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Letters to Lou

May 14, 1945

Letters from Arthur Singer

watercolor painting of a rooftop view of city buildings

Briey in April of 1945

May 14, 1945

Dear Lou,

Your letters never disappoint me, Gate, I love ‘em, like this swell letter I just got from the 28th. I was just thinking why we enjoy each other’s letters so very much. First, of course, we’re such close friends that I know, I personally feel that you’re like a brother to me, but it’s more than that too. I enjoy and look forward not only to getting your letters – but writing to you! To most people and to myself also when it comes to writing to some I know, it’s a duty an obligation and sometimes you do it just to get it off your mind and do write it as fast as possible. When I sit down to write to you and Ann I have a smile on my face, just as when I write Judy. I feel of [sic] closeness of your personalities even though there are thousands of miles between us. I rarely ever try to rush off a letter to you, Gate. I can’t say that many of my friends can even approach you in your intimate and warm writing. In some respects Ralph is the only one. I just got a letter he wrote to me a few days ago after he got my address from Milt or Bernie. I wrote him a long time ago and he might have gotten my letter by now but when he wrote me he hadn’t had any word from me. So he bawled me out in his letter and I bawled him out in my letter. Now things are even and I guess I’ll hear from him occasionally. At the end of this letter I’ll give you their the addresses.

While your letter was en route to me – the Great Day came in Europe – VE day! I lot of the boys got tight while I used the evening writing to Judy, the folks and you. Of course, the end here means something but here’s the deal, Gate. It’s pretty definite that we’re headed home – and fast – you know what that means, they aren’t sending troops home to sit around on their asses. Sure we’ll no doubt get furloughs but it looks as though I’ll have to make an attempt to study up on my Chinese. Yes, Lou that’s what dampened our spirits and held down over joyousness on V-E day. They have a point system now for discharge and deployment. We have a pile of points, but not enough. I figure that one year overseas in China will give up more than enough. If we stayed in the states it would be two years. I am up to 60 points, of tomorrow May 15, my fourth wedding anniversary. You see, Lou, those battle stars of ours count for a lot and there aren’t many outfits that have all the three stars (which were all the campaign battles in the ETO). Still I’ve resigned myself to it, I know damned well for a long time that there would be no chance of getting out yet, it was merely a question of whether it would be occupational now or the CBI. Maybe I’ll run into Willard over there.

Even though our work is not secret I can no longer divulge the information freely. If I had waiting one day after getting your last letter (not the Vmail I had since then) I could have told you everything. However it’s not so unusual and I can tell you about it later. In your letter you mentioned my telling you of our experiences that sound almost like fiction to your ears. Well, Gate, this is how it is – you know how I miss Judy, how I love her, you might guess how a guy might feel who has been away from his wife thirteen months but still refuses to fool around with other women out of love for his wife. Yes, it’s tough, but I’ll tell you something, Lou, I’m glad I’ve had this year over here and here’s why. (1) I know what hell war is, not the fireworks so much – just being away (2) I have had occasions to be pretty scared too – of screaming lead headed your my way (3) I’ve been inspired over here to do a great deal of art work (4) only on a very, very costly travel tour could we ever have seen as much as we have, for we’ve worked with almost all the American armies and have seen more of Europe than most troops (5) meeting foreign people and learning that they are human just like us, and damned nice many of them (6) getting first hand stories and seeing for myself what the Nazis and their f-g war has done for Europe and the people. Actually we haven’t witnessed any of this horror concentration camp stuff, I know it’s true for some of the people we’ve come in contact with in our present work have verified that. I can also see how the Nazis have turned these people (slave labor) into almost animals, thinking only of eat, sleep, drink, shelter, mating. So, Lou, although I’m lonely and homesick we have had a big experience. It looks as though it’s not done yet although I wish it were.

Now as for that damned question of my artwork Lou. All I’ll say is this – don’t expect anything very designed, abstract or very unusual creatively. I’ll say one thing, perhaps, for them, they at least are not corny and some do have a mood to them. That’s all I’ll say. I’ve done a lot of work now that the weather is beautiful again. I got a pad of paper from Paris, it’s not What man, but it takes color nicely and it’s about 23 inches x 16 inches. So these recent things seem huge compared to all the 9x12 and smaller stuff I’ve done. I spent all day yesterday in Luxembourg city wh one of the best and most picturesque cities in all of Europe. For five hours I worked unceasingly until I finished this piece. I managed to get what I wanted. Only one thing, it’s nice to work in good weather but hard as hell for me because I hate strong sunlight and shadows. I do the best I can, that’s all.

Thanks for enclosing your samples of the stuff you are doing. I can understand what you mean, Gate, about the war. Don’t forget however its experience for you that fits right in with your life’s work even if it’s only improving your art as far as mechanical cleaness. [sic] You, now and then, have a chance to do something solid, like those posters that wowed them. Tell me, Lou, were they more or less flat and decorative like the Child’s posters? How do they compare with those? I hope you get more opportunities for such work. And as for my success, Gate, I wish I had as much hope for me as you have. I don’t know how to advertise myself or convince other people that I have “something on the ball” (if I have).

I’m glad to hear that – that darling Ann is feeling fine and your [sic] having fun together and are quite happy about the whole thing. Be sure to give her a big kiss from me, Gate. I almost split my sides on that bit you wrote about making her wash and iron weekly instead of eight every 8 days instead of weekly, and you help her lift the bed when she sweeps up. How do you stand such a brute, Ann? Gate, I wish you two all the happiness in the world and I hope the kid inherits the beautiful, warm character that both of you possess.

I guess Ann didn’t know about Miriam’s marriage and since there is no communication between you and Judy, it’s only natural that it came as a complete surprise. I hear her husband besides being unusually brilliant, is a very swell fellow. He’s a number of years older than she is, and I think he’s older than us. That’ll be the day when I hear Ann an [sic] Isaac speaking Russian! As for my list of friends who I write to, I guess I’m pretty well informed as to things that are […]. Ralph is bored as hell with a training base life and wants action, or home (preferably, I guess)

I’ve seen only two really good movies and one short. One picture was Wilson – that was excellent, the other Woman In The Window which was top stuff. The short I speak about surpassed anything I’ve ever seen in American motion picture photography. It was made by Gjon Mili of a negro jam and blues session and it had some amazing spots in it. Life and other magazines had sections devoted to it. Although the jazz part of it was not as good as it might have been – I’m terribly critical of jazz as you know and have definite ideas on it. Both Sid Catlett and Jo Jones were on the drums, you as an old drummer boy might be interested in that. Mostly, Lester Young was featured […]. But whether you like swing or not anyone interested in motion pictures, photography or just design shouldn’t miss that film.

And so, Gate I’m coming near the end of this letter. I actually think we’ll be in the States quite soon and I wish it were possible to see you. Whether I do see you or not I will send you a telegraph if and when I get home on furlough. Now as for the addresses I promised you.

Lt Ralph Danziger

Hq. 1st Plt. Battery A

236th AAA S/L Bn.

A.P.O. 22 c/o PM San Fran., Cal.

He asked about you, and now for Bernie

S/sgt Bernie Meyerson 32342874

530 Bomb. Sq. 380 Bomb Gr.

A.P.O. 921 c/o PM, San Francisco, Cal.

Take care of your self and “[…] opp” Ann. My love to the both of you.


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