DMH Spotlight - Warrant Officer Carl Henry's letters, February 15-21, 1945 Back

 

"Somehwere in Luxemburg- February 15, 1945:...I dispatched to you a cable, to your Hollywood[FL] address....the thought that you are really enjoying yourself is the thought I most desire to think these days. Please don't have any guilty feelings about being there while I am over here....I believe we have hashed that point out several times before.

 

After finishing my leter to you last night, I thought the boys were getting just a little too bored here lately and therefore suggested a card game. Nobody knew the game of hearts, but I explained the game to them, and we had a really enjoyable hour and a half until the lights went out.

 

Another very fair day and warm- just like yesterday- very unusual weather. Good hunting weather, as we say over here.

 

This morning we had a little variation from the usual routine. One of the cows belonging to the family gave birth to a calf, and, while the birth was a very easy one for her, nevertheless the cow needed a little help. The farmer asked three or four of us to give him a hand with the rope, which we did. It is the first time that most of us, including myself, have ever seen an animal born, and it was of exceeding interest.

 

We are beginning to get a little news on the Big Three [Yalta] conference now, but not enough ...If you see any good articles on the conference, clip them out and send them to me..

 

Tell me, darling, is Dr. Hitzig [one of Edith's closest chums from youth to death] happily married? Have you met his wife? Are they separated? I'm afraid it doesn't make much sense to me..".

 

   

 


Attempting to put an end to the family feud that has been going on with his parents:"Somehwere in Luxemburg, 16 February 1945

"Dear Folks,Recently I received a letter from Emilie which threw some light on the inexplicable lack of letters from you for the last six months. In this letter, Emilie claimed that, because of a letter I wrote you last August, you were hurt and confused....It should have been clear to you that I had no intention of "doswning' you, as Emilie so quaintly puts it. I continued to write regularly....I still continued to send cables and sought in letter to Gpa, Edith, and even to yourselves i, in the case of Ingwiller ([his father's home toem in Alsace through which they passed during the battle of the Bulge] to give you the opportunity to recommence writing....as my parents, I feel that you should have been big enough to be willing to overlook one letter such as that. Perhaps, you should have reasoned, that letter was written by Carl under the stress of unusual conditions. Perhaps Carl is right in what he says, and we, for once, have made a mistake. perhaps Carl is wrong, but he is our son, he is overseas, he is making sacrifices above and beyond any ever asked of us- certainly this is no time to engage in a war with our son but rather to seek to give him every comfort and bit of love that we can. If he's made a mistake, you might have reasoned, then our love will bring him to see the eroor of his way. If he's not made a mistake, then someone else has, conceivably ourselves..

 

[page 2] "I appreciate your packages and all that - but man does not live by bread alone, and I am not deceived as to your feelings just because some packages come my way If you still believe that I have made a mistake, why not write to me direct and tell me how you feel?....I still feel that Edith and I are far more thoughtful of the rest of the family than vice-versa. In August, this fact aroused me wheras I have come to accept it as one of those facts of life..I have come to realize that the letter I wrote to you in August would have been accepted had it come from Ethel and Robert, because they have succeeded in frightening you, but from myself, who has never stood on the full measure of respect to which I feel that I am entitled, it was a 'cause celebre'. ...I do not meand in the future to forget my self-respect, but I do not want to continue the present ill-feelings [if] there is anything within my power to end them. I don't want anything of anybody for [lead] you into believing that I do not love you deeply, as I always have....."


[February 16, 1945] Here we go again- just another leter to cap a lonely day far, far from the woman I love and adore. And how is my babee tonight, and what is she doing and what is she thinking and does she know how much I love her? These are the thoughts which stream through my mind each night a about this time as I sit down to write my honeybunch. Smack, smack, smack, hug hug, hug pussycat, and here we go again.....Twelve letter now missing, with the last letter received from you ( yesterday) being dated February 6, written on the train.

 

After writing to you last night, I read the newspapers for close to two hours, the last hour or so being by flashlight....The weather has been absolutely perfect the last few days and our air force must have been raising absolute hell in Germany in such conditions. I hope so.....We are beginning to learn more and more about the Crimean [Yalta] conference, and the amazing thing seeems to be the comparative unanimity of favorable opinion about the results of that conference. Even Herbert Hoover says OK. The few discordant notes seem to be sounded by the self-elected spokesmen for the so-called 'Polish interests' - I can't see what they are yapping about. They are going to get a lot of German territory, German industry, a right to free elections, and a chance to live at peace with their neighbors...

 

Things continue to run extremely smoothly here in the office. Its a funny thing, though, I still continue to learn something about this job each day- that's what makes it still interesting. I still think its the best job in the army...if there were some way of fighting this war and being close to my honeybunch, the THAT wouldbe the best job. In other words, little green-eyes, don't get the impression that I am in any way reconciled to our separation or ever will be....

 

In a day or so, I'll send off cables to Jack and Gma for their respective birthdays. have you sent me any shields recently? You might send me another pair when you get around to it. Seems like I am perspiring just as much these days as ever.

 

...life was never more routine than it has been here. But my love for you, darling, has never been and will never be routine. ....No matter how long I may roam, you shall always be my penelope and I shall always remain your Ulysses. So don't forget to unravel each night the spinnings of the day that you may never have to mate your beuty with the sly suitor that is age and time. So then, from this distant land, I send to my constant wife the pedge of my return and of my life and devotion. Carl"

  


"Somewhere in Luxemburg - February 17, 1945....Last night at supper it was nosed about that we would have fresh eggs for breakfast this morning, and so the bumber of officers who turned up for breakfast was really extraordinary.Usually there is only about a 50% turn-out. Even Caplan showed up, and that really floored everybody.. We did have fresh eggs...individually cooked for everybody....a good time was had by all..

 

Nothing new on the CTP to-day. I see in the S&S that Byrnes has just ordered a new attack on the problems of reconversion, with a plan to be produced by 23 Feb....Darling, don't forget to date your letters...Just giving me the day of the week is no good, my adorable, wonderful, little dumb-bunny.

 

I enjoyed your 'surely FDR and Stalin and Churchil know we can't wait any longer'. Are you somepn: Yes! I'm sure the Big Three took us into account, darling, and that is why they had to meet a day longer than had originally been planned....You speak of the president taking the oath of office the following day and wonder whether he will remember all our Dead and see to it that they didn't die in vain. Never forget, honeybunch, that the responsibility is not only that of the president but more particularly of the American people...I am not lecturing you, doll babee, I only want to emphasize one of the ideas that I am practically a fanatic about, viz, the responsibility of you and I, of everyone for their fate, and not the one-man theory of govenment that is comforting not only to the German people but to everyone else, when it comes right down to it....

 

By the way, what do you hear from Mabel D [Dodge] thse days? [Emilie's friend] Lt. Leopold....WHat is the situation with Sid Eisman these days?

 

Darling, watch the postage on your letters. It seems that every other letter of yours has been returned by the postoffice for additional postage. Boy, am I in a reprimanding mood tonight! The funny thing is that I'm not really at all - never am with my little green eyes.

 

I think I'll conclude with my poem - not the best I've written but something of a mood that is in all of us from time to time. A poem doen't have to say the right thing or the moral thing or the inspiring thing all the time. I still think the Rubaiyat is one of the noblest works of man. Incidentally, S&S has started a poetry column - called "The Pup Tent Poet" - but I don't feel like sending them anything at present. I call this poem ESCAPE:

 

Somewhere in Luxemburg – Sunday, February 18, 1945 – 7:30 p.m. [BETTENDORF]

 

...There are only two of your almost 250 letters that I feel certain have been lost: December 1 and 9. I’m crossing them off my list tonight and shall not mention them again.....There was nothing unusual about our meals today, except tonight, when we had some really delicious roast chicken, with chocolate cream pie for dessert....

 

Lt. E was up to-day, nothing new. I’m still trying to get the sergeant’s rating for my clerks, and he doesn’t seem to be moving very quickly on taking the problem up with the old man. I therefore have taken the matter up with one of the old man’s right-hand men, and perhaps I can get quicker action that way...There’s too much time being wasted by E in pussy-footing about the issue. He’s such completely small potatoes....

 

Darling, that letter I sent to the folks was changed a little, afte I sent you your copy, After thinking it over, I realized I had mentioned your name on page two. I wanted to leave you out of it entirely, so I retyped the page....

 

Jonas had such a spell in New York...I can well understand Corinne’s appreciation for your help. ...

 

I’m not thinking very much myself along the lines of babies right now....Its hard, darling, to predict how either of us will feel several years from now on that point. [ Daughter Diana was born three years later.] By the way, Captain Todd is infanticipating- some time next month. He must have hit the jackpot right at the very end. In our battalion, there are about 3 enlisted men that I know of, ‘sweating it out’ right now, one of them in my section...Others had children born shortly after they left the States and are wonderinghow old their kids will be when they finally get home again....

 

Please do not send me a bathrobe....

Darling, you never did send me the comments on my poetry of the girl at Chaucer Head. I should be interested...Please do not hesitate to criticize the poems which I send you....the sea figures prominently in my imagers, perhaps because it is the main thing between you and me. Also, the sea, in Freudian psychology is believed to be one ot the strongest symbols of sex in dreams...

 

Best to the Bergers and to the gparents in Miami. Dreaming of you,  darling, even most of the time I’m awake. Holding you tight, sweet wife – oh, hell, this long distance stuff really isn’t much fun, is it? I’ll say it isn’t...Your lover, Carl.

 


Somewhere in Luxemburg- February 19, 1945...Today, I finagled a couple of fresh eggs from my landlady and shall take them to breakfast tomorrow, where the kitchen will prepare them for me any way I want. Darlling, Lt. Pyne has taken over command of my old company,and Blackman moved on up to become operations officer for the battalion. That means an early promotion for Pyne to a Captaincy and an eventual promotion for Blackman to a majority. Ca. borrowed the Lin Yutang book you sent me, today. He has quite a fondness for him, since I introduced him to Lin through BETWEEN TEARS AND LAUGHTER. ...I've promised to play cards with the boys tonight, and so I'm going to taper off a bit early. You know that I love you and will be back again with you tomorrow night, same station, same time, same program...Take care, honeybunch, and please be careful, for you're my everything, everything, everything...."


Carl Henry writings are Copyright © Diana Mara Henry / dmh@dianamarahenry.com

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The originals are in the Carl Henry special collection at the Du Bois Library, U Mass Amherst.

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