Friday, September 4, 2009

Same Story, Different War (1)

In the not too distant past, a friend of mine found himself helping another friend (and family) clear out a cluttered apartment. The older gentleman who resided there had recently died, and they were making an effort to toss out what they felt had no value, and store what they considered important. Among the items they deemed useless was a stack of letters.

Arthur, the recently deceased and an Army Private First Class, had written these notes to his parents while he was in Europe during World War II. His family, tragically, had no interest in them, so my friend salvaged them from the trash and has held onto them since. The below letter is Arthur’s, a piece of history now more than sixty-three years old. How unfortunate that it was deemed garbage.
21 March 1946
Burtzbach [Germany]

Dear Mom and Dad,

Well, as they have just said on the radio, today is the first day of spring and that means (to me) that I should be home in approximately three months from now; so, I’m feeling pretty good… That doesn’t seem long compared to the time I have been over here.

The last two days have been very nice and it’s so quiet around here that sometimes it seems as if I were back home. But I soon wake up from my reverie and realize that it’s not so; and so, I get busy doing something to pass the time and bring the day that I go home a little closer.

Did you know that I’m not working as a switchboard operator? Well, that’s right! I took the job because it gives me time to read and also because you’re not bothered by the “rank” as much. That’s what I like.

I’m fine and I hope that everyone at home is the same.

As usual, the mail service over here is not good. I haven’t had a letter from home on over three weeks but I suppose that it’s the same with everyone.

I received Jean’s Christmas package about a month ago. I thank her very much for it.

I haven’t had any more nose bleeds since the last time I wrote you. It must be due to the lack of something but I don’t know what.

I inquired about my war-bonds and the personnel sergeant said that you received the bonds as long as I get paid over here and that has been mighty irregular. But maybe you’ll be getting one soon.

I have finished my study of the typewriter as I no longer have one to practice on.

I’m enclosing a few pictures. The one that has been cut in half is a picture of the windowless and, in some rooms, roofless house that we stayed in when we first hit Germany (excuse the slang, please). I cut it in two because the bottom half contained a very unflattering picture of Walter _____ and myself in our “ten minute young” butch haircuts; I have burnt that half!

Well, the other pictures will be self explanatory; so, with hopes of being home on the 4th of July,

Ever your devoted son;


P.S. And although it’s a little late for this, “”HAPPY ANNIVERSARY” to the best parents in the WORLD! Arthur

P.S.1 These envelopes were typed in Epernay [France]. NOTE THE NEW A.P.O!

Thanks to JH for letting me read and share this letter.

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