01 February 2013

When Bernie (Sonny) met Norma: Courtship Letters, 5

When my father died in 2002 and my mother began her precipitous decline (dying eight months later) my brother and I began the arduous task of cleaning out the house. In my mother's dresser drawer I found a packet of twelve envelopes containing letters my father had sent her during their courtship. The letters are sweet and humorous, completely reminiscent of my father's personality. They are a wonderful chronicle of the beginning of their enduring love-affair.
In honor of what would be my parents 66th anniversary on February 9th, I will be posting a letter each day along with an annotated transcription adding additional insights and explication.

August 12, 1945

My Dear Norm:

    This is Sunday morning the day after the night before. I am fine and I am happy to hear that you are the same.

    It seemed like an awful long time before your letter arrived. I haunted the mail room until it came. I was anxious to hear from you.

    Those pictures were all right but they hardly flatter you. I guess you don't take good pictures. They must have been taken a little while ago as your hair is a different style. That pinup pose looks like it was taken in Miami from the background. [1] One thing I did notice, Marlene, [2] was the gams, woo! woo! Very nice, hubba! hubba! I now have the pictures pinned up on the wall and the fellows throw darts at them. What a target. Seriously they are O.K. and thanks. Enclosed is one of me. You asked for it and you'll be sorry.

    I'm glad to hear of your raise. You must deserve it or is your boss just doing it to keep from paying taxes.

    I am keeping pretty well occupied and the time flies by rapidly. I work all week from seven in the morning until we get finished with our ship. That usually last[s] until three or three-thirty unless we run into trouble. The evenings are all free to with what I please. Most of my time is spent in the N.C.O. club. They have a dance there Saturday, Sunday, and Tuesday and Wednesday. Every Friday night there is another dance at the post gym. So you see I can keep occupied during the evenings, too. Last night we had quite a crowd down there and it was a gala evening. Anybody caught sober lost his membership. I suppose this is all new to me but it will probably get boring after a while. Frankie Sinatra is playing in the post theater today and I may go see him.

    This past few weeks has been terrific as far as the news is concerned. First the devastating atom bomb, then Russia's entry into the war, and now the peace plea by Japan. [3] It is all good and perhaps I can get home soon and pick up where I left off. I have a lot of lost time to make up. As far as business and life itself. I know it will take time so I won't jump to any conclusions too soon.

    That's about all for the present so I'll sign off. Take care of yourself and be good. I am hoping to see you soon and I hope it will be real soon. Perhaps I can get home for the Jewish holidays. [4] Regards to all.


1. The photograph may very well have been taken in Miami. After my mother graduated from New York University at the age of 20 (class of 1941), she and a girlfriend moved to Miami, Florida for six months. My mother got a job as a bookkeeper at a night club in Miami. The most memorable part of the job for her was the food. Every once in a while the chef would come by and invite her into the kitchen to lunch on the previous night's left-overs.
2. A reference, no doubt, to actress and cabaret singer Marlene Dietrich
3. Nazi Germany surrendered on 8 May 1945, but the war continued in the Pacific. The United States dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima on 6 August 1945 and Nagasaki three days later. The U.S.S.R entered the war on the side of the Allies in the days between the two bombings by taking Japanese-held Manchuria. Japan announced its surrender on 15 August 1945. 
4. Rosh Hashana started on 7 September 1945 and Yom Kippur started on 16 September.

Other posts in this series:
When Bernie (Sonny) met Norma: Courtship Letters, 1
When Bernie (Sonny) met Norma: Courtship Letters, 2
When Bernie (Sonny) met Norma: Courtship Letters, 3
When Bernie (Sonny) met Norma: Courtship Letters, 4
When Bernie (Sonny) met Norma: Courtship Letters, 6 
When Bernie (Sonny) met Norma: Courtship Letters, 7
When Bernie (Sonny) met Norma: Courtship Letters, 8 
When Bernie (Sonny) met Norma: Courtship Letters, 9 
When Bernie (Sonny) met Norma: Courtship Letters, 10 
When Bernie (Sonny) met Norma: Courtship Letters, 11
When Bernie (Sonny) met Norma: Courtship Letters, 12 
When Bernie (Sonny) met Norma: 66th Wedding Anniversary      

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