31 October, 2011

31 October 1944

438th AAA AW BN
APO 230 % Postmaster, N.Y.
Germany
31 October, 1944       1530

My dearest darling Wilma –

I don’t recall ever having used the expression before, but anyway – Happy Halloween, dear. I didn’t know whether I’d get a chance to write you or not today, but here I am at B battery, having arrived here about half an hour ago. All is quiet at the moment, and I found myself alone and with the opportunity to write. I had waited around all morning for the money to come in so that I could pay off the men, but I got tired of waiting and took off.

Yesterday was a banner day, sweetheart, with 2 letters from you, one from my Father, one form Nin Feldman, one from my nephew Steve and one from Stan Levine. The latter told me of his marriage – but in no detail except to say they spent a week at Atlantic City and were now back in Washington; Steve wrote a nice letter thanking me for a German helmet I had sent him and telling me about Latin School. I couldn’t for the life of me figure out who Mrs. Irv Feldman was – but it was once I began to read the letter. It was sweet of her to write and I enjoyed very much hearing from her. I’ll answer her letter soon.

30 October, 2011

30 October 1944

438th AAA AW BN
APO 230 % Postmaster, N.Y.
Germany
30 October, 1944       1030

Good morning, darling!

It’s cloudy again but I feel pretty chipper today – for no apparent reason. I had a pretty good night’s rest except for a variety of short dream interludes which ranged all the way from a scene in which I was home and we were all together and I offered to supply the wine for the celebration because I still had some left from Germany – to a little episode which found me awakening and discovering my watch crystal, radio dial and the windows of the room I was sleeping in – all shattered because of some heavy shelling. When I actually awoke – I was disappointed sweetheart, for I would gladly have undergone the latter experience for a chance to spend a couple of hours with you. We don’t have the chance to call our shots, though do we?

Yesterday, dear, the day was broken up a bit by the showing of another Class B picture in the p.m. – “The Crime Doctor’s Strangest Case”. It certainly was a strange case! Anyway – it helped kill a couple of hours. We had a steak supper for a change – the result of some shrapnel killing a well-fed cow. The cow was butchered and trimmed within 2 hours after its untimely death and the meat was passed as good – by me, incidentally. That’s another one of a battalion surgeon’s duties, by the way. In the evening we listened to the radio and I read a couple of case histories in the “New England Medical Journal”. I was in bed at 2115 – pretty early for a Sunday evening. This morning I have a little work to do – which I probably won’t get around to doing until the p.m. Tomorrow I visit B – or Baker battery for 3 days.

There was no mail yesterday, but I was able to re-read your letter of 11 October and laugh again at your “drawings” of pumpkins, weeping willows – and what not! You do have artistic inclinations – don’t you, dear? Your “Autumn Leaves” was really something to see – and had you not labeled it – I know I would have recognized it nevertheless! Keep up the good work – but every now and then, darling, interject a little drawing – without a title, just to see if I can figure it out. O.K.?

And Halloween is tomorrow night and no celebration here that I know of – except for the booming of guns and the noise of Ack-Ack. It’s a long time since I went to a Halloween party – anyway; – probably the last one I attended in recent years – was when I was Resident at the Salem Hospital. I guess that was the last year I was really happy – until I met you, sweetheart, because the next year I was out in practice – and fundamentally, I was always lonesome. And when I finally did meet someone whom I wanted to marry – I had to go overseas – dammit. Oh well – we won’t go into that now. Anyway – we’ll probably open a bottle or two, play some cards – and call it a party.

I was really glad to read that you had finally received 51 pictures. I believe that was all I had. In an earlier letter you had mentioned that one letter containing some photos – had been opened and some removed. I’m glad you were wrong, darling. As for taking close-up pictures – well – I don’t like to pose – and a good many of the pictures I sent you were taken on the spur of the moment and without a chance to project myself into them. If the sun ever gets out and stays out long enough, dear, I’ll take a few – but the chances of having them developed seem pretty slim at this point. By the way did you get one Post-card size picture of my driver and me that was taken by a Belgian civilian? I’m glad you got the “Wilma” snaps – and incidentally – the “Wilma” is now off the jeep – but not for long. An Army Order just out insists that all names on jeeps – be of standard block letters; ours were old English and many others were of all sorts and sizes. As soon as it dries out – we’ll have your name re-painted, dear, in block letters – 3 inches high – and then I’ll have to take another picture, of course. The German Volkswagen has been turned into a trailer and we drag it with the jeep. The motor gave out and anyway it wasn’t too safe in this territory.

Well – here I go again closing up for the morning sweetheart – and reminding you once again that I love you more and more strongly – if that’s possible – darling. Someday I’ll be able to show you how much instead of just writing it – and only then will you really know how much. So – so long for now, dear, love to the folks –

All my everlasting love –
Greg.

* TIDBIT *

about "Crime Doctor's Strangest Case"


What follows was copied directly from Internet Movie Database Site's review of "Crime Doctor's Strangest Case" (1943), written by Dorian Tenore-Bartilucci and posted 24 March 2007. Maybe seeing this movie brought on Greg's "short dream interludes".

Dapper yet avuncular Warner Baxter, one of cinema's earliest Oscar winners, is put through his paces in this second entry in Columbia Pictures' "Crime Doctor" series, based on the hit radio series.

Warner Baxter in the Crime Doctor series

Baxter plays the title character, a.k.a. Dr. Ordway, an amnesiac who learned (in the first "Crime Doctor" movie) he used to be a gang leader. Since then, Dr. Ordway's been using his knowledge of the criminal mind to become an in-demand psychiatrist. Baxter's testimony had helped acquit Jimmy Trotter (a young Lloyd Bridges), who'd been accused of poisoning his previous employer.

Lloyd Bridges, 1943

Jimmy finds that even when you're proved innocent, it's tough to find a job when you've got "Accused Poisoner" on your resume. But does Jimmy follow Dr. Ordway's advice and get a fresh start with his new wife in a new town? No-o-o-o! Jimmy grabs the first job he can get, as assistant to a Realtor, only to find himself jobless and the prime suspect when the Realtor dies of poisoning. Dr. Ordway gets involved, and before you can say "It's old Mr. Withers! He wanted to get the land cheap!", he's up to his fedora in wily blondes disguised as brunette cooks, family skullduggery, a would-be George Gershwin who's careless with matches (played for comic relief by Jerome Cowan), and an anxious middle-aged lady (Virginia Brissac) whose freaky dreams may be the key to the mystery.

Jerome Cowan, 1943
Virginia Brissac, 1942

That dream sequence is surprisingly intense, with imagery of silhouetted girls plummeting off cliffs and hanging from nooses; it's almost like a welcome bit of comic relief when a sinister male silhouette holding a suitcase labeled "POISON" shows up! "The Crime Doctor's Strangest Case" may not be "The Maltese Falcon," but Baxter is an ingratiating lead and the flick is an entertaining way to spend 68 minutes.
After multiple twists and turns and surprise connections among the players, Dr. Ordway solved the crime.

This note of trivia was presented on the same page of the imdb site:
In this movie, Gloria Dickson was married to the man (played by Jerome Cowan) who was habitually starting fires with carelessly discarded smoking materials.

Gloria Dickson, 1943

There are two scenes in the movie, including the final scene, in which he started such fires. When describing living with him, her character commented, "I'm practically cremated." Ironically, just two short years after this movie was released, Gloria was killed at the age of 28 in a house fire suspected to have been caused by a carelessly discarded cigarette.

29 October, 2011

29 October 1944

438th AAA AW BN
APO 230 % Postmaster, N.Y.
Germany
29 October, 1944        1000
Sunday Morning

My dearest darling –

Well – at last the weather has broken and the way I figure it, Germany owes us about forty good sunny days. Yesterday p.m. it really turned out fine and what a foot-ball day it would have been! They don’t re-broadcast the games over here – although in the evening we got some of the half-time scores. I really stayed up late last night, darling, but hell, it was Saturday night! But I was in bed at 2245; that’s at least an hour later than my usual retiring time.

We were over at the Colonel’s place again last night and had a swell game of Bridge. I was on the winning side again and I’m really enjoying Bridge more than I do Poker. We sipped Cognac – all during the game – some of the stuff I got in a recent trip. When we finished four rubbers, we sat around and talked and reminisced. The Colonel was in the class of ’33 at the Point and I guess he saw all the Harvard-Army games I’ve seen. We had a lot of fun ribbing each other.

There wasn’t any mail yesterday and the whole p.m. was a very dull one. I got off my usual Saturday report and worked a bit on our monthly reports which are due in a couple of days. That reminds me – another pay day coming up soon – and I guess I’ll send the bulk of it home. But there now exists a bare possibility of spending some money; they are beginning to give 48 hour passes to Paris and a couple of other cities – but it’s on a rotation system and I don’t suppose my turn will come up unless we’re in for a very long war.

28 October, 2011

28 October 1944

438th AAA AW BN
APO 230 % Postmaster, N.Y.
Germany
28 October, 1944        1000

My dearest darling –

Good morning! Another Saturday a.m. – a football Saturday and no game to see over here. The Berkshires must be pretty this week-end, probably the last week before the leaves really start to fall. There are some small hills near here – as a matter of fact – this little village is situated in a valley, but the surrounding foliage is not very pretty, probably due to the fact that there’s been so much rain and so little sunshine. I imagine there must be a good deal of excitement in the States right now – with the election so close. I don’t remember whether or not I’ve told you already, but I voted some time ago – for Roosevelt, Saltonstall and Cahill. I hope Roosevelt is re-elected, although I’m beginning to get a little doubtful about it with the recent Republican trend. Roosevelt’s name is magic over here – and he is feared and respected by the Germans. His defeat would give Goebbels – whom I heard speak last night on the radio, and all the Germans – a tremendous lift – and I hope that doesn’t happen. I listen to William Joyce – the famous Lord Haw-Haw – most every night. He’s quite a speaker; keen, caustic and very often to the point. He keeps hammering away at the British and the fact that no matter who wins the war, Britain has lost it. He may be right. Every program ends with the statement – as a reminder – that we should always keep in mind that the Jews and Roosevelt started the war. I’ll be very happy on the day that I turn on to his broadcast and find him missing. He used to broadcast over Calais 1, Calais 2, Radio Paris, Radio Luxembourg; now it is Bremen, Cologne and Berlin.

27 October, 2011

27 October 1944

 
438th AAA AW BN
APO 230 % Postmaster, N.Y.
Germany
27 October, 1944         1100

Dearest sweetheart –

Friday morning and a quiet day I hope. When I say “quiet”, dear, I refer to my own inactivity and not to noise. The latter is something that doesn’t bother me very much any more – and darling, you’ll be able to scold the children as often as you want and I won’t even look up.

Yesterday I wrote you in the morning, as I remember it; in the early p.m. I took care of a couple of routine details and then I got to thinking that my detachment ought to have a radio – one of its own. I’ve been using mine here – but there are times when the officers live in one house and the medical detachment in another. Time hangs heavy for them too. In my various wanderings – getting my own radio fixed, I came across a Signal Company Corporal who had a re-built G-I radio. He wouldn’t sell it but was willing to swap it for a pistol. I was tempted to give him the one I just got – but it’s too good a souvenir, so instead I chased around yesterday and bought one for $30.00 and got the radio for it. The officers and med. detachment then pitched in and it came to only $3.00 per man. We have a swell radio and now we have almost continuous music, day and night.

Greg's radios may have looked like these WWII-era Zenith short and long wavers

26 October, 2011

26 October 1944

438th AAA AW BN
APO 230 % Postmaster, N.Y.
Germany
26 October, 1944       1300
My dearest fiancée –

Today – so far at any rate – has been quiet and peaceful and so here I am right after lunch, and ready to write to you. Yesterday i.e. – last night was a good one – we got some mail and I got 4 swell letters from you, a nice one from Bea, one from the Salem Hospital and one from Lawrence. Lawrence’s birthday is today, by the way – but I’ll bet he’s not celebrating; 3 days in camp – a soldier is pretty green. He wrote me that he had renewed my subscription to Time Magazine, sent me a box of Phillies De Luxe, for which he apologized, and asked me if I needed anything else. That was pretty thoughtful of him – considering he had enough of his own affairs to look after.

I enjoyed Bea’s letter too and the way she describes her household is really funny to read. I think we’ll enjoy visiting with them; don’t you dear?

25 October, 2011

25 October 1944

438th AAA AW BN
APO 230 % Postmaster, N.Y.
Germany
25 October, 1944         1600

My dearest sweetheart –

As A. Sheridan said when she was accused of shirking on her Pacific Army Tour, “I should have stayed in bed.” All I’m trying to say, dear, is that I’ve been on the ‘go’ again all day today and have just come in. When I say I’ve been busy, don’t get me wrong, darling; most of the time it has nothing to do with sickness or injuries. It was so in today’s case and yesterday’s, too. You remember I wrote you yesterday that I was working on a deal to get some wine for the officers. Well it worked out – so well in fact, that I went back again today and got 3 times as much. All this is legitimate, by the way, darling – but it is not always apparent where the stuff is procurable. I happened to find out. Not only that but I managed to get hold of a dandy pistol – which I want only as a souvenir, of course. In this war – medical officers in this theater are not authorized pistols, although if you get one – it is permissible to carry one. Actually the Geneva Convention laid down the rule that medical officers may carry a pistol for self defense – in case of a crazed, armed soldier. I’m not worrying much about that and probably won’t wear this one, but they are hard to get and some of the line officers have paid as much as $50.00 for a pistol. Mine was given to me as a gift in return for a favor.

24 October, 2011

24 October 1944

438th AAA AW BN
APO 230 % Postmaster, N.Y.
Germany
24 October, 1944       1100

My dearest darling –

If I don’t write too boldly, the sun which is out now, may stay out. It’s been a long time now since we’ve seen the sun – and it certainly is a welcome sight.

I wrote you late yesterday p.m. dear, and even later than that I received a couple of your letters – and they were good to see, believe me. In the evening, I played Bridge – and won 28 marks – and this morning I have already seen a movie. Sick call was very light and I went over to see the show because I’ll be too busy this afternoon to see it. When we have a movie – it is usually put on twice – early morning and early afternoon. The one this morning was “The Adventures of Mark Twain”. It was good – although the last half seemed to drag somewhat. This p.m. I’m going on a little mission – the result of which may be twenty or twenty-five bottles of some nice Rhine wine. That’s as much as I can tell you now, darling. If I get it, I’ll write you about it in the morning.

23 October, 2011

23 October 1944

No letter today. Just this:

* TIDBIT *

about "Noblesse Oblige"

This article appeared in Time Magazine on 23 October 1944.
Blue blood has flowed as red from Britain's war wounds as any other kind of blood. For Britain's peers understand one prerequisite for those who would rule a democratic empire—they know how to die for it. Of all England's foreign wars, World War I took the heaviest toll of blue blood. World War II's toll may be even heavier.

Latest aristocratic casualty is Lord Stuart, youthful heir to the Earldom of Castle Stuart, who died on the Italian front. Two years ago his elder, brother was killed in North Africa. Other aristocrats who have died in World War II:H.R.H. the Duke of Kent, 39, brother of King George VI. He was killed in an airplane crash, flying to Iceland (1942).

The Duke of Wellington, 31, sixth of his line, who was also a Netherlands prince, a Spanish grandee, a Portuguese count. He was killed in Italy last year. To a mess steward who doubted his identity, the Duke once explained: "It's the same name so many pubs have."

The Marquess of Hartington, 26, eldest son & heir of the tenth Duke of Devonshire, owner of a 20,000-acre estate, husband (for four months) of ex-Ambassador Joseph Kennedy's daughter, Kathleen. He was killed in France a month ago.

22 October, 2011

22 October 1944

438th AAA AW BN
APO 230 % Postmaster, N.Y.
Germany
22 October, 1944       0915

My dearest sweetheart –

I just noticed that I wrote the 22nd of October; I suppose I wrote the 21st on yesterday’s letter, but I’ll be darned if I can remember. This month has gone by in the most amazing fashion.

This may have to be a shortie today, but I’d rather do that than write a V-mail. I’m starting this early in the hope that before something turns up, I’ll be able to finish it. Offhand I’d say this has been one of the worst weeks of weather and of waiting since back in Normandy when we were sitting near Carentan and waiting for a break in the rain. It was cloudy or foggy or rainy for about 3½ weeks and we just weren’t getting anywhere. And then the weather cleared and we were off. We were in that famous breakthrough at St. Lo on July 25th – as you may have guessed – and in the grand drive across France. That was really a rat-race! And now – here we are again.

21 October, 2011

21 October 1944

438th AAA AW BN
APO 230 % Postmaster, N.Y.
Germany
21 October, 1944       1000
Good Morning – Sweetheart!

I can’t remember everything I’ve written the past few days, but what I can recall is that I’ve been on the gloomy side of the fence, dear, – and that shouldn’t be. So today – despite the fact that sick call is still on, and people are coming in and out getting pills – I’m writing in the morning when my spirits are generally better. And I do feel better today, darling, and not because the weather has changed, because it hasn’t, damn it! If Hitler had a secret weapon, I’m sure it was the weather, because it sure has favored the enemy.

Say – I meant to tell you something – Remember when I wrote you about staying at the Prince’s place in Belgium? Well one of our officers – from Davenport, Iowa – wrote his folks about it too; his mother told a neighbor, the neighbor told a reporter, the reporter put the story, with elaborations, into the Davenport papers and before it was all over – the Chicago Daily news had a story on it. I saw the clipping – and darned if it didn’t read well. That was a good spot though and one I’ll remember. You should have a picture of the place by now.

20 October, 2011

20 October 1944

438th AAA AW BN
APO 230 % Postmaster, N.Y.
Germany
20 October, 1944        1600

My darling –

No mail again today but I still have a couple of more of yours as yet unanswered. There have been some fellows in the outfit who have received mail within 10 days – recently. My best time in Germany has been 12 days.

Last night was another night of card playing – poker, and this time I won 100 marks. You must think, darling, as you read my letters telling you that I play cards night after night – that I’m living a pretty unproductive existence. I agree, but what in the world else can a fellow do? I read whatever Medical journals I receive – I still subscribe to the New England Journal of Medicine – but on the whole I must admit that my time is being wasted. Before I was in the Army I didn’t play cards more often than about once in two or three months – and now it seems as if we’re at it about 5 nights out of 7. It gets me down when I stop to think about it – but I don’t know what to do about it. Unfortunately – the days are mostly the same. This afternoon, for example, I saw another movie – “First Comes Courage” with B. Ahearne and Merle Oberon, another one of those damned Norway Nazi-occupied country pictures. But we take them as they come. The whole thing is such a paradox at times – sitting in an old barn watching a movie while the noise outside is sometimes deafening, as it was this afternoon. And in a picture like today’s – the situation is even crazier with explosions and shootings going on on the screen.

19 October, 2011

19 October 1944

438th AAA AW BN
APO 230 % Postmaster, N.Y.
Germany
19 October, 1944         1415
Dearest sweetheart –

Talk about your dark, dull and dreary days – we’re having one today! I figure each bad day as setting us back about 1 week. But that is hardly a professional estimate, dear, merely my own. Rather than hang around this a.m. I thought I’d get out in the rain and see a few of the gun sections. Gee – it sure can get muddy around here – and I was in it most of the morning. I got back a little after 1300 and I’m now where it’s warm and dry. How long it will be before I’m disturbed I don’t know, but here I am anyway.

Last night after I finished writing you dear, I had a couple of things to take care of and then the dentist and I played a couple of games of Casino with two of our sergeants. We then listened to the news – at this stage my radio is playing well by the way – and then to bed again. That radio – incidentally – has been a problem ever since I got it, and although it cost $80.00 when I bought it, I figure it is now worth about $150.00 – what with all the new G.I. parts, consultations with radio men in 2 Divisions, 3 Signal companies, and 2 Army radio repair men. That’s the truth, dear; for one reason or another the damned thing would play for awhile and then stop; then it would play with one battery and not with another of the same voltage and so on. I think it’s all solved now and it’s playing fine. One thing we can get is batteries – all sizes and strengths.

18 October, 2011

18 October 1944

438th AAA AW BN
APO 230 % Postmaster, N.Y.
Germany
18 October, 1944        1735
My dearest darling –

I’ve just finished supper and I’m back at our Dispensary. I intended writing you earlier today, dear, but six or seven things turned up and I was busy until now. A short while ago we received some mail and I got my share from you, sweetheart, so I’m feeling excellently right now.

Yesterday was a blue day, on the whole – the weather being in part to blame. We had a movie in the p.m. We don’t have them in the evening any longer because it’s not considered safe. It was another Class B – a Falcon picture but not too good, “Falcon and the Coed”. In the evening I played bridge at the Colonel’s place, the other two men playing were our S-2 – Stan Sargent, from Portsmouth, N.H. by the way, and our Exec Major Bolick, from Virginia. They both play very well – and I believe that my continued play with better players has helped me a great deal. Anyway I ended up winning 12 marks and played some swell hands. Two hands were particularly interesting, dear: one – I bid game, 4 hearts and made 7; I don’t think I underbid though because my opponents had two aces and a king to go with them and I had no short suit. Had I bid a small or big slam – the Aces would have beaten me. As it was, the Ace was not led and they never got a chance to use them; the other hand – I bid one heart and went down 5 tricks – if you can imagine it. All in all – it helped pass the evening, and as I’ve already written – today I was so busy, I didn’t have a chance to feel blue.

17 October, 2011

17 October 1944

V-MAIL

438th AAA AW BN
APO 230 % Postmaster, N.Y.
Germany
17 October, 1944        1015
Dearest Sweetheart –

Eleven months ago today I was sailing out of N.Y. harbor. At this time we were 15 minutes out but the Statue of Liberty was still plainly visible. We had boarded the ship the night before under complete black-out – no one allowed on deck until we were one hour out to sea – but I was out when we took off.

16 October, 2011

16 October 1944

438th AAA AW BN
APO 230 % Postmaster, N.Y.
Germany
16 October, 1944         1000
Dearest darling Wilma –

I am a good business man, regardless of what Arthur had to say. I was good enough to become engaged to you with the Atlantic Ocean separating us and that’s a heck of a lot better than some fellows could do who were near you! And furthermore, I never leave undone what I’ve started and you can tell him that also.

You perhaps gather by now, darling that I received one of your October letters. I did – last night – that written October 2nd. That’s my most recent one from you and in it you make reference to some pictures I sent you. I was glad to read that, dear, because I had been wondering the past few days whether or not they had gotten by the censors. Apparently some did, anyway. I didn’t think they were so swell, by the way, that they needed a magnifying glass to see them – but I hope it helps you see what you want, sweetheart.

15 October, 2011

15 October 1944

438thAAA AW BN
APO 230 % Postmaster, N.Y.
Germany
15 October, 1944        1245
My dearest sweetheart –

It’s early Sunday afternoon and my work is done, but what is there to do now, dear? The days have really been beautiful most of this past week, and it has been a pleasure to see our fighters and medium bombers overhead giving the Germans a little bit of hell just a couple of miles away. I suppose I’ll get over it someday, but right now it’s reflex to look up to the sky to identify the sound of a motor; it is not only reflex, it is also safer.

B-17s in formation on a bomb run

14 October, 2011

14 October 1944

438th AAA AW BN
APO 230 % Postmaster, N.Y.
Germany
14 October, 1944        1315

My dearest darling Wilma –

It is nice and quiet here now and perhaps I can get this letter written with a minimum of interruptions. I’m in the house that the Medics have for themselves, sitting in the kitchen, by the stove. I sent the boys off to get showers and I’m alone except for the CQ (charge of quarters). This little house, by the way dear, is quite cute and completely furnished. It was abandoned – as were so many others, when the Americans came. There’s enough room here to sleep my eight Hq. men upstairs – of course they don’t all have beds – and we run our dispensary and supply room downstairs. The kitchen serves as a general hang-out evenings and the stove is going constantly.

Last night we had a bit of a feed, songfest etc. When it gets dark here – around 1830 – we get off the streets because it isn’t safe. So the boys all hang around. We found some potatoes in the cellar and so one of the boys made French Fries somewhere around 2030. Another fellow produced some cans of sardines he had received in the mail, we had butter – given me by one of my ‘patients’ – and we had a good time. Later I dug out my clarinet which I hadn’t tried playing since Normandy, and as I squeaked, the boys sang. We covered every song from “I’m in love with you – Honey” – to “Someone’s in the Kitchen with Dinah” – which may not impress you as being a very wide span – but we covered quite a few in between.

13 October, 2011

13 October 1944


438th AAA AW BN

APO 230 % Postmaster, N.Y.
Germany
13 October, 1944        1600
My darling,

I’ve just come from seeing a movie. I missed seeing it the other day, “A Guy named Joe”, but it was put on again this p.m. and this time I was able to make it. I don’t know what kind of write-up it had, but I liked it.


I felt sentimental enough to like anything that had to do with a boy and a girl – and love. Some of the words – as is often the case – just hit home – and when the picture was over, I found myself missing you terribly and wanting your love. The feeling is one I don’t have to describe because you’ve told me how you feel, darling. It’s times like this though – that I damn the Germans, damn the war – and everything that is keeping us apart. I want so much to be home, loving you and being with you always; I want to be able to look at you, see you smile and hear you laugh; I want to be able to kiss you, drive away in the car, turn right around and go back and kiss you again. I want to be free, sweetheart, free to live like a human being again, to live rather than exist; to feel each day rather than count it. I want you, dear – and I won’t be happy until I have you! The only consolation I get is in the fact that our love is a real one – and time is proving that. Eleven months of separation has not dimmed you from my mind’s eye even a fraction, darling; how I would love to see you in the ‘real’ once more, to feel my heart pound as I approached your door and waited for you to answer, to hold you tightly against me over and over again and to be able to say something to you, rather than write it – and hear your answer. Job had nothing on two people in love with each other when it comes to patience!

Excuse the mood, darling. The picture got me into it. So long as I know you are there, loving me and waiting for me, I can stick this damned thing out – and then, sweetheart, we will live again!

Today, Friday the 13th, is no more hazardous a day than most days are for a soldier, I guess – and so we’re taking this one in stride. This morning I was fairly busy with routine duties and then I went to the movie. This evening I believe I’ll read. Last night we played cards for awhile and then I went to bed early. One of the things I did accomplish this morning was to mail the clock. It was carefully boxed by one of my men – and if that’s all that is necessary, it ought to reach you in good condition. The big problem is whether or not it gets by the censor. It has at least two of those to pass – and either one of them can confiscate it. That’s the way they work – although it doesn’t sound reasonable. A good many items have been sent out – and no more has been heard about them. I’ll be plenty angry if that occurs in this case – but that’s as far as it will go, I guess. Anyway, darling, I’ll be able to tell you about it and who knows – I might even draw you a picture of it.

I got your letter telling me of your fasting and praying. Thank you, sweetheart, and I, for one, certainly hope that what you prayed for, comes true – and soon. I didn’t fast – although there was a time when I did. I guess the Lord will forgive me this time.

All for now, dear, I’ve got to get ready to eat. We have our evening meal at 1700 to give the kitchen a chance to clean up before it gets too dark outside. Hope to hear from you later – mail is not in yet for today. Meanwhile – my love to the folks, darling, and

My deepest and sincerest love to you
Greg


* TIDBIT *

about "A Guy Named Joe"


From Wikipedia:

Pete Sandidge (Spencer Tracy) is the reckless pilot of a B-25 Mitchell bomber flying out of England during World War II. He is in love with Dorinda Durston (Irene Dunne), a civilian pilot ferrying planes across the Atlantic. "Nails" Kilpatrick (James Gleason), Pete's commanding officer, first transfers Pete and his crew to a base in Scotland and then offers him a transfer back to America to be a flying instructor. Dorinda has a feeling that Pete's "number is up" and begs him to accept. Pete agrees, but goes out on one last mission with his best friend Al Yackey (Ward Bond) to check out a German aircraft carrier. Wounded after an attack by an enemy fighter, he has his crew bail out before bombing the ship and crashing into the sea.

Pete then finds himself walking in clouds, where he first recognizes an old friend, Dick Rumney (Barry Nelson). Suddenly becoming ill-at-ease after remembering that Dick went down with his aircraft in a fiery crash, Pete says, "either I'm dead or I'm crazy." Dick answers, "You're not crazy." Dick ushers Pete to a meeting with "The General" (Lionel Barrymore) who gives him an assignment. He is to be sent back to Earth, where a year has elapsed, to pass on his experience and knowledge to dilettante Ted Randall (Van Johnson), first in flight school, then as a P-38 Lightning fighter pilot in the south Pacific. Ted's commanding officer turns out to be Al Yackey.

The situation becomes complicated when Ted meets the still-grieving Dorinda. Al encourages Dorinda to give the young pilot a chance. The pair gradually fall in love; Ted proposes to her and she accepts, much to Pete's jealous dismay.

When Dorinda finds out from Al that Ted has been given an extremely dangerous assignment to destroy the largest Japanese ammunition dump in the Pacific, she steals his aircraft. Pete guides her in completing the mission and returning to the base to Ted's embrace. Pete accepts what must be and walks away, his job done.

12 October, 2011

12 Octboer 1944

438th AAA AW BN
APO 230 % Postmaster, N.Y.
Germany
12 October, 1944        1415
Dearest sweetheart,

I guess I can’t be so very old if I can still remember when the 12th of October was a Holiday. But nowadays it’s not much of a day at home or here; maybe the boys in Italy have the day off.

Last night, dear, I wrote you a V-mail and explained to you that we were in a new location. Things are a bit more settled today and we’re relaxing again. As a matter of fact, darling, I’ve had a pretty busy practice since last night – a private practice This is a small village we’re in and without a doctor. The M.D. from the next town has fled with the Nazis, so these people are rather hard put. All of them, of course, state they were not Nazis, hated Hitler and that they’re glad the Germans have lost the war; all of them are liars – as far as I’m concerned, and as someone or other said recently, I’m not forgetting the fact that it was not Hitler who gave us the Germans, but the Germans who gave us Hitler.

Apparently our military government is being very careful, because all soldiers have been warned that they will be fined if they are found even speaking to a Civilian. As far as I’m concerned – when someone is sick I take care of him or her, regardless. I certainly have little love for these people who – if they weren’t strong Nazis – at least passively acquiesced to Hitler and his policy.

I saw one man with a bad strep throat whose wife was afraid he had diphtheria – there having been some in the vicinity. He doesn’t have it and is already a bit better after one night’s Sulfathiazol etc.; another call was to see a girl of 14 and she has LaGrippe or the flu; and finally I saw a woman of 47 who is having her menopause and suffers from a migraine-like headache. I think I have something to help her.

Say, that reminds me, I never did get around to expressing my views on night-gowns, night-shirts – and all points South. The fact is I have never thought very much about the subject, but I see now that I’ll have to one of these days. I rather think, darling, that I’ll be kind of easy to persuade, whatever your final decision is.

In your letter of the 26th September, dear, you tell me of reading all my letters from 1 June to the present and ending up with a crying jag. I’m sorry, Sweetheart, for that – but a good cry now and then never did any woman any harm. I remember writing you often – not to worry. I haven’t written that recently, if I can remember correctly – because I realize it’s natural to worry anyway, and that if I write for you not to worry, you’ll think it’s because there is really something to worry about. I’m glad about one thing, though, in my letters; I got you to admit you got a complete picture of my activities and thoughts. That’s what I’ve been trying to do always, sweetheart. And you don’t have to wonder whether you are always in my mind; you are, darling – as no one or nothing ever has been before. And if I ever needed anything to keep me going and keep me from complaining about all this – I found that in you, dear. Your love and mine for you has made all the difference in the world; I can’t tell you that too often –

I was glad to read that Stan had called to say ‘Hello’ and hadn’t lost his vim and vigor. Your letter was written on the 26th and he was to be married on the 30th – so I assume this was a last minute visit home to take care of final arrangements. I got a real laugh out of your story about the E.T.O. ribbon and that reminds me, I was going to mention it at the dinner table this noon and forgot. From what I read of the soldiers’ mail when I censor letters, I can believe it; some of our men just love to color up things for the folks at home and this must have been such a case. That particular ribbon, by the way, was the object of many jokes while we were in England. The English for one thing, couldn’t see why the Americans got a ribbon for just coming to England. It did seem funny, but the fact is – we wear the same ribbon for the entire European campaign. Mine – as well as thousands of others – will be garnished with a couple of stars, anyway, each star representing a campaign. I imagine there will be one for the Battle of France and one for the Battle of Germany. In the last war they gave such stars for battles like the one at Château-Thierry or the Meuse-Argonne, or the Battle of the Marne – etc. Incidentally I passed all through the above-mentioned areas in one day. And before I forget it – the enclosed are a few post-cards I collected since landing in France. We are now allowed to send them home, minus writing or dates – and so long as they don’t have a particular sequence. But save them, darling, and I’ll tell you a little story about each – after the war. I almost forgot – the only name we use for the ETO ribbon is Spam-Ribbon – the name originating in England.

Well, my sweetheart, I’ll stop now. Keep on loving me and wanting me – as I do you – and regardless of all forecasts and discouraging notes from any source – we’ll just keep on this way, knowing that some day we’re bound to have each other the way we’ve wanted it for so long. And this will be but a memory – to push aside and recall only when we reminisce about the way we grew to love each other even though we were apart. My love to the folks, sweetheart and

My everlasting love
Greg.

* TIDBIT *

about Hahn, Germany

Hahn - View from the East in 2007

According to Wikipedia, Hahn is a municipality belonging to a kind of collective – in the Rhein-Hunsrück-Kreis District in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany. It belongs to the Verbandsgemeinde of Kirchberg, whose seat is in the town of Kirchberg. At the end of 2010, 165 people lived in Hahn's 2 square miles. The municipality lies on a ridge in the part of the Hunsrück facing the Moselle River on the watershed between the Nahe River and the Moselle, and also on the Hunsrückhöhenstraße (“Hunsrück Heights Road”), a scenic road built originally as a military road on Hermann Göring’s orders, across the Hunsrück mountain range.

The Moselle Valley separates
the Eifel (farther) and Hunsrück (closer) Ranges

Within Hahn’s municipal limits are traces of Roman and Frankish settlements. References to Hahn date back to 1120. Beginning in 1794 it lay under French rule. In 1815 it was assigned to the Kingdom of Prussia at the Congress of Vienna. Since 1946, it has been part of the then newly founded state of Rhineland-Palatinate. After the Second World War, a United States Air Force NATO air base was built on parts of the municipal area. This was converted for civil aviation in 1993 after the United States withdrew from the base. Although it is 75 miles from Frankfurt, it is nonetheless called "Frankfurt-Hahn Airport," causing consternation to many.

The building worthiest of note in Hahn is the little village church. Saint Anthony’s Simultaneous Church, with a tower that looks rather like a defensive structure, dates to some time between 1350 and 1370. The nave and quire date from 1470. Two bronze bells come from 1489, according to the inscription (one bell was recast because it had cracked). In a 1508 document, the church is called a “rectorate at Hahn”. Since 17 May 1689 the church has been a "simultaneous church," used by both Catholics and Evangelicals. Each faith owns half of the church, and separate services are held at predetermined times. St. Anthony's is the second oldest simultaneous church in the Evangelical Church in the Rhineland.

Saint Anthony's Simultaneous Church in 2007
Hahn, Germany

Simultaneous churches were built in many municipalities in the Palatinate. So many of them were later abolished in the course of industrialization between 1880 and 1910 that the smaller denomination in each case built its own church. In the little village of Hahn, however, there was no need. On the information display board before the church, there is a reference to the Gospel According to John: Damit sie alle eins seien – “That they all may be one” (John 17:21).

11 October, 2011

11 October 1944

V-MAIL


438th AAA AW BN
APO 230 % Postmaster, N.Y.
Germany
11 October, 1944         1900
Hello Sweetheart –

The close of another day and my first opportunity to write you a few lines. Excuse the V-mail, dear, but if not this, I wouldn’t have the chance to write you anything today.

I spent most of the a.m. getting my radio fixed, darling, and at last I struck a signal company that had the time to look my set over. It now works fine again. I hope it stays so for awhile. After the war, darling, I’ll just throw away any radio we have that goes bad. No fooling around with them.

10 October, 2011

10 October 1944

438th AAA AW BN
APO 230 % Postmaster, N.Y.
Germany
10 October, 1944          1800
Dearest darling –

I’ve been away most of today running around trying to get my second radio fixed. I seemed to be jinxed with radios now – after having had such good luck with my first one which lasted for 2 years and which took a good deal of punishment. The present one is of course second hand and it’s starting to break down. I’ve had several parts replaced already and it should play, but damn it to hell – a fellow worked on it all day today and the blanged thing just wouldn’t manufacture any music. Well tomorrow is another day and I’ll try another signal outfit.

I came back, darling, to find no mail again. I guess mail will be slow from here in – what with Christmas packages coming through soon. I hope my mail to you is beginning to come through better, dear.

Tonight – if they can get the movie projector working – we may have a show – Spencer Tracy in “A Guy Named Joe”. I remember reading something about it some time ago, but I can’t recall whether it had a good reports or not.

09 October, 2011

09 October 1944

438th AAA AW BN
APO 230 % Postmaster, N.Y.
Germany
9 October, 1944            1730

My dearest sweetheart –

Well – this is the first time in a day and a half that I’ve had to sit me down quietly and write you a letter. I’ve been “on-the-go” ever since yesterday a.m., the chief reason being that I went up into Holland yesterday. It was a quasi-official trip, but not really. The real purpose I suppose was that I wanted to see something of the Netherlands – so I did. And darling – the land is really low – and flat; and the canals and waterways are amazing. There are different levels of waters and one canal runs into another from side channels and you could swear the highest one would soon run dry, but apparently that does not occur.

And the people are blond to a great extent. The children are – about 100%, it seemed. The language – although spelled differently, sounds a great deal like a slovenly German. I was able to make myself understood fairly well – better than I was able to understand. I got a couple of snapshots of a few places, dear. I’m getting to see a bit of Europe – all in all – what with France, Belgium, Germany and Holland. Now I’m ready to come back, darling.

08 October, 2011

08 October 1944

V-MAIL

438th AAA AW BN
APO 230 % Postmaster, N.Y.
Germany
8 October, 1944         

Dearest sweetheart –

Excuse the V-mail, but I have to make a quick get-a-way this morning and I have a couple of things to do first. I’m going on a little trip and will tell you about it when I get back.

Spent the greatest part of last night playing poker with the boys – and lost. Darling if being unlucky in cards means being lucky in love – you are going to be very much loved, because I just don’t win at cards. I guess you won’t have to worry too much about my gambling. I’ve never liked it and have played cards in the Army merely to kill time. Gosh how I’d love to spend a Sunday with you again! Saw Pete yesterday for a short time and we reminisced about last year this time when we used to head for Holyoke and a swell week-end. Gee – it was wonderful – as I think back to it. We’ll have to go back up there someday, darling, and spend a week-end at the Hotel. What say? Pete, by the way, sends his best regards to you and Mary. All for now, sweetheart, except to tell you I love you – oh – so very much!! Love to the folks and so long for now.
My deepest love,
Greg

07 October, 2011

07 October 1944

438th AAA AW BN
APO 230 % Postmaster, N.Y.
Germany
7 October, 1944        1135

Hello sweetheart!

It’s almost time for lunch but this is the first opportunity I’ve had this morning to sit down for a few minutes of relaxation. I’ll get started on writing this and finish after lunch.

Yesterday nothing much happened – just another Friday. The evenings have been a little bit enlivened the past few days due to the World Series. The house we’re living in has a swell radio and it picks up short wave stations well. I got the broadcast night before last and didn’t know what station I had. I felt kind of homesick, darling, when I heard the announcer say that the broadcast was coming thru over WBOS, Boston. I had never heard of that station.

We’ve run a baseball pool every day – high scorer in any half inning – wins 18 bucks – or I should say 180 marks; we contribute 10 marks each. I’ve had the 1st of the 4th, 1st of the 3rd and last of the 4th – but haven’t even come close so far, dear. Sorry, darling, have to run along now; See you later ––
CLICK TO ENLARGE

06 October, 2011

06 October 1944

438th AAA AW BN
APO 230 % Postmaster, N.Y.
Germany
6 October, 1944         1030
Dearest sweetheart –

Another day another dollar and a day nearer my return. I got 2 more letters from you – the latest written the 24th. I also heard from Lieutenant Alexander. I get a kick out of that – knowing I have a brother who is an officer in this man’s army. He wrote his letter before graduation – so I don’t know yet how that came off. He knew his orders, however, and as far as they went – they’re not bad. I’m anxious for him to remain on the East coast and away from the Pacific. He’ll be able to get home of a week-end now and then and that will make Mother A feel a little it better.

So you were a stay-out late, huh! I don’t blame Mother B for waiting up for you. Hell – I can’t remember staying up so late since I don’t know when – oh yes; just the other night, dear, when we had a brawl. Other than that – only when enemy planes keep us up. Anyway – I’m glad you had a good time at Verna’s I don’t know Harold Shapiro – although I had heard him mentioned at Irv’s.

05 October, 2011

05 October 1944

438th AAA AW BN
APO 230 % Postmaster, N.Y.
Germany
5 October, 1944          0915

Good Morning, Sweetheart!

I can remember when writing you at 0900 was almost routine i.e. the time – and now that hour is an unusual one for me. I’d rather write you, dear, in the a.m. than later on because usually I’m less confused and haven’t been tearing around. I should have kept quiet – 2 patients just walked in and I have just returned to this after a 20 minutes lapse; and here I go again – 3 more –

Well, darling, it is now 1015 and I didn’t get very far. Nothing very important – just a lot of dressings. One case is a little more interesting than the others – a fellow who fell on his ear a couple of days ago and tore it almost in half. I repaired it but I’m watching him closely because cartilage heals very poorly and his laceration went right thru the cartilage. They’re all gone now and all I have to contend with now, I hope , is the office ‘help’ – which consists at present of 2 other officers and 7 enlisted men.

Last night, darling, I tried to break up the more or less persistent little blue streak I’ve had recently. Six of us apparently felt the same way because we dug up an old liquor supply and really tied one on by ourselves. We stayed up until all hours – singing, yelling etc. – and I’m glad to report – that in that respect, anyway – dear, I am not aging. Also – the next morning I am apparently unaffected – because although a couple of the boys couldn’t eat their breakfast – I have no after effects that I’m aware of.

04 October, 2011

04 October, 1944

Letterhead

438th AAA AW BN
APO 230 % Postmaster, N.Y.
Germany
4 October, 1944          1000
My darling –

Well yesterday evening we got some mail and was it welcome! In the first place I got three letters from you – 15, 19, 22nd Sept; I got one from Florence – she’s darned nice about writing and I really enjoy hearing from her; a V-mail from my brother telling me he was practically a Lieutenant; and surprise – a 5 page V-mail from Stan. It all made good reading but yours were the ones I wanted most of all.

Stan’s letter was one of apology for not having written before. He explained how busy he has been and told me about Betty, saying she was the most wonderful girl he had ever met. He sent his regards to you and said that he hadn’t called anyone when he came home of a week-end because he got in Saturday p.m. and left Sunday p.m. Apparently he had not yet received my letter and he is no longer living at a hotel but has an apartment. I’ll write him and wish him luck again.

Lawrence’s letter made me a bit sad. His commission is coming thru, but I hate to think of him as a soldier, and I’m afraid of where his orders may send him. I fear he’ll eventually end up in the Pacific and that’s not good.

Your remarks about what Verna had to say about my letter to her interested me. I hardly remember referring to what Irv was doing, but apparently I did, and I’m glad they both liked it, whatever it was. I owe her a letter, by the way, and will answer her one of these days. I’ve been wondering when you’d find out I had passed thru Belgium. You seemed surprised – and I suppose that’s natural. But I don’t see how you thought I was in Southern France when you believed I was with the Third Army. We headed due East after passing to the South of Paris and then swung North. We weren’t in Belgium very long as you must know by now.

As for post-war adjustment – and the returning soldier, I suppose it will be tough on some. Somehow I feel that I will be able to take up where I left off – darling, and I don’t believe that you’ll have any difficulty whatsoever as a “have-not” in adjusting yourself to me who has witnessed some of the rotten things of war. It will harden many, no doubt, but as I wrote from way back in Normandy, I don’t believe I will have changed much. Where a doctor changes most as a person is about in his last year of medical school and as an intern. He first sees then, I believe, how cheap life can be – and war is just a multiplication of death – if you leave ideology out of the discussion. No, I’m sure we won’t have any difficulty with adjustments, darling. I think you’ll find me, God willing, the same sort of person I was when I left – and if that’s all right with you – everything will be fine, I know.

I had almost forgotten about the clock, dear, until you mentioned it in your letter. To tell the truth I hardly remember what it looks like it’s been so long since I saw it. I had it boxed up by one of my boys. All I can tell you, dear, is that it’s a French clock – Paris manufacture, I believe, and mantlepiece style. As I remember it, it must be about 12 or 15 inches long, about 10 inches high and about 6 inches thick. It is rather ornate – as are most French clocks – and why I got it was because of where it came from; it belonged to a Rothschild. I don’t see how I can ever get it home, but I’ll continue to hold on to it.

Oh – one more thing before stopping, dear. I didn’t want you or your Dad to bother about a radio. If my Dad can’t get one – it’s O.K. – and don’t trouble yourself about it. Promise!

I’ll stop now and get a couple of things done. We expect a visitor this p.m. – but visitors don’t bother us as much as they used to. After all – what can they do to us if they don’t like something? Love to the folks darling; it was swell hearing from you – and for now, so long, and

My everlasting love,
Greg.

P.S. Enclosed is a badge worn by Nazis before Hitler was in power and therefore of questionable historic value.
L.
G.

* TIDBIT *

about Raeren and
the German-Speaking Community of Belgium

The city of Raeren, where Greg was living in early October of 1944, is known far beyond its borders for pottery – and not only because of the annual Euregio-Ceramics Market in September. The district of Raeren has been a center for the production and export of ceramic stoneware since the 15th century. The geography is perfect for potting, a rich loamy earth, with plenty of clear running water and enough woodland to fire the kilns. In the 16th and 17th centuries up to 300 kilns were running at full output, but by the 19th century, Raeren's ceramics industry was beginning to die out.

Workshop of
Jan Emens Mennicken
dated 1591

15th Century
Stone Bottles



Workshop of
Jan Emens Mennicken
dated 1595

Today, archaeologists still stumble on regular ceramic-cemeteries, where earlier generations dumped their defective or damaged production. Some of the finest examples from this period can be found at the pottery museum, (Töpfereimuseum), in the moated Raeren Castle, built in the 14th century.

Raeren Castle

Another of Raeren's treasures is its old railway station, the home of the "Vennbahn". This single-track railway was built at the end of the 19th century to link Prussia with Lorraine. The rail was also strategically important in the war years for moving troops to and from the barracks and military range at Elsenborn in Bütgenbach. Until 2002 the Vennbahn still rocked tourists gently up through the High Fen.

Old Trains in Raeren

Raeren is part of the German-Speaking Community of Belgium. A few days after Hitler’s troops had invaded Belgium, the Führer adopted a decree to annex the regions of Eupen and Malmedy and several sections of the territory that once belonged to the region called "Alt-Belgien" to the Reich. After the liberation of the region by the Allied forces, it was put under Belgian control again. The execution of a treaty between Belgium and Germany in September 1956 put an end to the questions concerning the border that had remained unanswered. Both countries agreed on a border adjustment, a cultural agreement and war indemnity payment. These bilateral decisions made way for reconciliation and cooperation, which was very advantageous for Eupen and Sankt Vith.

The German-Speaking Community today is a political independent entity, a small state within the Belgian federal system. The German-speaking Community has about 75,000 citizens, for the most part German-speakers. Its territory, about 854 square kilometers, corresponds to that of the German language region. It is composed of nine municipalities. German is used in administrative, educational and court matters. The French-speakers receive special language rights called “facilities” i.e. they get administrative documents in French.

Coat of Arms

The territory consists of two distinct parts: in the North, the "Eupener Land" (district of Eupen) is small, but heavily populated and in the South, the Belgian Eifel (district of St Vith).


The German-speaking Community is perfectly linked to an international road network; you can reach Eupen in one hour’s drive from the congested areas of Brussels, Cologne and Düsseldorf. It is also connected to the Euregio Meuse-Rhine territory and to the cross-border cooperation area Saar-Lor-Lux. Many persons working in Germany or in Luxembourg live in the German-speaking Community.

The people of the Community identify themselves with the German language and are linked to German culture through the media and daily cross-border contacts with Germany. They enjoy the direct neighborliness of the Walloons and the Flemish and share their rather unworried lifestyle. They are loyal Belgians, mainly in favor of the Monarchy; they feel respected by the State since German has been recognized as one of three administrative and constitutional languages. The political recognition of the German-speaking Community has contributed to the fact that the German-speaking population considers itself as an integral part of the Belgian State. Most of the inhabitants speak High German in administration, schools, churches and social fields. However, like before, dialects still play an important role in the social relationships. There is a French-speaking population minority mainly in the municipalities of Kelmis, Lontzen and Eupen. However, on account of the Belgian territorial principle, no survey has been conducted into the ratio of French- and German-speakers.

03 October, 2011

03 October 1944

V-MAIL


438th AAA AW BN
APO 230 % Postmaster, N.Y.
Germany
3 October, 1944          1045
Hello darling!

Well a year ago I was sweating out one alert after the other and we were managing to see each other as often as possible. Those were days I’ll never forget and I’m sure we’ll talk them over many times in the future. I’ll never forget my reactions, either when I sailed out of New York harbor. I wondered what would ever happen to us and I was so afraid I’d lose you, dear. I’m so happy I didn’t, although I still feel you were very brave in being willing to wait for me. But it can’t be much longer, darling – and one of these days I’ll be taking you to me and holding you so tight a quick glance would make one think we were welded.

Kind of busy today, dear, with a couple of things to do this p.m. If I get through in time I may be able to see a U.S.O. show which is visiting our battalion today. That will be the first one since England – and although they’re usually not very high class – what the heck – after all, this is Germany. Will stop for now, dear, my love to the folks – and remember – you have
All my love –
Greg.


* TIDBIT *

about The History of the U.S.O.


02 October, 2011

02 October 1944


438th AAA AW BN

APO 230 % Postmaster, N.Y.
Germany
2 October, 1944        1600
My darling –

This should be a V-mail, dear, because I’ve got a good many things to do – but I know you don’t like V-mails and so I’m writing this. If I do use the short form, sweetheart, you can always be sure it was the only way out for that particular day.

The weather finally cleared this morning and the sun sure is welcome. It has been about two weeks since we last had a decent day. I had to travel about a bit this morning and part of this afternoon to investigate a couple of injured soldiers. On the way back I managed to get a warm shower – although the temperature was not conducive towards enjoying it – i.e. the temperature outside. These quartermaster showers – if I haven’t told you before, dear, are rigged up in large tents – but they are open at either end and at the sides.
Yesterday – early evening we got some mail again and I got a letter from you – dated 13 September and one from Eleanor of the same date. Eleanor’s letter was in response to one of mine asking about my checking account balance. Every now and then I wonder what it is because it keeps changing because of insurance coming due, monthly payments for shares etc. I think my present balance is too high and I’ll write Eleanor to deposit some of it in my saving account where I get some interest. One thing I’m glad about, darling, and that is that I had the foresight some time ago to get started on some life insurance even though I didn’t have a wife or family. I will have both one of these days, darling, and insurance is a good thing to have. Before I even met you, dear, I converted my army insurance – which is term insurance and expires on discharge – to regular insurance – 20 payment life, for a higher fee of course – but worth it, I believe.

I was interested in your remarks about “Paris Underground”. I haven’t read it – of course – but I sure have had first hand information about it. Life was certainly hazardous for the workers, from what I gathered, but in my opinion, the Belgian underground, less heard of, was far more bold and efficient. By the way, as I wrote you some time ago, the only book I’ve read recently was “Roughly Speaking”, by Louise Randall Peirson.



If you haven’t gotten to it as yet I certainly recommend that you do. It’s one of the funniest yet human books I’ve read in a long long while and I’m sure you’d enjoy it, dear. I’ve got two more books from Special Service – one is “My Son, My Son” – which is a couple of years old but which I failed to read. I believe it was good. The other is the famous little book “The Education of Hyman Kaplan”. I’ll get started on one of them tonite if we don’t play bridge. We had another swell game last nite; the Colonel and I were partners and we trimmed our opponents. I played better than usual – but managed to foul up a small slam hand which I bid correctly but played poorly. We went down two.

I got a chuckle out of your reference to Shirley Bernstein. Red hair now! If you want to know what I think, I’ll tell you. She’s wacky! At best she is only shining in the glow of her brother’s success – and that is flimsy glory.

And what do you mean by feeling wonderful about “being independent for awhile” anyway? Darling you’ll be independent as my wife, too – don’t forget that – even if I have to go house to house asking if anyone’s sick!

All for now Sweetheart, I really must go – but not before giving you one big long hard ethereal kiss and all the love that it imparts. My best to the folks – and to you –


My deepest love and affection
Greg.

* TIDBIT *

about The End of the Warsaw Uprising

From the "Warsaw Life" web site comes this:

In the Summer of 1944 the tides of war were turning against the Germans. The Americans and British had landed in Normandy and the Red Army had bulldozed through the Eastern front, and was marching on Warsaw. Ever since the beginning of the Nazi occupation the Poles had been preparing for a full-scale underground offensive, and on 1st August 1944 the order was finally given by General 'Bor' Komorowski for the forces of the Armia Krajowa (AK) to rise up and claim Warsaw back from the Nazis, who had held the city for over four years.

A force of 50,000 soldiers, some trained and equipped - others volunteers (including women and children), began an assault on key strategical positions throughout the city. The Home Army won several bloody skirmishes in those first few days, and the Polish national flag flew over the Old Town. The mood was triumphant and, in those areas secured by the insurgents, the Varsovians held concerts, poetry readings and other entertainments as they celebrated their newly earned freedom. It was to be the city's last taste of freedom for forty-four years.

The Polish attack planned to displace the German troops stationed in the city, was planned only to hold the town for several days until the Russians arrived with support. Far from coming to the rescue of the doomed Poles, Stalin halted the Russian advance, claiming that the resistance was illegal and the AK were 'fascists'. The mighty Red Army did little more than watch the struggle from across the Vistula as the Germans regained control of the city. What's more, kindly 'Uncle Joe' deliberately obstructed the rest of the Allies from dispatching aid to the insurgents - refusing even to allow the Americans and the Brits to use precious airbases that were now under Soviet control. Upon hearing the news of the Uprising, Himmler was so furious that he decreed that the whole city and its population should be destroyed as an example to the rest of Europe.

Simply put, Stalin hated the Poles, considering them his arch-enemy. He was still harboring resentment over the Soviet-Polish War in which the Bolsheviks were humiliated and the Poles were able to claim all disputed territories from the Russians, including Lwow (now Lviv, in the Ukraine) and Wilno (now Vilnius, in Lithuania) - the same struggle in which he was almost court-martialled for his inadequacies a military commander. Now that the Germans were doing such a good job of destroying his bitter enemies, Stalin certainly didn't want to stop them. Moreover, with the last of Poland's home-based soldiers and leaders destroyed, he would be free to work his will over the ruined country.

Thus, what was supposed to be a 2-3 day coup turned into a brutal and bloody 2 month struggle for the Home Army. The heavily reinforced Germans struck back at the insurgents with the full force of their firepower: tanks, rocket launchers, and air raids were just some of the hazards the ill-equipped Poles had to contend with. The city became a giant war zone and civilians were not spared. Just a few days after the Uprising began the Germans sent a chilling message to the insurgents, executing at least 30,000 citizens in what is now referred to as the Wola massacre. They rounded up people from the houses in the districts which they still controlled and shot them - women, children and the elderly were not spared. This inhumane genocide was intended to crush the Poles spirit for the fight. It didn't work. However, another diabolical tactic - using female civilians as human shields for German tanks - proved effective, stacking the odds further against the beleaguered Home Army.

Unable to compete with the reinforced German troops, the insurgents were forced into hiding, often into the sewers, from where they continued to orchestrate and co-ordinate attacks. The Germans were in control of water and power supplies whereas the Home Army were desperately lacking supplies of any kind - including food and ammunition. Every animal in the city had been eaten, including the vermin. As the battle for the city raged on, with Varsovians dying at a rate of 2,000 a day, it became only a matter of time before the rebels were forced to capitulate. They finally did so on October 2nd, 63 days after the Uprising began.

Out of the sewers...

In the two month struggle 18,000 Home Army soldiers died and 12,000 were wounded with the survivors either sent to German POW camps or managing to go into hiding. A staggering 250,000 civilians were killed during the Uprising. Meanwhile the Germans suffered 10,000 fatalities with nearly as many again wounded. After his triumph, Hitler ordered special units to be brought in to systematically detonate any building of the remotest importance to Polish culture. The city was effectively destroyed block by block, and when the Russians finally crossed the Vistula to liberate the city, they inherited only ruins.


[Click to enlarge]

Warsaw in Ruins

With Warsaw out of the way, the Soviets faced little organized opposition in establishing a communist government in Poland. Later, in the years directly following the War, as the Poles tried to rebuild their shattered country under Communist leadership, it was forbidden to talk of the brave soldiers of the Uprising. The movement was denounced as illegal and every effort was made to slander those involved. Keen to behead Polish society of its heroes and intelligentsia Stalin sent many of the surviving members of the AK to Siberia for lengthy spells of hard labor, whilst he executed those whom he perceived as particularly dangerous.

Here is a 46 minute video on the Warsaw Uprising of 1944. It is worth the time it takes to watch.