Sunday, September 3, 2017

HvS | WW2 1943 to ERM, OSS

HvS and Children, about 1949
Clockwise from HvS: John, Brigid,
Randal, Sheila, Lis, Olga
[2017-9-3 Thanks to Jay for typing!]

HvS>ERM 1943-1-11

From: Hilda Marlin
3728 Northampton St., NW
Washington 15, DC

To: Mr. E.R. Marlin
O.S.S. Detachment
APO 887
Postmaster New York City

Jan 11, 1943


I lost your letter asking me for underwear, please write me another, it is ready to be sent but they won't take it unless there is a request. I have three union suits, park wool $4.00 each, long, size 42 (they said that would be better since they shrink). 

So please write to ask me for them. I also have a pair of leather gloves, wool-lined (from your Mother and Ruth) and a beautiful little pipe of imported briar ($5.00). Very prettily curved, soft and light. A present from me.  If you like some candy or tobacco I can send that too but you must ask for it. 

You ought to read “The Screwtape Letters” by a Mr. [C.S.] Lewis (Anglican), very good. 

The children liked the ballet all right but preferred "Cinderella". One little girl, when the two sisters were leaving Cinderella in the kitchen, cried aloud: "Why don't they hug her?" 

It is always noisy with comment – most of the spectators are very small children. On Randy's birthday there is going to be a magician at the same place - good coincidence, eh?

HvS>ERM 1943-1-30

From: 3728 Northampton Street NW
Washington 15 D.C.
Letter No. 23
January 30, 1943
Dear Husband,
Today we are living in Irish fashion with a temperature of fifty [degrees F] in an oilless house but with two wood fires burning. We were able to get wood at last, for twenty dollars a cord. They say they may come with oil tomorrow. They are three days behind in delivering on account of thick snow. 

Snow is jamming all the roads and clinging thick to the trees, yet it goes on snowing. One has to wade through lakes of yellow mud to cross a street and the bus goes bubble-bubble and as slow as a snail. I asked the bus man if it was hard driving and he said very. I asked him how the woman drivers were doing and he gave a crooked smile and told me they had only two and they left.
Birdie [one of two domestic help in Washington; the other was called Weeshee] feels exceedingly injured because it's hard to get to work in the mornings. She has to see empty bus after empty bus pass, and then she has to mount one that can hardly hold people. It is hard to convince her that racial prejudice is not involved. 

I am writing this by the radio and through a concert program I suddenly hear a message of someone who has had an accident on Pennsylvania Avenue and is told to wait until the traffic cop gets there. Interesting. I suppose it's all on account of the weather. The meat counter (oh, they are telling the cops to halt a hit and run driver, it's just like a detective story!) is very empty. I only could get two hamhocks and a slab of veal today. The rest was all just bones and chickens. The one too low and the other too high. 
I have good news for you. Miss Bertha Gunterman [Editor at Longman's Green] likes my drawing very much and wants me to continue the woodcut style for the book and May [Massee, Viking Press], who hadn't told me she had accepted "Gerrit and the Organ" suddenly sent me a page of manuscript to ask whether I liked that type for it, so apparently she has taken it. I told her I wanted to know what she thought of it.
Randal is a funny little fellow and he seems to have an enormous attraction for some people. I had paid him for sitting for me and he lost two dimes in the snow. He told me about it while I was shopping in the Safeway, and I was hardhearted enough to say I wouldn't replace them, that it was his loss. The silent tears trickled down his cheeks and so one of the shop attendants gave him two dimes. 
I love my children, they're very sweet. Randal, Brigid, Sheila and I went out this afternoon and we met Mrs. Sullivan and stopped to chat. In the course of conversation the topic became germs and I told her how the children pick chewing gum off the street to eat it. She wanted to impress on the children how dirty that was and said: "A great big colored man might have had it in his mouth," as if a colored man's mouth was necessarily more dirty than a white man, a completely unnecessary addition to the moral and one that made me squirm. The children looked at her with limpid eyes.
Afterwards Brigid asked me "What did she mean, colored man?" 
Randal had understood her to say "Car man."
"Oh," he said carelessly. "She meant someone who has a car."
I could have kissed them both on the spot, but I didn't.
I am starting a class or club for Olga. Every Tuesday afternoon Olga is going to have four friends who are going to sew with her. I felt she needed nice friends and she seems unable to attract them herself so I believe this is the answer. Randal won't have any trouble that way. You should see the girls who go to his class when they meet him accidentally on the street. They're quite ready to elope with him. By the way, he is getting an expert at arithmetic by counting his pennies and doing all sorts of sums with them.
Sheila has Christened John Anthony "Johnnyboy". Did I tell you that Baroness van Boetselaar [relative in Occupied Holland] has a son, a Caeserian birth? She lost one at four years with a weak heart and had several miscarriages but this one is said to be sound. So nice for her after two daughters. She seems to be doing well and to have been very brave. I suppose you heard about Margriet Francisca, I'm sure the Consul has elaborated on it. Congratulate him for me!
I have got you a letter from someone whom I can't place. It looks like Blissaine Dell or Dull and she lives in Ingleside Terrace and has lost her mother. I'll have to condole her without having the faintest notion who she is and whether she is married or not. I shall have to feign illegible handwriting. She has apparently been to our house, but I'm sure I never saw her name spelt and anyway, I always felt as if you were a kind of file I could consult in these matters. It's very awkward having one's file walk off on one. But I'll have to do the best I can.
Oh goodness, that reminds me I have to thank Edna Gorman for the presents she sent the children at Christmas so goodbye for the nonce. I may have to write you less frequently in the future with two books to illustrate. Please pray for me and I'll pray for you.

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