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Gerald R. Rees Papers: Transcripts - MS 1007

Gerald ReesĀ Correspondence - December 1943

December 1, 1943

City College of New York

Dec., 1, 1943

Dear Eleanor,

I had an awful feeling half-way thru my last letter to you that the words sounded very familiar, but wasn't quite sure. It happens that way sometimes, but this time I slipped up. What is it-advancing old age, or something? Anyhow you're sure what I meant to say, and no harm's done.

My name is on the Met's list of extras now, and I'm waiting with bated breath to see whether I get into "Mignon" next Saturday night. It will be Patrice Munsel's debut into the Met., and should be pretty good. Rise Stevens is in it also. The man at the stage door who signed me up seemed to think I could get in all right. Last week Frances Greer had the good part in "Boheme" and she's really a beauty.

I can see the Hudson from Army Hall, and there are sure a lot of boats in sight today. This subject is strictly "verboten" of course, but I like to watch the boats as they collect to make up a convoy or something. They are anchored in the river up past 180th St., which is a long way up. Besides that, the harbor will be packed full of boats. It's quite a sight.

The enclosed check probably looks as though I had opened an account, but it's just one of the ways the bank does business. I pay them the money, they give me a blank check. It's cheaper than a money order and handier. I had never heard of the idea before, but think it's a good one.

I wrote to Mrs. Baluss after you sent her letter; I hope she answers it. Sounds like she's working for the right kind of people, if she gets to do all of that flying.

You really should come to New York for a few days. There are so many things to see and do that it seems a shame to miss them. I don't even look at the theater page anymore because there are so many plays I want to see and can't. There should be some way that you and Mom could come together; she would enjoy it a lot too. I should still be here in the spring if they don't transfer us to another school.

Thanks for the gift suggestions. Long distance giving is sort of difficult without a little help like that.


December 5, 1943

Sunday Nite

Dear Mom,

No opera this week, so I went over to Newark and loafed the time away. There's always a place to sleep there, so I don't have to worry about a place to stay. Grace had bought some chickens so we had a good dinner today. Herbie has the mumps and was shut up in the back bedroom, but Grace is taking such good precautions that I doubt if the rest of the family will get them. She is an accomplished nurse by now, and takes it all in her stride. She has been giving Reyn vitamins for a long time now, and says that he hasn't been sick at all since then. Frances is also the picture of health. Leo Wright's three-year old son is staying there now because his mother is sick, so that's another one for Grace to take care of.

Reyn says that if they don't give him Christmas off he'll take it anyhow, and I don't blame him. It has been a long and tiresome grind for him.

A funny coincidence happened yesterday. After I had written to Barkeley to have my horn sent home, I discovered that they had a good band here that I might be able to play in, and was kicking myself for not having the horn sent here. Then yesterday darned if the horn didn't come. The supply sgt. apparently didn't even read my letter, but just looked at the return address and sent it. So it worked out for the best. Band practices are on Friday night so we are allowed to go. Conditions in general are a little better now; there are so many rules that even the officers get tired of enforcing them, so they let up on us.

How often do the Ashland news letters come out? I enjoyed reading the last one. When did-or will-Mr. Haslam leave? Some questions that I might ask are probably being answered by you right now, so I won't ask any.


December 7, 1943

United States Army

Tuesday nite

Dear Mom,

News that Vernon was coming to M.I.T. was certainly good, wasn't it. Tell him hello for me, and give him my phone number - AUdobon 3-7825, in case he is ever down New York way. It's only five hours from Cambridge, and he'll probably want to see Reyne sometime soon. He's very lucky; M.I.T. is rated the best technical school in the country. Will Bettie come east, too?

Burt came over tonight for a while. He's headed for Asheville, North Carolina, for radio operator school. Weather and radio are closely connected, so this will help him a lot. He hates to leave Reading, though. Frosts are moving to Buffalo the last of January, they say. The Council job there seems to be a very good one.

The clippings you sent were very interesting; I enjoyed them a lot. Sort of wondered what Doris was doing behind that fish skeleton, but you had cut the printing off.

The letter you forwarded from Johnny had been written on Nov. 20, so the mail service is really fast now. He tells how pleasant civilized life is, but wants to get back in the bush again. His letters are really entertaining; it's a treat to receive them.

Example of army efficiency: six months ago at Barkeley I was fitted for G.I. glasses. Today I got them. Asked for one pair, got two. So I now have four pair of glasses.

Thought I had sent a fairly complete Christmas list; sorry if I didn't, but really can't think of many things. We don't have much room for anything but stationery, a few pictures, may a little something edible. For once I'm pretty well supplied with clothing. A few phonographs records waiting for me when I get out of the army would be a good gift for the future.

Lights out now; good night.


December 13, 1943

United States Army

Monday night

Dear Folks,

Tonight my footlocker looks like part of Santa's pack on Christmas Eve. Eleanor's package came the other day, and today Mom's big one. Besides this are a couple of things I got for Herb and Francis. It's going to be hard not to open the packages but I guess I can hold out. Since the cookies wouldn't be so good later I'm working on them already; they certainly taste swell. It has been a long time since there have been any home-made cookies around.

I wish older people were as easy to shop for as little kids. Saturday I went up to toyland at Macy's and found everything I wanted for the nieces and nephews without any trouble. Saturday night we saw the show at the Music Hall. Besides the movie, the symphony orchestra played parts of "Carmen" and there was a complete stage show. It's a wonderful place. Next week they are presenting the pageant of the Nativity, and Greer Garson in "Madame Curie" on the screen. I'm going to try to see it.

Went out to Leonia yesterday after the service at Riverside. On the way I saw the first batch of Christmas trees for sale, so things look a little more in the spirit now.

Can't get over Vernon coming to M.I.T. It certainly is a good break for him.

Was there anything in the Blade about liquidating A.S.T.P.? We saw something to that effect in a Washington paper yesterday. The only question seemed to be how soon. Anyhow I'll enjoy myself here while I can.

Has the zero wave hit Toledo? It's really cold here. A little snow, but not much. Surveying will be a cold job this week.


December 19, 1943

Christmas Greetings

Dear Mom and Pop,

I've mailed you a package and am waiting anxiously to hear if it arrives by Christmas. There was no tag handy when I sent it, so you'll just have to remember that the last package under the tree is for both of you from me. (Take off the outer wrapping.)

If the phonograph record I sent comes before Christmas, don't play it till then-it's just a short Christmas greeting.

Last night I saw one of the finest performances ever. The show itself was very good-"Madame Curie"-but the stage show was the real thing. Part of it was a huge pageant of the Nativity, with almost miraculous staging. Angels would appear out of clear sky; there were real horses, cattle, and donkeys taking part; the music was really beautiful, and the costumes and lighting too.

I had dinner with the Frosts today. As part of the entertainment at the table Mr. Frost read some poetry he had written, and it was darn good. He is having some copies made, and I hope you can see one.

That package has me worried. Hope it gets there on time.


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