April 21, 1946

[Letter continued from 18 April 1946]

Easter Sunday – 21 April 1946

And right at this point I actually fell asleep over my typewriter, and haven’t been able to get at this letter since. Since Joe left Heath has been living alone, so he invited me to come over and share billets with him. I moved yesterday afternoon and am now snugly ensconced in the lap of luxury – in a V.I.P. billet. But the way, do you know those initials? They are used here a great deal, even in official documents, and mean Very Important People, and believe you me they really rate. Heath is a V.I.P. by virtue of being an office of Division Director, namely Personnel Officer, and those who can live with them share much of their velvet. Right now I have in my room a bottle of Remy Martin cognac, eight bottles of champagne, six bottles of Booth’s London gin and three bottles of D.O.M. Benedictine – all mine. The house, at 63-B Im Dol, is just three doors from Herr Schäfer’s where I lived for a couple of weeks. It is not large, three bed rooms, one of which we use as an upstairs sitting room, but it is beautifully furnished and most comfortable. I have a terrace outside of my bed room where I expect to take sun baths. Under it is a covered porch, with a paved terrace beside it, looking out over a little garden, replete with flowers at the moment, beyond which is the grassed yard, framed in garden, with a number of cherry, apple, peach and almond trees, all small but covered with blossoms. We also have a small swimming pool, which I’m hoping we can fill and use this summer. That “hoping” indicates the catch in my Arcadia. Heath is going home the middle of May, and I am much afraid that this house will be taken for issuance to a family, now that dependents are starting to come over. Well, I’ll just sit tight and wait for whatever comes. We are in a neighborhood which was carved out of Grunewald Forest, and the predominent trees here are tall pines of a variety different from any I have seen in the States. Edith, our hausfrau, is the wife of a German lawyer and a former dancing teacher. She takes perfect care of us, too perfect for we get terribly spoiled by it, is full of fun, speaks English well and shares much of the social life of the home. She has two small kinder who live in Zehlendorf, a couple of miles from here.

Today is a completely ideal spring day, the flowers and new foliage were never more lovely, and the air, while cool in the shade is mild and warm in the bright sunshine. It is a day made for Easter. After 10:00 o’clock breakfast we spent the morning loafing around in the yard and garden, then had dinner on the open terrace. After a bit of a walk Heath lay down for a lap and I joined Harold (George is in Stuttgart for the week end) at tea with the von Elverfelts, – a very pleasant visit. Now the shadows are lengthening (it’s about 6:30) and from my seat on the terrace as I write I see nothing but beauty.

Yesterday Heath was at a wedding, a Lieut. Commander, USNR, who lives next door. The wedding was in the 700 year old church of which Pastor Niemuller used to be minister. He came up from Frankfurt to marry them, and Heath said he gave them a really wonderful charge – in English. The reception was a garden party next door and it was a very gay affair, with much champagne flowing. So I went down to dinner and dance at Harnack Haus, getting home about midnight. Heath was having a late evening snack – and feeling no pain. So I sat down with him and, on top of everything else, we, with Edith’s help, finished two bottles (fifths) of champagne. Which accounts for the dull headache I’m packing to-day and the general feeling of lethargy which pervades us both. But it was a gay and happy little party we had before retiring about 2:30. I feel very badly about his going, both because of the warm friendship which has developed between us and because we need him as Personnel Officer. But the War Department wants him back and he is returning to his old job as Personnel Officer in the Pentagon. Wally Dietz is also leaving soon to become P.O. in Stuttgart, and, with Joe Henderson gone it leaves the top of our Personnel Office pretty empty. However, Joe may be back, and George is doing an able job pinch-hitting for him in the meantime.

The dance last Wednesday was tops and about every one I cavorted through was with a pretty swell dancer. Janet Cameron was the best, and she seemed to feel that Gramp wasn’t any particular slouch on the floor – it really set the old man up considerably. But anyone could do a creditable job to the music of Bernard Etté’s 21 piece orchestra.

I’ve made four acquisitions lately, – the Leica enlarger, an RCA radio which I won at the PX lottery, a 2 ¼ x 3 ¼ Voitlander camera and a Russian revolver, which last Wally presented me with. The camera seems to be a very good one, with a Voightar 3.5 lens and a Compur Rapid shutter – and it cost me six cartons of cigarettes and a few candy bars. No, the cigarettes were not from the PX, but were some I brought over from the States. At black market prices that means that the camera cost me about $1,000, actually the goods I bartered for it cost me about $7.50. No, it doesn’t make sense, but there you are. I’m buying the enlarger from the mess sergeant at Harnack Haus and paying for it with a check on my Washington bank – good American dollars. Now to round out my other items of enlarging equipment and I’ll start going to town with pictures. By the way, we have to have our color transparencies processed in the States, so I’m planning to have Eastman ship them to you, you can look them over and show them to the Montclair folks through Uncle von’s projector, and then mail them to me. I’ll send you a brief description of what each picture is. Hope they turn out well.

And I guess that will be about all for this letter. How I’d like to drop in on you four in your new home, but I’m afraid that will have to be postponed for about nine months. That’s the one catch in being over here. But I shall continue to visit you vicariously through your letters and photos and look forward eagerly to the physical reunion later. Best love to you all,

Affectionately, Dad –