Peter and Rebekah Laue - 965 Cloud Cap Avenue - Pagosa Springs, CO 81147 USA

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Letters from a Soldier

Active Duty in Germany
April 1954

April 3, 1954

Dear Parents,

In a few minutes my German friend Heinz will be coming to take me along. He invited me to supper at his house tonight. I like to eat out once in a while and enjoy a good home-cooked meal together with friends that are not soldiers.

It’s four o’clock in the afternoon now. I have changed my clothes. I am wearing the grey suit, Alice’s shirt, the blue tie and the tie clip. I worked till three o’clock today; and the last two nights I worked till ten. It is the end of the month, and there is plenty of work for everyone in the office. You could almost say that I wore my fingertips to the bone, typing report after report in the last few days. Except that I was making an unusual amount of mistakes towards the end, I have no bad after effects from the work now.

The only complaint I have at the moment is that my stomach muscles are very sore. Last Tuesday I took a physical training test, and I put everything into it that I had. I did very good on the test. Today I can still feel how good I did. Hellmut, try once to do thirty-one pushups. That is what I did. If you can do more than forty-five, I must really compliment you. You must also put into consideration that I work in the office all day, and I have little opportunity to do physical work. And you work in the mine and do lots of physical work and get lots of fresh air.

Papa, I looked in our PX how much the camera costs on which you sent me a circular. I can buy the same camera here in the PX for 55 dollars.

Dear Mother, I received your letter and the birth certificate this morning. Thank you very much. I also read that I will receive the money from Lilly. I am very happy about that. I have made my monthly payment on what I bought already, and after that I had about twenty dollars left for the rest of the month. I really do appreciate that you are sending me the money. I don’t like to discontinue my allotment if I can help it.

A little while back you asked me several questions. At the moment I have no heart to answer the questions. Probably I will wait to answer them when I am back in California. The time is going by, and I will be back shortly. It has been just about a year since I have seen you. That time has gone by and the rest will too.

I am not surprised to hear that Lillian is engaged. But I am disappointed that Hellmut did not get into closer contact with her. She is a fine girl. Something in her line Hellmut would need as a friend, as a girlfriend. Two weeks ago I received a letter from Beverly. She writes me very nice. At the moment I feel that Beverly is the girl I have understood the best so far, and who has understood me the best. I have met many girls already in America and also here. Yes, I could love them all to some extent, because they are girls; but a real understanding I could share with none of them. And also Lillian was more than a girl to me me. And yet, she had the womanly qualities that a man likes. I do hope that she met someone nice and someone who is true to her. She is so much the motherly and homey type of a girl, and that is what I like.

The clock has turned to 2000 hours, Sunday the 4th of April. Yesterday evening I went to a movie here at the hospital. It was a musical called “Geraldine.” I enjoyed the picture. We see here the newsreel, a short, and one feature; and the admission is twenty-five cents in script. After that I went downtown with a friend to the Americana Club and played billiard or “pool”, as we say here. After that I dropped in at the Storch Club to see if any of my friends were there. I did meet friends, some boyfriends, and also three nurses from our hospital. I joined them. We danced, listened to the music, talked and had a drink together. And after the Storch Club closed, we did not call it quits yet. We went to a German café and did some of the same we did at the Storch Club. We went home at two o’clock today. Today I visited some friends near Heilsbronn together with my friend whose name is also Peter. Now I am really tired. As soon as I have finished this letter, I will go to bed. First I will take a shower, and then I will sleep until duty calls me tomorrow morning.

I was happy to hear that Lupe called you up so soon. I thought he would be coming back to Nuremberg. That is what he told me. Probably he has changed his mind after he realized again how nice it was to be back home. He is a fine boy. He was always very nice to me. He left here the beginning of March. I was surprised to hear that he got home so soon. I hear that once the boys get back, they are discharged very quickly.

I don’t know what to say about Clay. He is such a fine chap. I do hope that he can carry the ideals he has set for himself. It is a very big load. It seems that he is living under a strain at this time. I can see it easily when someone is carrying a load in himself. I know it from my own life. It is difficult, indeed, to truly know to what extent we are helping others and ourselves, when we live a life like Clay or the renunciates (an ascetic life) of SRF. If we live that way we are living in a world of our own. God only knows what the climax of a good life should be. Every day I would be fighting a battle if I should think that I am in the wrong place here. Yes, it is a great deal simpler to live secluded and protected. The test really is if we can live with other people in the world, in the army, in a business, in a fraternity, and so on, and still uphold what we consider right, and still be able to smile and joke and be a jolly good fellow. Every person has a different sense of values. What is right? Yes, what is right? That is a question I do not dare to answer.

Sometimes an idea comes into our mind, and we cannot rest until we have found the solution we deem as proper. Just think, Mother, when you were young and were falling in love with Papa, you could not rest until Papa gave you his name. Put yourself once again into that time when you were twenty. I am twenty-one now, I am a young man, and many feelings have come into me which I never knew a year ago. I very well can understand my restlessness that often comes. This is the time when the forces are great in people, and they seek expression.

Good night dear folks, and sleep well,

Your son, Peter

April 11, 1954

My dear Parents,

Today was the most beautiful day of this year. The sun really accomplished a great deal of work in bringing forth new life out of the sleeping plants. I wish you all a very happy Easter. Just look at nature during these days. That which you will see is more real and true to life then any sermon. If the weather is nice, I will drive for three days into the Alps over Easter – with my own transportation. Today I was invited to a “confirmation” celebration by family Tratz. They are sending best regards. Thank you for two letters I received from you, Mother.

Your son, Peter

April 14, 1954

Dear Parents,

Two days ago I received 420 Marks from Lilli. Thank you very much for the money. The scooter is just about my own now. I have already had lots of pleasure with it. There is no more waiting for streetcars unless the weather is bad. These last few days the weather has been extra fine. I have gotten real Spring fever. I want to get out, out, out. I want to let my feelings ride into the great green yonder or the sunny April days. Saturday, Sunday and Monday that is – the coming weekend, I will be riding, riding, riding. And when the gas is gone, then I will put some more into the tank and ride again. We will be riding into the Alps.

Papa, I received your letter from the fifth of April yesterday. Papa, I do not want to start what you suggested about the cameras. I don’t like to get involved in that camera business. But for interest’s sake, I will see what the prices are. The cheapest way to get these cameras would be in the PX. I wrote you that a new Voigtlaender is only 55 dollars; that would only be five dollars more than you say it should cost, and besides, it is new. Why don’t you send me 220 Marks every month, and for that you will get fifty dollars from my pay. You can also send me more Marks. I can very easily change them into dollars. Please let me know what you plan to do. If you ever want to send me some extra money, I won’t send it back. I don’t need extra money, but I can always make good use of it if I do have it. A good watch and camera I still want to buy before I get shipped back to California.

I will try to get to Bremen the next time I will visit Ruth. It will be in June for 10 to 13 days.

Best regards from you son,


Thank you for the stamps, Mother. Two Guideposts also arrived.

April 21, 1954

Dear Mama and dear Papa,

Yesterday I received the pansy letter. Is the flower from our garden? Thank you, Mother, for sitting down two hours and writing me a letter. My donkey just does not want to sit down and write. I have always heard that donkeys are very stubborn animals.

I was also very stubborn about my trip to Garmisch. It was raining and hailing and snowing most of the trip. There was a foot of snow in Garmisch when I got there with my friend. Boy oh boy, we were frozen through and through. Do you know why, because we went up there on the scooter? It was a real adventure and not much of a pleasure. It took a lot of concentration and willpower to make the trip. The scooter held together excellently, but these bodies of ours were ready to fall apart. But after a good night’s sleep together with a warm water bottle, I felt my own self again. I was sorry to say that the warm water bottle was only made of iron with h2o inside.

It was snowing continuously up there – no, we did not have a chance to take pictures. The mountains are very beautiful. If I will still have time to take another trip during the summer, then I will climb one of them to the very top – the very, very top. I remember the time, Mother, when you were afraid to let Hellmut and myself climb to the top because you were afraid. I am still mad about that. And now because of this, I will climb to the top of a high mountain, and stand on the very peak with one foot and on my tiptoe. That is life.

Now comes the second section of the note. Do you know what a note is? I solved a crossword puzzle the other day. It asked what a short letter is. A short letter is a note. I started this letter during my lunch period. The train got stalled, though, because of lack of fuel. By fuel I mean time. From one to five o’clock I was typing sick reports. In a month or so I will be doing another job in the office. I will be taking over the job of one of the boys. We are already looking for two good typists, but we haven’t had any luck. We also have a new boss. He is pretty nice. He says “”thank you” when you do some work for him. When he is in the office, we call him Lt. Olson (40 years old). When he is out of the office we refer to him as Elmer.

I am at my friend’s house in Zirndorf now. He picked me up with the car from the office. First I write my letter to you, and later his girl is coming over and we will have a private party.

I also got the package with the leather jacket yesterday. The jacket is in poor shape. I’ll have to have it reconditioned before I can wear it.

Yes, Mother, I can see that you have a complex about the food. It is such a silly thing. I even suffered about this thing. We want ourselves to be more perfect than we can manage to be. And then when we don’t achieve what we like to, we get a heartache. We all have limitations; and when we continuously suffer under them we are fools. Tell me, have you ever earned a buck by worrying about it? Heck no! One hundred and one errors we make every day, or we make no errors at all. It is just the way you look at life. The stricter your mental straight jacket is, the tougher a time you have living with yourself. When you want to weigh 120 pounds and you weigh 130 pounds, then you feel in poor shape. If your ideas about errors are too strict, then you will be a sourpuss to the people you work and live with.

Yes, I bought a red scooter, and love it. It works like a charm. I get from here to there in no time flat.

The nuts were delicious, very delicious. One bar of chocolate I have eaten. Two bars are in my locker waiting for me to become hungry. The clothes I’ll send to Ruth when I am in the mood. You know, I am a pretty moody fellow. As far as my duty in the office concerned, I am always in the same state of mind. I either work because it is my job; but I also have days when I enjoy pecking at the typewriter. Only when I make too many mistakes and have to write a report over and over again, do I become disgusted. Then I feel like picking up my typewriter and throwing it through the closest window.

Dara (Beverly changed her name to Dara, I believe) wrote me and also sent me two of my old essays. I can only say now, “It was so nice to dream.” I would have liked to go on dreaming. The army life was too noisy. Good-bye dear folks, God bless you.

Your soldier son sends you his love, Peter

At the Storch Club, April 25, 1954

Dear Folks,

There is a Mr. Horst Laue sitting next to me enjoying a good strawberry “Jam Session.” Horst came to Nuremberg yesterday on a business trip. He is combining it with a pleasure trip as far as Nuremberg is concerned.

I really like the idea of buying a bigger place. Thanks for the pictures. I have no negatives of the pictures I sent. I still would like the daily paper at least three times per week.

Good-bye, Peter

An add-on by Horst, Peter’s cousin: I really enjoyed the Sunday at Nuremberg with Dieter. We had such fun and I think we will have some more. Greetings to all of you – Horst.

April 30, 1954 – 1430 hours

Dear Parents, Mother and Papa,

Why did I underline “Mother”? Because one week from next Sunday is Mother’s Day. A good enough reason, isn’t it?

(The Next Day)


It’s a sunny, sunny day. I do not work today. I could have slept real long today, but I could not. The sun was tickling me in the face. So I could not resist, and I got up. This morning I will write a little, and after that I will take off with my friend on the scooter. We will ride into the green below and blue yonder.

Did I tell you already that the brown suit has arrived? Thanks. The left-over of the package will soon arrive in Bad-Pyrmont. I also got a box of candy. It’s still in my draw. I have not opened it. I also got the very fascinating book “How to Scratch a Match.” Then I got mail from you, too. One letter from Papa and a letter from you, Mother, plus the enclosed letter from Sonja. That was a big bunch of mail. I also have a very nice correspondence with Dara.

Mother and Papa, the weather is too nice to stay a minute longer in the office.

I have a wish; please send me a bathing suit per airmail, waste size 31.

Good-bye, your son, expect to see you in 8 or 9 months.


Bringing you love M O T H E R

Mother’s Day

To my Mother!

A million and one loving wishes
For today and each day of the year
Because you are one in a million –
Because you’re especially dear.

Although I have had rough going at times, through your love and the determination in me, I have fulfilled my place like a man. I bet you had it rough, Mother, but you better believe it that I will help you when you need me.

Your son, Peter

Peter-The Lords Scribe and Storyteller

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All writings by Peter, the Lord's Scribe and Storyteller and all paintings by Rebekah, the Lord's artist are copyright free.