Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Umnak, Monday, 24 July 1944



Hello My Sweet…
This has been an exceptionally nice day – nice except no letter from you. No one got any mail.
After dinner Jack and I went for a long walk, over to the spot where our favorite spring rushes cold and clear from a rocky hillside. We took along a can of Kraft cheese and a box of soda crackers and lay in the long gras and ate and read TimeTimes. The only things missing were beer or wine and watermelons to make it a picnic; beer or wine and watermelons and you to make it perfect. and the drama section of the Sunday.
The cloud effects here are superb. I really believe they are more impressive than at Patzcuaro. The warm winds from the Jap-currented Pacific and the cold winds from the Bering meet over the Aleutians, and on how they mix depends the weather you folks get down below later. 
Because of this continual clash of air currents, we get strange clouds. One clear day the local mountain was perfectly outlined in clouds, its every irregularity matched in shimmering white. At first glance I thought I was seeing the mountain itself, and that I had never realized just how large it was. Later the cloud moved on, still a clear echo of the peak, and hung over the grey water of the Pacific.
Today, as often, the clouds had a curious solidity, as though modeled in clay. They brooded over the hills and gave the bare promontories in the distance an eerie aura, as though the mists might shroud Druids. One view, of radio towers against a breastlike black mound, had all the civilization-nature contrast of Chirico’s “Rose” painting in Jaqueline’s [Jaqueline Onslow-Ford] bedroom. 
As we lay in the grass, Jack and I talked over some of the fellows in camp, among them “Reb,” our lone Southerner. He is a kindly kid, prejudiced but quiet about his attitudes, not unintelligent, very much in love with his young wife, and very worried because she is losing weight and worried about him. Jack, who doesn’t like Southerners, abides him simply because of one superb remark he made in a bull session. The boys were talking about religion and the Reb remained very quiet. Finally Jack asked, “What’s your religion?” “Texan.”
….
We walked along the stream for a mile or so. I was picking flowers for the hut – mostly hydrangeas [probably they weren’t hydrangeas], because they smell so much like gardenias which remind me of so many wonderful things including a Christmas night in New York – and Jack was hunting for sweetpeas so that he could send some to his father and prove they do grow here. He found the plants but they are no longer in bloom.
Walking back we saw some men come along a road in a jeep. They stopped the car quickly, got out, and started to throw rocks. Then we saw the fox running up the hill. We yelled at them to stop but the wind was coming from the wrong direction. When we got closer we saw they were officers. It was the first time since I have been in the army that I really wished I had rank.
Johnny Hazen came over for tea. Of all the men in the ACS here, he has probably the most intelligent interest in the war and in postwar problems. His approach is that of an embryonic tycoon, and at time his emotional reaction to Roosevelt seems to color his international opinions. But he does keep up with the news. 
We dialed around on the radio trying to pick up the news. Ten p.m. has always been such a full period for news broadcasts that I am amazed whenever a station doesn’t carry a show at that time. Our local station doesn’t, so we had to fish the ether. We brought in Australia – and more of the incredibly good reports of the last few days: the Russians in Lublin and within forty miles of Warsaw, a new offensive in the Caen area, Pisa in our hands, advances on Guam. How is Seattle reacting to this saturation bombing of glad tidings? 
Johnny and I also talked over Stadium and the graduating class of 1933. It was strange to pull names out of my memory that had entirely forgotten and then to be able to remember stories about them. Willie Jack, Alyce Wilson, Bob Hamilton [later a PGA golf champion], Al Brown, Jane Ramsby (who chased Hugh Thompson [Thompson went on to Julliard and then the Metropolitan Opera for a long career as a lyric baritone] like Monty chases Rommel), Roger Scudder. Hazen has received his orders to report to Seattle for the pre-OCS school. He will be down before long and has promised to look you up. Has Pete Pedersen put in an appearance yet?
A beautiful quote from CBS on the revolt in Germany: “This is the twilight of the men who tried to be gods.” God how I wish I were with CBS now.
I am now reading Equinox by Allan Seagar. If you get a chance take a look at the first chapter. In one character, Loudoun, he has a wonderful parody of the Wolfe style of writing. It is too savage to miss.
Your letters yesterday were wonderful, my pet. I especially enjoyed the comments on “love” by the three of you. Carmen’s [Carmen Fett, married at the time to modernist painter Bill Fett] “It’s a habit” is so wonderfully Mexican, but yours was so right about ours. …
I forgot to tell you. At the library the other day Jack was looking at some books on psychology. He asked if they had basic writings of Freud. The librarian looked at him doubtfully and Jack said it again, this time making the word “Frood” instead of “Froyd.” But our hero still looked doubtful. Finally he said, “Better stay away from dat stuff, chum, dat’s bad business up here, psychology. Gets yuh talking to yerself. I have to stay away from thinking about how much I miss you and long the time is.
You are adored, Nunny,
Ever, M

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