Thursday, Jan. 27
It was rather a lonely day, with no letter from Gerry. I know you were on duty yesterday. I hope you spend at least 24 hours catching up on the sleep you badly need. Your fond and doting Mum wishes you would try not to drive yourself so hard - lack of sleep causes poisons in the blood and will give you bumps on the face and other tiresome ailments. In time the tum becomes disorganized and doesn't assimilate food properly.
I sent you a short note to say that everything had gone off all right, so you wouldn't worry. All is calm on the West End Front. Lying in bed last night, I re-lived your visit, like a flashback in the movies. You coming in the door, dirty, bearded and dead beat - a few peaceful splashes from the bathroom - you in your flying-suit, rosy, already relaxed and happy - that delicious spaghetti dinner - then upstairs. Me tied up in pink chiffon and blue ribbons, I was like a Christmas package in its tinsel and spotless tissue one rips off impatiently to see what's inside! Talking and kissing and fire- light and the hours flowing over us, then somehow it was dark - the wonderful feeling I had resting in the curve of your body, so refreshed and renewed. It was a lovely night, our sweetest of all.
When you told me what happened in the cab, I couldn't believe it. It was so uncalled for, so needlessly cruel. There is no crime like the crime of stupidity. I ached for you; I could never do enough to make up for having things like that happen. It must be ghastly to belong to a persecuted minority. The Jew is better off in England and less persecuted here than anywhere, so it came as a great surprise to me. Of course, it was an American who did it, not an Englishman. I am glad I was here, and could put my arms around you, and hold you tight and love you hard. You have me when things happen like that, or when you've lost a buddy. How we do love each other, my darling.
Friday, Jan 28
Enclosed a clipping about a play done in Yiddish down in the Jewish quarter. Do you think it would amuse you to see it? It sounds rather fun. I never saw a Yiddish play; let's go if we can get there, I expect it is miles away!
This morning I went for your watch, which has a nice new crystal, there seems to be something wrong with the works, I shake it every now and then but it only goes a few seconds and stops. I shall take it back to the same man tomorrow and have him vet it. I also tried to get the Spencer book at my library but they did not have it, so I am going to try Foyles, the big second-hand bookshop.
Next Wednesday I am dining out with T's immediate boss, one of the Van den Burghs. The next night, Feb. 3, is T's birthday, so don't come on either day. After that I seem to be more or less free. The way I miss you is a cold wind, which chills me.
Saturday, Jan. 29
My precious, when I read two of your letters that arrived today, I was so upset I cried over them. (They were undated, but I guess they were written Jan. 27 and 28.)
Darling, it was terribly stupid of me, I had no idea, when you left the house Tuesday night, you were in such a nervous distressed condition and that you had to walk about in the Blackout, miserable and lonely. I did not worry about you, because we had had such a perfect 26 hours. I thought you would go straight to sleep at the Victory, when you left me. I figured you would get about 8 hours sleep before your train. Had I known that you were roaming about London, in one of your "states", I would have been beside myself with anxiety. It's lucky I did not know there was absolutely nothing I could have done about it.
Oh, Gerry, my sweet darling, why didn't you come back to me. I am always here, waiting for you. If you had come back at midnight, or later, and flashed your torch into my window, or tapped on it from the steps, I would have come down to talk for a while, quite safely, it would have calmed you down, it always does. Please, Gerry, always do this when you need me. Promise?
Later: Thinking it over, we were very lucky. If I had not decided to dine home, instead of out somewhere, we'd have walked in after 11 PM, not knowing he was in. If he had not decided to ring me up - if, if, if. We have been lucky on so many occasions, only fools push their luck too far. You're right, when you say we must not go on running these foolish risks. I'm stumped! What to do? Hotels are so crammed, perhaps a solution would be to take an empty room and furnish it with some of the spare things from this house? When next you come up, we'll talk it over.
After you left, I went through the house like a dose of salts. I whizzed upstairs to inspect the upper bathroom and spotted the ration-card, (used it this week too) whisked socks, undies, hankies, etc. into the bottom of the wash-basket, quickly rinsed the dishes, The whole place was as tidy as a bank when he arrived. (The magazines, I said, I'd brought home from the club.) THIS DAMN WAR! It has gone on for centuries of utter boredom pierced by flashes of terrible danger.
Talk about giving war-ribbons, what about a ribbon for standing in fish-queues in Bermondsey for 4 years? What about London having had it's 700th alert last night? And what about us? Our love affair has taken such a beating from blackout, lack of food and places to go, no fun except what we find in ourselves, no privacy, and no taxis - it is a bloody miracle it has managed to live at all.
"Damn it all -I'm through - finished - this is too much", it frightened me to read that. I have some hope while we are alive, we can meet, we can write and sometimes telephone. Your suggestion, that we give up all sexual relations, doesn't appeal to me at all! Quite apart from the fact that I love you in ALL ways I won't give THAT up for a more important reason. If you did not have me to sleep with, you would sleep with other women. It would be disappointing and "ordinary" compared to the heavenly sweetness and cleanliness of our passion - but it would be normal and necessary for you. In regard to "sleeping about", you have been promiscuous to a degree which frightens. Perhaps your unusually strong physique helped, but if I knew you got a dose, I wouldn't go near you (believe me, I wouldn't) - and that would kill me. That MUST NOT happen. - Giving up our sex-life is OUT. But now it is very late and I must sleep a little before it's time to get up.
Monday, Jan. 31, '44
Dear Love, Tomorrow is our five month anniversary here's a GREAT SMACKING KISS to mark the event. Shicksa received five letters from you today, I am so glad your spirits are up again. We won't let these terrible conditions depress us, will we?
I like your Design for Living. It sounds a gay life, full of ice-cream, twin telephones and typewriters. But why am I not to have a lock on my door? Hang it all, you always lock me out of the bathroom! So I will never have to do any housework? Hmm, I wonder how it will get done. And what about my super cooking? Surely, you will wish to avail yourself of that talent? Don't think just anybody can cook like me, it has to be born in you, like dance-rhythm - you can't learn it. The twin checking accounts are O.K. Because, as I've had my own bank account since the age of eleven, it would feel rather strange not to have one at this late date!
There are only 2 things I disagree with in your Design for Living. I DON'T want to have an occasional affair. If I could have you with me, if I had the wealth of your nature to draw on, all your passion and strength, there wouldn't be room to cram another man into my life. I'd be the fool of all the ages if I risked losing you by having a trivial "affair", now, or if we were married. What we have is real. You understand so well that all the others were rehearsals for Gerry, ways of passing the time because I had not found what I wanted. Now, I have, and I want no other man, no other life than life with, or near you, no other loyalties but our loyalty, the You- Me against the world.
The other thing, you say: "We wouldn't be nice to each other's friends if we didn't want to." Well, darling, if you took me back with you to New York (Oh! what a heavenly thought!) and I met all your friends, I'd like them very much. Every close friend has given us a lot of things that one's sweetheart knows nothing about. There are things in the past, obligations, adventures shared, or danger, and those all add up to a very special kind of loyalty. Never would I be such a tactless fool to give the slightest hint that I didn't like a friend of yours. I'd try my best to make them like me so you'd be proud of me. Believe me, darling, that is the right attitude. Of course, if, after a very long period, I discovered that some friend of yours was definitely anti-me, or was chiseling, or being mean in some way, well, I'd tell you and ask for your help.
I adore the plan of going to Katz's Kosher Kosy Korner and eating Kreplach and Pirogin served by the waiter who spits in your soup. Please, darling, write at once and tell me what are Kreplach and Pirogin. Bortsch with sour cream, I know, also pancakes stuffed with caviar and sour cream (alternatively smoked salmon in them). After four and a half years without any, I would be so overcome at seeing CREAM of any kind that it could be sour, sweet, or even curdled! Gosh, aren't I a lucky one to know a man who can take me to K's Kosy Korner! We'll go there when the cook (me) wants a night off. But if Goyim are not allowed, how are you going to smuggle me in? I fear my wee nose doesn't look quite right. Perhaps a wig and lots of enormous diamonds would help.
If we were married, we'd remember anniversaries and birthdays, and write each other little notes pushed under the door from one room to another, and flowers and presents, because it's the little things of daily life which, when done thoughtfully and gracefully, make life worth living. Ah' my darling! I realize my folly in thinking about all the sweet and funny things you and I could do together. . . I can dream, can't I? Maybe I'll see you in another week. That's not so long, when you feel sure it's going to happen. (Remember to bring back T's torch, as he's been hunting for it! I said I'd left it somewhere but couldn't quite remember where.) You are the sweetest dearest person in my world.
January 27-31 1944