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August 19, 1944

Letters from Harold J. Dahl

Letters from Harold J Dahl August 19 1944

France, Sat. Aug. 19 [1944]

Dear Mom & Lou,
My but I’ve had a lot of mail from you in the last few days! Now I need one from Wilda and the Ellerhusens to make things perfect.  Had a letter from Norman [Dahl] too, regarding my being here in France.

Thanks for the Gene Fenn [HJD friend from Boonton High School] cover - I’ll have to write to him about it.

solider in a jeep driving through ruined city ww2

View of the rubble, from the back of a Jeep

How much do children’s dresses cost?  Would it be terribly much for about 6 gingham affairs ranging in size for from about 3 to 10 year old girls?  You could use them to pack some food in.  The largest would be for Yvette who is 12 but is no taller than Sonia [Dahl] and thinner, poor child.  You’d love her if you could talk to her.  She got me that 20 franc note I sent home.  They are pretty scarce in these parts.  Also she walked 4 miles to get me a pair of wooden shoes to send Wilda - I gave her 100 francs to buy herself a pair too.  All the children hereabouts are well brought-up & extremely courteous and respectful towards their elders something I wish I could say about American kids.

Oh yes - also put some #2 pencils (or HB) in the next package (8 oz), will you? Can’t get them.  Also some powdered milk if you can find it.  It is rough on you & Lt. Line, who censors this in rather poor light.  Oh yes - Lou you are of the opinion that your mail is censored - it isn’t .

Life Magazine has been running lots of pictures of the War, no doubt, and if you follow it, you will see lots of the towns that I see in person.  Funny how things go - we were in one little village yesterday that was untouched and had to go around another town, recently prominent in the news, because it is rubble.  Poor people! Imagine how you would feel if you suddenly found yourself with nothing in the World but a few blankets on a wheelbarrow and all your neighbors in the same boat, - with no one to turn to but “authorities” and the kindness American soldiers show wherever they go.  We will be well-remembered here.

Another thing to get off to me right away is at least one English-French dictionary - maybe a paper-bound one would go as 8 oz.  Also in a larger package put that blue French grammar that should be on my shelves with the other language books.

We have a movie coming up so more tomorrow (Danny Kaye).


I just had a nice letter from Thelma - don’t know why but it makes [unreadable] happy to hear from her.

I know which of Uncle Phil’s boys was hurt - it was Phil Jr. who is in Amphib. Engineers, Too bad.

By all means send me the fruitcake - it will be wonderful to have.

Tell Shirl to congratulate Clint [Scilipote] for me, both re his commission and his graduation from Boat School.  No doubt he will make a fine sensible officer.  I wish I could see him in his uniform.  I wrote Mary [Van Duyne] from here - she’ll probably get it when she gets back to camp.

I was interested in the clipping about Billy Everett.  I’d look for him if I know what outfit he was with.

Tell mother I’m sure Hitler is worried -

The Geographics must have plenty about France and of course you know what part the Americans hold so you can get an idea of what it all looked like before the war.  I’ll be glad to look at them myself.  There are some fine old churches here - one town which has been almost demolished has a lovely one - still intact except for the glass. [noted afterwards - Coutances].

Well, that’s all - more another time.

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