In case you are wondering what the above is all about, let me quote Dan’s last letter from Antwerp, March 26th. “The last month or so has seen an incredible melee of activity without progress. If you were to trace my itinerary it would go something like this: Metz, Paris; Paris, Calais; Calais, Paris; Paris, Le Havre; Le Havre, Paris; Paris, Calais; Calais, Paris, Versailles; Versailles, Paris, Brussels, Antwerp; Antwerp, Brussels, Lille, Calais; Calais, Lille, Brussels, Antwerp; Antwerp, Brussels, Lille, Calais; Calais, Lille, Brussels, Antwerp; Antwerp, Calais; Calais, Lille, Brussels, Antwerp. During this period I have managed to be in Calais nearly 50% of the time. Ostensibly, we are trying to get to England. Actually, while waiting for a boat, we are having quite a
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vacation. Tomorrow at long last we are scheduled to board a small British ship which will take me to Folkstone. All the delay has been caused by our truck. It seems that only a limited number of ships are authorized to carry vehicles, else we should have gone right on to England from Le Havre. Frequent trips between Calais and Antwerp were made to see if the boat had come in yet. P.S. It hadn’t. “Chiche” is doing fine. She has been a promising herself to write you a letter in English, Dad, but only a “Richard” could say when. She plans to write it first in French, then translate as well as possible using a dictionary. The result should prove highly original considering how different are the word groupings between the two languages. Latest orders and cancellations: (1) Please send three women’s blouses with long sleeves and collar. Material and color governed by availability. Suggested cotton, white, yellow, red. (2) If electric flatirons with adjustable thermos-controls are available please send one. Ordinary electric irons are obtainable here but none thermo-controlled. (3) You may cancel both dress cloth and cradle cloth orders. They are becoming more common and more reasonable over here. The items that are most sorely lacking now in France are the staples of life such as flour, potatoes, dairy products, etc. Potatoes can be found only by going to the country and carrying them home yourself and the price runs around 6 or 7 cents per pound. Bread, which was un-rationed during the early winter months, is now rationed more stringently than ever and the quality is poorer than it was. In Belgium conditions are much better but prices are startlingly high. And now for the third time I mentioned that the next letter I write will be from England. Dan.”
And that’s the news from your next older brother. Saw Mrs. Ives this week and she asked about you. She has been visiting a friend in Jersey whose husband is dying from cancer and expects to go back there soon. In last week’s letter I neglected to enclose the statement promised so I sent it later in another envelope together with some watercress seeds for the Hopkins’ which I hope will be there when they reached Anchorage.
I suppose, and hope, that by this time you are on the high seas so I will not attempt to send a letter to you at the old address but shall instead take advantage of Aunt Dorothy’s good nature and use her for a temporary post office box, carrying the privilege of reading the mail. We have all been working outside today which has been sunny and fairly warm, tidying up the place to look nice for your homecoming. Dick has even gone so far as to give Smokey a shampoo and haircut. April 3rd we celebrated Lads birthday in a quiet manner just among ourselves at home. We had a treat in the way of beefsteak and Marian of course made a birthday cake which was a humdinger. Business keeps coming in pretty well, and if it weren’t for Lad helping out in his usual, quiet, efficient and neat way, I’d be swamped. Miss Platt (who left Grandpa’s employ to open her own printing shop) told me the other day she now has five employees. A couple of competitors have sprung up but apparently there seems to be business enough for all. Lad and I witnessed a demonstration of a multilith last week and it looks like something we could use. Price about $500. I told the salesman I would do nothing in the matter until your return, secretly hoping you might be able to get one as a veteran from army surplus stock and save several hundred dollars. Oh well, I suppose it will be time enough to talk shop after you have returned and gotten Pacific seaweed combed out of your hair. I am certainly looking forward to a vacation at the Island, however toward the end of the summer. And that’s about the only reason I’ll be glad to see you wither. Until you stumble up our old, stony driveway, I’ll remain your same old
For the rest of the week, I’ll be posting letters from Grandpa to Dan and Paulette and Ced. He won’t bother trying to send a letter to Dave because he should be on his way home, joining his brothers, Lad and Dick, their wives, Grandpa and Aunt Betty. The Trumbull house if filling up again which makes Grandpa very happy.