August 25, 1944
Letters from Theodore Katz
This, except for a very short V-mail, has been my first chance to write for a few days. First of all there was no opportunity to send any mail out and of course no time to write. By much the same token I’ve received no mail, but perhaps this evening or tomorrow my forced incommunicado will end. I know that these lapses in writing cause you certain anxieties – but fear not – all is well.
Of course, I can’t tell you where we are, what we’re doing, etc. – but I can tell you of some experiences. For instance, in most cases the villages we are bivouacked near, are usually in total ruin or off limits. Once we are near a town that had been spared the usual destruction and we’re allowed to visit the place. The Germans had left in a hurry and the inhabitants had only a slight glimpse of American troops as they passed through in pursuit. So, we were the first Americans they had really seen up close. They had signs with Vive L’Amerique, etc., and gave us a warm welcome. The place being rich in dairy products, we were plied with eggs (fresh) for which we gave cigarettes – something which is very scarce – but a commodity which we are fortunate to have in plethora.
As we reached the village square we were greeted by a horde of children all screaming for “Bon-Bons” so we gave what we had, and I asked one tiny lad about 5 years old if there was a piano in the town. He nodded in assent and led us to a house, where we were invited in. Sure enough, there was a piano, and in surprisingly good condition, so I played, they sang, wine and cake was passed around and a good time was had by all. The father of the household entered into the spirit of the occasion and brought out his hunting horn, a very large and very loud affair and proceeded to serenade us with blasts that shook the house. To add to the noise, the dog started howling and the entire scene was reminiscent of the play “You Can’t Take It With You.” All in all a pleasant evening until we got back to our rain-soaked bivouac area.
However, the evening is an exception rather that the rule, but made for a bit of pleasure to break the routine. I wish you could have been there to enjoy it with me, but, c’est la guerre.
Time’s up. I miss you very much, and if all goes as well as things are now, I’ll be seeing you sooner than I’d thought.
Regards of course.