And Marian the Faithful writes again, still from Pomona: “Yes, here we are again, still sitting in Pomona wondering what we are going to do next. Evidently there was too much publicity regarding the current move of the 142nd Battalion, (practically everyone in Pomona knew about it) or maybe they were unable to get a troop train, or maybe just because. Anyway, we haven’t gone yet although we are practically completely packed and have gotten our gas coupons. But I refuse unpack our things again, so as long as my last box of soap flakes holds out, we are all right. Lads suntans are receiving the best treatment of their lives – – washed by hand, and in Lux, no less, for we are skeptical about sending them to the cleaners or the laundry for fear that we will move out suddenly and we won’t have anything to wear. Such a life! But we don’t mind. The longer they keep us here the better we will like it. We don’t dare get too optimistic, but the war news seems to be getting so much better than a week or even three or four days means an awful lot in the way of new developments. Lad and I had a holiday yesterday (8/13). With another couple we spent the day at Lake Arrowhead, one of the most scenic spots of Southern California. The lake itself is at an elevation of 5,125 feet, and is situated in a lovely forest. We spent a couple of hours out on the lake in a sailboat and had a perfectly glorious time. As three of us were land lubbers from way back, Lad was the skipper and had to do most of the work. But he didn’t seem to mind and in spite of the fact that we all came home with sunburns, it was well worth it.”
And last, the enclosed “report from a Normandie camp” from our own private War Correspondent, beggars description. It speaks for itself and I am sure you will be as interested in it as have all those here who have had the opportunity to read it.
He also enclosed some samples of the new invasion French money we have heard so much about, as well as a sheet of “vagrant impressions of London: “arriving at the outskirts – – looking for signs of bombed out houses and finding very few – – feeling much closer to the war, reminded by the pudgy barrage balloons, high sentinels facing steadfastly into the wind – – “Jerry” only a few air minutes away. Marching to our quarters, heavy packs on our backs – – marching along narrow streets, curious looks exchanged between newly arrived soldiers and passing Britishers – – a milk woman pushing her handcart laden with quart milk bottles, four shelves deep – – an old lady shuffling along the sidewalk, saliva stained cigarette drooping from ancient lips – – big red two–deck buses, garrish with advertisements, rumbling past on the wrong side of the street – – neat hedges rising so high before the compact little front yards that only a glimpse of the tiled vestibule can be seen through the iron grilled gate. Shops of modest demeanor, tobacconist’s, chemists, ironmongers, Tea Shops, Taverns (The Rose and Crown, Coach and Horses; The Kings Arms; The Hope and Anchor, The Three Pigeons; The Star and Garter)
How tame and humdrum in comparison seem the homely everyday things which we at home have to write about. It almost makes one wonder that we have the temerity to even mention our prosaic goings and comings and yet I suppose the very fact that they come from the old familiar place we call “home”, lends a sort of enchanted coloring, not so much to what is said, as to the answering of visions they call up in your minds – – at least that is the hope of ye scribe. At least what you all know is real is the love and affection that dwells here for you no matter how weak the transmission may be.
Tomorrow, I’ll be posting a letter from Lad to his father telling of his trip from Pomona to Flora and his expectations for Marian. Army life at it’s best
On Saturday and Sunday, two more Special Pictures.
On Monday, I’ll return to 1940, when Dan and Ced have been in Alaska for about six months and Lad is still in Venezuela. Grandpa, Dick and Dave are holding down the fort in Trumbull.