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.
I didn’t find any mail from you, dear, only 1 letter from Barney Weinstein who is expecting a 30 Leave back to the States from Pearl Harbor. He’s been away for a long time and certainly has it coming to him. That reminds me – thanks for mailing the cigars from the folks. I’ll thank them myself, dear, later. I’ll say this, darling, – after all I’ve got to be as gallant as you –– if I could see you dear, I wouldn’t smoke the damn things! I’ll never forget the Sunday at Holyoke when I wanted to smoke a cigar and you didn’t want me to; and I made you stop smoking cigarettes as long as you wouldn’t let me smoke what I wanted. Finally you gave in – wanting to smoke very badly, – but I was stubborn. You wouldn’t have to work so hard on me now, dear. I don’t see how I’d have time to smoke one anyway. But – meanwhile, thanks!
What’s this about planning our children carefully? No children of ours are going to have fiances or fiancées laughing at them – don’t worry about that, but hell, dear, let’s have a couple at random – shall I say, and a couple planned. And that would be something – your being able to pack yourself up and shipping yourself over here. That’s one package I wouldn’t have to share!
It does seem odd to write we’ve known each other 14 mos. and that we’ve been apart for 10 of them. It’s sort of paradoxical and yet I do feel that I know you all of the 14 months and not just a fraction of them. I certainly know you well enough to reveal myself to you in all my moods – and you apparently do likewise; we’re engaged, we love each other, I’ve met and known your folks and you – mine; I think of you and you alone as the most important part of my future and an hour of a day doesn’t go by but what I associate something with you. I don’t go to bed of a night without thinking my last thoughts – of you. Darling that all adds up to our knowing each other and loving each other for 14 months – and that’s sound. That is why, too, I don’t ever have the slightest qualms about our being strange to each other. I don’t believe we’ll have to get to know each other. We’re getting to know a lot about one another every day – and sweetheart – the more I get to know you – the more I love you. Yes – I’m sure it will go something like this “Here I am again, darling, when do we get married?” and you’d better plan an early wedding, that’s all I say.
Must stop now, dear, dash a note off to Mother A and then do a couple of records. Hope to hear from you tomorrow. My love to the folks and so long for now, darling.
The First 2,000,000
Russia tried to buy 2,000,000 artificial legs on the American market last week. The small U.S. factories, already far behind on domestic orders, could not help out — none of them produces more than 5,000 artificial limbs a year. The Soviets, who must step up their own small output, are already studying American methods. For 2,000,000 false legs was only a starting estimate; after three and a half years of continuous fighting, the number of war cripples in Russia is unknown.
Down to the Minimum
The U.S. is down to the last thin line of motorcars essential to the maintenance of its civilian economy. At the rate of 4,000 a day, the nation's much-enduring cars (average age 6.3 years) are rolling off the roads into the junk piles. By year's end, the Office of Defense Transportation predicts, only 23,750,000 privately owned passenger cars will be operating versus 29,507,000 in 1941.
In reserve are only some 650,000 used cars held by dealers or in storage, and less than 20,000 new 1942 models not yet released. The margin of safety in the U.S. car supply is as thin as the tires on many of the cars still rolling.
Passenger tire production for this year will be between 15,000,000 and 18,000,000 — far short of the scheduled 22,000,000, the estimated minimum tire requirements for civilian cars. Mechanics available to keep cars in repair have fallen some 44,000 short of the needed 250,000.
Gloomiest note: even with the best of luck, next year the attrition rate will rise to 2,000,000 cars.
Racket on the Alleys
A new black market burgeoned in Chicago. The commodity: bowling-alley pin boys, who are the key cog in the industry, and are at a premium because of the manpower shortage. To beat this bottleneck, some alley proprietors are hijacking the "pin boys" (usually older men) working for other alleys.
Hijackers lure experienced pin boys away from alleys by offering them 9¢ or 10¢ a scorecard line instead of the ceiling wage of 8¢. The teen-agers still available can be bought by the mere offer of a hamburger or a hot dog, and will then work in a new alley for the ceiling wage. But proprietors are reluctant even to waste a hamburger on the young boys, because they are undependable. One desperate proprietor offered a group of high-school boys 15¢ a line so he could hold a tournament—then had to call the tournament off when they all walked out at the last minute.
Army & Navy - Persistent Poles
Someone in the Army Service Forces, which thinks of everything, thought that U.S. invasion troops would need a lot of telephone poles. Two years ago troops had scarcely landed on North Africa when ships and trucks arrived laden with poles from the U.S., poles from Argentina, native poles — 8,000 in assorted sizes from 20 to 40 feet.
Signal Corps Lieut. John Johnson, of Atlanta, Ga., and others took a baffled look at what A.S.F. had sent, and hurried on. Combat units merely unroll their telephone wires along the ground or string them through handy trees. They have no time to put up poles.
But Service Forces officers had their orders and they carried them out in the old Army way. As the invasion moved across Algeria, they moved the poles. Trucks carried the supply (which included crossarms, insulators, copper wiring) some 400 miles over the mountains to Constantine, on to Mateur, on to Bizerte.
That winter was cold, and soldiers finally found a use for the poles. By the time the Army began jumping into Sicily and up through Italy, some 5,000 poles had disappeared into G.I. bonfires and cookstoves. But last week Lieut. Johnson groaned again. Onto his beach in southern France a ship was unloading the remaining 2,800 poles. "I'm afraid when the war is over and I am back with my family," Johnson declared, "someone is going to deliver those things to my backyard."
Art from Paris
For four years the art circles of three continents have wondered what was happening to the artists in occupied Paris. What had become of the famed Paris School of modern painting branded "decadent" by the Nazis? Was there a new, underground art movement? Were there many new paintings by such modern masters as Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse? Last week the curtain was beginning to lift. French-made color reproductions of new work by Matisse, Picasso, Bonard and some younger men had been flown across the Atlantic. The portfolios (called Editions du Chene) established two points: 1) the older artists had done considerable work, had not changed markedly in style; 2) the younger painters had followed modern traditions.
Matisse had been painting tanned, voluptuous young girls such as his Dancer in Blue Dress. His Woman in Veil was top-form and more familiar in subject: bold, exuberant painting in sensuous flesh pink decorated with gay scrolls and dots.
Picasso still experimented with his own brand of cubism, and distorted figure painting. Woman in Blue Waist showed a seated figureagainst soft green. Woman in Armchair added to Picasso's cubism a pinwheel-and-tinsel fantasy.
Producer of the portfolios is 25-year-old Maurice Girodias, son of an Englishman who published advance-guard writers in between-wars Paris. Girodias got most of his paper from the black market, foiled German authorities by simply leaving town when his work appeared.