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October 31, 1944

Letters from Theodore Katz

sketch of man in casual clothing with rifle

Ted's sketch, titled "On Guard Liberated Russian"

31 October 1944

Dearest Helen,

The mail strikes me as being very similar to the biblical story of Joseph and the seven lean years and the seven fat ones – this is one of the lean periods. I remain secure, however in the knowledge, that they are somewhere on their way.

I’m enclosing some sketches of some of the Russian refugees I’ve already told you about. They are a fairly typical representation – especially the woman – true peasant types – buxom Amazons. Now that I have reopened my artistic course, I’ll try to keep the pace I set at the outset, in Tennessee. Also Jack has developed some films we’ve taken, and as we can’t get them printed he’s sending the negatives to Edith. She, in turn, will give you the negatives of me, to be printed, and you can let me know how they are – it’s hard to tell from the negatives.

I’ve just remembered that tonight is Halloween. Let’s put on our masks and go out and ring doorbells. As a kid I can remember raising hell on Halloween – with all the practical jokes that could be only conceived and carried out by children. How was it in Brooklyn? Did you carve out faces in pumpkins and put candles in them? Tie doors with rope so that they couldn’t be opened? Put pins in doorbells to produce a continuous ringing, etc. – pour the bulk of our vengeance on the crabby old man on the block who always chased the kids off his lawn. All this malicious fun always followed by a party where you dunked for apples, ate pumpkin pie and tried to put the tail on the donkey blindfolded. (you, not the donkey).

However, in spite of the nostalgic memories, I can assure you that if I were in the States tonight, we would not be out ringing doorbells. And no matter how hard you begged me to come out and tip over ash-barrels, I would remain adamant. My decision would be to stay in and pin the tail on the donkey. Wouldn’t that be peachy fun?


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