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Illuminated Letters

January 10, 1943

Letters from Arthur Singer

profile sketch of Duke Ellington


My beloved,

I must try to think where I left off in my last letter. Incidentally, I got yours and also yours is the only mail I’ve gotten this last week – so although there are no one’s letters I’d rather read – they were doubly welcome. My wonderful!

Saturday was inspection and as far as I know I wasn’t gigged. After some lectures and calisthenics we went out to the field in the afternoon and I had the easiest afternoon I’ve ever had picking out wilted foliage. They have passed a new order which hampers artwork around the Camp considerably. No Army vehicle, equipment, construction or even barracks can be shown in a photograph or drawing or printing. In the area where we work there is an old tree the likes of which I have never seen. It’s truly amazing and I wanted to paint it today but it was snowing here and I also had a ticket to the show Blithe Sprit so I didn’t paint today. I had some letter writing also to catch up with. I also read Here Comes Look Here Private Hargrove [sic – See Here, Private Hargrove] which was a riot and wonderful reading in a light and familiar way, of course.

The play was delightful I hope there will be more coming, there is nothing better than getting plays here that would ordinarily be impossible for most of the fellows to see – they are better than dances or variety shows. I don’t know what the next one will be. I was sitting in the third row center, about $4.40 seats for 15 cents apiece.

There are a few things that I need, one badly the others not so badly. I really need a pair of wooden flat sandals so that I can go into the shower room without worrying about getting atheletes [sic] foot – it’s prevalent in the Army. The second thing I need are large white turkish towels, however, these are likely to be rather expensive so don’t take this too seriously. I need a couple of watercolor brushes numbers 5 and about 9, a jar of dark or medium red and one white jar – I’m in no great hurry for these. All I really need soon is the sandals I should have had these a long time ago.

I don’t remember whether I told you but from this Monday to next Monday is Alert week. We cannot even leave the Battalion Area during this time and we must be prepared to fall out at any hour with full equipment. However, there have been things planned for us. Monday, Company basketball games, movies of the Russian Campaign on Tuesday or Wednesday, Thursday, a Battalion Dance, on Saturday, a variety show with the talented boys in the Battalion giving their all, Sunday, boxing matches. So we won’t miss going out too much.

So much for the news, because of this Alert Week I have doubts about getting in on the 23rd. If you would care to go alone to the Ellington concert, do so by all means and you can let me know all about it, but that is entirely up to you – if you do go get a decent seat.

I want you to know that I love you with everything that is in me. God bless you, you’re so sweet! Please give my love to everyone and also to my parents. I hope my mother likes the pictures. Did you have those negatives developed? Are they any good? Have any issues of Natural History or Animal Kingdom come in yet? If you are near a second hand magazine store and see an issue of Downbeat copy down their address in Chicago, a friend of mine is its editor now (former manager of Ellington and Calloway) because and I may be able to get some complimentary copies.

I guess that’s all for tonight – to myself I can think of hugging your gorgeous body in my arms and kissing you. Boy, oh boy, it excites me even to write about it.



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