13 August, 2012

13 August 1945

438th AAA AW BN
APO 513 % Postmaster, N.Y.
13 August, 1945

My dearest sweetheart –

The French call it “somber lundi” instead of “blue” – but anyway, I just don’t feel like that this morning. It’s clear out and for some reason or other, darling, I’m all pepped up. Of course it could be because I’m so much in love with you and I know that one of these days you’re going to me mine alone! That’s a good enough reason for me – and I’m not going to look for another. Sweetheart – I do love you so – and I miss you – but not in the blue way I used to, dear. It’s probably because of the good news we’re getting these days. I miss your presence, your contact, you – but I know I’m going to have you with me and that feeling helps tremendously. You’ve been patient, darling – very patient – and don’t think for a moment that I’m not aware how difficult it has been for you. And I know, too, how easy it could have been for you to date from time to time. I could hardly have objected, either. But I love you all the more for your will-power and your determination to wait for me and me alone. But you’re going to have an awfully attentive and steady guy to date you once a certain fellow gets home. I’ll give you no more hint than that dear.

I’ve told you from time to time, dear, about the French, their customs, etc. I don’t think I’ve told you about the hair – I mean the color. The French women are crazy. Of course – a peroxide blonde is nothing – and even women of very respectable families bleach their hair. But when they start dying it different colors – well that’s too much. I’ve meant to tell you about it before and forgot – until this morning when I saw a new color – pink! Yes – a nice rosy pink and it looked weird. Up to now I’ve seen purple hair, steel blue, light blue and green! And some women streak their hair in combination colors – like blond – with a two inch path of green – or purple – etc. It’s absolutely bizarre.

Well yesterday we rested all day. The binge Saturday did materialize and we managed to get the Colonel highly plastered. Liquor was scarce but the variety was wicked and it didn’t take much to make a fellow high. I used to think my “Purple Jesus” was potent – but I know some other combinations that make that one seem mild. We sang, one of the fellows played the piano and everyone was gay. Incidentally – there was no one at breakfast except me. Sunday morning, I had to be at the Dispensary at 0800 to see a couple of sick guys.

And this morning we all said ‘goodbye’ to the Colonel and he took off for Reims. He’ll be there for awhile and then will probably fly back by way of Dakar.

This p.m. I have to go to St Dié and that will take most of the rest of the day, dear. I’ve got a couple of things to do now and then I’m going back to quarters and get ready. So for now, Sweetheart, I’ll say ‘so long’. Be with you tomorrow in writing – although I’m always with you in between. Love to the folks – and
All my everlasting love, dear


about Saint-Dié and the Naming of America

Saint-Dié, France is located in the Vosges Mountains 50 miles (80 km) southeast of Nancy, on the Meurthe River.

Saint-Dié-des-Vosges, France

The center of Saint-Dié was largely destroyed by the Germans in November of 1944, although there was no military necessity to do so. This is about what it looked like when Greg made his visit.

Saint-Dié, France as Greg saw it in 1945

Saint-Dié, France: Then (above) and Now (below)

Due to the necessity of rebuilding, much of the city has a modern look with many properties featuring 1950s style facades. However, the history of Saint Die stretches back through many centuries.

In the early 1500's, Vautrin Lud, Canon of St-Dié in charge of the mines of the valleys, was the chaplain and secretary of René II, Duke of Lorraine. The Duke set up a very early printing-establishment at St-Dié and facilitated reflections on the theme of Earth representation, or, mapping. He convened a meeting with several scholars including the German cartographer Martin Waldseemüller and the Alsatian professor Matthias Ringmann, who would be called "geographers" today.

While having an edition of a Latin translation of Ptolemy's "Geography" produced in 1507, René II received the "Soderini Letter," an abridged account of the four voyages of Amerigo Vespucci. [It seems that in his accounts, Vespucci falsely claimed that he had discovered the continent which we now know was discovered by Christopher Columbus.] Lud had this letter translated into Latin by Basin de Sandaucourt. The translation was completed at St-Dié on 24 April 1507; it was prefaced by a short explanatory booklet written by Waldseemüller, entitled Cosmographiae Introductio. This booklet can be seen as the baptismal certificate of the New Continent. Waldseemüller and the scholars of the Gymnasium Vosagense then made a capital decision, writing: "...And since Europe and Asia received names of women, I do not see any reason not to call this latest discovery Amerige, or America, according to the sagacious man who discovered it".

The first and second printing appeared in August 1507 at St-Dié, a third at Strasburg in 1509, and thus the name of America was spread about. In 1513, Waldseemüller, having become better informed, inserted into other maps the name of Columbus as the discoverer of America. But it was too late to alter the name of the continent; "America" had been already firmly established.

Thus, Saint-Dié-des-Vosges is honored today with the title of "godmother of America", the city that named America.

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