25 October, 2011

25 October 1944

438th AAA AW BN
APO 230 % Postmaster, N.Y.
25 October, 1944         1600

My dearest sweetheart –

As A. Sheridan said when she was accused of shirking on her Pacific Army Tour, “I should have stayed in bed.” All I’m trying to say, dear, is that I’ve been on the ‘go’ again all day today and have just come in. When I say I’ve been busy, don’t get me wrong, darling; most of the time it has nothing to do with sickness or injuries. It was so in today’s case and yesterday’s, too. You remember I wrote you yesterday that I was working on a deal to get some wine for the officers. Well it worked out – so well in fact, that I went back again today and got 3 times as much. All this is legitimate, by the way, darling – but it is not always apparent where the stuff is procurable. I happened to find out. Not only that but I managed to get hold of a dandy pistol – which I want only as a souvenir, of course. In this war – medical officers in this theater are not authorized pistols, although if you get one – it is permissible to carry one. Actually the Geneva Convention laid down the rule that medical officers may carry a pistol for self defense – in case of a crazed, armed soldier. I’m not worrying much about that and probably won’t wear this one, but they are hard to get and some of the line officers have paid as much as $50.00 for a pistol. Mine was given to me as a gift in return for a favor.

All this must sound a bit mysterious, sweetheart. I can’t help it – because at the present time that’s all I can tell you. I’ll tell you more – later.

Pictures from Greg's ordered trip to Aachen.
"Aachen - This cafe is not serving beer these days."
Cafe Vaterland is serving beer again these days

"Aachen - This house has sun-exposed bedroom as result of heavy
shellings and bombing. Note GI ammo boxes near tree."

"Aachen - Music Building"
Theatre Aachen Today


In the meantime, and what is more important, I received your letter of 7 October and it was swell reading what you wrote – even though the subject matter – as it was the first time you mentioned it – was still confusing. I refer again to the “lovelorn” subject which it seems I took seriously, dear. I can see now that you didn’t mean it to be – but honestly, when you first presented it to me in writing, I thought you were and really couldn’t see why. I’m very happy to read that you didn’t pay much stock in the article – because actually I knew you’re far too intelligent and sensible for that. But I completely misinterpreted the whole thing and I must have really sounded off. I, too, don’t remember exactly what I wrote but I certainly didn’t mean to imply that I doubted your love and sincerity, dear; if anything – I was afraid of the opposite – and it just goes to show how a string of words can be misleading. The fact is, darling, that we do love each other and no other; we believe each other and we’re both sincere. If we would always remember that – we wouldn’t write things implying otherwise – and even if we did, we wouldn’t believe it. So I’m warning you, dear, no matter what you write – I believe only that you love me and want me to marry you! One more thing, dear, whether I sounded angry or not, I was not and I hope I never write a letter to you that sounds that way.

Well – now that that is clear – I can go and get my supper. We’re moving our eating hours ahead more and more and we now eat at 1645 – which makes a kind of long night – the kind of night I’m looking forward to having with you – over and over again. These are a little bit different, though – believe me –

All for now, my darling, until tomorrow. Be well, send my love to the folks and for yourself keep
All my sincerest devotion


about Accusing Ann Sheridan

Ann Sheridan, 1944

Greg must have read something like this article from Time Magazine.
Army and Navy - MORALE: Short Circuit
Monday, Oct. 23, 1944

Months of jungle misery had made G.I.s in the China-Burma-India (CBI) Theater a sensitive audience. Mere days of it also had their effect on some already sensitive big-name cinema stars. By last week the resulting strain was enough to rupture the CBI Theater's U.S.O. circuit, send sparks flying from New Delhi to Hollywood.

Sheridan hugs a soldier with a captured Japanese flag
In Burma, 1944

First sign of trouble came fortnight ago when Roundup, CBI's official, irrepressible G.I. weekly, complained that all too many soldiers were being disappointed by needlessly broken entertainment schedules. Citing cases Roundup said that Joel McCrea, "large, husky, over-six-foot male," called off his announced 60-day tour in Cairo when he heard that "CBI is tough." Paulette Goddard left the theater six days early when she "reportedly was taken ill." Pledged to 120 days on the CBI circuit, Joe E. Brown "suddenly remembered a previous engagement in North Africa . . . decamped after 37."

The final straw was added, said Roundup, when Ann Sheridan came home from a sharply curtailed visit, saying she didn't ever want to go back. Her reason: "It's too rough."

Prior Commitments, Enceinte Wives. Declaring that soldiers have a right to grumble "when entertainers show up with hammy routines that would get yawns at a free-dish matinee in Springfield, Ohio, and then dog it after a month or six weeks," Roundup's editors did so:

"These selfless patriots who, incidentally, are well fed, clothed, housed, transported and paid by the Army and the U.S.O., discover in a couple of weeks that CBI is hot, wet, full of mosquitoes and they suddenly develop prior commitments, serious ailments, enceinte wives . . . spend, in the case of Sheridan . . . and Co., a total of 35 days out of a promised minimum 60, pick up a little money and a lot of publicity and sneak back to the United States to recuperate from the whole horrible ordeal."

Hollywood Howl. When the complaint reached the U.S. last week, the indignant stars set up a howl of their own. Actress Goddard insisted that she had "played all but three days when I was ordered to bed by the Army physician." Comedian Brown, who has an outstanding record of devotion to soldier entertainment and whose soldier son was killed in a plane crash, angrily retorted that he "did all a 53-year-old man could do." The Hollywood Victory Committee blamed broken promises on Army snags, added that Ann Sheridan and Joel McCrea had both been, held up by lack of transportation.

Mary Landon, Ann Sheridan and Ruth Dennis
in China, 1944.

Taking up for herself, Actress Sheridan went even farther, offered to "fight boy fashion, no holds barred," with anybody who thought she had dogged it. In a letter to Roundup's editor, she claimed that her tour was made at considerable personal sacrifice, added: "I'm wondering if your wife, sweetheart or sister has bucket-seated her way 60,000 miles . . . at better than a thousand miles a day, playing even two bad shows, eating C-or K-rations more often than hot groceries, much of it standing up, and then when it's littler girl's-room time, go down to the men's toilet and wait till it's cleared so that the girl troupers may use it.

"And by the way," she added, "how long has it been since you left that swivel editor's chair to ride the Hump?"

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