Trumbull, Conn., March 4th, 1945
Lord Tennyson was a great poet (in spite of the fact that his first name was Alfred). Unfortunately he never had the privilege of your acquaintance but nevertheless he must have had you in mind when he wrote:
“In the spring a livelier Iris
changes on the burnished dove;
In the spring a young man’s fancy
lightly turns to thoughts of love.”
While I must admit I don’t altogether like the implication in that word “lightly”, still we may permit him the proverbial “poet’s license” and figure he put it in for the sake of the metre. Be that as it may, it is (or soon will be) Spring, you undoubtedly qualify as a young man, and undeniably your thoughts, according to your last letter, have turned to thoughts of love.
And by way of parenthesis, right here I will add for the benefit of your brothers who will be reading a copy of this letter, that this week I received a letter from France that you may find as interesting to read as we all did here. (And that’s putting it conservatively).
“She has given her consent. Her parents have given their consent. It is up to the Army now to handle the formalities. It all began when I left Paris in November to come back to this job. Friends of mine, hearing that I was going to northern France, asked me to look up their relatives living in C____, if I ever got the chance.
The very first day I went to M. Senechal’s establishment to meet him, and incidentally to get information on buying an alarm clock. M. Senechal was a little old man with a large goatee, wearing his druggist’s smock and a beret on his head. He welcomed me warmly and hustled me through several doors to the living quarters to meet his wife. She was engaged in housecleaning when we arrived – – a short, heavyset woman about 45 or 50 years old, friendly blue eyes, frizzy blonde hair, and quite effusive. She welcomed me warmly, saying that I was the first allied soldier to have visited them as a guest. I gave her a couple of “C” ration coffee tins, some cigarettes and to M. Senechal, I gave two cigars. They insisted that I return some evening to meet their daughter Paulette who was working in an office in town. At the time I did not expect to find their daughter very attractive but I promised to come some evening to pay them a visit. About five days later, being in town for the evening, I decided to drop in on them. There being no fuel available in C—–, they were all in the kitchen dimly lit by a single candle. In the far corner, lying in bed, I could see Paulette, who, the explained, was suffering from a touch of grippe or flu. I stayed for about two hours listening to Mme. Senechal who is a voluable talker. She described life under the occupation, the siege and liberation. I scarcely noticed Paulette, particularly since her fiancé appeared on the scene. He was home for the weekend from school at Lille where he was studying chemistry. After I left I was still curious to see how Paulette looked. I assumed that she was short and quiet and bashful. I returned a few evenings later only to learn that she was visiting friends in Calais.
Tomorrow, Wednesday and Thursday, I’ll continue the story of Dan and Paulette. On Friday, I’ll post a letter that Marian wrote on the same day Grandpa was writing his letter and it was enclosed with Dan’s copy of the letter.
Every weekend, I will be posting my Grandfather’s story, as written by him in his Reminiscences. When the time comes, I’ll add the memories of his children and other groups of letters pertaining to a particular “Slice of Life”.
Do you know of anyone who is interested in life here in the United States during the 1920’s, 1930’s and 1940’s? Why not share this blog with them. They might really appreciate it.