Bachstelzenweg 11, Dahlem, Berlin.
16 June 1946
It’s a lovely day heute, not entirely clear but with light clouds affording us intermittent sunshine – cool and breezy, but warm enough so that the winter uniform brings out a bit of a glow after a brisk walk. And how we rate this weather, for the past four or five days have been taken out of the bottom of the barrel where all of the sediment has collected. However, I see by the Stars and Stripes that you have been having some of the same along the Atlantic Coast of the U. S., with some real damage done. Here the wind ripped off branches and strewed the streets with leaves, but I know of no real damage done. Ajax and I are just back from breakfast at George Vadney’s, – about ten of us present, and a good time had by all in a quiet, dignified way. George lives a full mile and a half, mebbe more from here and we got our exercise walking both ways, stopping in each trip to see how my Reports and Statistics Unit is getting along in their report to USFET on Army Personnel Strength of OMGUS. The Army is taking a Personnel Inventory as of Friday last (Flag Day) wherever it has any forces throughout the world and I’ve been responsible for the nose count in OMGUS. It includes a complete roster of everyone, with all vital statistics (about 13 columns), a muster at which noses of bodies present were counted, then a strength report (morning report) showing where all of those not physically present are, on TDY in the ET or in the Z-I, on R, R, & R in the States, sick, etc. It has been a big job, particularly as I only had five days in which to get the whole thing going, including two days to get my plans approved by the C/S. A busy week for this chicken. The master report must be sent to Frankfurt by courier on the train to-night and I must go in again about 4:00 to look over the results and sign the certificate vouching for the accuracy of the information. My kids (one ex-WAC and four German girls) have been doing a swell job working late last evening and all to-day to get it out. That’s the Army, it knows no holidays if there is work to be done.
There was time for quite a party Friday evening, or should I say night, out at Bill Woolley’s billet at Wannsee, a lovely place which he shares with some Colonel. There were about 25 of us present, everyone on the crest and no one falling off on the other side. I got home with about half of the gang in a weapons carrier at 2:30 Saturday morning after a grand time. I felt fine yesterday and put in a hard, full day’s work – but last evening I retired early and was awakened by Erika at 9:30 this morning. It was a release from a very quiet several weeks and I feel better for it. John and I did have a quiet little dinner party here at the house last Tuesday, as I’ve already written, but otherwise my existence has been very mousy. I’ve just finished Remarque’s Arch of Triumph and liked it very much. Not too much plot but a most interesting (and frank) picture of Paris, with the accent on the demi-monde, just before the war. He is a finished writer and I like his style exceedingly. —- Hans has been very ill this week, septic poisoning which hit him like a ton of brick last Tuesday and from which he is now slowly emerging.
I hope you two have received the several letters and packets which I have sent you during the past week – a little table spread birthday remembrance, a letter or two, two publications for Rog, with a letter enclosed in one, and a copy of the last OMGUS Observer. I hope you can get the photographic material, Rog, and that it reaches me safely and fairly soon. I’m gradually building up the necessary equipment and supplies for my dark room and hope to soon have it in operation. My Leica enlarger is being delivered to-day or to-morrow. I’ve gotten no reaction from you re: my request for a dozen cartons of Dunhill cigarettes and hope that you are able to do something about that soon. There are a number of other things which I would love to have from Willoughby’s – they are not absolutely essential but it would save a lot of scrounging if I could get them, namely:
A book of lintless blotters to take 11” x 14” prints
Any quantity of Defender Velour Black Enlarging Paper, size 8” x 10”, DL finish, No. 2, 3 & 4 degree of contrast (mostly 2, which is for normal film)
Defender 55-D paper developer and Eastman Microdol film developer (in powder form) and occasional replenishment of the various films listed in the letter to Rog.
I don’t want you to do these things if they are going to be a burden to you, but any help you can give me will help a lot in making me happy. These things just aren’t here, unless one has connections and can scrounge them at the Engineer Supply Depot or the Signal Corps Photographic Center – and my one connection with either of these units has been redeployed to Z-I. I just won’t trust my film with the photo service at the P-X, for they can successfully spoil any film and prints. I have sent a roll of Kodachrome film to Eastman at Rochester for processing, requesting that they return it to you. I hope it gets through successfully and that the pictures are good. The exposures are mainly as follows:
Back yard at 63-B Im Dol
Two shots of General Clay’s billet (with the flag in them)
Ajax (and I believe some have Frau Pieper in them)
Two shots from my sun porch here at 11 Bachstelzenweg
Tulips and azelias around the buildings at the OMGUS Compound
If they come through successfully let Uncle Von put them in his projector, and then return them to me as soon as possible, for I’d love to see them myself.
Still no further word from you which I haven’t already acknowledged. I hope and trust that everything is going smoothly and without too much mental and physical fatigue. I suppose that you are back with “Life” again, Rog, and hope that your disorders are a matter of record only. —– Now to try to pick up my correspondence with some of my other friends – I’ve been falling down on it terribly of recent weeks. Lots of love to you all,
Erika and Hilda just brought in three quarts of the loveliest erdbieren (strawberries to you) which they picked out in the garden. We’ll have them for dinner this evening. Which reminds me of a drink which Erika concocted for our party last Tuesday. Soak a quart of fresh strawberries in sugar, then marinate them for 24 hours in white wine (sec). When ready to drink, add a fifth of champagne. (2 fifths) It’s amazingly potable, take it from the old man.
Our garden is quite a source of vitamens. In addition to the vegetables, we have a huge patch of strawberries, a dozen or more currant bushes, several gooseberry bushes, and apple, pear, cherry, apricot, English walnut, choke cherry and quince trees and a host of elderberry bushes. And you should see our roses!