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#138 Sunday, August 25 Dearest girl, It’ s a lovely day today, not too hot, though the sun is shining brlght~ly again after yesterday’s rain. Just finished lunch ~ beef, potatoes, carrots, cauliflower, bread and butter and jam. You see we’re not starving. Was looking over my diary of last year. Do you want to read a bit of it? My entry for August 23rd was: ’Packing day. (We moved next day from Flanders to Cambrai sector.) Rain in A.M. and showers intermittently. Slept a little. ’ For August 2~th: ’Awoke at 12:30 A.M. A terrific storm. Rain leaked through tent. Had tea at l:15 A.M. At 2:30 A.M. in driving rain mounted horse (’Kaiser Bill’) and rode to E , seven miles. Had breakfast near station. Train ~e from 9:00 A.M. to 5:30 P.M. We went through Arras. Saw many trenches and dugouts. Got out at Bapaume and rode ten miles to camp (at Leschelle) by motor. Territory for miles around desolate, houses in ruins, trees cut down, no inhabitants.’ In return for this quotation, won’t you quote some more of yours? You see I never have put more than a bare outline in mine - as to put down my thoughts, etc. would entail too much work and take too long. Last night we staged a bridge game and your hubby helped win two out of three rubbers and incidentally seven francs. Here, as in B.E.F., it is a sort of unwritten law never to play for more than one franc a hundred points and you have to go some to win or lose more than ten francs. That is the second bridge game we’ve had in the seven weeks I’ve been here. Don’t worry, dearest, your boy is not developing into a gambler. But bridge is a good game and is very pleasant, and you must play for a small stake in order to eliminate reckless bidding. I need help: Won’t you come to the rescue? What’s wrong? Why, I’ve got two buttons to sew on and a rip to mend - that’s all. But I’m a pretty good surgeon now and so I’ll manage O.K. But you Just wait till I have you by me. Then I simply will hand you the garment and loftily say, ’Two buttons here, please.’ Will you mind my bossing you that way, dear? In return I suppose you’ll go out and buy a couple of hats and say to me, ’Here’s a couple of bills for you to pay, please.’ Your loving hubby, Lee Tue sday, August 27 Rather quiet day with only two more gas cases - only sneezing and eye tearing. No moon and therefore no visits
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from Boche aeroplanes. The next day also quiet; played bridge with officers Wilder, Winter and a new M.O. named Furman from Akron, Ohio. Our troops doing wonderfully well. 8/26/1918 Deare st Hubby Do you love me? Do I love you? Well Just close your eyes honey. So. Now I’m in your lap and l’m Just getting comfortable; I have placed one of your arms about my waist and the other is resting lightly upon my knee; I put my arm around your neck and hold you to me while with my other hand I tousle your hair. You like that, don’t you dear? Occasionally I bend forward and kiss a lock. You are almost asleep, but that is what I don’t want Just yet, so I kiss your eyes and then your cheeks and finally your lips and boy l’m holding you tightly to me because I want to feel your heart beat against mine. I kiss you again and again and I actually lose myself in every one. Soon the spirit moves you and you can no longer resist and I’m crushed in both your arms and oh Lee you are so strong. Please, honey, I want to catch my breath. Just a moment. Once more our lips meet and this time we both give each our soul we are no longer ourselves. Hubby, the devil is in possession of me again or I’m in its clutches. Today I had lunch with Frieda Silberstein, a friend of ours (Stella’s and mine) and during the luncheon she asked if I would marry you before the war is over and I answered truthfully ’Yes.’ She asked why. I told her that if you came back crippled I’d marry you because in my heart we are already one. As long as I felt that way there was no question about it so far as I was concerned. Also that the flower of our nation is in this war - all our picked - physically fit - men and I can see no reason why we should wait until they can come back to flourish such a nation. Thereupon she said that’s the point - a child might be born. I laughed and said ’That’s the natural consequence of true love and if a child were born I would support it.’ ’And what would happen to the child while you were out.’ ’I should probably earn $25.00 a week and so could have a maid at $30.00 per month for the child if necessary but Mother would be there or I’d be near his Mother.’ She thought it was wonderful to feel that way because
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she would never consent to shoulder such responsibility. It seems that when something like this comes up I realize how very much I love you. Why, boy, I simply don’t belon~ to myself. My heart, soul and body are yours. They say ’There’s a little bit of bad in every good little girl’ and, perhaps, all my badness and goodness is being thrust upon you. Honey, if it is bad to want to give you my body as well as my heart then l’m bad to the core, because unless you own me all you cannot be in my company, as I couldn’t give you---~y hand to grasp without offering my lips to be kissed - I couldn’t kiss you good night unless I knew I could fall asleep in your arms and wake up in the morning to find you at my side. Dearest, I am yours day and night. Never have I lost my head when in the company of the male sex, but I’m frank to admit to you that I would not be responsible if in your company without being married. Take this evening - you would own me. What I can’t understand is why have you so much control over me, when there isn’t another man living who could even make me kiss him? Sweetheart it is 2:00 A.M. and I must be up at 7:00 o’clock. Good night, hubby. Soon the time will come when my boy and I will spend our evenings together and I will listen while he teaches me something about his profession. When the lesson is over the teacher will get his compensation fittingly and wiley will insist that we have recess so that she may cuddle up to hubby. Soon we’ll both sleep in each other’s arms only to awaken to another day of bliss and perfect unity. Sweetheart I am patiently waiting to become Your own wife Nina Darling I adore you.
My own Sweetheart Honey, it is morning. All are asleep. May you Join me? Well rather! Dearest, let me sit in your lap - it looks so inviting. There, oh boy, when I hold you closely to me my heart throbs violently and I’m amazed at the fact that it doesn’t Jump out of place. .My kisses must scorch you for I’m parched. The warmth of your body against mine infuriates me and I draw closer to you. You seem so wonderful that I want to be near you always, and Judging from the way you are holding me, you want me as much as I do you.
Love, War, and Medicine
Dearest I love you madly and the more force you use the better I like it. If our Allies continue perhaps next year at this time we’ll be in our dollhouse. Just think, honey, what a glorious %ime we have before us. First we will have the pleasmre and excitement of selecting our home, then we will see our dollhouse become a realization. You and I will play and learn and work and love for a while. Then a baby will come into our lives and we’ll find an added attraction to our perfect home. Instead of the baby receiving all our love, we have found a deeper devotion in each other and we are greater lovers than ever. When the baby is put to bed we become pals and exchange confidences, advice and sympathy. Then again we are children and forget we are parents in a love for each other which is akin to worship. Again I want to kiss you Good night, soldier sweetheart. Your wife Just adores you and prays each night for your safety and a speedy ending of the war so that I will soon be yours in the eyes of God and Man and thus bring me the peace, Joy and happiness which goes with the possession of the best man on earth - my hubby. Your sweetheart Nina Letter #139 Tuesday, August 27th Dearest girl, Just received your card of July 26th and note you were in Oliverea in the Catskills on that day. August 28th Was interrupted yesterday by some new cases coming in and didn’t get a chance to finish this till now. So here I am, dearest, at II:00 P.M. in my room. It’s black as night outside and pouring cats and dogs, but I’m very comfy inside this little chamber. At last, dearest, a letter came, yours of July 2~th from Ollverea; also a card of July 21st. Also got a letter from Ed. But the main batch of letters I know you were holding for me is not here yet. You must have had a nice time on the farm. I don’t suppose it was very lively, but the fact that your two mothers enjoyed themselves and the freshness of the atmosphere, etc. must have made things O.K. for you and Stella. The scenery must have been beautiful there. Yes, I surely would have loved to be with you. For that matter, honey, wherever you are is heaven to me,- if I’m with you. The meanest little hut with you by my side is far preferable to an empty palace.
Love, War, and ~edicine
What do you mean letting that country kid hold your hand? For penalty, I demand six kisses and twelve assorted hugs to be given on sight, to be followed by a total and unconditional surrender for one hour. If you don’t accept these generous terms, I’ll open up on you with a barrage of embraces assisted by many tanks of love and I promise you I’ll storm your position ’tout de suite. ’ Speaking of war, I suppose you, like I, are thrilled by the wonderful news of these last forty days. Truly, the best forty days of the war from our viewpoint, for we’ve accomplished more in that brief period than in the years before. Just think, dearest, on July ist, 1916 the British attacked the Germans on the same front they did again a few days ago. In 1916 it took them four months to gain forty square miles and they paid for every inch of it. Last week they captured 116 square miles of the same sort of ground in four days and their losses were very small. T~e news is certainly splendid, and I don’t see how the Huns can very well start an offensive in turn as their losses are terrific,- why, the allies have captured about 150,000 Germans Just since July 18th. Honey, if things keep up we might very well be in our dollhouse by autumn of 1919. So let’s pray and hope - and meanwhile do our bit. Nothing excitin~ here at all. Still have a few gassed patients but none serious. Had a German ist lieutenant brought in this morning, but our boys had filled him so full of holes when they captured him on patrol that he came in unconscious and died in a few hours, though we did what we could for him Just as though he were from the United States. Honey, can you picture what’s going to happen to you and me when we’re clasped in each other’s arms? Why; we’ll Just cuddle up to each other till we can’t get any closer. And I’ll hold you with strength, yet gently, while you will have your arms about my neck. And our hearts will be close neighbors as they beat forcefully against the opposite breast. Then, girl, we’ll be happy, won’t we, wifey? Then we’±l live, you and I, and life will be one continuous Joy and happiness for both of us. Together we’ll climb and climb ever upwards and onwards. And with you to help and guide me, we can’t fail. Darling, it’s past midnight and as I get up about 6:30 each A.M., I must get some sleep. Good night, my own girl. Here’s Just load after load of kisses and hugs.
Love, War, and Medicine
Lots of love to all. More kisses for one brave little girl with initials NK - temporary initials for she’s going to change them soon, ’apres la guerre,’ to those of Her lovin8 Hubby, Lee Good night, sweetheart - I love you dearly. Wednesday, August 28 Our hospital was emptyin~ and only twenty-eight patients remained. Did another inspection for venereal diseases, very few cases. Dr. Wilder left so I was put in charge of gassed patients. One slight change : instead of MRC (Medical Reserve Corps), now am Captain in the M.C. (Medical Corps, United States Army). The next few days were also quiet. I did help Captain Howard remove five pieces of grenades from two soldiers of the 92nd Division stationed nearby - both wounds were accidental (carelessness). Letter #140 August 29 Dearest, l’ve used almost every sort of stationery in writing you, but here’s another. I swiped only two sheets of this from the Salvation Army canteen in the village, so this letter will be limited. This morning’s mail was another very stingy one only your card of July 19th, written Just before you left for vacation. Still, I was glad to get even that though you alone know how l,m hungerin8 for one of your nice long letters, the kind I haven’t had for Just four weeks. Yes, honey, I’ii give you a better job for the rest of your life just as soon as we’ve won this war. And I’Ii pay you in the currency of love, both during and between vacations. But l’m going to make you work. You’ve no idea what’s in store for you, have you? It’s Just noon of a cloudy and cool and drizzly day. Finished making rounds in the wards and discharged
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to duty most of the ’gassed’ cases we’ve had. None were very serious. The news continues splendid and we’re certainly doing things to the Boche they didn’t d~eam we could do. At this rate we’ll have them back where they were March 20th in a very short time, and then, if we can keep them on the run, well, I surely would love to have my first aid station ’somewhere in Germany.’ And I’d love to see Germany in ruins as the eastern part of France is. It would do my heart good. Sweetheart, won’t you Join me at mess today? We’ll walk along the side of the big tent in which we eat, then open the screen door and sit down on the long benches at the long tables we have. A few Frenchwomen and some mess order±ies will wait on us and will place good food on our granite plates - only one to a customer - everything on one place. And I know you won’t mind the fact that tablecloths and napkins are not in style here and that a granite or tin cup does the work of glasses. Oh, yes, and I know you’ll get along without finger bowls. And we don’t change cutlery with each course. You eat pie with the same knife with which you eat your peas. And I’ve learned to eat ice cream that’s served in a plateful of gravy. Well, dinner is ready. You can’t com~ today. Well, next time then. Loads and loads of love to you, dearest little girl, for I’ve got a very warm spot in my heart for you, my future wifey. Your boy, Lee
Dearest Hubby You will forgive me, honey, if I merely write a line todayo This evening we went to see ’Yip, Yip, Yaphank,’ and it was great. It was very novel and dancing, singing, costumes, stage setting and comedy were splendid. One song is quite pretty and I shall try to get it for you. It is ’The Y.M.C.A.’ But I enjoyed the pleasure it gave Ma. She said every one ought to see it. Honey, I’m sitting here in my gown - that is all. Am ready now for bed. Will you tuck me in? Yes, dear, you may kiss me many times. Little sweetheart I adore you and wish you were here so I could kiss you and caress you and fondle you so that you could know how deep is my love for you.
Love, War, and Medicine
Each night I lie awake for a while and dream of our future and our supreme happiness. I picture our little dollhouse and you in it as my master and protector and pal. Even in the thought of it I am thrilled. It is marvelous to anticipate so much Joy because it gives a rosy hue to the lonesomeness of the present. But, honey, when the dollhouse is open I know one girl who will make up for lost time, and I know one boy who will have reason to believe that his wife is madly in love with her hubbyo Dearest I wish I were really Your wife Nina Of course I am but I mean really so - so that no one can ever take you from me again. I d_~o love you honey. Good night little soldier boy. Pleasant dreams. Monday, September 2 The Huns shot down another balloon, and I took care of another eight tear gas cases; also another bridge game, this time with officers Furman, Clancy and McNeel. September i Dear Paul, I’Ii start the new month correctly by writing these few lines to you in answer to your letter of August 7th. Your message and four other letters came today, and were the first ones to reach me directly with my new address on them. Your letter was #3. Also got a Joint letter from Sarah and children and mother written in Detroit. Am happy you are all well, though worried that mother felt poorly for a while while on her visit. Glad the Joint photo came at last and also centerpiece. Got a letter from Ed yesterday enclosing one of father’s. Ed is fine. You will note another change in my title. I suppose you’ve read that there is only one army now, the United States Army, and that the old distinctions between National Army, Regular Army, National Guard and Reserve Corps are things of the past. So I’m no longer in the Reserve Corps, but in the United S~ates Army. As that is divided into permanent, temporary and provisional, I guess I belong to the last class. The change does not affect me in the slightest, though,
Love, War, and Medicine
except that I must wear the insignia US on my collar and discard my USR. So I’ve got to get a hammer and knock off the ’R’. I have been busier lately. The doctor who was in charge of the gas service, medical work and sanitation has been called away temporarily for duty elsewhere, and I’m left in charge of these departments. And, in addition, I’m going to get to do more surgery than before. Yesterday we operated for about three hours and removed five foreign bodies out of a possible five (batting average i000) from some soldiers who were holding the llne close by. Those boys are just full of good humor and I like them. They make ideal patients. One of them, though, while going under ether yesterday staged a great scrap and it took four of us to subdue him and get him to sleep. The cases were all slight bits of hand grenades which Fritz presented them with in a patrolling encounter several miles away from here. There was a thrilling spectacle near here the other evening. It was Just about six o’clock and I was walking to the hospital grounds when I suddenly heard the pop-pop-pop of a machine gun coming from the direction of the United States observation balloon which watches the Hun line from a point in the air not far from this hospital. A Boche plane attacked the balloon suddenly and fired at it point-blank with his gun. The balloon was pulled down quickly and the bullets missed their mark. The aeroplane made direct for the balloon and flew straight over it firing as he went along and again missed. The two American observers at once Jumped out on their white parachutes and descended slowly and maJestically to the ground. The Hun flew straight for Germany (not many miles from here) at a terrific speed (at least I00 miles an hour) and our anti-aircraft guns and machine guns gave him hell. The sky was dotted with black patches of explosive shrapnel and high explosive shells, but the German got away, at least, as far as I could see. No damage to either side, apparently, but the two United States observers who had to Jump will need about two weeks vacation to recover from the effects, for when you Jump out on a parachute you fall straight down for about 200 feet before the parachute opens, and then you descend slowly and easily. Well, the allies are giving Mr. Hun a taste of high life now. Looks like even the old Hindenburg Line will not hold. All that ground they’ve been fighting on is familiar to me, for I got to knQw it pretty well when I was a part of British General Gough’s 5th Army in the great retreat of March 21st and succeeding days.
Love, War, and ~edicine
Well, I suppose you’ll be back at school by the time you get this. Be sure to study French as hard as you can. Do you get any of those French newspapers I send from time to time? Your affectionate brother, Lee Letter #1~l September 1 Dearest Nina, It is Just September 1st and is about 12:30 A.M. But I’ve been so busy haven’t had a chance to even drop you a line for two days, so I Just couldn’t go to bed without a few words to you. It’s a black night tonight - no moon and cool. Just the night, honey, for a little loving with you. It’s a made-to-order night for that, dear. Won’t you drop in and see me? I received your card of July l0 yesterday. I was glad to get it, especially as it told me the good news that you had let your mother and Harry into our secret now a secret no longer - and that they approved of me. That takes a load off my mind and makes me very happy. Of course, I realize how your mother dreads the day of parting; just tell her she’ll always be very welcome in our little dollhouse. She’s not losing you at all she’s merely adding me to the family. Sweetheart, I’m all yours. Every inch of me belongs to you alone. I’ll be the proudest boy in the world when I slip a little ring on your finger. Au revolt, honey. Here’s kiss after kiss, all Just the kind you like. Your hubby, Lee Tuesday, September 3 Three more mustard gas cases, none serious. Again was Officer of the Day. The news continues good; about 128,000 prisoners since July 15th.
September 2 Dearest Nina, At last a regular letter, the first in a month, yours of August 7th - no number on it; have you quit
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numbering ’em? It was directed to this hospital and the first letter to come direct to me from the United States. All previous had to be relayed through the B.E.F. Ever so many thanks for the duplicate photo enclosed. And, after I wrote to tell you to send it, I was looking through some or your old letters and found the first one. So I have two - one to kiss good morning and the other good night. Am sorry it’s so hot there. I can well imagine it. Altogether, we haven’t had more than about ten warm days this summer. Today it’s lov.ely and cool - Just like autumn. Have not heard from Colonel Dent since I left over two months ago, so can’t say whether he answered Miss Buchanan’s letter or not. Did he? My old battalion is probably on the move now as I think they’re somewhere near Mt. Kemmel though I can’t say for sure. So were I still with them, I should most likely be following the Hun, an occupation I would greatly enjoy. It’s much nicer to advance than retreat. We sure are giving the Germans Hell, aren’t we? Today came a report of the capture of the city of Peronne. You remember I spent four days there at a British Sanitary School last March. It was quite ruined then, more now, I suppose. Regarding Ed as best man, we won’t worry. If he’s there, all right. If not, someone else. No waiting: No delay: The Big Show starts right away: Get your tickets for the biggest performance ever given. Ten cents? Step this way, ladies and gents: How’s that for a barker? You are right, dear, it would be foolish to take that Illinois Civil Service Job even if I could get it. Better to go right into practice. So I pay less for chocolates than you. I guess we pay fifty per cent less on the things we can get than you do as we get everything at cost price and duty-free. The whole trouble is they don’t have as much as they might if tonnage was unlimited. No, you can’t scare me with your figures on how extravagant you are. We’re going to make good with a capital G. We can’t fail with you at the helm. Have had no mail from home since you announced our engagement though I did get a letter from Sarah and one from Paul written about August 7th. Will let you know what they say about it when I do hear, though I know they will be delighted. Am happy that your family likes me. And I llke them all, too. Yes, Mortie and Clarence can sling all the Jokes at me they want to.
Love, War, and Medicine
Am still kept busy. We’ve been having a little trouble with our water supply lately, and I spent a good part of today looking after it and instructing N.C.0.s in the correct method of chlorinating the water. I learned a lot about water chlorination when I was with the B.E.F.°and it comes in handy now. The longer I’m here, the more I appreciate the really wonderful opportunities I had when I was with the British. I wouldn’t give anything for that year. It was invaluable. One thing above all I learned, and that is to tell almost at o~ce whether a man is malingering or not. No ’backac’~e~’ ’sciatica,’ ’lumbagos,’ etc. get much sympathy from me for we’re in the army, and if one mau shirks others must work and make up for his delinquency. So I’m very strict with fakers or ’scrimshankers’ and ’lead-swinger,’ as the British call them. Yet, I have every sympathy with a man who’s genuinely ill. Army practice is very different from civilian one in many ways, you see, but good old common sense is still the most important asset one can have. Honey, supper is ready. Please excuse me, won’t you? Later: For supper we had roast beef, French fried potatoes, carrots and doughnuts, bread, butter and coffee. Not bad at all. After supper I was busy for a while as a few slightly gassed soldiers came in. They were all ’tear-producing’ cases and not serious. They will go back to duty in a few days. Lieutenant Barnett from New York, the eye surgeon I mentioned to you, just got back from Paris. He was on his vacation and he came back to get his orders as he has been directed to return to his former unit, the Mt. Sinai Base Hospital outfit - they are located near Bordeaux. Funny that in one of your New York papers there appeared a write-up about how this unit has done so well at the front. Well, they have done fine work but if you call Bordeaux near the front, I suppose our unit must be behind the Hun line. I guess Bordeaux at that isn’t more than 600-700 miles from the llne. Don’t believe all you see in the papers, Nina. A French or American plane is overhead patrolling about for any stray Hurts. Haven’t been bothered for about a week now by air raids, though they never go after this hospital. Honey, I’m awfully lonesome for you and can hardly curb my impatience to see you and get you in my arms.
Love, War, and Medicine
Wish I could see you for even twenty-four hours. Girl, we surely would hold some celebration. I’d never let go of you. I’d hug you and kiss you all the twentyfour hours. Oh, glrl, I do love you dearly. Loads of love and kisses to you, honey, and then some more. Your boy, Lee P.S. Thank Stella for a book of songs that Just came.
Wednesday, September ~ Fine news. British are already fifteen kilometers behind the famous Hindenburg Line and have captured another i0,000 prisoners. Here we had two more phosgene gas cases from the 92nd Division. One nice report: our unit only had 0.2% of illness during the month of August; by contrast, the figure for the previous month was 2.2%. Sunday, September 8 Despite much rain Lieutenant Spring of the 37th Engineers and I rode via truck to Ramblevilliers about sixteen kilometers away. This little town was full of British aviators and Chinese labor troops. We’re now down to only five ’gas’ patients. Letter #i~3 September ~th My own girl, Your peachy letter of August 6th has come and it is some message. It certainly listens fine to me. You ar---~ a darling to write me so nicely. Am glad you also are ’in the pink,’ as the Tommies say. Poor girl, I sympathize with you because of the heat in New York. So you are wearing as little as the law allows. Don’t you think you need someone to fan
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you though I guess by the time you get this you’ll need someone to hold you and keep you warm. Consider my application, young lady, for both Jobs - I can cool and I can heat. Am delighted that our New York folks took the news so well. Have not heard anything from Chicago yet, but will let you know when I do. I’m sending them a cable today in honor of their wedding anniversary. It’s certainly up to me to do that little, isn’t it? Just think if there hadn’t been that wedding - what a different world this would be for you and for me. Yes, I can read German a little, but very poorly as I’m all out of practice and haven’t even a German dictionary. I can speak it a little better than I can read or write it and have interviewed Hun prisoners fairly successfully. Regarding funds I’ve sent you, you may invest as you see fit, preferably in Liberty Loan Bonds or War Stamps, etc. I think that’s much better than a bank account, don’t you? Am not sending any this month as I might go on vacation and only have thirteen francs in my checking account at Cox & Co., Boulogne. But I have about 900 francs with me which ~is plenty for seven days vacation. No, my bedding roll has not rea~upeared. Guess it’s a goner. Have put in a claim for the value of it - 500 francs - to hotel, but have had no answer yet. Also got letters from Joe, Paul, Gerald and my cousin Mildred Buchsbaum. She’s engaged to a boy over here and is head over heels in love with him, she says. So we’re not the only ones, thou@h I’m sure no one can love a girl more than I do my little sweetheart. Nothing exciting at home. They are all unanimous in saying it’s hot. It’s fine and dandy here, cool and bright. Band concert in front of hospital Just finished; it was good. I liked especially the fine rendition of Sousa’s ’Stars & Stripes Forever.’ The men put a lot of pep into that piece. Very quiet here. Have been busy today looking after some ’mustard’ and lachrymatory gas cases - not many and none serious. A mixture of white and black soldiers now - regular checkerboard outfit we have. Here, we do not attempt to separate them; a negro gets Just as good treatment as a white soldier and may sleep in the next bed to a white soldier, and negroes make splendid patients. I like them. We have two, especially, here who are always grinning and happy, and it’s a pleasure Just to look at them. Each morning as I come along, they Jump up to attention and salute and say
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’Good morning, Captain.’ They had received only a little lachrymatory gas, not enough to hurt them. Have a new roommate, a lieutenant who is going to do orthopedic work here at this hospital, that is, look after splints oN fractured cases, etc. He seems like a nice fellow. He’s a young chap from Boston. Just had a peach of a shower bath. We’ve been having trouble with our water supply lately and baths have been positive luxuries. So I grab one whenever I get the chance. Must go soon and inspect the supper of the men. That’s part of my Job as Officer of the Day. The news of today is very good. The British are doing wonderfully well, and in today’s report I see they have reached a line about fifteen kilometers beyond the Hindenburg line opposite Arras and have taken i0,000 more prisoners. If only we can keep it up: My roommate is sitting here laughing to himself. He’s reading one of Ring Lardner’s Saturday Evening Post articles. They are funny. Do you read them? Have not heard from my old battalion for a long time. I guess they’re on the move, though, as I think they’re in that part of the British ist Army which is closing in on Armentieres. And when there’s action, letters are always secondary. Dearest, I’m thinking more and more each day that it won’t be long before victory is ours. And then peace and then: Then Dr. and Mrs. Lee Unger will celebrate the nicest little honeymoon ’somewhere in United States’ the happiest little affair ever pulled off. Look out, young lady, you’ve contracted for a vicious hubby - he’s going to eat you alive - literally - almost. Yes, darling. It won’t be long now before the dream dollhouse becomes a reality. There we two will live and love as we please, unhindered and unchecked, Just the two of us. Oh, girl, but that will be some home, won’t it ? I can hardly keep myself in check for that, I want to be there now, but there’s a little Job to be done here first. After that, well, that’s another story. Loads of love to all, honey, and kindest regards to Stella, Mr. and Mrs. K and May. Your hubby, Lee
Dearest Hubby: Better luck tomorrow you say? Perhaps. But it really makes one discontent and dissatisfied with everything in general. At one time I could not analyze the
Love, War, and Medicine
depressing feeling which came over me, but lately I only get that way when there is a delay in mail. Of course, I know it isn’t your fault - but when downhearted that is of little consolation. At present o I know that the 77th Division is in the thick of this° fight, and I believe you are with them or near them. That may delay matters, and you may not have an opportunity to write, but two weeks and a half is a long time. We are having quite a time here with rounding up the slackers. Yesterday they took men off the elevators, cars, trains, and wagons as well as off the streets. Asked for registration cards, which they could not produce, they were taken to different stations, until the information could be looked up at the Board or until they could ’phone for some one to bring the card. It was lots of fun watching the sailors and soldiers Joking with the men they were arresting. They are working very quickly on the changes being made to the Greenhut Department store, which they are turning into a Debarkation Hospital #3. In fact, they already have the beds in the building, though it is not yet painted, and the carpenters are still at work. I do wish they would send you back to place you on the hospital staff there. We could then be married and live here until after the war is over, and then go back to Chicago to open our dollhouse. Intended sending you a copy of letter Mother sent me, but I left it at home. She also sent my Mother a letter written in German, which is very charming. Honey, I must get down to work. But I can’t stop writing until after I teA1 you that you are the dearest, bravest, best man on earth, and I love you devotedly. I know I am the most fortunate girl to have such a man as you for my hubby. Boy, I’m yours all yours, heart, soul and body and am absolutely and unquestionably Your sweetheart wife, Nina. All send kindest regards.
Dearest Hubby: Of course I waited for the first mail at home, but nothing doing. That means another day lost, because every day that I don’t hear from you is one day lost. If only I could drive out of my system this depressed feeling. No, honey, I’m not worried, just blue. It is wrong to feel this way, and I know I deserve a scolding. But, Lee, I love you madly, and your letters are
Love, War, and Medicine
the most precious gifts to me - I live for and in them, because they are your thoughts. The city is all excited because the men are being held up by government officials, and asked for registration cards. Wherever one goes crowds are gathered, and as soon as one "is found without card, he is held by an armed guard and taken away until he can produce his credentials. One Italian in 8tella’s factory was taken from a subway train. He is nineteen or twenty and when he told his age the inspector said ’Like H--- you’re not 21.’ Poor kid can’t produce his birth certificate and he has already spent so,~etime in the police station. I don’t know what will happen to him. Yesterday most of the men had their cards with them, and I stopped in to see if Clarence had his card. He is being reclassified into Class 2-B and only has a postal card stating that fact so he thought he might have some trouble. I shall call him up in about an hour. They even came through the restaurant at midnight last evening and one man stood at the door so that no one could leave until they had gone to each table. However, they haven’t taken more than 200 slackers in the entire city, and we are really proud of our record. By the way, will you please tell me where the doughboys got that name? I thought of that last night in bed, and had to admit my ignorance. Hubby, dear, I’m longing for your kisses and caresses, and our dollhouse. I long for you, wholly and undividedly. I want to be your wife and be as good a wife to you as is possible for any girl to be. I long for the future to become the present, so that our partnership (in sorrow and Joy) will be sealed by God and man. Oh, honey, I love you, in fact, worship you. I shall be happy beyond words when I am Your sweetheart wife, Nina All send regards. P/5/1P18 Sweetheart Hubby~ Can’t you__hear me smile? Yes, I’m extremely happy. Oh, honey, what a difference a mere letter makes. I’m Just bubbling all over. Just as I was ready to leave the office the mailman handed me two letters and when I reached home I found three more. What a change has come over me: I was really beginning to feel angry at myself though no one even surmised how blue I was. One thing love has taught me - to control my feelings.
L~ve, War, and Medicine
The letters are #126, 127, 132, 133 and 134, so you see there are quite some missing. Also received a small snapshot of Ed enclosed in a real charming letter. In fact he says ’Have you announced your engagement as yet? If not, why not? ~ One thing I’ii wager though - that the folks, when they receive the news will fairly Jump for sheer joy and happiness. Oh, Lady, Lady: But I sure would like to be home when the glad tidings arrive. You know the old saying ’All the world loves a lover.’ That’s why we love you.’ Some dear boy, that Brother Ed of mine. Do you think there is any other couple living as much in love with each other as we are? My idea of heaven is ’you’. To be near you and touch you thrills me through and through. Little hubby I’d eat you up if you were here. First I would sit in your lap and run my fingers through your hair, then I’d put my arms around you and draw you close to me until our lips meet. Soon I’d forget I was on earth and live in my love for you. I’m full up with devotion for my Doctor sweetheart and when we are married I’m going to claim my rights to live on love and kisses and use food as a side dish. The war news continues very encouraging. Foch is certainly showing what a great strategist he is and we are all very proud of the spirit of our boys. Our stay at home folks are also doing their bit. For example, Harry’s firm gives the use of the factory, light, heat, power, and cotton to the Red Cross two hours each evening and the girls work for nothing. They turn out about a thousand garments a week. Clarence’s firm had all the boys selling stamps and the firm took $i0,000 worth. Each employee received a book with $i.00 stamps in it t o encourage them. Your description of our evenings in our dollhouse is delightful. The picture could not be more beautiful and I sincerely hope I shall come up to your expectations. Strange, though, I don’t feel a bit afraid about tackling the problems of a wife. That is probably due to the fact that everything seems easy when one is as much in love as I am with you. Do you know, honey, I love to hear you talk about your patients in the hospital and the different cases. It is very interesting. Do keep it up. Let me know how the tetanus patient progresses as you seem to be doing good work there. Bully for you. As for typhoid I haven’t heard of a case in the city this Fall but if I have occasion to see a doctor I shall be inoculated if you wish it. But, honey, I’m a diag~,stingly healthy creature and sickness is foreign.
Love, War, and Medicine
Thank you, dear, for your New Year’s wish to my family and myself. It was very thoughtful of you. And the letter arrived Just two days before New Year’s Day. I cabled you greetings yesterday and shall write my New Year letter on that day. I do hope the cable will reach you Saturday. No, dear, your letters are not getting poor. Why they are precious pieces of literature and Ibsen takes a back seat in comparison. Why, I’d rather read one of your letters than see the best show on the boards. I drink in every word you write. You say almost every officer at the hospital seems to be married or engaged and I’m not surprised at that. It seems to me that soldiers who never had a sweetheart before they wore uniform go’over there’wlth some girl’s picture close to his heart. It’s a good thing, too for both parties. It keeps us from growing selfish and keeps up the spirit of our boys. As soon as we say we have a sweetheart ’over there’ the boys say to themselves ’hands off’ because no man.will try to steal a soldier’s girl. Therefore, fickle girls remain true to the unlform, and our soldiers are sure of a hearty welcome from his girl when he returns. Haven’t our boys shown wonderful grit? One and all are great. Look at the spirit of the boy who has tetanus in your hospital. How can we lose the war when our army is made up of such stuff? He is a brave lad and I wish him the best of luck. If at any time you get anyone in the hospital who hasn’t a girl to write him and who gets blue, send me his name and address and I’ll do my best to take care of him. It is our duty to keep the boys happy. As for what you can send me, please don’t bother about buying anything and I shall again repeat that if at any time you have opportunity to buy things for our dollhouse, I shall appreciate them because we can share the pleasures derived from them, but you must not buy personal gifts though everyone Just raves about the waist you sent me. It is after midnight. I’ve answered 3½ of your letters and shall finish tomorrow downtown. I’m a bit tired now as I had a hard day at the office and expect another tomorrow. Hubby, dear, it is time to tuck me into bed. Will you do that for me? But you have five minutes grace in which to take me in your arms, d~a~ me closely to you, kiss me and let me kiss you. Now, I shall take down my hair, slip off the kimono and sown and am ready. All right, here is a last long lingering kiss. Good night,
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sweetheart. Your wife is very happy and is very, very much in love with you. I wish I could make you understand what a wonderful boy you are and how much I adore you. Why there isn’t another boy so brave and true in all the world. Darling it will be a privilege to sign myself Your loving wife Nina Unger All send love
September 6 Dear Father and Mother, Yesterday I cabled congratulations on your anniversary, but I’ll repeat them now. Here’s hoping for many, many more happy days of celebrations. Tonight is New Year’s Day, the beginning, and I shall observe it here at the hospital. No, no services here, but I can make my resolutions and prayers by myself. I certainly hope all of you observe the holidays in good health and in good spirits. And you should certainly be in good spirits as the way the Allies are beating the Huns makes an early end of the war almost a certainty. So it shouldn’t be long before we’re all reunited. Tell Grandma H I want her to pray a little extra for me. Mail has improved considerably as the last few days have brought me letters from Joe, Paul (#2) and Gerald. Also from Mildred B. and from Ed. And one from Sarah. I can imagine how hot it’s been in Chicago. This place is a summer resort. Has been lovely here most of the time and never extremely hot. Today it’s pouring cats and dogs and the thunder and lightning put even the guns to shame. But we’re all comfortable in here. Haven’t been in swimming since August IpI7, when I went in four times at Boulogne, but expect to go to Nice soon and then, oh, boy, me for the lovely blue waters of the Mediterranean. Yes, Just got notice I can go on leave if I want to. I’m three months past due as tomorrow will be seven months since I went on leave last, and I’m entitled to seven days each four months. I’m trying to get another officer to go with me. No use trying to go with Ed and Millard. They must go to Aixles-Bains and while officers can go there, they never do as army regulations discourage mixing with enlisted men in a social way. Isn’t that tough for Ed and me? Anyway, I’ll probably leave in a week or so and will go to Paris for a day, then to Lyon, then to Marseilles and then to Nice. They say it’s absolutely beautiful down there though this is not the season as yet. The big doings begin with December. There is swimming there all the year around. Oh boy’.
Love, War, and ~edicine
Glad you liked the Joint picture of Millard, Ed and me. I thought it was pretty good, too. Tell Gerald the word is spelled ’semester’ and not ’cemester’ and ’asthma,’ not ’asma.’ Gerald must be getting pretty good if he can beat Will or else the fatherly worries that have arisen since I left have taken the edge off Will’s tennis playing. By the way, tomorrow will be fifbeen months since I left Chicago. Time goes, doesn’t it, but I’ii bet I’II be hack. in.Chlcago .be~r~ another_ fif~ months go by. Have a new roommate, a Lieutenant Leverton of Boston, a Jewish chap. As soon as I found out he could pinochle, we staged a three-handed auction match, and I emerged triumphant winner to the extent of one franc or about eighteen cents in good money. Received a letter from Dr. Gauss. He said Leon Seidler was with the 2nd South Lancashires, B.E.F., so I expect he’s busy now. Nothing exciting here at all. Have a few ’gassed’ patients and do what little medical consultation there is here, also some surgery. Well, Just write more letters. Loads of love to all. Your affectionate son, Lee
September 6 Dearest girl, Happy New Year to you all. Holiday starts in about two hours. Wish we could celebrate together, but believe we will next year. There are a lot of letters from you still missing and I wish I had them. No mail today except for a note from AI in which he said he was very busy as they are operating day and night at his hospital. It has been pouring all day up to an hour ago, but now it’s nice again. On rainy days I wear enlisted men’s shoes - these are big heavy hobnailed and steelplated-heeled canal boats. They look like H---, but they’re comfy and waterproof. Nothing exciting around here at all. The work is fairly slack. My new roommate, Lieutenant Leverton of Boston, is studying French. I can hear him mumble to himself ’Bon Jour’ and ’bon nuit,’ etc. Tonight the K.C.s are giving a muslcale. I might go if I can get away. Have a few ’gas’ patients to look after.
Love, War, and Medicine
What do you think I’m doing now? Yes, I’m learning bad habits. Am smoking a Nestor cigarette! Want one? I’ve smoked about two cigarettes this week. I’ll be getting the habit first thing you know. Do you smoke? Almost all the French and British women smoke, though not always in public. Some of the nurses here smoke on the QT, of course. Honey, I wish I could celebrate this holiday with you. What a reunion it will be. I’ll Just hold you and hold you. Kisses? You bet your bottom dollar there’ll be ’beaucoup’ kisses, ’tres beaucoup,’ in fact. Au revoir, honey, much love to the dearest girl living from Your own Lee
New Year’s Eve and I can think of no befittin~ way to spend it - except with you. Hubby, dear, if I could write what is in my heart I’d fill page after page with loving messages and well wishes. It seems so empty to say ’Happy New Year’ to you, still I can think of no better way to put it. All the world over, Jews and Gentiles are uttering the same prayer. When that prayer is heard, in which even our enemy Joins us, you and I will bring Chapter #I of our lives to an end and will start the last chapter. The year Just ending has seen many complications. Joys, sorrows, smiles, tears, uncertainty, confidence, hardships and comforts. Still we would not change it if we could. The prayer we (you and I) offer this evening is one of thankfulness, for a speedy ending of the war, your safe return, our union and its ultlmate happiness. This past year you have proven to the world that you are a brave soldier, a man of strength and power, a good son and a faithful lover. Your slate is clean and your acts commendable. It is best put when I say you are a true, clean American and a credit to the
human race. Du~Ing this year you have attended the most wonderful school of knowledge ’experience.’ This age is the greatest the world has ever known and the past
year is the most remarkable. It is a privilege to have a share in making the world safe for democracy,
Love, War, and Medicine
and your share in it makes us proud and fearless. Many hardships you have suffered and much misery you have seen, but love has chan~ed the aspect of the gloom which surrounded you. l’m sure of this, because my devotion towards you is unwavering, and I feel that its depths mus~ reach you though many miles separate us. I, too, know that your love for me is as mine is for you, and I thank God for the greatest Joy of life. Your love and tenderness is more valuable than gems. I am rich in the possession of love which all the money in the world could not buy. I hope that next New Year Eve I can kiss you and wish you prosperity. I hope next year we will be in our own dollhouse and that my dreams will be realized. I hope I shall be worthy of be ln8 your wife, and that we will always be as much in love with each other as we
Sweetheart, my heart is full of many things I could tell you when my lips meet yours because words cannot possibly express what one kiss could. I Just worship you with every fibre in my body, and am deeply grateful to the Almighty for His great gift during this past year. Happy.New Year, hubby, and many kisses from Your adoring wife, Nina Ma, Harry, Jerome, Clarence, Celia, Gussie, Mortie, and Adele send New Year greetings. May sends regards. I send millions of kisses and all my love and many hugs o Boy, you can’t possibly realize how I worship you.
Good Morning Hubby Dear: Did you sleep well last night? I was so happy because I had had so much mail from you that I fell fast asleep Just as soon as my head touched the pillow, and this morning l’m again in ecstasies because l’ve received two more letters (#130 and 131) and two bundles of the Stars and Stripes, which I have not yet opened. Oh, honey-bunch l’m so happy, and so much in love with you that l’m almost afraid I will wake up and find it is all a dream, and that you are Just a myth. Am glad you got the cable, even though it did take six days to reach you. You were right to write the folks in detail, as I have not done so because I thought it best to let that information come from you. But, honey, l’m sorry you did not take my advice about waiting
Love, War, and ~edicine
until you return to have the policy changed into my name. Of course, it is done now, (and I must confess I like your thoushtfulness) but I want nothing at all but you. I should have preferred to have things remain as t~e~ were, but you are master in this instance (as always) and know what is best. Yes, honey, you may bite me to get even, because I’m sure there will be teeth marks all over your cheeks when I get finished, and it wouldn’t be right to give all and take nothing. I think it will be a tossup which is the most vicious, and we’d better hire a referee to take count. I suggest Nr. Moon Man. Under separate cover I am sending you two bundles of music. ~ay cleaned out her music cabinet, and is sending you all the popular pieces she has. They are all very old, but the Y can probably make use of them. Am delighted to know that most of the cases under your supervision are not serious. The casualty list is creeping up very fast, and I understand that most of the 69th and 7th regiments (both from New York) are wiped out. The 69th is all Irish and the 7th was the elite of our city - all or nearly all very wealthy. ~peaking about the Irish conscription question, you are right and wrong. This is no time to air their grievances towards England, and we are a bit disgusted with the Irish attitude in the war. But their best men are in it, and it is a known fact that an Irishman would rather fight than eat. But, why should the ’Orange’ have right of voice in Parliament and not the Catholics. They have never been given a square deal. You say they have become wealthy but do you know that no farmer owns his own property? All the land is owned by some titled freak, who holds the title because it was given to him, and no matter how wealthy the farmer is he cannot buy his own land - he is only a tenant. Those who embrace the Church of England have representation, the others have not. Under such oppressive ruling, why should they submit to conscription? Given the same privileges as any other of Great Britain’s possessions, she would be Just as loyal. But, again I repeat that Ireland is all wrong not to get into the scrap with all her heart, as she will suffer worse for taking that stand in such a crisis. What she should do is give her sons, and then demand retribution. In that way she would gain the sympathy of the rest of the world and so gain her freedom. I do hope you will get your leave soon and that you will enjoy it. Wish I could be with you when you visit Nice or ~onte Carlo. I know, honey, that you won’t
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gamble and I’m not a bit afraid that they will take your money in any of the dens, but I hate the thought of the many pretty women trying to lure you. It is because I’ve gained so much confidence in you, and know how true you are to me that I hate every woman who makes it hard for you to resist temptation. But the change will be good for you, and I hope you meet some nice people, or that A1 will be able to go with you. Washington is investigating the roundup of slackers, and the President agrees with the senators that it is a disgrace the way it was carried on. Most of the men here grew very indignant at the way they were approached (and I don’t blame them). Clarence wasn’t stopped at all. They must have thought he looked honest. He is the only one I know of who was not stopped, as most men had to produce their cards at almost every corner. I understand this is the only city where such a thing happe ned. Dearest, I have lots to do, and as I expect to write you again this evening I will now close. I Just adore you and would ask nothing better than to hug and kiss you and be your pal, as well as your wife. Lee, dear, we are both going to be wonderfully happy, and this war can’t end too soon to suit your wife. The news this morning Continues very favorable. With loads of love and oodles of kisses for my sweetheart hubby, Your own wife Nina.
Chicago, August 31, 1918. My dearest Nina:We all received your most welcome letter, and we certainly will be glad to welcome you as a real daughter. We only hope that you will become so real soon, and that we can welcome you, Lee and Ed into our home once again. I know that you will help Lee realize his ambitions and that you will be a true and loving wife to him. I want to extend to you my heartiest congratulations and hope that all your wishes come true. With love and kisses to all, Your loving Mother P.S. I received your lovely perfume and thank you very much for it. I certainly do appreciate it.
Love, War, and Medicine
Letter #I~5 September p Dear Little Girl, Outside of a postcard dated August 3rd, no word from you for the last few days. I don’t know what’s happened to the letters you wrote me between July 15th and August 5th,o but I haven’t received any dated in that period. Perhaps they’ll come yet. You can imagine how good the mail service is when I tell you I got a letter from Ed today dated August 12th and correctly addressed. That’s speed, isn’t it? I wonder how you are and what you’re doing. I get very lonesome for you at times, dearest, and want you badly. These days I’m living in hopes for we’re on our way to a big victory, and that means peace and United States of America and you. Am still on ’gassed’ ~ards and medical service. The doctor who was in charge of this department has been called away to another hospital and while there is another doctor here, a captain, who is nominally in charge, I am running the outfit as he doesn’t even see the cases. Perhaps that’s why they are not transferring me to the surgical service as I was promised. However, ’c’est la guerre:’ I’m doing necessary work as it is, so can’t klck. News here is conspicuous by its absence. Everything Just goes along. One day follows another and one week follows the preceding. I’ve been here nine weeks now, nine weeks containing less excitement than any one of several days while I was with the B.E.F. Here you seldom see an aeroplane, you rarely hear even a gun. Things are placid: I wake up at 6:30, take care of morning sick (usually only two-three), eat breakfast, look after my ’gassed’ patients, examine cases with medical ailments like pneumonia which the surgeons refer to me, and look after sanitary details. For instance, today I noticed that a number of men were having eruptions on their face. These men were all being shaved by the detachment barber. Result was that I forced the barber to sterilize all his instruments. These are little items as war goes, but they are essent ial. After the morning work is over, about ii, I go for mail and spend the rest of the morning reading any letters and the morning papers. Each morning I read the continental editions of the New York Herald and the London Daily Mail and also the French paper, the L’est Republicain published in a neighboring city. I can’t read French too well, but I can read the communiques all right, and as this paper reaches us a day earlier
Love, War, and ~edicine
than the two others printed in English in Paris, I get the news a day earlier than if I couldn’t read French at all. The afternoons I usually spend reading medical llterature or watching operations or writing letters. Sometimes I tak~ long walks. The evening we walk or read also. But something always seems to be doing so that sitting down for longer than an hour at a time is
Dearest, it’s almost midnight now. If only you were here with me. This would be a different world for then we would live and love as no couple ever has. Nina, Nina, I’m wildly impatient to embrace you and kiss you and love you. I can hardly wait. Good night, honey, I’m all yours. Your hubby, Lee Love to all.
September II Dearest Honey, I l~ave several things to thank you for today. l~irstly, I received your ’Happy New Year, Love’ cable yesterday and I do appreciate that more than you can realize. It Just proves your thoughtfulness and, another thing, it relieves the anxiety I’ve been laboring under ever since I read about that Far Rockaway disaster a few weeks ago. So, all in all, I feel fine this morn ing. Then again, many, many thanks for your parcel which also came in yesterday. It was somewhat battered and the toothpaste and chocolates got mixed a little, but what can you expect when tl~at parcel was so delayed? When did you send it? At any rate, the eats were perfectly O.K. and surely hit the right spot. And the toothpaste, toothbrush, and shaving soap came in very opportunely as I was about out. Honey, if you ever send me any more cables, it will be sufficient if you address it to ’Captain Unger, Evacuation Hospital 2, American Expeditionary Force’ (or A.E.F.). And now, dearest, I want to tell you how I love those four letters which came from you yesterday, those of July 29, August 9, I0 and 12. Truly, yesterday was a gala day. Those letters are peachy, Nina, and I’ve read and reread them several times already.
Love, War, and Medicine
One of them was from the New Mountain Inn and told me what a nice time you had on your vacation. I’m glad you enjoyed yourself as I know you deserved the recreation. From what those officers who’ve been down at Nice or at Biarritz this summer say, there’s no change from last year~s styles - the same wise economy still exists. French women are very patriotic and love to Hooverize - at least along that line. How’s the weather in New York now? Has the fierce heat spell gone? Were you in any danger of arrest for wearing less than the law allows? I guess it must have been pretty hot there. Over here, the wet season is on and it has been raining every day for the last week. The thunder and lightning, too, have been present and these have added to the war-settings. The ground here, though, dries up very quickly - not at all like in that country of mud and shell holes - Flanders - where the level of the water is only one-two feet below the ground, where the least rainfall causes oceans of mud which remain for days, where the shell holes are always filled with water and mud and a green, odoriferous scum, where no civilization can or does exist. Flanders is truly a savage region - at least that part where the battle has raged for four years. I never was so glad to leave any place as I was to quit that little portion of Belgium in which I put in about three months before being transferred to the A.E.F. Honey, you picture our dollhouse better than I could even dream of doing. What a little wife you are to me.’ I can’t quite realize it all yet, sweetheart. Your pictures are so alluring and enticing - yes, I’d love to be one of the two interested parties in the scene you portray where, after each of us has had our baths, you put on your gown and kimono and I my pajamas and then we proceed to cuddle up and love each other. I make one objection, though, dearest; you permit me to come out in pajamas only while you wear both a gown and a kimono. That isn’t fair, is it? Why should you wear two garments and I only one? Will you please remedy that error, dear? Which do I want you to wear - the gown or kimono? Well, I think either would do and I’m not particular. But you may wear one only. Take your choice. But, honey, you didn’t draw enQu~h of the picture. You forgot to say how you were going to sit on my lap. I’d kiss you and kiss you on your forehead, eyes, cheeks, nose, chin and lips, tasting all the delightful honey that waits for me. And then (I’ve decided on the kimono). I’d kiss you on the neck and shoulders and arms - a kimono has loose sleeves, hasn’t
Love, War, ~nd ~edicine
it? And then I’d put my ear to your heart so that I could hear the beats that strike for me. I’d be intoxicated with delight. I can feel the thrill which goes through me from head to foot. Yes, dear, I’m Just yearning and yearning for you. To hold you in my arms at night, to kiss you good morning, good noon, good afternoon, good evening and good night, to call you wife and hear you murmur, ’Lee, hubby, I love you,’ to have you snuggle up to me and put your arms about me, to h~ve you sleep peacefully in my arms - oh, Nina, it is a wonderful picture and the best of it is that, God willing, it will soon come true. Not a word yet from Chicago since you told them about our engagement though I got a postcard from Paul dated August l~th. Perhaps I’ll hear about it in the next batch of mail. No, I refuse to let Lou be your attendant. Though I don’t know her and realize she’s one of your best friends, I insist on Stella for I know her and want her near you until I take you. Am glad you got the waist and that you like it. It was made in this neighborhood which is noted for its ~aae and glassware. I sent you some cordial glasses - did you get them O.K.? How did I get American stamps? That’s easy, the Post Office near here sells them and we must put them on all parcels. I didn’t have to when I was with the B.E.F. and if I had had to, I couldn’t have as there were no United States stamps to be had there. Am still on the lookout for a nice nightgown - tell me, would you prefer a silk or lace one? I’m not much of a Judge on those things and I wish you would let me know what kind you’d like. We’ve only a few patients left here in my ward. Had the unpleasant duty of having to arrest two of ou~ men here for drunkenness and swearing and singing at night. I don’t like that kind of work. These were exceptional cases as there is very little of that sort of work going on here as our discipline and behavior have been excellent. As for our officers, I’ve not seen a single one even slightly intoxicated. I guess a glass of beer is the limit for them. As for me, I’ve had one glass of champagne since I’ve been here, so I’m O.K. Good-by, dearest, until my next. Just loads and loads of love from one who loves you intensely and who is going to be Your faithful husband, Lee Love to all.
Love, War, and Medicine
out of my pay. He gets this directl~ from Washington, D. C. and with it he pays my mother $25.00 a month which I’ve given her ever since I left, pays $21.50 a month storage on my office furniture (I tried to sell it, but couldn’t), and also pays subscriptions, etc. for me. The rest he puts in the bank for me and invests in Liberty Bonds, etc., and as I told y.ou already, he’s paid my grandmother $500.00 of the $I,000.00 I owed her (and I’ve told him to pay the rest), and he’s bought $300.00 worth of Peerless Light Company stock paying 7% dividends. I don’t know Just what my balance is with him, but I should Judge about $275.00. Altogether, I’ve sent home $1,450.00 in cash and he has probably also received $i00.00 for my August pay as well as the $i00.00 for July. Besides that, I mailed you, through the Y.M.C.A., $100.00 on July 20th and $300.00 on August 1st, and have almost $200.00 with me. Am not mailing you anything this month as I might go on leave toward the end of the month and then might need most of it. Will probably mail you more next month. I note you hadn’t received any up to August 19th. You ask me if I ever get sullen and angry. Yes, I do, most certainly do, though a~my life seems to have done away with most of that. When I was a kid, the folks used to call me the ’stubborn mule,’ so you see you’ve a rotten hubby. But I promise not to be too angry with you; perhaps I’ll teaae you so you’ll be a little angry with me - the making-up will be all the sweeter. So you’re going to buy another baby if I keep on buying baby shoes. Well, suits me O.K. I think two will be enough, though, a boy and a girl. What do you think about that? But I also will be Jealous if you love the babies too much for I insist on you loving me first, last and a ~ways. Sweetheart, you are my wife so how can it be wrong for you to dream that I am lying by your side and that we are cuddled up to each other? You most assuredly are not overstepping the bounds. We have no barriers between us, dear, except the 3,500 miles of land and sea - and that’s only temporary. But you did not finish the dream. You did not tell how I took you in my arms, how I kissed you on the lips and eyes and forehead and cheeks and nose, how I held you tightly so that your heart beat directly against mine; oh, girl, what I won’t do to you when you belong to me, when you’re lying by my side. I want every bit of you, the
Love, War, and Medic ire
September 12 My only own, What a feast lies before me: No king was ever so pleased, no victor ever so gratified, no research worker ever so satisfied as is your hubby today, l’m in the heights of heaven. Yes, you guessed it. I received five wonderful letters today, yours of August 15th, 17th, 17th, 18th and 19th, and also #69 which you mailed last May and which came back to you. Honey, you are a marvelous writer and I love you more than ever. You have been very good to me, dearest, for as I wrote yesterday, I’ve also received your ’Happy New Year - Love’ cablegram and your parcel so long on the way besides four other letters in the last three days. You are a dear and if I had you here, I’d show you quickly how I worship you. But I’d hug you so strenuously I’m afraid you’d think I was bent on your destruction, not on a romantic mission. Isn’t love wonderful? Now to answer these gems. Regarding those highly important and long-abandoned lollipops and apples-onthe-stick, I might say it’s been a few years since I’ve indulged in either of these two sources of dirty faces, but I really think I could return to childhood once more with but little coaxing and with, say, the proper inducement, for instance, for a kiss from you for each one I eat, I’d - well, I’d probably need a doctor shortly after the performance was over. You speak of May being away somewhere, but as yet I haven’t heard when she went, why or where. I suppose she’s back now. Give her my regards and tell her and Stella that they’re both invited to spend their vacations at our home, providing, as you say, that said vacations come at least six months after you’re Mrs. Unger. Regarding my insurance policy, l’ve told Joe to have my $5,000 Mutual Life policy changed to your name and it’s probably done now. But don’t worry about my folks as, if anything should happen to me, they’d be amply provided for as my $10,000 government policy would be theirs plus six months salary. I know, dearest, you don’t want money, but I feel easier now that I told Joe to make the change, so let’s say no more about it. No, I have not told Joe to turn over all my belongings to you as I don’t want to antagonize him. I’m Just going to let things run for a while as it is. I got a letter from him today in which he said he had Just received $i00.00 from the government for my July allotment. As I wrote you, I’m sending him $i00.00 a month
Love, War, and Medicine
best and the worst in you. That signature of yours, ’Nina Unger,’ looks pretty nice, doesn’t it? I like it tremendously. Many thanks for enclosed letter from ~ad. It makes me very happy, too, as it is the first intimation from Chicago that they know of our engagement. I told you, honey, how happy they’d all be to admit you to the Unger family, and I know what a source of pride and comfort and Joy you’re going to be to all of us. Dad writes a nice letter, doesn’t he, especially for a man who’s not had much of an opportunity to really study the language. Am delighted to know that Marie also sent you a special delivery letter of congratulations. You will like Marie better when you know her longer. She’s very goodhearted and not a bit selfish. She’s very ambitious and always has beenl At first, it was hard for her to reconcile herself to the slight success of her husband who tries hard but somehow makes little headway. Marie has one fault - she worries too much over little things. She’s apt to worry herself sick if Eugene has a slight cold or a pimple breaks out on him. And she tends to exaggerate all domestic difficulties. Yet, she is brave and does not complain. Eugene is a doll baby and you’ll want to eat him up. As for Joe Goldman, he’s a prince. You can’t help but like him. He’d give his shirt away to anyone - probably that’s why he keeps pegging along, Just keeping his head above water. He’s one chap I intend to help along soon as we can. Gee, Nina, you’ll have our dollhouse all furnished if things keep up. But I’m afraid I’ll have to ask you more qmestions. You say Harry, Clarence and Gussie have promised to give us for a wedding gift the flatware complete in sterling. What,s flatware? I’m as ignorant as can be as shown by my mixing up spoons (I promise not to mix up my spooning, though). I know what a fireless cooker is, though - tell Stella we thank her in advance. And I guess the Polish lace pillowcases will be pretty nice - are you allowed to put your head on one of them? And what’s the difference between Polish and Belgian lace? (If answer is technical, don’t answer as I wouldn’t understand anyway). Don’t tell me, though, that Belgian lace comes from Belgium and that Polish lace comes from Poland - I suppose that is the big difference. Am sorry that ten of my letters are still missing. I’ve already repeated what was in #5, 6, 7 and 19. was written April lhth and probably acknowledged your letter #39 and two books you sent me. It might also have told you how the quartermaster and I got lost near Ypres at midnight. Did you hear about that? It was rather exciting - a night I’ll never forget as long as I llve.
Love, War, and Medicine
#62, 63 and 6~ were written May 8th, 9th and llth and probably told you about my experiences in a ratinfested dugout forty feet below the level of the earth and about the severe shelling the Huns gave us. They smashed my aid post there two days after I left it. Wasn’t I fortu°nate? #82 was written June ~th, the day after Colonel Dent and I nearly got hit while touring the front posts at 3:00 A.M. Did I tell you about that? That was some experience. If I didn’t, I’ll tell you if you wan---~ me to. #98 was written July 5th, Just after I reached this hospital and probably described the place here. I believe that’s the one that was returned to me as I addressed it to Chicago instead of New York; I’ve sent that to you again. Thanks for information as to what 38 waist means. I actually thought it meant waist measure and I did think that was a pretty big size for you to have. But I should Judge your measurements are O.K., ’n’est ce pas? ’ Funny that the German newspaper I sent you on May 31st should have been confiscated while that sent home on the same day arrived O.K. Guess someone wanted one of them and you Just happened to be unlucky. Glad you’re getting ’Stars & Stripes.’ Can you read the French papers a little? No, I won’t explain varieties of French kisses - maybe A.W.M. I’ii demonstrate them. I want to tell you that the rumor which has been circulating throughout the A.E.F. that Evacuation Hospital 2 has been shelled and bombed is all hot air. Not a word of truth to it. I don’t know where it started, but several of our men who just came back from leave say they came back expecting to find our place all smashed to pieces. It’s now i0:00 P.M. Just got back from a walk to the village and back. Went with Lieutenants McNeil and Leverton, two of the staff here. When we got down to the Sales Commissary, we found that a few trench coats had just come in so we each separated ourselves from ll3 francs ($19.88) and obtained in exchange one of these splendid English-made coats. They’re waterproof coats with three linings; the inner lining is a thick fleecy material which can be removed, it is intended for winter only. The coat is a light tan color with high collar and coming just below knees so that it will not drag through trench mud, and is very warm, besides being waterproof. It serves as both mackintosh and overcoat, and the British officers wear it to exclusion of either of the other two. In the states, the same coat would cost at least $60.00. So I’m all ready for winter now.
Love~ ~ar, and Medicine
Honey, if I had you here tonight, I’d eat you alive for you’re the sweetest morsel on earth. Aren’t you glad you’re just out of my reach? Honestly, if you were sitting here on my lap now, I would hardly give you time to breathe. I’d hug you and kiss you till you begged for mercy. Dearest, you’re very precious to me. Please take care of yourself for my sake for if anything would happen to you, the Joy of life would leave me also. Life without you would be dull and gray and mirthless. So please watch yourself that you don’t catch cold or get caught in accidents, etc. for you’re in at least as much danger as I am - probably more. Honey, come here and kiss me good night. So. Now once again. And again. And now some more. Gee, girl, I’m never going to get enough of the sweets of your lips. Please give my love to all. Good night, wiley dear, I love you and worship you. Every bit of me belongs to you and is aching for the time when you’ll be with me. Your husband, Lee Thursday, September 12 The American troops have now Joined in the great offensive which began July 18th under Marshal Foch. The Americans have struck near St. Mihiel. The next day brought great news: the American troops have advanced five miles and have captured 8,000 prisoners. That day I received forty patients from the French Hospital at Bayon. One of these had meningitis (a severe and often fatal condition, very infectious, with involvement of the brain and its linings; I did a spinal puncture - first one I’ve done since I was an interne at Cook County Hospital. The next day did another spinal puncture on this same meningitis patient. A busy day with another twenty-
Love, War, and Medicine
six new patients. At 9:00 P.M. that night we were playing bridge when the siren blew - we quit playing. I did not mind this as I had a ~rotten hand. Also helped operate on a soldier who had a rather severe infection of the mastoid sinus.
Sweetheart : Another complaint. A few minutes ago I mailed you a letter and then I turned to May and said I should like nothing better than to sit here and write you all day long because I was so much in love with you that I was sure I had not told you so. She told me to take a trip to Bellevue to have my brain examined. Do you think I need it? Of course, I will confess I am insane - with devotion to my husband. In fact, today it is worse than it has been for several days. She said it is nothing new to hear me rave, as she has never met anyone who was so completely lost in love as I am. She says I’m a nut. Isn’t that perfectly horrid? What shall I do w-~h her? This is not a letter. Merely a complaint, which I must register without loss of time. 9:i0 P.M. The above was written early in the day, but some business interrupted me and I could not finish so decided to take it home. Honey, isn’t it absurd to write you twice a day? I really don’t know what has come over me, Lee, if this war doesn’t end soon I’ll be quite ferocious by the time you return. Take heed’. Dearest, I meant to tell you that both this package and the waist which were sent, were delivered to my office and I did not have to pay duty or any other charges on any of your gifts so far. Stella is to assist at the draft Board on registration day (September 12) and is down getting instructions tonight. I have not yet been called but am ready. Suppose you know most of the colleges have been taken over by the Government for war training purposes. Columbia, City College and Fordham are running full swing as war institutions. You have also probably heard that automobiles cannot run on Sundays. Almost all machines have a
Love, War, and Medicine
sign ’Soldiers, Sailors & Marines - welcome.’ The Ford and Locomobile plants are doing Government work only and have stopped turning out pleasure cars. Theatres are really empty and baseball is dead - in fact, has been all season. Dearest, al’l is quiet and I’m lonesome for you. Yes, you may take me in your arms even though my hair is down and I am here attired in a gown, kimono and slippers. No, I’m not ashamed of you any longer, for I am you~ wife. Long before this I laid bare my soul to you and let you read my innermost thoughts. Now again I am madly in love with you, hubby. Life is a sweet dream. It is full of thrills and delicious sensations when it is shared by the loved one. If we were in our dollhouse tonight I would have my arm about you, kiss you, patiently listen to your trials which we would discuss quite freely, and then I’d demand your undivided attention. Oh, boy, how I would caress your hair, and fondle you and hold your head closely to my breast and then I’d kiss you again and again until I became exhausted. Lee, honey, can’t you feel how much your wife loves you? Can’t you hear me calling you? My heart seems to be pounding so loudly that I’m afraid and the breath comes irregularly. How I adore you. What is there about you that compels so much love? Just think, a year ago I was the coldest person in New York on whom no man could approach. Now I’m Just afire at the mere thought of you. No other man living could have transformed me so completely. No other man will ever have an opportunity to know me. Unless I marry you I shall live my life alone, and this period of my life will always be my paradlse. You are the only man living to whom I have revealed myself - in fact, no one knows me as you do (including Stella and May and Gussie). You are my Confessor, my pal and husband. I have no secrets from you (good or bad). Only I am at a loss to understand this feeling which is with me. Describe it? I can’t. It is something which starts at the toes and goes up to the roots of the hair - into the finger tips and shoots all through the body like a ticklish tingle? Do you know what it is? It is just wonderful, but it makes me so lonesome for you, and it makes me feel that you are (or must be) perfect otherwise I could not adore you quite so completely. I really can’t write any more because my pen refuses to work. My fingers can hardly hold the pen because the blood is rushing through my body so quickly.
Love, War, and Medicine
Good night, hubby. I’d eat you up if you and I were in our dollhouse because I am unquestionably Your devoted idolizing Wife Nina If only I could reach out and touch your hand with mine and let our lips meet for one short hour. Boy, I’m insane over you. Dearest, does any one love her hubby as I love you? I doubt if any girl living could love more thoroughly than I love you. You are glorious, my hero and hubby. xxx many of them and innumerable hugs.
De are st Hubby: Do you know what I did the very first thing after giving you a ’Good Morning’ kiss? I went to the cabinet and took out the cordial set and kissed each glass. It is beautiful. Your taste is splendid, and the more you display it, the more certain I am that our home will be a dollhouse. Such gifts make me very happy because they will help to beautify our home, and will be shared by both. Sweetheart, I wanted to tell you in a letter yesterday that I had an opportunity to buy a set of dishes (for every day use) at a very cheap price. I could have bought a sample set from Geo. Borgfeldt & Co. at $20.00 or a few cents less, but the set was made in Germany and I did not know if you would object to having it in our home. They cannot sell it to the general trade, and therefore will sell it privately at less than cost to them. I decided against it, firstly because I thought you would not like me to buy anything ’made in Germany’ secondly, because it isn’t necessary for us to have a set of 106 pieces for two people. You know china is my hobby and I know Just exactly what I want for a good set, but I feel that we don’t need a complete set for ourselves. So, if we get fewer pieces for common use we can get quite nice china for the above price, and then we can get a complete set for ’company’ dishes. What do you think? Should I have taken advantage of the opportunity? I want your opinion because something of this sort may again come to my notice, and I may want to invest. Thursday is registration day and it will probably be a holiday, as most all the men will have to register. The stock exchange will be closed, and congress will not be in session. A.F. is expected back to town the end of this week, so that my troubles will soon begin.
Love, War, and Medicine
Have Just written a letter offering my services to the Business Women’s War Relief Committee and shall probably do my bit during the winter after business hours. With loads and loads of love, and barrels full of kisses and many-very tight hugs I must close, ¯As ever your Sweetheart Wife Nina. If you were here I’d eat you up.
Dearest Hubby: This morning I have a slight headache which seems to be all in the eyes. As it happens I have a lot of work today and so won’t get time to nurse it. Haven’t anything in the office I can take to relieve it, and can’t take the time to go out. However, it will probably be gone by this evening. Your letter #135 reached me at the office this morning. Dearest, I do wish I were near you so as to be of some help when you are so busy. I’m sure I could help writing up the cases (if you would dictate it to me) and thus relieve you Just a bit. Isn’t it terrible to think what a difference the moon makes here and in France. Take myself, for example, when there is a full moon I regret the fact that you are not with me and I romance about it, because I seem to want you close to me, and I picture you and me out alone on some water or quiet place, where we can make use of the wonderful moon. Just when these thoughts are taking place within me, you are probably cussing that same moon. War is certainly H---. Your description of the bomb raids is splendid, but it makes me creepy. No I don’t worry, as I have absolute faith in the Almighty, and am sure my prayers are being heard, therefore I feel confident that you will come through this strife a better man, a brave soldier, a great American and a wonderful husband as well as a dutiful son. God is with us, dearest, and we have nothing to fear. I am very glad, however, that the Huns have the good sense not to bomb the hospital. Reports have reached me that many of the men who have returned are without arms or legs or some other limb. Most of these cases are still at the hospitals, evidently, as we see none of them around. Captain Lenders told us there were only 1,000 aboard his steamer returning to this country because they are wounded. They say the shell shock cases are the worst. Sometime ago I believe I asked you what causes shell shock. I understand it is a nervous condition, and blood clogs on certain nerves.
Love, War, and Medicine
The drafts have not yet reached me. As I told you in several previous letters, the waist, and cordial glasses have come and they are wonderful. I shall wear the waist with my winter suit which is a particularly pretty suit, and though it is three winters old it is the sort that .will never go out of style, because it is an imported suit and different from all the others I have seen. With all my love and with a heart longing to pour out its tenderness I am Your sweetheart wife, Nina
When I came home this evening I had fully resolved that I would not write you until tomorrow but your letter #136 greeted me so how can I resist writing? It is much letter, to say the least. Thanks very much for the Captain’s bars. It was very thoughtful of you to send them and I appreciate it. Believe I told you I was wearing the Lieutenant bar on my coat sleeve. Tonight I put the bar in my Jewel case and am now wearing the two bars. Sometime ago I was asked why I was wearing it and I answered that engagement rings were out of fashion, and girls were now wearing their sweetheart’s rank on their sleeves. I got away with it, but had to turn away and laugh. Other girls wear service pins, but I only wear what you send me - because I am very proud of anything which you have touched and more so of anything you have worn in service as you have the bars which you have sent. There is something sacred about it. Dearest, your letter expresses Just exactly how I feel - only I was afraid to admit it even to you. Sometimes I feel that I shall Jump out of my skin, because I want you so badly. You say it is the animal in us. Perhaps you are right. I never before felt this way and can’t describe it. It is as though the blood rushes all over at one time and I get warm all through. Is that passion? l’m appealing to you now as my husband- not as my fiance. Firstly, as I told you I have never kissed any man, though I have been kissed. Secondly, I have always been cold and men annoyed me when they tried to get familiar at all. Now you can probably better understand the change that is taking place within me and what a wonderfully glorious thing love is to me. But there are many things I don’t understand. For instance, at night I may start to read but within a few minutes I lay aside my book because I can’t sit quietly. I find I am thinking of you and blood surges from my toes to finger tips and even to the roots of my hair. My face is hot and I am flustered. I could almost shout for you. Then again when I lie down in bed I feel that I want you next to me
Love, War, and Medicine
and want your body close to mine and sometimes I find myself almost on top of Mother - because I feel that I should go mad if I did not feel the warmth of a body. Every part of me yearns for you. Still other men do not exist for me. I would die before I would °allow any man kiss my lips (except my brothers or relatives). I would not even permit them to put an arm about my waist. Only one man living can have me and he will get all of me - body, heart and s oul. Hubby, I too feel that I want your companionship and want you for a pal - but there is something about my love for you which wants more than that. Up to a few months ago Stella was sufficient, but since my devotion for you has asserted itself, there is a more vital feeling. Stella lacks the power to satisfy or perhaps it is because we are of the same sex. Whatever it is, you have created it and you alone control it and you must satisfy it. Tell me, hubby, is this passion? It is strange to be so frank with you, still it comes quite natural to talk to you without reserve. Yesterday when May called me a ’nut’ I asked her how she thought I ought to have my children. She said she doesn’t llke babies. I told her I wanted at least a boy and a girl and we (May and I) decided that I~ we (you and I) have one boy and one girl we would name them Robert and Alice. l’m fond of the name Robert (Bob) and as my Father’s name was Adolph I thought we would name the girl after him, but I did not want another girl in our family named Adele. Of course, you must be consulted regarding your children’s names, but as there’s no particular hurry about your decision, we’ll give you a little time to think it over. Oh, honey, how happy we will be in our dollhouse. It will be heaven. It simply couldn’t be otherwise when two people (who are man and wife) want each other as we do. To give and take and feel the delight of possession. To be fondled and caressed by you is a prospect which makes me long for a realization of my dream of paradise. Honey, it is 2:00 A.M. The clock is striking and much as I loathe to leave you, my health requires at least five hours sleep. Good night, hubby, l’m madly in love with you and though it may not be proper to write such a letter as this, my heart dictates it and my pen obeys. God is watching over us and will lead us both aright. He will make us better and stronger, and will send you back to me well and happy so that we may be a credit to Him and our parents and our children as well as to each
Love, War, and Medicine
other. With such devotion we cannot fail for I will always be~ Your sweetheart wife Nina Sunday, September 15 Today is the Jewish Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur), but I was kept busy all day with many sick soldiers. The 37th Division moved out and was replaced by the French 131st Division (Colonial, including many Chinese and French soldiers). As you see, this war has become rather international. The next day busy with medical patients including two with pneumonia, one with meningitis and four with mumps. I did manage a short walk.
Sunday, September 15 Dearest Nina, Sunday night, 8:00 P.M. A quiet and lovely night following a most glorious day. Has been warm and sunny all day long. And now I’m in my room arrayed in pajamas and slippers writing to my little wife. The day has been beautiful, honey, and I’ve put in a pleasant day. I have had a lot of medical cases to care for lately, chiefly influenzas and sore throats, etc., so have been kept pretty busy these last few days. After I finished my work and had dinner, Lieutenant Winter (New York dentist), Lieutenant Leverton (Boston) and I took a long walk. We went through the village and beyond to a lovely woods nearby. We seated ourselves against some trees and took off our hats and coats and made ourselves comfortable. We read and talked till the afternoon wore on and about 5:00 P.M. we walked back slowly. The scenery all around here can’t be beat. The green valleys and woods and the mountains in the background all make a very pleasing impre s sion. Outside of notes from Ed and Millard have had no mail for the past few days, but I mustn’t grumble as I had some swell letters from you about three days ago.
Love, War, and Medicine
Of course, the chief topic of conversation during the last few days has been the capture of the St. Mihiel Salient. It was a good-sized Job and exceedingly well done ¯ Makes us all proud and happy that we are Americans. However, there’s a lot to do yet, so we must not get overconfident. I still think, though, that the war will be won before Xmas 1919 and that you’ll be Mrs. Unger very quickly after that. Things are very quiet here. We are a long way from the fighting zone, and could barely hear the heavy initial bombardment which heralded the American attack of the other morning. We get no cases from the battle, but I understand that our casualties are very light, far less than was expected. Honey, though I’m not exactly presentable, I can’t help wishing I had you here. Girl, we’d have some party, wouldn’t we? I’d hug you and kiss you to my heart’s content and I know I,d never get enough of you. If only the time would speed up. Let’s see, it’s almost fifteen months since we parted, isn’t it? So much has been crowded into those fifteen months, but the parting at the docks is very vivid to me. If only another meeting would come quickly, for to see you again would mean we’ve won the war - our goal. Good night, dearest. Your hubby, Lee P.S. See July 28th New York Times for picture of two of our buildings. I sleep in the rear one of the two shown.
Dearest Sweetheart:Friday, the THIRTEENTH. I wonder what the day will bring forth. One always looks for something unusual to happen when the thirteenth falls on Friday. I sincerely hope it means that Pershing’s drive, Just launched, will be the turning point in this war, and that the end is near. If all our men show the grit and spirit which you have displayed through the entire period of your army life, success is assured, as no braver soldier ever lived, and I am proud of the fact that you are mine. Still, I am sure that every man in this battle knows that he is responsible for the welfare of his country, and he has a duty to perform for his country, so we are bound to come out on top. Today, May and I will start our work for the Women’s Welfare League, as we have been called to do some work for the Liberty Loan Committee, and we are to report at
Love, War, and Medicine
6:00 P.M. I do not know how much time I will give them this evening, as a man who comes into the office said he would probably get us a pass to go to theatre this evening, and if so Stella and I will go. Otherwise I shall work at the Committee rooms until 9:00 P.M. Captain Lan’ders (should say Major Landers as he has Just been promoted) was in the office yesterday for an hour or more. You know I sent you a copy of a letter he sent A.F. several months ago. He is to remain here for seven or eight months training the newly drafted men. The information he gave us was very interesting, and we got a fair knowledge of the military machine. He also told us where West Point men fail on the battlefield, and why, as he has had most of his work with them, and knows what he is talking about. This war will teach all of us lessons - even military men who know it all (in peacetimes). He was evidently trying to get in the sector where you were on March 21st, as he told us about pulling all strings to get to a certain town to repair a bridge, but he had to go further south. He said within a week the March 21st drive had started, and not one was left in that town. He also told a very interesting story about a school he had attended, and which was a Joke (engineers) and that he lost twenty pounds within two weeks through the treatment at the hands of some newly graduated West Point men, and which school broke up within that time. Of course, he would not tell this to any one but us, as he knows our position with A.F. and trusts us implicitly. He is a handsome man, who has a perfectly beautiful wife and is particularly clever at his work. Am feeling fine this morning, and would love to have you here with me so that I could kiss you before you start the day. I know you will be particularly busy during this offensive, and I shall be patient and not expect so many letters. Don’t worry about me, honey, as I am constantly thinking of you and loving you more and more every day. While you are giving the best that is in you, I am with you in spirit and bemoaning the fact that I cannot be of more material service to you. Captain Landers told me the exact location of Baccarat, and also explained what an Evacuation Hospital is. The more I hear about it, the better satisfied I am that you are there, as you will get Just the sort of work that will do you the most good in civil life. I do hope you will make no effort to get back on the field. I know you will agree with me that it is only the excitement of the field that you want -not because of anything that you might learn. In the hospital you can learn, and that is what will count later on.
Love, War, and Medicine
With loads and loads of love to the dearest hubby, and the best of sweethearts, Your wife who adores you N Ins.
My dearest Boy:Three cheers for Pershing. Of course, we are following war news very carefully, and we never pass a map without studying it. It makes us so proud of all our boys, though it is nothing more than we expected of you all, because we KNOW the stuff Yankees are made of. We are bound to ’Knock H--L out of the kaiser’ as Paul said. Through studying the map I know just how near the present drive you are, and I’m sure you have all you can attend to for the present. My only regret is that I cannot help you, or at least, Just be there to make you comfortable and tuck you in, when you come into your room tired out from the work of a long tedious day. My heart goes out to you, Sweetheart, but I cannot possibly hope to be of any aid until this war is over, and our boys come marching home - then I’ll be waiting for my Hubby, and as soon as the law permits I shall be the wife of the best soldier our country has, and the dearest boy in all the land. Last night I did not go to theatre but spent the evening in the office of the Liberty Loan Committee. At first May and I were downtown in their office, but they received an urgent call from the 21st Street branch and we went there. We did some typewriting and May continued at that work, but I said that I would do anything else if it were more important. So I was put at a desk to do some telephoning. Kept that up for two hours without letup and by the time I finished I had a cramp in my arm, and my ear was as hot as an oven. However, it is interesting, and all were very courteous when they heard who was calling up, (by which I mean I mentioned the Committee - not my name). They gave us $1.00 for supper money which we will turn into stamps. Tonight Jack, Lou and I are going to see ’DADDIES’. It is sort of a surprise for Lou, and I am to meet them at the theatre as Lou does not know I am to be there. Jack likes to do that to her occasionally, and Lou likes t o have me. Received a letter from Paul this morning. He is a dear boy, and I love him better every time he writes. He says Mother will not be able to come to New York because they are moving, but he asks me to come to Chicago. That is out of the question, as I cannot get away from
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New York. But I shall write again that Mother could come when she is all settled in her new home, and after a rest here she could go back, better able to fight the cold of the winter, if it will be anything like the last. I still will not give up hope of her visit here. Sweetheart," when I came home last night I felt that I should like to write you as I was Just aching for you, but I was afraid you would think I was writing too often. So instead, I read, while knitting, and then went to bed and lay awake for a long time Just thinking of you and our glorious future. Dearest, if all my dreams come true - as I am sure they shall - what a paradise we’ll live in! It is simply glorious to anticipate life with you. And, sweetheart, we’re never again going to be separated any longer than your work requires. At all other times you and I will be ourselves, to have and to hold, forever. Shall write you this afternoon again. With loads of love, and many kisses. Your own sweetheart wife, Nina. All send regards. I send all my love and kisses to my honey.
Dearest Hubby, It seems ages since I last wrote you - still as I look back I find that it was yesterday morning. Last night certainly proved a big surprise for Lou. I was in my seat when Lou and Jack arrived and Lou found the seats without the aid of the usher but never looked to see who was sitting next to her. Jack started to laugh and she asked what was wrong with him. He said ’Funny how you found the seats.’ Then she wanted to put her hat under the seat and I put down my program which I had been (apparently) studying. When she discovered me she let out a shriek and everybody around started to laugh - as they were wise. Stella told one of the boys last night that I was engaged and he evidently got a shock as he said he thought I had decided not to marry. How quickly such news spreads. The other night I met two girls I have not seen in several years and they congratulated me. 9:30 P.M. Honey, I’ll have to write quickly as Ma will be home from Temple soon and I don’t want her to catch me writing this evening. Hubby, dear, tonight there is a vastly different prayer in my heart as I start the day of Atonement. Like every other human being I have sinned many times during the past year. Many things I have said and done could be severely criticised; at times I’ve been too hasty with Ma, or
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impatient with others. For all this I am deeply repentant. But somehow I’m happy. Happier than ever before and my prayer is one of thanks for your wonderful love and for the fate which has befallen me in the form of ’heaven on earth". Tomorrow Isay a prayer for my Father’s soul and I shall ask Him to watch over us and to send you back safe ly. It is really an opportune moment for me to profess my love for you. Lee, dear, I’d go to the end of the world for you and if necessary crawl on hands ~nd knees to serve you. It is not the sensuous, selfish love but rather one of worship, faith, companionship and partnership. Have you ever stopped to think of a wedding ring and how it is made? It is a band without beginning or end - simple, unadorned, but of pure gold. Isn’t that a fair description of my love? I can’t say when it began, it will never end - on the contrary it grows stronger, more intense, more ’fierce’ each day because you become more vital. Is there anything simpler yet more beautiful than our romance? Why at first you were merely my cousin, giving his life in the hands of God and his profession to humanity. In rapid strides you became my soldier boy, then my Sweetheart and now my hubby. I hope the day will soon come when we will be husband and wife in fact as well as spirit. My love is unadorned and pure as gold, because I have laid before you all facts and you know me better than any living being. I have told you all things frankly and have tried to put into words every act, and thought that happens. At times I have gone farther than a fiancge should, but I am no longer in that class - I am your wife in thought. In fact my love is of the brightest, purest gold. No other man exists, but you. I am absolutely and unwaveringly yours. So you see, honey, how much a wedding ring means to both of us because of its significance. Darling, tonight as I sit before candles I reiterate my pledge that when this country releases you long enough to visit here, I shall marry you the day you arrive, and if the war is over nothing but death shall separate us if you are merely on leave, I shall marry you and be your wife in body and soul until the call of the colors takes you from me. Then I’ll await your return ’home.’ What a wonderful word ’home’ is when it refers to our doll’s house in which you and I will love, live, laugh, and learn. Our future is like the beginning of our glimpse into heavenly bliss. Good night, Honey. God bless you and send you back safely to your Sweetheart wife Nina.
Love, War, and Medic ine
Thursday, September 19 Another rainy day, but we evacuated all but three of our medical cases. ~In our A building, a new rest room opened up, and we had a bit of a bridge party with nurses and doctors. September 18 Dear Folks, Received several letters from you and from Nina and Ed but have been fairly busy so couldn’t answer at once. First of all, many, many thanks for the kind congratulations on our engagement. Received very nice letters of good wishes from Pa, Ma, Marie, Joe U., Sarah and Nat - will try to answer them all separately, but that will take some time as I’ve got a good deal of work to do now. Also got a card and letter #10 from Paul,- I appreciated Ma’s fine letter as I know how difficult it is for her to write me. How’s Ma’s arm and Pa’s knee? I hope both are much better. The very hot weather you’ve been having must have been trying, to say the least. We’ve been having bonny weather here, not too hot nor too cool. This is the best summer resort I’ve ever been at. Pa wants to know if Ed is engaged, too. Not to my knowledge. I know he writes to Stella Kraus, but that’s as much about it as I know. I don’t believe, though, that Ed is looking to get married as yet. Have been having the hardest time imaginable trying to finish this letter as I’ve been interrupted every few minutes. You see, this hospital is now taking medical cases as well as ’gassed’ and surgical patients, and, as I’m the only doctor on the medical service (I also look after the ’gassed’), I’m a busy woman lately. Cases keep coming in day and night, Just straggling in, but just often enough to wreck your composure and peace of mind. We’re having all varieties of cases, too, including lobar pneumonias, meningitis, mumps, sore throats, trench fever, and influenzas. Just like at the Cook County Hospital except that here I’m the only doctor to do the work. And as I also take care of any sick among the officers, nurses or enlisted men, I find very little time to write letters. Add to that that for the twenty-four hours which began at six tonight (it’s 9:30 now), I’m Officer of the Day and you can figure out for yourself that I’m on the go most of the time. In fifteen minutes I must make rounds with the sergeant of the guard to see that all lights in ou~ camp are out, that all men are in
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quarters, that all prisoners (those enlisted men who have erredl are O.K., and that all patients are as comfortable as possible. This evening I bought a peach of a souvenir, handcarved oakwood cane, carved by knife by a French soldier stationed’nearby. It is about four feet long and has a snake winding around a pole. On one end is the inscription: ’Souvenire of Lorraine, 1918.’ The lower end is made out of a bullet case. Very cheap, too, only ten francs. Wish I could send it home, but can’t as it’s too big. Will try to bring it back as I think it will look pretty nice on Michigan Boulevard. Have got to make rounds now. Au revoir and loads of love to all. Affectionately, Lee All quiet and peaceful in this sector. #i~9 September 19 Dearest Nina, Honey, I was interrupted last night. The sergeant of the guard came and I made rounds with him. That took over an hour as I had to put one of our men under arrest for drunkenness. I was through about ll:O0 P.M. and was Just starting back to my room when the doggone siren blew (air raid signal). Almost at once I heard the hum of the Boche plane and quickly a fierce barrage from our anti-aircraft and machine guns. The sky was lit up beautifully. I didn’t have my steel helmet with me so I didn’t stay long to watch the show for there’s a good deal of danger if you stand outside unprotected the danger is not from the Boche, but from our own shrapnel as it comes down. So I hurried over to the building in which my patients are quartered and stayed around there. No bombs were dropped at all. The Boche plane went and came back and went and came back. All in all there were about six alarms, but no bombs. However, it was past midnight when the alarms were finally off and too late for me to finish this letter. So here I am again, this time at 2:30 P.M. Honey, a lot of mail has come in the last few days and among them your four nice letters of August 6th, 13th, l~th and 16th. They are certainly fine and I love every word of them. You draw wonderful pictures of our future. Am glad you reeeived so many letters from me, but I’m afraid I’m disappointing you lately as I’ve found it impossible to write daily as I did for some time. How long have we been engaged? I don’t know exactly, but I date it from the day I got your letter accepting me. That was the glorious 29th of April,
Love, War, and Medicine
almost five months ago. But you probably date it diffe re nt ly. Yes, some new nurses have arrived, a few; they’re all fine women. Thanks for permission to walk and talk and dance with them, but don’t believe I’ll accept. However, they’ve moved to new quarters and are celebrating this afternoon at ~:00 P.M. by giving a tea to the officers. So I’m going. In my last letter I acknowledged your letter of August 19th (later than any received since) and told you how pleased I was to hear that our folks had taken you in their arms. All are delighted at our engagement and send the best of wishes to both of us. Naturally, they were very surprised, and Pa wanted to know if Ed was thinking of getting married, too, and, if so, was Stella his goal? I answered him saying I didn’t know what was in their minds, but I thought nothing was stirring in that direction. An Evacuation Hospital, dear, is equivalent to a British Casualty Clearing Station and as such is usually situated between five and ten miles from the line and receives its patients from the field ambulances or field hospitals and relays them down to the base hospitals. It is here in the Evacuation Hospital that most surgical operations are done and here that the gas cases come. Loads of love to all, Nina and all my love to you. Your own Lee
9/ o. 1918
Deare st Boy The chances are that I won’t have much time to write you this evening as I am to report to the Liberty Loan Committee after buslnesstand have orders to report there every Wednesday and Friday until the drive is over. The reports concerning all the Allied troops continues favorable and it is hard to say whether English, French or American armies are doing the best work. All are doing splendidly. Perhaps by the time this reaches you our boys will be eating in Metz. In fact, we feel that they will be there in a week. Great work, I say, and I’m glad that you are where you can help our boys who are unfortunate enough to require a doctor. Much as I want you (and God alone knows how I long for you and crave for your embraces) I realize that our country needs you more than I. My heart is with you and I’Ii be the proudest girl in the world when my soldier boy returns. Honey this is being written under difficulties. However, tomorrow evening I write at home and then it
Love, War, and Medicine
will be a longer letter than this. Also I’m hoping that I’ll have at least one letter in tomorrow’s mail. Lee, do you know that you are the most wonderful boy that ever lived? No? Well I think so, so please don’t argue the point. In some of your former letters you say I’m in for a rough party when you return, but I confess that I rather like to look forward to the evenings spent alone with you. That is when I can make innumerable demands upon you the first and last of which will be ’Hubby, attention: Advance three steps: Take wifey in arms and kiss her as hard as you can. Crush her to you and hold her in tight embrace: ’Halt’ you’ll break a rib and that isn’t in the orders.’ Just for that we’ll start all over again. Darling I’m really insanely in love with you. Why I think of you every minute of the day - and at night you are my last thought. Even now I feel a thrill from head to toes - Just because I’m writing you. How much more intense that will be when I am in your arms and our lips touch. Luckily we’ll be married as soon as you return as I’m so much in love that I shall not be responsible. I want to be with you day and night to be Yours only until death Wifey - Nina. Darling I’m yearning for your kisses.
September 21 Honey, honey, I don’t know how to begin to thank you for the splendid letters received from you today: (July 4th, lOth, 16th and August 3rd - all mailed August 4th and two of August 19th and 20th). First of all, I want to tell you how sorry I am I wrote you my last letter. I was blue and I wrote while in that mood. I shouldn’t have. Please forgive me and forget all about that letter. I refer to the part about the age question. I don’t really care a hang about age. The fact that you are a little older than I does not alter my love for you in the least. I Just love you and love you and won’t be happy until you’re my wife. Please, dearest, kiss me and kiss me some more. Oh, Nina, I want you. Contrary to usual customs, also, I’m going to talk about myself a little before answering those gems of yours. I’m saving them for dessert. First of all, dearest, I’m going on leave in about nine-ten days. Nice and Monte Carlo are my objectives. Two other officers go with me. We shall go by way of
Love, War, and Medicine
Paris, Lyons, and Marseilles and are allowed seven days in Nice. The season doesn’t open in Nice until late October, but I know we’ll have a good time and oh, boy, me for the blue Mediterranean water as soon as possible. Girl, if only you could be my companion. Let’s live in hopes, dear, that some day we’ll take a trip to that most beautiful region of France. That would be some honeymoon, wouldn’t it? Yesterday three of us took a nice walk to a hill about five miles away from here. It was a perfectly beautiful afternoon and clear as crystal. The hill is only a couple of miles from the line and from it we could easily see the Hun line and the high row of bluish mountains which formed the background of the w~znderful view. All was peaceful as could be. Not a shot. started back after gazing long at this pretty picture. Soon we heard the hum of an aeroplane and looking up we saw a Hun plane well up circling over the American lines. Our anti-aircraft guns opened on him and I counted at least sixty shell-bursts all around him. But he didn’t seem to be touched - an aeroplane is a pretty difficult targe t. This afternoon the three of us went to town and made a tour of the glass factory, the one thing for which this town (Baccarat) is noted. In peacetimes it employs about 3,000 and now it has about 200 and all of these are either women, old men or young boys. I sent you 6 cordial glasses about a month ago and they were made at this factory. The glass blowers were experts. Some had been so long at the trade that the muscles of their cheeks had been stretched to such an extent that when they blew into the molten glass, their cheeks ballooned out like a pelican’s. But the blowers were masters of their art and the glassware, after being cooled and polished, looks very pretty. From the above you can readily surmise, if you’re a good Sherlock Holmes, that your hubby has not been busy these last few days and you’d be right. Only have a few medical cases left and no ’gassed’ cases. Surgical work is also very slack. So it is a good time, all in all, for me to go on leave. I held back a couple of weeks ago as I knew this St. Mihiel stunt was coming off, and I thought we might get some cases from that sector. But we didn’t as we’re at least sixty miles from there. All of which is preliminary to your letters and their answer. You are an angel to write so beautifully. Am delighted to know how pleased Harry, Clarence and Celia, Mortie, Gussie and Adele are at our engagement, and more than delighted that Mother Kleinman also
Love, War, and Medicine
welcomes me. And, as I told you, all our Chicago folks are strong for you as can be, so everything’s lovely and we’re smooth sailing. Nina, your descriptions of our little dollhouse are beautiful. How I wish we could be in it for that would mean victory and peace. Darling, to be in your arms as you describe - oh, girl, that would be heaven and paradise for me. Nina, with a wife like you, how can a fellow go wrong? I know I can’t. I go, for example, on this trip for pleasure’s sake and recreation, but I’ll discard, before I start, the ’Wine’ and the ’Women’ and I’ll go in strong for the ’Song.’ I couldn’t do otherwise even if I wanted to. I don’t want you to misunderstand me. I’m not a goody-goody boy. I’ve committed sins in untold numbers. But it would be repugnant far me to even take a chance of bringing misery on you or on myself or on our children. I can stand the absence of women easily now that I have you for my goal, with the goal in sight. So you can trust me in Nice. Your towels and tablecloth seem to be coming along splendidly. So you’ve substituted a ’U’ for ’K’ -that suits me fine. Honey, you and I are going to be the happiest couple ever. We have such a rosy future and every victory here brings us closer together. Let us do our share to smite the Huns and quickly win this war. Love, affection, ardor, devotion, trust, sincerity, frankness - these and more - all for you from Your own hubby, Lee
Dearest Honey:Rather an important date, eh? It means that we have equal day and night - it is just a year and a quarter since you reached New York, and this morning I am in receipt of three most delightful letters and a newspaper from my. own Sweetheart. The letters I’ve received are #I~0, l~l, ~2. Your letters #137, 138 and 139 are still missing. I also received draft of $300.00 and have written the Y.M.C.A. acknowledsing receipt of same, and telling them that the draft of $100.00 sent July 20th has not yet come to hand. As soon as I hear from them or receive the draft, shall let you know. The $3~00.00 I shall immediately put into stamps, and fifty dollars of the next draft I shall put into the ~th Liberty Loan bond - the rest in stamps. As for myself, I am now buying one or two War Savings Stamps a week,
e/ l/l 18
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and shall continue to do this as I do not want to put any more of my money into Bonds. My reason for buying stamps instead of bonds is because I expect it will be necessary to use the money when you return, and if we wanted to turn bonds into cash we would have to do so at considerable loss; whereas stamps can be redeemed with interest. You see, I intend to spend the same amount of money, but I want to feel that we will not be tied up because of lack of ready cash. What do you think of my idea? Speaking of the Fourth Liberty Loan, I am going to let you into the secret. No one knows of this, except the employees of the Liberty Loan Committee, but you won’t tell anyone over here before September 28th. Will you? The way the Liberty Loan will be introduced to the public is this: There will be a crier or Liberty Loan Page on almost every c. orner, in all the theatres and public places, and at 8.00 P.M. they will distribute millions of copies of the Stars & Stripes, and throughout the city red lights and red fires will announce that the drive is on. All bells, whistles and chimes will be heard. It promises to be a big night, but it is to be a big surprise to all. Too bad mail does not reach you more promptly. But we must not find fault, as the Government is doing its best. By this time you must have received a big batch of mail from me, because I have written every day since I returned from my vacation, and sometimes I’ve written twice a day. Thanks, honey, for giving me a better Job for the rest of my life, Just as soon as we’ve won the war. You can’t imagine how anxious I am to accept your offer. You ask if I have any idea what is in store for me. Well, I know that with you by my side we can overcome every obstacle which may confront us. I know, too, that I love you so much that the hardest problem will find a way through that deep affection which I bear for you. I have no fears concerning our future - it is all confidence in you. As for the demands made upon my love, they can be no worse than those I shall make of you, because I want your caresses and kisses and affection as much as you want mine. Our future is a glorious dream of true friendship and companionship, pals and chums, husband and wife, sweethearts forever. Loads of love and kisses Your own Nina Monday, September 23 More rain; it does rain in this ’Sunny France.’ The war communique reported a great victory by the British
Love, War, and Medicine
in Palestine, and another fine stunt in Serbia.
Dearest Sweetheart Little Ade.le was here overnight and is now taking her afternoon nap. She is really a very dear child. This morning she said ’If you would tell Uncle Leo the Kaiser is in Berlin he would go there and kill him and then the war would end and he would come home.’ Even she has absolute faith in you, so why should I doubt you? Dearest, I’m very glad to hear that you might go on vacation soon. I want you to see as much of Europe as you can. It is an opportunity which you must take advantage of. See as much as possible and have as good a time as you can. You may admire all the beautiful women, wine with them and dine them, but save all your kisses for me. You must have diversion and a short vacation (mingling with the opposite sex if you wish) will do you good. You see, dearest, I have as much if not more faith in you than Adele. I read about the capture of Peronne sometime ago. That’s where my scarf came from, Isn’t it? Boy, I love you with all my heart. If only it wer~ possible for us to spend this day together - l’d throw myself at your feet and let you stroke my hair while my head rested on your knees. Then you would llft me up and sit me in your lap and we’d kiss each other long and tenderly. How I long for those kisses and caresses and how l’d cling to you. Boy of mine, l’m so lonesome for you. My heart is all yours and l’m unreservedly Your sweetheart wife Nina. September 23 Dear Grandmother and Gerald, Your Joint letter of congratulations of August 20th has come and I thank you very much for all your good wishes to Nina and to me. And also for your Happy New Year greetings which I return. l’m sorry I couldn’t attend services during the recent holidays, l’m the only one here to tend to medical cases, and although I could have gone to a city about twenty-flve miles away where services were held, I felt that that would not be exactly fair to the patients, so I stayed here. And as looking after the sick is surely no sin, I feel that I did at least as good work as though I had gone to temple and prayer.
Love, War, and Medicine
I’m delighted to know that grandma is feeling so much better. I was worried about her attack of asthma (not ’asma’ as Gerald spells it). What did Dr. Block say and what did he charge? Are doctors charging more lately? I should think they’d have to with prices for necessities so" high as they are in the States. Also glad Joe paid you $~00.00 of the $1,000.00 and I’ve told him to pay you the other $~00.00 as soon as possible. I want to start married life free from debt. Gerald is getting on famously in school, I see. By the way, when is his birthday - I’ve completely forgotten it, though I think it’s in August. Nothing exciting about here except that I’m going on leave to Paris, Lyons, Marseilles, Nice and Monte Carlo in about a week. Otherwise, it’s very peaceful here and work, which was fairly heavy last week, has slackened apprec~iably, and now I’ve more time for recreation and incidentally, for answering the numerous letters I’ve received recently. That’s all for today. Leads of love to both of you and the rest of the folks. Your loving grandson and cousin, Lee September 2~ Dear Fathe r, First of all, I want to congratulate you on your coming birthday October 28th and to wish you all the luck possible. If this letter reaches you with about the speed letters from you reach me, it will Just about arrive on time. Thanks for enclosed photos in your letter of August 19th. Those of Paul and Eugene are fine, but yours are too blurred. If you take any more, be sure to send some. I notice that you st~ll carry the cane. How is you~ knee and what are you doing for it? Have you ever had a knee X-ray? If not, l’d most certainly get one as soon as possible. I wonder if this wouldn’t help your knee. First an X-ray to see if anything especially wrong. Then, if X-ray negative, a good firm splint, preferably of plaster of paris or steel so put on that your knee would be slightly bent but you couldn’t move it. You could walk around with a cane and, of course, with a stiff knee. You might have to keep the knee in such a cast for a couple of months, but while the support is on, you’ll have no pain and the rest might (I cannot
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promise) clear it up or at least do some good. Tell you what I’d do, anyway. Go to see a good orthopedic specialist. I don’t know many, but Drs. John Ridlon and Dr. Porter and Dr. Ryerson are all good men. I don’t know their addresses, but they all used to be on the staff of ’Home for Desti~tute & Crippled Children’ on North Paulina Street and Dr. Porter was on the staff of Cook County Hospital and is an excellent man. Of course, they may all be in the army now, but call up and find out and go to see one if possible. Tell them your son was a student of theirs and is now in France. Please tell Paul I got his letter of congratulations, too, and thank him very much for same. What’s he doing now? Things are very slow here so I’m taking time to make myself beautiful - hoorah: I let the dentist here fill a little cavity this afternoon. We have two dentists here and both are good. Can’t spend any money here on a bet, outside of five francs a day mess bill. If you spend five francs otherwise, you’re a spendthrift. Everything has changed about around here but us. The American troops who were in our sector have gone elsewhere and French troops are all about us. With the Americans went the Sales Commissary and Y.M.C.A. where we could buy a few things. Not a thing around here now but rain and there’s plenty of that. Has rained about twenty-five out of last thirty days. But we’re comfortable here - not at all like some times I spent when with the B.E.F. I can see now I had no cinch with them. I received a letter from the quartermaster of my old battalion who said that in the recent advance up near Flanders, the battalion did magnificent work. So had I been with them, I’d have been in my fourth battle. Well, who can tell - I may be lucky to have been transferred, but it’s too quiet here to suit any of us. But if our big push starts next spring, I’m convinced we’ll be in Germany so quickly the Kaiser will say ’Gott in Himmel’ and will decide that their motto ’Gott Mitt Uns’ is all wrong. The news Just came that the British have destroyed two entire Turkish armies in Palestine. That’s splendid. Love to all. Your affectionate son, Lee Friday, September 26 Not much work. Studied some French and played catch with Leverton. Glorious victories all around.
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#153 September 26 Dearest Nina, Three nice letters greeted me this morning, yours of August 24th, ~6th and 27th. Thanks, honey, for lesson #2 - now I know wh~t a negligee is. I always thought it was a nightgown. You see what an ignorant hubby you’ve got. Are you willing to put up with my shortcomings and teach me? I haven’t as yet bought you either a nightgown or a negligee or a kimono as I haven’t seen any pretty ones. But I’m going on leave in a few days as I’ve written you, and while en route through Lyons (silk center of France) will try to pick up something nice for my little wife as, of course, I want her to be perfect when she comes to me. Yes, you may wear it the night we’re married. Honey, if I’m to become your maid, hadn’t you better give me a few lessons and instructions beforehand on the intricacies and delicacies of ladies’ costumes? Don’t you think I could learn a little by correspondence? You know it didn’t take me long to learn to love you by same method. So be nice and begin a series of lessons and I promise to be a good student. Regarding gloves, I’ve already sent you the request. Don’t send sweater, honey, as I have two with me already. Give it to someone who needs it. But I thank you for your kindness. So you have decided what to send me (or rather hold for me) for Xmas. Gee, I wish I knew what you want. Honey, I’m going to ask a favor of you. Please tell me what you’d like me to get for you and you’ll make me very happy. It’s really hard for me to pick things out for gifts. So, by return mail, let me know, won’t you, wifey dearest? And don’t be bashful for I’ll get you anything I can, including those ’lovely but unment i onable s, ’ Honey, your conversation with Frieda makes me awfully proud of you. But, dearest, if by any chance I came back crippled and useless, I wouldn’t marry you I couldn’t. I wouldn’t have the heart to ruin your life as well as mine. No, dearest, I can’t tell you how grateful I am for your expressed wish, but I won’t permit you to waste yourself on me unless I’m O.K. It wouldn’t be fair to you. Why, little wife, of course it is right for you to give yourself entirely to your husband. I couldn’t be satisfied if the least bit of you were withheld - I want you, heart, soul and body. I want to own every bit of you, to love you for my very own - if only I could write, as you can, how badly I want you, and how
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often I picture us in o~r little dollhouse. Why, sometimes, I think and think and go into details which I can think about, but can’t write you at all. Honey, supper calls. Au revoir and loads and loads of love and kisses from Your adorin8 hubby, Lee Saturday, September 28 Dear Folks, Since I last wrote you, I’ve received a letter each from Paul, also from Ed and Millard, who are planning their coming vacation. Paul’s is #5. The kid is getting to be pretty fair at letter writing, though he still makes mistakes. But by the time this war is over, he ought to be an expert. As I understand, he takes French and I’m enclosing this morning’s paper printed in a neighboring city so he can read in French all about the glorious news of the day. I have learned enough French now so that I can read the communiques fairly easily. My roommate Lieutenant McNeil from Texas, speaks French fluently and he is helping me so that I am progressing. So you got the letter in which I told Marie about the Battle of St. Quentin. Well, that’s long past now. Was it as hot as the Cambrai affair? Well, it was as hot as long as it lasted, but it only lasted, as far as I was concerned, for two days (actual fighting), while I was in the thick of the Cambrai affair for about ten days before we were relieved. We hardly dared step out of our dugout on account of the severe shellfire all around us. No, our casualties were not heavy, though less in the Cambrai stunt than in the other. No, I did not collect any more souvenirs in the other stunt. You must remember we were retreating and you don’t look for souvenirs on the retreat. The gas mask I have with me. The authorities refused to let it go through. I’ll bring it back home and also the Boche bayonet which I got from the same Hun whose shoulder straps and helmet you’ve already received. Why don’t I write a war book. I’m not an author, that’s why. Nix on that stuff for me. If I had really done something, I would - perhaps. Well, nothing exciting here. I’m feeling fit as a fiddle. The only thing I can kick about is that our cook went to Aix-les-Bains on leave yesterday and last night the lemon cream pie was spoiled and we had to eat it with a spoon. ’C’est la guerre.’ Well, now for a letter to Ed and to Millard and then !’ve got three French lessons to look over. Loads of love to all. Affect ionately, Lee
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9/28/1918 My dearest Soldier Boy:Shall start this letter at the office but don’t think I’ll be able to finish it. However, I’ll do the best I can. The Liberty Loan Drive started last night and it was Just like a New Year Eve. The whistles, bells, horns, etc. kept up for about half an hour. Red lights were burning throughout the city, and it was quite exciting. As I believe the President’s address will interest you, I am sending you today’s paper under separate cover. Am also sending you one package containing underwear, gloves, toothpaste, shaving cream and toothbrushes. Harry told me I made a mistake in the last package I sent you, as I sent shaving stick, whereas you want shaving cream. Sorry about this, dear, but as it is the first time I have bought any you will forgive the error. You see, I’ve never had a husband before. This has been a dandy day. Just listen: I’ve received three delightf~l letters -particularly #I~6. The letters I’ve received are #I~4, 145, i~6. Honey, if you only knew how I love your letters. Nothing else counts. They are a substitute for you. Am glad you received some letters from me. Honey, I wish you would continue to number your letters, as your time is a bit uncertain, because you cannot write every day. The reason I stopped numbering mine, is because I write you every day and you will know very quickly whether any letters are missing. Nothing can interfere with my writing but if it does I will tell you so in the following letter. This I have done ever since I came back from the country - August kth. How many of my letters are missing, honey? Have taken note how to address you in future cables. Thanks for the information. Dearest, if the French girls wear HOOVERIZED bathing suits, please don’t lose your eyes looking too closely. Remember you’re a married man. I want all those looks for myself. I see where it will be necessary for me to send you a printed sign to wear on the outside of your uniform ’Keep your .eyes in the boat - I’m married.’ Of course, I do want you to enjoy yourself, and you may look at all the pretty girls, but you must not overlook the fact that I saw you first. However, I hope you enJoy every minute of your vacation. Hubby, I’m very glad you like our Doll’s house as I’ve pictured it. To me it all seems so real, that I almost believe I’m there at times. So you object to my wearing a gown and kimono when you are allowed to come in, simply dressed in pajamas. Well, you see, dearest, I’ve never been married before,
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and up to now I’ve never gone through the dining room in a nightgown without a kimono over it. I don’t know whether I may do so after we’re married. Therefore, l’m afraid you’ll have to permit me to wear a kimono over my night.g6wn when I sit in your lap - at least until I get used to being married. Of course, I might change my mind when we’re together, alone. And, please, dearest, don’t get me a nightgown at all. What I want from you is a negligee, such as I explained to you in another letter. If the town you are near is one where they make lace, they ought to carry them as negligees are of lace, silk or flimsy material. It is really worn over a nightgown. Please don’t get it too fussy, as I want it quite simple. In fact, a pretty kimono would do very nicely. And, darling, let me whisper in your ear that nightgowns usually have Just a piece of lace falling loosely over the shoulders, but can hardly be called sleeves, and they are always low in the neck and are loose; they slip on over the head. Negligees or kimonos have long loose sleeves, are full length, open in the front, and usually fastened with Just one or two hooks in front. So sorry you had to arrest those two soldiers because of intoxication. But unpleasant duties must be performed, I suppose. What will happen to them? Do you have to prefer charges? Darling, I love you madly, and if you were here l’d Just cuddle right up to you, put my arms around your neck and draw you closely to me. Then l’d kiss you oh, oh, so hard. Do you really know how much your wife loves you? Why all the money in the world could not buy me from you. There isn’t anything that can compare with it. l’m all yours - every bit of me, and shall be the proudest girl in this country when the minister pronounces us husband and wife. Honey, there is so much happiness in store for us. Life will begin, and we have a lot to do, but it will be the pleasant task of making each other happy and working with and for each other. What greater gift could God have given us than each other? Honey, when this war is won, (and it looks as though we are on our way with a vim now) we will be reunited in a closer bond, a bond of matrimony, which no man can cast asunder, and we will make that bond such as heaven had ordained it. With such love as ours, it is sure to be as perfect a state of happiness as can exist on earth. Sweetheart, I’II write you again tomorrow. Good night, hubby. God bless you, and send you back soon to Your sweetheart wife Nina Here are many, many, many kisses and hugs for my darling little hubby
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Saturday, September 28 Dearest Girl, This is to be Just a note as I’m fairly busy, not so much with my medical work here as with my French. You see, dear, I’m going on leave in three-four days and I want to cTam as much French into me as I can as the knowledge of that language will make my trip all the more enjoyable. My roommate, Lieutenant McNeil, speaks French fluently and is he~ping me. Have covered six lessons in the last two days and want to do at least three more today and that means work. Read over a lot of your letters again, honey; they are splendid. I can’t get enough of them. Which parts do I like best? Well, that’s hard to answer as I love you and every word you write, but your descriptions .. of our dollhouse and of our evenings together are music in my ears. If only I could write what I want to, without censorship. I envy you your privilege. Please, honey, won’t you try to outdo even yourself and send me for Xmas a nice long letter about our future home and you and me? There’s a Hun plane up above now and the guns are bursting shrapnel around him. He’s only taking pictures and is about i0,000 feet up, but we don’t want him to take pictures. They come over rather frequently, and after you watch a few of the attempts from below to prevent photographing (rarely can prevent it), you get tired of it and don’t watch any more. That’s all for today, dearest, except to send you loads and loads of ~ondest love. And also much affection for the rest of our New York family and kindest regards to Stella, Mr. and Mrs K and May. Your own boy, Lee Monday, September 30 Received my paycheck (938 francs) and need this as
going on leave tomorrow. Major Burg and Lieutenant Vadala have returned from their vacations.
Sweetheart dear I’m in a quandary tonight. Shall I cable you or not? It is hard to decide as I don’t want you to worry and I’m so very, very:healthy that it is difficult to realize that you might think me a victim of
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influenza. The disease has spread rapidly throughout this section, particularly Brooklyn. Thank God we are all well. However, I don’t know whether news of existing conditions has reached France or not, and I want to assure you that l’m ~ well and taking good care of myself, l’ve ~ust decided that I shall await your letters and at the first signs that you are worrying I shall cable. Darling, as l’ve told you before, I am a very healthy person, and it will make it very difficult for yourself if you imagine I contract every ailment. At present the country is all taken up with the Fourth Liberty Loan. Even business letters are being signed ’Yours for the Fourth Liberty Loan’ instead of ’Yours very truly.’ There is considerable excitement especially at noontime downtown. The city is also ’Block Party’ mad. Do you know what a block party is? Well a certain block decides they will have a party. The block is decorated with bunting, etc., they hire a band and dance in the street. Traffic is stopped through that street. A service flag is dedicated and strung from side to side. Usually articles are donated and sold and the proceeds given to the Red Cross or Y.M.C.A. They sometimes charge admission into the street to all except uniformed men. Well, Bulgaria is out. We are now looking for Turkey to follow. Splendid work is being done by all. Just think by the time this reaches you we’ll probably be in St. Quentin and Cambra~ and I hope Metz. Wonderful work for such a short time. It makes us feel fine. And we’ll back you up with this 4th Liberty Loan by going over the top. I didn’t tell you about Saturday night - did I? Well, I had dinner at Lou’s house. Then Mabel (Lou’s cousin), Jack, Lou and I went to see ’Under Orders’ a four act play with two people in the cast but cleverly acted. Of course, it is a war play and we all enjoyed it thoroughly. Then we went to some small restaurant on Broadway for a bite to eat and landed home at 12:30. Sweetheart, it is time to take my bath. Haven’t read my newspaper either but I’ll read it while in the tub. Do you ever do that? Good night, honey. ~Jouldn’t it be fine if when I come out of the bathroom you were waiting in the dining room for me. No, I wouldn’t run away. I’d simply run right into your arms and let you hug me. Then I’d kiss you until you asked me to stop. Would you do that, dear? Oh, honey, I do so want you. To throw my arms around your neck and draw you closely to me and kiss you many, many times. To stroke your hair and whisper
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my ’Darling hubby’. I’m aching for my boy - to give and take the love that is ours. Good night Lee. Come, honey, and get all the love and kisses from Your lonesome wife Nina. Boy, oh boy, how I love you.
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Following Page 682
A picture of a German soldier through French eye s.
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CHAPTER XIX ON LEAVE TO PARIS, NICE, MONTE CARLO Tuesday, October I Left Baccarat with Captain McCloskey and Lieutenant Avery at 9:30 A.M. and changed at Blaineville and reached the city of Nancy at noon. After another tour of Nancy, left there at 7:18 P.M.; then a long, stuffy ride and reached Paris at i:00 P.M. The train was six hours late. Registered at the Palais Royale Hotel with Avery (McCloskey left us). It was Paris again with fairly good food and a good show at the Casino de Paris. The next day had lunch at the American Union and dinner at Duval’s. More sightseeing and caught the 8:05 P.M. train bound for Nice. That was a long trip and Avery and I slept in our compartment with only a blanket and overcoat between us. We stopped at Lyon, then Avigny, and then reached Marseilles the next morning. Then by train to Nice on the Mediterranean Sea. In Nice we stopped at the Grand Hotel O’Connor, a nice hotel and only eighteen francs a day including three meals a day. The promenade was beautiful and a cinema and its music were both good.
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Following Page 683
Cote D’Azur City of Nice, France
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Monday, October 7 A marvelous trip to Monte Carlo located in the country called Monaco - in fact, the city is the country. There were six of us including a Dr. and Mrs. Smith, Captain Keppel and officers Walsh and Avery and myself. Smith lived in the neighboring city of Cannes for twenty-two years and knew this country and the French language. There are three roads from Nice to Monte Carlo. Fortunately, we took the high road; on the way we reached Eze, a quaint old hill town founded by the Phoenicians. Then to La Turlie, a larger town, then down to the sea again to Menton on the border of Italy. We walked across the border into Italy, bought a few postcards and back to Menton and then to Monaco and Monte Carlo.
October 5 Dearest little Nina, It is a week since I wrote you but, honey, it isn’t that I didn’t want to, but I simply couldn’t. I’ve been traveling on my vacation and had opportunity neither to write nor mail any letters. You see all our letters must go through military post offices, and those are hard to find when you’re moving. Well, to begin where I left off. When I last wrote you on September 28th, I was residing peacefully at the hospital. The next day came my leave orders, suddenly, also for a Lieutenant Avery from New York. We slung a few things in our haversacks and the next morning, October 1st, we were off by train bound for Paris. We left our place early morning and reached a neighboring large city (Nancy) about noon. This is a pretty town and we roamed around all afternoon. At 8:00 P.M. we were on our way to Paris. We had, fortunately, been able to reserve couchettes (we could not get sleepers), but couchettes are beds made by pulling out seats in the compartment, two lower and two upper in each compartment.
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An English major of the flying corps had one of these in our compartment and he was funny. We had closed the door as it was cold and we had no covers. I was sleeping peacefully in a lower when this Englishman woke us all up and said, ’I say, you know, it’s a bit foggy in here,’ Well, it sure was - the air was so thick you could almost slice it. We tried to get the window open and finally succeeded, but it was lots of fun to hear this major cuss the ’blooming, blinking, blasted window’ while he was pulling at it. Stopped at the Palais Royale Hotel in Paris, where we had nice rooms, but we weren’t in them enough to speak about as we were on the go almost constantly. We walked all over the city as Avery wanted to see it all in thirty hours. We took in a 8cod girl show at the Casino de Paris - Just like Follies shows with plenty of girls and dresses very economical. While in Paris, I registered at the New York Herald office as I thought you might see my name in the New York edition. Had lunch in Paris and Avery and I ordered both turkey and chicken - we hadn’t had any for eight months. After dinner we beat it for the train. Couldn’t get a taxi to the station (Gate du Lyon), so rushed to the Metropolitan (subway) and almost lost faith in it as they gave us the wrong directions and sent us all around Paris before we reached the station and had to run for it to catch the train. However, we made it and the two seats we’d reserved. The train pulled out of Paris at 8:05 P.M. We read and talked for awhile. Avery and I had one whole side of a compartment to ourselves (three seats), so we stretched ourselves out on the seats, facing opposite to each other and covered ourselves with a blanket Avery rented for two francs. And so we slept and slept well. But about 6:00 A.M. the train pulled into Lyon and a French civilian came in and sat down almost on Avery’s feet and my head. Then he hung his umbrella up over my head and almost poked my eye out with its point. So that ended that sleep. The scenery from Lyon to Marseilles was fine as the country was very fertile and not at all touched by war. Saw a lot of American planes flying around on a training field. The Rhone River was also lovely. Reached Marse!llee at I0:~5 A.M. but only stayed about an hour the~e and was so busy trying to steal a seat (we had no reservation from Marseilles to Nice) that couldn’t get to see much of the city. I didn’t get that seat, but managed to squeeze into various seats as occupants got out to lunch, etc. Our way took us through Toulon and Cannes and other famous places. Nina, I wish I were a poet so that I
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could picture to you the wonderful scenery between Marseilles and Nice. But perhaps you can get some idea of it when I tell you that we rode alon8 close to the Mediterranean most of the way. And the contrast between the deep blue sea and the red and steep rocky coast is dazzl~ng. All along we passed century plants and palm trees which are beautiful. Toulon is a very strongly fortified naval port, and is most picturesque. Cannes is a favorite resort for tourists from all over the world, especially the English. It is dotted with magnificent white stone villas. Finally, at 6:00 P.M. we reached Nice, three and a half days from Evacuation Hospital #2. Nice is a pretty city of about 150,000 or so. Just now it is the off season as the big doings are chiefly in winter. But there’s plenty on now, I can assure you. It is a clean little city - marvelously so - no dust anywhere, everything white and shining. We’ve been on the go here, too. Last night went to the Jetee Promenade, a big cinema house built on the edge of the water and projecting right out into it. Here you can sit and drink and flirt and watch pictures and listen to good music - all at once. It’s quite a nice place, too. So that brings us up to date again. The day after tomorrow we’re going to Monte Carlo and probably on further to Menton (the city which is Just this side of the Italian border). The one thing lacking to perfect happiness is you, honey. I miss you more than ever. Gee, we could have a dandy time here. We could stroll along the Promenade des Anglais and the Quai des Etats Unis, we could dip into the cool blue waters. We could ride out in autos and tramways. We could climb hills, lovely blue hills which form an ideal background for Nice. We could walk among the date palm trees and visit the shops and theaters. And, oh, girl, wouldn’t it be great to sit along the shore at night and Just spoon and spoon to our heart’s content? We could listen to the waves, see the lighthouse way out, get the refreshing breeze - all these would be much better if you’re in my arms and my lips are close as can be to yours. Good night, Nina. Loads and loads of love to you and all the others. Your sweetheart, Lee
Dearest Sweetheart :Well, it looks very much as though your wife will be called upon to serve on the Liberty Loan Committee
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during the day for a few hours, besides the work she is doir~ in the evening. I rather like the work, and so don’t mind it. Of course, it is entirely up to A.F. if he will let ~e take the ti~e, as the work must be done du~ing-business hours. You can’t imagine how I like to do my bit, because I know it is giving the best that is in me during my spare time. It means giving up amusements, but it is diversion and I like It. The work I will be called upon to do du~ing the day, will be to assist at clerical work, and do some work at the banks. Am not sure that A.F. will consent. Darling, I wish you were here so that I could take you in my arms and make a baby of you, by cuddling you close to me. Would you mind forgetting your dignity long enough to let me fondle you as I would a child. This is such a day as I want you all to myself, and want to give myself to you entirely. Dearest, if only the time were here when we could have each other. What a delightful time we could enjoy if you and I spent the weekend together. Boy, I love you more and more every day. Honey, I again want to assure you that I am very well, and taking good care of myself. I shall continue to write you every day so that you will be assured of my health. With loads of love, to the dearest, bravest, bestest, little hubby Your sweetheart wife Nine All send love. Many, many, many kisses and hugs. Wish I could give them to you myself. WHAT A PARTY I’D HAVE.
Dea~st little Boy How fortunate I am to have such a hubby and how I wish I could prove to you how I adore him. Darling I’m so full of love that I’ll soon explode. Honey bunch, this morning I received your letter #1~7. Boy, you are simply wonderful to write so charmingly. Dearest, l’m so glad you’ll consent to eat appleson-the-stick and lollipops. I’II eat some with you. But I refuse to bribe you even with a kiss. However, I’Ii wash your sticky face when the ordeal is over. You’ve probably heard this before ’Physician heal thyself’ but if the apples don’t agree with you, I’II do my very best, poor as that may be, because I’ii be in a strange land where I want to be your doctor and
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want you to be mine - we are too healthy to call in any outside ’advice’ Have told May that she may visit us six months after we’re married - iu fact, the first vacation after I leave New York. It is so nice of you to consent to a boy and a girl in our family. I agree. As I told you ’Bob’ and ’Alice’ suit me Just right. But no matter how many we have, I’ll always love my big baby best, because he has made all things possible, and I loved him first, and shall always love him ’first.’ Do you know that through letters I’ve grown very fond of Paul? He is a dear and I love him. Of course, Ed is in a class by himself. Dearest, you are a child - aren’t you? I like you best when you ask lots of questions. And now, honey, ’flatware’ is a set of knives, forks, spoons, etc. all table utensils (if I may term them as such) which are used for eating purposes. We gave Clarence his set and it cost over $200.00. That set is probably worth twice as much now. You know, of course, that there are various kinds of forks, spoons, etc. But don’t get frightened as they are always placed upon the table in the order in which they are used - the outside one first, etc. - until the last one which is the one nearest the plate. Dearest, will you please send me a napkin ring for yourself and one for me? We always use them at home and mine is no longer much good. Anyway we’ll both need them and I prefer to use one which will have a story attached to it. The difference between Polish and Belgian lace is Polish lace is worked into a design with ordinary cotton through net whereas Belgian lace is all handmade of linen thread. There’s a big differenc--~ in them and Belgian lace is by far the prettier, more expensive and better. Of course you may put your head on the pillowcase - our home is for comfort, not a show place. Dearest, it is too bad your letter came too late so that I could not convey your thanks to Jim. Poor chap is being buried today. No, dear, I can’t read French - nor do I understand any. Of course, the war has taught us a little, but I’m sorry to be so stupid. Am trying to plan to study but at present the Women’s War Service demands several evenings a week for the Draft Board. Darling would you mind coming here? Thanks. Now sit on the couch and let me sit in your lap. Yes, I’m at the office, but A.F. has gone home. ~y arms are
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about you and, I’m having a glorious feast on your lips. Lee, honey, I so want you. Honey, Ma has finished our tablecloth and it is a beauty. She has done beautiful work on it and I’m delighted with it. Really she’s a wonder. Too bad her daughter is not more like her. In about two weeks I shall buy another tablecloth of smaller size but I want her to rest awhile. She devotes one day a week for Red Cross sewing. Liberty Loan Drive is progressing slowly but surely. This terrible sickness which seems to be raging throughout the country has done considerable harm to the drive. Believe it has let up a trifle. Thank God we are all we II. Hubby, dear, there isn’t much chance of the Kaiser accepting Wilson’s peace terms, but wouldn’t it be wonderful? It is almost too good to be true. In that case you would surely be home next Spring and possibly earlier. How often I’ve pictured that meeting and the hours following before we Joined hands in wedlock. Then the happy days immediately following when we lived for each other only without interruption. Soon we would be thrown into the delightful task of choosing and Purnishing our doll’s house. Honey, then you and I would take possession of our little kingdom where you will always reign supreme as my king and protector. Oh, the glory of it all. It is most intoxicating. And when our love reaches its heights, perhaps God will bless us with a bundle to call you ’Daddy.’ Then, dearest, I shall feel that I’ve done some good in this world because I’ll have a big and little baby to keep me busy at home, while my husband’s interests will keep me busy trying to keep pace with him. How full our lives will be then. Honey, I’m longing for that time. When all my dreams come true heaven will have come down to earth and you and I will occupy a seat on the throne. It is so enticing. Honey, I must close as this letter has taken longer than expected. With loads and loads of love and many hugs and kisses. Your own sweetheart Nina All send regards. I love you more and more every day.
Oct ober 9th My little girl, Gee, girl, my vacation is dwindling away and all too rapidly! But I’m surely enjoying myself and seeing sights most beautiful. I hardly find a minute to
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write as there’s so much to see and I don’t like to miss a thing. You can understand tha~, and I know you’ll forgive me for only writing you postcards since my last letter of the 5th. But to go on where I left off - October 6~h (Sunday) was a most peaceful and brilliant day. The sun was up strong, it was very warm and the blue sea of the Mediterranean beckoned us to it. Did we go swimming? No, we couldn’t. To our horror, we discovered that all the beaches at Nice were closed; it seems that October Ist was the official end of the season here and the French don’t bathe after that day? It was a pity as the water looked so inviting. Instead, we took a long walk down the ’Promenade des Anglais’ which is the long boulevard which borders the water. It was a worth-while walk, too as the scenery is wonderful. You know, all this country is very hilly and Nice, Cannes, Monte Carlo and other adjacent cities nestle at the foot of great high blue cliffs (that’s why all this country here is called the ’Cote d’Azur’ - ’Blue Hills’) I sent you through the Y.M.C.A. a book of views of this district. I hope you get it as they,re excellent photographs. The Y.M.C.A. referred to is British; there is no American one here. The people here are very attractive. There are every variety. Uniforms abound,- Nice always has at least as many foreigners as permanent residents. We saw many Americans - more than any other uniform. Next came French and the rest were a mixture of Australians, New Zealanders, Canadians, English, Servians, Italians, Russians (including Cossacks) and many Algerians, Tunisians and French negroes, a few Belgians also. Nice belonged to Italy up to 1860 and therefore it was quite Italian in many ways. Many civilians were Italians, and houses were frequently met with that had typical Italian architecture. On our promenades, also, we gave the inhabitants the once-over. The ladies were mostly attractive, Just like at Paris an~ yer~ .f~rt~@~- also Just like at Paris. It’s a good thing I had you to cling to, else the smile of some pretty little mademoiselle might have directed my thought s e isewhere. Sunday evening we went to the Scala Theatre and saw ’ALe Americaine,’ a so-called revue in French. As I didn’t understand much of the dialogue, I had hard work to keep from falling asleep and we left before the show was over. But Monday, the 7th, will always stand in my mind as one of the ’Red Letter Days’ in my young life for
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on that day we made a trip. It was some trip, too, and we were very fortunate to be able to meet again three persons with whom we had travelled from Marseilles to Nice. They were Dr. and Mrs. Smith and Captain Klepper. Dr. Smith was ~ dentist, an Englishman, who had lived at Cannes (clbse by) for twenty-two years and he knew this whole region like a book. He was a veritable treasure of knowledge. He knew every rock and could tell us and did tell us the history of each little village we passed through. Captain K.lepper was his brother-in-law and was here on sick leave after recovering from a wound he got at the River Ourcq last July. They were three nice people. The other three in our party were Lieutenant Walsh, the young man with whom we came from Paris, Lieutenant Avery from Evacuation Hospital 2, and I. We hired a special automobile for the day for 150 francs and at 8:30 A.M. we were off toward Italy. There are two main roads, the high one which winds in and out of the cliffs overlooking the water, and the low road which skirts the shore closely. We went by the former and returned by the latter. Our chauffeur was a boy of seventeen who had enlisted in the French army at fifteen and had served almost two years until he was discharged because his brother had been killed. While in the army, he had been General Petaln’s chauffeur and, girl, he sure did burn up the roads. My heart was in my mouth all the time. He’d slouch down in his seat and nonchalantly hold one hand carelessly on the wheel and let her go; we went about sixty miles an hour on the straightaways and he’d slow down to about forty on the curves. And if you could see some of those curves and see how perilously close to the edge of the precipices we were, you’d know your hubby was most uncomfortable at many spots. But the kid was excellent and we came through O.K. So we left Nice by the high road and our car climbed higher and higher, zigzagging along the winding roads, some very steep. Soon we were at the top, about 1,600 feet high and overlooking the sea. The view from there was positively magnificent, Nina. It was a clear, sunny day and one could see for miles. All the capes stood out prominently, very steep and ragged and proJecting the winding roads below. Here and there a little village nestled way up on a hill or down by the blue sea, and palm trees and cactus everywhere, also fig and carnation trees. After about twenty minutes, we came to a high place and stopped for a while. Above us towered a higher
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hill and on it the quaint and ancient village of Eze founded by the Phoenicians in B.C. time. We climbed up the winding stone steps till we reached the top. It is hard to picture such a place unless you see it, but try to visualize a collection of about fifty homes on the side ana top of a very rough and rocky hill and you may get some idea of it. I am enclosing a few postcards to give you a better picture. Eze even had a red and a green stop light,- for some unknown reason,no autos up there. From there we went back to the car and on along the high road to La Turlie, a large town, high up and much frequented by tourists before the war. The main point of interest here was a great high stone monument built by Caesar Augustus in 26 B.C. and still standing, in a fair condition, too. They didn’t use mortar in those days; the stones were huge and held together merely by their weight and position. From this village we had an excellent view of the principality of Monaco and further on, of Menton (a town near the Italian border). We were off again, at terrific speed, going down now until we met the low road Just before we reached Menton. On we went through the town and for about a mile; suddenly we were stopped by sentries. We had reached the Franco-Italian frontier and our car could go no further. We got out and walked across from France to Italy. Another country added to my list. We strolled for a little way on this Italian soil and bought a few postcards, put the required Italian stamps on them and mailed them. Did you get ~he one I sent you from there? I enclose another one of this frontier region. We hung around Italy awhile and then drove back to Menton where we stopped and had an excellent lunch at the Royal Westminster Hotel. In true French style we had our coffee served out in the gardens among picturesque palm trees and cactus plants and with the faint odor of the mimosa flower in our nostrils, and all overlooking the deep blue water. At 2:00 P.M. we were off on our way back. This time we took the low road. We passed through Menton quickly - this is only an ordinary small French town (15,000) with more than a touch of Italian characteristics. We passed Cape Martin, a famous cape between Monaco and Menton on which some English lord had a sumptuous home for convalescent British officers. Soon we came in sight of Monaco and reached still another country. Monaco (which includes Monte Carlo there is no real dividing line) is an independent
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The quaint old tiny hill town, founded by Phoenicians. On the high road between Nice and Monte Carlo.
The laet city in France, on the frontier to Italy.
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principality and had its own army (ninety-five, I understand), stamps, etc. Of course, since it is surrounded by French soil, it is more or less influenced and dominated by France. Its citizens pay no taxes except for levies - its army of ninety-five or so is fighting with France - the profits from the gambling keep up the principality. I dropped you a postcard from Monte Carlo with its stamp - did you get it? We didn’t see all of the country we’d like to have as time was short and there was much to see. First, we visited the Prince’s palace. That was a large and pretty stone structure situated high on a hill and overlooking the city of Monte Carlo which was nestled below. Loopholes pierced the walls - evidently for possible use against any uprising of the citizens. A few old cannons were in the courtway, and two guards stood with fixed bayonets at the gate. We couldn’t get to see the interior of the palace. Then we took one of the two streetcars of Monaco and rode to the Casino. The Casino of Monte Carlo is, of course, the mecca of the gamblers of the world. It is in a beautiful building situated on the shores of the blue sea and has a pretty terrace and a bandstand, We went inside and through the open doors saw crowds of civilians staking their money on the altar of luck. No military are allowed in, so we didn’t actually see the tables as the people flocked around them so deeply they shut off our view. I noted that more than fifty percent of the gamblers were women and from what information I gathered, I found out that women are worse gamblers here than men, and that the older the women the more they gambled. The Casino itself is very pretty, all marble and brilliantly lit. Then we went out onto the terrace and had some vermouths - you see, I’m a toper and listened to a nice band. But we had to leave all too soon and then we were back on our way along the low road skirting the Mediterranean and quickly back to Nice. And so ended one of the most enjoyable trips I ever had. Yesterday we spent a quiet day, Just roaming around Nice. Didn’t get up till 10:O0 A.M. and had breakfast in bed - gee, I am getting lazy. Every morning three Italian street performers played in the garden underneath our window. They played and sang beautifully, too, and I’ll never again cast aspersions at a street band (except at the old German bands). I’m sitting out there now, Just before lunch, in this same garden. I must be absolutely truthful, so must confess that Avery and I took two American nurses to the Jetee
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The Monte Carlo Casino (Prlncipality called Monaco)
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Promenade (a pretty combined music and cinema house near here). They were from Base Hospital 20, here on leave, and not bad looking. They looked lonesome and we felt a bit lonesome, too - result was a pleasant evenir~. They were from Philadelphia. Do you mind, dearest? Of course ’twas merely a social affair. No intimacy whatever. Well, that brings us up to date again. Don’t know what’s on for this afternoon. We leave Saturday A.M. (three more days). Au revoir, Nina. Although your hubby is a busy man Just now, he can’t help longing and aching for his own wifey. Loads and loads of love to you and much to the others of the family. Your own hubby, Lee #157 October Ii Dearest Nina, Just a wee note as lunch is almost ready, but I wanted to let you know l’m off on my return Journey tomorrow morning so that ~t will be three-four days before I can write you another letter. Just came out of the water and had a peach of a swim. The water was very salty today and I swallowed considerable amount, so your hubby is pretty thirsty. Will have to quench that feeling tout de suite. There were a good number in swimming today - of both sexes. Most of the men were American officers. The fairer sex were chiefly French mademoiselles, and I can assure you, they looked pretty attractive in their men’s bathing suits. The beach is very pebbly and descends so abruptly that when you’re fifteen feet from shore, the water comes over your head. Have been having a good time these last two days and have taken in two dances - can you imagine me dancing after a lapse of about eighteen months? Well, I bucked up courage and attended two informal affairs given by a French dancing instructor here at Nice. There were almost two fellows for each girl so that there was a lot of good-natured cutting in and you’d dance with two-three girls each dance. ’T~as lots of fun and I did enjoy myself. Otherwise, l’ve been pretty lazy. Took a ride up the hills of Nice to the Cimiez, the sort of suburb in which stands the marvelous building in which Queen
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Victoria lived in 189~ and 1895. It is very pretty. Nice is Just peppered with lovely villas owned by the rich of the rest of the world. Am leaving tomorrow A.M. - will return by way of Marseilles, Lyon, Paris and Nancy. I’m anxious to get back and get ~he batch of letters I know are waiting for me from my own girl. Au revoir, honey, loads and loads of love and kisses. I’m all yours and love you with all my heart, soul and body. Your faithful
Paris, October I~ Dearest girl, In the wicked city again, but leave Paris at 8:00 tomorrow A.M. for my station. This is the last stage of my furlough. My last letter to you was from Nice on the llth. Since then traveling has been my main stunt. But to go on from where I left off. The afternoon of the llth I went to my third dance in three successive days - the third dance, also, since I left Chicago. This time there were more girls than fellows - result, I had an even better time than ever and danced my fool head off. In the evening Avery and I went to see a peach of a French revue at the Eldorado, Nice’s prettiest theatre. The music was stimulating, the staging magnificent, the girls superb, and the costumes very scanty. How’s that for poetry? But the show was great! On the 17th we left Nice in the midst of a rainstorm at ll:30 A.M. and arrived at Marseilles at 5:30. We had forty-five minutes there and gave the town the once-over by means of a promenade. But the day was wet and it was dark, needless to add that Marseilles didn’t impress me much. At 6:30 we were off again and reached Paris at 9:~5 yesterday A.M. The journey down was interesting and we had a Jovial time. Besides Avery and me, there were in our compartment a French couple (old) and a Red Cross Secretary and a Lieutenant United States. The Secretary was young and pretty and was a good fellow and she fit in well with our high spirits. We matched pennies and played rummy on the train and had a good time. And we all got a little sleep curled up in the seats.
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VWhen we reached Paris yesterday (Sunday), it was cool and cloudy and we at once regretted leaving Nice. We are again stopping at the Palais Royale Hotel. Last night Avery and I took this young Secretary and a friend o~ hers (both New York girls) out - see, I confess all my iniquities to you - but, really, Nina, when you meet United States girls over here, it’s such a treat that you feel you ought to show them a good time - well, we think we did that, all right. We took ’em out for supper to ~axim’s restaurant and then took in all the sights common to that place. Then we went to the Folies Bergere Theater and saw Shirley Kellogg in ’Zig-Zag,’ a fine show. The girls’ names are ~isses Witson and Bailey - perhaps you’ve met them in New York City. They’re Jolly and respectable. Today we did a little shopping and I opened a little bank account at the Paris branch of Guarantee Trust & Co., New York City. Is that a good bank? Just going to eat dinner, then Avery and I are going to see ’Billeted’ at the English Theatre here. Then to bed and off in the A.M. That’s all I have time to write, dearest. My next will be a long one, I promise, when I reach the hospital. ~eanwhile, all my love and kisses to my brave little girl and sweetheart in New York for she’s very precious to her True love, Lee Paris, 0ctober 14 Dear Folks, Just a note to let you know I’m O.K. Got in from Nice yesterday and am leaving Paris early tomorrow e ven ing. This afternoon visited the Jewish Welfare Clubroom here and three ladies served us with tea, etc. and made us feel very much at home. They have rather nice quart e r s. No more now as dinner is ready and I must go ’tout de suite .’ My next will be from the Evacuation Hospital #2, A.E.F. France. Loads of love to all. Lee
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CHAPTER XX EVACUATION HOSPITAL #2; EPIDEMICS OF MENINGITIS AND INFLD~ZA Tuesday, October 15 Up at 6:00 A.M. and train from Paris at 8:00 A.M. and back to the city of Nancy at 5:00 P.M., only three hours late. Then to Luneville and reached Baccarat at 8:10 P.M. On reaching Evacuation Hospital #2, found an enormous number of patients plus many letters. I returned with a heavy ’cold’ and so tired I almost fell into bed. We dne sday, Oct obe r 16 A terrific day. There were about 500 new medical cases, this plus i00 old cases, thus a total of 600. Drs. Emmons and Villars are caring for patients in the D building; Furman and I have building C. Of these patients, five have meningitis, ten mumps, and the rest chiefly influenza with or without pneumonia. News item: Woodrow Wilson refused Germany’s offer of peace! That proved the poor condition of Germany and its armed forces. The end of the war is very near: Thursday, October 17 Another hard day. I was on the go from 7:00 A.M. to 10:30 P.M. - very tired and also coughing a lot. More new
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patients poured in, with 300 in my department alone and a total of about 750 patients in our medical wards. All day long was examining patient after patient and covered seven wards. I was too busy to even write decent notes on the patient chmrts.
October 18 Dearest little girl, I ca~e back from leave on the 15th to find more work here than we’ve ever had before. The hospital is crowded with medical cases, chiefly influenzas and mumps and pneumonias, but also a number of cases of meningitis, diphtheria, septic sore throats, etc. l’ve got my hands so full I can’t get more than a few minutes at a time to myself, hence the shortness of this note. I,m on the go from 7:00 A.M. to late at night and sometimes during the night, too. I’m in charge of one building with 300 patients and have two lieutenants under me. But I personally have to examine and order for about 150 patients, so you can see y@ur hubby is a busy man now. I’m Just aching to write you a long letter, for when I got back here I found about twenty letters from you and since then about five more have come in, the latest dated September 27th. I’ve got so much to tell you, but, dearest, duty first, and as patients are coming in now and must be looked after, I can only hope that tomorrow there will be a bit of a breathing spell so I can tell you all about it. Loads of love, honey, from Your at-last busy Lee Sunday, October 20 Getting things straightened out a bit, but twenty more patients came in, so far only two deaths (both from lobar pneumonia). Personally, I was no better - was hoarse and coughed a lot. Heard that 600 more cases are coming in. Great news: the entire Belgian coast has been freed from the Boche.
O~t~ber ~i, 1918 My own girl, The task before me tonight is a formidable one and one which I know I Qan never complete tonight. I’m going to try an~ answer all your letters which have piled up since I left eighteen days ago on my vacation. Firstly, as I wrote you yesterday, I returned from my leave on the 15th, but have been so ~ushed I simply have had to shelve all correspondence. Since I came back, the best l’ve been able to do is to write very brief notes to you, the folks, Ed and Millard, one apiece. As I told you our hospital is filled with medIcal cases, many serious among them and we’ve all had to pitch in and work day and night, l’ve got my seven wards (about I~0 patients) looked over now, and can seize a little time to write this. Now to try and answer your wonderful letters. Firstly, there are many of them. I wish I could tell you how I do appreciate those loving hours spent in writing me. The letters are magnificent, and I love them, and I feel very badly that circumstances do not permit me to write as often as you or as often as l’d llke to. I feel llke writing you continuously, like a ticker, for when I write you I feel you’re very near to me. But, honey, l’m in Uncle Sam’s service! There are many sick to care for, and I know you’d rather hear less often from me than have me neglect even one of these boys. This letter will be interrupted, I know, as in about one-half hour, I must do a spinal puncture on a patient with epidemic meningitis - we have a number of those cases and l’m glad to say all are doing well, thanks to the wonderful efficacy of the meningitis serum which we inject daily into the spinal canal. Ever so many thanks also for the sheet music. Three bundles of it. But please don’t be extravagant,the professional copies will do very nicely. Haven’t had a chance to use my mandolin since I came back. Also got World’s Work, Colliers Magazines and a number of New York Times pictures. Glad you enjoyed ’Yip, Yip, Yaphank.’ Those soldier plays are often much better than the regular variety as the soldiers put more life and naturalness in their acting, and every word and every action strikes a responsive chord in every one of us. Thanks for the little poem you wrote in your August 31st letter. It’s very pretty. Patriotism, honor, love - they surely do mean a lot to all of us. Your ’hero day’ letter was very nice, too, and I thank you for making me your hero. But, really, honey,
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I’m not a hero. I haven’t any medals. I haven’t ever been cited for gallantry - why, I haven’t even killed a single Hun. You idealize me too much - I’m only an ordinary human being. Received a nice letter from Nat and Frida Silberstein and will" answer same as soon as I can. But I Just heard that about 600 more patients are coming in tomorrow - if so, good night to correspondence for a week or so. Wish I could have been in swimming with you at Beechhurst. ~rom what you say, you had a ’tres ton’ t ime. No, I’m not with the 77th, as you imagine. We were near them once but they moved up north. You see, we’re a stationary unit and take care of different divisions as they come into our sector. We belong to the army, not to any division or corps. So we get to see many different divisions. They come, stay a month or two or more, and on they go and another one takes over. You ask about the tetanus case we had. Glad to say he recovered from it entirely. He was a good patient. That was a nice letter mother sent you. The folks are all in love with you and soon I’ll be Jealous. They can’t talk enough about you. Also received rose you sent. It still has its odor and I appreciate the little token of love it conveys. Your New Year’s Day letter was delightful, dearest, it’s a pippin. Your review of the past year strikes a responsive feeling within me. Our Joys, sorrows, smiles, tears, uncertainty, confidence, hardships, and comforts, these we certainly have experienced, but neither of us would want the twelve months to have been otherwise, I’m sure, ~or they were the twelve months which cemented our hearts~ together and with cement which lasts till death. And many thanks to all the folks for their kind New Year greetings. I already acknowledged your New Year cable. Honey, the photos enclosed in your September 8th letter are delightful and I’m ever so grateful to you for them. Most of them are excellent, especially those of you in swimming. That one of you and Stella on the rock is also fine. But if those are the kind of bathing suits the girls are wearing in the United States of America, they’re not in it at all with those I’ve seen here in France. Those I saw last week at Nice were well, they were very economical and patriotic, to say the least. Did they have skirts on? Skirts are unknown in ~rench bathing suits. Regarding announcing our engagement, I thought you would attend to that. If you haven’t done so, honey,
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please go right ahead and announce it. Why shouldn’t we do it at once? We’ve nothing to conceal. Publish it in both New York and Chicago papers, especially in the Chicago Sentinel. I’ll write home tomorrow and tell ’em you’re-going to announce it. I suppose my title will have to be Captain Leon Unger, Medical Corps, United States Army. Regarding ring, shall do as you suggest. I’ll wait until I get to the United States unless I happen to find something special over here. Received the note from Jerome Breyer which you enclosed. If you write him, tell him I thank him for congratulations. Will try to answer him later, but my correspondence has become altogether too strenuous and I’m simply swamped. Did I tell you I found about sixty letters waiting for me when I came back, none of which I’ve answered yet? Glad you got the set of cordial glasses. Yes, I think they will look well in our dollhouse, even though we’re both almost prohibitionists. Your idea of getting the cordial to go with the set is excellent and I approve of the little party you’ve planned for our first big dinner in Chicago. But I see you want to get me tight. Well, go to it. I’ve never been drunk yet, but I wouldn’t mind it if you’d be my nurse. Want the Job? So now you know where I am, so don’t worry about me when battles are occurring in other sectors. Glad the Captain’s bars reached you and you’re wearing them. Where are the other lieutenant bars? Right here in amongst a lot of Junk I have. Don’t let May or Stella kid you into believing I’ve given ’em to some mademoiselle. ’Tain’t so: Your letter of September llth was some letter. That’s the one in which you tell me of your emotions and how desperately you love me. The very thought that you love me so deeply sends a thrill through me from head to toe, and I want to take you in my arms and kiss you with all my soul. I congratulate you on your war work, honey, it’s splendid of you to devote part of your spare time to the good cause, especially when you have to work pretty hard in the office. That completes answering your letters. But how scantily I’ve had to discuss them. I feel ashamed of myself because I can’t write more while you write me so wonderfully. But I’ll reread the letters and answer many things I didn’t mention tonight, and will also tell you the local news. Tonight, as it’s almost midnight, I can’t do more than say that I’m feeling O.K. and that there’s no war on in this sector.
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Honey, you’re too good for me. I worship you. You’re my queen and princess, all rolled in one. I love you with my heart, soul and body and every bit of me is yours. Dearest, i~ I had you here, I’d squeeze you almost to death. I’m Just yearning for you. I want to kiss you again and again and I want to hold you to me as closely as I can. Your lips, dearest little girl, belong to me, and I want them, and with the help of God and our glorious armies, I’m going to have them in the not-distant future. Then, girl, we’ll live. We’ll live - and love. We’ll love - and llve. Just you and I, honey - that’s all we need for paradise. Good night, sweetheart; many kisses and hugs, Your hubby Lee
Dearest Boy Rather cool today and very windy. Hope it gets cold as the doctors claim there will be a decided falling off in the epidemic. Just now doctors thank people who are not calling them. However, we are all well. My cousin in Woodside is up and out again, I’m glad to say. Last night I was quite busy looking over some of my things and have decided to stamp some of the linens so that it can be embroidered. Am putting ’U’ on all and some of the pieces are very pretty. Mother does such beautiful work. There is only one trouble. The price of linen has advanced about 200% in the past year and I’m not going to buy much until after the war is over - then I hope prices will drop to normal. You know, honey, it is a delightful occupation to plan and collect and design little things for our doll’s house. The pleasures of such matters are innumerable to me, and I never before realized the meaning of making a trousseau. As each piece comes into my hand, I say ’Lee will rest his tired head on this pillowcase,’ or ’Lee will sit opposite me when this tablecloth is on our table’ or ’These small towels are Just big enough for Lee to use once and then put them in the laundry’ and so on. Each piece is for you and me and ours. Am taking care of all the linens myself and expect to make quite a bit of my underwear, etc. At present it is hard for me to do anything as every night I’m busy until ten-eleven or twelve o’clock with work for
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the Government on the Draft Board in different parts of the city. And I prefer to neglect myself until the Government has no further use for me. However, I have sufficient spare time to design things to keep Ma busy - the rest Will have to wait. There are many things I want, "of course, but when one goes to business, it takes time. Other girls are probably satisfied to have their mothers do these things for them, but I take so much delight in it, and each separate piece has so much sentiment attached to it, that I want to pass upon it first. Oh, honey, our doll’s house will be a charming nest. It grows more beautiful every day. And when I think of all that little ’nest’ will stand for, it makes my blood run quickly and makes me warm all over. There is where my hubby will forget his profession and be my big baby boy, and where he will forget his worries and troubles. There is where you and I will be our true selves, confiding in each other, trusting in the other, sharing our Joys and sorrows, discussing our plans and our past and future. We will be pals, chums, husband and wife, sweethearts and helpmates. Dearest, won’t it be fine to come into a cozy little room, after a long hard day’s work and find a comfortable chair in which to rest quietly. You needn’t talk if you’re too tired. I’ll understand. For a few minutes I let you sit there without disturbing you. Then quietly I’ll come over, sit on the arm of your chair and let my hand run soothingly through your hair, (without interrupting your thoughts). Soon you’ll be rested and by the way your hold tightens about my waist I’ll know you are again yourself. Finally I find myself in your lap and you are kissing me devotedly. You then tell me all about your cases and suggest that I call on Mrs. Jones tomorrow and put a little sunshine into her life as she is poor and has had a hard tussle. I promise. Let’s go for a walk. It will do you good. And so we will pass the evening together. We’ll talk when we please, and if we don’t ’please’ we’ll be silent the fact that we are in each other’s company will be sufficient to keep us from getting bored. Darling, I could go on forever. But duty calls me. I Just adore you and worship every inch of you. Honey, honey, I’m simply madly in love with you and am glad to be Your sweetheart wife Nina
Dearest Soldier Boy:Dearest you seem to regret that you don’t know more
about women and their apparel, but I admit I’m very,
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very glad. Everybody seems to think that a doctor is so blas~ that he knows everything. At first these thoughts rather frightened me, and I was a little afraid, because I am so ignorant about worldly matters. You see, dear, llnever before loved as I do now, and I would not permit anyone to tell me things, as I always insisted that I would learn by experience and not by hearsay. So, now that you know your letters are not censored, won’t you start giving me some lessons? I would like to know anything that concerns your sex. Everything is new to me, so you may start where you wish. As for being my maid, unless styles change considerably, you won’t have to bother about buttons, hooks, or any other obstacles which make men’s fingers so tender. In my next letter I’Ii probably tell you some of a woman’s secrets and I’ii let you into my bedroom when I get up in the morning. I don’t promise, but MAYBE. Time is too short today. Dearest, you are Just the man I thought you were, and if you had said that you would marry me no matter how you come back you would have disappointed me. You are too much a man to ask the girl you love to marry you if you came back other than perfect. Still, don’t you think I should be considered a bit? I love you devotedly, and know that unless I marry you I shall never marry any other man. If I am willing to take the chance, have you the right to deny me the only happiness I shall ever get in this world? Why, honey, you don’t know how deep my love is for you if you think I would let you go. No, dearest, in the eyes of God we are one, and as such I claim you, and shall always do my best to prove to you that your happiness is my one aim in life. I must work. Shall finish answering your letters tomorrow. In the meantime I hope the two missing letters will come. With loads and loads of love and many kisses, to my hubby dearest, Your only own, Nina. #161 October 21 My little girl, Am as busy as can be as our hospital is still full with medical cases and as fast as patients are discharged, more come in. So l’m on the go most of the time. However, l’m stealing a little time to answer
Love, War, and Medicine
your letters of August 22, September 20th and two of September 21st. In my last I acknowledged and tried to answer about thirty of your letters, so keep a good lookout for #160 and tell me if it arrives as it was a fairly long letter. Just got done censoring a lot of letters written by the patients here. Most of them are from soldiers from the south, and some are very ignorant and write deplorably poor letters. Some are very funny, though, especially one in which one of the boys wrote to his father addressing him as ’dear father,’ then as ’old eagle eye,’ then as ’old cactus ear.’ Quite affectionate terms, aren’t they? These southerners keep saying ’How are you all?’ and ’you all ought to be here’ everything is ’you all.’ No, I can’t carve meat - never tried. I’m like the fellow who was asked if he could play piano and who replied, ’Don’t know, Never tried.’ Honey, isn’t the news wonderful? Just think, Ostend, Zeebrugge, Lille, Doual, Bruges, etc. -all in the last few days. The old trench line from Switzerland to the North Sea no longer exists. It’s now from Switzerland to Holland. Perhaps by the time you get this, the northern line will end in Germany. Let’s hope so. That big batch of letters I found waiting for me when I came back six days ago is still unanswered, except those of yours, the folks and Ed’s. I simply can’t seem to find time to answer the others. Some more papers and magazines from you came and I thank you again. But, honey, please don’t send any more periodicals except the New York Times pictures and World’s Work as the Red Cross for last few months have been supplying us with huge piles of latest issues of many magazines such as Saturday Evening Posts, Metropolitans, McClures, Literary Digest, All Story, Popular, Argosy and also three best known English periodicals, Bystander, London News and Graphic. There’ s more literature here than we can possibly read. I’m swamped. Never have an idle moment. Always something to do or to read. So, honey, don’t waste money and time and send me other periodicals than those I mention. Nothing special to write about otherwise. Am still fairly busy. Don’t get much spare time, but did manage to get out for an hour and took a long walk this afternoon. It was a fine sunny day and I enjoyed the exercise. Did I tell you I got a letter from my friend, Sam Solomon, written September 2nd, just before he was to sail for Siberia with other American troops? Gee, a letter from’Siberia to France will take at least three
Love, War, and Medicine
months each way. Must write him. I wish I could get to go to Siberia now that I’ve seen a good bit of France. I suppose you know my folks moved to ~830 Indiana Avenue. That will be better for dad as he can get home to meals now. Dearest, ~t’s getting late and I must hit the hay. But I can’t close until I tell you once again, as I’ve told you so many times before, that I’m head over heels in love with you. Anything you ask of me is yours Just for the asking, if it’s at all possible. Please, honey, ask me to do something for you, Just to let me show you how completely I’m under your sway. Come here, Nina, and let me put my arms around you and draw you to me so I can kiss you again and again. I want to feel the warmth of your breath against my face and that of your body against mine. For you’re all mine and I - well, take me to you and I’ll show you ’tout de suite’ that I’m Your loving husband, Lee Wednesday, October 23 Took over the meningitis ward - about fourteen cases. I spent most of the time doing spinal punctures - I’d take out about ~0-50cc. (cubic centimeters) of spinal fluid from each meningitis patient, then push in through the spinal needle about 20-30cc, of anti-meningitis serum (obtained from the famous Pasteur Institute of Paris). Results: in every patient who received this serum, the cloudy spinal fluid cleared quickly, and the patient recovered in a relatively~ ~few days (miraculous!). [Note: In another epidemic of meningitis which occurred later in Coblenz, Germany we were unable to secure this Pasteur serum and our results were not nearly as good~ Also gave some of these soldiers the Pasteur serum into their veins (intravenous ).
Love, War, and Medicine
Friday, October 25 My roommate, Lieutenant McNeil, suddenly sick looks like pneumonia (he died November ~th. Unfortunately, in those days we had no sulfa drugs and no penicillin). Saturday, October 26 Busy all day. One of our two new meningitis patients passed away,- he was our first to die of meningitis, though his autopsy showed both meningitis and pneumonia. Did seven spinal punctures today. 10/22/18 Dearest Hubby:Your letter of September 22nd (#151) reached me this morning and I’m really very happy. Have already told you that I would marry you almost as soon as you reach here. There is no question about your making good and if we are both ’brokers’ it is all the more an incentive to work harder and to place absolute faith in the ability of the other. 8:10 P.M. Dearest, my life started on June 21st, 1917. That day a big cousin came to pay me a visit. We spent some wonderful hours together. (I ]maven’t a diary or anything else with details). I can plainly recall every moment of that time. I met you (_my. ’cousin’? and we came up on the bus. We had supper home. In the evening Gussie, Mortie, Clarence, Celia and Stella came up. We walked up as far as 168th Street with Clarence and Celia and then Harry, you and I took Stella home. We stopped at the store and we each had a drink. When we came home you gave me a book. Next day we were together all day and in the evening we had supper at Gussie’s. Then went to Coney Island. The next day you left. Some day. You were a bit nervous to be off and I was in a bit of confusion. I stood at the end of the pier until I couldn’t see the boat any more. For a few minutes Stella and I didn’t talk - we were preoccupied probably with the same thought. That day you first put confidence in me, and between us we devised a scheme to keep the
Love, Nat, and Medicine
folks from worrying until you had arrived in ~ngland. Our method worked splendidly. In the meantime - while awaiting your cable - I wrote the folks a letter which I mailed promptly upon receipt of your cable. Immediately thereafter I wired Chicago and also mailed you a letter which I had written and to which I added a few llnes each day. A little seed had been planted and at night (when I knew steamers came in) I would look for your letters and a feeling of content would come over me when I saw the familiar writing. By Thanksgiving the seed had taken root, and I found myself making a confidant of you. I told you all about my life, my aims, ambitions, and how I was spending my time. I looked at you less as a cousin and more as an ideal. And soon I grew afraid of myself and as I sounded my inner self I knew something was amiss. Better Judgement told me to warn you I was older and to stop, but my heart began to pound and lonesomeness overtook me at the thought of a break between us. I lay awake nights and asked God to help me come to a decision. It was hard to know what was the right course to pursue. The seed which had taken root was now sprout ing. A little incident brought me to a decision and I knew that I was all yours. Body, soul and all. The first chapter ended there as I was no longer the cynical spinster, but a living being with blood rapidly running through my veins and a heart beating loudly for the man I love. Soon Chapter two opened and I received your proposal. That letter is the most beautiful piece of literature I’ve ever read and I treasure it most highly. ltd.,frankness caused me to hesitate, not because I doubted my love for you, but because I wanted to know whether I was worthy of such a man. Again I went on my knees and thanked God for your love. And so the little seed which had taken root and had begun to sprout, was now blooming a glorious crimson. Each day the love grew stronger, and the bonds which tied us together were unbreakable as love knew no mistrust. Truth and honor is our motto and so long as we adhere to that motto we have nothing to fear. Engagement followed. A long distance promise of fidelity. Our courtship is confined to letter writing and at times I grow almost desperate for the touch of your hand, a caress, a kiss, a look, an hour alone with you. Blood creeps from head to toes and tingles through every fibre of my body. I’m almost mad with burning at times. Occasionally I go to bed and dream
Love, War, and Medicine
you are by my side and can feel your warm body close to mine as I imagine myself in your arms. I feel your long tender - fierce kisses and as I fall asleep a warm glow like electricity has me in its grip. ~o continues the engaged period of my life. The future - and third Chapter of my life is one of my dreams. In that I picture our meeting and marriage immediately thereafter. A honeymoon of a week or so in a place where we will have ourselves only. Where we can love and caress and Just drink in all the glory of our love. That is to be our week. How I long for it. To give and take the best in each. We’ll come back to New York and spend another week showing you the sights. Ma Unger, you and I (and anyone else who might have come here for the wedding) and Ed will go west together, and, if you wish we can stop off and see places of interest. Finally we arrive in Chicago and we ’build’ our doll’s house in a charming apartment. That is where we’ll spend our real honeymoon. Each evening lovers will meet and the dawn of tomorrow will bring new Joys. The atmosphere of our home will be the essence of happiness and a place of comfort and cheerfulness. In that doll’ s house we’ll be lovers always But all too soon our honeymoon will end and a little stranger will appear to share our lives, love and home. Dearest now (in my dream) you are met each night by two sweethearts who scramble for the first kiss and later in the evening while the little ’stranger’ is sitting on the floor, you and I watch ’it’ from the one chair and smile as we hold hands. When our babe is put to bed, we talk a while and after an hour or two of companionship we become ardent lovers. Oh, darling, the picture is so vivid. And my love so strong. I can see it all. Even to your insisting that I must go to bed as I look so tired. I don’t want to go so you start opening my waist and corset cover. But I make you stop there. You then open my shoes - and I go inside. When I’m undressed and have put on my nightgown and kimono over it I come out to kiss you good night. You take me in your arms and kiss me tenderly and call me ’Wifey darling.’ I go into our room but you follow shortly and clasp me in your strong arms. And so we fall asleep only to awake the next morning in the arms of the one who is most precious in all the world. Good night little hubby. I want to feel that tonight I shall fall asleep in your arms and that your lips are awaiting mine, and that my lover will be mine
Love~ War, and Medieine
altogether tonight in body and soul as he will be when I am Your sweetheart wife
All send love Darlln8 I lov~ you to distraction. Many kisses Stella just came in and sends regards. May sends regards. Darling, can’t you hear me calling you? October 25 Dear Folks, Just a note as I’m dead tired. Have been working day and night in the last few days and feel the need of sleep. Am now in charge of meningitis cases and we have fifteen of them - all acutely ill - many in wild delirium, all getting better by simple treatment of doing daily spinal punctures, withdrawing the excess of spinal fluid present in most cases of meningitis and then injecting instead Pasteur anti-meningitis serum. I’m glad to say the serum is wonderful and gives most excellent results. But the work keeps me going all the time. Got some mail from you, Ed, Millard, and Nina, but
too tired to answer tonight. Will try to do better
All quiet and peaceful here. Raining and miserable
day. Love to all,
#162 October 25 Dearest Nina, Won’t you please excuse your boy for not writing for several days? I simply haven’t found time to sit down except for hasty meals. We’re working night and day and It’s real work we’re doing now. For the last few days, l’ve been in charge of the ward in which the cases of epidemic meningitis are and it’s really no cinch. The patients are desperately and violently ill with high fever, unconsciousness, delirium, etc. and we do daily or twice daily spinal punctures on them - rather delicate, but necessary little operations as the marvelously efficient Pasteur anti-meningitis serum is given to the patient by this same spinal puncture method.
Love, War, and Medicine
Add to that that my roommate, Lieutenant McNeil, took sick today with high fever and what looks like pneumonia and I look after him, and you can see why it is that though it’s about midnight, this is the first time I’ve had-a minute or two to myself. Some of your delayed letters came and also more mail from the folks and Ed, but my head’s in a buzz and I’m fagged out, so shall not try to answer tonight. Honey, I hate to close so quickly, but I only had about three-four hours sleep last night and I must get some rest to keep me fit. There’s plenty of work here and I’m needed. So good night, dearest, and loads and loads of love to my sweetheart. Lee October 27 Dear Folks, Have a few minutes to spare tonight so shall try and answer your last batch of letters, Pa’s of September 17th and a postcard of Paul’s of September 20th. Also am going to answer Marie’s of September l~th as I’m so rushed I simply cannot answer separately. I guess I owe everybody letters, but we’re busy as can be here and I have very little time to myself. So you’ve moved. Well, good luck to the new home. Have you places reserved for Ed and me? Well, never mind if you haven’t. I’ve slept on boards, on the ground, on straw - almost everywhere. Guess a carpet wouldn’t be bad at all. You’ll never hear me kick any more. You ask me to tell you something more about Ed. Well, I haven’t seen him since June 30th, but then he was as healthy and fat as could be. And as he’s still on the same Job in the same city, I suppose he’s as fit as ever. I hear from him regularly and he says he’s O.K. Don’t believe that he and Stella are more than friends, so don’t worry on that score. Just bought a pound can of fine chocolates from our Q.M. We don’t get a chance to buy such stuff often, but when we do we grab it. Only costs two francs 75 centimes - about 50~ a pound - only one pound to a man. Same would cost about ~i.00 to ~1.25 in the United States. You have no idea how cheap we get things out here. For example, Lucky Strike cigarettes only cost us six cents for ten here, Camels about seven cents, Fatimas about ten cents; Roi Tan cigars six cents apiece (two for twenty-five cents size), etc. You see, no duty on any cigarettes, cigars or tobacco sold to A.E.F., hence prices are very low. So it pays
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to be in the A.E.F. Our mess, too, continues very excellent and we lack for nothing. Plenty of bread, butter, sugar, etc. Owe about fifty letters and am now going to drop notes to Ed andMillard and then to bed. Though before I go to bed, Y always make rounds to see how my patients are. Well, no more tonight. Loads of love to all. Affe ct ionate ly, Lee Today is Sunday, but no different here than any other d a y. Of course, there are church services for those who want them.
October 28 Dearest Nina, Have only a little while in which to write you as am very busy. But want to let you know I’m O.K. as ever and that I love you. Isn’t that the most important message I could send you? Received your letters of September 22nd,24th, and October ist and enjoyed them muchly as I do all of your love messages. So you are president of an electrical concern and own i00 shares. What if those should become very valuable? Would you look at a poor broker then? Glad to know you’ve bought stamps with the ~300.00. Yes, I received a book of songs from someone but ’twas only a small one, not the one from Leo Felst. Have received August World’s Work which you sent, but none direct from publishers. Will let you know if they come. No, I’ve not received the picture of our hospital staff yet as we can’t get pap~er out here to print them. I live in hopes. If I ever get one, you shall have it. Am indeed sorry to hear about the flu epidemic in New York. Please, honey, be careful of yourself. I do hope you’re well and happy. Are you? I suppose New York went crazy about ~th Liberty Loan. We didn’t get a chance to buy the bonds at our hospital as we’re sort of isolated from rest of A.E.F. in many ways. You see, all the American troops who were in our neighborhood have gone; French hold these sectors now. We’re the only American unit in these parts. However, I’ll let you and Joe be patriotic for me. I suppose you know that our folks have moved to 4830 Indiana Avenue. So I’ll have a new home to come to when I get back.
Love, War, and Medicine
Am dead tired tonight as I’ve been puncturin~ meningitis cases all day long. But I’m going to hit t~e hay soon and by A.M. I’ll be fit as a fiddle again. Honey, this is Just a note. I’ll try to write more next time. Loads and loads of love from Your busy hubby, Lee
Deare st Hubby If I don’t get a letter soon I’ll begin to think that you have found a pretty blonde who is diverting your attention from the simple American girl who watches the daily mail. Yesterday I saw at least six ships come in, including one of our largest American (converted) liners. I was sure something would arrive on one of them, but I was doomed to disappointment. It is five weeks exactly since your last letter (received last week) was written. It makes me so lonesome to wait so long. I know you’re not Jealous, but ’fess up - are you? Am I? I don’t know - but I think I am. How can I help it? Your roommate has you all night (when I want you most) and your associates~ and others at the hospital have you all day - they can touch you, see you, work with you and do all things I want to do. You will say it is entirely different from being with me. True, but I’m Jealous of the privilege the~ enjoy of even talking with you. Frankly, I admit ±’m Jealous. I don’t mean base Jealousy or that I’d deny you a single bit of pleasure but I’m envious of your society and lonesome for you. Jealousy usually means mistrust or something bordering on dissatisfaction. That is not what I feel at all. I’m glad you are where you come in contact with gi~ls, and am always happy when you say you are enjoying yourself. I’m not Jealous of my sex but of all people with whom you come in touch. War news is splendid and it looks as though an early peace is now at hand. Honey I’ve a date with you in our Doll’s house Christmas 1919. And you have my permission to invite the family to have dln~er with
Last night we worked at the United War Drive office and liked it. The man in charge was most appreelative and gracious. He told May and me that the work of the United War Workers would actually start when the Red Cross finished. In other words, when the war is over and our army is waiting to come back home and demobilize, wholesome recreation would have to be given the boys
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over there, and that (as it would take at least one and one-half to two years to bring them back) it meant a lot of hard work. He said our army and navy was composed of our picked men, and that they must be protected so that they come back as clean as they went, which was no easy task when the actual fighting is over, and the men begin to grow impatient. At present people give willingly, and it is comparatively easy to provide entertainment, etc., but when peace is declared, it will be harder to carry on the work with limited funds. That is something they are trying to cope with at present,. so as to look into the future. The people we come in touch with, in these different drives, give us a pretty good idea of the wonderful work they are doing. The 7 in 1 (as the United War Workers call themselves because there are seven societies connected with it) drive starts the week after next, and is to continue for one week only, so that we will probably work there this week and next - three nights a week. Darling, I am happy though lonesome, because I’m of the opinion that within a year we’ll be together and from the moment you come home, nothing will ever again separate us - except the hand of God. Life will be a sweet song, and your voice the only music I care to hear. The cup of happiness will be complete, and I shall proclaim myself the most satisfied woman in the world when I am in your arms as Your worshiping wife Nina
Dearest Hubby It seems ages since I received such a nice long letter as the one you wrote 10/9/18 (#156) which I received about an hour ago together with letter of lO/ll/18. Have read and reread both letters and have thoroughly enjoyed them. Your descriptions of your trip through Nice, Monte Carlo and Italy are splendid. It must have been a wonderful day. What a fortunate man you are to have an opportunity to see so much, and I’m glad you are taking advantage of it. Too bad you could not see the gambling tables, but it is very wise.not to allow uniformed men into such places as they would not all be’ as strong as you and would not possess enough will power to resist temptation. The auto trip surely must have been wonderful. Sorry I wasn’t with you when he was going full speed. That’s when I like a car best. Faster they go, better
Love, War, and Medicine
I like it. Something fascinatin~ about flirting with death in an auto. Of course, I don’t like a daredevil when it comes to curves. The parts of your letters that interest me ’keenly’ refer to womenJ l’m not Jealous. But, tell me, dear, do you like one piece--~thlng suits for women? Shall I get one so that I can wear it when you return? Were the French mademoiselles whom you met on the beach very charming? Dear, oh dear, why am 1 4,000 miles away? Am really glad you took the nurses out while in Nice as it probably helped the girls enjoy their leave, and l’m sure of you, honey, and know you were as faithful to me as though we were already married. I should feel very sorry for both of us (and our future) if there were the slightest doubt of your love or fidelity in my mind. Why, honey, you could go out with a different girl every day and I wouldn’t mind. I know your heart is true to me and your soul is pure. You are mine and I believe in you. I am happy when you are enjoying yourself. You know, Hubby, anything easily lost isn’t worth while, and if I were selfish enough to object to your taking girls out, l’d hate myself, l’d stake my life on you, dearest, and no one but you, can shake my faith in you. Hubby, dearest, there is no one who can take you from me, but I love you most for your loyalty to me and for remaining true to me. The words you write ’No intimacy whatever’ tell a story of self-sacrifice and devotion. Such true loyalty is beautiful. How can I help worshiping you? Why, little sweetheart, you are the most marvelous boy on earth. How I should love to crush you to me and feel your heart beatin~ close to mine. Some irresistible force governs me and urges me to clasp tightly the only man whom I love with all my heart. Dearest, the time will soon come now when our Doll’s House will be ’home.’ Our doll’s house is a place which we (you and I) will make and build brick by brick. Everything will be as we want it and as we make it. You and I are the architects of our future. Our liabilities to the world are many, but our asset (Love) is so great and solid that failure will never assail us. All we ask is strength and health to carry on our life’s work. Dearest, when we are settled, won’t it be delightful to know that at a given time we will be in each other’s arms? Yes, I realize that time will be uncertain and ofttimes you will be too tired to talk, but I shall try to understand all your moods. Honey, will you scold very hard if I come over and kiss you
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while you are in deep thought? Will you scowl, if I sit in your lap, put my arms around your neck and press my lips close to yours? Will you grow angry if I come behind your chair, place my hands over your eyes and draw your head-back so I can bend over and kiss you? Little sweetheart, how can I convey to you the deep love I bear for you? I’m mad, mad, mad over you. My soul cries out for you and blood rushes quickly from head to toes even to the finger tips so that I can hardly hold a pen. It makes me a bit sad because my arms ache to grasp you and I want to be held tightly in your strong embrace. Beware, Hubby, I shall extract every bit of emotion from you - and then start all over again. All send love to you. Sweetheart I adore you and am happy to be Your beloved wife Nina 10/31/1918 Dearest Sweetheart, Surely you’d forgive me if I write but a short note today. Truth is I’m mentally tired out - completely exhausted. Working every other day from 8:30 until almost midnight is bound to have its effects. Last night I was too tired to sleep so tossed about all night and was glad when I could get out of bed. Besides, I get no physical exercise at all (which is bad) during the week. Please, dear, don’t think I’m complaining or ill - I’m not - However, this week and next will finish the preliminary work on the United War Work Drive and I must stick to the Job. Tonight Stella will be at the house and she and I will wash the dishes in the china closet. Mother never touches the dishes in it as it is all very fine china, so Stella and I arrange an annual dlsh-washing evening. At one time I made a collection of friendship cups and I have some collection. The rest are odd pieces which cannot be duplicated, as I’m very fond of pretty china. About three years ago Mother broke seven or eight chocolate cups and she had everyone she knew running around trying to match them. It was sometime after that I discovered it and I laughed at her foolishness as I knew I had the only sample made. Since then nothing can induce her to touch the closet. If it is the only pretty thing we have in our Doll’ s House I want a pretty set of dishes as cheap stuff is something I hate. Honey, why do I love you so much? It seems that there is little room for thought on other matters.
Love, War, and Medicine
You are my last thought at night and first in the morning. All day long I seem to feel your presence and my whole frame is saturated with a feeling most delightful. It creeps into the heart and almost takes my breath away. It causes a tingle and it goes through every vein in°my body. Dearest when I feel these sensations I should like to crush you to me and hold on to you with all my strength. Lee, I’m really truly insanely in love with you. What a lot of caressing is in store for you. I shall probably be a demon. There are volumes of things you can teach me. May I sit in your lap while you explain? I like it there best as it is so comfortable and I want you close to me. Dearest, how badly I want you. God grant that the war will end soon, and the quicker we’re married the better it will be for both, because I want nothing so badly as to be Your wife in body and soul Nina. Many, many kisses dear - how they would burn if you could get them now. Wednesday, October 30 Big News: Austria Surrendered. End War Very near.’ Friday, November ist Another big event: Turkey also surrendered: Saturday, November 2rid A report (seems authentic) that the Kaiser has abdicated in favor of his son Eitel Friedrich and that Austria has signed an armistice: Sunday, November 3rd A Boche plane dropped three bombs about 100 yards from our hospital. One Frenchman was killed and four others wounded. In addition, a cow was wounded and a
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Frenchman sewed her up with rope and a safety pin,- (I wish I knew the results of that piece of surgery).
Novembe r i Dear Folks : A few lines tonight though am pretty busy and not feeling any too good as my roommate, Lieutenant McNeil, is very sick. He had a chill about four days ago followed by influenza, then pneumonia, and now he’s at death’s door. Everything we can do is being done, such as a private room, two special nurses, oxygen inhalations, etc. But the outcome is very uncertain. There’s a lot of influenza all about here, but we are all taking every precaution possible. For example, we all wear masks over our faces when taking care of our patients. Personally, I’m feeling fit as a fiddle, so don’t worry about me. Another thing I make a point of is to steal out each day, no matter how busy, and take at least an hour walk. And a walk in this cool climate certainly does buck up a fellow. Am still kept on the go caring for my meningitis cases. Want to acknowledge three more letters - Pa’s of October 1st, Paul’s of October 1st (#9), and Ruth Landesman’s of August 23rd. Please tell Ruth I’m so busy I simply can’t answer her letter separately, but that she is included when I write letters to you folks. My correspondence has been sadly neglected this last month, but ’c’est la guerre.’ And, speaking of the war, the news this morning is glorious. Exit Turkey: Hoorah: I firmly believe the war will be over by Xmas and that I’ll be home with you all before summer. Speed the day’. I hear from Nina K almost every day. She sent me some sheet music and today I tuned up my mandolin for the first time in a month. She writes that she’s feeling fine and Just waiting and waiting for me. She says she hears regularly from you now, especially from Paul. She also gets letters from Ed. Lovely weather now. All peaceful here. Affect ionate ly, Lee
Deare st Sweetheart Another month gone. Time flies - doesn’t it? It seems but a day since you were here and ~sat in the
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same chai~ I’m in. Yet that day was many months ago and a great change has come over us. Then I was a cousin showing you about to~n, proud of your uniform and of you~ patriotism. Today I am proud of the man in the uniform and of the fact that I am fortunate enough to have won the love of the greatest of our brave boys. And, oh boy, how happy I am in the love I bear for you. Nothing can compare with it. Wealth and fame are naught in comparison. This morning I waited for the mail and received the book of views Cote d’Azur. It is beautiful and l’m particularly pleased with the book because we can have some of the scenes framed for our doll’s house. They will look very beautiful in a narrow black frame as they are Just the right size and the sort of pictures I like best. Also received four postals one of which had a stamp attached. All of them are very pretty. You must have had a delightful trip. Your letter #155 was delivered, too, and I must say you are a dear. I know how hard it is to write letters when away on a vacation as letter writing seems such a waste of valuable time and one lacks ambition to write, therefore I appreciate your letters doubly. Besides they are so well written. Letter #1%~ is really charming. Am curious to know which of the many things you did most at the Jette’ Promenade. You say ’it is a place you can drink, flirt, watch pictures and listen to good music all at once.’ No, I’m not quizzing because I want you to thoroughly enjoy yourself as it will probably be many years before youlagain visit France or neighboring countries and as I’ll be tagging along you won’t have an opportunity to look at the other girls. Besides, I think the more people you meet the better you know the different nationalities and their individuality. It is a schooling better than all colleges,and I am glad good fortune has come your way, as one can always learn by travel and association more than any other way. By the time this reaches you Austria will probably be out of the fight, so that we will have to beat only Germany as Turkey’s surrender is officially confirmed. According to newspapers our men will return in the order which they went over. Much as I long for you, and badly as I want you, I would not like you to come back until your work is finished. The work of the doctors may keep them on foreign soil after our troops return, and if there is any need for your services, you must not think that I need you
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most. Stick to it and keep up the noble work you have done and are doing. Without the great service rendered by our medical profession our loss would have been terrific and much still depends upon that branch. ~y love for you is the greatest thing I possess, but our country must "give you back to me only when victory is ours and the great work at an end. Sweetheart then you and I will start another great piece of work and we’ll try to do it as well as all good Americans do their life’s work. Honey, when that time comes I’ll be so very much in love with my husband that I’ll want ’dessert’ every five minutes. Will you give me all the caresses and kisses I want? Remember it is a great big contract you are making, as I’m a bear madly in love with my mate as I shall prove to you as soon as I am Your sweetheart wife Nina
November 1 Dearest little wifey, Your hubby has not been writing you as often as he’d like to, but I simply can’t. I’ve been on the go ever since I returned from leave October l~th and haven’t had much time to myself. And add to my regular work that my roommate, Lieutenant ~cNeil, lies at death’s door and you can see how and why my correspondence has been sadly neglected. Yes, he took sick about four-five days ago - pneumonia - and got worse steadily until he became so bad this afternoon his death was momentarily expected. But he’s fightin~ hard - there’s still a chance for him. I do what I can, but it’s so little. We have two nurses tending him, we’ve given him tanks of oxygen and all the care possible. We can only hope. Don’t get alarmed about me, honey, for I’m O.K. A new patient came in about an hour ago, wildly delirious, and it took three men to hold him down. Gave him one-fourth grain morphine hypodermically and he went to sleep like a lamb. He is a typical and very acute case of epidemic meningitis and I did a spinal puncture on him while he slept. His spinal fluid, instead of being clear like water, was very turbid and under high pressure (usually the case in meningitis) and I removed 60cc. of it and injected it in its place 60cc. of anti-meningitis serum - most efficacious for these cases. He’s resting much better now, though still unconscious.
Love, War, and Medicine
Dearest, I received six more letters from you and all were gems. They were dated September 25, 26, October l, 2, 2, and 3. You are a darling to write me so often and I can’t tell you how I appreciate it. Also got letters from home and Ed. All well, except that Will was~ operated on for gastric ulcer and he’s doing we ll. Regarding the stories of neglect on part of medical officers over here, I can emphatically deny ever having seen any such Instance. Nor have I heard of any. Of course, conditions may be such that a patient cannot get all the treatment he ought to have. example, if a hospital equipped to handle 500 patients gets a convoy suddenly of 3,000 dumped on it, as frequently happens after a battle, well, the patients cannot get all the personal and individual attention desirable. Common sense must prevail. The sickest or worst wounded must receive more attention than the slighter cases. But I can assure you that unless rushed the soldiers get at least as good care here as they do in civil life. The pick of the medical men of United States are now in the army and the treatment is the best. The surgery, especially, is 100% better than it was eighteen months ago. No, our hospitals do not specialize to such an extent that they’d let a fractured hip case go down without a splint, as Stella heard. All a man’s injuries are attended to at once, if at all possible. You know, dear, wherever you go you’ll meet grumblers and knockers~- the world’s full of them. But, personally, I’m very proud of our medical corps. It’s done wonderfully well. So don’t believe all you hear: Regarding my ~mas order, none came to the members of this unit and even if they had, I should have destroyed mine as I don’t need a thing, really. I get plenty. But many thanks just the same. Did I tell you I got a lot of sheet music from you including a little book from Leo Feist? Once more thanks - seems llke I’m always thanking you - but you’re very thoughtful. Honey, I’ve promised to be very frank with you so must tell you the contents of some letters I’ve received from home. In none of them were there any but the best wishes for our early and happy marriage. They are all very fond of you. But father and mother have asked me one special favor. They want me to come home to them first, before getting married. They say they want to pet me and love me and they fear they cannot do that without reserve if I’m already married. After I’ve been home a bit, then they want our marriage to take place and they’ll go along to New York with me for the wedding.
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I don’t know what to say about this request - no, it is not a request - it is an entraaty - they are very earnest about the matter. I haven’t answered them yet and won’t until I hear your views on this matter. You see what a position I’m in. I want to have you all ~or my own Just as soon as possible. I want you for my darling wife as quickly as I can get you. That is one side. On the other hand, there are my parents who beg me to come back first to thei~ home. I cannot be deaf to their pleadings - I owe them too much. They have been mighty good to me. If I did go to Chicago single, it would be for a brief time only and then back to New York and to you - then back to Chicago with you. Please, darling, let me know what your views are and repeat in several letters as this is important. Nina, sweetheart, won’t you come to me and let me caress and fondle you? l’m Just aching to hold you to me. Promise me, honey, that when I get you, you will at all times Just give yourself to me to do with as I wish. Turkey has surrendered: Another big advance in our rapid stride toward victory and peace - and then love. I’m waiting, as you are, for the few simple words that will change your name to that of Your hubby, Lee All quiet here. Monday, November My roommate, McNeil, died last night - a loss to all of us. He had influenza first, then pneumonia. With the help of Nurse Reutinger, I packed up his belongings. Italy has reported the surrender of 300,000 Austrians plus 5,000 cannons’.
Deare st Honey-Bunch This is a glorious day. Just chilly enough to put pep into one, and warm enough to beckon one outdoors. The sort of days I would enjoy most if we were together. How would I like to spend the day? Get up at eight o’clock, have breakfast, clean up a bit, dress not too warm, (but comfortably) and start
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out for a walk. Cover about ten or twelve miles, stop for rest and a bite to eat. (Did I say bite? My mistake, as I have a ravenous appetite these days) Then start back. It would be dark when we reached our Doll’s house, but warm-and comfortable. While dinner is cookIng we can each have a bath, change our clothes and come to the table llke two kiddies who have played hooky. After the dinner is over and dishes washed and house straightened, we will sit down quietly to read and spend the evening at home. Boon we tire of it and you teach me some of the things I want to know. The lesson amuses me and you pretend to be cross, but finally wind up by taking me in your arms and kissing me. And so midnight still finds us enjoying each other’s company to such a degree that we hate to go to bed. But you remind me that you have work to do tomorrow and that you allowed yourself one day only. I insist I’m not tired, so you say ’Very well’ and kiss me ’Good Night.’ Of course, that isn’t what I want at all, so as long as I’ve lost there is nothing for me to do but follow. You are in bed and though I try to be angry, the moment I reach the door a wave of love shoots through me and I go to the bed, throw my arms about you and kiss you again and again. How we cling to each other and how my heart goes out to you with every kiss. Soon I’m quieted a bit and slowly undress and put on my nightgown. No, I don’t turn up the light be cause I don’t want you to see how the blood has rushed to my face, nor do I want you to see my eyes which are llt up with the fire that is surging through my body. After I’m washed I creep quietly under the cover as I believe you are asleep. But soon learn that you are very much awake. Many times we kiss each other, and then with our hearts pounding violently against each other and our arms entwined and our lips almost touchIng we sllp peacefully into the land of dreams. Sweetheart is there any day more delightful than the ones we spend with each other - alone? To do as we wish, say what we please, go where we will. What more can we want. To me, there is nothing that can compare with it and I ask for nothing but the companionship of my hubby. Days such as this will be rare, I presume, but that is all the more reason why I repeat that the most perfect days will be those when we are alone - together. ’To Have and To Hold.’ May isn’t at the office today as her brother leaves for the Aero. School (at St. Paul, Minnesota) at 2:00 P.M. this afternoon and he will have his luncheon at home with her. Of course, it will be hard for her as
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she is practically alone (with an invalid brother at the hospital for incurables). I promised to stay at her house with her tomorrow night. You don’t mind do you dear? She is very fond of the brother who is going away. He-is one of two men who paid me a compliment of telling me I was ’one of the whitest persons ever lived’ and as he is a man who speaks very little it was said in all sincerity. So I’m here alone, with a lot of work and little time to do it in. Still my love is bubbling out and it is oozing from every inch of my body.- from head to toes. Honey, have you ever watched water when it dashes madly against rocks causing a geyser? When in Maine and also when at Niagara Falls I was fascinated by the water and its mad fury. I watched it for a long time and could hardly pull myself away from the spot. I wanted to rush into it, but resolutely turned away. This same geyser is within me, only I have little strength to resist the maddening rush. Yet only you are responsible for all of it as is proven by the fact that I don’t want anyone but you. I could be surrounded by men and girls, but they all strike a discord and I don’t want them near me - not even to talk to as they are merely living beings lacking all the qualities you possess. Dearest if I could give myself to you at this moment, I would be the happiest wife on earth. But I’ll wait patiently a little longer, then I’ll put myself entirely in your care as yott~ Sweetheart wife Nina Novembe r 3/1918 Sweetheart Mine I knew just the sort of thing I’d be up against, as Sunday is the worst day to write letters. With Adele shouting on one side, and Ma on the other I can almost write. This is to be a short note as I shall try to go to Woodside, though Adele insists that I stay with her. Last night I wrote seven letters so for the first time in weeks I’m caught up. It is quite a relief. Sweetheart I wish God had given me the power of expression. If he had I could tell you of the marvelous changes love has wrought in me. Watching others I always (heretofore) have thought that love made one selfish as most girls have only one thought - to accomplish their life’s ambition - marry. When that is done they throw back their heads.and show the world they are well satisfied with themselves. It is different with my love. In my opinion you are so true,
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so noble, unselfish, and faithful that I try to llve up to the ideals of such a man. Therefore, little acts of kindness in the house which never occurred to me before, come quite natural now, and it is the same way in everything. So, little sweetheart you can well be proud’of yourself and your influence over me. If that is true now, can’t you see how much greater power you will have when you are hovering over me? It is like a disciple of God with a magic wand. Dear little Hubby when our ship comes in, and we are one I will be the happiest wife on earth as there never was such another man, possessing all good qualities. I’m not saying you’re perfect - because I couldn’t love you if you were, but you are my ideal and I worship you. According to reports there are many cases of ’flu’ in France. Am anxious to know that you are O.K. As I rarely read the New York Herald, I did not notice that you had registered in their office in Paris. With all my love ~nd many, many kisses to my adored
Your only own Nina. Dearest I love you devotedly.
Dearest Sweetheart mine Too bad there are so many cases in the hospital. I know you like to be kept busy, but too bad our boys must suffer. As long as I know you are well, I don’t mind your not writing. In fact duty must always come first, as I should feel badly if any one had to suffer five minutes because of me. No, honey, don’t neglect yourself or our boys. IIIi understand. But I do ask that you write me at least once a week - Just a short note saying you are well. Rest assured that no matter
what you do or where you are, I’m with you in spirit
and prayer. The best news I’ve heard in a long time is in a letter received by A.F. from Washington. A Major wrote: ’War is all right so long as one is located where the show is taking place, but it is not very pleasant to fight it at home. There seems to be little chance of returning to France for officers who have already seen service there, and almost time to look for
a Job again. What is your advice, as I am completely out of touch with the civilian side of life.’ It looks to me as though Washington is preparing for an early peace and a termination of the war, and that those on home soil are already preparing for civilian life.
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Even our steamers are now crossing fully lighted, which proves that the coast is clear and that the submarine menace is a thing of the past. Darling can you wonder that I’m extremely happy? The end of war - peace - victory - and you. My heart is full of go6d cheer, and if I were the drinking kind, I’d most certainly celebrate when war is over. But, instead I’ll wait until you return and then celebrate with you. How? In your arms, of course, with your lips pressed close to mine and our hearts beatin8 against each other. With buoyancy, life and love we’ll start our life’s work side by side. Dearest, the bell is ringing which means in a few minutes I’Ii be wanted. All send regards. With all my love, kisses and hug s, Your sweetheart wife Nina. P.S. City went mad for about fifteen minutes (starting at exactly three o’clock) All whistles, sirens, chimes, bells, etc. were let loose with a vengeance. We all stopped work and people stood still in the streets no one seemed to know what had happened. No New Year’s celebration or Election Day enthusiasm had anything on it. It took us all by complete surprise. Have just learned that it is because Austria is out. That leaves Germany alone. Oh boy~ that’ s great. It is the beginning of the end. Soon it will be over and then boy, oh boy, how anxiously I shall await ~our home coming. God is with us because our cause is a Just one. Honey I love you madly and the war can’t end quickly enough. Tuesday, November 5 Injected some more of my meningitis patients. Then to McNeil’s funeral - a very sad and impressive event. There was a sermon by Chaplain Claiborne and then a volley by the engineers. After the services took a long walk with Leve rt on.
Dearest Sweetheart Have Just finished writing eight letters to social editors of newspapers asking them to insert announcement of our engagement. The letters were to New York
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Herald°- Times - World and Harlem Home News. Also Chicago Daily News - Sentinel - Record Herald and Tribune. The following is what I asked them to insert: ’Mrs. Adolph Kleinman of New York City has announeed the engagement of her daughter, Nina, to Captain Leon Unger, Medical Corps, United States of America, son of Mr. and Mrs. Nathan Unger of Chicago. Captain Unger went to ~rance shortly after we entered the war and was temporarily attached to B.E.F. for almost a year, but has since been assigned to an Evacuation Hospital A.E.F. The wedding will take place immediately upon Captain Unger’s return.’ Is this O.K.? Dearest, this morning I received your letter #160 and it is a dandy, l’ve read it so often that I know it quite well. Will you hear me repeat it? Bet I make very few mistakes. You know that is the letter in which you acknowledge twenty-five of mine. Honey, you must never write me when you are very tired or when there s~rk to be done. You need the proper rest in order to ’carry on’ and I could not rest at ease if I felt that you let a man suffer unnecessarily for even five minutes because of me. I could not love you one half so much if either of us neglected Uncle Sam. However, I sincerely hope that the rush is entirely over by the time this reaches you. As it looks now, actual fighting will be over before you get this letter. That means that we can look forward to an early termination of the war, and your home coming. Hubby, mine, you can’t realize what that means to me. It is a dream which will come true and I’m almost afraid to believe it. What glory: Still, such happiness is almost unbelievable. Dear Sweetheart I can almost visualize our meeting. I’ll be very nervous, I know, but full of love and afraid of myself. Maybe I’ll be timid, but when I feel your arms about me, I’ll melt in your embrace and live in your kisses. My heart and soul will be in that kiss but it will be over all too soon. Why, honey, of course you are a hero. It may be true that you haven’t killed a single Hun. But you’ve taken o captured - a prisoner. In fact your captured one begs to serve you and worship the hero who has shown the way to paradise. You have not killed Hurts, but have done nobler work - that of preserving life and health of our boys. In your heart and in mine, we know your duties have been faithfully performed and we can well be proud of you. Yes, I idealize you, but that is because I’m madly in love with you. You, too, idealize me. Don’t you?
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Of course we wear skirts over our bathing suits. You know the war has not robbed us of our modesty. Probably if I were beautiful as the girls in France I’d economize so as to attract attention. The only thing in our favor is that skirts are short enough to permit us to kick..
Tell me, Lee, did you wear sunglasses when on the beach? Evidently you liked the show. Can’t blame you because at Long Beach I was fascinated even though I am one of their sex.
Since writing yesterday I got the six small bottles of cordial - each different - so we could be sure of some for our first big dinner. Stella would not take money for them. There is only little more than a glassful in each bottle. Never get drunk on that, honey, so you won’t need a nurse. Besides I’ve never been drunk either, and I never will unless I’m with you. I don’t like the stuff enough to make a fool of myself and prohibition is readily endorsed by me. Then met Stella and went shopping. We saw Damask towels that were $1.00 a piece before the war are $2.50 now. Tomorrow evening we will again be on deck at the United War Work Campaign. Good night soldier boy. I love you with all my heart, soul and might and am impatient for your return. I can’t wait until Germany accepts our terms. From that time on I’ll count the days until my Hubby comes to claim me. Dearest, it will be the happiest moment when you clasp me in your arms and say ’My wife.’ God bless you, sweetheart. I’m all yours. Come dear, all my kisses are yours and I am Yours through eternity Nina
Wednesday, No~ember 6 Austria’s terms of armistice were Just like that meted out to Turkey - really amounted to unconditional surrender. Here the war goes on. Locally much air activity at night with barrages (anti-aircraft).
Thursday, November 7 The news continued great. Germany’s peace representatives have left Berlin for the Western Front. An
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armistice must be close at hand. I bet Captain Rosenthal twenty francs that Germany would surrender within four days. Meanwhile, I have been kept busy with my meningitis patients, especially injecting Pasteur anti-meningitis serum into spinal canals or into veins, or both, depending on the seriousness of the condition of the patients. Results have been phenomenally good.
Dear IPabby Three cheers. Oh Boy, I’m so nervous. Can hardly hold a pen. News Just came over the ticker that an armistice has been signed. That means the end of all horror and the end of the worst war ever fought. It means a great deal to the world when the bells ring out this afternoon.
Dearest, the above was written yesterday, but it was impossible for me to finish, as the City went wild, at the most colossal fake ever rumored. Even yet, I am almost in a state of frenzy. Last night I started for a cable office to send you a wire, but thought I’d wait until this morning and send it from downtown, but as the papers deny the report, I shall wait until it is authentically stated from Washington that an armistice has been signed. Probably before this letter reaches you the cable will be in your possession. At about iI:4% A.F. came down from the office where he watches the ticker, and said that the armistice would be signed and that by two o’clock we would get the report, and that everything had been agreed upon. We were very much excited, but it did not take us by surprise nearly as much as the Austrian armistice. We were eating lunch, and at about one o’clock the first whistles were heard from Battery Park. Then everything that could make any noise picked up the lead, and it was a regular bedlam. People on the streets hugged each other and kissed, old men and women marched, newspapers and telephone books, papers, etc. were torn into small pieces and thrown from the windows. Ticker tape was flying from every office window and the crowd went mad. Boat whistles, sirens, horns, chimes and pistol shots all could be heard at
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one time. The noise was terrific and the streets looked worse than any mardi gras. There was a thick carpet of paper wherever one walked, and soon parades started with tin pans leading as there was no time to get music. The stock exchange closed and work was at a standstill. New York never had such a demonstration. The newspapers came out and denied the rumor but people refused to believe the papers and took them out of the hands of the boys and destroyed them. Why even now there are about three or fou~ thousand shipyard workingmen marching along the street with a sign ’We are Too Happy to Work.’ At about 1:15 Stella called me and said that I was really to be congratulated as I would be a bride before I expected and that I might as well get my things ready as you would probably be home soon. Ten or fifteen minutes later Gussie called up with about the same message. Later we refused to answer the telephone as the noise was so loud that we could not hear anyway. In the evening Clarence, Celia, Mortie, Gussie, Adele and a cousin came up. Clarence and Mottle had celebrated in the afternoon and were a bit under the i’~fluence of spirits. Clarence was funny. Gussie brought me a very pretty bouquet holder as a peace offering. It is inexpensive, but the thought was charming. Marie sent me a telegram, but I left it home. Believe it read ’Hurry Trousseau. Good luck to both. Sister soon.’ Wasn’t that thoughtful of her? Really, honey, she will never know how I appreciated that wire. The worst of it was that I was called in to take dictation from an engineer and I could not concentrate, because of the confusion outside. When I tried to transcribe my notes I was shaking with nervousness, and a lawyer was going over some matters with May and A.F. and they were talking so loudly I sat back and said that if they did not stop talking I could not work. AoF. said ’Why don’t you tell Mr. R to shut up?’ When I finished writing my report I closed up my desk and quit work. It was then about 5:00 P.M. And now, dearest, you know all that happened since my last letter, written the day before yesterday. PEACE - VICTORY - LOVE - LIFE all this will be ours when the armistice is signed. Darling, I’ll be waiting patiently for your return, and I stand ready to shower upon you all the love I possess. God alone knows how I long for you. Many a night I’ve gone to bed praying for your safety and fearing all sorts of things. Many an hour I’ve been sick at heart. No one knew these things were going on within me, as I tried to keep smiling. It was hard at
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times, but I did it. My love has grown to such an extent that you alone occupy every thought and desire I have. I’m waiting, waiting, waiting dearest. All send regards and best wishes. Your wife through eternity Nina.
November 7 Little Sweetheart, Though it’s after ii:00 P.M. and I’m darned tired, I feel I must write you tonight. I can’t tell you how grieved I am at my inability to write to you as often as I used to and want to, but I simply can’t. My work is occupying practically all my time except for eating and sleeping, and it frequently cuts in on the latter. Work? I certainly know the meaning of the word now. It’s not that I have so many cases - I haven’t very many at all. But they are all patients with epidemic meningitis and they demand ever watchful care and frequent intra-splnal and intravenous injections of antimeningitis serum. For example, this morning and this evening I did the intra-spinal work and this afternoon I injected into the veins. I finished work tonight at I0:00 P.M. and immediately beat it downstairs to the bathhouse where I indulged in a very refreshing warm shower, and now I’m back in my room letting my hair dry and trying to make up for lost time. Honey, I got four nice letters from you today, those of October 4, 5, 6, and 7 and surely did enjoy reading them. The luncheon you describe sounds fine to me. Gee, we’ll have some dainty little meals when the big period of life is in full sway. I’m very much concerned about the flu epidemic in the United States. You know it’s not influenza alone, but a mixture of three organisms, the influenza bacillus which ushers in the disease, and the streptococcus and pneumonococcus which come on the scene and all too frequently complete the picture. The cases are all too virulent to suit me. The death of your friend, Jim, is certainly sa~. I, too, have lost a mighty good friend - my roommate, Lieutenant McNeil. Yes, the poor chap succumbed on the third to this terrible scourge. We did all we could, but our best failed. We buried him with full military honors on the fifth. No general ever had a more stately and imposing funeral. It was the first military funeral I ever attended and
Love, War, and ~edicine
the second funeral in my life. That’s two too many. McNeil was as likable a chap as ever you met and a most brilliant boy, too; I can’t tell you how sorry I felt about it all. l’m not the only one who grieves either. He was popular with all of us. I don’t understand about the vaccine you’re taking to prevent influenza - I didn’t know there was any effective one for if there was, don’t you think we’d be using it in our army over here~ Who gave it to you? Please take good care of yourself, honey; don’t go to places where crowds collect. Keep in fresh air all you can. After being exposed to crowds, gargle your throat frequently. Don’t get chilled. Those are good old rules, but they’re mighty good. And don’t worr~j about me as the epidemic in our sector is about over
Glad the $I00.00 draft arrived at last as well as the $300.00 one. Your purchasing with the money pleases me. I haven’t sent you any more, though I have about $200.00 in the Paris branch Guarantee Trust Co. of New York City. But French money has risen so rapidly in the past few months that if I hold on to it here, it’s worth more each month. The exchange used to be five francs seventy centimes per dollar. Now it’s about five francs forty and going down all the time. It will probably reach 5.20 or so. So my cash in the bank (it’ s in francs) is becoming more valuable with every difference in exchange. Besides, peace looks near and I’ii need some cash to get home. Will let you know if I send more and whe~. The war seems to be in its very last stage with a glorious victory for our side. I honestly believe that by the time this reaches you, the armistice with Germany will have been signed and hostilities will have ceased. See if your hubby is a good prophet. Other news? Things are very peaceful around here and it rains almost every day. We’re trying to get turkey for Thanksgiving Day and think we’ll succeed. Yes, there’s one more item of news and it’s very important, too. It’s that I love you, heart, soul and body. I’m all yours, every bit of me, and if you were here, I’d Just close my eyes as I lie in your arms and let you do your will and I’d be the happiest boy living to have your sweet face next to mine, to inhale the fragrance of your hair close to my face, to feel your caresses and to taste your kisses. But after that my turn would come and I’d demand unconditional surrender. No terms, no quarter at all. No, I’d request absolute and complete obediemce to my will. ~y will? Why, l’d love you to death, almost, l’d hug
Love, War, and Medicine
and kiss and squeeze and fondle you to my heart’s content. But your lips are my goal - I want them and want them badly. I want to taste the sweetheart varieties of kisses~ from your lips, the varieties in which your soul and.mine meet and become one. Then I’d pick you up~ in my arms and deposit you in your bed and tuck you in; I have that right for you’ve appointed me your maid as well as your husband. Would I come to you? Well, you can’t keep me away and it won’t be long before you will be in my arms once more. A delightful future is at hand, honey. Victory is ours: The war is on its last legs: Peace: And you my wife - will be with me once more:
November 7 Dear Folks, Seventeen months ago - do you remember that night? Yes, that ’ s right - that ’ s the night I pulled out for Washington and points further east. I surely didn’~t expect to be gone so long. But I honestly believe the hostilities will have ceased before you get this letter for I don’t believe Germany alone can resist much longer, and even if she could, she’s wise enough to know that with the surrender of Austria, Turkey and Bulgaria, her soup is cooked, and that it’s only a question of time before she will have to surrender too. I look for armistice signed in less than a week. The peace negotiations will take about two-three months, I should imagine, as the whole world needs adjusting. When will I be home? I hope by next June at latest, but the transportation problem is a big one. The reports of the influenza epidemic in the United States certainly worry me. Please write often and let me know how you all are. And, please, if there are many cases in Chicago, take care of yourself. Don’t go visiting those sick with influenza. Avoid all meetings and theatres as though they were pesthouses - they are, too, when there’s an epidemic. I understand that some New York doctors are inoculating people with some sort of vaccine which is supposed to prevent influenza; but don’t put much faith in that. The cure for this disease now raging, which begins as influenza, but frequently leads to bronchopneumonla, has yet to be found. But take good care of yourselves. If you’re exposed to cases of the disease, be sure to gargle often and avoid chilling and dampness.
Love, War, and Medicine
How am I? Never felt better. And since McNeil took sick, I take ~more care of myself. I now wear a face mask, made of gauze, as well as cap, gown and rubber gloves when attending cases. Letters haven’t been so many in the last few days, though I received a few from Nina - she’s well and happy, thank God; Ed and Millard write often. Millard’s a corporal now. How are the checks coming along from the government? You acknowledged receiving $100.00 each from July and August. You should also have September and October by now, and November by the time this gets to you. Good night and take good care of yourself. Loads of love to all of you and Merry Hanukkah, whenever that is. Affect i onat ely, Lee
Deare st Hubby After mailing the letter to you yesterday a report was rumored through Wall Street that one of our largest banking houses insists the armistice was signed. However, it was the general opinion on the ~treet that the Germans would take advantage of the three days allowed them but there was a probability that it won’t be signed before the time limit had expired because of internal conditions. Knowing that no matter what the decision would be, the United States and Allies would pursue proper course, and in the hopes that a message would reach you on the day the matters were settled, I cabled you ’Three cheers for United States and Allies. Love.’ It is rather ambiguous, but under the circumstances I could not word it differently. We are still working on the United War Work Campaign, but hope Monday night will finish it. Am tired and shall try not to take work for the War Service ~ext week as I need a few nights rest. May refuses absolutely to work next week as she’s all in. Our greatest trouble is that we don’t get time to eat as we don’t leave here until six or 6:30 and are due on war work at seven and don’t finish until ten or eleven or later. We llke the work very much. Dearest if reports are true you will be among the first to return home. Newspapers state that men will return to this country in the order in which they went over. If so, within three months after peace is declared, you should be back home as we are to have the
Love, War, and Medlclne
use of all steamers to bring the boys back. Of course, there is a possibility that doctors will be needed and that the above rule will not apply to the Medical Corps. However, I shal~l anxiously await details from you. Honey, it .looks as though we may spend Easter together. Isn’t that glorious? To have you with me when next the flowers bloom and to be with you every day where I can reach out my hand and touch you, or put my arms around you and ~kis~ you tenderly. All are delighted at the prospect of an immediate ending of the war and are looking forward to your return. May says we’ll spend our next birthdays together. Well, that would be the most delightful way to spend them - together. Dearest, I adore you. Now that peace is so near, I adore you more than ever and the prospect of being your wife is Just wonderful. I dich~’t know anyone could love as I love you. Your sweetheart wife Nina
11/I0/1918 Dearest Sweetheart We are all in a state of excitement awaiting Germany’s decision. Now that the Kaiser has abdicated many people are of the opinion that it is another trick to stall for time. Personally I think they will sig~ the armistice as they must realize the longer we fight the worse it will be for them, and that no matter what their decision may be we intend to beat J them. America is in to the finish, whether it be now or a year from now, but victory must be ours. This morning I heard Sir Alfred Noyes, a noted writer. He spoke beautifully and he seems to think peace is at hand. I felt that I had to go to church as I wanted to go some place where I could offer a prayer.of thanks. I Just wanted to be alone in a place of worship. Even though hundreds of people were around me I was alone. You see, dear, the announcement of our engagement was published in today’s papers and if I could be with you I’d be very happy. As it is, I’m rather blue. On this day above all others I want you by my side; I want to go walking with you and be where you are. Three girls Just ’phoned me congratulating me - that did not help much. Only one message I want.
Love, War, and Medicine
Honey, this war must end soon and then I shall look forward to your home coming. I must admit that a great unrest has come over me since Thursday. I want to fly to you - be where you are and cling to you. Never have I felt that way-before. It really-is an effort for me to write when I feel like this. Last night I received four cards from Eze. They were dated I0/9/18 - a month ago. Sweetheart I shall write you later if I can. All the family are here and I must talk with them. They are discussing plans for a theatre party they are giving in my honor next Saturday night in celebration of our engagement. We are to go to supper then theatre. There will be Worth’s sister (Leah), Stella, Gussie, Celia, Harry, Clarence, Mortie and myself. Dearest, I love you with all my heart, soul, and might and am waiting anxiously to be Your sweetheart wife Nina ¯
November 10, 1918 Mrs. Adolph Kleinman of 945 St. Nicholas Avenue, has announced the engagement of her daughter, Miss Nina Kleinman, to Captain Leon Unger, Medical Corps, U.S.A., son of Mr. and Mrs. Nathan Unger of Chicago. Captain Unger is with the Americ an Expe dit ionary Force s. ~rs. Adolph Kleinman, of No. 945 St. Nicholas avenue, announces the engagement of her daughter, ~iss Nina Kleinman, to Captain Leon Unger, Medical Corps, U.S.A., son of Mr. and Mrs. Nathan Unger, of Chicago. Captain Unger is in France, and the wedding will take place on his return. T~ l~ gramme Capt. Unger, Evacuation Hospital two American Expeditionary Force, France. New York Three cheers for United States and Allies - Love - Kleinman
Love, War, and Medicine
Sweetheart Mine The above announcements were published in the New York Times and New York Herald.yesterday. So now we are publicly engaged. No, I don’t feel a bit different than I" did last week. Yesterday I missed you dreadfully. Boy, l’m so lonesome for you that I wish I could fly into your arms and hold tightly to you mntil I became exhausted. Honey, l’m madly in love with you. While I sit here trying to write the city is going wild over the declaration of peace and l’mm all excited. It is a repetition of Thursday last, (of which I wrote you last week) only this time it is really and truly a fact. A glorious fact, Honey, I can hardly believe that it is all over, and that very soon you’ll come back to the United States of America and together we’ll begin. Victory will be ours as surely as victory is our nation’s today. God bless you, sweetheart, for the big finger you’ve had in the pie. Home 8:30 P.M. Sweetheart l’m stewed, of course, I don’t stagger or anything like that, but well - l’m stewed. The Stock Exchange did not open, so I called Stella and seven of us went to luncheon at Churchills. ~e got there at 12:30 and left at five o’clock. The girls were all good sports (particularly Virginia Buchanan) and we laughed all the time we were in the place. We had two rounds of cocktails, then the regular luncheon. I spied a chap I knew and Stella went over and told him it was up to him to open wine because I had Just. announced my engagement. He promptly left his fiance and congratulated me - also kissed me (you dare not object to anything today, honey). He then went back to his table and ordered his waiter to serve a quart of imported champagne at our table. One of the girls wanted a cordial so we all had one. By that time some men we did not know came over and danced with two of the girls and passed around cigarettes. The girls all took them, but I refused. (If I smoke I want you with me so you can prescribe). Every one around us seemed to enjoy it, as one woman said that she was sorry we were going - even the waiter said so. Oh boy, how you would have enjoyed Churchills. Everybody was happy and it was a case of good fellowship everywhere. Shouting everywhere and the best natured lot you ever saw. The wildest cheering, horns blowing, whistles, etc. It was Just great sport. The doors closed at I:I~ because of the J~m and the crowd was blocking the sidewalk when we went out - crazy to ge t in.
Love, War, and Medicine
We then walked on Broadway. Well, the wildest night in New Y~k was like a Sunday School picnic compared with it. Everybody had the smile that wouldn’t come off. One man hugged me and said I was a good sport. A sailor insisted upon walking with me and, one chap s a.~d that he simply had to kiss me - and he did so (his two friends did the same). I also picked up a soldier from Montana, as I could not resist the temptation of talking with him. He was alone - without a smile - but wore kid gloves. Too dressed up for a night like this and I told him so. He was perfectly willing to stick, but I couldn’t see it, and so we came home. Virginia wanted another blowout this morning - but not for mine. This afternoon treat was on Stella. For one who drinks only on special occasions, a day like this knocks one out. However, it is a day I shall never forget. Are you angry, honey? It’s in the air. Everybody, is doing it. Harry phoned he won’t be home. Clarence and Mortie are probably in bed now - as they started early. _~ Lee, dearest, how long do you think it will be before you come home? Make it soon, honey. I am so lonesome for you. A day like this makes me long for you more than ever as I feel that I ought to be where you are. Sweetheart I’m all yours. Every inch of me belongs to you and the sooner you come the better I’ll like it. I’m waiting, Lee, waiting for my hubby. Good night, darling, Your sweetheart wife Nina Many kisses, hubby. My, h~@w I adore you. All send regards and congratulations. Please come home soon.
Leve, War, and Medicine
GERMANY SURRENDERED ARMISTI~ DAY
Saturday, November 9 Leverten, Heokilla, Westland and I went to the Care des Ramparts for a good supper. "Mother," in charge, was a Frenchwoman who lived in Chicago for twenty-tw~ years. We drank up two bottles of Champagne to honor the approachin8 surrender of Germany. Armistice Day and Evening: November II, 1918 That was the day and night. We at Evacuation Hospital #2 received the communique: German~ surrendered: Hostilities Stopped at ii A.M. Of course we were all happy and very Jubilant. We officers kissed all the nurses, and shook hands with our patients and our enlisted men and even our French cooks and waiters. That night a bunch of French officers invited all our doctors to a big celebration. I believe it was the first time the French officers took over. Champagne flowed llke water. Our C.0. raised his glass and we all drank to La Belle France, the Mother Country. Then a French officer
Love, War, and Medicine
raised his glass and toasted the United States of America (Etats Unis) and we all drank again. Several of our doctors came from Michigan and so we drank to Detroit, Ann Arbor, Flint and Lansing, Michigan; and last, but not least, I spoke up for Chicago, Illinois,- by that time all of us, as the British say, were pretty well "sponged"; ’twas a great affair and we Americans and French became quite friendly. Tuesday, November 12 Another eventful day. Many French troops passed through Baccarat on their way to Strasbourg, the large city which has alternated between France and Germany, now to become French once again. The bands were playing and the flags were flying. All was Joyful in Baccarat as well as in Evacuation Hospital #2. severe, but necessarily so. tlons as regards camouflage Letter #167 November 12 Dearest Little Nina, Of course, we’re all happy. How could we be otherwise for victory is ours at last and peace has come. The celebrations here have been minor, no doubt, when compared to what New York witnessed yesterday, I can readily imagine. I’ii bet everyone went crazy in your city and in every other one in the United States, and l’d like to have been with you to help shout and applaud. But l’m witnessing scenes which are more sincere, I believe, though not so elaborate. No parades, no banquets, no speechmaking are to be noticed in this little vicinity. But everywhere you go, you see happiness Just oozing out of everyone you meet, both Note : the Armistice terms were Here: no longer any precauor lights. The war is over!
Love, War, and Medicine
soldiers and civilians. Every poilu (French soldier) has a grin on his face extending from ear to ear, and as he salutes you he shouts again and again, ’Fini la ~uerre! Finl la guerreI’ And we smile back at them and applaud with them for we all realize what wonderful stamina an’d courage the poilu has shown in this struggle Just over. And every old woman wants to stop and shake hands and the children run around waving small trieol@rs. From every home and shop flags of all allied nations han~ out. That is the way Baccarat is celebrat in~. Yesterday hostilities ceased at ii:00 A.M., and yesterday afternoon three of us took a long walk up to the trenches, about twelve miles (both ways). The day was nice and we had an enjoyable and refreshing walk. We got within 300 yards of the French advanced posts, but the commandant (equivalent to United States major) wouldn’t let us go any further as the Huns were Just opposite us. All was peaceful and no firing was going on. But from behind the Hun lines came the noise of frequent explosions as the enemy blew up one ammunition dump after another. This morning the enemy started his eastward Journey toward Germany, in accordance with one of the conditions of the armistice. And this afternoon I witnessed one of the most stirring sights I ever saw. Regiment after regiment of French troops marched through our little town on their way to occupy Strasbour~. As you know, that city is the largest one in AlsaceLorraine and it is only about sixty miles from here. These French troops, veterans of the chief battles of the war, marched like veterans, ~ erect, eyes shining. But every face was smiling and happy. The people threw flowers at them and the band played. The children marched along. It was a great spectacle and it certainly impressed me. ~hat are we going to do now that hostilities h~ve ceased? I don’t know. No orders have come yet. We may stay, we may go forward with troops of occupation. may go back to the base or even to the United States. We still have a hospital which is full of patients, and we’re busy as can be, and, of course, must stay here until we get rid of these patients. Be assured, honey, that I’ll let you know any definite news concerning my orde r s. Three nice letters (October i0, ii, 13) have come and also a lot of music and the October World’s Work for all of which I thank you. I’m always thanking you. But before I forget, dearest, I want to ask you not to send me any more music - I’ve more than enough now, and remember we still have rules about weights of kits, etc.
Love, War, and Medicine
The selections you chose are very good, and I’ve played most of them once on the mandolin, but haven’t had a chance to do any practice lately as I’m kept on the go almost constantly. Can’t say how pleased I am to hear that you are all well. I’ve worried a lot about the influenza epidemic in New York and Chicago. Over here the wave has about died out, at least it has in this sector for we get no new case s. From what you say, my letter #82 is evidently lost. Never mind, I’ll tell you how Colonel Dent and I nearly got ours when I get back to you in the near future. The story will keep. No, I did not know my letters were no longer censored since I Joined the A.E.F. That’s news. Wonder why they were w~en I was with the B.E.F. In one of my late letters to you I wrote about the views of our Chicago folks on our proposal to marry as soon as I reach New York City and how they opposed it as they want to have me come to Chicago first, as a single man, so that they could love me and pet me (they’ve warned me they’re going to, despite all my opposition). When I received their letters, I wrote to Ed and asked his advice, and he agrees with the folks that I ought to go to Chicago first and after a short time return to New York to be married and then bring you back with me to Chicago. I haven’t said a word about this as I’m anxiously awaiting yott~ answer. This is mere repetition and I want to do what you and I agree. I’ll leave it in yo~ hands, though, of course, I don’t want to offend the folks. They’ve been mighty good to me and I’ve given them very little in return. Please let me know your views on this subject, if you haven’t done so already. Honey, we can now take a big step forward in our dreams and in our plans. The day is very near when we two will be one - and in our dollhouse. There is only one factor which worries me a bit, and that is financial. The question ever before me is - can I support you? Let’s look into that matter. Let’s assume that I’ll be discharged in June, 1919. My total capital now is about as follows: with Joe about $500.00 cash, Just enough to finish payment to my grandmother. About $50.00 Liberty Bond and $300.00 Peerless stock. With you $400.00 in stamps and bond. I have with me and in the bank in Paris about $250.00 - therefore total amounts to about $1,000.00 - you see how little that is. By the end of June, 1~919, I ought to have saved about $1,200.00 more, making $2,200.00 altogether if I remain in the army that long. What do you think? Are you willing to
Love, War, and Medicine
risk it with me? Remember it will be at least a year or two after I open up before I’II be earning any real money. Enough finances. Let’s turn to love, the only real subject there is. For love is the thing which has brought us together. And it has brought me face to face with the knowledge that l’m in love, and with the certainty that my fiancee, who is already my wife in spirit, loves me and is the most wonderful girl there is. Darling, l’m more devoted to you as each day passes, and now that the prospects of seeing you have so suddenly and so gloriously become stronger, I can hardly wait before I take you in my arms. What will I do with you when we’re one? I hardly know. I’ll hug you and kiss you and fondle you to my heart’s content. Let’s pretend to Just let me do with you as I wish. We’re Just taking off our coats and hats after coming in from a walk and both of us are a bit chilled. So I sit on the sofa and lift you up on my lap and hold you to me and taste the honey from your lips again and again. We are soon warm and the blood races through my vessels and the perfume of your presence intoxicates and maddens me. I handle you a bit roughly. Then I smile at you - you understand and you leave me for a few minutes and soon you are back on my knees clad in a negligee. Now I can love you better, unhampered by civilization’s costume. And, oh glrl, how I caress and fondle you. You beg for mercy, but I give
After we have had our baths, we come back to the sofa. As I’ve only a suit of pajamas on, I insist on you too having only one garment and so you’re on my lap clad only in a ’robe de nuit.’ My arms are around you tightly and your heart is beating savagely against mine. Soon I lift you up and carry you to our room and draw down the covers and deposit you gently amongst the sheets and crawl in beside you. You snuggle up to me and I hold you close to me so that I can feel your warm body next to mine. You draw my head down so that it rests against your breast so that I can hear the pitpat of your heartbeats. And with your fingers running throu@h my hair and soothing me and with my arms about you we fall asleep, as happy a couple as ever lived. That’s what I dream about and am longing for, that and the companionship that goes along with the affection. We’ve prayed and prayed for victory, peace and an early reunion. God has heard our prayers. Victory is ours. Peace has come. He will certainly grant us the reunion also. Until then, sweetheart, I can be no other than before, namely Your faithful hubby, Lee
Love, War, and Medicine
November 12 Dear Folks, Of course, we’re all excited, but nO~ as excited as you probably are. We have felt for the last month or so that the Huns were breaking; that peace was at hand. Nevertheless, we are all happy at our glorious victory. The armistice went into effect yesterday at ll:00 A.M. and all is now quiet and serene. Celebrating? Well, it couldn’t compare with what you in Chlcago and those in New York were having. This little village did its best; flags of all allied nations are everywhere. Our hospital flies the Tricolor and the Stars and Stripes. Every French soldier you meet grins and shouts ’Fini la guerre: Fini la guerre:’ They are very happy and we’re all delighted with them. Yesterday afternoon three of us took a long walk of twelve miles to our front llne trenches. It was a peach of a day. Every soldier we met had a grin on his face from ear to ear. We went to within 300 yards of the French most advanced posts, but the French commandant (major) wouldn’t let us go further. The Hans were Just opposite us, but we couldn’t see them. This A.M. they pulled out for Germany, and the French followed them and are following them on their way to the Rhine. What is to become of us I don’t know. I only wish that we either go straight back to the United States as soon as we finish caring for the numerous patients we still have, or else push forward and help occupy territory along the Rhine, for I still have some traveling fever in me. I surely would enjoy visiting some of those historic spots. Wouldn’t it be great, though, if they’d let us get to Hungary - I’d do my darnedest to visit Kaschau and Galsage where you two were born. But no orders have come. Otherwise, there’s little news. The influenza epidemic here is about over. The reports of the vast epidemic from all over the United States have greatly alarmed me, but I do hope you are all well. Paul’s uniform (Ed sent me a picture of design) looks rather nifty. What’s Paul’s rank? Tell Paul that Joan of Arc was burned at the stake, but what you smother with fried onions is steak. About time he learned how to spe Ii. No other news. Nina is well, as are all the rest of the Kleinmans. Still taking care of meningitis cases, but thank goodness, no new cases are coming in so I think that this epidemic, in this region, at least, also is about over. I owe many letters and will answer some now. So au revoir and remember as each day passes, the time for our big reunion approaches nearer. Until then, loads of love to all. Affe c t i onat e Lee
~ve, War, and Yedi¢ir~
The Medicine Man, American, is a part of a nation’s pride; ~e has fought the fight for a nation’s might~ yea, fought to the death, and died. JJe has pointed the way for work and play, for man to be ~vhole and clean; Cleared ill-kempt shores of germs and spores .~. that menaced the white machine. ~He’s braking the wheel of whirling steel that’s grinding the lives of men ~y intens~ recourse to each saving force that makes man live again. ~’he shattered bone and the heart.blood’s moaa are hht call to the field’s red rim; A~md the gas-bomb ahello surcharged with hell. holds nothing of fear for him. From crater to bank he trails the tank, from trench to trench he bounds, ~d his canteen slips to burning lips as he binds his comrades’ wounds. He follows the stream of the big shells’ screa6t, the machine guns’ spray of aloe]; dlmd he works below on the ships that go to hell for the country’s weal. ~e has witnessed the death of the baby’s breath, and the murdered woman’s span; lie has seen the dead, blood-smeared and red-the child and the gray old man. He imows the brute with his savage loot who has cul"led a suffering world; And he e~ers his an at his country’s call when her Imaners are unfurled. O0 the Medicine Man, American, knows well the human heart, And he prays a prayer in a cnnntry fair, which goes llke this, in part: "If a God sits high, or low, say 1, in the path of a blood-drenched sun, For the shameless ~qult of s foul sword’s hilt, ~[ pt’ayt God, damn the Hun.’~ --J. W. Je.~vey.
Love, War, and Medicine
Sweetheart Mine Feel great. Not even the sign of a headache though May looks like the last rose of summer. Boy, oh boy, how I’d hug and-kiss you today. I’m Just lit up with love and though I’m calm outwardly, I’m simply aflame internally. Dear, won’t you crush me to you? Let me taste the lips that are mine and cling closely to you. Lee, I long for you. Things have quieted down to normal today, but streets look awful. You~ letters of October i~ and 21 were delivered this morning and was delighted to know that you enjoyed your leave so thoroughly. I now know why I’m so anxious that we marry soon after you return. New York is Just full of secretaries, but I’m determined that you’ll have to be satisfied with an assistant secretary who will wear no uniform - Just ordinary attire. Of course, honey, you won’t try to go to Siberia. Will you? I want you Just as quickly as possible and if you went to Russia it would delay our meeting. Lee, dear, I’m very selfish in this, but please come home as soon as you can. If you are one half as anxious as I am you’ll do this for me. God has been good to us, little hubby, and I know you’ll be with me before Summer. Darling my heart is yearning for you and my arms are aching to be around your neck. The knowledge that peace has come and that we will soon be united (never more to be separated) has put me in a state of ecstasy most thrilling. Surely you can hear how loudly my heart is pounding and how each beat whispers your name. Lee, Lee, I’m all aflame for you. Come, honey, come and take me in you~ arms, and held me so tightly that it hurts. I adore you, hubby and am impatient to be Your devoted wife Nina. Darlin8 I’m wild about you. All send regards.
Wednesday, November 13 The excitement of the armistice was beginning to wear off. Heard that the Boche have not yet evacuated their front line near here. Bought some lace handkerchiefs for mother, Marie and Sarah, plus a beaded bag for Nina.
Love, War, and Medicine
November 13 Dear Mother, Just a few words to say Merry Xmas and Happy New Year to you, pa, grandmas H and U, Joe, Paul, Ruth, Gerald and Marie, Joe and Eugene. I’m now sure that the year 1919 will see us all reunited and happier than ever before. Please accept this handkerchief as a little token of love from me and use it in good health. This is Just a note as I’m busy and must close. Your lovin~ son, Lee
Sweet hear~ Mine As I sit here and look out on the Hudson I can see the steamers come in, all flags flying. My heart reJoices at the sight as the steamers have only carried one flag (the flag of their country) during the war. Also they are lighted when going out at night. It seems but a few days since the St. Louis left port with the first gun on an American boat and all the boats saluted her as she came down the river. Soon everythir~ will be back to normal and the war will seem Just a dream. Sweetheart I’ve received a letter from the Business Women’s War Service, enclosing copy of a communication from the United War Work Committee which is the best testimonial I have read for the work we have done. Believe I told you there are over 1,200 members in the organization of which ten were selected to do the work at the headquarters of the U.W.W. May is down and out from it, but the letter has braced her up and she’s glad she stuck to the finish. How am I? Why, honey, I’m Just fine. Bubbling over with joy and love. Waiting patiently for my hubby and ready to shower him with kisses, caresses and hugs. I’m waiting for the first intimation that you will soon return. Dearest, our doll’s house with all its beauty and rest and simplicity will soon be our home - where we will love, be pals, and enjoy the beauties of life. Honey, soon our life will begin - not where you left off a year and a half ago, but where a man of experience and confidence starts with the song of songs in his heart and a pal by his side. You have made good to Uncle Sam and, when he says ’America here’s your boy’ I’ll be there to claim you. Sweetheart, I love you more than I can say, and I am all excited at the prospect of meeting you within the next few months.
Love, War, and Medicine
This is a short note as I have reports to get out. Shall write again tomorrow. Novembe r 13 All send regards. Oh boy what I’d give for a kiss from you at this minute: I’m afraid I’d hurt you as I
would hu~ and’kiss you so strenuously. Boy, oh boy,
how I love you - I’m wild about you, Lee. Your insanely-in-love Wife -
11/13/1918 Hone y Lee : Everything is quiet here as the hour of midnight is striking. I’ve Just put away some pretty underwear I’ve been working on for my trousseau. My eyes are tired and burn a little, but my heart is pounding with emotion and love for my soldier bey. This is to be your Christmas letter - which you asked me to write. By the time you read it, I hope I will know definitely how soon Uncle Sam will let you come back. Let us pray that will be soon. Sweetheart on Christmas Day when the chimes sing gloriously in the breezes we will truly say ’Peace on Earth, Good Will To Men.’ Many homes will be sad because loved ones will not return to the cheerful fireside. But in the hearts of all human beings there will be a voice of thanks to the boys of the United States of America. When things looked darkest to England and France our boys went over, and with their youth and cheerfulness and determination, gave renewed hope to our allies, so that they went forward echoing the spirit of our Yankee boys. Thanks to our Allies who fought with all their might until our boys went into the game. If I were asked ’When was the turning point in the war?’ I should answer ’July I~, 1918 when the Yankees refused to retreat.’ I love every boy who had the slightest part in this war. Your part in it was glorious. No one ever heard you complain about the hardships you had to endure. Never have you admitted that your work was ’good.’ You praised everyone - except yourself. The dan~ers you encountered were never mentioned. Still you won your promotion; which proves to us that you are the hero I’ve idealized and idolize. Last year at Xmas I wrote you. And, though I don’t remember what I said, I know my heart was yours even then. It is a glorious year - since December 25, 1917. I wonder when I fell in love? It is almost inconceivable. Yet, it is an ever foremost fact. Every thou6ht and act is governed by love.
Love, War, and Yedlcine
Christmas is a time to rejoice and you and I have much to be happy about. Life and Love are ours and a great big world to play in. In the past year we have confessed our love for each other and have proclaimed it to the public. We are pledged to each other and though an ocean separates us our hearts beat as one. We have two bodies but one soul, two hearts with but a single wish, two heads with but one thought. And so it will be until death separates us. Sometimes in the past year I’ve thought of your home coming and wondered if I would be as happy when the time came for you to return. ’Was I in love with a myth?’ The answer is that when the news of peace first reached us I was trembling with Joy. Then I realized what it really meant to me - and could feel the color leave my face. I grew nervous and May asked if I were sick - I did not tell her why I felt ill. I dared not. She would not understand. A feeling of fear came over me. I loved you, of that there was no doubt. But the thought of sleeping with a man (even the one I loved) was a bit too much. I know that I want to be a true wife and that means a family. I could not love my husband and my home without hoping that God will bless us with a small family whom I shall protect with my life. But, Sweetheart, I’ve never slept with a man before - and I confess I’m afraid. In my thoughts I’ve often slept with you and many nights I felt you close by my side as I passed into the land of dreams. Ofttimes I’ve felt the beating of your heart and your warm breath upon my cheeks. Time and time again I’ve visualized our Doll’s house and our happiness in it. I’ve felt your burning kisses and have met you at the door when you were too tired to talk. Sometimes I’ve spent whole days and evenings with you and some evenings I’ve gone to bed aflame with love for you - so that I called your name aloud and held out my arms in a vain longing to draw you close to me. Sometimes l’ve felt two tiny arms about my neck and a velvety face resting on mi~e - our baby. So, Honey, my dreams will soon come true and as time grows nearer for our union, my fears grow less. I know that l’ve won a husband to whom I can give myself without reserve, and dear, I am ready when you
come for me.
You are a Doctor and I may speak frankly with you. I ~ve never visualized the first night of any married couple - it never occurred to me. But since l’ve become engaged many people say ’You’ll change after the first night,’ ’You may not be able to walk the next day.’ And so on. I don’t know what they mean and
Love, War, and Medicine
don,t ask. Tell me, hubby, what are they talking about? Why do they put this fear into me? I only answer ’I’m marrying the best, noblest, dearest man in the world, and I don’t care.’ Will I change? Yes, I think so. Love at long distance has made me more considerate, Just, natural’, optimistic, and willing. If that is true now, how much more susceptible I will be to your divine influence when you are with me. Together we will live and through our love develop the beauty and good that is ours by birth. God has made our match and when He mated us He gave us each a duty to perform. Firstly, I have been called upon to sacrifice, and much will depend on my ability to make you a good wife, a true pal and a helpmate - to make your home (and mine) a place where things are attractive enough to make it a haven of rest as well as a place of mirth. You are asked to have faith, trust and be patient with me. The love in our hearts will find a resounding note in each other, and our future will be the most beautiful because of the romance which we will live. You and I, dear, will start hand in hand to build (brick by brick) the foundation of an unshakable future and with undaunted devotion climb to the top of our ambition. When we reach our goal we’ll help others attain theirs, and get our reward from the happiness of those to whom we offer a helping hand, for we must not be selfish in the tremendous gift He has bestowed upon us when He gave us devout love as our portion. It is a source of delight to know that in each other we have found a mate whom we can confide in, and whom we know enough about to love, yet little enough to make it interesting. Mentally we are well acquainted, personally we must learn each other. Little Sweetheart, when you came into my llfe a glowing light passed into my body. Electricity passed from you into me as though you had injected a germ which made all things beautiful. The thought of you sends my blood boiling and sets me aglow with a delicious tingle. I should like to shout as I can hardly restrain myself. Honey, it is hard to be patient when one is as much in love as I am with you. Still I should feel badly if you returned before your work was finished. It is not a selfish love I bear for you. Much as I love you, no one must suffer because of it - least of all the boys who have done so nobly. This is probably the last Christmas letter I will write you. Next Christmas we will be together and we’ll tell each other the ’sweetest story ever told.’ Instead of receiving paper kisses we’ll be in each other’s arms, our lips will be sweet with the honey kisses and
Love, War, and Medicine
our hearts will beat wildly in a tumult of emotion as we cling to each other. It will be the happiest Christmas of my life when I awaken in the morning to find my hubby by my side. God bless you, Honey, and make me worthy of you. This past year. has brought me your love. Next year will bring me my husband. As the ChristTan World worships the son of God (Jesus) so will I worship you. I pledge unto you faith, fidelity and fortitude. Good night, Sweetheart, my heart, soul and body are all yours. Never did woman give herself so completely to any man. I am yours in thought as well as in devotion. Oh, Lee, how I adore you. Merry Christmas, honey, I’m with you in spirit as Your own Sweetheart Wife Nina Friday, November 15 Our hospital evacuated 360 patients by ambulance, and another sixty-six by one of our beautiful hospital trains, this one bound for a hospital in the city of Vichy. Ou~ hospital once again has become very quiet, ending my many days of hard work caring for soldiers sick with meningitis, and influenza, and other conditions.
November 15 Sweetheart Nina, Yesterday was a peach of a day for it brought me six lovely letters from you, those of October 9, 12, 14, 15, and two of the 19th. That of October 9 is especially fine, though all are gems. I’m delighted to know that all of you are well and that the epidemic of influenza has not affected any of you. Keep up the good work. Those in Chicago are also O.K. That clipping you enclosed which told of bombing of a hospital did not apply to us, but evidently to a field hospital or advanced medical station. Am very sorry to hear about your trouble at the office and especially so as I feel a bit to blame. I do hope everything’s been smoothed over by now. I agree with you that A.F. should not know anything of our engagement for some time yet.
Love, War, and Medicine
Glad you like the idea of a boy and a girl. Let’s ~o. I’m keen for it, too. They can’t come any too soon to suit me. But you are and always will be my bi~ baby and I’m never going to get tired of fondlin~ you. Many thanks for answers to my questions about flatware, etc. I. really need lots of teaching on social etiquette. Yes, I’m a child on all such matters. You know, I never wore a full dress suit. You can see what a roughneck you’re marryin~ - why, I’m a regular barbarous savage - and I’m going to eat you alive. Sorry I don’t know where Bob Anner is - never ran across the 308th Inf. To date, we’ve only met soldiers from the 42nd, 77th and 37th (Ohio) divisions - all are gone from here long ago. French troops are here now. The 42nd and 77th did fine work up near Sedan. Yes, I must confess I’m pretty ignorant about ladies’ garments and am ready to take lessons. So go ahead and don’t worry about censorship - there is none. Glad to know my letters are no longer censored. Your suggestion about a linen tablecloth for Xmas came too late as yesterday I sent you a beaded bag made in this neighborhood. I hope you llke it, dear. Honey, your reply, that no matter how crippled I might be, you’d marry me Just the same makes me adore you more than ever, but I wouldn’t let you - I couldn’t. But that fear is over now, thank goodness. Hostilities have ceased and I never felt better. So let’s rejoice that no obstacle to our coming marriage exists. Honey, you asked me to tell you something about men and l’m up a tree. I don’t know what to talk about nor how much you already know about them. But suppose we take a vital subject, a man’s attitude toward women. First of all, I believe one can safely say that at least ninety-nine percent of men of adult age covet women almost all the time. We’re always wanting to be near a woman, to smile at her and have her smile back at us, to love and to kiss and hold her in our arms. We all have that feeling, l’m sure - most all, at least; I include myself here for that desire is in me as well as in other men. It’s a natural desire, I believe, and, as such, a good one. Why then do we not all fall victim to our passions? I divide men into two classes - those who let their passions rule them and succumb to the charms of every pretty glrl who gives them the least opportunity, (and the Lord only knows how plentiful these opportunities are over here); and those who are able to restrain themselves. This last class of men control themselves for one of two reasons - either from a purely moral one
Love, War, and Medicine
of right and wrong, or from fear. Though many will not agree with me, I believe fear is the greater of the two forces which tend to keep a man straight. I don’t believe that the right and the wrong of it keeps most young men from-succumbing. I do think that his fear does. What is he afraid of? That is a delicate question. But you are my wife and so I can tell you - he’s afraid of pregnancy or of incurring a venereal disease. You see, I’m frank, franker than ever before. And, despite all precautions, the young man of today knows that he can never be entirely free from danger of contracting a loathsome disease. Of course, in the above, I’m referring to the free young men. The married ones and the engaged ones keep straight much more easily as their vows hold them to the narrow path. That’s the path I’m on! But men are such fools over women, gust for a smile they will spend a week’s salary on a girl. Oh, I’m as foolish as the rest and I know it. Still, we love women and we need them. So I say God bless them all and you in particular. Honey, thanks for letting me be your maid, but you didn’t say what my duties will be. Please let me know. But, as I’m now your maid as well as your hubby, I have many more privileges than I had before and am going to be bold (may I?) and seize them. So we’ll Just imagine we’ve come in at night after a walk or a show and we’re both pretty cool. We come in and lock the door of our little dollhouse and then I chase you around the room till I grab you and kiss you right smack on the lips. Then I become your maid and take off your hat and coat and mine also. Then I’m ycu~ hubby again, and I sit you on my lap on the sofa and hug and caress and fondle you till the coldness disappears and the music of love is singing in our ears. But soon hubby finds your attire too stiff and urban for him and he tells the maid to attire you better. So the maid leads you to our room and sits you on the bed while she fixes you up. She takes off your garments, though you make her close her eyes while she’s doing it and puts a lovely gown on you, and on top of that a lace negligee. She removes your shoes and stockings and puts dainty slippers on your feet. Then she kisses you tenderly and leads you back to your hubby whom you find attired in pajamas. He looks at you and scolds you for having on two garments when he has only erie and makes the maid take off your negligee. Then he Just takes you in his arms and holds you to him with all his strength. And, oh girl, what scorching kisses he gives to you. His heart pushes out violently against
Love, War, and Medicine
yours, and the warmth of your body and the perfume of your hair intoxicates him and makes him hold so tightly you can hardly breathe. It is delightful. Then the maid gets ready your bath and leads you to the door. You go in and shut the door in the maid’s face, saying you don’t need her. In a short time you come out smiling and prettier than ever. Then hubby takes his annual and comes out happier. Then he lifts you up in his arms and carries you to bed and turns out the light and soon we’re once more in each other’s arms. And, oh honey, how I do caress you. It is as though I couldn’t get enough of you. Your lips, your eyes, your hair, your body are mine, and my lips leave their burning imprints here and there on your face and arms and neck. And as I kiss you, you draw my head down to your breast so I can hear the rapid beats of your pure heart. The softness of my cushion and your nearness soothe me and as you run your fingers through my hair my eyes close peacefully as a child’s at its mother’s breast. And so the Land of Nod comes to both of us. It is a pretty future, honey, and I love to dream of it and hate to be aroused out of it by everyday events. News there is none except that the weather’s fine, and I had a letter from Stella, and that 360 of our patients were sent to a base hospital at Vichy today (about i~0 miles south of here) by ambulance train. We still have about 350 cases, but as all my patients are still here, my work is as heavy as ever. Au revoir, little sweetheart, and loads and loads of love and kisses to you from Your hubby, Lee November 15 Dear Folks, Received letters yesterday, one from Marie of October 15, Joe of October 14, and Paul of the 9th. Also got several letters from Nina and one each from Millard, Stella and Dr. Harry Freilich, one of my old roommates from Cook County Hospital. So it was a pretty fair day, especially as it brought me news that everyone in Chicago and New York are O.K. Just wrote Marie yesterday so will answer her letter here as well as Joe’s and Paul’s. So Paul’s a banana salesman as well as a cigar expert. Sorry to hear Marie and Grandma H. were not well, but happy that both are once more in good shape. Tell Marie she should not spill hot fat on her hands. Apple
Love, War, and Medicine
dumplings? Yum: Glad to hear that Will is doing nicely. Dr. E. J. Lewis, who took care of Grandma, was a teacher of mine and is a mighty good man. I wrote Sam about ten days ago and expect to get an answer before 1920. So he’s now in Siberia. Haven’t had a line from him since September 2nd from California. Yes, I did get some pictures of Eugene and so did Ed. They were fine. I sent Mother a Point de Luneville lace handkerchief yesterday and also sent one each to Marie and Sarah - mailed them in letters. Sent Nina a beaded bag for Xmas. That’s all the Xmas presents I’m sending this year. We are planning a dance to take place some of these days now that hostilities are over. You see, up to this time, we’ve never had a dance here as the French don’t approve of it on account of their heavy losses. But now the bars are down. Outside of three informal dances at Nice last month, I haven’t been to a dance since I left Chicago. Things have become quite tranquil again after the first spasm of delight at Germany’ s surrender. We are all taking things now as a matter of course. No excitement at all. No official communiques to read any more papers seem newsless. The first frost of the season was yesterday A.M., and this A.M. was heavier and things were frozen stiff in early hours of day. But the sun came out and it is beautiful now. The moon is full tonight and now that hostilities are over and there are no more air raids at night, I can look at the silvery light without cussing it as I’ve done many times in the not distant past. We still have about 300 patients here and, of course, can’t move until they leave our hospital. All we can do is guess where we’re bound for and one guess is as good as another. That’s all today. Loads of love to all of you. Affectionate ly, Lee COPY GREATER NEW YORK UNITED WAR WORK CAMPAIGN 680 Fifth Avenue November 3, 1918. Miss Claribel Nichols, Secretary Business Women’s War Service, 37 Liberty Street, New York City. Dear Miss Nichols: Your letter of October 30th, came duly to hand, but owing to the extreme pressure of these days and nights,
Love, War, and Medicine
did not receive immediate acknowledgment. I am constrained this afternoon, not only to acknowledge the letter, but to express my deep appreciation of the prompt and generous service of your organization, and of the really remarkable work which is being done by the representatives you have sent to us. We are preparing not only the most difficult but the largest and most important contribution campaign llst which h~s ever been made in New York City, and while we are not yet entirely through with our work, thanks to your help, we are out of the woods. Victory is in sight for us Just as it is for Pershing and his boys ’ Ore r The re ’ . The American Doughboys who rolled up their sleeves and went over the top for the first time with shouts and cheers, did not go to their task with more devotion and good-will than these women h~ve shoran. They are not only working faithfully and working well, but they are working with a cheerful enthusiasm which does a worried department manager good. Please accept these assurances of my deep apprec iat ion. Sincerely yours, (signed) W.T. SHELDON.
November 12, 1918 Miss Nina Kleinman, Room i000, #52 Broadway, New York, N. Y. My dear Miss Kleinman:I am enclosing herewith copy of a letter received from Mr. W. T. Sheldon at the Headquarters of the United War Work Campaign, as I am sure you would like to keep it as a personal reward of merit for your splendid work. Yours sincerely,
BUSINESS WOMEN’S WAR SERVICE (SGD) CLARIBEL NICHOLS, Secretary
Love, War, and Medicine
November 17 My own sweetheart, We’re still here, but for how long I can’t say. All the signals point to an early move, but in which direction, we can only guess. Eastward or westward’. Which shall it be? Time will tell, but my guess is that before you get this, we’ll have packed off and left this peaceful town of Baccarat forever. A day before yesterday, 360 patients were evacuated from here by an American ambulance train to a base hospital at Vichy. Tomorrow the rest of them go, and for the first time since E.H. #2 landed in France (last January) it will be without patients. So we won’t h~ve a thin8 to do. Today was moving day - French troops piled in on us and took away all our buildings but three and we’ve had to double up. I moved in with Captain Raw, the eye surgeon here. He’s a man of forty-five from Louisville and a fine chap. So I packed and unpacked, swept the floor, knocked nails in the wall and did a regular day’s work. This morning about a dozen Tommies reached our hospital from Germany. They were released prisoners, and had been set free by the Huns from their camp about eighty kilometers away (fifty miles) and had to hoof it all the way. The Huns gave each a half-loaf of bread and turned them loose. Most of them had very ragged and thin clothing. A few wore the regulation black suits with white arm bands in which the Germans dress their prisoners. So~ wore the heavy German high boots. All were minus their insignia as these were confiscated when they were captured. Most were taken prisoner last March and April during the Battle of St. Quentin. They were pretty thin, most of them, and they all said their food was awfully scant, merely barley and cabbage for the most part, but they said that the German soldiers had only as much to eat as they did. One chap said that he got so hungry he went out to a field and stole some potatoes. He says he got three days bread and water for that, but says he felt better as the diet agreed with him more than his usual one. Two of the men were from the 12th Royal Irish Rifles, my old division. They were captured March 21st near St. Quentin in the big initial Hun offensive in which I was tangled up too. We took all these boys in and more who kept coming, and gave them some good eats and clothed, them in Yank uniforms, seeks, shoes, overcoats and gave them some fags, as the Tommies call cigarettes,
Love, War, and Medicine
some sweets, etc. And I can tell you, Nina, you never saw so grateful a bunch in your life. And happy’s not the word for the Joy they felt for their liberation. They had heard all sorts of tales, especially that Ameriaa and Eng~land were at war, that one day the Hurts captured 20,000 American prisoners, etc. Altogether, we’ve been looking after about 200-300 of these Tommies today and I guess more will come tomorrow. You ask me why I changed from Royal Irish Rifles to Royal Inniskilllng Fusiliers. Well, you see, after the battle of St. Quentin which began on March 21st, our battalion was broken up and I was transferred to the Inniskillings whose doctor was captured algng with seven other doctors of our division, the 3~th (Ulster) Division. In Haig’s dispatch covering that battle, the 1st Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers was especially mentioned for its gallant work on that memorable day. And later the 36th Division was mentioned for its fine work in the recent offensive in Belgium with General Plumer’s 2nd British Army and with the Belgian and French. The division has always been noted as a fine one by the British, and a captured German document written the spring of 1917 said it was the third best division of the British Army - the document gave the 51st Division first place (Scotch ’Ladies of Hell’), and the Guards Division 2nd. So you can see I was with real scrappers and they were good, I can assure you. They were the battling Irishmen, not the sulking kind who opposed conscription. Too bad you didn’t write that letter you wanted to while you were bathing - that’s rather an unconventional place to write from, it’s true, but, still, it ought to make a letter rather enjoyable. Won’t you try one sometime, honey? Don’t be afraid of making it a thriller. None of your letters are seen by anyone but you and me, you know. Dearest, at this hour of the night, it’s almost midnight, I’m Just full of love for you. If I had you here, I’d hug and squeeze and kiss you till you begged for mercy. I’m a wild man. Good night, sweetheart, you know I love you with all my heart, soul and body and I’m yours now and forever.
Your loving hubby, Lee Tuesday, November 17 Orders: "Pack up and be ready to move by motor transport." Where? - most probably with the American 3rd army (Army of Occupation).
Love, War, and Medicine
So good-by to the idea of a quick return to the United States of America and speedy reunion and speedy marriage to my fiancee, Nina. #170 November 18 Dearest little girl, Your letter of October 18th Just came, also some New York Times pictures of September 22nd and many thanks for both. Also got letters from Paul, A1 Barnett and Sarah, so it wasn’t a bad day’s mail at all. So you’re fixing up a trousseau. I’ll bet it will be pretty nice. But don’t work too hard and don’t spend too much money on it. We don’t need a very expensive outfit at first, you know, for we’ll have to go easy for a while. This afternoon all our patients were evacuated by ambulance train except two of my meningitis cases and one pneumonia - these were too sick to move. So we’re now practically a hospital without patients. And you can readily see, honey, that that means, in all probability, that we, too, will soon be on the move but which way we’re going, I haven’t the ’foggiest notion,’ as an Englishman would say. You know, when I get back I’ll be mixing up so many English and ~rench phrases you won’t understand my American: Today is cool, but nice. This evening my new roommate, Captain Rau (Louisville) and I are going downtown to have a chicken dinner. We had a delicious lunch today as they killed some pigs we’ve been nourishing around here for a long time, so we had some nice fresh pork chops. Like ’era? Nothing else exciting except that I’m your sweetheart and mean to be so the rest of my life. Our time is coming. Soon we’ll be in our dollhouse. Then, dearest, I’ll be Your loving hubby, Lee November 18 Dear Folks, Received Paul’s letter of October 18th (#13), a letter each from Sarah, Nina K and A1 Barnett. Not so bad for one day’s mail. Glad.you’re all well. Also got Paul’s letter of October 6th (#i0).
Love, War, and Medicine
So you saw my name as registered at Paris October 4th. That method is quicker and cheaper than cabling - it doesn’t cost a cent. All you have to do is to step into the Paris office of the Daily News and sign your name in a book. While-in Paris I bu~ped into Lieutenants Botts and E. J. Barnett who were my fellow-lnternes at Cook County Hospital. I can’t help but believe that in a very short time we will be on the move for they’re not likely to keep us here doing nothing. But no information has come as to where we’re going - to Germany? to the United States of America? It’s all a puzzle. But will let you know ’tout de suite’ if any definite orders come aloft. Am enclosing a postcard view of one of our buildinss. That’s all today. All quiet here. Loads of love to you and Merry Xmas and Happy New Year once more. Affectionately, Lee Wednesday, November 20 My last three patients h~ve been transferred to a French hospital, a single patient. has been crowded, so at lon~ last we are a hospital without But I can assure you that our hospital and, for the most part, our patient results
have been excellent, especially with those who had meningitis. November 19, 1918 My dear Leo Yours and Nina’s engagement was announced in all Chicago papers so I want to congratulate you again. May it be a happy one and we all know it will be a happy one (Masel Tof). My boy, so the War is over and my boys will come home. Instead of two boys you will bring along a daughter to us. Mama will positively go to New York. ~fnether I can go that is hard telling but I will try and really I would llke to be there to see my first Son double up with a sweet better half but you know how hard it is for me. If I can’t I will be there in spirit and bless you my children. Now, my boy, Mama is feeling faArly sometimes under the weather with her stomach. In re~ards to myself I am waitln~ for you to treat me. I am not any too good. My legs and arms are on the bum but I am still happy that the War is over.
Love, War, and Medicine
There was some demonstration however suspended, whistles blowing from 2:30 A.M. till midnight on the llth. We had a first rumor of peace on the 7th and all business was also suspended. So you see it was (7-11 crap game). Joe left this mornin~ for three or four weeks trip, Michigan, Indiana, Ohio and he may go to New York. Business fair. Your office still to rent. Lou Lemon is in Rockford. He was in town and called on us. So is Herbert Rosenfeldt there but Leo Landesman we don’t know where he is. Ruth is in a Sanitarium in Winnetka. I went to Champaign, Illinois and brought her home with me. She is not too good. Julian was here to see her. It cost $I00.00 a week to keep her there; day and night nurse. I mailed you Sentinel, your engagement is announced there. Marie, Joe and boy Eugene are fine, so are Paul, Gerald, Grandmas H. and U. Will is feeling better but still weak. We had some letters from Nina,that is Paul and Joe yesterday, she had an engagement supper. I wish I was there, don’t you? Will close with loads of love, as ever Your Father Nathan Unger
November 20 Dear Folks, Announcement Important and Extraordinary. In all probability it will be a long time before I see the United States of America once more. Why? Because (this is not yet official, but is practically so) our hospital has been honored by being selected to go with the 3rd American Army (the Army of Occupation). We have been ordered to pack up and be ready to move by motor transport, and in a few days we’ll probably quit Baccarat and head for Nancy, then for Toul. From there we’ll probably go Germany-ward, by way of ~etz and Luxemburg, I Judge, and will reach the Rhine, I think, somewhere in the Coblenz region. So you can see I’ll be lucky to get home by Xmas of 1919. However, I shall be seeing new sights, interesting sights, too, and shall be able to see some of Germany. Received Pa’s letter of October 15th today and also Paul’s of October 16th (#12). Also got five letters and a cablegram from Nina so it was a good day. Cable read, ’Three cheers for U.S. and allies. Love.’ Wasn’t that nice ? Glad you’re all well and that Will is doing so nicely. Up to date I’ve heard you’ve received $i00.00
Love, War, and Medicine
checks from the government for July, August, and September. Glad that’s coming in O.K. ~e sure and pay Grandma H off and attend to my insurance which comes
due this month, I believe.
Am busy packin~ up, getting ready for the move. We’re now a hCspital without patients. It snowed here last night -the first of the season. One year ago today was an exciting one for me - the Battle of Cambrai opened on this day. And now once more I’m heading toward Germany, but in a different way. Must write to Nina yet and it’s late, so good night and write as ever. And once more Merry Xmas and Happy New Year, and loads of love to all of you. Affect ionate ly, Lee #171 November 21 Dearest girl, Fate has played another trick on us. We seem destined to be separated for a long interval. I believe I am not divulging any official secrets by telling you that our hospital has been ordered to pack up and be ready to move by motor transport. What this means we can only guess, but all our guessing and conJecturin~ and all the dope points to our being attached to the 3rd American Army, the Army of Occupation. If this be so, and, personally, I believe it is, that will mean we’ll leave Baccarat in a few days, and will go to Nancy and then to Toul, and from there follow the 3rd Army as it marches through Luxemburg to the Rhine, though I can’t say how far we will get. I should Judge to Treves, at least; perhaps to Coblenz. If we go it will be a sign of great honor as the 3rd Army is composed of the pick of the American Army, and I believe Evacuation Hospital #2 is the best hospital in the A.E.F. But no definite news has come yet. My trunk is packed. All patients have been evacuated. We are
Just sitting around waitin~ for orders. But I’ll bet
that before you get this, I,ll be on German soil. Do I like the prospect of proceeding eastward instead of westward? I do, but for two considerations. Firstly, I’m frightfully impatient to see you and call you my own, and to see our Chicago and New York folks. Secondly, I want to get back into civilian practice as soon as I can. I’m afraid that with all the other doctors settlin~ down months, perhaps a year or two ahead of me, I’ll have tough sledding. The United States people are a bit fickle,I’m afraid. They’ll honor those
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who come back first and rightly so. But I fear they’ll be a little apt to forget those of us who’ve been over the lor~est, and who’ve been through the crucial test more th~n those who will first arrive home. No, I’m not exactly Jealous of these men who will be feted and honored on their triumphant home comity. But I feel that the ardor, the enthusiasm, the Joy of the citizens of the United States of America can’t help but be a little diminished by the time the 3rd Army comes home which probably won’t be for a long while. Of course, I refer to the mass of the people - I don’t doubt for a minute that all my friends and relatives will be glad to see me. And I know, honey, that you and I can’t help but love each other, and the longer we’re separated, the more we’ll love each other. But in many ways I’m glad to go. The men who occupy the new zone need doctors for their sick, and I’m happy to ~ave been among those honored by being selected. Again, I want to see Germany, Luxemburg and more of France. I’m keen for new sights and new experiences almost as eager for these as when I sailed from New York almost seventeen months ago. More on what’s coming in my future letters. As we may move tomorrow or any day and as our letters may be difficult to get posted, don’t worry if you don’t hear from me for a few days. And now, sweetheart, I want to thank you ever so much for your cablegram (came yesterday). And as I have also received some of your nicest letters, it’s been a good day’s work. They were yours of October 16 (two), 17, 23, 25, 26 and 28th. They were all lovely, but that long one of the 23rd in which you reviewed our romance and pictured our future, our dollhouse and our affection for one another fairly took my breath away. It was positively delightful, a masterpiece I shall always treasure amon~ my most precious possessions. I also received a nice letter of congratulations from Clarence and Celia, another one to both you and me from my cousin Ruth Unger of Chicago, a long letter from Dad, and two from Ed. Before answering your letters, I want to send what dad wrote about you in his letter of October 23rd. After thanking me for my congratulations to him on his recent birthday, he says: ’My boy, we all are happy with your selection including all of us, so Nina will tell you that I do correspond with her Just as if she would be our child already. I suppose she tells you so. I am going to answer her letter today. Paul keeps up a regular correspondence with Nina and so do I. Mama Just loves her and myself I need not tell you as you
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know how I always did rave about her. 0nly one thing. We do wish to be at the wedding and that you must not marry without us.’ I give it Just as I received it, dearest; of course, there are mistakes in spelling and grammar, but, h-oney, you can see that that comes from the heart. Ibelieve they love you almost as I do. Paul, especially, is your champion knight. He never fails to talk of you. Now to answer your letters. No, I don’t believe it’s true that many Yanks are marrying mademoiselles over here. One of our own men, French Canadian extraction, is engaged to marry one of our French cooks. That’s the only instance I know personally. Thanks for Liberty Bond button. Let’s see, you have one for us and Joe has at least two more. That entitles me to a button, I guess. You know, the F~ench Liberty Loan now for sale is very attractive. It yields almost six percent and is tax-free, but tax-free in France only. I believe it’s taxable in the United States. At any rate, buying the French bonds would only lead me into complicated, frenzied finance, so shall lay off of them. Are the French bonds for sale your way? Your letter of October 16th in answer to my #i~9 makes me feel like a cad and I humbly beg your pardon for that letter. I don’t know why I wrote it and I’ve regretted sending it many a time. It’s the one in which the age question came up, for the last time, I hope, for after this letter goes, it will figure no more. What a fool I was to even question you, honey. I do beg your pardon, sweetheart. Please say you forgive me. I’m so~-ry, honey. I can’t comply with your request not to tell the folks your correct age for I told them two months ago that you were two years my senior. But let’s dismiss this distasteful subject once and for all. My subsequent letters to #i~9 and this will show you, I’m sure, that that letter was one of impulse only. Why, little Nina darling, I wouldn’t lose you for the world. Dearest, once more will you be my own true wife? Once more I offer you my poor self with my scanty personal belongings. Won’t you accept me and them for your very own? Won’t you promise once more to love me all the days of your life? For you are everything to me. All my ideals, my hopes, my plans, are centered in you. For I love you with all my heart and soul and body. I never before knew what love really is. I know now and I realize w~at you mean to me. Regarding Ed and Stella, I’ve already told you I wrote confidentially to Ed and warned him of the unfortunate condition of her brother. But he enclosed in his last letter one of Stella’s. That has greatly relieved
Love, War~ and Medicine
me, I confess, for she wrote him a Jolly letter without a word of affection. So I guess everything’s O.K. there. Of course, not a word to Stella. I warned Ed, too. By the way, I wouldn’t be surprised if Ed’s home by Xmas. I rather think he will be for he belongs to a replacemerit ~nit of er~ineers and all such go home ’tout de suite.’ Perhaps he’ll beat this letter to you. In one of your letters, you say that I mentioned that your letters to me are not long. If I said that I really didn’t mean it. Why, sweetheart, you are the truest and most devoted girl man ever had. When I get your numerous and lovely letters, I feel ashamed that I’ve not been able to keep up with you, that often my letters are brief and written at longer intervals than I like to think about, intervals when I was so busy I simply could not write more often. I’m the o~e to complain about, not you. Am I a democrat? Well, I voted for Wilson in 1912 and in 1916 again and like him very much and would vote for him again if he runs. But I’m not a party man. I’m an independent voter; I Just put the X before the name of the man I think is the best for the Job. In one Chicago election, I voted for republicans, democrats, progressives, and one socialist. No, I’m not a politielan, nor much interested in any save international and national politics. Dearest little girl today makes seventeen months since I came to New York. W~at a change - from cousin to sweetheart. The change is delightful. How I long to be with you, but now comes this new separation, or rather prolongation of our present separation. If I can’t see you as soon as I wish, I can at least keep on pretendin~ I’m with you. So let’s pretend once more that we’ve come back from our honeymoon and are in our little home. It’s nighttime and we’ve been talkin~ and exchanging confidences. But gradually our longing for each other becomes stronger and stronger, and I take you in my arms and hold you to me and taste again and again of your delicious lips. You cling to me. I squeeze you so hard that you warn me against breaking your corset, so I ask you to take that annoying article off. You tease me and won’t and I suddenly get very bold - may I, wifey? - and I announce my intention of doing the Job if you won’t. So I unbutton your waist and take it off and open the strings of your corset cover and remove that too. But you surrender then and run into you~ (our) room and in a few minutes you come out clad only in a beautiful nightgown and slip~ers. I can’t help crushing you to me. I, too, have put on pajamas so we proceed to have a party. Let’s see, what
Love, War, and ~e dic ir~
shall we do? Let’s be children once more and play forfeits. Did you ever play that game? You’~e the first Judge and hold up a ]~enknife of mine over your head and say ’fine.’ And you say the owner of that ~ust kiss the Judge twenty times. Well, that suits ~e to a T, and I take the pretty little Ju~e in ,~ a~ms and kiss her most tenderly the required twenty
(with three extra for good luck). Then I sit down and you stand back of me and say t Sul~erflne. What shall the owner of this article do?’ I think a bit, then say ’She shall sit on the Judge’s lap for two minutes and Just hu~ him and kiss him as hard as she can.’ And at once you sit yourself in my lap and, oh little queen, you can kiss and hu~. Look out, you~ll choke me, but I do love your caresses. Then it’s your turn again and you sentence me to examine your heart. You loosen your gown a little and slip out your left arm from its sleeve and seat yourself on my knee. Then you draw my head to your breast and gently place my ear over your heart. Lub-dub! Lub-dub! Thatts what it should sound like. But to me the music of love alone is sending its sound to me. I listen mechanically, but the contact with your soft skin has set my blood on fire. The magic strikes you, too, sweetheart, for suddenly you grasp my head and press it to your breast and your heart beats a wild tattoo in answer to mine. The game is fo~otten as I cling to you. I lift you in my arms as though you were a child and car~y you with me to our bed. Soon we are under the covers and in each other’s arms, and the warmth of you~ body against mine makes me appreciate the prize it took me so long to get. And so we fall asleep - lovers, sweethearts, husband and wife, pals and chums. Good night (taps Just blew), darling; come what may, whether we go east or west, I~m yours now and until I die, yours alone and faithful and true to you, for you are already, in my eyes, my true little wife. Many, many kisses, sweetheart, and best to your folks.
#172 November 22 Deare st girl, Just a note as I’m going out for a walk to inhale some of this delightful Lorraine air. Wrote you a long letter last night and told you we were probably going toward Germany with the 3rd American Army (Army of Occupation). Nothing further today. Hospital almost
Love, War, and ~edicine
completely packed up. Even took our table and chairs away, so I’m writing this while sitting on my bed. Honey, this A.~. your card of October 28 and letter of October 20th came and I do enjoy your love messages. Wish I could write like you do. It’s only lately, since you told me my letters were no longer censored, that I’ve dared to write as I have in the past few letters, but, honey, I’m worried about them, especially that of last night. I fear I overstepped the boundary a bit. If you, too, feel I did, please let me know. If not, let me know. Everything is quite peaceful here. The excitement of the victory has subsided. The great questions are ’Where do we go from here?’ And ’When do we go home?’ And the answers still puzzle us. Honey, you don’t know how anxious I am to see you again and to take you in my arms. I’m Just aching to hold you to me. Can’t you feel how I lon~ for you? Last night after writing #171 to you, I lay awake for a long time Just thinking of you and me. I pictured us in all sorts of conditions and places. But I couldn’t help vlaualizing you and me in our dollhouse. And in every picture, you were in my arms, whether you were seated in my lap or whether you were tucked under the covers as we lay side by side. And God alone knows how I called for you, how my heart beat even at the thought of you by my side, and how the warmth of your presence intoxicated me with pleasure. You were dressed in all varieties of coatumes~ from a street costume to a simple, but heavenly, nightgown. I confess I llke you best the last way. And, girl, how I wanted you. I imagined you were by my side and I was kissing and fondling you. You let me do what I wanted with you and I loved you and babied you to my heart’s content. And you held my head to your breast and pressed my ear closely so I could hear how your heart beat for me. It was delightful. Oh, sweetheart, I can hardly wait until I can call you my very own wife, legally as well as mentally. Look out, Nina, I’ll show you no mercy when I see you. You’re in for a rough time for I’m going to be both your hubby and maid - don’t forget you promised to initiate me into my duties and something about the mysteries of costumes. I’Ii be a good maid, too, for I can’t help but be nice to my sweetheart girl. Yes, you’re elected my valet. Do you want any instructions? You know men’s attire is very simple compared to women’s, so you don’t need to know much about it. But if there’s anything you want to know, Just ask me.
Love, War, and Medicine
I’m going out now, darling. Au revoir and loads and loads of love to you. Yours to a cinder, Lee Saturday, November 23 Today was interesting as Leverton and I went on a French truck to Blamont, a town five kilometers behind the old German line. There were many Interestin~ German signs. The German troops, of course, had evacuated their old positions. We went through the old German trenches and dugouts and found one old German helmet for a souvenir, and saw many Chinese and Italian troops. The next day ten of us, officers and some nurses, took another tour by two horses and buggies. We ransacked some abandoned houses and brought baek German gas masks, a shovel, some medicines and bandages, buttons and shoulder straps for more souvenirs. E lncidentally, in one German dugout I found some epinephrin -(adrenalin)- and I took this home and that weekend one of my grandmothers had a severe attack of bronchial asthma. I gave her a hypodermic inJeetion of this medicine and in a few minutes, Grandmother was feelin~ much better and was talking away. ~
Dearest One gettin~ method, November 25 sweetheart, month from today is Xmas. The prospects of my home by that time are slim, so I take this much though I prefer the good old personal way,
Love, War, and Medicine
of wishir~g you, mother, Harry, Clarence and Celia, Mortie and Gussie and Adele a very Merry Xmas and a Happy New Year. Also convey my greetings, please, to Mr. and Mrs. Kraus, Stella, May, Mr. and Mrs. Moran and Mr. and Mrs-. Silberstein. Here’s oceans of love to you and the folks, honey, and I know we’ll be united before the next holiday rolls around. Before I forget, Nina, won’t you please mail me a little pocket diary for 1919, similar to the one of 1918 which you sent me last year? l’m keeping up faithfully though, as ever, merely the simplest facts are entered. No details. Those I’ii supply from memory when occasion requires. And I have some pretty nice memorie s. I received your splendid letter of October 27th and also the Times pictures of October 13th and 20th. Again. thanks. How many do I owe you now? We’re still a hospital without patients and doing practically nothing. We’re all packed up, but no place to go. No orders have come. I think we’ll go to Germany all right, though every day we remain here in Baccarat increases our chances of getting home soon. Who can tell? That’s the beauty of army life - they keep you guessing all the time. Yesterday was ’Dad’s Day,’ when all of us wrote to our dads. So I Just wrote him a lon~ letter, the longest l’ve written in some time. I described two trips I took yesterday and the day before, two most interesting ones and enjoyable. And though it’s not right to copy and write the same thing to two different persons, l’m going to do it in this case. Will you pardon my committing this breach of etiquette, dearest? Anyway, here goes! The day before yesterday (Saturday), Lieutenant Leverton, a Jewish chap here, and I left the hospital at about 10:30 A.M., bound for what was the German Line before the Armistice was signed, and before the Boche subsequently retreated beyond the Rhine and evacuated this province of Lorraine. We turned down the road leading to the trenches (Baccarat is about six miles behind the old line) and started off toward Merviller, the next village east of here. We walked about fifty yards or so when along came a whole convoy of French camions (trucks) bound for the town of Sarrebourg in what was German Lorraine. We hopped onto one of the trucks and rode in the back. We found two old boxes and had comfortable seats. We passed through Merviller and Montlgny. As we went along the country became rougher and rougher and the roads worse and worse. Soon came row after row of trenches and dugouts and
Leve, War, and Medicine
in front of each trench the typical Prench barbed wire on wooden stakes. We passed piles of French hand and rifle grenades. The road was well camouflaged by French screening. Soon we came to the French front-llne. The barbed wire barricade across the road was pulled over to one side, leaving a free passage. The French llne ended at one hill, then came a valley ~hieh was ’No Man’s Land’ and then came the next hill, the old German front llne. ’No Man’s Land’ was merely a barren waste of ground about 1,000 yards across. The ground had a few shell holes and was overrun with weeds. The German barbed wire I recognized at once as I’d seen it before in the Hindenburg line which I helped the British occupy in the battle of Cambral last November and December. It’ s very thick and much heavier than the French wire and is strung along between heavy, curved, iron stakes whereas the French used wooden supports. Then came the Hun trenches and dugouts, row after row. But we went on till we reached Comevre, the first village in what had been German territory before the Armistice. Domevre is almost completely ruined. Every house, including the church, has been smashed to pieces. Shell holes are abundant. We stopped there about ten minutes, then rode on to Blamont, a fairsized to~n three miles further on and very near the old boundary line between French and German Lorraine. And there we ~ot off the truck. We looked around Blamont for a while. It is an interesting to~n (prewar population about 5,000). The main attraction is the old castle which overlooks the town from a nearby hill. This castle has two bi~ to~ers, very ancient in appearance and with curious, winding stalr~ays. We explored the castle from top to bottom. It was empty, but had been used by the Huns as a residence. Everywhere were the wooden beds of the Boche with their straw ticks packed into paper bags instead of cloth (Germany is very short of cloth and uses paper instead wherever possible; they even have crepe paper bandages). They left much Junk behind them, such as old shoes, cigarette boxes (empty). No decent souvenir in the lot. We left that place and wandered through the streets. Blamont was only slightly shelled and is not much damaged. The most interesting sights were the German signs everywhere. You see, they had lived there four years and, naturally, they had plenty of notices up. Signs were made of wood, for the most part. One said, ’Rathaus.’ Another ’Baikeri.’ Another ’Krankenpferdestelle.’ There were many I couldn’t read and I regret not knowing more German. As we were walking along, we bumped into about
Love, War, and lediolme
eight soldiers. I thou6ht they were Germans at first and asked them, in German, who they were. One of them answered in German and said they were liberated Russian and Roumanian prisoners who had been held a long time. They looked fair-ly well nourished, thou6h they said the Hurts fed them miserably. Then we started back for Baccarat. For lunch we had two packages of biscuits. ~"nen we came to the German trenches, we explored them. They are about four feet deep and duckboarded and riveted, but not very substantial. There were a few good ones made of steel and soncrete. One of those we entered was pretty comfortable with its electric light, wooden bed, big mahoganybordered mirror, stove, plush-covered chair and washstand. Others were bare. I found a German helmet without the strap. It had been camouflaged. Well, we walked and we walked. ~inally, along came a truck and in about an hour we were back at our Evacuation Hospital #2. And so ended a very enjoyable trip. But yesterday I had an even nicer little expedition. A party of seven nurses and three doctors from our hospital hired two French horses and buggies for sixty francs - dirt cheap - for an all-day trip. We left about 9:30 A.M., five of us and the driver in each vehlcle, each drawn by one horse. ~efore we ~ot done, I was sorry for the horses. They could 6o on a trot going downhill, but uphill they slowed to a very slow walk and I thought we’d never ~et to Blamont, our destination. We all yelled ’Giddap, Hustler’ but the horses didn’t understand our English. We reached Blamont about noon, passir~ throug~ the French and German lines as I did the day before. We unhitched in the square of the town and went sight-seeing. All the houses were empty and as French soldiers were collecting souvenirs, we set to work a bit ourselves and searched for German remembrances. We went through house after house. All had been occupied by Hun soldiers and we found lots of stuff, but we couldn’t carry all. I found a whole stock of Boche medicines and brought some back. Also souvenired some crepe paper bandages, a nice new Boche gas mask and shovel, some Hun shoulder straps and a lot of bullets, etc. Also collected a few recent Hun periodicals and will send some as soon as I can. One of my best finds is a book called ’U-Boot und U-Boot Krieg.’ It’s a finely illustrated book, Just published, of the German U-boat campaign. The shovel is a peach, in a leather case, brand new, and I’m saving that for Eugene. The rest of the souvenirs I’ll send to you home soon as I get a chance to get them away.
Love, War, and Medicine
After getting through this rather pleasant occupation of acquiring Oerman relics, we all gathered around the two vehicles standing in the square and had a little lunch of sandwiches, cake and coffee. As we were standing there eating this good food, a lot of French poilus came along. One of them had on a stovepipe hat he’d Just found and he walked and danced along in great style. At two o’clock we started back. Instead of going by way of the main road to Baccarat, we tho~ht we’d make a detour so we drove to a village nearby. We left the buggies and roamed throug~ Boche trenches and dugouts and barbed wire. On we went. The road kept getting worse and worse as we neared Ancervillers, a little village which the Rainbow Division (42nd) shot up pretty badly last June when they were here. Part of this village was in Boche hands and part in allied. The roads were full of small and large shell holes. In one place two s~ell holes close together almost caused the carria~es to capsize. We got out and walked, only to find that the road from Hun line to French line was still barricaded by heavy barbed wire entanglements. So back we had to go fifteen kilometers (almost ten miles) out of our way, through the wildest woods we ever saw with shell holes everywhere and trunks of trees strewn all around where they’d fallen after beln~ torn loose by shellfire. Finally we reached the main road. It was pitch dark but I had a good flashlight and kept the driver straight. He was a fat old boy who was panicstricken when darkness overtook us and found us miles from home and he’d Just sit there and cuss and cuss at our poor old horse. The cussing was all in French so it was all right - I didn’t understand it. I only knew ~m ~..as swearing. It got pretty cold as we drove along, and from time to time we’d get down and walk a mile or so till o~r circulation became O.K. again. We reached the hospital at 8:00 P.M. and managed to get hold of a pretty decent supper of soup, omelettes, sardines and lemon cream pie. Yes, add you may wonder at this, we all pitched in and cleaned up after eatln~, and I wiped dishes with my old-time skill (?) and banged the forks, knives and spoons around Just as I used to do in the good old days. And so ended a very pleasant day. ¯ hat,s new outside of that? Well, it’s raining and has been so all day. A lieutenant was our guest tonight for supper. He left the States November 4th and landed at Saln~Nazalre the 13th. He said that Just out ef Hoboken all the troops on the ship were taken elf, so, evidently, Uncle Sam has quit sending boys
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over. The lieutenant was looking for Evacuatlen Hospital #36 and got a wrong steer. Good night, little sweetheart wife of mine. I long for you as I never longed for anyone be foze. I love you heart, soul-and body. You are my wife, ~y pretty, lovely wife, a Jewel whose value cannot be exceeded. Honey, you have only to command Your abject slave, Lee And you~ wishes will be carried out. Carloads of love. Many kisses!
November 26 My little sweetheart girl, Today is a dull, dismal day. I haven’~t a thine to do and am horribly lonesome for you. When I have work to do, I don’t mind our separation as much as when I’m i~le. Oh, little darling, won’t you come to me? want you more than ever before. I’m so lonely, and only you can cure me. It’s true that there are about thirty nurses here at this h~epital, but not one of them is to my liking other than as a friend. I’m friendly to all of them and that’s all. If I can’t have you with me in person, I can at least pretend that my little wife is with me, can’t I? So let’s suppose we’re married and are happy in our little nest. We’ve had our supper and been out and come back and are sitting on the sofa, or, rather, you’re sitting and I’m lying on my back with my head in your lap. You’re running your fingers through my hair and bending over every little while and giving your lips to mine. Your kisses are delicious, honey, and I can’t get enough of them. I open the buttons of your waist and take it off and I kiss your white arms and shoulders and neck and you hold my head to your breast. What a wonderful picture it all is. It is frequently so realistic that I tingle and thrill from head to foot. Our wedding can’t come any too soon to suit me, Nina, for I love you most devotedly and am Jealous of Stella and the other few who can kiss you. Tell me, dear, do you love Stella as much as you do me? Am anxiously waiting for the Xmas letter you promised to write me. Oh, sweetheart, I do so treasure those letters in which you pour out your feelings and thoughts. Your loving husband, Lee
L~ve, War, and Medicine
Thursday, November 28 Another Thanksgiving Day and this time a fine feast including turkey and ice cream. Also shopped a bit and sent a ’robe de nuit’ to my Nina and a handkerchief to Stella.
Darli~ Hubby If only I had you here; I’m in a mood this morning that if you were within reach I’d be loving you all the tlme. My arms are aching to embrace you and my lips are parched for youm kisses, my heart is yearnin~ for you. It is impossible to analyze exactly how you became so large a part of me. Honey, you’re simply wonderful and I’m completely wrapped up in you. Lee, do you realize how much I love you? If only I could write what I feel! But unfortunately I’m not a poet. Last night I received a card signed by Ed, Willard and another Chioago chap. Nice of them to think of me. Stella told me this morning that she received a letter from Ed. Stella also told me that Rudi asked what to give me for a wedding gift and she suggested Pyrex dishes. They are cooking utensils in glass and she knew I would have them as they are the newest in kitchenware. So, honey, we will at least have dishes to cook in and knives ~md forks to eat with and a luncheon set to eat on. All we meed is the ’eats.’ Stella also said she received a letter from her cousin Otto Kraus. She had told him I was engaged, and he said he was glad to hear I had decided to settle down and hoped I would now behave myself. He is some dancer and when the turkey trot first came out, there was nothin~ he missed. As a result we were ordered off the floor - but we went rig~ht on and there was some dancin8. As his Mother was with us (as well as my brother Harry) we were both well chaperoned. I frankly admit I wouldn’t have nerve enough to do such a thing nowadays. Shall again repeat that if Mother and Father have expressed a wish for you to 8o to Chicago before our marriage takes place, it is your duty to comply with their request and you must at all times grant their slightest desire, if it is w-~th-~ your power. I have only one favor to ask of you in this connection. Don’t stop here. I couldn’t separate from you again. Dearest ~he.~truth of the matter is I’m afraid to be
Love, War, and Medicine
in your company without being married. You may be stronger than I, but I’m too much in love with you to take such chances. The reason I say this is because I can feel an electric current through me at the mere thouKht of you,-and when I sit down to write you I’m all aflutter and I can hardly hold a pen. Can’t you see, dear, how much worse it will be when I’m sitting in your lap or when I find you under the same roof with me? Why I’m aflame at the me re thought of it. Don’t ask me to suffer the torture of separation after a brief visit. Darling, it is best for both of us that you go direct to Chicago unless you come to marry me. Your duty still lies with ~other and Father and their request must be 8ranted. Go, hubby, by all means. And when you are ready come to New York and you’ll find me waiting. We belong to each other now, but I can’t help wishing a few simple words had been spoken which would bind us together forever. Darling, I’m the happiest girl in the world because I have the best man ever born. I adore you and am violently in love with you. If only I could kiss you I’d smother you with so many of them. Darling, I am and always will be Your sweetheart wife Nina.
Novembe r 28 Little Sweetheart, On this Thanksgiving Day, I give thanks indeed for the past year has won me the heart and hand of my little sweetheart, the greatest treasure in the world. So I give thanks to God that He has given you to me for my wife and I shall always be true and faithful to you, my own darling Nina. Of course, we had s big dinner today and though it’s almost 6:00 P.M., I’m still full and my belt is as loose as I can wear it. We had hors d’oeuvres first (sardines, sausage and potato salad), then delicious young turkey, carrots and French fried potatoes. Along came lettuce salad and then apricot ice cream and doughnuts. And any room left was filled with almonds, figs, dates, and chocolate creams. I forgot to mention that cocoa and toast were also in order. Isn’t it a haPd wary This mornin8 1 was walking along the streets when my eye was caught by somethin~ in a window. I have that something with me now and shall deliver it to you in person. No, I won’t trust the mails and I shall not
Love, War, and Medicine
tell you what it is till I hand it to you after which I expect to be properly rewarded. I’ll give you one hint only and say that to my eye it’s very beautiful. Lee, shut up--not another word ! Now I want to beg permission to take a nurse out to a show tonight. There’s an opera performance at the Cinema Theatre downtown - one night only - I forget the name of the play. I’ve bought my two tickets for the immense sum of six francs (three francs are fifty-seven cents) for the best seats in the house and I’ve asked the lady to accompany me and she h~s consented. All I need is your permission. You want to know who she is? Well, she’s from New York City and her handle is Miss Anna L. Reutinger. She’s of Swiss descent and was head nurse of one of New York’s Lyingin Hospitals, I believe. Are you Jealous? Well, then I’ll tell you she’s a very nice woman, but is at least forty-five years old. Now, do you feel better? She’s the one who took such good care of my roommate, Lieutenant McNeil, before he succumbed. She’s a ~oodhearted woman if ever there was one and I admire her. She served one year with the American Red Cross in Germany and one year in Russia, all since the war and now she ’ s here again. It’s pourin~ cats and dogs. Wonder if it’s polite to wear rubber boots when you call on a lady and take her to the opera. As taxis are scarce in this village, we’ll have to walk the mile to the show and back. It’s the first show in Baccarat outside of movies and a couple soldier plays since I’ve been here, so I can’t miss it. Dearest, I’m afraid my letters have become a little too intimate lately so, unless you say they’re to your liking, I won’t write any more like the last few unless the mood comes on me, but when it does, I Just seize pen and paper and write you my thoughts and feelings as thoug~h you were in my arms in our dollhouse. I can’t help it, honey. And, sweetheart, I do so love those real intimate letters of yours when you pretend we’re husband and wife in our little nest. They are wonderful and priceless to me. All other literature fades into significance. Good night and God bless ~ keep you.
Your own hubby,
November 29 Dear Nina Girl, Honey, received two nice letters from you this morning dated October 25th and November 2nd. I like
Love, War, and Medicine
them very much as I do all of yours. November 2nd is the latest one and there are a number missing, so hope to get the rest tomorrow. You’re doin~ splendid work on those linens, etc. But, dearest, I don’t want you to spend too much time and money on them. Of course, we want nice things but you and I have simply got to make up our minds to live simply at first. Later we hope to be able to indulge each other to our heart’ s content. But, meanwhile, honey, I don’t want you to overwork yourself or mother. Promise ? Yes, you’re right, sweetheart; through our correspondence, we’ve learned each other’s thoughts better than if we’d been together, and I know you for one of the highest-mi~ded and purest girls God ever made. But that very fact, honey, has made me restless lately (you see, I’m frank and conceal nothing, not even my own feelings). I have a good knowledge of your thoughts and your heart, your goodness, kindness and other virtues. But I don’t know you yourself as I want to. We’ve really had such a short period of personal contact. I don’t know your walk, your talk, your little ways, your whims, etc. as I’m longing to. Even your appearance is not as familiar to me as I should like your face, your figure, etc. Pictures and my dreams are only partial substitutes for this knowledge. Over and over again I study those precious pictures (by the way you promised me some in nightgown, in negligee and pajamas - they haven’t come yet). My dreams, though, are the chief substitute for you. I picture you in every way, in every situation, in every conceivable costume from a gorgeous ball gown to a simple ’robe de nuit.’ And I admit freely the latter picture appeals to me more, for in that costume you seem nearer to me than in any other, and I can put my arms around you and hold you to me without fear of injury to you. Should I have told you this, sweetheart? No other new or exciting. Lots of rumors floating around and most point to an early departure for Germany. Went to a show last night, the first regular one in Baccarat since I’ve been here (five months). It was an operetta called ’Mam’~zelle Nitouche’ and was wonderfully well presented, considering the limitations of the theatre, etc. The music was excellent and the acting fine,and I enjoyed the performance tremendously. Lieutenant Avery, who was my companion on my leave last month, and I took two nurses as companions. I took Miss Reutin6er, a very nice and goodhearted nurse of about forty-flve. So don’t be Jealous. It poured cats and dogs and my shoes are still drying. I’m wearing gum boots today.
Love, War, and Medicine
Must hurry to supper. So good night, little darling.
Loads and loads of love and beaucoup kisses. Your hubby,
Ii/~8/1918 Dearest Sweetheart Just came out of the kitchen where I’ve spent the best part of the morning. Have prepared the grapefruit, cleaned the celery, stuffed the duck and chicken and helped with the mince pie. Too bad we can’t have turkey but at fifty-five cents per pound it’s a little too expensive. We will have a regular dinner including the cocktails and wine. Of course the family will be here. This is Thanksgiving Day and what a lot I have to be thankful for. Firstly the World’s War is at an end and we have been victorious. We have helped to win the greatest principle ever fought for. Thank God ~t is all over. Secondly and most important (to me personally) I thank God for the love of the best man in the world and for the sublime happiness you have brought into my life. Thirdly I thank God for His care of you during the very trying days of the past year and for having kept you well. It is a glorious Thanksgiving and I realize more than ever that I am well blessed. Dearest, the love in my heart for you makes me thankful for life, and all things which nature has brought forth. There is only one thing lacking to make this a perfect daythat is you. I’d give anything in the world to spend this day with you - but even in this wish God has anticipated my wishes and as long as I can’t have you your letters are next best. Your letters #166 and 167 have Just arrived. Wonderful letters, honey. Was very, very sorry to learn of Lieutenant McNeil’s death. Too bad our brave men must die. It made me feel badly to hear this sad news. Do hope you are taking care of yourself, honey. You need rest when you are so rushed. Poor soldiers if only they did not have to suffer. I sincerely hope the epidemic is all over by this time. You ask about the ’flu’ serum I had injected. It was given the boys in the camps in and about New York. Perhaps it is a sort of pneumonia serum as I believe there is such a thing. The doctor charged me $2.00 each inoculation and I had three of them. The serum was also inoculated in munition workers, and government employees. It is supposed to be a preventative.
Love, War, and Medicine
Don’t know if it did any good, but the fact remains I escaped the disease. You know, I’m never sick and had no intention of remaining in bed, so I got up and went to the doctor and asked for the inoculations. He ’phoned for the ~serum and I went back in the evening for the first bose. I have not been sick, nor was I home from business at all, as my daily letters to you have proven. Today I’m in the very best of health. Dear, oh dear, how I hate the subject of finances. You are right about keeping your money in France. Can you arrange it to have the account in the Guaranty Trust Co. transferred to New York when you come back? If so that would probably be the best way. Any money you would send me from now on I should deposit so it is as well in one bank as another. As for my money, it will cost us almost a thousand dollars to furnish a home - (That I will have). I have about $600.00 in bank, $200.00 in bonds and (including your money) $500.00 in stamps, also $50.00 bond of yours. The boys were going to give me flatware (silver cutlery) but because Mother and Father started it they will give me money and each will give me $I00.00. Mother will give us about $1,000.00 including what she spends on linens - leaving about $500.00 to $700.00. I believe that with our ready cash we can keep going a year without even touching the money invested in stocks, bonds or stamps. Of course, within six months you’ll probably be earning enough to pay for the rent and in a year I believe we’ll be able to see light. We’ll never starve, honey, as I still have two hands and enough brain to get a Job at $20.00 or $25.00 or more and I’m ready to pitch in if necessary, but I cannot live without you Just because finances bother u~’. I’d rather starve with you in one room than llve in luxury away from you. I’ll help at any time, but I must have you, and the sooner the better. -Your letter written the daN after peace was declared is fine, I thoroughly enjoyed it. Do you know, honey, I am Just about coming back to normal? Why I couldn’t write and was afraid that I’d wake up some morning to find it was but a dream and that the war was still on. I couldn’t think. All I kne~ was that I wanted to be with you, to fly where you were, I longed for your caresses and kisses which Uncle Sam had withheld from me so long. Your picture of your ’savageness’ is most enticing. Somehow a little of the cave man stuff appeals to me, and when you talk of being rough it sends a thrill right through me.
Love, War, and Medicine
Dearest, can’t you see that if you were to come here for a visit and then go to Chicago without me, I would have to be conventional with you? I couldn’t put on a negligee or be your ’wife’ and that would be maddening. I don’t want to be conventional with you. You must at all times keep your eyes open and see me as I really am, without the frills so essential in this world of make believe. We must belong to each other from the moment you clasp me in your arms and I give you my lips. In that first kiss my soul will go out to you and you’ll be able to tell the greatness of my devotion for you. I adore you, little hubby, and every moment brings us closer together. There is only one bit of disappointment in your letter. You speak of coming back in June 1919. That seems so far off. I had hoped you would be among the first to return. Can’t you put in an application for transfer to a hospital over here? They are building many of them and I believe the largest is near Chicago, though we have some very large ones here. Dearest, if only we could have each other today, I’d eat you up. I am so madly in love with you that you are like an idol to me. It is little short of worship. Little darling, I adore every inch of you and can hardly wait until I am your wife. Dearest, how can the nurses resist your charm? I wouldn’t blame them if they all fell in love with you. But, please, dear, don’t you fall in love with them. Darling I must close or Ma will scold. She’s coming. Until you come for me dearest, I’ll be waiting, longing, yearning to be Your Sweetheart wife Nina Sunday, December 1 Nothing strenuous - some bridge, and read "Maker of History" by Oppenheim, and the next day read "Prince of Graustark" by McCutoheon.
De aerobe r 1 Dearest Sweetheart, Your hubby is awfUlly lonesome for you this afternoon. It’s a beautiful day. The sun is out after a
Love, War, and Medicine
week of rain and it’s wonderful weather for a promenade with you. But not only am I unable to go with you, but also I can’t 6o at all as I’m Officer of the Day and will be till ~:00 P.M. (it’s now ~:30). So here I am in my ’apartment-’ all alone, though all my thoughts and wishes are cry~tallized in one dear sweet girl so far away. Ii:00 P.M. Was interrupted by supper, and then the dentist, Lieutenant Sharp, and I played bridge with two of the nurses. We had an interesting evening. Of course, when we play with nurses, we play for nothing, and it’s over two months since we played bridge even for the customary franc a hundred. There is less society here between the doctors and nurses than I ever imagined could be in a hospital, especially one isolated as we are from other Americans. Am roasting some chestnuts on our stove here. They’re French variety and very appetizing. Received a letter from Ed this ~vening in which he said he was returning to his Engineers unit and would probably sail for United States quickly. Lucky chap. How I wish I were also going home. He’ll have Xmas dinner at home, I’ll bet. No further news about our going. But I still think we’re bound for Germany. I also enclose a drawing from a French illustrated weekly which shows the battlefield of Belgium better than any description I could give. It was in Just such a region that I spent the months of April, May and June of this year when I was with the ist Royal Inniskilling ~usiliers at Ypres, and, especially, beyond that, in the neighborhoods of St. Julian and Poelcapelle - toward Passchendaele Ridge. That was the most Godforsaken country imaginable. The picture is good in that it shows the water-filled shell holes, the abandoned tanks, the stumps of trees. But it does not indicate - it cannot - the awful odor which pervades this blighted sector, nor does it show the green scum on the top of the pools of water; nor does it attempt to reveal the many arms and legs of men and animals scattered here and there in these innumerable shell holes. I’ve now seen four battle fronts, the Belgian, Cambral, St. Quentin and this Baccarat sector; their terribleness decreases in this order. I’ll say here that no one can adequately appreciate war who hasn’t been in this Passchendaele sector near Ypres, Belgium. Also enclose a letter of congratulations from my cousin Ruth Unger, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Adolph Unger. She’s a nice girl of about nineteen.
L~ove, War, and Medicine
Bought some pretty Alsatian postcards and will mail them to you from time to time. I think they’re beautiful. I bought Eugene a bunch of toys including a tank, a French seventy-five and an anti-aircraft gun. Both these guns are equipped with wooden ammunition and they certainly can shoot. He ’ II be putting out someone ’ s eye yet, but I know he’ll enjoy his little Xmas present. I’ve sent out all the Xmas gifts I’m going to buy. sent Point de Luneville lace handkerchiefs to Mother, Marie, Sarah and Stella; a beaded bag to you (hope you have It), and toys to Eugene. Besides that, I bought you two other articles which I’m holding for you and will present to you personally on my return. Shan’t tell you what they are! That’s all for today except that once more I want to tell you that you have a husband who wants you more than he can tell you, who longs for your love and affection as he craves nothing else, and that that hubby is true to his little wife. Good night, sweetheart, a~d pleasant dreams. Love to all. Your faithful Lee December 3 Dear Folks (and this includes Ed), Just received a letter from Ed dated November 29th and he said he was leaving Angers with his Engineers Company the next morning; he’s quit Base Hospital #27 and is bound for Saint-Nazalre, France. Then he expects to sall quickly and be home for Xmas dinner with all of you. And as he’ll probably beat this letter to you, hereafter all letters to ’Dear Folks’ are meant for him as well as for the rest of you. Well, Ed’s a lucky dog, isn’t he? Gee, it surely would look great to see the little old Statue of Liberty once more. Wonder when I’ll see it. We’re still idlin~ Just waiting for the movement orders which will take us where? That’s the puzzle. At first I was not sure it was to @ermany with the American 3rd Army. But we’ve delayed so long I’m beginning to doubt that a bit, though I’d still give five to one we’re going east and not west. Tell Ed I’ve received his letters of November 24, 26 and 29 with enclosures and little snapshot. Also received Paul’s letter of October 28th. Glad everyone is well and especially that Grandma H. is feeling better. Nothing else exciting. Want to write Millard yet and it’s almost midnight. So good night and loads of love to all.
Love, War, a~d Medicine
Dearest Soldier Hubby Honey, strange thou6hts are bound to occur when one is engaged at a distance of 3,000 miles. I have reread your last few letters and I stopped to think over finances.- It is not a child’s play we are entering, but a life’s proposition before us. We are neither of us children and we must look ahead. In the past five years I’ve handled at least three million dollars of my employer’s money, and at home I’ve never been denied a single thing. Finances have bothered me very little. But it is an important item to you and me, so here goes for the last time I will discuss it with you. If you were discharged from the army tomorrow, we would stand about as follows: $300 Your b.ank a,/,c
bonds with me Stamps " " Your stock Cash from Ma about
cost us about one thousand dollars to furnish our home so we will have about $500 in cash to live on without touching our investments which can easily be turned into cash within twenty-four hours. That cash money ought to keep us for four or five months without depriving ourselves, and at the end of that time you ought to earn enough to keep a roof over our heads, and we can turn the stamps into cash for necessities. To the above we can add $300.00 cash as gifts from my brothers. With a foundation of almost $3,000.00 there is little cause for immediate worry as a great many people start with considerably less. For instance Gussie had about $500.00 and Mortie nothing but a $35.00 a week Job. Of course, they got considerable money as gifts and furnished their home with that. You might say you haven’t $35.00 a week - but if you can’t beat Mortie in ten years, I’m no Judge of men and Mottle is earning $75.00 a week. If thin~s look dull I’ll pitch in as I ought to be worth as much in Chicago as in New York. But, honey, I will not consent to a postponed wedding on the ground of finances. I’ll work with you and for you, but I c~annot live without you. If we could meet each week, it might be different, but I’ll go insane if you ask me to make such a sacrifice. I’ll work my fingers off for you if necessary and live in one room with you, but will not live even three months without you after you return to this country. Don’t ask it of me, honey, as I could not. Nothing
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can be gained by It. If you knew what l’ve suffered many, many days and nights, you will not ask it of me. I need you dearest. Oh, honey, how I long for you. I ask you to come for me as soon thereafter as you can. I want to be with you the first day you open your office. I want to stand by your side at the very start and watch you grow. Darling, I want to be with you in this fight and to share every Joy and disappointment. It is to be ’our’ struggle, not yours alone. Can anything be gained if I continue working in New York while you are working to store money in Chicago? dearest, my heart would break at such an arrangement. Therefore, my wish in the matter is that you come for me before you start practice in this country, and I don’t think either of us will have cause for complaint, as we’ll work together. Dearest, I must go. You, honey, are most wonderful part of my life and l’m impatient to be in your arms. l’m waltin~ for my hubby to call for his Sweetheart wife Nina
8weetheart Mine It is llke pullin~ teeth to steal a few minutes on the first of the month, so this will be Just a note to reassure you that l’m well and love you with all my heart. You probably know that President Wilson leaves here tomorrow to attend the Peace Table. Dr. Wise is one of the party and l’ve asked him to look you and Ed up if he gets near you. He is very interesting and I think you would enjoy a visit from him. While writing this, the Mauretania is coming up the river with 5,000 troops aboard and she has all flags flying. The whistles are all blewing a Jubilant welcome. Oh, boy, how I wish you were one of the boys. No passes are being issued for the piers. It is quite cold in New York now and I believe winter has come to stay a while. Received a letter from Paul. He says Blanche is rapidly improving and all the others are well. He was at Father’s store when he wrote, l’m glad of that as l’m sure he needs all the rest he can get. In fact, I am very anxious to have him come to New York, not because of our wedding so much as to give him a complete change from business, and l’m going to see that he has as good a time as it is in my power to give him. Your own wife
Love, War, and ~edicine
Darling Hubby A few minutes ago the President and his ship left for Paris. There were several torpedo Boats acting as escort, and a few planes flew very low over the steamer. One plane did ~Ii sorts of pretty stunts and it was the most graceful one I’ve ever seen. As the boat was very close to this shore we could almost see the people. About an hour before the President’s ship left the Lapland with our troops aboard came up. My what a welcome they got. More whistles blew than for Wilson. It was real exciting. Honey, will you give me your lips,I want your kisses. I want you - boy how I worship you. You’re mine, dearest, and I’m all yours. If only you were here, I’d prove to you how much I am Your idolizing wife Nina
Sweetheart Hubby Glad I’m indoors as it’s surely blowing some gale. The wind is actually crying. There is no doubt about it winter has hit us, but I hope it won’t be as bad as last year. Honey, I am madly in love with you and I grow deeper and deeper into the ~rip of my attachment to you, though I can’t see how it can get much worse. I thank God for His goodness to me, and as the old year goes out and the new year comes in there will be only one prayer in my heart. I shall thank God for our good health and for the happiest year of my life - one filled with anxiety, faith, love. I shall pray that you and I will be united early in the new year, and that He will watch over us and guide us through the future, so that we can cross the stormy paths with a song in our hearts and a smile on our lips. Dearest hubby, your wife is awfully lonesome for you. I keep saying to myself ’How much longer must I wait?’ ’Will my sweetheart come soon?’ When you come, I should like to hide with you from the rest of the world and Just give myself up to you - to be hugged, caressed, kissed and loved. Sweetheart, I hate to break away, but it’s time to eat and I’m starved. All send love. You have all my love, heart, body and soul. Boy, oh boy, how I’d cover you with kisses if you were within reach of Your vicious wife Nina
Love, War, and Medioine
December 3, Baccarat, Prance. My ewn Nina, It’s almost.midnight, but I want to write you a few lines before hitting the hay. It’s so long since I heard from you, it seems, though as a matter of fact your last letter was dated November 2nd. Our mail service has again gone on the bum, temporarily only I hope, and our letters are a bit delayed. We have to send a truck to the city of Nancy daily to take and get our mail. Before, it was delivered. But I received a little batch today. There was a card from you of September 3rd - I don’t know why so long delayed. And a nice letter from Stella of November 5th and another from Paul. Also got one from Millard and two from Ed. Of course, you’ve heard by now that Ed has been ordered home. I think he intends to surprise the folks and perhaps you also - he’ll beat this letter, I’m sure. He wrote on November 2Pth that he was leaving early the next morning for Saint-Nazaire and from there would sail for the United States. He expects to eat Xmas dinner at home. All I can say is he’s a lucky dog. Millard thinks he’s good for about three more months over here. Wish I could drop in on him. And here we are and here we seem to be stuck. Nothing to do. I pass the day in fresh air as much as possible, though I’ve done more reading lately than ever. And beat a chap who says he’s the checker champion of Indiana - beat him two straight. Do you play checkers? Better practice up, if you don’t, as we can spend some pleasant hours in that direction sometime in IPlp.
Love, War, and Medicine
By the way, won’t you tell Stella to address my letters as Captain L. Unger M.C. and not M.O.R.C. or M.R.C.? You see, at first it was Medical Officers Reserve Corps, then shortened to Medical Reserve Corps, and a few months ago, when the army was unified, we became member~ (not permanent, thank the Lord) of the Medical Corps United States Army. M.O.R.C. and M.R.C. are taboo. I asked my roommate to suggest something for me to write about and he (Captain Raw) told me to be sure to tell you that I was a first-class crook. He supports his assertion by stating that when I visited the Hun trenches several days ago, I looted them of miscellaneous souvenirs such as two gas masks, a helmet, and a trench shovel. By the way, I got that helmet on its way and some German papers, but the rest of the stuff they refused to pass by mail. Did I tell you, Nina, that I’m sending all souvenirs home? I don’t think it’s advisable to send them to New York and then have us carry them with us to Chicago or send them by express. Well, honey, it’s late and I’m tired. Good night and God bless you and keep you safe for Your loving husband, Lee Loads of love to all. And carloads of it to you, w~th many kisses and hugs to boot :
December 5 Dear little Nina, This is to be a newsless note, so don’t expect anything exciting. We’re here and we don’t know how long we’ll be here. Still awaiting orders. If the weather were decent, it wouldn’t be so bad sitting around, but it’s misty and drizzlin8 almost every day. Last night the nurses were playing with their victrolas and one of them invited me up for a dance. I got hold of some other doctors and soon we had six couples dancing away in the hall. ’Twas good sport and the very first dance I’ve been to at this hospital. I must tell you a funny thing. My garrison shoes, which are fairly light, were being half-soled and I only had hobnailed ones left. As I couldn’t dance in the latter, I had to borrow a pair of shoes. I tried on several sizes belonging to other fello~s and finally was forced to take one of size i0 belonging to one of the boys. It was so large for me that I put on two
Love, War, and Medicine
pairs of socks and then my feet rattled in ’em. However, I managed to scrape along somehow. I’m rotten on reversing and will need your help when I get back. Will you teach me? Dearest, I’m awfully lonesome for you. The longer I stay over here, the more I seem to want you. I’m Just aching to put my arms about you and hold you to me. Can’t you feel how rapidly my heart beats Just at the thought of you? My roommate, Captain Rau, has gone to bed and as I don’t like to annoy him by keeping on the light. So good night, sweetheart, and loads and loads of love from You~ hubby, Lee Sent you some British Journals (pictorial) yesterday. Came through the Red Cross. Save them, please.
December 7 Dearest Nina, II~00 P.M. Captain Rau, and I Just finished one half pound of delicious fresh-roasted French chestnuts roasted on the stove in our room. And now he’s sitting smoking a cigarette while I dash off these few lines before lights out and bedtime. More rumors float around here than you can shake a stick at. We’re going to stay here, we’re going to Germany, we’re going to the United States. Take your choice. And, to complicate matters, yesterday one of our majors and one of our captains were ordered away to a mobile hospital unit. And now rumors are thick that our outfit is going to be broken up and all of us sent different ways. I hope not as I want to stick with this unit as I like it. However, everything’s speculation. The main thing is that we’re still here and still doing nothing much. Honey, this is going to be merely a note as I haven’t anything exciting to write about. Oh, yes, must tell you we had our second informal dance last night and I trotted a bit with assorted nurses. Music by victrola. Dancing floor was the hallway. Good night, dearest, pleasant dreams. And loads and loads of love and kisses. Your faithful boy, Lee Left Chicago eighteen months ago today. And it’s almost eighteen months since we met.
Love, War, and Medicine
Captain Leon Unger, M.D., M.C. United States Ar~y, with American Expedition~ary Force, on duty with Evacuation Hospital #2, Baccarat, France, December 6, 1918.
Love, War, and Medicine
December 8 Dear Folks, Some mail came today, but I was greatly disappointed not to hear from you and hope you’ve not given up writin~ Just because you thought ~ might be coming home. Please continue to write as ever. If I come home, I’ll cable you. Had two letters from Millard today. He says he had a letter from Sam. I haven’t had a line from him and do wish you’d mail me some news from him. Also had one letter each from Nina and Stella. Both are fine and dandy. No more news from here. We’re still in this city and still ’all packed up, no place to go.’ How’s Paul getting along in French? ’If fait tres beau auJourd’hul et tres chaud. Maintenant je suls dana ma chambre et J’ecrire cette lettre a ma famille. Apres J’ai la fini J’irae a mon lit. Comprenez-vous?’ Today is Marie’s birthday. Please congratulate her again for me. Did Eugene get the toys I sent him and did Ms, Marie and Sarah get the ’Point de Luneville’ lace handkerchiefs I mailed them for Xmas? Walked about ten miles this afternoon and came back with a good appetite to some delicious lemon cream pie and apricot ice cream. Well,°good night and loads of love to you all. Affe c t i chat ely, Lee Enclosing two Boche shoulder-straps. #181 Sunday, December 8 Dearest Little Sweetheart, Today was a semi-lucky day for some mail dribbled in and brought me your letter of November 6th, Stella’s of the 12th and two from Millard. Yours was the first letter I had from you in a long time and there are a lot missing. Your letter made me very happy as it tells me the two main things I crave - that you are well and that your heart is mine. Those two thoughts are like soft music in my ears. You ask how long after the armistice it will be before I return. I wish I knew, but, as the English say, I haven’t the ’foggiest’ notion. It may be one month from now, it may be six months or a year. We’re still here and still awaiting orders. We are now down to twenty-one officers. Meanwhile, we have no patients and have very little to do. I spend a little time trying to improve my Prench and 1,11 say there’s ’beaucoup’ room for improvement.
Love, War, and Medicine
I note you say you’ve sent notices to Chicago newspapers about our engagement. I’m glad to hear it as it has lately become an open secret. Have you announced it in New York also? What about your boss? I’ii speak frankly, dearest, you have a good Job and l’d hold on to it as long as you can - till we’re mart ie d ¯ Want to write Stella, home and Millard yet tonight. But I can’t close without whispering in your ear that I love you most devotedly and selfishly and that I hereby give you, to have and to hold, 1,000 long, vicious and sweet, yearning kisses with a tight hug and a gentle caress to go with each tulip. Your own hubby, Lee #182 December p My dearest Nina, Well, honey, the expected has happened and I know that you too will be grieved to hear that my outfit has been ordered to Treves, then Coblenz with the American 3rd Army of Occupation. We pull out from Baccarat tomorrow afternoon; our train goes by way of Nancy, Metz and Luxemburg. As we have over fifty carloads of equipment we go by two trains, leaving two hours apart. The nurses go by the first train. Most of the doctors go by the second. The men are split e ve nly. I have spent a busy day getting rid of a lot of Junk in my kit and packing up. Glad to be able to say that my trunk was able to be closed as I was afraid I had too many souvenirs, etc. in it. Don’t know how I’ll get ’em all home. Would mail ’em if I could, but the authorities won’t take things. It’s now almost midnight. We have breakfast at 6:00 A.M. tomorrow. So I’m compelled to whisper a hurried ’I love you,’ and say good night and God bless you and keep you safe through the additional few months of our separation. Loads of love, honey. Your own hubby, Lee Will write as often as I can though may be a week or so before I get the chance again. Nothing to worry about as we’re going on a peaceful expedition.
Love, War, and Medicine
CHAPTER XXII OFF TO COBLENZ, GERMANY, WITH EVACUATION HOSPITAL #2 AND THIRD AMERICAN ARMY (AMERICAN ARMY OF OCCUPATION) Tuesday, December I0 Good-by to Baccarat: Our train pulled out in two sections. The first section had all the nurses plus six officers and half the enlisted men. In our section were twelve officers including Rau,. P~all a.n~d me in one compartment; also our train took along the rest of the men. Our compartment was definitely third class. The train ride was very Jerky and progress was slow. Wednesday, December Ii After a fitful sleep, we were up at 7:00 A.M. Our train was stopped Just six miles past the city of Nancy. There were no "rest rooms" so we got off the train and we used one side of the train for a brief wash-up, etc. Then the train took off again and went through Pont-a-Mousson and then through our old trench line to Sablons which is a suburb of Metz in Lorraine tAlsace-Lorraine was French, then German, then French, then German - now French again since the end of World War III- We did not get a chance to see the city of Metz, capital of Lorraine. Then off again,
Love, War, and Medicine
by Jerks, and, ~fs~tunately, I found a cot in the boxcar of the train and had a dandy sleep.
Dearest Sweetheart It is ten days or more since I heard from you and I surely am lonesome for my little hubby. I’m not a bit worried about you, honey, as I feel that you are well, but there is a vacuum within me Just crying out for a line. Darling you will probably say I ought to be used to delays, and that I have no right to get blue, but there are some things we never get accustomed to, and I feel disappointment Just as keenly now as I did a year ago when I first realized that you were my mate. Hope for better luck ~tomorrow. In the meantime I’ll bluff it through by smiling between sighs. Yesterday afternoon we entertained some cousins and in the evening went to another cousin’s house with Ma. Most of that branch of the family had gathered there and I was pleasantly surprised to see what a nice family the ’prodigal’ son had reared. This chap left home about ten years ago. Joined the navy, got mixed up in some affair in which an officer was involved and my cousin was forced to change his ’Navy’ name. He Joined the medical branch and after his term had expired and he received an honorable discharge (under the assumed name) he went west and practiced without a license. He was caught (I believe) and had to leave the state. Being a Soldier of fortune he tried his hand at many things and finally married a gentile girl who was a school teacher in Annapolis. He again went west and when war broke out enlisted in the navy. He has refused a Junior Lieutenantcy as he prefers to remain a noncom. He is permanently stationed at a supply base in Brooklyn and is still getting away with his bluff. Don’t know what name he goes under, except that he wears the red stripe for five years’ service in the navy. No matter what his faults are, no one ever heard him complain or ask for help. He has three splendid boys, whom he has trained as perfect little gentlemen. Honey, if you need anything please don’t hesitate to send me an order, as I want you to have everything possible for your comfort and leisure. Your happiness is my first consideration and so, honey, you must not deny yourself anything. Lou called me up yesterday and told me she had reee~ved a letter from you several days ago. She is to
Love, War, and Medicine
come to the house tomorrow evening. Saturday afternoon May, Stella, and I will go to Celia’s for our annual Tea Party. Honey - dear there isn’t a thing new. Of ceurse, each day we see-an increased number of wounded soldiers on the streets, and the planes fly like birds in the sky, while torpedo boats are quite usual in the river. But there is no excitement anywhere. If the time comes when I can give you all the kisses that are awaiting you, boy oh boy what a shower of them will fall upon you. Really, dearest I’m Just oozing with love and fed up with kisses for you. Dearest boy you can’t imagine how I long for your caresses and the hugs and embraces from you. Time only intensifies the longing which binds you and me together as one. No man ever was loved more devotedly than you are by your Own Sweetheart wife Nina Metz, Lorraine December ii De ar Nina, Just a hurried note to tell you I’m en route to Germany. Left Baccarat yesterday afternoon and passed through Nancy on way here. Am writing in the R.T.O.’s office (Railroad Transportation Officer) in freight yards of Sablons which is a suburb of Metz. Only stopping here for change of engine. Then to Luxemburg (I think I won’t drop in on the young and beautiful duchess). Then to Treves, Germany. May stop there, though I have an idea we’ll keep right on going till we hit the Rhine near Coblenz. Riding in third class compartment, four of us, and sleeping on hard boards. Eating canned food. But happy that we’re moving. Lots of Germans all around us. Must close. Loads of love, Lee Thursday, December 12 Awoke at 7:00 A.M. to find that we had crossed through the corner of the Duchy of Luxemburg and were stopped at Treves (French name for Trier). We climbed out of the train and were greeted by hundreds of children- they seemed glad to see us.
Love, War, and Medicine
One interesting happening: as I was standing by the train, a motorcycle pulled up. An American soldier was driving the vehicle. From the side seat out stepped Captain Edwin Hirsch, M.D., an old friend of mine from Chicago. At noon our train was off again and in fou~ hours we reached the German city of Winninger Just ten kilometers west of the big city of Coblenz (German name is Koblents); this city is on the Rhine at its Junction with the Moselle River and has a population of almost i00,000. We stopped at Winninger all night; these German people seemed friendly and very polite and kept saluting us. There we met some of the staff of Evacuation Hospital #7 including Captain McLain and Lieutenant Mixon; also Miss Grimes, one of the nurses from Wesley Memorial Hospital, Chicago. The village was very clean and orderly. The next day we bought some postcards in town and learned that five American Divisions entered Coblenz yesterday. 12/11/1918 Dearest Hubby How do you think I look this morning? Happy? Well, well I should say so. Firstly, Santa Claus came to my house last night and left a most exquisite beaded bag. It is really the prettiest one I have seen and is what I need more than anything. Santa is a wise old dear as he read my wish - though I never expressed it in words. Only the gift is more beautiful than I ever expected to possess. This morning I received your letter #170, and Stella sent me the letter you wrote her on 11/19/18.
Love, War, and Medicine
I thoroughly enjoyed both. Of course, I’m anxious to know where they moved you, as according to your letter to Stella, you expected to follow the Army of Occupation. Frankly, l’m disappointed as I had visions of our meeting, wedding bells, and our doll’s house. All these took shape and almost became a reality. In fact I felt almost certain we would spend our birthdays ~n our own home. However, if this will give you an opportunity to see more of the eastern hemisphere and take you through new countries where you will meet people of different nations, I shall be content to wait a few months longer as I want you to see as much as possible while you can. Besides, I hope the prolonged stay will help you professionally. Dearest, don’t worry about me working too hard on my trousseau. I find that I can’t do any sewing at night because my eyes are too tired - so I simply prepare things and Mother does the actual work. She is really working quite steadily on my things and her work is perfect. She’s a wonder, God bless her, and as I told you yesterday we have not drawn one cent from the bank for anything. So we’re in luck and we are ahead of the game. Don’t worry for a single moment about spending too much money, as I will get only such things as are essential in a home - sufficient to last at least two years. Darling accept my sincere thanks for your handsome gift. God bless you and keep you well throughout the coming year, and send you back soon. Love awaits you and cries out for you. Boy, I adore you and shall be the happiest, proudest girl in the world when I am Your own loving wife Nina
Love, War, and Medicine
TO COBLENZ, GERN hNY
On Board Train stalled off Winningen, Germany December 13 #183 Dearest Nina, Although there is no chance of getting this letter off at present, I’ii start it and finish at next opportunity. As we are en route, we neither get letters nor can we send any. First of all, we received our orders to leave for Treves, Germany, as part of Army of Occupation (3rd American Army). These came on December 9th and we packed up and left Baccarat in sections on afternoon of the 10th. Our thirty-three nurses, about fifty men and six officers with one-half baggage left about 4:00 P.M., and the rest of our officers and men left on the second section to which l’m attached at 5:30 P.M. Though it was pouring, a number of citizens of Baccarat were assembled to give us a send-off. So we kissed the village good-by, and I for one was glad to leave it as it was a frightfully dull town,and, like most little villages and towns in France, it was not too clean. Sanitation is not exactly a French trump card. Anyway, we pulled out and were soon speeding along at the dizzy rate of about five miles per hour with stops every time the engineer wanted to talk to someone or to read a paper or eat or anything else. We’d go forward and backward, Jolting and stopping suddenly and every time this would happen, we’d almost get knocked down and all our food would come tumbling down from the racks above. It was great sport - for the engineer. We crawled along. By eight we had covered about twentyfive kilometers (fifteen miles). By midnight we had passed through Nancy, one of France’s largest and prettiest cities. About 2:00 A.M. we came to a halt about six miles north of Nancy and rested on a siding till i0:00 A.M. Then we were off again at the same phenomenal speed and went on to Toul. Halted there for an hour while they changed engines. Then off again to
Love, War, and ~dioine
Pont-a-Mousson where we halted again for an hou~ and changed engines again. They changed ermines almost every stop - guess our load must have strained those l~ench engines too much. Pont-a-Mousson is a battered town which was Just behind old American line and was one of the starting points in St. Mihiel drive last September. We pushed through it and soon ca~e to old American Lines, then to No Man’s Land, then German lines. Lots of shell holes all around, more on German side than on allied. The Moselle River, which we have followed all the way, is a beautiful stream, and the further north and east we’ve co~e, the prettier and larger it has appeared. As you know, it empties into the Rhine at Coblenz. Back there near the old lines, most of the bridges over this river were in ruins. We crept along to Pagny-sur-Moselle, another ruined village and then crossed over the border from France into what had been German Lorraine before the war, the province which had been torn from France in 1870. Changed engines again. As we went along, the scenery became lovely and all signs of war gradually disappeared. People stared at us as our express ’shot’ by. The French language became less frequently heard and German was substistuted. Handkerchiefs were waved at us especially by children. German material lay around in large quantities, large locomotives (much greater in size than French and almost as huge as American), boxcars galore, with the German eagle painted on each car and names of cities where they were manufactured stamped on, such as Hanau, K~in, Coblenz, Mayence and Trier. Iron rails, iron beams, iron articles of all sorts and varieties abounded for ~his Metz sector is one of ~urope’s chief source of that metal. We halted at Sablons, a suburb of Metz and its chief freight yard. Didn’t get a chance to walk over to see the city of Metz as we had to stick close to the train. Dropped notes from office at station to you and home. Soon we were off a~ain and traveled all night. When I woke up the next morning, I found we had crossed through Lorraine, through a corner of the Duchy of Luxemburg, were at Treves, Germany; Germans call it Trier, and call the Moselle River the Mosel. Butted into the German station where they had some ~unnlng water and managed to get a satisfactory wash and shave. Then back to the car. A large number of German kids quickly collected around us and ~y knowledge of German cane in very handy. Was able to hold a conversation with them rather easily, something l’ve never been able to do while in France. The kids cane
Love, War, and Medicine
dressed in all sorts of costumes. Most wore soldiers’ caps and some had shoes with wooden soles and woven paper tops. One kid was pretty intelligent ; he was about fourteen and a student at the Trier Gymnasia. He was sure Serbia and Russia had caused the war,
thought the kkiser would get his throne back, hated
the French, liked Americans a little, hated Ludendorff, and idolized Hindenburg. All the kids were eager to exchange German badges, belts, etc. for chocolate, something they said they hadn’t had for four years. Took a little walk around Trier. It’s very pretty and the view from the bridge over Mosel is beautiful. Everything is spick and span, delightfully so. All railroad officials are Germans and are very polite and salute promptly. When one of them came, the kids would run like the dickens, to come back gradually as the official walked on. We stayed at Trier till noon and then were off again. Our orders were changed and we are to take up our station at Ems, said to be a fine little bathing resort near Coblenz, Just across the Rhine and in the thirty kilometer radius of territory across the Rhine occupied by Americans. We had to move our watches up an hour as German time is one hour ahead of French - about seven hours
ahead of New York time. The trip from Trier was wonderful because of the magnificent scenery along the Moselle Valley. The hills bordering it are high and rough, yet up to the very top you can see the stakes on which the grapevines grow in order that Rhine wine shall be. Every little village was spotless and neat and pretty as could be. The Mosel winds in and out and gets larger as it flows toward the Rhine River. About 4:00 P.M. yesterday we reached the village of Winningen and here we have been stuck ever since. We’re on a siding. It seems that the occupation of Coblenz and the neighboring sector is not completed sufficiently for us to go on to Eros. We may be stuck here for several days - can’t say. Winningen is a little village of about 500 and very attractive. The people are civil and seem rather glad to see us. I made a tour of inspection this morning and invested in some postcards and matches. Gave them francs in pay as I had no German money. Seems funny to be dealing with another kind of money. First it was dollars and cents, then pounds, shillings and pence, then francs and centimes, now marks and pfennigs. ~hat next? While in town talked to several of the citizens and among them was a soldier, Just
Love, War, and Medicine
~etu~ned, who, curiously enough, was a German artilleryman in the St. Quentin sector on March 21st, 1918, Just opposite wh~re I was on that memorable day when the Hun offensive began. He seemed delighted ’dass der krieg war fertig.’ Stopped at a gasthaus and had a cup of ~erman coffee - it was rotten’. How have we been faring? Well, we’re living in third class compartments with hard wooden seats - four of us in each compartment. We have a few blankets, so we’re not too bad. The first night I slept on a bench with Lieutenant Zvery, but the bench was so narrow we had a tough time. After that I found an empty boxcar (for horses and cattle - and American soldiers and other freight) and rigged up a much better bed and have been pretty comfy, though I haven’t had my clothes off since we left Baccarat, France, thPee days ago. When the trip began, our mess officer stowed a bunch of canned foods in each compartment and we’ve lived on that, aided by hot coffee or cocoa at each meal and once by some delicious hot ’shum (’shum is army lingo for a soup in which everything imaginable may be mixed in). But, chiefly we’ve subsisted on canned bully beef, canned beans, canned salmon, canned tomatoes, canned Jelly, canned apricots, cheese and stale bread, all washed down by evil-tasting ’aqua chlorinata’ (chlorinated water). Our meals are very simple and quickly prepared. The coffee or cocoa comes in, we haul down the cans from the rack or open some more and eat heartily with the aid of a tin plate, bowl, knife, fork and spoon. I’ve been passing the time reading or playing bridge or taking walks. But it has rained every day and trips haven’t been very nice. Next to us is stalled the train bearing Evacuation Hospital #7, and among its members I found two former classmates, a former teacher of mine and a nurse who was at Wesley Hospital, Chicago. So I did a little visiting. Evacuation Hospital #7 has been a week on its way already, and had a lot of wounded patients from the Chateau Thierry sector of the American advance Just before the Germans surrendered. Must close - loads love and many kisses, Lee December 13, 1918 Darling Little Hubby:Sweetheart, by this time you will have seen some more of Europe, and are probably on new soil. Lucky boy: My, oh my, how will I ever be able to stand beside such an intelligent hubby. I shall be afraid of my
Love, War, and Medicine
shortcomings, and ashamed of my ignorance. Still it is a wonderful opportunity and l’m glad it has come your way. Honey, don’t think I am not keenly disappointed that our separation is to be prolonged, because I have planned and dreamed and anticipated our early reunion.. Then comes your letter saying that you would probably follow the Third Army of Occupation. Like a dash of cold water it struck my heart for Just a moment - a most selfish moment. I soon realized that it was for your benefit, and condemned myself for my selfish thought. It is only another one of the numerous proofs of your good work,and of the fact that our country coincides with my opinion that you are one of the bravest, best men in the world. You say you are attached to one of the best hospitals in the A.E.F. and I know that if you were not proficient and efficient in your work, you would not have been assigned to it. If I say you are a hero I am not exaggerating. Your work is noble, and I’m mighty proud of you. God bless my soldier-boy hubby. Many Jobs are occupied by women, who are doing the work so well that the firms insist upon retaining them, which means the men will not get their positions. For instance, one stock exchange house that never employed a woman now has six hundred of them. They work for less money, and are accomplishing better results than the men. Of course, Wall Street was always more or less of a man’s game - now women are doing the bulk of office work. It is hard on our boys, and it is a condition that will require much thought. Banks and corporations should set the example. To continue answering your letter #171. It seems to me you have nothing to worry about, so far as your profession is concerned. Even if other doctors do get a handicap - you’ll be way ahead of them in a very short time. You know, honey, many doctors had the lead on you getting across but they haven’t seen one quarter of the territory nor action you have - and many of them older than you have never risen in rank. Darling I do wish we were married and that you were by my side. Please, Honey, promise me we will be married within one month after you return to this country. That will give the folks ample time to have you alone. You see, sweetheart, it is like thls. I love you, and every inch of my body is aquiver every time I think of you, so I wouldn’t dare be in your presence twenty-four hours without being married to you. I want you and yearn for you. I dream of your kisses and the thought of those kisses makes me dizzy. I long for your caresses and the thought
Love, War, and Medicine
of them throws me into a frenzy. I crave your companionship and the idea of it puts me in tumult. If all this be true how could I possibly control myself when we are actually under the same roof and I am sitting in your lap. No, no honey, don’t come unless I can belong to you but for God’s sake come soon. Don’t make me wait one moment longer than absolutely necessary. Little sweetheart I simply can’t stand it. You are everything to me and I want to be close to you. Yes, to feel your body close to mine, to have your lips pressed tightly to mine and to be in your arms. I want to cling to you and feel your head on my breast. No I won’t insist that you put your ear to my heart throu6h a gown. Doesn’t my body belong to you? Why hide it? I’m yours - covered and uncovered - good and bad. My soul needs no covering from you. I am yours conventionally and unconventionally. Boy, boy, I’m Just putty in your hands and I’m all atingle. Just think what it will be when I am actually under the covers with you with Just a flimsy gown on? Tb~ warmth of our bodies as they touch will be almost like a contact of electricity which will set us aflame, and our one and only thought will be our love for each other. How can I deny myself to the inevitable? I might as well try to deny my faith in God as a Supreme Being. You say it is the first time you have ventured to write so frankly. Honey, I have long since tried to control my pen. I write as I feel because I know my letters are seen only by my husband and he knows me as no one else does. Why, boy, I sometimes won’t admit to myself how badly I need you. At times I close my eyes and imagine I’m in your lap, and I wouldn’t dare try to analyze my sensation and I don’t even admit to myself what it really means. I never wrote a love letter in my life until you came upon the scene. Such a letter as this I never expected to write and the same can be said of many you have received to date. Still I never feel that I am doing wrong and I only know that I am talking to my husband. Will I accept you and promise to be your wife? Yes, sweetheart, I promise to love, honor and obey you now and forever on earth and through eternity. As God is my witness - I raise my right hand and swear that in my heart we are already one. I am absolutely true to you and shall remain so. Honey, I love your little game of forfeits. Of course I played it - but never the game with such forfeits. I like it nice thou@h, particularl~-~e end when I sit in your lap and hug you and kiss you
Love, War, and Medicine
until you carry me to bed and there we start all over again until we fall asleep in each other’s arms. D~rling, how long must I wait for all this happiness? Can’t you feel how I need you and that you~ longing intensifies my craving? Little sweetheart, I adore you, and if you feel that you are too frank what am I? If you are rough with me, I’ll be a tyrant because I’m with you every time. Good night, Hubby, I’m too nervous to write more as blood is rushing from head to toes and I’m almost as wild as my blood. Honey, honey, I worship you. God bless my boy and send him back soon to His insanely-in-love wife Nina
Love, War, and ~edicine
IN COBLENZ, GERMANY
Letter #183 (Continued) Saturday, December ~, 1918 Coblenz, Germany Well, here we are, settled down, or rather, I should say, Just arrived. About 6:00 A.M. this morning our train pulled out and quickly took us the few miles from Winnlngen to Coblenz. We stopped at the freight yard and found cur ~flrs.t section Just ahead and we held a grand reunion. That section went very fast when it left Baccarat, in fact, they were the first Americans to reach Coblenz except military police and some engineers. They had to get out for a couple of days. We hung around the large freight yards all day and unloaded, for word came that we are to locate in Coblenz instead of going to Ems. And now I’m at our destination, Coblenz, writing in an old-time barracks called the ’Stein-Strassen Caserne,’ now to be the home of Evacuation Hospital #2, United States of America, for some time to come, six months or so, I’d guess. It seems to be a very fine place, much better than our old barracks at Baccarat. It has running water, shower baths with tile floors, cookhmuses, etc. But I’m so tired I haven’t explored much of anything. The twentyone of us officers are sleeping tonight in one large room. Fortunately, we’ve iron beds, mattresses and three blankets apiece, so we’re O.K. Evacuation Hospital #7 came with us to Coblenz only to find orders for them to go back to Prum near Treves. Hard luck for them, I say, as Coblenz looks like a nice city, lying as it does at the Junction of the Hoselle and Rhine Rivers. Saw the Rhine in the distance, but haven’t had a chance to really look it over. Will try to do that little thing tomorrow. And now good night, or, guten nacht, mon chere Nina. Lee Coblenz Sunday, December 15 Have spent a very interesting day. Slept like a rock last night as did all of the twenty-one of us as we
Love, WaP, and Medicine
FollowinK PaKo 802
~,~eben 2. Rh Dh, 28
Two Views of our Evacuation Hospital #2, on Stein Strasse in Coblenz.
Love, War, and Medicine
were pretty tired after our four days of travel. Our meals today were eaten out of doors with the enlisted men as our mess has not yet been started. Tonight we ate by candlelight at long tables - ’twas Just like a picnic at home. Had sweet corn (canned), potatoes, soup, apricots, coffee, bread and Jam, We’re not starving. This morning another officer and I crossed the Rhine (yes, I admit I tingled a little while walking across this stream - few Americans have crossed it since the war began). We walked from our caserne through main streets of Coblenz to the Rhine, crossed over after a little persuasion of the American guards stationed at each end of all bridges, walked along on the east bank to the next bridge (a long pontoon affair), recrossed the Rhine, went along till we reached the point where the Moselle flows into the Rhine and then walked back to our camp. ’Twas a delightful walk. The sun was out for the first time in five days. People thronged the streets. All were civil to us, but I fancied that the German women weren’t overglad to see us. In fact, some of them seemed very cool. All the men were in civilian clothes, save a few who still had on their field-gray uniforms. The view along the Rhine was positively beautiful. It’s a fairly good-sized river here. Some small boats lay close to shore. Castles could be seen on both banks. Ehrenbreitstein is a high hill Just across the Rhine from Coblenz and is an extremely strong
X~ve, War, and Medic i~e
Following Page 803
The huge fortress of Ehr~nb~eitstein across the Rhine River from Coblenz, Ge~nan~
Love, War, and Medicine
fortress. two rivers Erste." closed.
A pretty hotel lies on the west bank. Where the Join is a huge statue of "Kaiser Wilhelm der
The shops are neat, but as it’s Sunday, most were But I managed to buy a few postcard views of
Coblenz and am mailing some out. Had no German money, so gave French and they exchanged it at the rate of one mark twenty-five pfennigs per franc. It should be one mark forty-two. Before the war one mark was worth one franc twenty-five centimes, but German money has depreciated frightfully. Stopped at a bakery and bought what were supposed to be German macaroons, but they tasted like leather. Ordered some lemonade and was surprised to be served with some excellent pop - eight cents a bottle (four pfennigs). The buildings in Coblenz are clean and neat and look splendid. No signs of war here. The churches are handsome, but they are not of Gothic style like French churches are. Church bells were chiming all around us as we walked along. All the doctors and dentists, at least those of prominence, seemed to be located on one street next door to one another. This afternoon we found a German barracks Just full of stuff the Germans left - articles new and in excellent condition. I collected three bayonets, two black patentleather spiked helmets, some shoulder straps, tags, a furcovered haversack, etc. My only difficulty is in getting them to the United States. ~y trunk is full and I can’t get any more in it. Will send what I can home as soon as I can.
Love, War, and Medicine ,
of and bridges over the Rhine River.
fortress of Ehre nbre it stein across the Rhine.
River J oins the Rhine at Coblenz.
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