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January 26, 1945

In this letter, Johnny talks about his work, some gossip about the unit, and going into town. He comments on the nature of war and how it affects the lives of people on the front and at home.

Johnny's Cinema and Phonograph

Johnny mentions that he went to the cinema to see Bing Crosby in "Going My Way," which premiered in New York City on May 3, 1944 and won seven Oscars at the 1945 Academy Awards. Johnny also comments on his fellow movie goers (two young girls) who became emotional near the end of the film, and recalls taking his mother to see a film back home. You can find "Going My Way" here.

Johnny mentions the song "A Fine Romance," which was written in 1936 for the film "Swing Time" starring Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. Johnny was likely familiar with the following recording made by Billie Holiday.

"A Fine Romance" (Billie Holiday)

Play song

January 26, 1945

Friday Eve

Dearest Gerry,

This carrying on a romance via the mails sure does have its drawbacks. I look at your picture as I write, get in a good mood and then can only put thoughts down on paper. It reminds me of the song which contains this phrase — "A fine romance with no kisses etc." Ain't it the truth! They say the longer you wait for something the more you appreciate it so we should really have something when we do get to-gether again. What say you honey? I wish the damn mail didn't take so long though.

This is our third day in the stall with no run scheduled for to-morrow either. It's given us a chance to rest up a little which is something I can stand at present. We've been spending the time having classes. This A.M. we had one in chemical warfare. It included the various types of chemical agents, what to do if gasses, physical properties of the various gasses, how to de-contaminate a gassed area, first-aid for victims, etc. It was a pretty thorough review, just what we needed too as it's very easy to forget and we never know when we may have to use such knowledge.

This afternoon we had some additional first-aid practice. The captain gives this to us and he knows his stuff. Knowledge of first-aid is always a good thing to know, I think. It may be particularly useful to me when when I rejoin my outfit according to what has been happening to some of them recently. It doesn't hurt to know something about it when you're a civilian either. One never knows when he'll get the chance to use or rather to practice it. I'm thinking of women drivers. Seriously though I have a lot of respect for them, it seems to me that men are the worst offenders when it comes to accidents.

Well sweet, this I can see is not particularly interesting to you so I'll change the subject.

Speaking of the pictures I sent you, if you like it well enough to pin up somewhere, please don't put me facing Jack Oliver. I'd much prefer to be looking at you. I've been thinking that maybe I should have written something more on it than what I did. That was more or less formal language, not at all what I'd like to have said. To be truthful, I was thinking more of what your folks would think. I don't know just what they think of us, not that is would worry me very much if I were on hand. The logical thing to do of course is cross that bridge when I come to it. Now honey, I'm going to say good-nite as it is really Thurs. evening. I headed the letter Friday because I'll be finishing it then. So good-nite sweetheart!

Back again Jerry and the weather is really chilly to-night, considerably below freezing. I went into town to-night to see Bing in "Going My Way." I saw it before but considered it worthwhile to see again. It's seldom that good pictures come around here. I sat next to a couple of girls who were about eighteen I'd say. The only reason I mention that is because they reminded me of you. I imagine you saw the picture so you'll know what I'm talking about. When the church burned down and at the end where the old priest's mother walked in both girls were sniffling to beat the band. I smiled to myself as I was thinking how you used to do the same thing if the picture was sad. You know I took my mother to see The Song of Bernadette when I was home on furlough. She had to use her handkerchief several times during that picture and even I had a job at one point to keep my eyes from brimming over. It was a real 'tear jerker' in places. I'd have loved to take you to see it, little one — not to laugh at your tears either, but because I know you would understand and appreciate it even though it was so sad. I guess we're pretty much alike in several respects, aye what and that's a good thing too.

To-day we got our engine on to that out the train in preparation for our run to-morrow. Two pipes leading from the water tanks in two cars burst so three of us had to remove them, solder up the holes and put them back. You know, a thing is really work out over here before you get a new part. These particular pipes had been soldered before — no doubt they'll be done again too. Everything is in order now except one toilet. It's still frozen but they're working on it now. All the toilets had to be thawed out. Did I tell you about the day they tried to mop the floors? Before they could pick the water up on the mops, it froze solid. We had a regular skating rink back there. Some fun!

Now here's a little crack out of the Stars & Stripes. Comment: "Never question your wife's judgement — look what she married." That's a hard one to get around, isn't it.

All good things must come to an end, also this epistle so again, goodnite sweetheart! Don't laugh when I say pray for us — we need it.

All my love,

Johnny

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