This portion of the letter tells about the Christmas festivities.
Trees this year were very expensive, small ones costing two or three dollars and four or five foot trees selling for a dollar a foot. The small ones on sale around here were so scraggly that Dave refused to have anything to do with them, and then he had a brainstorm. He had been busily engaged trimming a beautifully full, fair-sized tree in the church for their pre-Christmas party, which tree had been dismantled Christmas Eve and thrown out back of the church. With some of the base removed it made perhaps the best looking tree we have had for a number of years. The only fly in the ointment came while we were at dinner when Butch (Raymond Zabel Jr., Bissie’s oldest – 3 years old) disappeared for a moment and came back into the dining room grinning and proudly announced he had pulled over the Christmas tree with all its lights and decorations. He wasn’t kidding. He had done just that. Dave, with a great effort of will, maintained a discreet silence, thus winning a great moral victory.
Later the tree was restored but seemed to lack some of its pristine virginity. With Elizabeth’s help, we were able to have a big turkey and Kathryn Warden had generously donated two pies so we got by very nicely in spite of the scarcity and high prices of food. On the day before Christmas, not an ounce of butter was obtainable anywhere in Bridgeport or vicinity. The previous day I had been able to get a quarter pound at Herb Hay’s (Grocery Store in Trumbull Center) and the day before that, half a pound in Bridgeport, which, with what I had bought the previous week, was sufficient for our needs. No cream is on sale, but that saved from the top of Laufer’s daily milk deliveries serves just as well. It was interesting to note food prices in Anchorage. Beef is practically unobtainable but when occasionally it is for sale, prices are around $.55 a pound. Codfish is $.43. Turkey is $.51. Bacon, very scarce, but when obtainable $.45. Smoked hams are out entirely. Canned vegetables limited to one can to a customer. Many canned goods are missing, baked beans, chocolate syrup, corned beef, mushroom soup not having been on sale for months. In general, Anchorage food prices are surprisingly close to ours.
Tomorrow, I’ll finish this letter, the last from 1942.
In three weeks, we’ll begin 1943, when Lad and Marian meet and marry in November.
On Saturday and Sunday, I’ll be posting the last two Tributes to Arla. Next week, I’ll be posting letters from 1945. Both Lad and Dan are in France, one in the south and one up north and Dan’s wedding day is getting closer. Ced is still in Alaska, working on a military Air Base, Dick is in Brazil, acting as liaison between the Americans and the local employees. Dave is arriving in Okinawa.