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September 4, 1944

In this unique letter, Johnny devotes half his letter to the litter of puppies that the unit has adopted. In the second half, he describes a trip through the countryside in an open Jeep, and comments on the sights of rural England, especially the small cars and red telephone booths.

September 4, 1944

Sunday

Dear Jerry,

It looks like we're in for a long winter at least it already seems like winter. It's cold with a raw wind to-night. I could easily use a couple of extra blankets besides the three issued.

We were supposed to have to-day off however, it turned out that business as usual was the rule of the day. You can blame that on this letter as something occurred which I thought might interest you.

This morning the Sgt. in charge of our group (there are just four of us on our job) found a dog that looked sick. He covered her up with a blanket and when we went back this afternoon we went over to see how she was. Guess what had happened. Meantime, nothing less than two puppies, one black, the other white with a black bottom. Boy they sure were cute! I believe the happy event had just happened and Mom was proud as punch. I wish you could have seen the sergeant. He's a six footer with a voice like thunder claps. He was like a mother with an infant. Right away we had to carry them and the mother to the yard hut where there is a warm stove. We have about six sergeants there, all of whom had to come in with words of advice.

The night gang has orders to take the mother scraps so she won't have to leave her puppies, and to keep the fire going. What a crew! I can just about imagine you if you had been there.

I got a kick out of watching the two pups. They could just about crawl around and kept trying to edge into the chow line. They were tumbling over one another and tickling mama at the same time and what a proud mother she is! That's the army in one of its lighter moments. We're all too soft hearted to make good soldiers I guess.

Aside from the above incident, things are going on as usual here in the ETO [European Theatre of Operations].

Yesterday, I had a little trip in our topless jeep. The purpose was to find how many SI cars we had at a little place on the River Severn, what type, and how many of each. I enjoyed the ride except for the cold. One thing you get plenty of in a jeep is fresh air, especially in ours.

These roads, winding and hedge lined are a hazard to drive on to say the least. In some of the towns there isn't even enough room to pass. You have to wait in an enlarged place for traffic you meet. Bicyclists force you to crawl in low gear through towns. They ride two and three abreast up the middle of the road.

I saw a few beautiful mansions, one with a two hundred foot lagoon leading up to the living room windows. On both sides were well kept lawns and flower gardens with intricately cut hedges. They go in for hedges in a big way it seems.

Another strange sight on English highways is the red telephone booth which you see every few miles. They're handy if your car breaks down or some similar instance. Of course I always find the dinky cars an oddity too. A jeep isn't very large but it's bigger than half the cars you see. The only normal size ones are a few American made cars. Only rich people can afford these. For instance, my buddy and I were given a lift to town by an Englishman last week. It was one of the typical small models he was driving. He said that the motor was only a foot long. It developed eight horsepower. They have to shift on anything over a slight grade. That's not for me; I like a car with some power.

Well, I see I've dragged on over three pages so I better give you a breathing spell. Confidentially, my feet are freezing or I'd probably ramble on some more. Lucky you.

With best of everything to you, and hoping to hear from you when you have a spare moment, I remain your GI overseas,

Johnny

P.S. Note new APO 134. Needless to say our mail is 'screwed up' again because of it.

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