Lugano, Switzerland – 13 Nov 46
Dear Family –
On leave at last – and enjoying it despite the fact that it is a pretty rugged trip. I won’t attempt at this time to write you much about it as I’ll be largely repeating myself when I start to type my next circular. However, I’ll touch lightly on it and pass to other matters.
After two false starts, – Saturday evening the 9th, when after trying to get a taxi to take me to the station for fully three quarters of an hour, I finally got down there about 20 seconds too late and saw the train doors slam in my face and the “Zug” slowly steam out of the station while I stood on the platform and cussed; and Sunday morning when I got out to Tempelhof Airport at 7:15 and waited until noon before they announced cancellation of all flights for the day on account of a zero-zero condition. But I made it on the Sunday evening train, spent 12 hours Monday in Frankfurt (Armistice Day) making connections, and here I am. We are scheduled for 4 days in Rome, one in Lugano and one in Lucerne, then back home, arriving 14 days and 15 nights after leaving. Everything considered, it is seeing Europe the hard way – but it is preferable to coming home without getting a peek at things.
You would have loved the attempted Saturday getaway. Maja is keeping Ahyaks for me in my absence, so she came over to see me off. We started for the Wannsee Station in a last minute flurry in a small European sedan. – the German driver and my full Val-pack in the front seat – and in the back seat, Maja, I, my musette bag, a carton of canned food for Ahyaks, my RCA radio and transformer (which I’m letting Maja have) and Ahyaks excitedly running over the top of baggage and us, alternately staring out of the window into the rainy night, landing uncertainly in our laps, on our shoulders and in our faces, or leaning over the shoulder of the fearful chauffeur with their faces together and Ahyaks breathing down his collar. On missing the train we returned to the billet, dropped the dog and the baggage, and returned to Truman Hall for dinner, followed by a couple of dances at Harnack House. I shipped the gal, the dawg, the food and the radio home at a discreet hour and tumbled into bed early for a none too long sleep before my 5:45 rising to get to the Airport.
While I was waiting there Maja & Ahyaks bussed and walked over to keep me company. Then the three of us returned to Bachstelzenweg to throw together some lunch. They left the middle of the afternoon, for Maja went on duty at 5:30 – and this time I bussed to the train – taxis are too uncertain. Both Maja and Lulu Dups, her billet mate are thrilled over having Ahyaks. I hope he is good and doesn’t run away.
No word from you, sweet, before I left, in fact the last letter I have had from you was your birthday offering, written 1 Oct. I believe it is the longest period without hearing from you since your first summer at Scout Camp. I hope, at least, that it means all’s going well and you are just busy, but the silence does make you seem pretty far away. You doubtless have my circular letter, mailed just before I left Berlin, in which I mentioned that, unless something unexpected turns up during my two weeks’ absence, I am planning to come home at the end of my contract. I’m torn by all kinds of emotions by it. But it is probably the only thing to do. I am going to send Ahyaks Stateside, for the thought of leaving him here is intolerable. He must spend a couple of weeks at Bremerhaven for observation and rabies and distemper shots, then will be shipped on the first possible transport equipped to carry pets. They run twice a month, so the date of his arrival in the US is most uncertain. Would it be agreeable if I sent him to you to keep until I can get settled wherever I’ll be working? He’d be a wonderful pal for Jeff and I’m quite sure you’ll all be daft about him – as is every one over here. His food bill would be a not inconsiderable item and I would insist on paying the full cost of his keep. Please send me your answer without delay as I can make my plans here – or arrange for other dispensation for him in the States.
Quarter of ten, and, as I haven’t had my quota of sleep since about four nights before leaving Berlin, I’m actually cat-napping over this letter. We leave here at noon to-morrow with a busy morning planned so I think I’ll crawl under my very continental feather bed and try to catch up.
Love to you all and to the Ade – (please share this letter with her) and try to get me several letters before I leave Europe. Take care of yourselves –