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Back in the USA

September 9, 1945

Letters from Theodore Katz

a woman seated in a wicker chair outdoors on a lawn with a uniformed man seated on the arm of the chair with his arm around her

This is probably the photo Ted shared with the crowd. Photo courtesy of Richard Katz.

[postmarked September 9, 1945]


Dearest Helen –

It’s Sat. morning – 11:10, to be exact. I’ve been up about a half an hour – had breakfast and now I sit writing to you. For the occasion, I’m wearing my writing costume – my white pants and my pink striped pajama tops. As you will remember, these are the pants whose fly simply refuses to stay closed – and as I take a moment to check – sure enough, it hasn’t changed a bit. I wish you were here to point at it accusingly.

But – to recheck and narrate my activities since my last writing, let me go back to Thurs evening. That was the night of the company party. It was held in Watertown at the USO. We had the whole place to ourselves – and the boys decorated the place to fit the occasion. There was plenty of food, coke, beer, etc. – a group of the local belles were invited, a juke box played for those whose interests ran toward the terpsichorean and I had the fellows from our gigantic orchestra there to play a few numbers from time to time.

I finally saw Edith – she was there with Jack. She looked very well and has lost a great deal of weight since the last time I saw her. Of course, she isn’t exactly a sylph yet – but, still, the improvement is remarkable. She asked about you and wanted to know how you were, and if you had gained any weight (this seems to be running into a dissertation on poundage). I showed her the picture of us in the chair. Well, you know what happens when you show a picture to anyone. Immediately, a crowd gathers and everyone wants to see it – and everyone said, “She’s lovely” – “Very, very nice,” etc. – After about 5 minutes of this, someone said, in a surprised tone, “Look, Ted’s in the picture, too” – So, everyone said “Where?” – and they all looked at the picture again and their only comment was “oh yes, I hadn’t noticed.” So, I indignantly put the picture back in the wallet and took my plate back for more potato salad.

On the whole, though, the party was surprisingly dull and quiet – I don’t know why.

At one point, feeling the urge to try my dancing ability, I cut in on one of the fellows who was dancing with the girl who seemed quite efficient at making her feet move in time to the music, and he, all in fun, ranted and raved, saying that I couldn’t cut in – and I insisted that I would – until finally he relinquished his grasp on her and with an exaggerated bow, gave her to me. She, obviously flattered by all the attention given her, coquettishly inquired why my insistence was so strong – whereupon, her former partner pointed to her coiffure and said “He always goes for girls who wear their hair like that” – so I looked and noted with surprise that she had a braid across the top of her head. It was wasn’t [sic] like yours, - but rather a puny little braid – but a braid anyway. Incidentally, she was from – you guessed it – Brooklyn, – in Watertown on a vacation.

Well, I finally got back to camp about 2 A.M. – got up the next morning – Friday – at the usual 6 A.M. In the afternoon, I got my pass and left camp about 3:30 – got to Watertown about 4 – and rather than wait for the bus at 5 – tried my hand, or rather thumb, at hitchhiking. I got a ride immediately, with a traveling salesman, and in due time, found at [sic] that he lives only about a block from us. So, I had a ride right to the door and walked into the house at exactly six o’clock, surprising the folks who weren’t expecting me until about 7:30.

For supper we had “Tsauris latkehs” and that baked fish (like we had at that luncheon for Mrs. Perlmutter) and baked potatoes. Mom kept saying how she wished you were there – because she remembered how much you liked that kind of fish and especially the latkehs, so, she got up and brought in an enlargement of the picture (we in the chair) and set it up on the table at your place, and said that now you were with us. Then she’d talk to the picture and say things like “Helen, have some more latkehs” – and she would come over and say to me “And – here’s a kiss for Helen.[”]

I spent a quiet eveing at home, with naturally a couple of games of pinochle with Max. Then up  and under a long shower and then to bed at about 11 o’clock in “our” room. I played a sort of game by walking into the dark room and not putting the light on and saying to myself “Maybe, Helen will [be] here” and for a moment there was that wonderful feeling of anticipation that in the next moment I would be lying there holding you very close. To hide my disappointment at not finding you there, I continued the game long a little different line. I imagined that you were in the bathroom and in a short while you would be coming to join me.

Do you think I’m going a little batty, Helen? – Remember, that everything you say will be held against you. So, you’d better say my name.

In about an hour, Max will be coming back from “shule” and we’ll be sitting down to a turkey dinner, which I’ve just inspected in the oven, and it looks delicious. I didn’t go to shule as about that time, 9 o’clock or so, I was still dreaming of you.

Regards from Max & Mom – and I hope the folks are in good health. A card sent yesterday conveys best wishes for a Happy New Year, but I say it again. And, also, again I say – I love you very much.


P.S. – Though the outfit is being broken up – as yet, we are still on the secret list – but, one of the Signal men told the story (the whole story) to his home town newspaper while he was on the furlough and they spread it all over the front page. He’s going to be court martialled for it – but the story is out. Send away to the Worcester Telegram Worcester, Mass. For a copy of Aug. 29, edition and look for the story of the “Ghost Army,” on the front page.

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