2/18/45. Dave certainly doesn’t let you down, does he? That should be a very interesting trip he is going to have, I’d like to be with him. His job, as he explained it to me, sounds interesting and closely related to inactivity as far as infantrymen are concerned, and far enough back so that he is in continually dodging artillery shells – – very similar to mine in that respect, and I might as well include Dan, Ced and Dick in the same category.
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Thanks to you, your sons’ interests are too varied and practical for the Army to use as infantry soldiers. Ced still seems to be on the hop, as it were, concerning rooms. Hope he comes out of his present set-up still a man. From what we over here can glean from the papers, Anchorage, with its plenty, sounds quite intriguing. Comments on Dan are withheld until a later date, pending —–. 2/25/45. This one I see I have already answered, but a few more comments. On second glance, I see have not answered it so here goes. Among other things of worthy note you mention, in the first paragraph, the various “fronts”, your wishes seem to have become a reality, and even yet it is not Spring. So Uncles Sam and Joe and the other two equally important men are really “mixing it” with the enemy. Developments have been very surprising and rapid on all fronts and particularly the Rhine Crossing. That news was so important that it was even announced in the movies in the middle of a picture. But it was heralded with no unusual display of rising good cheer. Just now the news broadcast on the radio on the desk here says that the entire west bank of the disputed sector of the Rhine, just a short time ago, fell to the allies. And gains are apparent on all Allied fronts. It sounds almost too good. I have managed to ward off any cold bugs of any size since the worst I’ve had so far this winter, was a cough of a couple of days duration with no ill effects, and a very slight sore throat once in a great while, for which I do nothing because it goes before I’ve had breakfast. They seem to come usually the morning following a shower and don’t reappear again. That marriage you speak of concerning the handicapped groom (I assume) must be the oddest you have yet performed. That is just another of the scenes that will be forever hidden within the walls of the house. What a host of things have gone on within it! Wouldn’t it be wonderful if you could uncover the episodes year-by-year which it has witnessed? Dave, you say, has run into a Robert Guion. If what Dave says is true, he should hang on to him. “Good eggs” are hard to get in the Army. I’d like one or two now and then myself. But that is quite a coincidence and I imagine you are following Dave’s suggestion about checking histories. And that reminds me. The sailing point of our ancestors, La Rochelle, is still in German hands, and I sure as hell don’t intend to visit there while that condition exists. I’m glad Dave doesn’t get seasick. I surely do, but not too seriously. If I keep on, Dad, I won’t get this by for less than $.18 so I’d better stop now. I’ll write again. Love to all at home and my regards to the rest. LAD”
Now, that’s a letter worth waiting for. Am certainly glad that diesel kept running smoothly for so long a stretch. Before I go on to the other interesting quotes, let me slip in a few comments. You’re a good boy, Lad. Of course I always knew it but it did seem hard to understand why, with Marian getting two or three letters a day, day after day, week after week, and treasuring them as good wives do, that you could not find time to squeeze in just one tiny message now and again for Dad, who, in his own different way, and with memories stretching back to your babyhood days, did feel you occupied a big enough space in his heart to deserve a bit more than to be utterly ignored over so many months.
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But happily, you and the diesel, with one stroke of the cylinder, have wiped this right off the slate, if I can be permitted to mix my metaphors a bit, and knowing your conscientiousness and hesitancy to make promises without being almost certain of keeping them (I wonder where you get that trait?), I can look forward to hearing from you fairly frequently from now on, as circumstances will permit without affecting Marian’s rights. And that is all to the good. And, while I shall not take the space to quote it in this letter, your remarks resulted in Marian giving me your letter about the trip to Marseille, which I shall send on to you boys someday when there is not so much to write as there is tonight. On further in your letter, you mention the good news about the Rhine Crossing. Gosh, how fast we are moving these days. That Rhine Crossing is old news. Since then, Patton is also gotten over this great water barrier, and over the weekend, the big Crossing by Montgomery’s forces at the North. Deterred by what has happened in the past from becoming over optimistic at this juncture, it is a fact that the next few weeks will reveal pretty well whether the Nazis are utterly licked or whether they still intend to continue a hopeless struggle. In any event, I am wondering what that will mean to you boys in France? I should think it likely that both Dan and Lad would be moved up nearer to the fighting front – perhaps across the Rhine into some main American base in Germany, and in that event, would Lad get to see Dan and Paulette and indeed, would Dan be situated where he could see Paulette himself? And how would this affect their hopes and plans?
During the rest of the week, I’ll be posting more of this letter. Tomorrow, I’ll be continuing Grandpa’s comments to Lad.