24 June, 2012

24 June 1945

438th AAA AW BN
APO 513 % Postmaster, N.Y.
24 June, 1945      0900
My dearest sweetheart –

Well – mail finally came through yesterday and I got 3 letters from you, darling – as of 4, 8, 13 June – the one of the 8th being V-mail. I also heard from Lawrence – on the coast and from Eleanor. It was wonderful to feel in touch again with you and home – and yet your letters left me a bit sad. Darling – I know my asking you about marriage and talking more of the future must have indicated to you I was coming home shortly. But – as you write – I never said definitely that I was coming home – and that’s what you should be going by. My freedom in talking about us and the future was because the war was over, the dangers considerably less and I now felt and feel that if I ask you to marry me – the chances are immeasurably better that I’ll be able to get home to get married.

By now, of course, you’ve received more of my letters and you know our job and all the uncertainty that is associated with it. As I wrote the other day – about the only thing that seems reasonably certain – right now anyway, is that I probably won’t go to the Pacific.

So you can see why I’m sad, sweetheart – because I can see the set-back you’ll receive when you realize that I’m not on my way home yet. I blame it all on the newspapers and radio – and the same unhappiness and disappointment is being registered a thousand-fold. There isn’t an officer or enlisted man in this outfit that received mail yesterday that didn’t experience the same sadness I did. Most of the girls had left or were getting ready to leave their jobs; one of my own men in the medics told me his wife had just had her hair waxed, bought a new dress and wouldn’t leave the house for fear she’d miss the telephone call. That’s terrible, dear – and all because people were told the First Army was coming home. Hell – none of the First Army that did the fighting is home yet. The 1st Division is in Czechoslovakia, the 4th and 9th are occupational troops – as is the 3rd Armored – and those divisions are or were the backbone of the First Army – from D-Day on. The only troops getting home right now are the greenest – and it’s understandable, too. But – now there’s not a damned thing to do about it but wait.

I don’t know how you’ll take all this, darling, after having keyed up your hopes – but I know you’ll understand that we have nothing to say about it. As a matter of fact I can be thankful I haven’t been snatched up by a ‘hot’ outfit on its way to the CBI via Marseilles. There are MC’s who have had that happen to them.

Meanwhile, dear, we’re moving to Nancy tomorrow. We’ve already got back word from the advance party that finding quarters has been quite a problem – which means – they’ll probably be poor. But as MP’s in town we ought to get first crack at anything that becomes vacant. I’m not worrying much about it.

Last nite – Saturday – full moon and all – we went to the Opera in town – seven of us, including the Colonel, the Chaplain and the S-2, S-3, and a couple of line officers. The company put on Pagliacci and Covalleni’s Rusticana. It was Class B – but the music was good and a welcome relief from the movies. The opera house here is small but attractive.

And that’s all for now, sweetheart. I love you terribly and that’s why I’m hurt when I think that I’ve had to disappoint you about my return home. I’m doing the best I can to contain myself over my own disappointment.

So long for awhile, dear; love to the folks and
All my everlasting love


about the Opera of Reims

Opera of Reims

This information has come largely from the Google translation of The Opera at Reims website.

In 1866, following a public competition, the architect Alphonse Gosset, of Reims, won first prize for the construction of a new theater. The "Grand Théâtre" in Reims was opened in 1873. In September of 1914, when the World War I bombing began, the theater's dome and large chandelier collapsed. Fire completed the destruction and by the end of the war, only the facade remained standing.

Facade of the Opera of Reims after WWI

Facade of the Opera of Reims today

Opera of Reims facade detail

After World War I architects François Maille and Louis Sollier reconstructed the opera house, completing the work in 1931. While respected the work of Alphonse Gosset by retaining the facade he built, but behind it they totally restructured the interior in the Art Deco style. The performance hall is typical of Italian theaters, with horseshoe seating.

Opera of Reims horseshoe seating

Paintings by Rousseau-Decelle representing "The theatre arts being born of the feast of Bacchus" adorn the ceiling of the theatre. There are four decorative scenes: Bacchus and his Train, The Dionysian Spring, The Dionysian Fall and The Origins of the Theater.The architect's sister, Marcelle Sollier, created the bas reliefs in the double stairwell of the main staircase, in the same style as those of Antoine Bourdelle in Paris. Edgar Brandt executed the ironwork in the wells of the small staircases and the 7.5 meter diameter "shield" chandelier in the theater. The glasswork of the chandelier was completed by Jacques Simon in 1929.

Opera of Reims chandelier and ceiling art

An acoustic device is hidden in the relief patterns that run all around the room. This recurring motif, engraved on the back of wooden armchairs, has become part of the place.

Opera of Reims acoustic panels

The four degree slope of the seating area echoes the four degree slope of the pit, aiding the visibility of spectators as well as improving acoustics. A rehearsal room equipped with a large platform with the same 4 degree slope of is in the attic that forms the dome over the light shield.

Opera of Reims four degree slope

In 1997, after the closure of the Chanzy fire station, which adjoins the Grand Théâtre, the latter was closed for safety reasons and became the subject of a restoration campaign. Architects Henri Dumont, Bertrand Nivelle and Guignard were in charge of operations. The interior decor was modified slightly while retaining its original style. In 2010, the building was renamed Opera of Reims. The theater continues to be the city's largest and most important theater and opera venue.

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