Weds. July 5
Yesterday I wrote you a "censored" letter - just the kind you write me! How do you LIKE it, DARLING - ??? By the way, all your letters have been censored by different men. One of them is named "Snitch" - I'm sure he didn't Snitch on you.
(Gosh, I must be low to make a remark like that!)
Well, I am. It is still raining - the bombs are still flying round me - you are still away - you are still silent, and I still miss you as much as ever.
Did I ever tell you that one of my favorite pastimes is receiving telegrams? The boy on the bicycle - the peremptory ring - the exciting envelope, (yellow, a gay color) - I always feel it heralds something nice. It usually does. Please start sending me telegrams from now on. Send me one the very minute you get this to say - that you are coming up immediately - that you have written to me - and why you didn't come this week-end as planned? Oh, if you don't say you love me, it won't be a real telegram in my opinion.
If one of us doesn't work at this love affair it will fade away.
July 5, 1944
WHEE-EE! Dot vos a bompf. Und dot? another bompf. Three together. Last night there were four. It's making people mad to see nothing about it in the papers. During the Big and Little Blitzes, Londoners got credit for the way they stuck it out and carried on with their work. Now nothing appears but a few vague remarks about "Southern England." New battle cry: There'll always be a Southern England.
Letter resumed after slight catch of breath, I'm not scared any more! Just don't notice them, during the day - too busy, at night they keep me awake, but I read - darn - sew - write to you, and don't even go under the kitchen table any more! We stay in our rooms - to hell with it, we're just too tired to bother any more.
Just read the enclosed article in the evening paper - it is the most sensible comment on them I have read, so far. Tam says a man told him that one of these fly-bombs had been re-constructed at the Ford works. They told the government that they could turn them out for thirty pounds each! I presume this would not include the cost of explosives and mechanisms. It beats losing a crew and bomber costing 300,000 pounds. A shrewd weapon, it really is affecting people's morale. Nobody can get along without sleep, and on the bad nights, one just cannot sleep. Sunday night was hell, although I stayed in my bed and was not even nervous, I dozed with one ear open. Tam says he did the same. In my sleep I heard it's long approach, and as the noise grew nearer I'd waken feeling cross and confused, then came the big bang, and I'd start up - still not realizing what it was, unable to become drowsy again for at least an hour. Nobody is making engagements at night, whenever you don't hear from a friend, or an appointment is broken, you think; "What happened?"
It's really much more serious than it appears - people are curious, interested, not afraid - though they were at first - but their rest is broken and it is sure to affect factory output.
Dearest, I was pleased to read about the possibility of a postgraduate course for you after the war. It is exactly the right thing for you. A man of your unusual brain-power and will-power simply cannot have too much education. It gives you, the chance to read, think and enjoy the leisurely life of a university, which can be so charming. When you said you hoped I'd live with you during your two years at college, I was very touched and happy. I wasn't very responsive at the time, because I was "mad at you" as the children say! (Tell you why in a minute). I hope and believe when the time comes, we will be able to work out some way of being together. We deserve time together to have fun, no bombs to keep us awake, no long gaps like the present one. Let's both hope really hard for this and maybe it will come true.
Do you remember when I said the Russians would be near the border of Germany in 3 months? You said I was optimistic, but I was only one month off! Things are whizzing, now.
Thursday, July 6
Last night was my night off, the next one will be Friday, July 14th. Isn't that your birthday? I hope we can spend it together, try not to be too broke or we won't be able to have a nice celebration! If I don't see you, here's a happy birthday dearest, and many more to come. You'll let me know in time for a plan or two. Shall we have a party at home? Invite some friends?
I was invited to the theater last night, but felt rather bomb-bound, so didn't go. Stayed in alone, writing to you as I have so often. It kept me from being too lonely, and it distracted my mind from the bangs and thuds roundabout. 3 fell in Park Lane raising a big cloud of dust.
By the way, I just had 2 letters from Retter. They were written on the 28th and 29th, but not posted until the 5th! I expected he carried them about in his pocket for a week! One of the envelopes had rather a beat-up look, including a large smear of what appears to be lip-stick - !!! Once posted, they reached me in 24 hours, very good for now. I was mighty glad to hear he was well and safe.
If I had only known in time, I could have gone with you. It's well out of bomb-range! You always begged me to go there with you on a furlough - remember? Well, I hope it is fun, but please don't spoil our re-union next week, the way you spoilt the last two. (This is why I was "mad at you" it was hard on me to have 2 leaves in succession spoilt for the same reason.)
I love you -
July 8, 1944
Was very happy today to get two letters which were more the old "you", than any I've had since May! It was very sweet to see the salutation "Dearest darling" - I've never encountered it before, so it belongs just to me and you.
I'm glad you've missed me darling. I've missed you in a very crushing way - our last time together was so wasted. I wish we had it back again, don't you? Oh, and now something important. I could be free for three days if you can manage it July 31st. through August 2nd. If you like I could go away with you for those 3 days, saying I was somewhere else, or you could come here to the house. The Family will all be away and they don't want to leave me alone in the house for 3 days, with all these bombs hurtling about. If you cannot get here this week, then you must write at once to say what you want - or can - do about it. Let me know at once, otherwise I'll go to stay with friends, but that, too must be arranged. We've only spent one night together. It was such a sweet one, too, wasn't it, darling. We did have another opportunity to be alone, but although I was able to tell you about it, you could not get leave, so that time was wasted.
Owing to the difficulty of communications, the best solution to your London leaves is for you to have a latch-key to this house. Then I would not have to wait in for days on end when I expect you, I just can't spare the time. If you had a key, I'd leave a note for you on the hall table, whenever I went out for a few hours. When you arrived you could go straight to the house (phoning first, of course), and if I was out you could leave a note to say where you were, and when you'd be back. You could dump your coat and bag there, or could utilize the waiting time in shaving or having a bath. The next time you come, I'll have a key for you.
The other night, feeling lonely for you and wanting to do something which would remind me of you, I thought of walking in the park and looking at our little marble balustrade where we stood for a long time watching the swan . . . but that seemed too heart-breaking. So I rang up an old beau and suggested he take me to see Danny Kaye. I expected to be bored, for the usual Goldwyn musical is always cut to the same pattern, but I wasn't bored at all. WHAT a packet of mischief!!! If you hadn't told me he was a Jew, I would not have guessed it. In looks - and voice - he is a well-known Irish type. I have known a number of clever Irish boys who were enough like him to be his brothers. He is frightfully clever and versatile and mobile and is, I think, the most interesting new light-comedy actor since Gene Kelly. (Kelly is Irish, but looks Jewish!) I kept thinking of you, all the time, because you know Kaye and certain things he did and said were reminiscent, the way he said "Gee, you're pretty," to his girl - things like that. He isn't handsome, but is very attractive, lovely golden curls and a dimple! and all that flashing vitality and health and intelligence.
Why isn't he in the army? He must be about your age and you've been in for years. Is it because he has a wife and several "Leetle Ones"? In the U.S. they sob all over you if you are a parent, and say; "There, there, Little Father, shan't go into Nacky Old Army!" In England, when your age group is called up, off you go, and little do they care whether you leave behind eleven mewking and pewling brats and any number of wives and aged Mothers of whom you are the sole support. You are shipped to the Middle East for six years, your squalling brats are evacuated to strangers in the country, your wife is ordered into a munitions factory, your aged mother makes bombers, and aged father joins the Home Guard.
They sure don't know what Total War is in the States.
Us Lucky Ones who are left in Gay, Luxurious London, even though we don't have to work in a factory, don't have much chance of enjoying our carefree days amongst the Fish Queues. Let loose with the faithful shopping-basket amongst the mad gaiety of a market just CRAMMED with lovely stalls overflowing with brussels sprouts, potatoes, carrots and delicious turnips - our enjoyment of these Pleasures is continually being spoilt by Blitz No. 1, lasting one year - Blitz No. 2 lasting 3 months, - and Now Blitz No. 3 lasting indefinitely, and having the advantage of being a continuous performance, of 24 hours a day, non-stop. Yes, and as if we didn't have enough fun with all that (we lucky people!) we are now told that further delights are in store for us! No less than a Super-duper Rocket Bomb carrying ten tons of high explosives and shooting up into the Stratosphere before it falls on our innocent heads.
Ah, London! London with it's sophisticated pleasures, it's Unique Blackout, it's plethora of scintillating entertainment, Glamorous gals, pyramids of Spam - London, we shall never forget You!
How is your hay-fever, dearest? Please go on writing from Scotland - it may take a long time, but they'll reach me, sooner or later. Let me know AT ONCE whether those 3 days of freedom for you and Bubi will be possible. Also, how soon are you coming up for 48 hours?
Heeps and heeps of love - it was lovely hearing from you after so long -
Inspiration comes from the finer men who combat the cruel fanatics. Courage and physical endurance are the most valuable qualities in any race, and we must give them high praise when we see them, for they help the race to endure and live on.
Every situation we enter into must be used in a constructive way, or it is wasted. I despised Dan because he found himself in a situation which made him very unhappy, yet he was not man enough to deal with it constructively. He lost my respect because he did not know what he wanted, or how to get it. His marriage is a mess, too, for exactly the same reasons. I intend to use the Dan situation in a constructive way - in short, to get out of it a very worthwhile friendship with a very intelligent and congenial person, whose bright charm and sweet nature makes him ideal as a friend. I wouldn't marry him or any man of that vacillating nature.
You may comment on the above paragraph: "Why does she carry on with the situation of Bubi and Gerry, it cannot be solved in any constructive way? Shouldn't she drop it, and me, I only make her unhappy - and never do anything to change her life for the better, I never lift any of her burdens?"
That is a good question.
I will write again during the week-end, and will tell you about the party I gave for you, and who came, and what we had to eat and drink.
Yesterday I wrote to acknowledge your two letters which told me that you think you can be with me on the 31st, 1st, and 2nd oh, that's lovely! but it seems so very far off. I am not counting on it too much, the past 3 weeks have consisted in nothing but changes of plan for you - and it may happen again.
I was so sure you'd come this week, but -
I think we had best spend the time at home in London - you will enjoy your brief holiday, home is so much more comfortable than any hotel. We actually have some coke, at last, so plenty of baths! If the weather happens to be hot we can spend hours on the porch - have lunch and tea out there, or in the garden; you only need to wear a pair of khaki shorts, nothing else. I can lend you a pair of F's open sandals. As to going to the theatre, out of 36 shows, only 10 are left! All the others thought business would be too bad with the bombs, so they went on tour, or are doing camp shows. I daresay we can find one or two - you haven't seen.
I'd like to go away and rest from the thumps and thuds, but I would hate travelling under the present conditions. Holidays, evacuees, and troop movements have demoralized the train service, and hotels are so full that one would have to book months in advance. I heard today that a friend, trying to get home, 90 miles from London, started at noon and did not get there until midnight! He stood in queues for 5 hours for a train, succeed in getting on the last one which took six hours with 4 changes - then took a taxi, which he shared with 8 people, for the last 10 miles!
Bubi is not strong enough to put in a day like that. If London is banned to you I'll have to meet you at Cambridge, or anywhere you find accommodations, but we'll plan for London. If there is any change of dates at my end, I'll let you know at once, by letter - I do not anticipate any. We can settle the time of your arrival later. Allow for the difficulty of getting to London on Monday, as the week-enders will be coming back. If you could get a lift in an army lorry, or car, you'd be independent of trains.
Yesterday I heard the postman drop your letter in the box at 7:30 in the morning and felt very excited and leapt back into bed to read it, curled up among the pillows. It was like the letters you use to write, when you had so much to tell. A letter was never long enough, you had to write yet another the same day, and still another that night!
Darling, I loved it. Letters like that can only be written when one is in the mood - a mood of charged and pent- up emotions. It was so vividly and freely romantic and exciting! If I had been a man, I would have had an erection while I read it - I did have the feminine equivalent of one!
Last night, at two A.M., I was all steamed up to write you a red-hot love letter - but was rudely interrupted! The bombs began to fall in a business-like manner. There was an appalling noise, and the earth DID move - though not at all in the way I had planned writing you about! It was rather like an earthquake, with the bed heaving about until I got seasick.
First the damn bombs interfere with our love-life, and now even with our love-letters! Those wretched Germans! All I hope is, that if we are going to get a bomb on this house, it will not fall on us until AFTER you and I have had our three days together. We never have had a honeymoon.
Attempts to answer your last two letters were continually interrupted by bombs, work, and humdrum duties, they were
disconnected, not expressing the pleasure I felt at reading your candid description of your feelings about me. I was pleased and touched. You said these last few months have been terribly hard for you - not seeing me - not being with me sexually. Yes, dearest, I know how hard it must be for such a young man to lead a celibate life, worst of all, to be madly in love and bursting with passion which cannot find it's true outlet. It's damned hard. It has been just as hard for me, darling - in a different way. I'm not a young man, so my passions are more easily controlled. But these months have been . . .well, desolate is the best word.
I discovered what missing a person could mean . . .
The nights I cried for hours - slept a little, uneasily - and waked to days without color or shape. Days and weeks without hope. Morning after morning, emptiness and loneliness outside my imagination. I relieved my pent-up feelings by writing you long letters, scribbled at a furious rate, blinded by raging hot tears while I wrote. These letters are the mute witnesses of the more than 60 days I lived through, struggled through somehow. For all I knew prohibition on leaves might have lasted until you were shipped out of England.
My strength was the feeling I had that you loved me as much as I loved you. You promised, when the war was over, you'd come to me, no matter where you were. I knew you meant this. So there I was, parted from the man I loved, and who loved me. Parted by only a few miles, yet unable to meet, telephone, telegraph, or even get letters quickly. BUT! The important thing was; the man I loved was still alive, not injured, not ill - and he loved me. So those sad, sad days, were connected with that one golden thread which glittered brightly, he loved me.
THEN! like a flash of lightning I began to doubt your love. The long separation - the stiff little letters - the long silences when there were no letters - made me wonder. Our meeting in Cambridge, I went there full of gay confidence, having put my doubts aside as silly - I came back convinced that you had changed. It was borne out by a hundred small incidents - The other women - the last two leaves when I was not in your thoughts. If I had been unhappy before, now my whole being was flooded with a pitch-hued melancholy.
I tried to tell you something of this, but you were bored, you wouldn't listen. I made up my mind that you were taking me for granted to such an extent - and for so long - that you did not VALUE my love any more. If you had not come back that morning, and if you had not written this long letter in which you try to make me see how much I mean to you, I would very politely, and without any resentment, or indignation, have drawn away from you. Though I would not have lost my pleasure in your comradeship, nor my admiration for your qualities of character which I respect. Darling, I would have withdrawn the devoted love which was no longer really wanted.
I'm not the type of woman who makes scenes and says: "You don't love me any more!" or the kind that retorts: "Two can play at that game!" when a man's infidelities become numerous. Any intelligent woman knows that when a man has ceased to be "in love", why, the only thing to do - if the man means a lot to you - is to forget about passion, and try to salvage a good and lasting friendship out of it all. I do not want you to think of me as - shall we say - your mistress, or your lover, or your very best "sleep", or your friend, or any particular relationship - I want you to think of me as - just yours.
Your very own