Trumbull, Conn., February 11, 1945
To my correspondents:
Of course, I’m just kidding when I call you that – – some of you at least. Dave is the only one this week who has broken literary silence. To Lad and Dick I am tempted to ask; “Is I or is I aint your pappy?” It’s all very well to have a wife, but once in a blue moon you might recall you have a father who occasionally likes to hear from you too. To paraphrase Shakespeare, “Hath not a father eyes, hath not a father hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions? Fed with the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject to the same diseases, healed by the same means, warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer as a wife?” No, it’s not just a sense of ego that feels slighted by receiving only the crumbs that fall from the rich man’s table (and I’m not blaming the girls, either, you understand), but it is not pleasant to have to ask be read quotations or to be continually seeming to pry into others’ affairs to ask what the news is from France or Brazil. Just put it on the basis of your brothers. You like to have me occasionally quote their letters and what they are doing, don’t you? Well, by the same token, they like to hear about your doing, also. Remember too, a letter to Dad always conveys news to your sweetie as well, which is not the case the other way around; so all in all, it seems as though you might occasionally write home a “quotable” without disturbing domestic tranquility to any large extent. Of course, if I really felt you ceased to write the old man because you disliked to write to him, the trace of Spanish pride in my blood would rise up pronto and make it the last thing in the world I would do, to ever ask you to do such a thing. So, put your old Dad on the shelf if you must, but don’t let him become aware of the fact. The last letter I received from Lad he asked me to be kind to Marian. It sort of looks he thinks I fell down in so doing, and Dick, wasn’t it the middle of last year when I last heard from you? And if you wonder why I have gone to such lengths in his opening paragraph, maybe I’m trying one of Jean’s stunts. She says when, after patiently waiting for a letter from Dick, she gets fed up and writes a scathing call down, the very next mail is sure to have two or three letters from Dick, telling her how he enjoys her letters, how much he still loves her, etc. (I don’t know this of course from visual knowledge) which makes her feel sorry she wrote. Well, I’m not sorry for anything I’ve said above but the formula may work just the same.
Now Dave – – ah, there’s a boy for you. Two letters. One on Jan. 29th and one on Jan. 30th, supposedly from somewhere on the Pacific coast. The first says: “Well, this is it. It came so fast I still don’t believe it myself, but as you can see by the address, it’s true (The address referred to is T/5 DPG, ASN 31409102, APO 18397 c/o P. M., San Francisco, Calif.) naturally I can’t say anything. A little over a year in the Army now – I’ve learned more in the past year than in any other year of my life, and now they tell me I don’t know a thing. I don’t know where I’ve been, where I am or where I’m going, but all kidding aside, I don’t feel any dumber.” The second letter: “Yesterday we went to a class where they told what we could and could not write. They spent the whole time telling us what we could not write and then we found out there was something we CAN write. This is it: “I’m somewhere on the West Coast.” It occurred to me, Dad, that now you can use V mail in your correspondence, seeing as how we’ll ALL be out of the country (can’t write V mail to Ced, Dave, and how clear do you think the fourth carbon would come out on heavy paper?) I haven’t had any mail for a week now and I guess maybe I won’t get any for some time – – but it will all catch up to me eventually.”
Tomorrow I’ll have the conclusion of this letter.