Training in the USA
Letters from Theodore Katz
[postmarked March, 1944]
Dear Helen –
Once more I’ve returned from bivouac – and for once the weather was kind to us – Almost too kind. Today was like a hot summer day – and I mean hot – and there we were laden down with overcoats, field jackets, scarfs, sweaters, etc. which we slowly peeled off as the day progressed. When we finally got down to summer style – but still the heat made us very uncomfortable. So – try and figure out the weather in this crazy place.
The hot sun has dried up all the mud and now the roads are like dust bowls – By the time we got back to camp we were a tired, sweaty and dusty crew. My first act after unloading my equipment – was to rush over to Bn. Hq. to pick up the two days accumulation of mail for the Company – as no mail has been delivered to us in the field.
Then back to the Orderly Room where I sorted it – keeping an eye open for my own mail – After tossing aside a couple I came across the one I was looking for – yours. I immediately opened it to find it to be a “Teletype Message”. So, with the sweat creating little rivulets in the dust caked on my face and oblivious to the noise and confusion reigning in the Orderly Room caused by the men bringing the equipment in off the truck – I started to read the letter. In no time at all I was far, far away and lost in its contents – It was that kind of a letter. I forgot how tired I was – how I yearned for a cold drink of water and a long shower – until I finished reading and awoke to find myself back in Camp Forrest. Upon perceiving that I was once more in the Army – I hurriedly turned back to the first page and began rereading and thus return to your fold – spiritually.
I suddenly remember that I last saw you exactly two months ago. It’s unbelievable time is such a funny thing – it seems like a year – only two short months and they pass so slowly. Also, – it is practically sixteen months that I’ve been in the Army. You can imagine how long it feels. All I have is a faint memory of what civilian life is like with its freedom and comforts. I can dimly remember what it is like to relax completely – an impossibility in the Army. I came as close as is possible to this condition when I was with you – but – still there was always that knowledge tucked away in the back of my mind that my pass ran out at a certain time – and I would have to leave.
I can’t concentrate on reading a book – without wondering when I would be called to perform some duty – they always come unexpectedly. But I’m sure that it wouldn’t take long for me to become reconditioned once the war is over – especially – with your help. You have a special way of relaxing me – paradoxically, soothing and disturbing all at once – a wonderful feeling.
These bivouacs, besides interrupting my time writing record are also sabotaging my sketching schedule – but I’ll try to catch up. When I stop to think of all the things I have to catch up on, I see I have quite a task ahead of me. But, with some a good partner as you to help I’m sure it’ll prove to be very interesting – No?
And now I shall hie myself off to bed and think of you until I fall asleep.
My regards to your mater and pater and the “Bobbsey Twins”.