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Letters to Lou

December 4, 1944

Letters from Arthur Singer

painting of the Luxembourg skyline

Luxembourg, November 1944

Dec. 4, 1944

(my 27th birthday, I’m getting old.)

Dear Lou,

I just received your no. 2 Vmail letter which came in two parts, and I fortunately got both at the same time. If you enjoy my letters so much, I can tell you that I enjoy yours just as much. As a matter of fact, I have a rather unfair practice, for every so often I have three or four letters on hand that I must answer and when I get one of yours, I answer it immediately – shelving the others for a short time. One thing, it’s certainly wonderful to know that one has a few very true friends. Real friends are rare you know and one can lose them, which is a very sad thing. We’ll keep ours.

Let’s see just where I left off last – I know I wrote after coming off our last problem – since then little has happened. We are in our barracks again getting more CS all the time for there is nothing much else for them to do. A couple of things were brought up that would help morale a great deal and take care of the spare time we have. It probably will get knocked over the head as many good things do in the Army. As you may have read after V day all troops over here and also in the States will spend most of the working day hours on three or four educational subjects they would like to take up. Plans were drawn up for such classes to start here before V day. It’s a swell idea but I don’t feel optimistic about it going through. Also, as you know this outfit is “lousy” with artists. Most of them in our position, some still students in school before they were given that invitation by the President – remember?

And we have a few cases of artists who are known nationally and it is their life work. One of these men has been making arrangements for a studio and models for a life class. It sounds wonderful but also it sounds too good to be true! Things so often have a way of getting “screwed up” in the Army. But even if they do, I still turn out quite a bit of work on my own. I made about five watercolors and a couple of things in ink during the past week! I’m doing some practicing with portrait work and I’ve gotten the best results I’ve ever done in that line. I’m working up to a self portrait for Judy. I made one watercolor this week which is one of the best I’ve ever made. A great many of the boys are turning out more work than they ever have! Some of it is really top notch work, I wish you could see some of it.

I recently heard from Milt although he didn’t tell me about that exhibit you mentioned, he might have written his letter to you after the one he wrote me. I’ve already answered him. His letter was very interesting and he says that everything he has learnt in the past is being applied to his work, also he is learning a lot that he can use after this “mess” is over. I wish I could say the same. Bernie must be doing pretty good to make S/Sgt. But he must really be in the dumps. It’s eighteen months he is “down under” according to Milt. I’d like to write to “Berice” but I don’t have his address.

The picture of what you’ve been doing is now quite complete in my mind. All I can say is that it’s swell. You mentioned sending me a photo of Ann and yourself, perfect, Gate – I’d like nothing better! And in this letter you’ll find enclosed a snapshot of me that was taken in England as I was beginning a letter to Judy.

Your mention of wives, both of ours, and their cooking made me smile. I’d give anything to be eating my wife’s cooking now. It seems that Ann knows all the little episodes during that year we were together. Well, Judy was working a lot with Ann on Christmas card crap during that time. Anyhow, I never bitched about Judy’s cooking for I loved it. But I remember one time that we had trouble, Judy felt very hurt. I should have been more diplomatic I suppose. She had mashed some sweet potatoes and the sight of the color of it – kinda killed me and my face must have showed it. Anyhow we made up that night – in bed, I think it was.

So Lou things have been quiet around here. But one knever knows what the next day may bring. I hope the war over here will end soon but according to some of the lectures we hear it looks as though it will be many months yet. God, it’s amazing to me, with all the punishment and losses the Nazis have suffered on all fronts, plus a critical food problem – the stand they still can make! It’s ingenious planning. However, we’ll wear them down mile by mile if necessary.

I just got a little dough for the Xmas card I made for 23rd Special Troops. It wasn’t supposed to be a profit deal and although they could easily have charged 5 francs apiece (about 10 cents) they only charged one franc. That is what happened when it’s a G.I. “clambake”. I could have made myself at least $200 but as it is I got $35. The work involved was very, very little but I still feel like kicking myself. Oh well, it’s a little too late now. Next time I’ll handle it on my own.

I had a swell Thanksgiving Day and never before have I eaten so much in one day. The Army meal was really swell and to make things perfect we had it in a big hotel dining room – tables, tablecloths, plates and all. Our staffs did K.P. and officers waited on the tables! We had plenty of wines and turkey with all the trimmings. That wasn’t the end of the day for most of us by any means. The dinner was over and the gang broke up by 1:30 P.M. But, a great many had invitations to people’s houses all over the city. If you just walked through the streets, people would stop you and ask you to have a celebration feast with them! They really went “all out” in showing their hospitality! We were in this city very soon after it was freed. Six of us went out that night, three to one house and three to a neighboring friend. What a meal they had – all the good steak one could eat, and all the french fried potatoes one could consume (they were the best I ever had) soup, wine, bread, vegetables, two enormous pies, one big cake, coffee, rum, and a liquor that blew one’s insides out!! They had everything for us! We took photos indoors later in the evening with one of the best German cameras made! Then one of these very good people made me a souvenir of a German book. It’s undoubtedly one of the best books of wild animal photograph I’ve ever seen and it is the best I now possess!! But, Gate, the main thing is some of the stories these people have to tell of the Nazis – how they hate them! One is an underground member, the Germans caught and shot his two best friends, another (the man who gave me that book) was a political prisoner for three years, another had done years of forced labor for the Nazis. These people all know the score, they are all very intelligent and well educated and generally swell people! They speak many languages here. If I knew German I could meet many more people and females but I’m not too interested. All I want is to get back home. If we stay here for any length of time I would love to get another chance to see Paris. And I’m telling you, Lou, I hope that proposed trip I mentioned does come true some day, it’s really a place you and Ann and my Judy – should see.

We get some breaks here as far as shows go. Some days ago Marlene Deitrich [sic] put on a show in our building! It was a good show and old grandma doesn’t look her age [42] at all, I saw her from very close. Only we didn’t see her legs so some guys actually were let down. She was good.

Then last week I saw some very good movies. One was Dragon Seed which was excellent – then Gaslight which I think rates with the best pictures to come out of Hollywood. It held its own even if one did see Angel Street. The last good movie was Mask of Dimitrios which had some excellent parts – reminiscent of that type of suspense that made The Maltese Falcon a masterpiece.

And that, Gate, is about all for now. I’ll be waiting anxiously for your next letter. My love to Ann and you and I hope 1945 brings us together again.

Your pal,


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