01 June, 2011

01 June, 1944

438th AAA AW BN

APO 654 % Postmaster, N.Y.
1 June, 1944        0740

Dearest sweetheart –

Another month started and I wonder what it will have in store for us? I guess millions of other soldiers must be wondering the same thing. The spirit of expectation is terrific and one can just imagine how the Germans must feel.

I can hardly believe that it is really summer and that so much time has elapsed since we last saw each other. That’s the aggravating thing about time – it keeps moving along, but your mind is reluctant to keep moving with it. Anyway – this particular fine morning it is cloudy out, warm, with occasional light sprinkling. A sort of fresh healthy day – despite the fact that the sun is not out yet.

Last night we had an interesting evening for the first time in a long while. We had a fairly good show – “Phantom Lady” – i.e. it was comparatively new and interesting in its attempt to portray a psychiatric character. As far as it went – it was all right, but the dialogue didn’t quite tell as much as it could have, I thought. Following that (the picture was over at 2100) we had 4 Red Cross women entertain us. They had been present earlier as guests for dinner. One of them was Bessie Love – whom I’m certain you couldn’t remember; I did only by name. She was a star of the silent screen and just barely into the talkie era. She last played in something called the ‘Broadway Melody’. Your mother no doubt remembers her. She looked younger than she probably is and very demure. She was the Mistress of Ceremonies for the group – which sang, played the piano, accordion etc. – a typical Red Cross traveling group. The show didn’t break up until about 2230 and then we continued singing songs around the piano. It was 2330 when I got to bed – but the evening went by quickly.

There was no mail at all yesterday, darling, and it seems to me I have several letters due me now – Got to leave now for a B.C. meeting at 0800 – will continue later, dear – So long for now –

Hello again – dear –

Back again and waiting for lunch now. Meeting consisted of the usual – passes, administrative details etc.

I got quite a kick out of the note that Granny B. included in your letter of the other day. It was sweet of her to take the trouble – and I’ll write her again one of these days. And I’m glad you liked the snaps, darling. The fact that I look well has nothing to do with my being away from you, sweetheart! It is due merely to the fact that I’m getting plenty of fresh air, good food and rest. The pipe, dear, is not the one I had in my car; if I remember correctly – that is still at home. As for the castle looking neglected – it is, but not as much as appears. Remember it’s an old stone affair and that can get to look shabby. But 400 yrs is a long time. It’s nice inside though, and you are right – gigantic is the word for it.

Well – sweetheart – it’s time to close now. I sure wish I could be with you one of these nights to show you a little plain and fancy loving – but I’ll postpone that. Meanwhile, I love you dear and want you more for my own with each passing day. Love to the folks – and

All my love to you


about Bessie Love

Bessie Love was born Juanita Horton in Midland, Texas on 10 September, 1898. In the 8th grade, she moved to Hollywood where her father was a chiropractor. After graduation from Los Angeles High School and traveling around the country for six months, her mother sent her to Biograph Studios to earn enough to help the family's finances. There she met D.W. Griffith, a pioneering silent film director, who gave her the screen name "Bessie Love."  Her first role was small, in Birth of a Nation (1915), but her roles increased in importance as she was in eight movies in the next eight years. As her roles grew, so did her popularity. Love was able to successfully transition to "talkies", and in 1929 she was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress for The Broadway Melody.

However, by 1932 her American film career was in decline. She moved to England in 1935 and did stage work and occasional films there. As war came in Europe she returned to the US for a while, worked for the Red Cross, and entertained the troops. After the war she moved back to Britain where she kept her main residence, and continued to play small film roles for film companies in both the US and Britain. As late as 1971 she played a small but pivotal role as a switchboard operator in Sunday Bloody Sunday. Her career came to a quick halt soon after that however, and she moved permanently to the United Kingdom, becoming a British citizen. She made a comeback in the 1980s with roles in Ragtime (1981), Warren Beatty's Reds (1981), Lady Chatterley's Lover (1981) and (her final film) The Hunger (1983), starring Catherine Deneuve, David Bowie, and Susan Sarandon. In all, Love featured in 131 films and TV episodes.

Love was married once, from 1929 to 1935, to film producer William Hawks, and she had a daughter from that marriage. She died in London, England from natural causes on April 26, 1986.

Here is a short clip from a number performed in 1929, followed by a slideshow memorializing Bessie Love:

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