take the leave anyway because you don’t know when you’ll get another. Darling if only I could see you for a few hours – that would be tonic enough for me – but that’s impossible right now and I better stop thinking along those lines.

11 February, 2011

11 February, 1944

438th AAA AW BN
APO 527 % Postmaster, N.Y.
England
11 February, 1944       1335
Dearest sweetheart –

I’ve just finished lunch and here I am imagining I’m talking with you again. I hope the ability to do that never leaves me, because it makes me feel very close to you. After yesterday’s snow and sleet, today is clear and dry and not cold. There’s no trace of snow on the ground.

This morning I didn’t go out to the gun sections at all, dear, but once and for all decided to finish dictating the history of the medical detachment. It’s a good thing I’ve been with it from the very start because our movements and changes in the States were so many that a newcomer could have had a whale of a time trying to piece things together. Well, darling, shortly before noon I finished the darn thing and now it has only to be typed by my sergeant and then submitted. So that’s one more piece of work out of the way. It’ll be nice if I don’t have to write another year’s history, won’t it dear?

 
Members of a gun section man Antiaircraft guns like this 40 mm Bofors.

10 February, 2011

10 February, 1944

438th AAA AW BN
APO 527 % Postmaster, N.Y.
England
10 February, 1944      1400
Dearest darling Wilma –

It’s a dark, gray day today and I’ve seen snow falling for the first time in a long, long while. Remember, dear, I was South on maneuvers last year and saw no snow then. Actually here – the snow is melting as it falls and so there’s no accumulation. I am now in my quarters, it’s windy and cold outside, but really quite comfortable here, darling.

This morning it was quite clear out and instead of riding around to the various sections in a jeep, I thought I’d use the bicycle. As I once told you, dear, everyone uses the bike in England and the American soldiers have taken it up too. The reason for this is that bicycles are made available for almost anyone who wants to use it. So I have one for my own use. Naturally, they’re all of English make and darned good. The brakes are applied by hand levers and the bikes are very speedy. I covered several miles this morning with very little effort. I thought my legs would tire, darling, but they didn’t. I must be in pretty good shape. No wonder though, – plenty of sleep, good food, plenty of fresh air, plus exercise. Sweetheart – if I should embrace you now, there’s no telling what would happen (you can interpret that in any way you like, dear).
8th Bomber Command, B-17 Flying Fortress ground crew on English bicycles.
Click to make the image larger and you will see the hand brakes. Back arrow to return.

09 February, 2011

09 February, 1944

438th AAA AW BN
APO 527 % Postmaster, N.Y.
England
9 February, 1944 1030
Dearest sweetheart -

At last the pieces are coming together and as the mail trickles in, dear, I’m learning about your job, its problems etc. Today – a little while ago I received three letters from you from the 9th, 11th and 12th of January. I really can’t figure the mail out at all. Sometimes it’s so rapid and other times – it takes a month for airmail. I don’t really care, though, because as long as I hear from you I’m happy.

I also got two cards from you, dear, my Birthday card and a swell Valentine card. Both were perfect, darling, and I’ll put them up on my shelf on either side of your picture – just in case there’s any doubt in any one’s mind who you are, dear.

08 February, 2011

08 February, 1944

438th AAA AW BN
APO 527 % Postmaster, N.Y.
England
8 February, 1944       1600
My dearest sweetheart -

You are so sweet to me I don’t know what to say or write. What you make difficult for me to understand, dear, is how I made you love me, so earnestly and sincerely in so short a time. I still find it hard to realize that I’m so fortunate in having so lovable a girl interested in me. Darling, believe me when I say I appreciate it. I always will, and that no amount of attention and love that I show you when we’re finally together again, will ever repay the warm feeling of satisfaction and comfort you give me when I read your letters and thank the Lord that I have you and am able to hold you – even though we’re so far apart, even though our courtship was so relatively short, even though – I must confess – I wondered whether you would continue to love me after I left and the months slipped by. I wanted you darling – more than I told you, wanted you and yet I honestly feared I couldn’t hold you for myself and yet leave Boston. I knew you were attractive, desirable, very datable – and I was afraid of the competition. None of this is written to belittle my estimation of your avowed affection, sweetheart. I believed you but felt that I hadn’t been around long enough to cement our feelings. Being older I was surer of my own. Your courage and ability to instill courage in me are unbelievable – and when I read a letter of yours, straightforward and with spirit – why, dear, I just don’t know what to do. Were I near you, I could show you, do things for you, send you flowers, call you – and in as many ways as possible show you how much I really loved you.

07 February, 2011

07 February, 1944

No letter today. Just this:

* TIDBIT *

While in London, Greg attended an Inter-Allied Conference on War Medicine.The conference was convened by the British Royal Society of Medicine and included the following three topics: medical organization techniques in connection with paratroops and airborne troops, personal experiences as a prisoner of war with special reference to dietetics, and operational strain (psychological casualties in the field). There were a total of 11 speakers, some British and some American, each speaking for 10-20 minutes followed by a question and answer period. Lunch was served at 12:30 pm and tea was served at 4 pm. The agenda is shown at the bottom of this post.

The first speaker, Captain Alexander Lipmann-Kessel, a 29-year old South African surgeon, later proved himself a hero and was a recipient of the British Military Cross.

Alexander Lipmann-Kessel

06 February, 2011

06 February, 1944 (Salem News)

[Note from FOURTHCHILD: Here is the newspaper clipping from the Salem Evening News, referred to in Greg's letter on this date. As usual, his last name is edited out for privacy reasons.]


06 February, 1944

438th AAA AW BN
APO 527 % Postmaster, N.Y.
England
6 February, 1944     0835
Dearest sweetheart -

This is pretty early for a Sunday morning, dear, but if I don’t write now I probably won’t be able to get a chance to write you later in the day. As I wrote you yesterday, darling, I’m off for London – but I have to take off this p.m. – because the Conference starts early in the a.m. tomorrow. In order not to cancel my review of first-aid – etc. which I have been doing in the afternoon, I moved it up to the morning and we’re going to start at 0930 and go to 1130.

Again – last night darling – I got another letter from you – and if there’s a better tonic than getting a letter from you every day or so – I’d fail to know what it is, dear. And your letter was written on the 21st of January – which is the very latest from you to date.

The sweater you describe sounds peachy, dear, and I’d love to be wearing it now. Now darling, don’t wear it out showing it to everybody! After all I want to be able to surprise a few people with it. Did your Mother ever get through that other sweater she was purling on for what seemed so long a time? I certainly thought it would be a duration’s project, but here she is starting another one.

Little by little I’m getting to know more and more about your job, sweetheart. The one letter which must have told me just what it is – has not come yet. In yesterday’s letter I first hear the name Filene’s, street-floor, and upstairs and I’m beginning to get an idea of what’s what. So Filene’s would know me if I walked in? The other girls, I assume, have boy friends, of course – only between sales! I’m glad, dear, that the neighbors are getting to know me – so when I drive up they’ll all be able to say, ‘Here comes Greg for Wilma,’ and a little later, ‘Here comes Wilma with Greg’. I’m also glad about your relatives, darling, because I want to know them well and have them like me. I’m certain that I’ll like them all – because that’s the way I felt when I met them. So Grandma B. got my letter? If you’ll jot me her address from time to time, dear, I’ll keep in touch with her. She always seemed very friendly to me – and that’s more than you can say for a lot of Grandmothers.

You asked me in a letter of a couple of days ago whether or not I was keeping in contact with various people in Salem. I guess you know by now that I am – I certainly don’t want to get out of contact. In that connection – I’m enclosing a clipping which a former patient of mine sent me – with the statement – “this appeared on the front page of the Salem Evening News”. That paper, by the way – is the bible and paper of Salem, conservative etc. etc. The underline with pencil was put down by the patient, by the way, dear and not me. So you see I’m still considered an integral part of the Salem Hospital – which I knew anyway. By the way, dear, I hope you don’t mind the H. Gregory part – but that’s the way they carry me on their records at the hospital.

Darling, I’ll have to stop now and get going – or my boys will think I’ve overslept (I’m writing this in my quarters and not from the dispensary!) I don’t know whether or not I’ll have a chance to write you tomorrow, dear; it depends on what time in the evening I get back from London. At any rate – you’ll be with me in spirit, Sweetheart, as you always are wherever I am.

You sounded a bit tired in your last letter, dear, and I hope you are not over-working. Until tomorrow, then, darling – I’ll say so long and I sure would love to carry out the words of “Embrace Me” which you mentioned. Do you get black and blue easily, dear? Seems to me you once mentioned that. Oh well – I’ll be able to treat you, anyway. Solong for now – Sweetheart and

All my love
Greg
Regards!
Love, G.

* TIDBIT *

about Embraceable You

This song was originally written in 1928 for an unpublished operetta named East is West. It was eventually published in 1930 and included in the Broadway musical Girl Crazy, where it was performed by Ginger Rogers in a song and dance routine choreographed by Fred Astaire. The orchestra for the performance was the Red Nichols Band which included Benny Goodman, Glenn Miller, Jack Teagarden, Jimmy Dorsey, and Gene Krupa. George Gershwin conducted the music at the premier before handing the baton over to Earl Busby. Girl Crazy would run for 272 performances.

The Broadway show was adapted for film versions by RKO in 1932, by MGM in 1943, and again by MGM in 1966, with the title When the Boys Meet the Girls. The 1943 MGM version of Girl Crazy was the eighth Mickey Rooney/Judy Garland film and was generally well reviewed. Over sixty years after making its debut, Girl Crazy was once again on Broadway, this time as the basis for the 1992 hit Crazy For You which ran for 1622 performances. Seven of the songs from Girl Crazy were included in the score along with 13 other Gershwin songs. Here is Judy Garland singing Embraceable You as Wilma most likely heard it around this time. The lyrics follow the clip.


Embraceable You
Music by George Gershwin, Lyrics by Ira Gershwin, 1928

Dozens of boys would storm up.
I had to lock my door.
Somehow I couldn't warm up to one before.

What was it that controlled me?
What kept my love life lean?
My intuition told me you'd come on the scene.

If you listen to the rhythm of my heartbeat
You will get just what I mean.

Embrace me, my sweet embraceable you.
Embrace me, you irreplaceable you.

Just one look at you my heart grew tipsy in me.
You and you alone bring out the Gypsy in me.

I love all the many charms about you.
Above all, I want my arms about you.

Don't be a naughty papa.
Come to baby, come to baby do
My sweet embraceable you

Embrace me, my sweet embraceable you.
Embrace me, you irreplaceable you.

In my arms I find you so delectable, dear.
I'm afraid it isn't quite respectable, dear.
But hang it! Come on let's glorify love!
Ding Dang it! You'll shout "Encore!" if I love

Oh, don't be a naughty baby.
Come to papa, come to papa do
My sweet embraceable you

05 February, 2011

05 February, 1944

438th AAA AW BN
APO 527 % Postmaster, N.Y.
England
5 February, 1944     1745

Dearest darling Wilma -

I have just finished my evening meal and I’m ready to say ‘hello’ again. I didn’t eat much for supper dear – because I thought we’d eat at the Copley later, but then I remembered I forgot to make reservations, so we’d better put it off.

Today I did a bit of traveling around in the morning and got back here for lunch. In view of our coming inspection next week I thought it wise to conduct a comprehensive review of various subject matters. We started at 1330 and continued almost until 1700. I think we accomplished quite a bit.

04 February, 2011

04 February, 1944

438th AAA AW BN
APO 527 % Postmaster, N.Y.
England
4 February, 1944     1300

My dearest sweetheart -

This morning I was a little bit tired – for the first time in a very long while. The reason is that I didn’t get very much sleep – due to various factors that I can’t write you about, darling. At any rate, all is well and I’ll catch up on my sleep tonight, no doubt.

I got some mail this forenoon – and it included 1 letter from you, dear, dated from Jan. 3, written January 1st; also a letter from my brother-in-law, 1 from my brother, and 1 from Verna Fine. All were from the first part of January and why they could just be getting here now is beyond me. But they’re welcome, nevertheless – particularly yours dear – because that helps to fill out one of my few remaining open spots. I never have written a diary – but my letters must read like one, and yours too, sweetheart. In today’s letter you tell me that you received 15 letters in one week, dear, and that you were satisfied with the mail. I’m awfully glad darling – and I hope that the mail continues to be satisfactory. It could be worse, no doubt.

03 February, 2011

03 February, 1944


438th AAA AW BN
APO 527 % Postmaster, N.Y.
England
3 February, 1944 1125
Darling Wilma -

Today is 19 months in the Army for me and I certainly hope and feel that by far – my longest stay in the Army is behind me. As I once wrote you, dear, I can’t seem to realize that I’ve been away from Salem for so long. I guess I’ve thought about my days there so much, that when I return I’ll be able to pick up the routine without any trouble at all. And in addition, darling, I’ll have you – as an added feature! Sounds like a prize, dear, doesn’t it? Well – in a way it is – and I consider myself very lucky to win you Sweetheart.

Again I’m trying to get my letter started to you before lunch – because I expect to be busy this afternoon. I haven’t heard from you for a few days now, dear, but I expect I will soon. I’m a little bit accustomed to waiting now – and your picture has helped immensely. When I get the least bit blue, I look up at you and there you are looking back at me – it’s almost as if you were in the same room with me in person. I know, dear – but a fellow has to use his imagination a little, doesn’t he?

Wallet-size photo of Wilma

02 February, 2011

02 February, 1944

438th AAA AW BN
APO 527 % Postmaster, N.Y.
England
2 February, 1944      1030
Dearest sweetheart -

I thought I’d start a letter to you now, although I probably won’t be able to finish it until after lunch. I’m waiting for a jeep to take me to some of the sections, but my driver won’t be back for about half an hour. I have just finished a lecture on “shock, hemorrhage” etc.

I’m looking at you right now, dear, and funny thing – you’re looking right back. Did you notice that – about your picture? No matter what angle I look at it from – you’re always looking right back at me. Darling – I can’t thank you enough for that picture. It’s made a new man out of me. I can visualize you so much better than before – it’s wonderful! And as I write – you’re looking at me as if in approval – dear.

I was interested in your remarks about censorship, darling. I’m actually surprised that more of my letters haven’t been opened. Every letter written by an enlisted man is censored, of course (I have to censor my detachment’s mail), but they only spot check the officers’ mail. I can’t seem to remember my writing you any telephone number dear. You wrote you found it cut out. At any rate – they’re not cutting out very much and all in all – censorship rules in this theater aren’t too strict – unless you try to be too specific.

01 February, 2011

01 February, 1944

[Note from FOURTHCHILD: This letter was begun on 31 January, 1944 but finished and mailed the next day, 1 February.]
438th AAA AW BN
APO 527 % Postmaster, N.Y.
England
31 January, 1944   1930
My dearest darling -

I wrote you earlier today – but since then I received a letter from you which I felt like answering now. I may not finish it – as I have some records to take care of tonight, but I just felt in the mood for speaking with you.

Darling – it was a letter of January 7 that I got today; I have had some later ones; but this one was the type of letter that never seems dated – Dear – when you feel very blue or lonesome, please don’t take it out on anyone else but me. It’s not fair to your folks, sweetheart, and it will only make them unhappy to see you that way. They cannot realize that deep down where it can’t be seen or described you have a sensation which really keeps you closer to me than to anyone else in the world. When you feel like that, dear, tell me and to everyone else keep a stiff upper lip. The fact is I do understand because I feel the way you do – so often. But it is not a sensation of despair; it’s just such an intense longing for fulfillment of your thoughts, pictures and dreams. Darling – when you fell blue – tell me – and rather than making me feel blue too – it merely has the effect of bringing us closer together. I then tell myself that if you feel the way I do – and your letter proves it – then you must care for me with the same burning desire that I do for you – and knowing that, dear, is a very helpful thought to fall back on. Dearest – never hesitate to tell me how you feel – however often – will you?