March 18, 1946

                                    In billets, In der Halde 7, Berlin
18 March ‘46
(Nanna’s & Dada’s 60th Wedding

Dear Kids:

The enclosed explains why the three musketeers are spending their evening in billets. Hush hush stuff, but probably a round up of AWOLs, deserters, Germans in American uniforms, and other breeds without the law. This is Joe Henderson’s last night in Berlin – for our Joe leaves to-morrow to meet his Australian wife, married when he was on duty in the South Pacific, in San Francisco, prior to touring the U.S. for a month or two and then settling down to civilian public administration. Joe is the grandest chap in the world, and all of the Personnel Office, from Personnel Officer Heath Onthank down, has been putting in three evenings at meetings of the “Get Henderson Club.” To-night was to be the finale – with a gorgeously encrusted cake, decorated and made by the pastry cook at Harnack Haus. But man proposes and the Army gets in in the final innings and the cake withers on its maiden stalk – or something. Probably the best thing that happened to all of us for Henderson was beginning to get us. Friday evening the party culminated in one of the most amusingly uproariously screwy parties I’ve ever attended at the Colonel’s and Joe’s billet just around the corner. Saturday we danced until one at Harnack Haus, then our two British guests kindly offered to take us all home in their 2 ½ ton lorry. We discharged one passenger – then came, not too gently, to rest against a tree. The lorry’s front was bashed in and I wrenched my right arm – otherwise no casualties. An M.P. jeep brought Heath, Harold and me home – and we had to console our lieutenant chauffer with cognac at 4 AM because he had just discovered that a British colonel had stolen his girl. Last evening the party sorta petered out at 10:30 at the Harnack Haus dance, while we three spent a quiet evening at home and started the week on all twelve as a result. Me, oh my, the Berlin exposure is unique in the annuals of all of us. (Harold, my sweet, is just expatiating on the delicious qualities of your Toll House cookies – in which both George and I add a silent ah-men.)

I came back from my trip to a real wealth of mail. – two letters from you, my dear, and one each from Cece Hightower (In Italy), and Scheidt, Burt Greenman, Eleanor Rankin and Mildred Lanning – friend of Burt’s, now in hosiery manufacture. And Mil, sweet gal, announced that she had sent me a box of three pairs of Nylon hose – “…to make you the most popular man in OMGUS.” And she continues – “The stocking problem in the States has reached the proportions of a famine so maybe you might like to send a box (3 pair) each to your two gals at home, so if you’ll send me the sizes I’ll see that they get them.” I’m telling her size 10. O.K? Size gal!

Your letter of Feb 26 reached me a couple of days after that of March 7. But my absence from the office brought them to me synchronously. It was simply grand to finally get the details of Dickie’s birth and to learn that you came through it so superbly. Congratulations – it leaves me a really happy Gramp. Please thank Florence for her so satisfactory postscript to your letter, abruptly brought to an end by labor pains. I hope your path and Dickie’s continue to be strewn with roses.

You ask again what you can send me. If I can get the items already requested my cup will run over, but if you really want to make us happy send us anything in the way of little delicacies, – cocktail spreads, anchovies, caviar, fussy and smelly cheese, and all of those things which the unimaginative Army omits from its commissary supplies. Wally and I leaned heavily on our “K” rations on our Laender trip, – wholesome but – and the same criticism holds of our Berlin mess. The smoked cheese you sent is going to be rolled three times around the tongue, – every mouthful of it, before it is swallowed. How’s about ripe olives, you know, the tin can’s full. The best thing you can do with the $200 amassed from the sale of the Plymouth is to use some of it occasionally in pampering your Dad with gustatorial luxuries. Edie has been spending several nights with us recently – for she has been a member of the Get Henderson Club, and it’s impossible for her to get home after the parties break up (that’s Berlin, you know – not too different from Clamor Court.) and she joins in the rhapsodies over your cookies. Darned proud of his datter, this Holmes man! Soaps, shaving cream and such are in sufficient supply at the PX and this week we were rationed five vacuum packed cans of salted almonds apiece!

I wonder where Jan Carkin is – I’ll be on the lookout for her, better yet I’ll ask Janet Carey, who runs the Crown Prince Club (Red Cross) if she knows her. Janet, by the way, is completely tops, as are most of the Red Cross crowd.

I shall look forward to receiving the first synopsis of “Lucy” and am waiting impatiently to hear whether it hit the jackpot. Too bad Billy Bong is such a travelled manuscript, but all of the best authors have started with several years of rejections. Builds character in the authors, y’know, and tempers their metal. My money’s on you, Rog, keep it up. I’m delighted that the Life job is turning out so interestingly.

So the youngsters are to be “dedicated” on or about April 7. I’ll be thinking about you all then – let’s see, noon at home is 6:00 PM here – so it will just precede buffet supper. It is sweet, my dear, to read your happy maternal thoughts and really makes the drab life of a gaffer bearable. I only regret that I can’t be more closely exposed to your happiness. I’m sure Jeff’s vocal renditions of Farmer in the Dell and Sweet Adeline must be up to his father’s best efforts. How about trying him at I’ve Got Sixpence?

No none of the mail addressed to the phoney APO has ever been received. I suggested to Heath this evening that he route me to the Bremen Enclave, which he heartily approved if I’d wait until he gets back from his swing around the Laender. But that’s two weeks hence, and, much as I’d appreciate Heath’s company, I want my foot locker, the ulterior reason for the proposed pilgrimage to the American Port of Entry to the ET.

Thanks for the offer to cover the premium on the war agency insurance. That is one of the duties I assigned to the bank. I’ve written them for a report on their stewardship but to date have drawn silence.

Eleanor Rankin writes that she hopes to leave soon for the south Pacific on war liquidation work of some sort; Mil, Prue and Company have been going through their usual February indispositions; the Lady is being spruced up for the 1946 racing season; the Scheidts have moved to Olney (about five miles away) until they can build or find something suitable (their home was sold out from under ‘em); Cece Hightower is in high staff work in G-S (civil government) in Italy and apparently living a typically Berlinesque existence. And so goes the world. What do you mean, life is boring? The world is so full of a number of things – ho hum, think I’ll finally give in and go to bed.

Hope you enjoy Circular #4. It hits the high spots in a drab sorta way, but the trip was really a constant panorama of interest – weather excepted. No pictures taken for that reason, except a few at Bad Nauheim.

Lots of love, family, keep the fires burning and next winter I’ll come and toast my shins before them – possibly preliminary to returning to finish the job here.


Always affectionately