24 May, 2012

24 May, 1945

438th AAA AW BN
APO 230 % Postmaster, N.Y.
24 May, 1945      0825
Leipzig, Germany

My dearest sweetheart –

Now please don’t ask me where I get all the stationery, dear. I do admit, though, that I’ve had quite a variety – and it will be interesting to me to see the different types of paper on which I’ve written to you. I suspect that the ugly, lined paper is still in the lead. But it makes no difference about the paper – does it, dear? The fact is I love you and it makes no difference to me at all where I write it.

Yesterday was a rather interesting day, darling. There’s a church in town – Catholic (rare in this part of Germany) and built in 1496. More interesting is the fact that John Sebastian Bach played the organ in this church and composed some of his great works. Anyway – someone arranged a concert for Army personnel and I went along. It was very relaxing. The music was all that of the Church.

After that I went to have a camera repaired. It’s one I picked up somewhere back in Germany – but there was something wrong with the frame. The lens is excellent – a 4.5 – and in good condition. It has all the gadgets that usually confuse me and I shall probably get much worse pictures with it than I have with my $4.50 camera which you merely have to click. Well – I got it fixed and now I’m going to try and have a leather case with strap made for it so I can sling it around my neck. If I get home – as most boys will, with my telescopic glasses hanging on one side of me, the camera on the other, radio in one hand and the Lord knows what else in the other – how in the world am I going to be able to rush up to you and give you the hugging and kissing that I aim to give when once I rest my hungry eyes on you, sweetheart? I really have problems.

To finish the day – we went to the movies in the early evening and saw “Molly and Me” with Fields and Wooley. No one was in the mood for such a picture and the sound track was out of synchronization – so we didn’t enjoy. We played Bridge afterwards. – the Colonel, the Chaplain, one of our Warrant Officers and I. The Chappie and I are partners very often and last nite we really trimmed them. The Colonel makes many psychic bids and does fairly well – but when he’s off the beam – they really go down. We bid and made 2 small slams – arriving at one by Convention and the other – not. The latter-method I find more satisfying – when it comes out all right.

I got mail from you, darling, 10 May, Florence B – same date – and Irv Fine. Irv repeated Verna’s invitation and I sure would love to accept – but – as the dummy in a recent Ventroloquist act we saw the other nite – kept saying, “What the hell!”

I smiled at your account of Stanley Berns etc. If he loves the girl, O.K. – but if he’s sucked in by the wealth – the more fool he! One doesn’t have to look far – because that Groper girl didn’t do so well herself. She married Ray Fine and he certainly didn’t love her. He was just one big playboy and I know she was unhappy. No, dear – money is something that doesn’t hold up with wear. I think love does – and I know that you and I have that and that’s why I’m happy. It’s the only way to start, too. I’ll be able to earn enough money to let us enjoy life – and isn’t that what we want, dear?

And there I’ll leave you for now, sweetheart. Sick-call must have started and I must go down. So long for awhile, darling, love to the folks – and

All my everlasting love –
Greg

* TIDBIT *

about Psychic Bridge Bids

Dorothy Rice Sims
Matriarch of Psychic Bidding

The Laws of Duplicate Bridge define a psychic call as “A deliberate and gross misstatement of honor strength or suit length.” The key word is “gross.” A psychic bid is an intentionally misleading call or bluff which departs from accepted partnership agreements or is otherwise designed to confuse the opponents. Usually, a psyche is made on a very weak hand in an effort to convince the opponents they have less combined strength than they really do.

Generally speaking, a player has psyched when his/her strength falls under 50 percent of partnership strength agreements, or the suit length is several cards less than expected. On rare occasion, though, a player purposely underbids his hand hoping the opponents will overestimate their values, or double him in a later round of bidding. Of course, since trust and confidence are cornerstones of partnership bidding, psychic bidding can be disruptive to both sides. For mainline Bridge bidders, the psychic bidder seems to throw caution into the wind, walking where angels fear to tread. Many players have bitter-sweet experiences with psyches, be it by an unscrupulous opponent, cunning partner, or self-inflicted from within.

Psyches are expressly allowed in contract bridge, with a few conditions. One, a player cannot use conventional psyches as part of his bidding system; his partner must be totally oblivious to the fact that a psyche has been made. Two, a player cannot psyche more than once in a blue moon. Excessive psyching is frowned upon in social bridge, and disallowed in tournament play. Not only do psyche bids have the tendency to irritate opponents, they can lead to unspoken bidding agreements between the psycher and his partner. For example, if you frequently open 1 Spade with only four spades, when your agreement with your partner is that you promise five, a regular partner will eventually recognize your tendencies, whereas different opponents never will. Consequently, a regular partner can adjust his bidding accordingly, but opponents will always incorrectly assume you hold five spades. Such understandings between you and a regular partner are unethical.

Frivolous psyches are especially bothersome and should never occur. These psychs are usually inspired by malicious mischief or a lack of interest in a game that is going poorly. They can disrupt a game by causing an abnormal result. Unsportsmanlike psychs are equally bad. It is totally against the spirit of the game to throw a psychic call at a contending pair toward the end of the game because you want to create some action or because you’re having a game so bad that one more poor result won’t make any difference. It may make no difference to you, but it could change the winner of the event.

Psychic bidding dates back to 1931 by Dorothy Rice Sims. She is widely credited with inventing the psychic bid, but probably initiated only the popular name for it. Bridge was in its heyday during this era, as psychic bidding swept the Bridge tournament circuit. All this was followed by millions of avid Bridge readers who followed the psychic pros in newspaper columns. To fuel the fire, in 1932 Dorothy published her work, titled “Psychic Bidding.” Even the legendary Ely Culbertson, who professed to be opposed to the psych, occasionally found its strategic use in tournament play.

For a comprehensive book on the psyche, read “The Art of Psychic Bidding,” by Julian Pottage and Peter Burrows.

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