Lad in Langres, France, 1945
Page 2 5/20/45
L.S.M.F.T. we hear quite frequently over the radio these days. I asked Jean the other night what it meant and she told me “Lucky Strikes mean fine tobacco.” Of course I knew all the time what it really meant but how the broadcasting station got hold of it beats me. The real answer is “Lad sends mail frequently thesedays.” (An odd coincidence – Lad smoked Lucky Strikes for most of his life, until he quit when he was in his 60’s.) And just to prove it, this week another arrived at my office. It was dated May 6th, and said: “Pop, old Boy – how are you honestly feeling? I’ve had a cold which I got sometime last week, but it is diminishing in severity each day and today I feel better than yesterday. In about a few days, (that’s pinning it down, isn’t it?) it should be nearly gone. Received a letter from Dan last week which he wrote on 19 Apr., so possibly by now you’ve already heard from him. Just in case I think I’ll send the letter on and if you don’t want it you may give it to Marian. This week has been very much like one in March. Snow, rain and cold wind. A little son. (pardon the editors typewriter, I should have said “sun”. A.D.G.) The first couple of days we had snow, but since then, rain. No letters from you this week so I’ll probably get a couple during the coming week. You remember, of course, the Ardennes break-thru on Dec. 17th. That was a big factor in affecting our Christmas cheer. Plans had been made for a party, and a few of the fellows had made arrangements to eat with French families around here. At the time it happened of course, we couldn’t write about it and afterwards I decided to wait a while before telling it. Sometime after the break, paratroopers landed in our vicinity, and all festivities were canceled, even to the point of limiting the consumption of alcoholic beverages, which you can understand, I think, and that condition existed until after New Years’ Day. The most probable time of attack, naturally, was Christmas Eve or Dec. 25th. Therefore, although we were outwardly cheerful, there was an undercurrent of strain and depression which killed all happiness during that time. I think most of us feel that Christmas 1944 never arrived, in the modern sense of the word. I’m regretful but happy, that an attack never materialized. But we were ready. It’s time to eat dinner and I’ll have to check the generators before I do so. Keep your chin up, Dad, and take care of yourself. Until the next, “au revoir”. Lad”
And here’s the letter from Dan which he enclosed (that boy springs up in the most unexpected places) “Hello again, old bean. (You will note how the “bean” motif predominates in Dan’s correspondence. Either he has been reading fairy tales lately or the spring Victory garden bug has bitten him. Ed.) My parisian sojourn amounted to a mere flash of polished brass buttons in the vicinity of Champs Elysees. Now I am “somewhere in Holland” where I shall be for a while – – perhaps. You better cancel any plans for seeing me until you hear from me again unless you want to go to Calais on your own to visit Paulette. I know she wants very much to meet you. I have about abandoned any hope of getting a furlough for the duration. It has been nearly 17 months since I had more than a 24-hour pass and prospects are no brighter now. I only hope I can get off long enough to get married in July. By the way, you might plan to get a furlough at that time if at all feasible. I arrived in Holland several hours ago, not knowing a single word of Dutch. I don’t speak it fluently even now, but I have learned two words already. Just what they are escapes me at the moment. Dan”
Tomorrow, the conclusion of this letter. On Friday, another letter from Lad.