Monday, November 22, 2010

Amanuensis Monday - Wartime letters to Mom, 4/13/1944


War-time letter to my Mom from her friend Eleanor Weinberger, postmarked April 13, 1944. Eleanor's husband Monty was in the service and they moved as he was stationed in different places. One big problem for me, all these years later, is that I don't remember Mom ever mentioning Eleanor, yet Mom kept a big bundle of letters from her--kept the letters for decades. Who was Eleanor and why was she so important in Mom's life?

[This letter was written on letterhead from the Hotel Buena Vista and Cottages, Biloxi, Mississippi, "overlooking the sparking waters of the Gulf of Mexico" - postcard, below, is from the Web site FamilyOldPhotos.com]


Dear Daisy,

Received your letter and was happy to hear from you. Your letter was nice and newsy and I enjoyed reading it. If you’re interested in my impressions of Biloxi, for your information, I plan to write a book about the place after the war is over. Just keep my letters and each one shall be the basis for another chapter!

I have definitely decided that there’s one difference between Goldsboro and Biloxi. Goldsboro had no advantages—had nothing to do—so I went to work and tired myself out so—that I didn’t want to do anything. In Biloxi, there are advantages but there are disadvantages too, which far outweigh the advantages and makes it impossible the enjoy the place. Of course this is all my opinion. Some people I’ve met down here feel I’m wrong but of course, we all have a different idea of living and mine simply doesn’t coincide with what I’m faced with. 

We’re still living in the room we found the day after we arrived. After we took it we discovered we were on the wrong side of the tracks—I’m tickled pink when Monty leaves the car for me! Then, too, I’ve discovered that roaches are very unpleasant company to have around and have to be content with the retort “oh! They’re all over town—even in New Orleans" people say when I happen to mention it as a slight drawback to our room. Yes! They’re in N.Y. too, but not in every house! 

The worst thing of all though is the water. It’s sulphuric and sells that way. The smell seems to remain everywhere and it’s really very nauseating, when it’s as constant as it is. Both Monty and I refrain from drinking any and I usually have to wait about 3 hrs after any meal to take a bath. The water isn’t as bad in other parts of town—another reason for my wishing to move. 

All these things seem to outweigh by far, the glorious days, the Gulf, palm trees and basking in the sun, on the beach. By the way, our room is about a mile inland, that’s why it’s so cheap--$10 a month! Heck! I had my own furnished apt. in Champaign for $42.50 a month. We’d love to spend our time down here, living at one of the hotels on the beach, but it's far beyond our reach. Rooms are $5 or $6 a night and over a period of a month it just about amounts to what Monty’s making. But I do manage to make good use of the hotels’ facilities, like ping-pong, checkers, the sun-decks, etc. It’s fun and it helps a little, to bear the unpleasantries.

So that, my dear, is Biloxi—you can have it—any day. They say, people pay thousands for sulphuric water. I’d pay thousands too, not to have it. Forgive me if I sound a bit unenthusiastic, but things do seem dark right now. They always do before the light and here’s hoping things become a little brighter.
         
Do remember me to Daddy when you next write. I’m really not in the mood to write very much nowadays. I’ll feel much better when I’m settled. My best to your parents. 

            Love to you—
            El

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