October 4, 1944
Letters from Theodore Katz
Oct 4, 1944
Dearest Helen –
I’ve been sitting here staring at a blank wall for all of fifteen minutes trying to think of something noteworthy to write about, and after searching the furthest corners of my alleged mind and mentally probing here and there for some bit of news, I am back where I started – looking at the blank wall. Can it be that I am becoming mentally sterile? Join the Army and become a moron!
Seriously, though – in this sort of life a mind can deteriorate quite easily. There are times – and this is one of them – when one becomes aware of such a condition, and, I for one, do not find it a pleasant thought. Conversation, in the Army, becomes a combination of Basic English, assorted curses, and trite, stilted Army slang, and words of not more than one syllable, occasionally two. Discussions are limited to such items as “What’s for chow?” and complaints about weather, food, officers, mail, etc. One tends to become lip-lazy and one or two words of Army vernacular can be used to convey the meaning of a subject which usually should consume more vocabulary. Sometimes, things reach a point where an event or incident can be described only in this abbreviated manner to obtain the full flavor, and on the other hand, entirely incomprehensible to anyone not inured to Army talk. But, it should be easily discernable [sic] to you after reading this, that such a condition is certainly not condusive [sic] to the pursuit of creative writing or speech. However, I see that it has given me subject for a page and a quarter, so it all goes to prove there is a niche in the universe for everything.
Mail has just come in, and I found three from you – one written of the train and two from Dayton waiting for your return train to Washington. I know of your assignment being cut short, but nothing of what happened between the time you arrived and departed. I surmise everything turned out alright, though I couldn’t tell from the happy tone of one of the letters whether it was because of a job well done or because you’d received six letters from me. Out of pure vanity, I’ll choose the latter.
Jack received an old letter from Edith (Aug 26), praising your cooking. From all the testimonials I’ve received, I have no course open but to accept these verdicts by proxy. It must be true. Now I can truly say, “And she can cook, too!”