August 3, 1946

Berlin, 3 August 1946

Dear Family:

Mebbe this stationery will interest you. The Control Council is the topflight authority in quadripartite government of Germany – it determines matters of inter-allied policy, and the Coordinating Committee, on which sit the deputy military governors, is the operating agency.

Your two packages, containing nine cartons, six packs of Dunhills, three lovely neckties and the super-dooper stapler, mailed on the 27th of June, finally arrived yesterday! That’s parcel post for you. On the other hand, a package for which I wrote to Burt Greenman on July 16th, larger than these two, reached me on July 29th, first class mail, which I had requested. It cost me $3.72, but it was worth it to me. I think it would be a good thing if you used first class mail with everything except very heavy packages, and charge the cost against my credit account with you. When I write for articles I generally want them – and need them – as quickly as they can be had, and the cost, in the aggregate, doesn’t mount up to any staggering sum. My expenses here are so low that I can well afford that luxury.

But don’t get the idea that the above is in any way critical of you, or that the precious packages were any the less welcome. Thanks a million. The cigarettes went right out to pay debts (I still owe 18 cartons and am owed 7). Any more, up to about 20, that you can send me will be welcome. And I don’t think it is worth while to bother with Dunhills, Luckies are just as good. A word of request. If you can package them that way conveniently and securely, please send them in the original, unbroken cartons. The carton is the unit of barter, and an unbroken carton is preferred.

Incidentally, this is all off the record. There is no law, insofar as I have been able to determine, which outlaws trading blue stamp cigarettes, but it is frowned upon. I believe everyone, from generals down, uses this medium of exchange, for most of the luxury items purchasable here can only be had this way – marks mean nothing to the Germans, but no one advertises that he is doing it. Trading PX (un-taxed cigarettes) goods is distinctly illegal, and one is subject to court martial if caught. It is something I wouldn’t indulge in anyway, as a matter of personal principle. So please don’t discuss the subject except between yourselves. T’anks.

The stapler is truly a work of art, and is more than welcome. It’s too good to take to the office (I scrounged a cheap German affair for that purpose, which usually works, even tho it doesn’t quite fit the American staples which we have (in very short supply), but I frequently need one here at home and shall keep it here for that purpose. The additional 5,000 staples will keep me going for a long, long time. The three neckties are things of real beauty and I’ll strut the first one to-night for the first time. On top of Else’s tubbing of my brown gabardine, apparently ruined by water and mildew, Erika has sewed on new buttons, mended some rips and pressed it – and I’m wearing it at evening affairs and getting complements on how well it looks, amazing as that may seem. I’ve scrounged a civilian tie from John, but can now resort to my own. I’m still without civvie shirts and have to wear good old G.I. twill, but my trunk should arrive anyday with Edith Vadney’s household goods and then I can go completely civilian at will – a welcome change to have in prospect, although I still plan to make my uniform carry the brunt of wear as long as possible.

This is a gloomy, damp Saturday afternoon, one well spent at the typewriter, and I don’t mind, for I have an active week end to look forward to. At nine this evening I’m due at a big party which is being thrown by Colonel Duke and Lt. Col. Robbins, Civilian Personnel Officer, at Robbie’s luxurious billet. I believe the whole Personnel Office is invited, and I expect that about sixty will attend. To-morrow afternoon Dick Hartman, a swell kid in our shop, is throwing a party to celebrate the winning of his captain’s bars. Dick’s a couple of years younger than you folks, and one of my particular favorites here. His invitation is sufficiently amusing to cause me to enclose it. From Dick’s I go to Harold Sarle’s for tea, following which he and I shall go to Wannsee Station to meet Peg, his wife, whose boat docked at Bremerhaven yesterday. Then back to the Sarles’ for a ten P.M. snack. The last couple of days have been cool and damp, and I hope for Peg’s sake that it clears up to-morrow.

Edith Vadney loves it here, as well she might. Both she and George got what and where they have and are the hard way. They’ve brought into this world three youngsters: Sandra, 10, Karin, 7, and Paul 3, on a rather slim budget. They lived in Hyattsville, a suburb of Washington, in a three bedroom house, and took in George’s sister and her two children at that, during the war while Alice’s husband was in service. And Edith, who hasn’t a strong heart, has done all of her own work throughout that period. Now she has a very sumptious house, with five master bedrooms, two baths, extra lavatory in two of the rooms, and a kleine knabe zimmer on the first floor, and three maids’ rooms and bath on the third. The place is very well furnished and their china and glass wear is beautiful and in bounteous supply. Frau Pieper is housekeeper, and babys Edith no end, bringing the children in in the morning to kiss their mother, then quietly herding them out again so she can get some additional sleep. And she has two lovely German girls to help her, Anna Lisa, 20, and Ursula, 19, – both charming to look at and ladies in their own right, from upper middle class homes. All three of the Germans are delighted with their assignment, love children, and work with a will. I’m mighty glad that both Edith and George can have this amazing interlude – they’re swell people and deserve it. What an experience to look back on in future years. In many ways I wish you kids could be experiencing it, for it is just something out of another world and I know that you’d both eat it up.

Last Thursday was a holiday in the ET, – technically, I mean for it was Army Air Forces Day. But li’l Arthur, who had planned on a 4:00 P.M. dinner at Harold’s, then a trip to the Straats Opera Haus to see a German company give Shaw’s “Applecart”, was doomed to disappointment. I was called up at 10:30 and told that I’d have to report at the office for Senior Duty Officer assignment at noon, to stay as long as the Chief of Staff decided to work. And then C/S stayed until quarter of seven, completely spoiling all of my plans, for the show started at 6:30. My morale was very low, but – “you know the Army”. Poor Harold’s day was ruined too, for each moment we expected that I’d be relieved and be able to pick up our plans. So, at seven fifteen we had the dinner prepared for four o’clock and spent the evening quietly at home. Last Sunday George and Edith had Harold and me over for a quiet home dinner, after which the five of us (including Frau Pieper) sat around and had a very pleasant evening. And a joyous reunion. Edith Pieper’s two youngsters are with their grandmother in Pomerania right now, but they are all looking forward to having the two sets of youngsters get acquainted.

I’m hoping every day to get further word from you folks. Your letters are always highlights when they appear. Lots of love,

Affectionately,

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