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October 14, 1944

Letters from Theodore Katz

group of uniformed men in tall grass near a vehicle

The widely diversified group of men, near a camouflaged vehicle

Oct 14, 1944

Dearest Helen,

Once again I try to write as a veritable torrent of discussion swirls past me. These discussions known as bull sessions to the initiated, run the gamut of subject from Art to Sex and then reluctantly back to Art. It all reminds me once again of what a true melting pot the Army is. Here is a widely diversified group of men, their former occupations being truck driver, miner, art students, carpenters, valet, etc. – each with equal scorn of the other’s life work. I rarely allow myself to be drawn into these unique “discussion” groups – for obvious reasons. Other reasons, being that, generally, I have nothing to gain by listening to someone tell me something I already know – in boring and trite phraseology – not that I am a paragon, but it seems that nowhere else can you hear the ignorant, the illogical, the incapable of thought talking so glibly about things of which they have not the slightest understanding. And then you should hear them boasting, as they express an imbecile’s incoherent opinion of their own clear-headed intelligence. Then there are the artistic dilettantes, of which there are many, who regard their ability to appreciate paintings and music as sufficient justification for acting in what seems to be in their minds, the true Bohemian manner. It is all usually amusing to me as a side-line spectator, but not at a moment such as this, when I try to write to you.

I once ventured into a discussion with some of the officers on the negro question with a dash of labor problem thrown in. The intolerance, ignorance and stupidity was appalling. I found one kindred soul in Lt. Landry – he seems to be the only human officer we have. These officers too, are quite a collection of characters – one a seemingly emasculated, self-styled Southern aristocrat, another who would make a perfect Nazi storm-trooper, one with a Napoleanic complex with an inherent Georgia complex and maxim, that lynching is the only way to solve the Negro problem.

As a remedy for all this, a spiritual profylaxis [sic] I have you and the future – and limiting serious conversation to our small circle – the oasis in the desert.

Mail’s just come in, but a small quantity – mostly old mail and as a I have received practically all of your recent mail I am without a letter from you tonight. Tonight, I wish I could be far from here – alone with you in quiet, peaceful surroundings, with nothing to think of but you – to regain that feeling of relaxation and that paradoxical soothing exhilaration that your presence brings – to feel you close to me – to hear your voice, secure in the knowledge that no “powers-that-be” could make me leave – to be free to do the things I desire without interference – to paint –

I suppose I could meander indefinitely on this subject – one that preys on my mind quite often – but the hour is late, so I’ll hie myself to slumber and check off one more day to be made up for in the future –

All my love,

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