Home, 5 June 1946. 2200 Hours.
The side table in the Bayrische Zimmer usually is laden with a typewriter, so just now I had to remove Erika’s German portable to make room for mine. This is a literary household – prolific but possibly of questionable quality. Hans and John are playing pinochle in the living room, Erika has the two pooches out for a walk and we have just seen Charlie off for the hospital, where he has been for the past week and from which he played hookey for dinner this evening. Poor devil, stomach ulcers or worse, and he’s flying back to his family in the States Friday or Saturday for operation or necessary treatment – he’s not sure which. John is just back from Dusseldorf this evening where he has been on Decartelization and Reparations work. To-morrow is a holiday in the European Theater, for, when I told General Clay that it was to be your anniversary, he said, “Art”, he said “that’s grounds for a holiday”. And when he recalled that it was also D-Day he was disappointed, for he felt that each day was entitled to its place in the sun. I hope you got my anniversary greeting, cabled to you to-morrow morning if the promise of the operator holds good. And please be assured that I’m thinking of you and of the momentous day five years ago when you, my sweet, delighted me by renouncing me for another man. ‘Member.
I was sorry not to be able to add a personal note in my Circular of last Sunday, but when I make eight copies of a letter six pages long, then try to write a personal cover sheet for each copy which goes to the States it really becomes a bit of a chore, and time is very fleeting here as I know it is at 49 Curie Avenue. But the delay paid dividends, for now I am able to reply to your most welcome letter of May 27 (which came through without postmark) and was received yesterday along with a fine letter from Heath, the first since he hit the States. It was grand hearing from you and being assured by your own pen that everything was under control, my second letter from you in six weeks! But I can assure you that, although it seemed longer, you are completely forgiven for I am quite convinced that caring for two kids (and nursing one), settling the new establishment, keeping house and doing your own housework and cooking must pretty well fill the day. *** Glad the scarf arrived and hope one I sent Rendell at the same time has reached her. —- Too bad that Life has gotten you down, Rog, but I know what nerves that affect one as they got you can be as I’m that way much of the time. But I’m sure that you’ll hit your tempo and get on a smooth keel soon. It’s fine that the temporary job came along so apropros. And that you could get a bit of rest before getting back to the salt mines. We’ve been having our share of holidays lately, what with V-E Day, Memorial Day and D-Day, but they are a most welcome break in the tension.
It’s fine that Jeff has some playmates and I’m sure that it won’t be long before the big boys of 4 and 5 will be coming to borrow his ball and glove and invite him to come out and pitch for them. Playing with the older kids should help him a lot. And Dick must be a complete honey – golly, I wish I could know him first hand – but I’m sorry you’ve let him join any union in view of the disgraceful showing which organized labor has been making since the first of the year. However, I’m quite sure that he’ll lose interest in the Pablum Eaters’ and Sprayers’ Union very shortly. **** About the suit, I don’t think I’ll need another costume as light as a tropical worsted, what with the cool weather here and the fact that Edith Vadney is going to bring home (you see how unconsciously I accept Berlin as home) my trunk full of my civilian costumes when she comes over later this month as part of her baggage. That goes for the shirts also. I could use a middle weight suit, gabardine or tweed (or the materials therefor) but not a real light weight job. Anyway, thanks a million for your efforts, old man.
I hope I didn’t land too roughly on the critics of military government in Germany in my circular letter of last Sunday, but it just so happened that about four letters came to me within a week all highly critical or else expressing considerable apprehension over the situation here. We are apprehensive too, but it is about the topside parleys which are between the home diplomats of the various countries involved and way over the head of military government. We have had the most unfortunate sort of publicity at home, written by correspondents to a great degree who came here for five days and learned all about it. And all newspaper men crave the sensational in their stories, they make more interesting reading. Other publicity has resulted from disgruntled army men who wanted to stay here and couldn’t make the grade in civilian capacities or who went home with some other personal chip on their shoulder. There was one such article in the Washington Times-Herald, written by a girl (appropriately named Katchen) who admitted that her source of information was just that. We have an Information Control Division over here which works with publicity to the Germans – I think we need a similar agency in the States. Certainly we’re not setting the world on fire, but if our Stateside critics could see the tools and material with which we have to work they would be a bit more understanding. Military Government is doing a slow, sound job and I’m not afraid of the results – if the brass from Washington, London, Moscow and Paris will get down to fundamentals and do their job.
It is interesting that one of the biggest hurdles we have to contend with here is the barrier of language. It is amazing how many words in the languages of the four Allied Nations cannot be directly translated as there is no counterpart in the other tongue. They will argue for half a day in the Allied Control Counsel or in the Kommandatura over the exact nuances of a word, for much hangs in the balance, and all of these guys are playing their cards close to their chests. The Russians are particularly cautious, and rightly, for their language contains more differences with ours than does French. Also they are playing for big stakes, which they feel may mean the success or failure of their ideologies in central Europe – and subsequently in the rest of the world, and they are not in the positions in which they have been placed because they are dumb bunnies. Our top men get terribly exasperated, but are patient, as must be, for they have a sympathetic understanding of the international viewpoints and differences.
Well, that’s above my echelon, thank Heaven, and I must worry along with my own problems, of which there are plenty. But they are all contributing to the interest of the job, and it is nothing if not interesting. By the way, I dined and cocktailed this evening with a couple of girls about whom I may have spoken before – I’m not sure. Jean Kirlin and Mary Lee Hopkins, both from the Shennandoah section of Miami. Jean went to school in Pennsylvania (she’s your age) and Mary Lee went through Shennandoah Junior High two years ahead of you. They’re nice kids and both good friends of mine. The funny thing is that they didn’t know each other in Miami but struck up a close friendship in Trinidad! And now they’re rooming together here.
And now to bed. For some reason I’m dog tired to-night and hope to get a sound sleep – if Ajax will let me. The last two or three nights he has gotten chilly and jumped up about two A.M. and snuggled his whole fifty or sixty pounds on me. There’s a contest of minds, he finally gets down, and I sleep the rest of the night.
Bye now, and all my love to you four Cliftonians. Write when you can.