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July 4, 1944

Letters from Theodore Katz

sketch of tree with soldier walking beneath it

Ted's sketch, titled “Guard Post,” 6/12/1944

4 July 1944

Dear Helen –

I’m becoming quite adept at writing in the dark – not pitch dark – let’s compromise with a sort of dark twilight for that is the situation at present.

It’s the close of the 4th of July which as I’ve been told by friends is some sort of holiday back in the States – but I guess it doesn’t count over here. I guess there’s only one legal holiday that I can look forward to – namely – Armistice Day II – but it’ll be just my luck to pull K.P., guard or something at the wrong time.

Instead of watching a parade or going on a picnic I spent today’s spare moments washing clothes – our maid is on strike – and so at the risk of housemaids hands I scraped the GI soap over my unmentionables, plus a few mentionables until they were as white as khaki. Please send a washing machine full of hot water in your next letter – and I will tear off the top of my first sergeant or a reasonable facsimile and send it to you together with 4 PX ration coupons and the last 40 pages of Joyce’s “Ulysses.”

No letter for two days and if one doesn’t come tomorrow I’ll begin sending threatening letters to the postal authorities signed “Jesse James.” At this point, I am entering phase number 2 of “Letter-writing by Night” and if I continue much further that goal of all Nocturnal Penmen – scribbling in total darkness – shall have be[en] reached – the only trouble being that it would no doubt be completely indecipherable. As it is now, you could probably sell this to the Library of Congress as a perfect specimen of ancient Sanskrit – that is, if I didn’t know that mere money couldn’t make you part with my literary gems.

Lest all this cause you to have fears for my sanity – let me assure you that I am quite well except that I wish it were next year or last year instead of the present. But there will come a time when the present will be pleasant – not this present but that present which is now the future – or am I losing my place.

I’d better quit now. With this ceiling zero – I could be out of ink and not ever know it, but not before I become repetitious and say – I miss you and


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