In der Halde 7, Berlin, Germany
4 April 1946 – 2250 hours.
From the paper and the typewriter you may correctly deduce that my water-borne baggage has arrived. But what a mess! Some stuff was in a heavy cardboard carton which had been stepped on by an elephant. My Voitlander (6.5 x 9) camera was bent out of shape. The development tank for film pack film was so bent up that it can never be used, and other minor damage was done to some other things. But the foot locker was the truly sad sight. It appears as though it was allowed to sit in a pool of water while it was still in the States for about everything in it was soaked. Most of the stuff was washable and Else is now trying to get the mildew, stain and smell out of the stuff. A new half gross of 11” x 14” enlarging paper was a sodden mess. About a dozen 16” x 20” photo mounts were ruined and the enlargements of you and Jeff and of Mel and Lady Avon were soaked and wrinkled. The air mail envelopes were all gummed together, ‘tho the paper came through pretty well. My typewriter case is damaged by water and mildew, but it appears that the machine itself came through unscathed, thank God, for it was pretty well protected by the case. Some new kakhi shirts were rust stained from the pins and metal attachment tags. But the real damage was to my dark brown gabardine civilian suit, the only one I brought with me. It is a wrinkled, sodden, stained mess of mildew and the long immersion so rotted the stitching that the buttons fell right off when I tried to brush it. I can’t see that there is any salvage in it. Needless to say I’m going to put in a claim against the War Department, but I don’t expect to see any recompense in my day – mebbe my heirs and assigns will profit from the claim.
However, the pictures of my family have dried out and I flattened them pretty well, but they are badly wrinkled and a bit stained, tho’ not enough to spoil their beauty. At present they are in the office and are properly admired by every one who comes into the room. I’m jest struttingly proud of them and of the family they represent. As for the suit – I’ll just have to stay in uniform, both on and off duty, until it gets hot enough to wear the one Palm Beach suit which was also in the locker and which seemed to come through with no damage except a good wrinkling. Sooo, Rog, I wonder if you will do me a great favor. Naturally, it is impossible to buy any clothes over here, although I could get a suit made up by German tailors if I had the cloth. I have two alternatives – both of which may be impossible but are worth a try. I would greatly appreciate it if you could stop in some time at Rogers-Peet’s (I always traded at the one on Fifth Avenue, corner of 41st Street) and see if you can pick me up a medium to light weight suit, size 46 long, and mail it to me. I’ll trust you selection of cloth, but would prefer a medium hard finish worsted or a wool gabardine. I want it double breasted and don’t need a vest, though I wouldn’t mind having it. If it is possible for me to get such a suit I can have it altered to fit over here. The trousers should make up, with cuff to 34” on the inseam, and the waist should be 42” in order that it will be big enough in the fanny, tho’ the waist will then have to be taken down to 40” when I get it. If you can’t do anything with R-P, you might try any other high class men’s outfitting shop. I’ve always paid about $50 for my suits, but am willing to go up to $75 if it is necessary. The other alternative is to buy enough suiting cloth for a suit (and in my size it takes more material than an ordinary guy’s would- the salesman can tell you how much), and send it to me for construction by a Kraut. But if that is done it will be necessary to buy all of the fixings – lining cloth, buttons and all, for there is a complete dearth of those things here. I hate to ask you to go to all of this trouble, but it will mean more than I can tell you if you are successful. The stuff should be mailed, very securely wrapped, and insured. It will probably take about a month to get here after it hits the post office. If you can’t find anything don’t feel too badly, for I’ll know that you have done your best, and I imagine the clothing market, particularly in large sized things, is pretty well picked over and sold out. I’ll send you a check for the cost as soon as you notify me what it is, but in the meantime you can take it out of the $50 check I sent recently and some pickings from the sale of the Plymouth.
Still nothing from you for a couple of weeks, but I’m hoping to get a letter to-morrow. By the way, I got a letter yesterday which Burt mailed on March 30 – four days in transit. The can opener came through last week, sweet, and I thank you loads. It was put right to work and operated to perfection. How about the HB leads for my mechanical pencil – have you been able to do anything about them? Also the other things I asked about in the same letter? I know, my dear, how impossible it has been for you to get out to do any shopping so find no fault because I haven’t received the things. By the way, have you received three pairs of Nylon hose, size 10? I hope the size was right, if not, Rog can change them by stopping in at Hafela-Webster’s in the Empire State Building and seeing Mildred Lanning. I don’t think I’ve told you the story about the Nylons. Mildred is a particular friend of Burt Greenman’s (it was at her apartment I stayed when I was in New York about Thanksgiving time), and I’ve gotten to know her very well. She’s a swell gal and quite a big shot in the firm. She wrote me a swell letter some weeks ago, said she wanted to make me the most popular guy in OMGUS, and so was sending me three pairs of Nylons. She also said she would love to send you a box as a friendly gesture. You see, her company makes them. So Gramp immediately accepted the offer. They will probably come as if from me, but don’t be fooled, they’re from Mil and I’m sure you will want to acknowledge them with a most appreciative thank you note. Incidentally, they are “on the house” so don’t try to pay for them.
This is just a sorta business note, not a letter, and I’ve gotta close now and get to bed. I turned in at 3:15 this morning after a bit of a night with Harold and some of his British buddies and I need the sleep. Best love, as ever,