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05.20.1944 Letter

Dear Howard:

I got a letter from Mildred and Ralph this morning and your address was included in it. So here goes.

As you already know, I am over here in “jolly old England” but I think it is anything but jolly in my estimation.

One of my first problems after arriving here was how to use English money. I have gotten used to it by this time and this is how it works. A Pound worth about $4.00, is a note which reminds me of a Mother’s Oats coupon. Twenty Shillings make a pound. There is a Ten Shilling note which is half a pound. The rest of it consists of coins which are half crowns, which are two shillings, six pence; two shilling pieces, one shilling pieces, six pence pieces, three pence; pennies and half pennies. Curious thing about them is the pronunciation given to three pence, two pence, and half penny. They say throuppence for threepence; toppence for two pence and ‘aypenny’ for half penny. I got on a train (trolley) before I became accustomed to it when I told her where I wanted to go, she said tuppence and aypenny please. I didn’t know what she was talking about, so simply held a handful of change in front of her and told her to take her pick and I watched.

Of course you know all of the traffic is on the left side of the street here. So you have to learn to look when crossing, just the opposite of the way you do in the states. You get on the trams and buses in the rear, and practically all of these are double Decker. Most of the trams practically never come to a complete stop when picking up or discharging passengers, everybody waiting to hop on freight-train fashion.

As for me; well as you can see from my address that I am with the European Civil Affairs Division. You’ve probably read about it in the papers back there. I saw a picture of part of a unit in “Stars and Stripes” which was taken from New York Times. The name of the Division in itself is self-explanatory. We’re waiting for things to happen like everyone else.

The beer is lousy and the whiskey (where you can find it) is weak. There’s not much use in drinking it. They call a beer garden a “Pub”. In most places the beer costs like hell. Why a glass that you would pay ten cents for in the states, would cost more than twice that here.

I think the thing I miss most in the eating line is milk. This powdered stuff is only a fair substitute. But otherwise the eats are pretty good. I had steak for dinner today and it was alright. Coffee isn’t too good. I’ve been at Mildred to get me some Nescafe and she tells me that thanks to Elizabeth she has been able to get a can.

The influence of the states on this place is quite strong. Theatres (cinemas) show practically all American films. Their popular music for dancing is practically all from ours. If the buildings were more modern here you probably wouldn’t be able to tell it from an ordinary American city.

This fast time here doesn’t let it get dark until around 11 o’clock at night. Think of what it will be next month.

I guess that’s about all I can say for this time. Give my regards to Elizabeth and Grant.



P.S. What does the sun look like anymore? Is it still round?

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