70: All Tangled Up In Memories.

22 May

Dear Girls,

Your letters have been swell–especially your last, Gretch, recalling the old days. It’s hard, very hard to realize that out memories go back almost twenty years now–and we are grown up. Childhood is now gone, we are quite mature, and I don’t like it.

As you say, we have so many memories to share, and somehow most all of them are happy. Or at least even memories of happiness seem pleasant to recall. The only part I don’t like to think about, as you said, was that stretch of a couple of years at 200–for some reason, adolescence I guess, I remember being perpetually nasty to all of the family.[1] Not knowing why I did it, but doing it nonetheless. Long arguments with Mother, lectures by Daddy and teasing you–and worst of all the sitting alone afterward worrying–wondering why I did it and whether I was going to be that way always. Those were not happy days, but all that went before was, and what came after, the sunny little place at 120 Park and getting to know you after you had grown up.[2]

I got all tangled up in memories last night, went out for air and before I knew it it was one and I had been sitting out there for a couple of hours, watching the moon coquet with darkness.

We have been having a good time lately–quite a bit of liberty in the Big Town and most of the rest of the time athletics, recreation, fights–we have a bunch of good prizefighters in the outfit, and it has become the most popular thing here–I never saw a fight before I got in the outfit, but now I like it.[3]

Our chow has taken a radical turn for the better–I’m almost ashamed to say that we have had fresh, rare, delicious roast beef twice this week, steak once, chicken, lamb chops, etc. We have always had two full meat meals a day–all the eggs, etc that we want for breakfast. Though rationing has been slacked off, I imagine prices are still high, stuff unavailable.

I am writing to Stew telling him to go ahead if he thinks there is anything to it.[4] I’m not crazy about it though, really. I thought it was a good letter, accomplished what I intended, but not a complete article. I could do a lot better, I really could. This was just a set of notes, more or less. Next time I’ll do a full dress one.[5]

I’m worried about this sickness Gretch–probably too much work running around & worry, Ellis included. Try not to take things like that too seriously, Sis–and you’re not fully recovered from last fall yet, that was a heavy drain on your [system?] and it will take a long time to get all squared away. Try and let some of the emotion of the times bounce off you, ride it, don’t commit your reserves until you have felt out the enemy strength with your front line.[6]

I am very glad about the estate Mother–that should come just about the time when you need it most. How did they manage to sell them all so suddenly? When I talked to Fred last fall he seemed gloomy about the prospects.[7]

A .45 revolver would be quite alright, Mother–that was what Jack was talking about.[8] An automatic would be better, but either will do.

Thank you all for the cookies–they were delicious–they didn’t last long either.

Lots of love,


[1] “at 200” – childhood home at 200 Old Broadway, Hastings-on-Hudson, NY.
[2] “120 Park”–probably their Manhattan residence, 120 East 19th Street, off Gramercy Park.
[3] Informal boxing events, called “smokers” in Marine parlance.
[4] Author and editor Stewart Taft Beach, a family friend. “Stew” provided a character recommendation for Phil to join OCS in 1942.
[5] Referring to publishing his letter of 2 April.
[6] Gretchen discovered, much to her surprise, that Ellis Loree was married. Shortly after this letter, Loree headed overseas with the Army Air Corps and flew over Europe as a bombardier with the 464th Bomb Group.
[7] Reference unknown.
[8] Probably Jack Zissner, of the neighboring Zissners.

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