01 June, 2012

01 June 1945

438th AAA AW BN
APO 339 % Postmaster, N.Y.
1 June, 1945      0815
Leipzig

My darling fiancée –

Eternal recurrence – the same old drab lined paper that I used so long. Well – it turns out to be the old reliable when all else gives out. The was is over, we don’t have many new CP’s – and you can readily see, dear, the new sources of supply have been cut off.

Well here it is June – a perfect month for marriage, and I’m stuck just a few thousand miles away from you – that’s all. I guess any month in the calendar is a good one now, though. Boy we were really sweating it out a year ago. I don’t suppose I was able to write you very much about my reactions – but we knew that D-Day was imminent and that we would be with 7th Corps. We were being alerted and de-alerted twice a day – but all our stuff was packed, excess equipment turned in and everyone was ready to leave on one hour’s notice.

Our original date of landing was to be D+4, when Corps Artillery was to land – and whom we were supposed to protect. But things got jammed on the beaches and it was changed to D+6. However – we lost two days in Southampton due to congestion and another day in the Channel and we landed D+9 – as I remember it. The actual landing was mild – but the crossing was hot. There were submarine scares all night, one false gas attack, and nothing false about the bombs the Luftwaffe dropped the night before we landed – when we were anchored 2 or 3 hundred yards off the beach. Some of the Liberty ships were hit – we were on one of the Libertys, too – but nothing touched us. We finally transferred to barges and the tide was right for us to land about 1400 that next afternoon. I didn’t even get my feet wet. But that’s one experience and one year that I’m glad are behind me. It was no fun.

It rained almost all of yesterday and the only thing to break the monotony was the movies in the morning. We watched “Music for Millions” – and although it was a little sad for an all soldier audience – most of us enjoyed it. I liked the music and would gladly have listed to more. Pictures like that must be hard for the public to take – with so many casualty reports drifting in.

We got a new bunch of Special Service books in yesterday and five of them were Lillian Smith’s “Strange Fruit”. I believe that was one that was banned in Boston – so I don’t suppose you’ve read it. I’ve started it and it looks interesting.

No mail from you, sweetheart, for a couple of days – no, just one day; well it seems like a couple of days. I really miss you, darling, when I don’t hear – but I can’t complain. As you say – it surely will be wonderful when we don’t have to write. An old letter of yours asked me to remember not to be away from you in the Spring – and I’ve made a mental note of that, dear. I can’t see why I should want to be away from you at any time for the year, for that matter. I’ve been away for a long enough time already. I was thinking such pleasant thoughts – yesterday – about getting married, getting my office going, finding a place to live and getting settled in Salem, you and I, taking our place in community life. We’ve got some exciting, livable times to look forward to, sweetheart – and it’s going to be wonderful – I know – for we love each other – and that’s such a nice way to start. And right now – I have to stop. One of the boys has just been up to call me. So long for awhile, sweetheart, love to the folks – and

All my everlasting love,
Greg

* TIDBIT *

about "Music for Millions"

Here is the New York Times review of "Music for Millions" written by Bosley Crowther and published on 22 December 1944.
Much of the same tender feeling and melodic felicity which Producer Joe Pasternak and Director Henry Koster got into their early Deanna Durbin films some years ago has been recaptured by those two gentlemen, now reunited on the Metro lot, in their new picture, "Music for Millions," which came to the Capitol yesterday. Only some of the old zing is missing, and some new things have been added, too. "Music for Millions" is a hybrid creation of the Pasternak-Koster team.

Oh, yes, they have a gentle, youthful story in this new musical romance dipped in tears and they have a couple of youngsters to play it, though not sing it, in a tender, wistful style. It is the story of a war bride, played most sweetly by June Allyson, who scrapes a 'cello in a symphony band while her husband is away in the Pacific, and suffers torments because she is going to have a baby and doesn't hear from him. And it is the story of her little sister, played by tiny Margaret O'Brien, who tries to comfort her in her anxiety, and of several girl musicians who likewise try to cheer.

Messrs. Pasternak and Koster also bring in the sort of musical atmosphere that distinguished their previous pictures, with José Iturbi as the artist in the piece. Mr. Iturbi, supposedly conducting the orchestra, leads that symphonic group in the playing of several exquisite numbers by Dvorak, Grieg, Tchaikovsky and kindred souls. And he does one lovely piano solo of Debussy's "Claire de Lune."

But there the similarity to their former tender films stops and considerable extraneous matter rather carelessly begins. Most confusing is the aimless and sporadic use that has been made of the talents of Jimmy Durante, one of the grandest and most lovable people alive. Mr. Durante appears in this picture as a manager for Mr. Iturbi, and he is allowed to do two dandy numbers, "Umbriago" and "Toscanini, Iturbi and Me." In both of these numbers Mr. Durante individually stops the show. But his genial relation to the story, which might have been so graciously applied, is never revealed in full proportion and his character remains haphazard and obscure.

The same might be said of the character which little Miss O'Brien plays. She is a wistful and generally appealing youngster, but her function in the film remains obscure—except as nudger of emotion in a couple of heavily sentimental scenes.

It appears the chief fault with this picture is that its makers were never quite sure whether they were giving the show to Miss Allyson, Miss O'Brien, Mr. Iturbi or to our boy James. And, as a consequence, it drifts this and that way for something onto two hours. Otherwise, it makes up for shortcomings with its gorgeous music and individual scenes.

Here is the trailer for Music for Millions...

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