Trumbull, Conn., Sept. 9, 1945.
Following its prescribed course, my faithful hay fever reaches its climax right about now and, while I don’t think it has been quite so violent as in some years past, it still causes that feeling of low energy, peevishness and impatience, so that the effort to write this letter even, assumes unpleasant proportions.
Elizabeth, Zeke and the children came over to dinner today as sort of a pre-birthday celebration, and beside the birthday cake, made with Marion’s fair hands, I was also presented with a much needed white shirt and an equally desired union suits, with also the usual steel engravings of George Washington (Aunt Betty always gives a dollar bill in her birthday cards) accompanied by appropriate card from Aunt Betty. During the week I received a box of Brazilian cigars from guess who, and this, with the box of cigars Lad brought me, will keep me in smokes for a while.
Five or six separate communications from the Dan B. Guion’s during the week sort of makes up for lost time and Dave also makes our Quotes Dept. take on new life.
First a letter dated Aug. 2nd, from Ghent, Belgium, reads: At last a short note from your French relatives. I suppose Lad has already informed you of the Big Day. I did not write sooner because there is no APO in Calais and I saw no official Americans were over three weeks. But the honeymoon is over and I am on my way back to Paris via Ghent. (There is more superseded by later letters)
Aug. 13th. I arrived here in Drancy on Aug. 3rd. Chiche tentatively had decided to come on Aug. 4th, but when I visited her relatives here in Drancy, I found she had wired she would come on the 6th. But alas, they had no room for her because several other members of the family had come there for the marriage of Paulette’s cousin. Friends in Drancy, however, with prodigal generosity, offered me all the facilities of their house for as long as we wished. So we wired Paulette to come. Paulette arrived in Paris about 3:30 and wired for me to meet her. The message went astray through a misunderstanding here at the barracks, and after waiting four hours in Paris, decided to come to Drancy. We finally got together shortly after 8 P.M. Chiche was rather upset to learn she could not stay with her relatives, and to make matters worse, the acting Co. Commander (the same officer who had sent me back to Drancy from Calais last April against my wishes) told me that I could not stay overnight with my wife more than one night per week. “Regulations,” he said. I thought he might offer to try to make a dispensation but he said no more. I thanked him and left his office. Later that day I happened to meet Maj. Minor, who is a high official in the Battalion. I presented my problem to him and immediately he offered to help me, saying he was quite certain it could be arranged. So back I went to the acting C.O. to apologize for having”gone over his head”. Far from forgiving me, he was furious. His face became flushed, his fingers beat a tattoo on the table. “I don’t like I,t” he growled, “but if the Major says it’s all right, there’s nothing more I can do about it.” So now, no menacing clouds remain to obscure promising horizons. I stay each night with Chiche. A new commanding officer has taken charge. The war is collapsing. “All’s right with the world.”
And again a letter written on the 18th, says: “The war is still in the process of ending with both MacArthur and Hirohito trying to “upstage” each other. Latest rumor promises that the critical score will be lowered to 75. But Missouri is my native state until I clutch those H.D. papers in my incredulous fist.
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A card dated August 16th, contains a request for some clothes for Chiche. Dan says: “She has been getting by on very little during the last three or four years, and I have finally convinced her that she must let me know what she needs. Please use my money and your judgment. Chiche crops up from time to time with the impression that I am asking for too much in the way of clothing, etc., for her. I promised to elaborate my position by telling you again that I am merely economizing. By buying clothes in the USA, I am saving from 5 to 10 times the money I would spend in France – – and the quality is superior in much the same ration. Shoes, for example. Even rationed shoes are made of rationed materials and quickly come apart. Unrationed shoes are made of wood, canvas and cardboard. I realize that shoes are still rationed at home but at least the unrationed styles are more comfortable than their French counterparts. The red slippers you sent are undergoing such constant use that all her other shoes are jealous (judging from the discomfort they cause her when she wears them). I might be dropping over to America one of these months soon, resplendent in decorations. It looks as if I shall be getting out of the Army soon— perhaps I shall be home for Christmas. It might take longer for Chiche to get her visa.
And with Dan’s letters there are some interesting enclosures, one a copy of the French marriage license and a copy of the address (in French) made at the time of their civil marriage in the City Hall. My charming new daughter also writes me such a nice letter (in French, translation by Dan) that I am quoting it so that you can see what a prize Dan won from across the Big Pond.
My dear Dad: I am very happy to be able to at last call you Dad. I was delighted to receive your very nice letter. It is necessary that I tell you first of all how happy I am to be Dan’s wife. He is so kind and so good, he is loved by everyone. We had a lovely wedding made doubly so by having Lad with us. In this way Dan was not married without any of his family present. All went well. The weather was superb and we took many photos. I thought of you a great deal on that day. I already love you and the rest, and I am certain that when I arrived to be with you I will find the love there of the parents I have here. Dan was able to remain three weeks at Calais, during which time we were very happy. Unfortunately, it could not last and he had to return to Drancy. As I am not working, I rejoined him however, later at Drancy. Although he has many privileges, still he is in the Army and cannot always do what he wishes. Even so, I am happy to be near him. When one is in love everything is lovely, is it not so? Well, dear Dad, the war is over and I am very happy for you. You are going again to have all your children with you, plus a little French girl, and who knows, perhaps also a grandson or a granddaughter, because you see, Dad, we do not wish to wait to have children, because Dan and I love them so much. I do not know yet how soon I can leave for America, but at any rate, if Dan leaves before me, I believe I can make the trip later with my cousin, who is also married to an American. That will be a very difficult day for my parents but the transport goes so fast that perhaps I will be able to return to France. I know I shall be very happy at the Château Guion, which must be pretty and gay. I know it will be a total change for me but I believe I will easily accustom myself to it. Dan is one who likes sports and I love very much all the sports he plays. Anyhow, I will try to do everything for the best and be a worthy representative of France. Dan is very kind to me and I am very, very happy
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with him. I would go to the end of the earth for him and I ask only one thing and that is to make him as happy as I am. I hope this short letter will give you pleasure and I ask you to kiss Aunt Betty for me, as well as Marian, whom I am going to love also. As for you, dear Dad, a very fond fatherly kiss. Your new daughter, Paulette”
Now, isn’t that just as delightful a letter as anyone would want to receive, and you wonder that all of us, and especially “the old man”, can hardly wait for the days to pass to have what Dan terms “our French relatives” with us. I am afraid to depend too much upon it. Wouldn’t it be grand if that 4 months’ waiting period could bring them here in time for the Christmas holidays?
Tomorrow, I’ll be posting the rest of this letter. Wednesday, Thursday and Friday will be another 4-page letter from Grandpa.