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Archive for the ‘Feb 1945’ Category

Sounds like they’re working him pretty hard from these two letters. Not sure exactly what he’s doing, but it sounds like he’s probably still helping get all the papers organized as he mentioned in his last few letters. I was amazed by his comment in the first letter that his mom (my grandma Zoe) was given a rating of “A” as a welder – then he mentions that she’s close to 60!! My memories of my grandma were certainly of a feisty little old lady who loved to bowl, but hard to imagine her as a welder! This conjures up those images I remember of the women working in the factories during the war!

26 FEB 1945 V=MAIL
HOLLAND

GOOD EVENING, MY DARLING, I HAVE A LETTER OF YOURS OF FEB 8TH KICKING AROUND SOMEWHERE, BUT I’M TOO DARN TIRED TO GET IT OUT TO ANSWER. WILL DO IT THE NEXT TIME. IT IS NOW 10:30 PM AND I’VE JUST FINISHED CLEANING STUFF UP SO THAT THE MESSENGERS WILL HAVE IT ALL READY TO TAKE OUT THE FIRST THING IN THE MORNING, AND I’M MORE THAN READY TO HIT THAT OL’ SACK, BUT I FIGURE FIRST, I MUST WRITE MY HONEY…RECEIVED MOM’S BOX OF FUDGE YESTERDAY WITH THE BLACK WALNUT FILLING, AND MY GOSH IT’S GOOD!! SHE GOT YOUR LETTER ABOUT SENDING THE BRACELET AND AWAITS IT ANXIOUSLY. SHE’S BEEN GIVEN AN “A” RATING AS A WELDER, BUT THINKS THAT SHE IS GOING TO QUIT WORK IN MARCH ANYWAY. AFTER ALL, SHE IS GETTING ON AROUND SIXTY.

DIDN’T GET OUT TO GET MY BEER LAST NIGHT AFTER ALL. AS USUAL, A DOZEN LITTLE THINGS CAME UP THAT NEEDED TENDING (AS DON’T THEY ALWAYS). THE FIREMAN’S (OF THE BLDG HERE) WIFE IS DOING OUR LAUNDRY (FOR CANDY, CIGARETTES, GUM, SOAP, ETC) AND IT IS A GREAT TREAT TO GET STUFF BACK REALLY CLEAN AND PRESSED FOR A CHANGE. THE QM LAUNDRY WAS BETTER THAN NOTHING (OR DOING IT YOURSELF) BUT OUR STUFF HAD TAKEN ON A DECIDED TATTLE TALE GREY, OR WORSE.

DOGGONE IT, SWEETHEART, THIS IS A DULL LETTER, BUT I’M A PRETTY DULL CHARACTER MYSELF ABOUT NOW. AND YOU SHOULD SEE ME WHEN I GET UP COME 6:15 AM!! OH, ME, WHAT A THOUGHT. SO, I GO. BUT NOT BEFORE I ATTEMPT TO TELL YOU HOW MUCH I MISS, AND LOVE YOU AND KAREN,
YOUR POOPED PAPPY

28 FEB 1945 V-MAIL
HOLLAND

GOOD EVENING, MY DARLING, GOT FIVE SWELL LETTERS TODAY, INCLUDING THE ONE FROM YOUR MOTHER IN BASTON, AND YOUR V-MAIL OF FEB 10TH AND AIR MAIL OF FEB 13TH. WHICH WOULD MAKE IT SEEM THAT AIRMAIL IS NOW COMING THRU FASTER. BUT I LOVE ‘EM NO MATTR HOW THEY COME. PARTICULARLY WHEN THEY’RE LIKE THE ONE TELLING ABOUT KAREN’S SENSE OF HUMOR. I WAS PRACTICALLY ROLLING ON THE FLOOR ABOUT HER “MISS MARY” EPISODE, AND GOLLY HOW I’D LOVE TO HEAR HER SAY HER PRAYERS. SHE SOUNDS AS THOUGH SHE’LL NEED A BIT OF WATCHING OR SHE’LL TURN INTO ONE OF THESE PRECOCIOUS PRODIGIES, BUT, GOSH, WHAT A GAL!!

HAD A LETTER FROM FREDDIE AND HE WAS ONE WEEK INTO DIRECTING (FULL TIME) HIS FIRST PICTURE. SURE WOULD LIKE TO SEE HIM MAKE A BIG SUCCESS OUT OF THE DEAL, FOR BOTH OUR SAKES. YOUR MOTHER INFORMS ME (AND ON YOU) THAT YOU GUYS AIN’T AS FAT AS YOU MIGHT BE. NOW, LIKE I TOL’ YA’ – – – –

WENT TO SEE A GI SHOW (THAT WAS QUITE GOOD) WITH “MANHATTAN MELODY” (A PICTURE) THROWN IN. VERY GOOD EVENINGS ENTERTAINMENT, EXCEPT THAT WE DIDN’T GET BACK UNTIL TEN, AND THEN HAD A STACK OF PAPERS TO SHUFFLE AROUND, SO IT IS NOW 11:30 AND, OH, ME 6:15 AM COMES AWFULLY EARLY!!!

I’M MOST ANXIOUS TO GET THE NEW PICTURES OF YOU GUYS. I JUST SIT AND GAZE AT THE ONES I HAVE ON MY DESK A HUNDRED TIMES A DAY AND WISH THAT I COULD PICK YOU BOTH UP AND CARRY YOU AROUND WITH ME. WEATHER HAS BEEN FINE. WAR NEWS IS FINE. JOB IS FINE. I’M FINE. BUT, SOMEHOW, I JUST KEEP WISHING I WAS HOME **** WITH YOU AND LITTLE CUTIE PANTS, ALL MY LOVE, “IN THE ARMY” ROLLIE

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In his second letter, Dad outlines more of what’s going on in the war, with the continued hope, of course, that’s it’s coming near the end! “OUR BOYS ARE FINALLY ACROSS THE ROER AND ON THE WAY.” I did some research on the net and found several links to what was going on during this time period in Holland http://51hd.co.uk/history/reichswald and Germany http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Blackcock. I am continually struck by the complexity and the number of men and operations that were going on simultaneously during the war. My Father’s story is one person’s account, one window on the war.

Area of Operations - Reichswald

21 Feb 1945 V-Mail
Holland

Good Evening, Baby – Ah’m still at it! Had my first break last night when the Adjutant (Capt. actually in charge of us men in the Hq. Detachment) insisted we break off and take in a movie – “Saratoga Trunk” – which we did & enjoyed very much. Oh, that Ingrid Bergman! But paid for it by working until 11 PM. We rise at 6:15 AM, and have been scrubbing floors & cleaning the place from top to bottom every morning before eight – but today a Dutchman was hired to do same, so now we’ll only have to clean around our own bunks! ‘S wonderful! We’ve been issued an extra set of D.D’s (which we wear exclusively now) and we shave each day – our DD’s are pressed – regular garrison soldiers! It’s really swell.    I have a glass top on my desk & have put the best of your & Karen’s pictures under it where I see them hundreds of times a day. Everyone says what a swell looking family, but the favorite, of course, is my favorite “pin-up” of Karen! Gosh – but I miss you guys – you know I love you sump’ in terrible – no? YES! Pappy

24 FEB 1945 V-MAIL
HOLLAND (TYPED)

GOOD EVENING, MY VERY DARLING. YOU CAN SEE THAT I’M BACK IN A BIG HEADQUARTERS AGAIN ***TYPEWRITER, SILLY. HAVEN’T HAD ANY MAIL FOR TWO OR THREE DAYS, BUT NEITHER HAS ANYONE ELSE, SO GUESS THAT THE BOYS ARE GETTING AMMO AND SUPPLIES, WHICH, IF SO, IS ALL RIGHT BY ME. IN LOOKING THRU MY UNANSWERED CORRESPONDENCE TONIGHT I DISCOVERED A COUPLE OF LETTERS FROM MOM THAT I HADN’T EVEN OPENED YET!!! WE ARE FAIRLY WELL SETTLED DOWN NOW. WE MAY EVEN TAKE AN EVENING OFF TOMORROW AND GO OUT AND HAVE A FEW BEERS (OR WHAT WE LAUGHINGLY REFER TO AS BEER OVER HERE ***GOLLY, BUT IT IS GOING TO BE WONDERFUL TO SIT AROUND AT HOME AND DRINK SOME GOOD OL’ PABST OR BALLANTINES, ETC. AGAIN!) WELL, THE PAPERS SAY THAT OUR BOYS ARE FINALLY ACROSS THE ROER AND ON THE WAY. WE KNEW IT WAS COMING, OF COURSE, BY THE WAY THE STUFF WAS ROLLING ON THE ROADS. I WENT UP TO MY OLD BN A FEW DAYS AGO TO COPY AN INDEX CARD SYSTEM ON MEMOS, CIRCULARS, BULLETINS AND SO ON, AND DARN NEAR CHOAKED ON THE DUST ON THE ROADS. HUGE TRUCK AND TRAILERS WITH BRIDGE BUILDING EQUIPMENT, TANKS, EVERYTHING IMAGINABLE. QUITE A SIGHT. WE COULD HEAR THE ARTILLERY BARRAGE CLEAR BACK HERE, AND THE PLANES CAME OVER BY THE HOUR. STILL NOT LIKE BEFORE ST. LO, THOUGH, AT LEAST AS FAR AS WE WERE CONCERNED.   HAD A LETTER FROM MOM SAYING THAT SHE HAD HEARD FROM YOU. SHE WAS VERY PLEASED TO HEAR FROM YOU, AND SUGGESTED THAT SHE WISHED YOU COULD TAKE A PICTURE OF KAREN IN THE SUIT THAT SHE SENT KAREN AND SEND IT ON TO ME. S’POSE YOU COULD DO? DAD IS HOME AGAIN NOW, AND ANXIOUS TO GET TO WORK, BUT RENE IS HOLDING HIM DOWN AS LONG AS POSSIBLE.

I’M STILL PLENTY POOPED FROM LACK OF SLEEP AND THE GRINDING DAYS, BUT VERY PLEASED WITH THE JOB I’VE DONE IN GETTING THIS THING GOING. I ACTUALLY HAD TIME TONIGHT TO GO OVER AND TAKE A LENGTHY SHOWER, SO FEEL MUCH BETTER. WE HOPE TO GET THINGS WELL ENOUGH ORGANIZED SOON SO THAT WE CAN AT LEAST PLAN WHEN THINGS ARE GOING TO BE DUE IN SO THAT WE DON’T HAVE TO BE TIED DOWN HERE ALL THE TIME.

I HAVE SO DARN MANY LETTERS TO WRITE TO TELL PEOPLE WHERE I AM THAT I HATE TO THINK ABOUT IT. I OWE LETTERS TO PRACTICALLY EVERYBODY, INCLUDING YOUR MOTHER AND AD, WHOM I’LL GET AROUND TO AS SOON AS I CAN. OH, YES, ALSO ELLEN.

NO NEWS AGAIN, MY DARLING, EXCEPT THAT I LOVE YOU TO BEAT ALL GET OUT, AND GET MORE IMPATIENT TO GET HOME EVERY DAY. SAY HELLO TO MERCEDES AND DOLORES FOR ME. BIG HUGS AND KISSES TO YOU AND O’ MIZZ K…. YOU KNOW WHO  PAPPY

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It appears that Dad has finally found a job he’s really excited about and refers to himself at the end of the second letter as having been given the distinction of “Message Center Chief”! This must have made him very happy! He has been given the job of sorting through reams of secret documents and says he doesn’t even know what’s going on in the war, as he’s been working too hard to read the paper!

Letter 15 Feb 1945
Holland

Helloo, baby – oh me – am I ever pooped! We’ve been going crazy all day! Getting an outfit organized from scratch is a rugged deal. But we’re getting everything straightened out gradually. The fact that we have a swell bunch of officers & men helps immensely. Our ego was greatly swelled when the adjutant, in a meeting mentioned that we are all”hand picked” from several choices. It seems strange to be back here only a block from where I was four months ago. Remember the place I told you about the gymnasium?

I have a letter from your Dad, and 3 or 4 from Mom and Dad to answer, but they’ll have to wait. I’m simply too fagged. One of the message center chief’s jobs here is supervising the filing – so (all the men are not here yet) having no one to tell to do it, I’m setting up the files, using the Dewey decimal system (see your librarian). I had a pile of letters, circulars, bulletins, memos, etc a foot high to be sorted – and nothing to sort ’em into. but – like I say, we’re getting it all straightened out. I sure do love ya, darling, Rollie

18 Feb 1945 V-Mail
Holland

Hello, Cutie – Cripes, I’m pooped! We’re really putting in the work & hours! Reminds me of when we organized the company to come overseas. Started going at 7:30 this morning, right after breakfast and aside from breaks for chow, haven’t stopped until now (9:30 PM) Besides message center (which is surviving pretty smoothly now) I’m handling the secret documents (which is a pretty responsible job) and getting all of them straightened out and setting up a way of registering them and all is quite a job. The better I get to know the officers and the men better I like them. Much more intelligent than any bunch I’ve been with since Basic days. We have a great many things in common to talk & argue about. This is a very good deal in a great many ways, in spite of the fact that I’m working a lot harder than I have in a long time. There isn’t the slightest bit of news aside from that. I just barely know what’s going on with the war – only time to glance at S& S – don’t know what day of the week it is – but today (after 9 months of wrangling to get one!) I was simply handed a Waltham wrist watch!! (for Msg. Center Chief). Of course, I’ll always love you & Miss K
Pappy

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