February 16, 1946
Dear Mudder and Dad,
Well, it’s about 2000 hours Central European Standard Time right now and I’m sitting in the office listening to a symphony program over the radio. I really don’t have a great deal to write about tonight but I never know just when I will get the time so I’d better write now. Today for the first time since I got in this outfit I had a Saturday afternoon off, the reason being that we’re now without a job. We have discharged or transferred the last of our DEF’s and that’s that. There’s a possibility that we may be transferred to the QM department right here rather than move us somewhere else where we will no more than get started before we leave for home. For instance, today we got a replacement. He has 49 points and is due to go into the demobilization pipe-line within about three days. Some stuff.
We have seven men and one officer in our company and all but one EM and the officer will be going home very shortly. That puts everything here in an uproar naturally. The Lieutenant moans from one end of the day to the other that when we leave he’s going to be in one helluva spot. I agree but I’ll be damned if I’ll sign a waiver to stay here just because of that. Don’t get me wrong. He’s not so foolish as to ask any of us to stay.
The mail has started to come in again at a reasonably decent time. The only trouble is that I always get the latest letters first then the older ones follow up. That takes some of the zest out of getting a letter although I’m still very happy to get them.
Today I went to the movies for the first time in a month and saw “The Dolly Sisters” which as far as plot goes was the same old mush. However, I thought the photography was excellent and somewhat made up for the lack of everything else. When I don’t go to a movie for a while I lose all interest in them. For one thing I never know what’s playing so I never think that I’d like to see any of it. That was a brilliant statement. Anyhow- “eigentlich”-
With nothing to do here right now and plenty of men to do it things get pretty boring. I study German a little and have a German girl giving me a little help. I can’t seem to break the wall, however. I believe if I were only made to speak it more I’d be all set. Now I still try to think in English and talk German and that doesn’t work. As a result I can’t seem to expand my vocabulary. All the Krauts tell me that my German is excellent insofar as it goes but it doesn’t go very far. Hans Hauser says that when I stick to simple sentences it is impossible to tell my German from that of a native, but beyond that I begin to slip. I feel now that if I could only enlarge my vocabulary to even that 300 word limit the rest would be easy. I find too that the two years of Latin that I took in school is quite a help. I like the German language very much and even with as little as I’ve picked up I find that it gives an insight into the character of the people. It may sound funny but “Ein Volk, ein Reich, ein Fuhrer has a different-what shall I call it-pattern? than the literal “one people, one realm, one leader.” I don’t know how to explain it but I can sense it. Some things that sound ridiculous in English sound sensible in German. I’m not referring to the quotation above, however.
That’s about all for tonight. The weather report remains the same. The weather stinks. The Jerries have a saying for it which I hear every morning. “Beim wetter kann man sich nur noch betrinken” which means roughly “The only thing you can do in weather like this is go on a toot.” I guess they’ve got something there.