And this leads us quite naturally into quotations from Dan’s two letters received this week. To show the vagaries of the mail, the one which arrived here on Oct. 31st was written on October 31st and his Oct. 11th letter, reached here Nov.2nd, thus justifying the Scripture to the effect that “the last shall be first”, and in that order I shall set them down for your enjoyment: “My actual discharge is still somewhat nebulous, although I have completed most of the processing — which means that my physical examination has been made. The bottleneck is finance. The payroll is quite thoroughly “snafu-ed”. We came here under the impression that the process would make us civilians in 48 to 72 hours. Actually, they are geared to handle 10 men per day — while 30 to 50 men arrive per day. The “back-up” is considerable already and word of the situation has finally sifted up to higher HQ. I still have hopes of getting out in a couple of days, at which time I shall return to Paris to sign the contract with Graves Registration. I don’t remember how much I have told you about the job, but it will do no harm if I repeat that I shall be working as a surveyor “anywhere between Africa and Norway”, at a salary of between $2600 and $3400 per year depending on overtime. I shall be permitted to wear civilian clothes after working hours”.
The other: “I am a civilian (October 15, Etampes, France). I don’t know even yet what sort of work I shall be doing because I have spent all the week buying clothes (officer’s stores), getting photographed and fingerprinted for an identification card and passport and getting settled in my new quarters. The Grand Hotel de Passy is my temporary home. I have a room and bath with hot and cold faucets, which furnish each, an equal amount of cold water, a double bed with real sheets. I dine in the ritzy atmosphere of the Hotel Majestic, at two bits of throw. The tables are set with linen tablecloths, but luxury has compromised with realism in the rest of the table service. At any rate it is infinitely superior to eating chow from a mess kit. Paulette is going to visit me tomorrow and perhaps Tuesday and Wednesday, depending on circumstances. While she is here, she will be presented with the clothes you sent. She will be a very happy girl when she sees them. Thanks a million to you and Marian. If you have not already sent my brown suit, don’t bother. I have been able to get all the clothes I need from the QM stores, except for short-sleeved cotton underwear shirts. Please send me a dozen of these. My camera is still broken down. Please keep me in mind as soon as you can find a 35 mm camera. I am trying to have mine repaired but I am not too confident that it will be satisfactory. I spoiled two rolls of Kodachrome as a result of faulty
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repair work. Even if it doesn’t work, I can get a remarkably good price for it over here. Enclosed is a pamphlet of the type of baby’s bottle that Paulette wants. And of course she wants all the knitting wool she can get. One of the packages has two balls of blue and two of white. Perhaps you have sent more that has not yet arrived. Here is a list of clothes I have been able to buy over here: suit coat (army officers) neckties, bath robe, pajamas, underwear (no t-sleeves), overcoat, scarf, gloves, shirts, “overseas” hat, raincoat. So, you see, I am well outfitted. I have to wear the Army uniform on duty and I don’t think it wise to be burdened with too many civilian clothes in case I have to travel. Please check with Washington about facilities for wives of War Dept. employees. Promises have been made for room and board but no results have been evident. Thus, Paulette cannot be with me without tremendous expense. Love to all, Dan.”
Tomorrow and Friday, the rest of this long letter.