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November 3, 1944

Letters from Theodore Katz

band of men in formal clothing with instruments

Ted at the piano with some friends, before the war. Photo courtesy of Richard Katz.

Nov. 3, ‘44

Dearest Helen,

The mail drought continues – but, I know that soon the cycle will rotate and it will all arrive in the usual large batch.

Today, bodes an omen of approaching winter – cold and bleak – I expect the snow to start falling any time now – a none too pleasant prospect. But, the weather being exceedingly changeable, we may have some warmer weather before winter sets in for keeps.

Last night, while on pass with some of the boys, I stopped in at a small café where, we, being true boulevardiers and the price being extremely reasonable, we sat and sipped champagne. The bistro was also equipped with a large, grand piano – and, of course, I couldn’t resist the temptation. I hadn’t played more than a couple of choruses when a swarm of GIs laden with musical instruments streamed into the place, set up in short order, and there we had a band. Three saxes, two trumpets, two trombones, drums, bass, guitar and yours truly. And then the fun began. We played for two hours with hardly a pause, and I’m sure these parts had never heard jazz like that before. They were all fine musicians (part of some division band) and most of them had played with name bands back in the States. To the amazement of the local populace and to the utter joy of the GIs we ground out sweet and hot by turns, until the curfew closed the festivities for the night, and I took the long walk “home.” Last night, the moon was full, weather warm – the moonlight strong enough to read by – and I thought of you at every step – and I thought of what a waste such a night was, without you, and how much time has been wasted. But on the other hand, let’s take solace in how pleasurable it will be to make up for all these months. I guess it’s like the guy who enjoyed having a toothache because it felt so good when it stopped hurting.

Regards to everyone.

All my love,

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