October 27, 1946

11 Bachstelzenweg, Dahlem, Berlin, Germany.
27 October 1946.

Dear Family:

This Sunday started off with a blaze of sunshine, albeit cold, but quickly clouded over and it has been raw and a bit unpleasant ever since. Now, at twenty minutes before five it has started to get dark, and in another hour will have reached the proportions of full night. It is the less enjoyable time of year in Berlin. The pond in the park through which we walk to go to the office and where Ahyaks gets most of his exercise is frozen over about an inch and a half thick. When we walk it is brisk exercise. I find that, after getting accustomed to army uniform clothing, with heavy shirts and all, that my civilian clothing, which has always amply served its purpose in the U. S., is a bit inadequate. I’m very glad I have my big heavy overcoat available when I shall be needing it, although I’m holding off as long as possible, awaiting the arrival of real biting cold, of which they say Berlin has its share.

It has been one of the typically relaxing Sundays, without which we’d be lost after the strain of the week – and, I must admit, usually of the preceding evening, although I was very temperate last evening, spending most of my time reading the weekly digest of news, culled from the Stateside newspapers, telling of what is going on in the various occupied areas of Europe and Japan. And as I read the vomitings of the Fourth Estate I marvel that anyone on your side of the water can develop any coherent ideas and opinions of the status over here, what with the curious blend of facts, half truths, misinformation, and emotional opinion. Tough as the situation is, it is not nearly as bad as our news sheets, always looking for the sensational, dish out to you. By prearrangement John was not here for breakfast, so I arranged last evening to send a taxi for Maja and we two brunched together at ten o’clock, – grapefruit juice, prunes (which she loves as much as I do), griddle cakes, syrup and bacon, and plenty of authoritative coffee, steaming hot, to fill in the chinks. Not a bad meal, but it makes me feel a bit guilty when I think of the Germans and their near starvation diet.

We spent the balance of the morning looking over the crayon sketches and water color paintings of Herr Bley, the architect-artist friend I met at Frau Hoch’s. He left them here last Thursday evening when he and his delightful wife were at dinner with me, – they, Maja, John and Ruth Something-or-other, a charming German girl whom John admires (as do I also). I’m planning to buy some of them, a rare memory of my year in Germany. He was a German combat artist, with the army. The black and white crayon sketches are all military, the watercolors scenic, which he did in Crete, north Africa with Rommel’s Afrika Korps, Italy, the Balkans, Russia and France. Technically and artistically they are tops, and should be of considerably value considering what they are. If I can get them, I shall consider them the most valuable souvenirs I shall have of my European exposure. They really form a museum collection. Maja left about one to have dinner with friends and I’ve been reading, writing, dozing and walking until now I’m about to have my abendessen in lonely grandeur, for John won’t be here, although Ahyaks and I plan to spend the evening with him at his billet. It looks now as though his family will arrive about the second week in November, delayed a couple of months by the shipping strike.

I had an amusing time last Sunday. The average German mind is not flexible nor is it receptive to changes. When I came here to Bachstelzenweg 11 I found certain well established customs, installed by Erika, I suspect, and tolerated by the then occupants. Hans and Erika ate with the Americans – definitely against military government policy. Meals were thrown at us, – soup, meat, vegetables, dessert all on the table when we sat down – and usually cold, at that. And so things went. I’ve been conducting a slow and gentle (as possible) revolution and it has not always been accepted by the powers that be below stairs with full cooperation. The living room was horribly arranged, and last Sunday I took it on myself to completely alter it. You would be amazed at the difference it makes in the big room (18’ x 36’). But every move made tore the heart strings of my German friends and there was an ominous distance between us for several days. However, now they admit they like the change, after living with it for a week and all is again sunlight and happiness. I’ve also demanded meal service and hot courses, served in proper sequence. You would have laughed to see the boiled potatoes issue we had. John and I used to shudder each evening to see a huge pile of those unsavory articles adorning the center of the table. We delicately hinted that we’d like to have them mashed or fried once in awhile. So we got boiled potatoes. Finally, for two successive evenings we just put them aside without disturbing the architectural symmetry of the dish. Thereafter we got pan friend potatoes every night and it was necessary to call a halt on them. Eventually we were able to strike a norm, but oh, what a struggle! Americans who haven’t been exposed to the German mind just can’t comprehend what an amazingly one track affair it is. It is easier to understand the success of the National Socialist movement when you study their psychological approach and know the ground in which the seed is nourished.

Cocktail parties are getting to be a racket in our social colony. Two or three a week, invitations mimeographed and always original – usually the excuse, if such is needed, is a birthday, the redeployment of personnel or the raise in rank of one or more of one’s officer friends. They are usually from 6 to 8, which means missing dinner, but with a plethora of attractive hors d’oeuvres which take its place, plenty of a variety of drinks from straight poison to French 75s or punch, and always a stringed orchestra. I took two in my stride last week (as usual) but this past week took in one and passed up two. And often they are followed by another party, planned or impromptu, which lasts far into the night. If they are on Wednesday or Saturday the whole gang ends up at the formal dance at Harnack House. I long for the simple social life of Alexandria, where parties were usually limited to Saturday evening.

Monday morning in the office – and I’m in the pink – despite the lowering sky and raw atmosphere outside. But poor Dotty had a rough weekend, helping four of her army friends celebrate their early redeployment and departure for the States. I’ll have to keep her busy to get her through the day. This Berlin!!

Still not much dark room work – waiting for supplies. I wired Willoughby’s the middle of September to send me the rest of my order of 12 July first class mail. They shipped it parcel post on Sept 26, and it is still en route, while a huge package Burt sent me on 17 October took but a week to come through 1st class. I’m afraid that I won’t get much done if I come home at the end of my contract for I plan to spend two (possibly three) weeks in travel leave. It’s a bit disappointing, but at least I have my films and can print them when I get home if needs be.

I suppose the days in the Garrison household continue busy and, in the main, happy and that all is going well. By the way, Rog, did you ever get on the mailing list of “Heute”, about which I wrote some time ago? I have an idea that the chap who promised to send it to you never did anything about it.

Now to work – all my love and best wishes to you four who mean so much to me –

Affectionately

Dad –

 

October 16, 1946

16 October 46

Dear Family –

Not a letter, but just a collection of odds and ends which you may find of general interest. The weekly report of Gen. Clay to “AGWAR” is routine and gives you a picture of the US Zone Germany today, but this week’s report is of special interest as containing Nürnberg trial dope – The story of a year’s operation of the Laenderrat (the coalition of German governments in the Lands) gives you an appraisal of the experiment in democracy in the Zone.

Life continues to move swiftly here with so much activity we find little time to catch our breath. Just read the condensation in Omnibook of van Passen’s “Earth Can Be So Fair”. I recommend it to you.

Love ‘n ever’thing –

Dad –

October 11, 1946

Berlin, Dahlem, Bachstelzenweg 11, Germany.
(That’s the way the Krauts would write it)
11 October 1946 (The way the Army writes it)

Dear Family:

Just a bit of an experiment. I’m making a carbon copy of the first sheet or so of this letter and then adding personal comments on each of the copies I send to the homes of my two daughters before I wind up the epistle and call it an evening. Soooo – I’ll answer your two letters, Blanche and Ade, at the end, thus reversing the customary order of things. But that’s not hard for me to do after the past nine months during which, under army tutelage I’ve learned to do everything in the cockeyed way – tempered, of course, by the German influence which is always the least natural and logical manner.

Well, your Dad has gone social during this past week, yielding to the influence of the dependents, God bless their sweet souls, but a bit of the Berlin atmosphere lards everything one does over here, dependents or no dependents. But the old order passeth, and never again will we have the Berlin of last winter and spring. Ho hum, it was grand while it lasted!

Last Saturday John Watson and I went social and repaid some of our obligations. We invited Maja Purves and Lulu Dupes to dinner – Martini cocktails (a rare treat here), champagne with the dinner (not nearly so rare as in the States), and Benedictine, Cointreau and cognac with the after dinner coffee. We were just preparing for this last course when Peg Sarle called up and invited herself and Harold in for wee nippies before we all adjourned to the Harnackhaus for the dance. We had such a good time that my rare liqueurs were almost exhausted and it was about 10:30 before we bestirred ourselves and strolled a half mile through the park to our dance. About midnight we left and stopped at John’s where we sipped cognac until near two, when the Sarles and I phoned for a taxi (at the absurd price of 20¢), dropped them, and then I saw Maja home to her bombed out billet on Grazerdamm, Berlin District. It was an awfully swell evening and I was very loath to awaken when Erika forceably shook me for a ten o’clock breakfast the next morning, in which I was joined by John and my newest billet mate, Mr. Trier, who is deputy to Symcheck, formerly governor of the Federal Reserve Bank, and more recently appointed chief of the Trade and Commerce Branch of our OMGUS Econ. Division.

Sunday, I really got off a good long letter to Heath Onthank, something he has been importuning me for for lo, these many weeks. Then for a good walk with my Ahyaks, ending at Frau Hoch’s for the regular Sunday afternoon tea. Herr Bly (that’s the way it is pronounced, anyway, I haven’t the least idea how it is spelled) with his delightful wife and youngster, a handsome boy of about six with the original bedroom eyes, Maja, Lulu, John and Capt. Bob Broemer, U.S.A., a friend of John’s in from Dusseldorf, were also there. Herr Bly was an official combat artist with the German army in the campaigns in Crete (landing from a parachute), north Africa (with the Afrika Korps), Albania, Yugoslavia, Russia and Brittany. He had with him about twenty or thirty of his crayon, pencil and pen sketches, done on the spot in action, and also some very lovely water color paintings done in all of those areas. They are perfectly stunning, and I’m hoping to be able to buy a number of them and bring them home with me. The Blys and Frau Hoch are coming here to dinner some evening next week, at which time he is going to bring them back for me to make a selection and dicker over the price. Maja and I left early to go to the 7:00 o’clock concert of a rarely wonderful Russian choir, but we couldn’t get taxi transportation to get us over to the Russian Sector in time, so we had a leisurely dinner instead, followed by a quiet evening.

Monday, one of the little gals in the office (wasted away to about 240 lbs) had a birthday and a surprise party was being thrown for her at the Harnackhaus (6 to 8), just cocktails and hors d’oeuvres, but plenty. Wally Dietz had an evening engagement, so I went home with Jack (his frau) to visit with her until Wally came back and could run me home in his Buick car. We talked, and did a bit of drinking, until 2:00 A.M., and then I decided that if I was going to get any sleep at all, pending the morrow I had better pull stakes and use Shank’s mare. Heaven only knows when friend Dietz got home. But I had a fine chance to get well acquainted with Jack (Jacquelaine – or isn’t that the way to spell it?) and Susan, their five year old daughter – a dead ringer for Wally, not to mention their three Boxer pups.

Tuesday evening I rested up – a little – but stepped out again Wednesday, cocktails, formal dinner and bridge at the Harnackhaus, three tables, guests of George Clark. There were three couples, the Beviers, McMahons and Neales, three single gals, Bert Randall, Dot Rudd and Mildred Bicklin, and George, Hugh Wolff and myself. Of the whole crowd the only ones I knew in advance were Joe McMahon (West Point ’23) and the three single gals (Dot is a WAC captain and came into Berlin with the first wave of Military Government folks a year ago last July – a swell girl). The six girls were all fussed up in their long formals and the whole atmosphere of the party, thoroughly enjoyable as it was, took me back completely to the old Montclair society and the countless evenings wasted in the same manner under those suburban conditions. Nimmer mehr for this chicken – as a regular diet, at least. Gosh, what an unimaginative life we used to lead – getting nowhere.

Last evening Maja was over for dinner and the evening, with a full showing of John’s and my 35 mm. color transparencies in my new Leitz projector and home by taxi under the glorious full moon, the first time we’ve seen that lady this month, thanks to a spell of continuous bad weather. And to-morrow I’m taking Maja (I believe I’ve mentioned her before) to the Barter Market, which she has never visited, to Harnackhaus so she can arrange for a BD party next Wednesday, then to the Dietz’ for dinner and back to Harnackhaus to the formal dancing where we will be joined by the Vadneys, the Sarles, Paul Powers and Betty McGuire, and John and Julie Hymen. That, my children, is what your old Pop calls a social week, in Berlin, at least. Thank God, we have our quieter moments. Next Saturday all I have on is an afternoon wedding, a cocktail party from 5 to 7, dinner with Maja and some Rumanian friends of hers and then the Harnackhaus dance. And between the two Saturdays the only social dates I have at present writing are Frau Hoch’s tea Sunday afternoon, followed by a concert at Onkel Tom’s Theater given by a group of about 18 colored G.Is, who are just finishing a round-the-world concert tour. I can see that I need the quiet life of 49 Curie Ave. to rest up in. Ich bin ganz müder!

In the office things remain in a complete fog, and we are all wondering where we are going and how it is all going to end. The Personnel Office reorganization continues and if Col. Duke knows how it will turn out he is the only one and he tells us nothing. I go through the motions and get my work done, but the joy of work has been dissipated – for the time being, at least. I wish, and many others join me, that we had Heath back at the helm. But he’s frying bigger fish back in the OSW, and has plenty of problems of his own there, if his letters are any indication. I’m nearing completion in my task of getting 3500 military and 3000 civilian employees of Military Government on the IBM machine reports – and as of November 1 we take over the entire Berlin District set-up, now partly USFET and partly OMGUS, and shall have about 8000 cards to change or add to the list. It has been quite a job, with each individual requiring about 26 items of information, wait a minute, with about 26 items of information to be collected and coded about each individual. Thank Heaven I’m then turning it over to the Reports Section to maintain.

We’ve all been going through a wave of colds, sinus trouble or what have you here in Berlin, what with the changeable weather we’re having and the sudden switch from no heat in the billets to altogether too much. My trouble has been more a bronchial congestion than a cold, similar to what I had for about three months last winter, but I feel that I’m licking it early this time. Dotty has been out several days this past week and my two Germans are sniffling around the office. I’m afraid the poor Germans are in for a tougher winter this year than last, with less heat and less food to sustain them. My friends, war just doesn’t pay, and these folks are certainly learning it the hard way. – No more word as to my future plans, – I’ll let you know when they jell, and darned glad I’ll be able to come out of the vacuum when they do.

And now for the individual parts of your two letters – so kindly turn the page:

Yes, Ade finally crashed through with a good letter, and says she wants to clean the slate and start anew. I’m all for it, and hope that it will last. She told me in her birthday letter that she was looking for a job in New York, but your letter, sweet, was the first intimation I’d had that she had arrived. God bless her, I hope she and the airlines can make a worthwhile go if it and that it is the beginning of a new day. And I hope that she doesn’t run into too many social diversions in her life with the Pinkertons in Montclair. I know that she is counting a heap on the help and moral support that you two kids can give her and I also know that you’ll never let her down. Here’s to a brilliant success for you all.

The picture of the youngsters, mainly Jeff, were prima (a favorite German expression, virtually slang to them) and I’ve enjoyed them by myself and with all of my friends. I’d love to blow up the negatives of Jeff on his bike and kneeling on his wagon. How’s about sending me the negatives for a try? And how’d you like 8” x 10” enlargements of ‘em?

Thanks for the supplementary birthday greetings which reached me just a week after your cable. I’m glad to have both evidences that you were thinking of me on that miserable day which rung the gong on another round with the old man with the hourglass. I’d like to trade in the old model for a new streamlined 1947 model, but halt, lame and blind though I may be I still seem to be getting something of a kick out of this mortal existence. Golly, I’d like to go from here to Japan for a year or two and see what it is like on the under side of the world. How about coming with me and writing up the story of the new East for Life? But the way I feel now, we wouldn’t fly. Two of my good friends here lost their families in that horrible Newfoundland crash and, tho I may go by air, I want my family to stick to surface travel for awhile yet – or until they have radar and all of the other gadgets installed and working perfectly in the commercial planes.

Yours was a fine letter, sweet, and gave me lots of sound news to chew on. But what a shame you’ve had so much sickness – I hope it is all out of your systems now and that it won’t be necessary for you to see the doctors again all winter. But you can’t do it by getting tired out. Sure, I want letters from you, as many as I can get, but not at the expense of rest and healthy recreation. —- It sounds, however, as though you had made good use of your time, Rog, and the house must be shining like a new dollar by this time. And you seem to have been doing your share of entertaining and being entertained, too, in your “spare” time. Go to it and God bless you, you’ll only live once, but for Pete’s sake don’t tie down the safety valve – and take it easy when the danger signal appears. Congratulations on achieving the position of a writer on the “Life” staff, Rog, I’ll be looking for your name coupled with all of the other celebrities in the line up, and will be proud to see it rise higher and higher as genius is recognized and Roger Horatio Alger Garrison forges ahead. Strength to your elbow, son, and may you never run out of ink and ideas. I’m waiting now with great interest to the next word of the progress of Lucy Thurston. And congratulations on the raise – I’m quite sure you can make good use of money in that strange land where cigarettes are not the medium of exchange. (Cigarettes, by the way, have gone down – they are only worth 45 barter units per carton now instead of 95. What we need is a good, healthy inflation). — I’m glad that you’ve weaned Dick, sweet, I’m sure that, along with everything else it has been too much of a drain on your strength to have to provide nourishment for two during the past seven months. There are darned few girls who can do that these days.

And that must do for this sitting – more next week, if I’m still able to function. Right now, with things at the office in a nerve-wracking stage, the opportunity to blow off in a social whirl has really been good medicine. My very best love and good wishes, as always,

Affectionately,

Dad –

October 3, 1946

Berlin, Dahlem, Bachstelzenweg 11,
3 October 1946.

Dear Family: That’s the way the German addresses his letters – first the city, then the town or borough, then the street and lastly the number. Read it backward and that’s the way we do it. Are we verucht or are they – I’m beginning to wonder. We say, over here, “think out the logical way to do a thing and then discard it, and you have solved the German’s line of thought. (Incidentally, that goes for the Army too, God bless it.) But it is amazing how completely their minds have been regimented – twenty five years? it will take three generations to get them thinking along independent, individual ways. They are so completely regimented that it is no longer a joke for those of us who have to abide by their ways. We have boiled kartofeln seven days in the week. We suggest that we would like fried kartofeln for a change. So we have fried kartofeln for one evening, then a week of kartofeln boiled. So we set them aside, untouched – and we’ve so completely bewildered them that we haven’t had potatoes since. I deliberately rearrange the things, minor nick-nacks, in my room – the next day they are back where the German mind believes they belong. I move them again, and the game goes on. Eventually they get the idea – and then Hell or high water won’t get them to deviate from the new order. An amazing race, no wonder they accepted National Socialism, once it was forced into their collective craniums. That, in a nutshell, is the big problem of Military Government in Germany in this year of grace 1946. And, in a fa— how do you spell facetious, anyway, mood to-night. (It doesn’t make sense, so what?)

It has been a she dog of a day, and I got just a bit boiled before friend John showed up for dinner. He was the same, so we had a couple of drinks together, ate dinner to the tune of Erika’s kidding (she has a bad sinus attack and is ultra ultra as a result. Then we played a few hands of solitaire to see whether we were lucky at cards or love.) We were both unlucky at cards —- so we separated, each to our lonely billet to pass a quiet but bracing night. Such is Berlin in the middle of the week.

Golly, I wonder how long I can take this rat race.

Nevertheless and notwithstanding, it was a swell birthday. First came a letter from Jimmy – she never lets me down. I got through breakfast and to the office with no one the wiser. But there I found my desk completely covered with golden zinnias, a sweet, hand painted birthday card and a little gift from one of my German girls, Ursula Tüpelmann. In the middle of the morning George wished me a happy birthday and admitted that Mrs Tüpelmann had told him. At lunch – with the Sarles – they gave me the same greeting – and I wondered how the grim news had spread. And about three a sweet letter arrived from the Ade, which was a distinct ray of sunshine for me. Along about four, Kay Lynam, the boss’s secretary, dropped in and told me I was wanted in the front office. I went – and found forty or fifty of the staff gathered around the biggest and loveliest birthday cake I have ever seen, with “Happy Birthday, Art”, inscribed on the center. I was completely overcome, but still had the wit to kiss all of the girls present (I’d been wanting to do it to a number of them for some time). It was a grand party, the cake went all around, to the last piece, and I left the party with a real glow and a feeling that, no matter where you are, you can still surround yourself with good friends. It seems that Mrs. Tüpelmann had told my Dotty, Dotty had arranged for the cake and gotten up the party – and there you are. To the Germans “Geburtstag” is the most important day of the year, with the possible exception of Weinachtstag, and they make a great fuss over it. There are some things about this Krautland which really get under your skin.

Well, I came home to a quiet dinner – and found that John had arranged for company (Capt. Brander, about whom I believe I haven’t spoken before). We had Martinis, with Erika, then a good dinner with singing and festivity, while Hans and Hilda came upstairs to wish me well. While at dinner the Sarles invited us all over for the evening, but, as John had previously arranged plans, I went alone and had a quiet but very pleasant evening with old friends. Then home, threading my way through the Stygian streets with Ahyaks in the lead, to your cable. And, the following morning, Hildagarde, my German who is on vacation, stopped in at the billet and left me a lovely bunch of carnations, with a pictorial card and touching greetings. —- At thirty eight, which they decided at the office party I must be, one gets a genuine glow out of that sort of thing, and it goes a long way to dissipate heimweh and make one feel that, wherever one is, he is still among friends. And so I repeat, it was a swell birthday.

Mr. Trier, my new billet mate has just been spending about an hour talking “sealing wax, and cabbages and kings” with me. He is most interesting, German born, understanding them more completely than most of us, and considerably less tolerant of them than are those of us who may know less than he of what it is all about. I wish you might have had a record of the conversation.

The rat race in the office continues, and still we don’t know where we are headed. Last Saturday, without one minute of warning we were all ousted from our offices and crammed into impossibly small quarters in order that the part of the office which had been across the street could commingle more closely with us – a consummation devoutly to be desired, but not at the cost which we had to pay. We are all most unhappy about it. I’m jammed into one small office now, 8’ x 16’, myself, Dotty, and the two Germans, with all of our desks and files – and to-morrow my assistant regulation and procedures gal, for whom I’ve been waiting since April, arrives. God only knows where I’m going to put her. The situation is rapidly becoming completely intolerable, but nobody yet knows what the answer will be. My business days are completely hectic – I’ve never seen anything like it before, and I earnestly hope that I can get into some other shop before the deluge.

Gotta take Ahyaks out for his evening walk now and then get some surcease pending the arrival of the morrow. Best wishes, good people, and for Pete’s sake drop me a line.

Affectionately,

Dad –

I think you’d enjoy the program of the show we saw last week, the Sarles, the Vadneys, little Jane Griswold and I. It was completely uproarious – an originally broad play with wonderful opportunities for snappy cracks, brought up to date, topicalized to fit into the Berlin picture and enlivened with G.I. humor of a sort which would never have passed the Broadway or Hayes censor. But, seriously, it gives you a picture, especially in the history of the OMGUS Little Theatre, of how hard everyone has worked here to build a society and civilization such as we have known in the States, even under the most discouraging handicaps. Incidentally, the show was beautifully staged, costumed and played. And Sapiens, the leading man – the Warrior’s Husband, completely stole the show – a nineteen year old Pfc who has prior to his induction a professional dancer. It’s just one of those memories which will always stick with me.

September 22, 1946

Bachstelzenweg 11, Berlin, Dahlem, Germany.
22 September 1946

Dear Family:

A beautiful Sunday afternoon and Ahyaks and I have just come home from the Vadneys, where we had noonday dinner, – out of the fresh outdoors into a closed up house which is redolent of quince preserves. I’ve been watching our quinces for some time, wondering when they would be ready. Apparently Erika believes “the better the day the better the deed”, for no one could question the activity down in the kitchen. Many of our vegetables are still “on the hoof”, the English walnuts have not yet ripened, but the quinces are the last of the many fruits this little farmette grows. I’m awaiting John’s arrival before we go up the street to Frau Hoch’s regular Sunday afternoon social, and will dig into my weekly home letter.

There’s not too much to write about for each week is pretty much of a repetition of the week preceding. The weather during the past seven days has been true equinoxial in character, storms – wind, and rain – alternating with moments of sunshine, the latter rather few and far between. There is a real autumn feeling in the air and the mornings have been rather spicy. To-day, on the contrary, has been definitely on the warm side and I worked up a good perspiration walking home from my dinner. The Sarles were there, and Gen Sullivan and a captain in the Nurses’ Corps completed the party, the two latter down for the week and from Bremen. It was a waffle and creamed turkey brunch and very tasty – as are all of Frau Pieper’s meals.

Last evening John and I were due to go to a party of Civilian Censorship Division of USF(Berlin District) with our two Viennese-English friends. But something came up which demanded John’s attention, so I got Paul Lutzeier, our Employee Relations Chief who lives across the street from us, to go in his place. The girls (and the party) were located several miles away across the U. S. Sector, but we were able to get a taxi and arrived at their apartment without trouble. A Lieut. Rogers was also of the party, and as he had command of a jeep it solved the transportation problem for the rest of the evening. We sat around until about ten just talking and exchanging views and opinions on world affairs, and it was interesting to get the point of view of the girls on America, which Maja had never visited and Lulu had seen for a brief four weeks before the war, on Germany, Russia, the Trieste situation, etc. Such talks – and we get the opportunity for many of them here do a lot for one’s breadth of vision.

As you may imagine, the party – dance and cabaret – was well underway when we arrived, but we plunged bravely in and had no difficulty in catching up, staying until about 1:30. Then I invited the gang to Bachstelzenweg elf, so back we five came – and the party broke up about 3:30. Six hours later I was getting ready for breakfast.

EVENING: We had a delightful time at Frau Hoch’s, just sitting around talking. Few in the crowd were completely bi-lingual – think Lulu Duppes(one of the Viennese, Maja, had to spend the day on duty in the office) was the only one. But we always get along quite satisfactorily, often with a lot of fun at the mistakes of the others – and our own. One of the German men was an architect and water color artist, and naturally we found a good deal in common. I’m hoping to buy a couple of his paintings some time later – I like them very much. Thru Hans, I got an Ihagee 35 mm. projector for transparencies this evening, so John and I have been running through all of our transparencies. I’ve been trying to pick up one of these projectors for some time and am delighted to finally have it. Ihagee also makes the Exakta camera, which rates in the same class as the Leica and Contax, meaning the best. I also bought a new wrist watch at the PX this week, the first really good one of that type I’ve ever had. It’s a Paul Buhre, a make not well known in America but rating well here (Swiss, of course). It cost me $54.50, good American money, and would probably cost something over $100 in the States. It was the result of a so-called raffle. Good Swiss watches, German cameras, etc. are hard to get, so when the PX gets some of them in we all put our names on slips and the winners who are drawn have an opportunity to buy the items. I also won the privilege of buying a 3-C Argus 35 mm. camera with flash attachment. I had no use for it, but bought it and immediately sold it to George Vadney, who wanted it very much.

I’ve been putting in more time this week on enlarging and have another batch of recruitment pictures to send to Heath. Generally speaking, the weather has been too poor to take pictures but I have enough darkroom work to do on films already exposed to keep me busy for some time. —— Nothing from you this week, there should be a letter along soon, tho, I hope. Lots of love to you all.

Affectionately,

Dad-

September 15, 1946

Bachstelzenweg elf, Berlin, Dahlem, Germany.
15 September 1946

Dear Family:

It’s a rather boisterous day, starting with more than a hint of rain in the air, passing through a beautifully photogenic phase with deep blue sky broken by perfect cumulus clouds, and now at three o’clock John and I have been driven in by scattered rain from our photographic pilgrimage around Dahlem. We’ve had a great deal of this sort of weather lately – meteorological indications at 8:30 A.M. giving absolutely no indication of what the weather would serve up before we got home for dinner. It’s typically fall, ivy is turning gorgeous reds, the streets are littered with dead leaves and there is a real spice in the air every morning. But a clear day brings plenty of warmth in the early afternoon. It has been a really lovely summer, with only two spells of real hot weather, each of four days duration. Rarely have our heavy uniforms been unduly uncomfortable.

A good letter, sweet, to thank you for and a grand package – two cartons of cigarettes and a wide range of photographic material. Many, many thanks for them all. I have supplemented my request to you for photographic material by a couple of orders direct to Willoughby’s. They have not been able to fill my complete order any more than have you, but between you I’m set up to do laboratory work of a sort. They sent me plenty of film developer and several gross of paper – but not one drop of paper developer. Hence, I’ve been using the film solution and, while it doesn’t give the warm bromide tones, it does give reasonably satisfactory results. My greatest handicap is dark room lighting. I have an extremely dark red bulb, bought locally, designed for orthochromatic film developing but giving completely inadequate light for printing. So I’ve supplemented it with my red “A” filter fastened with adhesive tape over my flashlight, with reasonably good results. My efforts have been mainly directed toward getting 8” x 10” pictures to Heath for use in recruiting new personnel, pictures of our OMGUS buildings, typical billets, sports and recreation, genre, destroyed buildings and such which will give new prospects some idea of what they have ahead of them – the first time that any pictorial salesmanship has been attempted. I’ll send you some shots of a wide variety soon. I have a wealth of color film and am going hog-wild on transparencies in this most colorful time of year. German panchromatic film is beginning to appear on the market – mainly the Barter Market – so I hardly believe I’ll be needing any more of that from the States – after my present orders have been filled. I’ve completely given up 35 mm. black and whites and still have most of a 100 ft. can of 35 mm. Navy film which Marjorie Rankin gave me about two or three years ago. It’s excellent film and I keep John supplied with refilled cassettes of it as fast as he can use it up.

Your 26 Aug letter wasn’t as skimpy as you apparently feared it would be, a good newsy and chatty communication. But, come to think of it, I’ve answered that one and believe there was a later edition but I fail to find it on my too-littered bedroom table. I think I’ll have to take a couple of days of leave and catch up in my correspondence and other personal duties, which have been getting sorely behind. There seems to be so little time in which to do things – and so many things to do. And with a couple of evenings a week taken up by parties – which leave one with little ambition to dig into duties the next day. Add them up and there isn’t very much free time left. The parties here in my billet this week have been a most spontaneous one Monday evening (17 guests) for Jean Kirlin, one of our Personnel girls who is going to Wiesbaden, and one last evening at Sue Elliott’s, following which I spent the latter part of the evening chinning with John in his new billet. Our’s has grown to be a very quiet but genuine friendship and I hope that we may be able to keep it up on our return to the States. Oh yes, and on Friday evening the Sarles threw a big party on the occasion of Harold’s birthday which we both attended. I believe this evening will be a quiet one, I hope, I hope, I hope. And, to date nothing is scheduled for this coming week.

(Gotta pause a bit here: Item #1 – take a gorgeous birthday cake from Harnackhaus to my little Secretary, Dotty Saunders, who is having one of those things to-day; Item #2 – pick up about 700 lbs of Heath Onthank’s miscellaneous impedements at 63-B Im Dol and bring it down here for packing and shipment. Excusitplease.)

Back at the old stand – with a cloudless sky and bright sun cheering the view and drying everything after the rain. Truely amazing weather we have, we Berliners.

Having gotten rid of most of the reports function in the office (I’m continuing several reports assignments and carrying them to a conclusion rather than trusting to new hands half way through the job) I’ve been lighting into the backlog of regulations and procedures which has been piling up. I polished off bulletins on Promotions (and an SOP on the same subject), Overtime, Attendance Reporting, Within-Grade Salary Increases, and clearance and procedure for going to the States. Now I have a Disciplinary SOP, Payroll SOP, Leave, Travel and a couple of other procedures to tackle this coming week. It’s good to get back to them and they’ve been awaiting my attention for lo these many days. Then to write the Title 25 of Military Government Regulations on Organization for and Administration of Personnel – and I’ll have run out of work, if nothing else materializes – which it will. There’s no end to this work.

Later im abend. Dinner’s a memory, John has gone home and I’ve spent about three hours fussing in the dark room – testing some film (100’) belonging to a friend, and found that it was all spoiled, refilling two cassettes with 35 mm. film for John, trying out Butch (Captain Mercedes O.) Cubria’s daylight cassette loader – and don’t like it. Now to bed, 11:45, to get ready for a new week. Love to you all, and all best wishes.

Affectionately,

Dad-

September 8, 1946

Bachstelzenweg 11, Berlin, Dahlem.
8 September 1946

Dear Family:

A gray Sunday – but the best weekend weather we have had for a number of weeks, for at least it isn’t raining. I’m not sure when I last wrote to you, but I believe I sent you my circular letter #11, written on 24 August. The deuce of it is I sent out three of the six copies I transmit and am not sure to whom they went – but believe it was you, Heath and Melvin. This business of writing personal letters to go with the circulars means that some of them are always held up for a week or two – or three and I’m apt to lose track of myself as a result. And I do not recall whether I have acknowledged and thanked you for the two packages which came the same day several weeks ago, namely the little one containing two rolls of 120 film and the larger one with the various delicacies in it, including mayonnaise, angostura bitters, cigarettes, etc. Gosh, but they were all welcome. I’ve been trying for weeks to get mayonnaise at the fancy foods store but they’ve always been out of it. I know, however, that I’ve not thanked you for the subsequent package containing eight cartons of Luckies which came several days ago. So thanks a million for them all. Mail from home is always the highlight of the day over here, and people who get packages in addition to letters are the envy of all of their friends. Now I’m eagerly awaiting the package of photographic supplies about which you wrote, sweet, in your letter of 26 August. It is amazing that such articles are still in such short supply in the States. It was mighty good of you to take so much trouble getting them for me and I appreciate a lot of the effort you went to. The filters are now being put to good use. I manage to buy orthochromatic film here in more or less quantity (German film) but it is almost impossible to get panchromatic, which gives much more satisfactory sky effects. I’ve been crazy to get going on my printing (enlarging), so last week I tried out the package, nearly a full gross, which I brought over in my foot locker and which arrived soaked through. And, having no paper developer, I used film developer, which is a somewhat different formula. When I opened the box of paper I was enveloped in a heavy smell of mildew, which still clings to it. The paper was stained and imperfect in a large degree, but I was able to draw off some prints which were all right as tests to indicate how good the films were – and some of them are excellent, particularly some I took around the Compound. But many of the films were too thin and lacked contrast, and need the high contrast paper which I have asked for. You do not say what day the package was shipped, but I should have it very soon. Again thanks for sending all of the things.

Thanks also for the clippings. The one about Joe Dumond and his monkeys was interesting – he certainly has had a lot of publicity out of those simians. Yes, in many ways the life here is pretty cushy and the pictures of Capt. and Mrs Key are no exaggeration – but they do not show the other side which is not so lovely. I was very glad to see that Fred Brownlee has at last gotten his D.D., he should have had it long ago – and it took Oberlin to give it to him. Good for your old Alma Mater. I was most interested to see the article on Boxers. I presume that many of those which have started the fad for them in the U.S. were brought home from Germany by returned service men. Truly, it is a grand breed. It’s fine to have the latest pictures, to see how the youngsters are developing, to see Nan and her hubby and to get some idea of what your home looks like. George says the latter is almost an exact duplicate of the one in which he and Edith started housekeeping when they were first married about 12 years ago.

I’m delighted that Jeff’s wagon is so acceptable and that it can be put to so many uses. Funny that he remembered about the can opener. Good for Dickie and his dental equipment – I imagine he’s very proud of his choppers. —- I don’t know just how effective I can be about tracing Ellen Vezin, but I’ll be glad to try. The only way I can do it is through a letter sent via the Deutsche Post (formerly the Reichspost) and it takes almost as long and is almost as uncertain to get letters from one part of Germany to another as it is getting them from the States by regular postal channels. I’m also trying to track down folks for Donna Danielson and Nancy Holmes, so far without success. If they were in the U.S. Zone it would be much simpler. I’m mighty glad that Ellen has apparently come through the war safely – how about her husband and family?

Your Sunday sounds just a big hectic – do you ever get any chance to relax? To-day is about the laziest of my Sundays. We had a bit of a party last evening, starting here at Bachstelzenweg 11 and ending at John’s new family billet, which he is occupying alone pending the time his family arrives. John, Charlie Collison, who lives across the street, Major Walter Brown and I had been out to the Olympic Stadium in the afternoon to see the Inter-allied Track Meet, which was quite an event and most colorful in all of its details, and Charlie came home to dinner with us. While we were eating a gal who was a friend of Meriam Francis (Mel’s old next door neighbor) in the Department of Justice in Washington gave me a ring on the ‘phone. So I invited her, her sister and a friend, all of whom have just arrived in Berlin, to come over for the evening. By a strange coincidence Betty, the one who called, is to be John’s secretary. Shortly after they arrived Walter blew in with a couple of German girls. It turned out to be quite a party and didn’t end until some time after two this morning. Erika awoke me for a 10:00 o’clock breakfast, after which I went back to bed and dozed until 12:30. Since then I’ve been sitting around, mostly typing, still in pajamas and bathrobe. It’s now about 3:00 and in another three quarters of an hour John will appear to drag me over to a tea or something at Frau Hoch’s house up the street. I’m uncertain whether I’ll go or not as there are several other things I should do and I feel too stupid to-day to be very good party company. I’ve put in two or three weeks in the office which have been a bit trying on the nerves (things aren’t going so well there under the new management) and I’m more in the mood for just slumping for the rest of the day.

Labor Day John and I went to the Philharmonic concert with our two Viennese-British girl friends, following which they took us to dinner and we spent the evening in their apartment. They work for Berlin District (U.S.) and live in quite a different part of the city. It’s pretty well bombed into ruins and is most depressing. They want to get into OMGUS, but I don’t believe that’s possible for General Clay prohibits engaging any foreign nationals – just Americans and indigenous personnel. The girls are most interesting and one of them, Mrs. Purvis, is very attractive. We’ll have to have them over here to dinner some evening. They’ll probably be at Frau Hoch’s this P.M. Last Sunday morning I was duty officer – and last Saturday I worked until about 7:00, so my Labor Day weekend was rather curtailed.

I mentioned the situation in the office. The Personnel Office under Col. Duke has been pretty completely taken over by the military and strong Regular Army personnel, and is being drastically reorganized. The old friendly atmosphere which existed under Heath Onthank is gone and army methods, red tape and discipline hold full sway. George Vadney and I are the only two of reasonably high rank and importance who are left of Heath’s crowd and we are about as popular as the plague with the new regime. So far as we can see the reorganization is going to eliminate both of our jobs, which may mean that we will be declared surplus, which is one way of getting us out of the way. We are waging a losing fight for Civil Service and civilian procedures, and what is going to happen is anyone’s guess. Possibly we can find jobs somewhere else in the OMGUS organization or in one of the field offices, which latter alternative wouldn’t displease either of us, for “Berlin claustophobia” is making both of us restless. The alternative would be to be sent home, which neither of us want, naturally, particularly George, with his family newly arrived here. The whole spirit of the Personnel Office is one of dissatisfaction and unrest, from the top right down to the clerical staff. I always swore I wouldn’t be a civilian under the Army or Navy, and I’m finding out now just what it means. I’ve been under a heavy strain trying to keep up my regulations and procedures work, which should have my full attention, but the reports and statistics work, which I didn’t want in the first place, has been a nightmare. OMGUS is so disorganized, due to its rapid growth, changing nature and shortage of personnel, that gathering veracious statistics relating to personnel has been almost impossible. And in the face of that, USFET and Duke have been both hounding me for more and more personnel reports of fantastically varied sorts until I’ve been nearly crazy trying to handle them.

The civilian employees of OMGUS have recently organized an Employees’ Council which may be effective in altering the picture here somewhat, and which has already made itself felt in improving our situation – for our civilian troubles are not confined to the Personnel Office. George and I were the nominees for the Council from the P.O., but I withdrew, inasmuch as my position as writer of regulations and procedures would have made a dual situation a very awkward one. So George is it – which doesn’t make him any more popular with the powers that be. Heath is very much concerned by the way things are going and counts on George and myself to uphold the rights of the civilian, but we are in such a weak spot that our efforts don’t count for much. Nevertheless, we’re in there fighting – and will probably go down fighting.

So I haven’t been much in the mood lately for gayity and social life. I’ve come home evenings pretty well whipped, had a few drinks – and just slumped. Heath bawls me out in a humorous way for not writing him more (I get a letter from him about every four days) but I just haven’t had the letter writing spirit.

All of which sounds pretty blue, I’m afraid, but one of these days the tide may change and the situation may improve. We’ve had an excess colonel floating around the office for the past couple of moths doing practically nothing and I’ve persuaded Duke to give him the reports function. I’ve put the section in much better shape than it was when I took over and have recently gotten in a crackerjack head for it – an ex-chief yeoman, and as Dorfman will have little else to do he shouldn’t have as much trouble as I’ve had. But he keeps coming to me for help and to date, the load hasn’t perceptibly lightened. Also, Duke has asked me to continue the job which I’ve started putting personnel data on machine records (I.B.M.) and I won’t have that task finished for another month. When the new system is once in working order personnel reports and statistics will be pretty much duck soup.

John has been by and I’ve asked him to give my regrets to the good Frau Hoch. But now I must get dressed and make myself presentable for the rest of the afternoon and evening. Best love to you all, as ever,

Affectionately,

Dad-