31 May, 2011

31 May, 1944

438th AAA AW BN
APO 654 % Postmaster, N.Y.
England
31 May, 1944        0720

Dearest darling Wilma –

Although we had a pretty good thunderstorm yesterday p.m. – the heat wave – if you can call it that – is still with us. The highest it has been here is somewhere in the low or middle 80’s, but it rarely gets that hot here, and if it does, it doesn’t last long. We have the same humidity here that Boston has, with the complete lassitude etc. that goes with it. Yesterday – it was really quite annoying – but fortunately, I didn’t have too much to do, dear.

I got no mail yesterday, but having heard from you the day before, I really didn’t expect any.

Say – in reading about Mr. Clark’s home – I find you really enthused, darling. And to top it off you say you’d really adore aplace like that. Now if you’re going to get ideas like that this early in life, maybe you’d better not go out there quite so often? It does sound nice, though, dear – and I’m glad you’re enjoying your trips out there.

30 May, 2011

30 May, 1944

438th AAA AW BN
APO 654 % Postmaster, N.Y.
England
30 May, 1944       0725

Dearest Sweetheart –

I just realized – in writing the date – that today was or at least used to be, a nice holiday back home. Last year – I arrived at Camp Edwards on May 29th from S. Carolina after being away for 6 months – and it sure was a thrill. I don’t know just how I would act if I were home again now – but I have a pretty good idea.

As a matter of fact the English have their holiday, too, at the end of May – but it’s not like our Memorial day. It marks the end of the whole Easter period – sort of the other end of the line from the beginning of Lent – with Easter in the middle. The Holiday is called Whitsuntide and as most holidays are celebrated – it includes Saturday, Sunday and Monday. Of course it made no difference to us.

Say that news about Betty and Les getting married on a 3 day pass was surprising. I didn’t think their folks would approve. Of course I don’t know what sort of outfit he’s with. If he thinks he’s in a semi-permanent set-up, I do believe he ought to get married; but if he’s with an infantry division – he’s bound to move out – and soon. In that case – I think he ought to wait it out, if he’s waited so long. But that’s their problem and not ours. Incidentally – I assume Betty is still at school and due to graduate soon – is that correct?

29 May, 2011

29 May, 1944

438th AAA AW BN
APO 654 % Postmaster, N.Y.
England
29 May, 1944        0715

My dearest darling –

The start of another week with lots of things to take care of. But one thing about being busy – the days do go by very quickly, and I like that, dear. This past week-end was gorgeous from point of view of weather – although we couldn’t partake of it too much. However – for a couple of hours – Sunday afternoon we were able to play a game of soft-ball, officers v. enlisted men (we lost 17-5!). The sun was actually very hot and I ended up with a swell burn.

Sweetheart, before I forget it, Father’s day is fast approaching and I’ve done nothing about it. I haven’t got the slightest idea about presents from way back here, but you ought to be able to figure something out. I’m enclosing a check, dear, which ought to cover a Father’s Day gift for both our dads. Send them from both of us – if you wish, but at any rate – will you take care of getting a couple of gifts and seeing that they are delivered on the appropriate day? I wouldn’t ask you to do it, darling, but you invited me some time ago. Incidentally – if you see something you’d like to get that the check won’t cover – get it – and let me know the difference.

I was interested in your statements about Stanley Berns, how he looked and how he felt about going back. I guess the Pacific assignment is no sinecure – and from what I’ve gathered from others who have been there – they’re never anxious to return. I’m sure glad they didn’t send us in that direction; it could very well have been, too, because others went there at the same time that we were coming over here.

28 May, 2011

28 May, 1944

V-MAIL

438th AAA AW BN
APO 654 % Postmaster, N.Y.
England
28 May, 1944        1235

Dear sweetheart –

Just got back from a rather long bike ride – on business; there was no other transportation available and the matter had to be taken care of. It was warm and I’m pretty tired. We’ll be eating soon and then I think I’ll soak in a tub. Later there are more details to take care of and I’ll be busy. I’m writing this now because I may not be able to write later, dear.

Gosh these past couple of days have been like summer and it makes me recall with nostalgia the first days when we first went out together. I thought the Spring would be tough, darling, but I guess Summer, Fall and Winter – will all be the same. I shall not be truly happy until I am close to you once again – Love to the folks.
All my love
Greg.

27 May, 2011

27 May, 1944

438th AAA AW BN
APO 654 % Postmaster, N.Y.
England
27 May, 1944        0730

Dearest sweetheart –

Even at this hour – which is actually 0530, the sun is out bright and shining, and from the stillness of the air and the trees, it seems certain to be a hot day today. The natives say that even in this part of England – and I always think of Tennessee or the Western Part of New England – when I look around me – it really gets hot – except for about 4 or 5 days in the whole summer.

I got an old letter from you, yesterday, dear – from May 8 – but nonetheless welcome. I don’t know why it was delayed – but it must have gotten side-tracked one way or another. At any rate it was interesting – I mean your farming and your energy darling. I worked on a farm for a day once and I was sure it wasn’t for me. Incidentally, I never realized that Mr. Clark’s farm is where it is, or if I had been told, it didn’t stick. I found that very interesting too, very interesting. All you have to do is add an “E”.

And your story about the mailman was most amazing, sweetheart. That is what I’d call personalized service. We don’t get that in the Army, I can assure you. He certainly sounds most sympathetic and next time you see him, dear, thank him for me, will you? If he wants to come to the ceremony, it’s all right with me, too.

26 May, 2011

26 May, 1944

438th AAA AW BN
APO 654 % Postmaster, N.Y.
England
26 May, 1944        0730

My dearest darling –

I rather like the idea of writing you so early in the day. It puts me in the right mood. I felt so good all day yesterday – I was certain it was due to that. Although I didn’t hear from you, dear, I did get a letter from my father – as I expected – telling me about the Sunday spent at your house; also as I expected, the folks had a grand time, enjoyed meeting more of the relatives and thought everyone was very friendly to them. But best of all, darling, was what my father had to say about you, namely – that you are the loveliest, sweetest girl a guy could possibly pick for a wife and that he insisted, as did my mother, that I’d hurry up and come home – so that I could marry you. You know, sweetheart, it’s so wonderful to be in love and realize that you’re a lucky fellow to have the girl you’ve always wanted – but what makes me feel particularly content is the fact that my folks love you as much as they do. And I know – and I’m sure you do too – that they are as sincere as two people could possibly be. If you don’t know it – you will. I’ve never known them to be otherwise – and that’s why I love to read my father’s letter and see how much they love you and want you to be one of their children. Incidentally – my dad writes that you tried on the house-coat – or whatever you call it – and that you looked lovely.

The enclosed negatives and prints are all I was able to get back. There are 5 of the negatives and only 4 pictures – for some reason or another, dear, but you can do what you want with them. My folks will probably want 1 or 2 – but you can take care of that I guess. It’s an awful chore getting pictures censored here – and this is the first roll I’ve had any luck with at all.

25 May, 2011

25 May, 1944

438th AAA AW BN
APO 654 % Postmaster, N.Y.
England
25 May, 1944        0730

Dearest Sweetheart –

Starting today’s letter at this time in the morning again reminds me of the days when I first started writing you back at Camp Edwards and used to write early so that my ambulance driver could mail the letter on his routine run to the hospital. When I realize how easy it was to be in the Army and be in the United States at the same time, I can’t help but wince – a little bit, but I guess I could be in much worse places than I am now, dear.

In case I haven’t already mentioned it, darling, I got some mail yesterday p.m. and you just can’t imagine how much better I felt after reading 3 of your letters. The fact is I had been feeling kind of in the dumps all week for various reasons – and not hearing from you, darling, wasn’t helping one bit. Incidentally – from your 3 letters I gathered that there was some delay in my mail too. I hope it wasn’t too long, dear, but again I must caution you that one of these days there will probably be a break in the continuity of the service – and you mustn’t worry when that happens. Furthermore, sweetheart, you’ll have to help Mother A and B not to worry. I know how futile that sounds – but reassurance is about the only medicine for worry – and that’s what you’ll have to give them; your dose – you’ll have to get from me.

24 May, 2011

24 May, 1944

438th AAA AW BN
APO 654 % Postmaster, N.Y.
England
24 May, 1944       0900

My dearest sweetheart –

Another month that I know you, dear, and time seems to have lost its significance for me. To have already been away from you for a longer time that I knew you when I left – doesn’t seem as strange to me now as it did just a couple of months ago. I think becoming engaged to you had as much to do with it as anything else – and I can hardly believe that we’ve been engaged for almost two months, dear. I still startle myself at times when I realize it and get the same kick out of realizing that I in fact do have a fiancée, who is waiting for me and who wants me as much as I want her. It’s a swell feeling, sweetheart, and it will always make me feel right on top of the world.

Again yesterday, as I wrote you already, there was no mail from you or home. I got one from Irv Fine – congratulating me and complimenting me upon my choice – all of which I love to hear, darling. He mentioned Stan’s going in Washington and running around with some Wave or other named Lt. Wilcoff. He assumed I knew her – but I don’t remember the name at all. Do you know who she is? Anyway – he’s probably having a grand time and impressing his companion with his usual charm. It’s too bad he hasn’t developed more substance to his personality, more depth. Irv mentioned that Verna was running around arranging for post-war jobs – so I assume she’s doing rehabilitation work of some sort – a lot of hooey, as far as I’m concerned. As you wrote, I agree – she ought to be at home raising a family and learning how to cook – but that’s their business after all.

23 May, 2011

23 May, 1944

438th AAA AW BN
APO 654 % Postmaster, N.Y.
England
23 May, 1944      1305

Dearest darling –

I just got up from my bed with a start – to answer the phone. I lay down on it after dinner about 1230 presumably for a couple of minutes and fell sound asleep. It’s a good thing the phone rang. I was going to write you dear – before I went down to the Dispensary but I guess I was too drowsy. Anyway – I’ll get off a few lines.

Last night we had a very long Officers’ Class which didn’t break up until about 2130 (started 1830). A movie had been scheduled and we all decided to see it. Well – after getting set and comfortable – it was discovered that something was wrong with the projector – and that took about an hour to get straightened out. The pay-off darling was that when we finally got going – we saw a sterling production – “Tarzan and the Desert Mystery”. By this time everyone was in a rare mood and it wouldn’t have made any difference what was being shown. In this particular picture there was ample room for dialogue for the audience – and as a result we had the horses, elephants and everything else talking. We didn’t get upstairs to bed until after midnight – but it was a lot of fun. We needed something like that, sweetheart, to cheer us up, because for some reason or other, it was a sort of Blue Monday, myself included.

Today is cloudy and moist – but I feel O.K. I lectured to my boys all morning on physiology and pathology and this p.m. we’re doing splinting – for fractured arms and legs. The boys are pretty good at it but you can’t do too much of it.

22 May, 2011

22 May, 1944

438th AAA AW BN
APO 654 % Postmaster, N.Y.
England
22 May, 1944       0915

Dearest darling Wilma –

Well I’m going to start this letter now – but I don’t know whether I’ll be able to finish it. It seems, dear, as if I’ve been rushing about – the past 2-3 days – and the rush is still on. In particular, for this week, I’m giving my men a comprehensive review of everything they’ve had in their line. I plan to spend a week or 10 days doing it and when I’m through I think each and every one of them will be aid men worthy of the name. In addition – there’s the damned old report on this and on that, a trip here or there on business – and all in all, I’ve been earning my pay of late.

Saturday night, sweetheart, the party did not materialize for the reason I’ve already implied – namely that there was no liquor. The beer was dissipated long before evening came and that was that.

Gee, dear, it certainly made me envious to read that Les was home for 8 days. Of course if I were in Pennsylvania it would practically be like home – that’s how comparative distances affect you, because I know the fellow I write to in Hawaii feels that I am practically home – compared to him. Anyway – I’m glad for their sake – Betty’s and Les’s that they are able to see each other. He got a sort of raw deal when his Specialized training was cut short; on the other hand, though, they are doing the same with officers and complete outfits. A good deal of AA in the States – I read in the papers recently – is being converted en bloc to the infantry and that’s no fun – after having been trained in anti-aircraft tactics.

21 May, 2011

21 May, 1944

V-MAIL

438th AAA AW BN
APO 654 % Postmaster, N.Y.
England
21 May, 1944      2230
Hello Darling –

Well I almost skipped today altogether – but I thought I’d at least jot down a few lines before going to bed. Today was a long, long day for various reasons, dear, and I’m quite tired now. I’m going to climb into bed as soon as I’m through writing you sweetheart.

Had no mail today or yesterday – but the mail has been running light recently. Got a V-mail from Lawrence telling me about living in town. Seems like a good idea from here.

Will write more tomorrow, darling, and will stop for now. Love to the folks – and for now –

All my love
Greg

20 May, 2011

20 May, 1944

438th AAA AW BN
APO 654 % Postmaster, N.Y.
England
20 May, 1944       1030

Dearest sweetheart –

I’m back at the Castle waiting for another in the long series of B.C.’s meetings. I got an early start this morning, saw a few sick soldiers, checked the kitchens, inspected my own men – and barring emergencies – I should be able to take it easy for the rest of the day. We’re supposed to have a binge tonight – but there’s a very important draw-back: up to and including this moment, our expected supply of liquor has not arrived! We have six dozen quart bottles of some tolerable ale, and one six-gallon keg of some intolerable beer – and how far that will go towards making us noisy etc. I don’t know, darling. The past few nights, after the movies – last night we had “Thank Your Lucky Stars” which I had seen in the States – one of the Officers and I have had some jam sessions, if you can call it that. He’s pretty good at the piano, having played in an orchestra some years back and he plays loud enough to drown out my mistakes. But the boys gather around, sing, prance, tap dance etc. – and we have had some fun.

Late yesterday p.m. I received one letter from you, postmarked the 12th. There were only about 4 letters for all the officers – and I was one of the lucky ones, dear. Thanks!

You know, darling, a strange thing occurred in your letter written the tenth; for no apparent reason you mention the subject of psycho-neurosis, mental breakdowns and associated diseases. It was just at that time that we were taking up the matter of Charlie. Although his case was somewhat different – it did come under the heading of mental rather than physical factors and this makes several times now that some sort of telepathic connection has occurred between us. It’s two weeks now that he’s gone.

19 May, 2011

19 May, 1944

438th AAA AW BN
APO 654 % Postmaster, N.Y.
England
19 May, 1944        0900

Dearest darling –

It’s early in the morning but I thought I’d start writing now, because something always seems to turn up later in the day. Yesterday I finally got some mail, dear, three nice letters from you postmarked May 9, 10, 11 – and I felt better again.

In your first letter, sweetheart, you were very apologetic about not working, staying around the house – and half a dozen other things. When I wrote about finances, darling, I had no secondary implications at all. The idea never entered my head, and the thought of you working and saving money is the bunk, dear, as far as I’m concerned. The fact is that we won’t live long on the money you might have saved or the money I’ve saved. Saved money is good while it stays saved. We’re going to live on what money I make, darling.

About my salary: a single captain draws $200 per month, plus 10% for overseas. The 10% is absorbed by insurance fees which is a little higher for me because I changed my insurance from the “term” type which the Army encourages – to 20 year endowment. In other words – term insurance ends when the war is over and you have nothing to show for your premium. The plan I have enables me to continue my insurance. Anyway I get about $200. I had arranged to send $100 to my bank and $100 to myself. Due to faulty or rather delayed book-keeping on the part of the Army, they send the bank $100 and me – $50. So for seven months – the Army now owes me a back-log of $350.00 Were I married to you, darling, I would be drawing $340.00 per month – so we’re really missing out, darling – in more ways than one – but I don’t care – as long as you’ll marry me after the war.

18 May, 2011

18 May, 1944


V-MAIL


438th AAA AW BN

APO 654 % Postmaster, N.Y.
England
18 May, 1944

Dear Sweetheart –

Here goes another V-mail which I know you don’t like, darling, but this is another busy day and if I don’t get this off I might not have time to write later.

Right now I’m working on a lecture which I’m to give to the Battalion this p.m. – pep talk, safety talk and general blarney. Do I hear you say there’s no need for me to have to prepare a talk on the subject?

Yesterday, dear, was quiet. We had a movie for the officers – an oldie – “Somewhere I’ll Find You” with Clark Gable and L. Turner. I had seen it before. Tonight we’re having “Flesh and Fantasy” which I also saw – but it does help pass the time.

No mail again yesterday, darling, but we’re really overdue now and I should be hearing from you soon. Anyway – I know you’re writing and that’s a solace. Hope my mail is still coming through in decent time. Will have to close now, dear, but I do miss you like all get-out! Love to the folks. So long for now, dear.


All my love
Greg


* TIDBIT *

about Somewhere I'll Find You


This plot summary of Somewhere I'll Find You, released in September of 1942, was taken from the New York Times Review and the Turner Classic Movies:
War correspondents and brothers Jonny and Kirk Davis (Clark Gable and Robert Sterling) return to New York in early October 1941 after being thrown out of Germany. Their New York Chronicle editor, George L. Stafford (Charles Dingle), is angry with them for writing anti-Nazi stories and refuses to print their latest about a Japanese-German alliance. By using a ruse with a dictating machine and enlisting the aid of Stafford's masseur, Charlie, Jonny tricks Stafford into relating the story to the composition room, and when it winds up on the front page, he and Kirk are fired. Back in the USA, Johnny inaugurates a rogue-ish flirtation with Paula Lane (Lana Turner), an aspiring reporter who has harbored a long-standing crush on Johnny. Even so, Paula enters into a romantic relationship with Kirk, prompting Johnny to break up the affair - for Kirk's own good, of course.

Paula's hopes for a lasting romance with Johnny are crushed when he refuses to discourage her from accepting an assignment in Indochina. Later on, both Johnny and Kirk are sent off to cover the war in the Far East, where they are reunited with Paula, now busily shepherding Chinese war orphans to safety. The action moves to Bataan, where Kirk is killed in service of his country, leaving Johnny to write a passionate tribute to his brother-and, by extension, everyone else who has lain down his or her life for the cause of Democracy. When Paula hears that Kirk is dead, she runs to Jonny, and, despite her grief, sits down and types what Jonny dictates about the fall of Bataan, a story that he says is not finished yet--"there is more to come."

During production of Somewhere I'll Find You, Clark Gable's actress-wife Carole Lombard was killed in a plane crash while participating in a war-loan drive; the impact of the tragedy is painfully obvious in Gable's performance, which becomes abruptly less playful and more somber in the final reels. New MGM recruits Van Johnson and Keenan Wynn make impressive appearances in uncredited roles. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi
Here is the trailer:


17 May, 2011

17 May, 1944

438th AAA AW BN
APO 654 % Postmaster, N.Y.
England
17 May, 1944        1035

Dearest sweetheart –

It was just about this time in the morning a certain amount of months ago that I stood on the deck of a ship and looked back at the land that was quickly becoming more and more difficult to see. I don’t remember exactly how I felt that morning, dear; the excitement inside everyone was too great to allow an evaluation of emotions. But I can think back to it now with some sort of comprehension, and it seems to me my reactions must have been a mixture of adventure on the one hand – and a terribly strong desire to be back on land with those I loved and whom I knew I wouldn’t see for a long long time. I must have thought about you – and very hard, too, for as I remember it you were constantly in my mind – as I’m sure my letter to you, written on the ship, must have implied. I must have wondered, darling, what would happen to our affair, because I admit that at that time I felt that I just hadn’t quite had enough time to win you. How glad I am that I was wrong!

The trip, as I wrote you afterward, was uneventful – but everyone was artificially keyed up. We needn’t have been, as matters turned out, but the combination of moving pictures, newspaper stories and radio reports in the months preceding couldn’t help but have some effect on all of us. I remember visiting the men of our outfit and giving them short talks on various subjects with a view towards relaxing the mind, where my own, dearest, wasn’t entirely relaxed itself.

16 May, 2011

16 May, 1944

438th AAA AW BN
APO 654 % Postmaster, N.Y.
England
May 16, 1944      1120

My dearest sweetheart –

I’m back at the Castle again after a moderate morning’s work. Everything is going along smoothly, dear, although I haven’t heard from you in a couple of days. But as you wrote, with the mail coming through so swiftly in recent weeks, we’re bound to strike a snag now and then. The other night I got to thinking of the first couple of weeks after our arrival here – with the cold and the fog and no mail. Gosh those were blue days, sweetheart, and I must have sounded awfully discouraging in my letters. Then we ran into another long delay around Christmas time – that was rather hard to take. Other than that, though, considering the distance, it hasn’t been too bad at all. Again, darling, I must caution you not to be worried if you don’t hear from me every day or for awhile. There’s bound to be delays for one reason or another – and when there are – remember that if I’m not writing, I’m nevertheless thinking of you just as hard – and in those instances – probably harder.

Yesterday was quiet and restful again and we had a movie for the Officers up here at the Castle. It stank – but was side-edited by various remarks from the audience, as you can well imagine. The picture was ‘Alaskan Highway’ with Richard Arlen as the “hero”. We got our money’s worth in fun, anyway.

15 May, 2011

15 May, 1944

438th AAA AW BN
APO 578 % Postmaster, N.Y.
England
15 May, 1944      1045

Good morning, darling –

First of all – I love you! I always believe in putting first things – first – and in case you don’t know it, dear, that thought is above all – first in my mind. I’ve just returned from the Dispensary and have to attend a B.C.’s meeting at 1130. Other than that, things are on a routine schedule – i.e. – as far as I know.

Yesterday was a very quiet and uneventful day. I hardly moved out of my room. I spent the day reading a couple of back copies of Stars and Stripes, Yank and Time Magazine – as well as listening to the radio . It was all quite restful – but I needed it after running around for the previous two days. I wrote you, my folks, Shirley Feldberg – who had written me a very friendly and sincere letter, and finally to a Major, friend of mine at Pearl Harbor. I don’t know if I mentioned to you dear, that I had heard from Col. Pereira in California. He wished us luck, by the way.

Say, darling, when you ask me if I love Borscht – you have to be more specific. Now – as a doctor’s wife – you’ll find that details are very important. As everyone knows there are several kinds of borscht – beet borscht, spinach borscht – and I suppose – just plain borscht. I lean towards the spinach type, for some reason or other, but if you make it, I’m inclined to think I’ll eat any type.

14 May, 2011

14 May, 1944

438th AAA AW BN
APO 578 % Postmaster, N.Y.
England
14 May, 1944      1100

My dearest and only Sweetheart –

At last a chance to sit down alone for awhile to write you. I feel so strange when a day goes by and I can’t write a letter for one reason or another. The past two days were very busy ones for me and I was away – more than I was here. And with Charlie not around to help – I have that much more to do.

Anyway, darling, I got back and found two letters from you and one from your mother – all swell. Today is actually Mother’s Day – and I hope that both my mothers got some flowers. Incidentally, dear, you’re absolutely correct about your suggestion. I don’t know why I didn’t send you the check and let you handle it. I think the reason was that when I sent it out – we were not yet engaged, that is – I hadn’t heard it, and I thought I ought to handle the thing myself. In the future – you can do it for me – or us – and as you say, that will be your department. But for pity’s sake, darling, will you sort of keep me posted on things I should remember from time to time? The fact is I wish you had access to my checking account. That would make things even more simple, but that will have to wait too. I think that will be a good idea, though, when we settle down – unless you’d want one of your own. I guess we’ll be able to settle that – without too much difficulty.

13 May, 2011

13 May, 1944

V-MAIL


438th AAA AW BN

APO 578 % Postmaster, N.Y.
England
13 May, 1944


Hello darling!

Well I didn’t think I’d get a chance to write today either. Yesterday, dear, I was away all day and so for the first time in some while I couldn’t even get a V-mail off to you. I’m busy as all get-out today too – but I’m taking a few minutes off to jot you and my folks a line. It must sound awfully important, sweetheart. It really isn’t, but the fact is I’ve just been hopping around for the past 36 hours – but I think I’ll be able to write you a regular letter tomorrow. That’s all for now, dear.

Love to the folks – and


All my love
Greg
P.S.
I love you!



* TIDBIT *


about Anne Frank's Tree


On May 13, 1944, only three months before her family was rounded up, Anne wrote in her diary: “Our chestnut tree is in full bloom. It is covered with leaves and is even more beautiful than last year.” On Feb. 23, 1944, she had written: “Nearly every morning I go to the attic to blow the stuffy air out of my lungs. From my favorite spot on the floor I look up at the blue sky and the bare chestnut tree, on whose branches little raindrops shine, appearing like silver, and at the seagulls and other birds as they glide on the wind... As long as this exists, and it certainly always will, I know that then there will always be comfort for every sorrow, whatever the circumstances may be."

Sixty-two years after dying of typhus in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, Anne Frank continues to haunt countless readers of her diary, with its youthful exuberance, dry humor and shattering hints of the violence that would sweep away her world. But fewer people know of the soaring chestnut tree that gave comfort to Anne while she and her family hid for more than two years during the German occupation. The tree, in the backyard of the house where Anne hid, gained fame more than a decade ago when it was damaged in 1990 by an underground oil spill and other toxic pollutants. For 17 years, the city government tried to save the tree, spending $200,000 to pump out the polluted water surrounding it, as well as trying other methods to preserve its roots. Nothing worked.



In the ensuing years, fresh ills befell the tree: fungi turned almost half its trunk to white rot, and a moth infestation attacked its crown. The German news magazine Der Spiegel reported in 2006 that botanists had spent months running tests and observing the tree, but their efforts did not improve its condition significantly. When local officials deemed it a safety hazard and ordered it felled in 2007, a global campaign to save the chestnut, widely known as The Anne Frank Tree, was launched. The tree was granted a last-minute reprieve after a battle in court. In 2009, city workmen encased the trunk in a steel support system to prevent it from falling.

However, the steel support failed under rain and gale force winds on Monday, 23 August, 2010. The once mighty tree, diseased and rotted through the trunk, snapped about 3 feet (1 meter) above ground and crashed across several gardens. It damaged several sheds, but nearby buildings — including the Anne Frank House museum — escaped unscathed. No one was injured, a museum spokeswoman said. On 24 August 2010 it was reported that a small side shoot was growing out of the stump below where it broke, and there was hope that it would grow into a new tree.



But before its fall, many clones of the tree had been taken, and a plan developed to plant 11 in the U.S. as well as 150 at a park in Amsterdam. The 11 sites in the U.S. were to be chosen largely because they were places that exhibited “the consequences of intolerance — and that includes racism, discrimination and hatred.” A call went out and 34 applications were received. Three locations were chosen ahead of time: The White House, the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, where Anne Frank was already honored, and the World Trade Center site in New York. Here's the planting in Indianapolis:


Here is the dedication at the US Capitol:


Little Rock Central High School in Arkansas was chosen because it was there that black students fought for school integration under the guard of 1,200 soldiers in 1957. Among the other sites are Holocaust centers in Seattle; Farmington Hills, Mich.; Sonoma State University in California, whose exhibit was created by an Auschwitz survivor who attended school with Anne; and Boise, Idaho, (whose statue of Anne was vandalized by a white supremacist group). Here is the dedication in Boise:


The remaining sites are:

The William J. Clinton Foundation in Little Rock, home of the former president’s library, which was chosen, the Anne Frank Center said, because of Mr. Clinton’s and the foundation’s commitment to social justice.

Boston Common in Boston, Massachusetts, which has monuments to liberty; an 11-year-old researching what project she might undertake for her bat mitzvah asked Boston’s mayor, Thomas M. Menino, to ask for the sapling.

The Southern Cayuga Central School District in upstate New York, which based its case on nearby landmarks like Seneca Falls, regarded as the birthplace of the women’s rights movement.

It turns out the saplings selected for sites in the United States were temporarily caged themselves. When they arrived in the country in December of 2009, the young trees were seized by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Because of sicknesses ravaging horse chestnuts in Europe, the trees needed to be in quarantine for three years.

12 May, 1944 (Orders)

No letter today. Just this:

* TIDBIT *

about Orders Authorized on 6 May, 1944

TOP SECRET
HEADQUARTERS
SOUTHERN BASE SECTION
SOS ETOUSA

SUBJECT: Concentration Camp                    Date: 12 May  1944

TO:   CO, Med Det, 438 AAA AW BN
      Priority List No A--2277  

   The Priority Lists and the Embarco plan indicates that your unit is now in its concentration camp ( Sherborne ). After complying with POM-SSV (vehicle waterproofing, acquisition of required equipment and supplies, and other preparatory functions) you will be prepared to move on or after   31 May    on six (6) hours notice. You will receive further instructions on Exercise "Hornpipe" through command channels.
EMBARCO
E.R. YOUNG, Lt. Col. CE
Embarkation Control Officer

TOP SECRET

ORIGINAL

[Notes: CO = Commanding Officer (Greg was CO of the 438th AAA AW BN Medical Detachment). POM-SSV = Preparation for Overseas Movement - Short Sea Voyage. "Hornpipe" was the code word for the airborne element of "Overlord," which was the code word for the Invasion of Normandy. This was evidenced in a signal that was sent on May 23rd from General Eisenhower's Headquarters to the operational Commanders-in-Chief. When deciphered it read: "Exercise Hornpipe Bigot Halcyon Y plus four." Hornpipe meant "Overlord". Bigot was a code word used to express the highest degree of secrecy, Halcyon indicated D-day, and Y had been fixed as the 1st of June. The signal thus fixed D-day as 5th June.]

11 May, 2011

11 May, 1944

438th AAA AW BN
APO 578 % Postmaster, N.Y.
England
11 May, 1944       1040

Dearest darling Wilma –

I’m back at the Castle now – a little bit earlier than usual but I have a few things to take care of before tomorrow and I wanted to get an early start.

Yesterday, dearest, I got your letter postmarked May 3 and 4th – and really when you asked me if I were in England, I really had to stop to think. Your getting a letter of mine in 4 days time is really amazing. The best in this direction has been 5 days – and that was once. But where I used to hear regularly in 2½ to 3 weeks – now it is usually 7-10 days. It certainly does help to make things easier, darling, and it’s a pity I can’t call you as easily as I can write you. I haven’t left this place – and it is impossible to make a call from here – and as I wrote before, my chances of getting to London – are very, very slim. But I love you very much, anyway, sweetheart – even if I can’t call you now – and that is really what matters most.

So you thought my eye incident was funny, huh?? Well you wouldn’t have thought so had you seen it! Anyway – it really was funny and did have to do with the Reverend.

10 May, 2011

10 May, 1944

438th AAA AW BN
APO 578 % Postmaster, N.Y.
England
10 May, 1944       0930

My dearest Sweetheart,

I got 3 very sweet letters from you last night – dated April 28, May 1 and 2nd. You seem to have had a heat wave in Boston, dear, and I’m glad to read that you’re getting out into the sun and getting some vitamins in nature’s form. Our weather here seems to be more even – just pleasantly warm days, with not much variation.

I’m sorry to read about your mother’s ‘nerves’ – but no matter how much you think you’re being irritated, darling, you still have to excuse it. Even the most even-tempered woman in the world becomes a mental wreck during the menopause – not all of them, of course. But when they are affected, it hits them bad. I hope her doctor can do something for her – but at any rate – bear with her, dear.

Talking about doctors – reminds me of your question about neo-hombreal. That product – it seems to me – was just hitting the market when I was leaving practice, so I have had no practical experience with it. But more and more we were beginning to use various extracts and in some cases the hormones did help. This product sounds very expensive. You write, dear, that you have to take 2 a day. The directions must include more than that, by that I mean – 2 a day for how long? Probably for several days before the next expected period, I should say for a guess. I suppose it’s worth trying – although that’s a rather expensive sounding tablet.

09 May, 2011

09 May, 1944

438th AAA AW BN
APO 578 % Postmaster, N.Y.
England
9 May, 1944        0930

Wilma, darling –

The early morning’s work is just about over right now and I thought I’d start the day off right by writing you. Yesterday p.m. when I finished writing I called my men and had them meet me at the playground near the Castle. We had a pretty good game of scrub soft-ball. In the evening we had some visiting officers to entertain – a nice bunch of fellows. One of them, a Lt. Colonel, slept in my room. He’s from N. Dakota and a regular fellow. I’ll be seeing him again.

Today is just another day in the schedule, with perhaps a B.C. meeting later in the day.

Last night I got a letter from you dated April 29th and one from Doc. Finnegan and Lil Zetlan in Salem. Dr. Finnegan’s letter made no mention of our Engagement – it was written some time ago and he probably didn’t know it. Lil gave me the local news of some of the doctors in town, stuff about the hospital, recent golf scores at Tedesco etc.

08 May, 2011

08 May, 1944

438th AAA AW BN
APO 578 % Postmaster, N.Y.
England
8 May, 1944

My dearest sweetheart –

Well, another day and I feel a little better than I did yesterday. You may or may not have received my V-mail I wrote yesterday. If not I’ll explain again that Charlie is no longer with us. Darling – it was a tough thing and even more difficult to write about. I can’t tell you exactly what was wrong – but some of Freud’s theories were certainly involved. I’ve known about it for about 18 months, and a few others also – but it was one of those things that you don’t like to bring up, and nothing was done about it. But since our arrival in England – matters became worse and worse and things finally came to a head this week-end. You’re probably very surprised at all this, dear, because I never mentioned it before – but I saw no point in bringing it up before.

Well – enough of that. We’ve got a requisition in for another man to take his place. I hope we get someone nice. Yesterday evening I cleaned my room and stayed in it all night. I just didn’t feel like going downstairs – although they were putting on a movie. But everything’s O.K. today, darling.

07 May, 2011

07 May, 1944 (to her Mother)

V-MAIL

438th AAA AW BN
APO 578 % Postmaster, N.Y.
England
Sunday, 7 May, 1944

Happy Mother’s Day – Mother!

I do wish I could be home to say that to you in person. I always enjoyed saying it to Mother and I would have a double pleasure now. Well – maybe next year.

I enjoyed your last letter very much, as I do all the letters I receive from you – and believe me – I do appreciate them. I’ll show you how much when I get back. Meanwhile I do feel that I’m getting to know and love my new set of parents for their thoughtfulness and sincerity towards me. I couldn’t wish for anything better!

Best regards to the family – and to you – again – my sincerest wishes for a pleasant Mothers’ day with many more to come.
Love
Greg

07 May, 1944

V-MAIL

438th AAA AW BN
APO 578 % Postmaster, N.Y.
England
7 May, 1944       2000
Dearest sweetheart –

I’ve had a long, hard day – mentally hard, at any rate – and I just didn’t feel like writing a letter right now. I suppose I’d have to tell you sometime so I might as well now. It concerns Charlie. He is no longer with us, having been transferred as of today. I can’t tell you exactly why except to say for psychiatric reasons. The whole thing was messy, and frankly has been for some time – but it came to a head this week-end and has finally been taken care of – for the good of the outfit I think. Anyway it has been upsetting because we were together for 20 months and I was sorry to lose him. All else is O.K. darling and I sure could stand some of your love and affection right now, dear. Best regards to the folks. Will write tomorrow.

All my love for now
Greg

06 May, 2011

06 May, 1944

438th AAA AW BN
APO 578 % Postmaster, N.Y.
England
6 May, 1944         0900
Good morning, Sweetheart –

Another early start in the day to tell you I love you and miss you dearly. Now that is not a very newsy way to start a letter, darling, but you’ll excuse it I know – especially when you realize how true it is. Gosh, dear, I’ve missed you these past few days and nights, and with this moon approaching fullness – well you know what I mean. The longer you are my fiancée the more I want to be married to you – so gather for yourself, sweetheart, how I’m going to feel when I get home. I’m just going to love you so hard, so continuously and so exhaustingly that one or both of us will yell “uncle” and have to rest – i.e. for about 10 minutes. Well this is early in the day to be thinking about such things, dear – but it’s really good anytime of the day.

Yesterday – no letter from you and just one from Eleanor. Every now and then I ask Eleanor for a periodic report on my bank balance. I never know what it is because I don’t get my bank statements mailed to me. I was pleased to see I still had a checking account, dear – so what would you like that I could get for you? I haven’t bought you a thing since I’ve been in England – although the fact is that I have looked. But if I had some idea of what you’d like, I might have more success.

05 May, 2011

05 May, 1944


438th AAA AW BN

APO 578 % Postmaster, N.Y.
England
5 May, 1944        0900

My dearest sweetheart –

Due to a recent change in the hours of our sick-call, I find myself with more free time these past few mornings – and so I’m taking advantage of it. Yesterday, dear, the mail was very light and I was one of the few to get any mail at all. I got a V-mail from you – April 23rd, and finally one from Stan – April 5th – and I hate to say this, darling, but I’m disgusted with him. It was nothing particular in the letter, but the whole tone just wasn’t friendly. He said he had been too busy to congratulate me before this – 25 days after we were engaged. That’s a lot of hooey and don’t think I don’t know it. When Stan wants to be thoughtful – he can be – at the expense of his job or anything else. His whole attitude towards me has changed and although he tried to sound friendly in his letter, he missed by a wide margin.

Well, darling, starting with this past week the officers have been having calisthenics on the lawn at the side of the castle at 0630. I had been playing squash and getting into shape and told the colonel I thought it would be a good idea if we all got pepped up. He agreed and suggested the above – and so we’re doing it. The colonel is out every morning, too – so no one can kick. One of our officers was a football coach and he really puts us through the ropes. But I got over the sore muscle stage some time ago and I’ve enjoyed it. Every morning about a dozen officers come up to ask me if I didn’t think the exercise was too strenuous before breakfast, etc. etc. and right now we’re divided into two big groups – those that do and those that don’t. All in all we manage to have some fun.

04 May, 2011

04 May, 1944

438th AAA AW BN
APO 578 % Postmaster, N.Y.
England
4 May, 1944        0930

Dearest sweetheart –

Yes – in answer to a recent question.

Well – darling – I got some more mail last night, the 19th, 25th and 27th of April, as well as two letters from my dad and a postcard from him, too. The service is really excellent these days and it certainly does help dear to make you seem closer to me – and that’s what I desire more than anything else in the world.

Darling you ask me if I love you and only you. I’m sure you’re asking because you like to hear it and not because you wonder. There’s no one I love – sweetheart – but you, and you shouldn’t have the slightest doubt at all. But I’m sure you haven’t. I know, dear, I may not tell you often enough – but you cannot help but realize that every thing I do, think, dream or plan – concerns you and me and our future together. Never forget that.

And while I’m on the subject, dear, I want to mention something you brought up in a recent letter – about rings, engagements and pledges. Darling – you misinterpreted my use of the word ‘pledge’; it does not mean ‘obligation’ to me, but rather a vow. Of course a ring doesn’t mean a thing in terms of obligation – but can’t you see that ring or no ring, the one thing I want to do when I come back is to marry you – and pronto! Now will you please take any other silly notions you have, open the window and throw them out – and furthermore, dear fiancée – I don’t want you to ever write like that again – even in passing!

03 May, 2011

03 May, 1944

438th AAA AW BN
APO 578 % Postmaster, N.Y.
England
3 May, 1944        1020

My dearest darling –

I got three – no four letters from you last night, in addition to one from Mother B. They were all from the middle of the month of April – 14-17. One was mailed from Salem, and frankly, sweetheart, if you hadn’t reminded me to look at the post-mark, I would have missed it entirely. I recognize your handwriting and usually just tear right into your letters. And the letter postmarked ‘Salem’ had no mention of being in Salem. I haven’t received the letter describing your trip there – if you did go.

Darling, I do love your expressions of love – as I’m sure you realize – and when you write like that, I understand how you feel, too. You say I’m no way near as affectionate as you dear, but if I were you – I wouldn’t bet any money on it! If you mean I don’t express my affections as easily as you – you may be right – but we’ll have a fair and square contest – when the time comes, darling – and may I suggest, – no holds barred! I can already see myself crowned champ – so you see how much confidence I have in myself.

02 May, 2011

02 May, 1944

438th AAA AW BN
APO 578 % Postmaster, N.Y.
England
2 May, 1944        1235

Dearest sweetheart –

Well – the gang is back and things are humming again as usual. And the meetings, etc. have started again, reports, schedules – and oh well – it’s the Army. I guess I’m getting to be a veteran, darling. Tomorrow is 22 months for me – and frankly, when I signed up – I didn’t realize that things would be so long in developing. But because I was in the Army, I met you and I shall always owe the service that – if not much more. It is said that Army life makes a man hard and callous. So far I don’t feel that way – and I don’t see why I ever should. How I’ll be when I return will be for you and me to see.

Yesterday was another quiet, uneventful day, beautiful, calm – and the more I see of England, dear, the more I like it. Don’t get me wrong, though, it’s New England where my spirit is. I guess our outfit is just a lucky one. In the past few weeks we’ve had occasion to run into or hear of others and the great majority of them have billets that are terrible, and some are even living in tents, as we did on maneuvers. When we get to France – or wherever we eventually go – I shall insist on a tile fox-hole, so help me, dear.

Darling, I got a big kick out of reading of your telephone calls about wedding photographs, trousseaus, etc. It reminds me of the days I was in practice. Hardly a week went by that I didn’t get mail addressed to Mrs. A. and the same went for telephone calls. I would often have to insist there was no Mrs. A – and usually I wasn’t believed. The calls were usually about starting charge accounts, fur sales, etc. It will be a happy day for me, sweetheart, when I can say, “Just a minute, I’ll call her.”

01 May, 2011

01 May, 1944

438th AAA AW BN
APO 578 % Postmaster, N.Y.
England
1 May, 1944        1100

Dearest darling Wilma –

Here it is May already and before we know it the summer will come and go. I wonder what it holds for me, but whatever it is, I can’t wait for it to start and get over with. I don’t see how they can wait much longer, and yet I bet Charlie some time ago that nothing would happen before May 15th. Of course the bet was tremendous – 2/6 (50 cents).

Well last night, darling, I got some mail again, and it was all nice. In addition to the Salem News Letter and April 17th issue of Time, I got two letters from you, dear, dated April 21st and 22nd, a swell letter from Florence, one form Shirley F. offering her apologies for not writing earlier and also offering her congratulations, and finally a letter form Lawrence. Shirley’s letter was very friendly. She did mention Stan, saying I should know by now that she was no longer going out with him. She said only “it was just one of those things” to offer as an explanation.

Lawrence’s letter was very nice. He said that despite his usual aversion towards women, he found he liked you very much for your frankness, directness and sincerity – all of which have apparently disarmed him. Don’t tell him, dear, that I told you that. He also went on to tell me how much he liked your folks and he finished by telling me how fortunate I was to have become engaged to a girl like you – with the prospect of having such swell in-laws. Really, darling, for Lawrence – it was quite a letter, because usually he is quite impersonal, and all the time I was going with you last summer, he had very little to say. Having passed his super-critical survey, sweetheart – is really something, because he finds very little good to say about women or people in general. I shall have to write him a letter today in appreciation.