In bathrobe, pajamas and slippers
In der Halde 7, Berlin, Germany.
Oh, let me see, 18 April 1946.
A rare evening. It’s only 8:28 P.M. by the lovely grandfather’s clock at my elbow, and here I am, alone and relaxed, ready to type you folks your first real letter to the new address. I certainly hope that the transition from Massachusetts to New Jersey was effected smoothly, easily and successfully, and that you are at last in Your Own Home, breathing easily and with most of the heavy work and worry behind you. And I hope that your lares and penates from Miss Hart’s store shoppe are what you want and that they supply the missing bits of the jig-saw puzzle of house furnishing. May you not have to move again soon, in other words, may what you have now supply the major part of your wants for a number of years. And next January be sure that you have a corner of the attic where Gramp can shake down a pallet and make his home for the greater portion of his leave in the States before sailing back to this amazing place. But, by next January, I expect the wives who will shortly be engulfing us will have transformed this Sector into another Main Street, and the Berlin which we have learned to love, despite its faults, will have become just a nostalgic memory. Right now, I have the windows opened wide and the cool breezes are fanning my forehead, while the birds are filling the evening with their evening song. The Japanese peach outside the window is visible through the open window, a mass of gorgeous blossom, and, beyond, a practical cherry tree is an aura of white bloom. Spring in Berlin is lovely. The crocuses have gone from the lawns, but the huge beds of tulips are coming into progressive bloom, crimson, fuschia, red and yellow, double blossoms of a delicate pink which look like tea roses, yellow blooms which tend to favor double daffodils and Empress Jonquils. The widest range of tulip blooms I have ever seen, all sent over, for a consideration, by the Netherlands Government.
Your last two letters have come through very well, sweet, the one posted 3 April having arrived on the 9th and the next, dated 11 April having gladdened my heart on the 15th. Thanks for your address, I’m sorry I didn’t have it for my Easter greetings. Your lapses, my dear, from the weekly schedule are hard to bear, but entirely understandable and forgivable in view of your matronly responsibilities. Think nothing of them, your sleep is much more valuable if it comes down to a choice of one or the other. I hope you have been able to get all of the post-Dick letters behind you. **** I’m glad you are sending my Circulars to Lindy, for I know she would be interested – mighty thoughtful of you. I figure that that particular series of communications must cover from 30 to 40 families each issue. I showed the file of them to Heath the other day and he was greatly interested, – said that my reactions to the south Germany trip were almost identical with his. **** I’ll look forward to further boxes of one sort or another from you – but how about the pencil leads – they are about my greatest need right now. Funny how a little thing like that can throw one. By the way, how about sending me three or four neckties? Also I’ve got to get some civilian shirts. Can you find four or five of those in New York for me, Rog, size 17 x 37? It’s an outsize and if you can’t I’ll have to try to get them from The New Process Company, Warren, Pa., my cache for the past eight or ten years. Oh, and can you get me half a dozen or more pairs of light weight tan lisle or silk sox. I can wear those with uniform or civvies, and the Army issue, as you undoubtedly know are pretty heavy for summer wear. And one more thing, – a pair of sneakers, size 12 ½, although 12s might do me if you can’t stretch it to the half size. But I think that, with my hitherto unfilled requests and those and do what you can. Anything will be appreciated. Oh, one more thing. I would love to have about half a dozen each 35mm. Panchromatic X, Super XX and Kodachrome Daylight film, all Eastman. I think I’m on the way to buying a Leica enlarger and, with the addition of a few odds and ends like developing trays, ruby bulb, etc., I’ll be pretty well set to hit into my photographic hobby. Lou (Leiut) Zuckerman, one of my most ingenuous friends in the ET works at the Engineers Supply Depot and through him I am able to get chemicals and paper – although the paper is all 24” x 30” and has to be cut to workable size. —- But to return to my replies to your letters.
We’ve heard from Joe Henderson. He’s in Washington on TDY and his Aussie wife, who reached Frisco the same day Joe hit New York, has joined him in Washington. Joe is working hard for us for several weeks recruiting, and apparently is pretty successful. My procedures assistant, Champ Moulder, had to leave for the States a few days ago for an operation, and Joe is now trying to get me a top notch procedures gal. Heath is also stealing my Reports Unit chief, Capt. Nancy Gossard, WAC. And I’m trying to pick up a refill here in Berlin. Life is so complicated, I no sooner get an organization built up and functioning fairly well than it gets shot to pieces and I have to start doing some more groundwork. ***** You remark on your speculation on how Military Government was working. The U. S. papers have been giving us some awful panning, but a recent visitation by some of the top-flight news paper publishers should bring about a change in the attitude of the press, for they seem to have been enormously impressed by the fact that OMG has been able to accomplish as much as it has in view of the terrific complications of the job and the tediously slow reactions which we are getting to the seed we are sowing. The article (I believe it was in Life) by John Dos Passos was lousy. He was here for five days, and returned knowing all about the work. The article was horribly superficial and trivial.
What a pair of youngsters you have. I’m enormously impressed by their size, physical ability and mental growth. The pictures are really swell, photographically about the best you have taken and I’m just swelling out my what-passes-for-chest, and showing them to everyone, to supplement the blow-ups which still grace my office. OMGUS is getting to know my family about as well as did WPB, but Jeff’s inarticulate spell of recent months hasn’t given me much to show of his intellectual growth. But then, I know that he’s giving his all to help his Dad make a success of his experience with Life, so am just hoping – not expecting.
No, our AGO numbers are not necessary in our addresses, and you can use the letters OMGUS for Office of Military Government for Germany (U.S.) if you want, after all it will save a lot of time and permit you to get in at least a page more of letter in its place.
[Letter continues on 21 April 1946]