58: They Don’t Come Any Finer Than Harry.

March 30

Dear Girls,

Letters coming through wonderfully.

Too bad about your show, Gretch–not that it fell through completely, but I could sense the general feeling of it not coming up to expectation. I know–I sure did work myself into the ground on the Hamburg Show[?]–it was technically a flop but I still got a tremendous kick out of doing it. I don’t see why you’re in such a flutter to get a new job–the set up sounds good and you’re liked and appreciated even though the work is a little uninteresting.

I liked John Falter’s “Gramercy” a hell of a lot–his work is very peculiar–quite literal of course, but it is that which makes it interesting, he seems to be interesting in things–in the way objects look to the eye–not in what they mean or how he or anybody else feels about them–and it isn’t a passive reception of the senses transmitted by the eye, either–he goes out and gets the scene–doesn’t wait for it to trickle down through his eyes & out his right hand. Bold aggressive lines, too. I think he’s an artist with an illustratous [sic] viewpoint.[1]

Gretch–from now on you are not making any contributions to Mother’s household expenses. And Mother, you give it back to her up to & including Nov[ember]. I’m making an application for dependency allowance again, and your income from sources other than me is 75 a month. No more. And my contribution has been 90 since Nov[ember]. For some reason they seem to be no longer interested in what your assets are–and on that basis I think I can get it, but it will take time to go through. But remember the figures & dates and go through the motions of returning the 15 per–my 150 is added to the 65 to make 90–the FBI does sometimes investigate and it just is a good idea to be all squared away on the picture.[2]

The enclosed is from Alice.[3] I wrote telling her all the things Harry had done–I knew he would never say anything about it himself–and on the “second page” telling her just how much I envied them their love–what a beautiful thing it was to see. She is a wonderful woman–you both would be as fond of her as I am–and they don’t come any finer than Harry. He’ll be back in the company one of these days I’m sure. He keeps writing and his letters are filled with nothing but how badly he wants to get back to the outfit.[4]


[The enclosed letter:]

March 22

Dear Phil,

It was good of you to write me. I really appreciate knowing more about what happened. Harry has never said much except in praise of his men. I knew he must have done well, and I had head through Dolores that Schech had recommended him for the Silver Star.[5] Don’t think I’m not showing off your letter–the first page, at least–it makes me very proud, but not a little worried. There is such a thing as being too fearless, I imagine. The very thought of what you all went through makes my blood run cold. It was such a relief to know you, and the other few I know, were safe that I wanted to congratulate each of you. I told Harry I’d written Schech and that I wanted to write you too, but I was afraid my enthusiasm would seem a little silly from your end. And Phil, I was pretty proud too of what you said on the second page. Altogether it was a very fine letter, and I’m so grateful for it. The scuttlebutt around So. Laguna has it that you all are on [censored] now; that’s not far from Harry, as you must know. He says he’s getting around fine now, his leg is almost as good as new.[6] I never did know just how badly he was hurt, those details can wait indefinitely as far as I’m concerned–bad enough that he was hurt at all. How is Gene Mundy bearing up after that 8 lb. boy he had recently?[7] And gunner Swallow’s wife had a boy too, on St. Patrick’s Day.[8] Lots of future Marines growing up in So. Laguna these days. It’s wonderful here now; warm and sunny. I take my boys on the beach every day. It doesn’t seem right that it should be so nice here, now that you’re all gone. I’m only sorry, Phil, that you didn’t come up here with us for more weekends–more beer and poker in front of the fire– I do hope we’ll be able to make up for it some time soon. Thanks a lot for that letter Phil–and please take care of yourself.

With love,


[1] Falter’s painting “Gramercy Park” appeared on the cover of the Saturday Evening Post on March 25.
[2] Phil is reprising his role as family tax lawyer, and was probably still working as such for the company.
[3] Alice–last name unknown–was the steady girlfriend of Harry Reynolds, Phil’s close friend and the company executive officer.
[4] Reynolds returned on April 23, 1944.
[5] “Schech” is Captain Irving Schechter, the company commander. “Dolores” may have been his girlfriend at the time.
[6] Harry Reynolds was shot in the leg on February 1, 1944.
[7] 1Lt. Gene Gordon Mundy was the battalion operations officer, and OCS classmate.
[8] Marine Gunner Judson John Swallow was a friend from the First Separate Battalion. At the time, he was serving with the field signal battalion at Camp Pendleton.

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