Search The Archive

Search form

Collection Search
Date: December 4th 1943

DECEMBER 4, 1943

Dear Bernice:

A rainy, and I mean rainy night. We have been expecting the rainy season for months, but now I believe it's really here. Windows rattling, doors banging, rain blowing in last night. Needless to say, I was up many times. My two roommates never heard a sound. We were issued more clothing today, and among the things was the raincoat. Sure came in handy, although it's not a thing of beauty. Very stiff-looks like an old green window blind-perfectly straight and with a hood, which is good. Had another suit issued too. The Army does things in a big way when it does. Took the other suit to a French tailor to be made smaller. Costing me ten dollars. He had quite a bit to do to it, so I guess that is not too bad. We are fortunate to be somewhere where we can get them done. The overcoat is a big bulky thing with a detachable hood. It looks like a gabardine raincoat. When everyone has everything, I will be sending all the blues home. My closet is filled and coat hangers scarce.

Rosie has just put the milk on for cocoa, so I guess at this point I'll quit and eat.
* * *

Right here I will tell you why I don't write on both sides of the paper-because we are not supposed to, so the censor can cut out anything he feels he should. It would spoil the letter on the other side. Also I'll give you Helen and Win's addresses: it's both [Lt. Helen Brown ANC; Lt. Winifred Brown ANC-note these, Eva]: 92nd Evacuation Hospital, APO 926 c/o Post Master, San Francisco, California.

The cocoa hit the spot, along with your cookies. So you see, I opened your box before Xmas. Received it November 21st. As the contents were listed on the outside-I saw it was food and I must open it. I got it at 2:00 p.m., and saved it until the roommates came off. They advised me to open, too. I never saw such a pretty box, really. I just looked and looked, and I felt so guilty then, as I feel sure you wanted me to save it for Xmas Day. The 'revised' poem by Edgar Guest was quite touching. I felt no regrets after I had opened everything, as we three had a wonderful party. They never saw such a box. I want you to know I enjoyed it more than I would opening it along with the others. Each package got special ohs and ahs. This sounds silly, but Rosie gave me a little of her face powder just that day as mine was all. The soap-scrumptious. The boxes so pretty I'll save them to put things in. The lipstick from Nan was so cute too, never saw one done up like that. June's cream I tried this morning-it's lovely, and some of Janis' hairpins are in my grey locks right now. How ever did you think of all those nice things? Now, I said, here is something from Stewart, some joke I suppose, took the tissue off and said 'hairpins!', but surprise to find the gum. Haven't sampled that yet-I'm glad my mates don't like that. I'll save the lobster ('lapster'!) from Mrs. Nodwell for sandwiches tomorrow night. Now for the cookies-I can't express my opinion on them. They just were delicious. Ils sont délicieux. Most of the cookies that have been received have been in crumbs, practically. Of yours, only two were broken, and then just in half. The oatmeals were the tricks. Tonight with our cocoa we had the fruit squares. Rosie voted them the best of all. Thought you were not going to make any fruitcake? That I'm saving-looks good. The 'lassa kisses were the treat for me-boy oh man, were they good! I told the girls I was going to write you the molasses kisses were the best part of the box , and I could just hear you sputter, 'All that money I paid out for that soap and powder, and she likes the molasses candy best.' Those fifty-six cent nuts. The other candy was good too. Kind of Novie-like. It was a good thing I opened it and got the food, as it was perfect, not a bit stale, and probably would have been had I left it. So you can see what fun we had, and the three of us enjoyed it. Rosie had a box of cookies sent to her from a store, and they were all broken, and so stale she had to throw them away

Last evening I was invited to the French teacher's home for dinner. She heard me say I liked turnips, so she had some. They were not cooked like we do them, though. The poor things are rationed, so it's hard to figure out a way to live and what to eat. They had soup, black bread without butter, some meat loaf, with a few pieces of lettuce and pieces of egg. For dessert we had tangerines and figs. They never have any cake or cookies. I took her over four of your fruit cookies, and told her it was a taste from Canada. 'Oh my,' said she, 'I'll put them on for dessert.' I said, 'There isn't enough-it was just a taste for you and your mother.' Her mother was, and still is, a refined English woman who married a French man. She gives English lessons and music. Well, back to the cookies. Madame cut the cookies each in half and put them on the table. There were Madame, her daughter (eighteen), her small boy (ten), her mother, her brother (who is a French soldier), and his wife. The cookies were passed, and all told so good and such a treat. The little boy was sort of playing with his food, including the piece of cookie. All eyes were on him. The French was flying around too fast for me. Then all of a sudden Madame burst into laughter, and had to tell me in English what they were laughing at. It seems she told the little fellow if he wasn't going to eat his cookie to give it to her. He answered, 'I'm sorry, Mummy, but my uncle has already asked me for it.' It was funny, but pathetic. They think you must be a fine cook. They are very fine people and so nice to us Americans, especially me. It's rather nice to get into a home once in a while. They have very little furniture. She told me she sold many things. Her husband is in the French army-was in the war in Tunisia.

Quite a coincidence you hearing your forefather's name being called out in church. I hear my name is on the Honor Roll in church, and also the church has been turned over as an Evangelical one from where they broadcast every day. They have two ministers there. I can't picture it.

You asked what candy rolls are. Yes, they are chocolate, chewy kind, in rolls. Have been anxious to know if Stewart got a moose. Got a letter from DeMille last week. They got my parcel, and she seemed quite delighted with the shopping bag. I hope you have received my parcel by now. It's a far cry from yours. Maybe I'll have next Xmas with you. Must turn in. Have [?] pyjamas on, and sleep with men's cotton socks on. The bed is so cold and damp.

Thanks again. Love to all, and a 'Merry, merry Xmas'.


PS: A menu of our Thanksgiving dinner-it was nice. Sure cut down on us for a while after to make up. Ha!