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Letters to Lou

February 21, 1945

Letters from Arthur Singer

watercolor painting of a church

Maizany, France in February, 1945

Feb. 21

Dear Lou,

I got two, not one letter from you today! It sure made these old eyes happy – and besides, there were also two from, you know who! No day is complete if I don’t hear from HER.

But to get to the big news – congratulations, Gate, and I’m really happy for the both of you! Yes, I had heard about it previously to your letter, for Judy wrote me about it! I hope we can join you in becoming parents after I return. Lou, I hardly know where to begin, I know this will be a long letter, I can see it now. As always, Lou, your letters never fail and these were no exception, both were swell, not to forget the snapshots of you and Ann. Quite a shock to me, Lou, for it’s very obvious that you’ve lost weight. I’m a hardy perennial for I don’t think I’ve changed much, maybe I gained a few pounds – that’s all.

I guess I had better refer to your letters of the 4th and 9th so I don’t get lost – after that I’ll tack on my own story.

I know how furloughs are and a guy is kept quite busy in that short span of time. I’m glad that at least you were able to speak to Judy over the ‘phone even though she didn’t see you. As for my folks, that would have been nice, but they don’t have a ‘phone. There will be better days coming for visiting – I hope.

I know that Judy saw Ann and the Lubalins not long ago. Ann must have been talking to her, I guess you know what I’m coming to. Religion certainly can create some damned unpleasant situations and unfortunately, your Dad is not a very open minded person. Ann must feel bothered by it and I know you are also. Whatever you do, Lou, don’t let him throw any “monkey wrenches” into your marriage at a time like this. If it’s really that bad maybe Ann should keep away from them. Hell, I don’t want to be giving you any advice, Gate, you are quite capable of handling it yourself. You know how much I think of Ann and you and I don’t like to see anything or anyone make you feel unhappy. It’s a helluva shame, Lou, for I remember what a time you had way before you were married to Ann. Don’t forget, Lou, there has been nothing you or Ann have done that’s been wrong – it’s narrow minded prejudice on the part of others. I wish Judy or someone is looking after Ann to see that she is happy and keeps in good spirits. I’ll be writing Judy and I’ll tell her to call and see Ann as often as she can. I know she’d Judy would be only to glad to do it.

I heard about Herbie too although what I heard wasn’t as definite as you stated it to be. Is there any remaining chance that he may get that OW1 post, I wonder?

So Milt sent you some snapshots that’s okay. I wrote him quite recently. Think there’s a chance he’ll send me one?

As for your physical exam I hope you don’t pass – so you can be spared the torture of being away in some norman’s land. The Army always has a guy “sweating it out” over something or other. I hope you have the best of luck on the deal. Don’t you have flat feet, or bad eyes or something Gate?

I thought I recognized the third party in that “triangle.” So it’s Joe Schur, I know another fellow who looks a lot like him this other guy is a friend of George Fox.

We are going to take off on a night problem very soon so I guess I’ll have to interrupt my writing. Yes, Lou, even over here, when we are not on an actual job we have a rigid training schedule just like “basic” in the States. Everyone is singing the cute little song “Chicken Shit, Chicken Shit” how I love that “Chicken Shit.” We hare having interior guard classes and we’re learning how to challenge – don’t laugh, Gate, it’s true.

The words which you call profane Lou – don’t worry about them and don’t leave them out. If I feel it absolutely necessary I’ll censor them myself. So don’t forget, write just as you feel.

Letter no. 2 – As for the delay in my mail reaching you you’ll have to take it I guess c’est la guerre – do you “dig me” or is your French almost as bad as mine? I thinks the Nazis captured about one or two weeks worth of our mail or at least so it seems from Judy’s complaints. I’ve sent out a great deal of artwork, some of it the best I’ve done, I sure hope those bastards didn’t get any of it. As for yours, Lou, it would be better if you kept these airmail letters even if they take a little longer en route.

It is difficult not to feel a little optimistic, at least, about the Russian drives. As for what you said about the “deep thinking” periodicals and magazine, I wouldn’t be too surprised. Jerks! At present, I think the Germans must be throwing in plenty to try and stop the Red “floods” because the advances made have been less spectacular, however I don’t think the Reds will be held for very long. This front I think must be a tougher problem, for this Siegfried line is all that it was ever cracked up to be –plus. However, gains continue to be made, most often measured in yards. I think once a hole can be opened the Nazis will really have their headaches. It would be good if they could breakthrough very soon wile the Germans are being chased by the Reds. Here’s hoping – I would like to see this conflict finished sometime in ’45, wouldn’t you? Man, it’s really torture being away from her, it gets worse as time goes by. I haven’t lowered myself to the point where I’ve bothered with the women here. I’m keeping myself busy in other ways. Besides artwork, one of them is reading. I just finished Sumner Welles’ book The Time for Decision. It’s an excellent book, Lou, try to read it if you can. Other than that I see movies every night – almost. I’ve seen some pretty good ones of late. Going My Way, None But The Lonely Heart, which was unusual, the acting was terrific!, Laura, a top notch mystery if I ever saw one, To Have and To Have Not, Sweet and Lowdown an awfully corny picture about Benny Goodman, but more than half of the movie was music – and the typical B.S. “solid” stuff. I enjoyed it despite the other part of the picture.

I don’t know whether I told you or not, Lou, but we have been up in Germany. At least, I can say that. The little town we were in was beat up pretty terribly, none of the population remained, only dead animals. People left most of their belongings there. At night the artillery both sides was incessant all night and we were so close to the lines that machine guns and rifle fire seemed very close. It reminded me of some of these old movies of World War I, things were so destroyed. It looked like a typical no man’s land as you back home imagine it. I didn’t do much souvenir hunting as most of the guys did. There really wasn’t much that I saw which I thought worthwhile sending home. I did find a pile of color reproductions, small ones about 4x7 of Rembrants [sic], El Grecos, DaVinci, Vermeer, Titian, Durer and Van Dyck paintings – oddly enough!

Things at the present are slow. As I told you we keep strictly to this schedule. The weather is gorgeous, warm and just like Spring. The snows have long since melted. It usually rains on Sunday when we get a day off (that’s not often). I had KP last Sunday and won’t have it again for many months. We have steady K.P.s and we all chip in, us guys only pull it on Sundays so with all the men in the company, I won’t get it for a long, long time. Some of the boys jokingly said, maybe it will be my last K.P. over here. It would be nice to be back home within four or five months. But frankly, Lou, although I feel the war could end any month, I’m not deluding myself. As a matter of fact, Army life is so damned dull that I get in the dumps every so often.

I haven’t done much artwork in the last two weeks only about four watercolors and there is only one of them that I think is any good. Did I tell you that – about three weeks ago I worked on a watercolor and ink sketch that measured 30” x 17” !?? It was the best thing I’ve done over here and I’d like to make a wall decoration from it someday – it’s that terrific! I did it from a scene in the town we are near, when the snow was deep everywhere. I sent home a large bunch of stuff to Judy only about two weeks ago.

By the way, I recently heard from Jack Golden. This lucky man is still at 1 Park Avenue and quite busy as long as he keeps that way he’ll remain on that detached service deal. He said he saw Wallace Harrison recently and he looked over work that Mr H has done in the past couple of years.  He says his stuff would make my mouth water, it’s so swell! Golden has pretty excellent taste so it is possible that Harrison’s work may be tops, I’ve never seen one thing he’s done. Well, it’s an interesting bit I thought I’d tell you about.

Incidentally, did you know that Picasso has taken a commission in the French Army as an artist correspondent!! One of the boys in our outfit, a grand guy and a swell artist, lived and was bor was born and lived in Paris most of his life told me about it. He heard about it through friends. We also had visited Picasso’s studio when he had a three day pass to Paris but Picasso was not in. He did see some good work up there. Incidentally we are getting passes now to Paris, but it’s so slow, three or four men, a month, that by the time I get one, I may have gray hair and I hope I won’t be here that long. I would, of course, love to get the opportunity to spend 72 free hours in Paris, it would be an experience I’d never forget. I remember how wonderful it was from that one day last August! Furloughs to England also are starting and the rotation system here is the same slow business. I don’t suppose it could be any faster with all the troops over here. The furloughs however are counted against furlough time we could get if and when we return to the States – and that’s no good for my money. Paris will satisfy me.

That, Lou, brings me pretty up to date. My only thought and hope is that I’ll be seeing Judy soon. It’s many many months since I last saw her, it will be a year the end of April. Well, here’s hoping. I’d like to see my folks and my friends, particularly you, Gate. The very best of luck, Lou, and give my love to Ann. Send me her address and I’ll write to her too maybe she needs cheering up. Being away from you must bring her down – just like with Judy and I. Keeping doing that good work. So long.

Your pal,


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