I received your letter from the 25th of June this morning. I am glad that you will not bother me with the camera thing; but yesterday I bought the Voigtlaender Prominent for 377. I bought it because you did not retract your words about that camera yet. I spent more money than I could afford because as you know, I am keeping my whole pay from now on. I hope to get the difference back when I go to Bremen. I will send the camera to you after I return from my furlough. I hope you will like the camera. It looks pretty fancy.
I am having a lot of fun here. But I have become too nervous with all the fun. When I hit the Sunshine State, I will simmer down. Next week I go on furlough. It better not rain. Have a good time in the mountains. And give my regards to the whole bunch.
Your son, Peter
A BIRTHDAY WISH FOR YOU,
M O T H E R
Hello, hello Mutti
For all youíve done and all you do,
For every loving word and smile,
For kindness and encouragement,
For understanding all the while,
For all the things that ďMotherĒ means - -
The things that are a part of you - -
This brings a grateful, loving wish
For happiness your lifetime through.
I am going on furlough tomorrow, wonderful, wonderful. Want to come along? This afternoon I will make some preparations. I bet you would have the best time if you come along with me. I am glad you are feeling good; received the letter from Sunday, 27th.
I am happy to have brought happiness into your life, my dear Mother.
Your son, Peter
Bad Pyrmont, July 18, 1954
My dear Papa,
I just donít want to get wet, so I am extending my furlough. I am sending a telegram to my outfit today that I just canít make it by Sunday, that is today, midnight. Two wheels on a wet road at 75 km is more like ice skating, and I donít like to fly on my behind, because in this skating sport you donít always get up. And you know how happy Ruth is for every day I steal.
You know, Papa, you are pretty lucky that you have a birthday this month. You know why? Because otherwise you would not have gotten a letter. The fun and work at hand is much more interesting and important. The three last evenings or nights were ala mode. Yesterday evening I danced from 21:30 until 3:30 with the sweetest girl I have met in a long time. And you should have seen the jitterbug I danced; it was phenomenal. Every rhythm that you could remodel into a fast swing, I remodeled. When I went to bed at dawn, I practically fell in the bed. But today I could do it all over again. The last four nights we had some kind of a party every night. Even Ruth is getting into the swing of things. But now the fun is over for a while. As soon as the roads are dry, I will saddle my horse. And then within ten hours I will be a soldier of the US Army again. The next time the curtain goes up, I want to be in Paris; and at the last curtain call, I will be in the Sunshine State, drama, ďoneĒ will end there and number ďtwo" will begin.
Now about your letter, Papa. You want me to buy the Exacta. But you know that I bought the Prominent for 377. The balance of the money I kept for myself because I need my full paycheck from now on to buy certain things and to finance a trip to Paris. I would prefer it, as I have written you already, to keep the Marks I get each month instead of stopping my allotment. If you want the camera and cannot give me the Marks from here for it, you can always send me dollars. There is really no problem involved. I will mail you the Prominent when I return to Nuremberg. It is in a safe place now.
I was in Bremen for one and a half days and visited everybody and everything old. Oma (grandmother) was in Heiligenfeld visiting Niebuhrs at the time. I stopped there on my way back. Niebuhrs send you also regards. Tante (aunt) Barbara had just moved to her new but still unfinished apartment. She lives now at: An der Weide 32, near the train station. The apartment is very nice. Horst was on a business trip and I did not get to see him. One night I slept at Franz Wilhelmís bachelor apartment in the office. The next night I stayed with Heilo, a swell girl. That was a lot nicer. She sends you regards, too. I also visited Lilly and Helga. Helga really surprised me. She has become such a nice girl. Too bad she is my sister. I saw Mrs. Hauck and Mrs. Lichte Ė health food store. The lady who worked for Mrs. Lichte, her name is Gertrude; Mother might know her, lives now in Compton near Los Angeles. I visited Emmes here, Holzmans, and Luttmans. Herman Luttman is going to New York on the 28th of this month, Mrs. Sagebiel and Mrs. Helmke I also visited. I only met Mrs. Holzman. Emmes had to give up their mill after 24 years. Their lease was over and they could not renew it. Naturally everyone is sending you all best regards.
So long my Papa; to me you were so wonderful, to me you were so good. Do you know that song? Keep up the good work, but donít get to heaven before I do. Happy birthday to Sonni. Good-bye till later.
Your son, Peter
(Note: Bad Pyrmont was one of the refuge cities where Peter & family hid during World War II.)
July 24, 1954
Yesterday morning I started to work again. I had a very, very nice furlough; but now I am glad to start to work again. I received a bunch of letters from you, but at the moment I have not time to answer any of them. It is Saturday morning and I have to work. But I wanted to tell you that I am fine. At least this will be one trip now that you will not make in vain to the post office.
Your son Peter is always fine. This is one boy you wonít have to worry about. Heíll get along anywhere. You should call me Dieter if you like. It makes no difference to me. I love the book and the game you sent me. That is just my speed. Keep up the good work, Mother. You are doing fine and I am proud of you. You will be proud and happy about me, just wait and see. Hellmut is another fine kid. He is going to go places. Dara feels the same about him. I am happy that I can keep the money from Bremen. Thanks a lot.
Well, Iíll see you later; time is going so fast and I donít know where to. Thatís O.K. with me.
So long, your son Peter
July 26, 1954
My dear Mother,
I must compliment you for writing me so many letters. Today I again received three letters from you.
It is nice to hear from you what is going on back home. You and Hellmut write me the most interesting letters. You are writing me what is going on all around you; however Papa dear and Sonni are writing me too much what is going on inside of them. That is of no particular interest to me. You know, I just have to look into myself if I want to read such philosophical letters. I like to hear about our garden and about how the house is furnished now, what kind of work Sonja is planning to do, and so on.
Yes, dear Mother, I certainly noticed that in one of your letters you were particularly interested to tell me that I should not be too hasty about marrying. Donít you worry, Mother. I have grown a pretty realistic head on those shoulders of mine since I have been the army. No one is pulling the wool over my eyes. I am only finding out over here what makes the world go around. I like companionship and nice girls; over here it is a very harmless entertainment. I will marry one day; that is sure. I hope you will then agree with my choice. But if you donít, there is nothing I can do about it. Anyway, I will be living with the girl I will marry. I cannot marry someone whom you would like to live with. The whole thing is no sugar pie; but I know itís an undertaking that is wonderful. Tell me, Mother, why did you marry? I am sure you know the reason. Donít worry Mother, I can take care of myself.
Your idea about my having a room for myself is not bad at all. I will definitely do this if I do not find life at home agreeable to me. There is one thing I want to tell you. I think it is lousy if you will move out of your house. If things do not clear up between Sonni and you, then Sonni will have to go and not you. If she will let you move out, then she is a louse. Papa and you get along fine. That means that Sonni will have to move out.
I am happy I can keep the Marks and still continue my allotment. It seems to me that you are doing something special with the money, but I have not the faintest idea what it could be. You might use it to buy yourself an ice-cream soda and a corned beef sandwich every day. Who knows, but you and Papa and Hellmut. Iíll have to see if someone wonít squeal. I am getting curious now.
Boy oh boy, has the banana tree grown. I might be able to pick the first bananas when I return. Thanks for the pictures. I get along with my paycheck all right now. The book is wonderful. I told you once, but Iíll tell you again, because this time I mean it. Guideposts I do not want anymore. I still have two unopened ones in my desk. That is how I like them. With the game I have been killing my brain and patience already. I am surely glad our home is once more clean. I surely donít want to come back to a garbage dump.
Tell me, how is it with Hellmutís draft proposition? Will he, or will he not be called? This really would interest me. If Hellmut would have been smart, he would have entered with me. I am all finished in a few months, and he would have been, too. Itís too late now. He missed the boat. I will be getting off the boat, and he will be getting on. What a shame! ! ! ! ! ! I bet Hellmut will be rich one day. He only has to give me enough for a swimming pool and tennis court. The rest I can manage myself.
My vacation was tops. I will make a short summary of it. All told my vacation added up to 19 days. I covered 1,400 km on my furlough, using my own transportation. On Sunday the 4th I left to drive or ride up to Ruth. I was not supposed to leave until the 5th, so keep this under your hat. I arrived safely. And luckily no MPís (Military Police) stopped me. On the 12th I rode up to Bremen. I stayed there till Wednesday, and then I returned to Ruth. There I stayed till the morning of the 21st. I was supposed to be back on the night of the 19th; but due to strong continuous rains, I did not want to risk it. See how intelligent a boy I am. I called up my outfit and explained the story. The CQ Ė Charge of Quarters, said he will straighten my matter out. My commander was very nice when I returned. He had extended my furlough five more days. He also could have put me in the stockade if he wanted to; but he did not.
Twice on my trip I was stopped by the German police because I violated traffic regulations. Once I overtook where I should not have; and I drove in a part of town which was off limits for my type of conveyance. I just played dumb. I just said, ďNix verstehn Ė American.Ē So they said to each other, another cop was along, ďWeíll have to let this fellow go.Ē This time I was smarter than the cops.
At Ruthís place it was dull the first few days. Ruth did not want to let me go out, because she was afraid I was going to cut up too much. But then we went out together with the neighbors. We had a wonderful time. Going dancing and doing every little thing that goes with it. I had to even borrow fifty Marks from Ruth in order for me to show Ruth and a little girl, 17 years old, not so little anymore, and myself a wonderful time. So you can see that without the Marks I would be a real ďStubenhockerĒ (couch potato). And I am just the opposite of that. It takes a little money to get around. And I am eager to earn enough to see something, do something, and buy the things I like.
You want coins? I got to write that behind my ears. If I would not have reread your letter, I would have forgotten all about it.
I certainly agree that you should have a print of the picture made, especially if it is for me. With what kind of a camera do you take those pictures? If I can swing it before I leave, I will bring a good camera along for myself. So, the dog got some young ones? That is cute. I wonder if Hellmut will bring them up as vegetarians?
I am glad that the marriage is annulled. But I am sure that this experience cannot be forgotten so soon by Arthur and his mother, and maybe Hellmut too. One should really knock off his horns beforehand. Then one is much more sure, and the price will not be a divorce suit.
The movies you mentioned I never saw. Iíll be living for a long time. Iíll have enough chances to see it yet if it is really so good. Thank you also for Hellmutís letter. Thank you also for the stamps. You must have guessed by now that only a small fraction of them is returning to you. But they are all being used by me; so you can see that I am not as lazy as it may rightly seem to you.
Please give my regards to Alice and Polly. I like them a lot; and I will visit them very shortly after I return. Are they still living at the old address?
Good-bye Mother, you are a good woman. And if I tell you this, you can really believe it, because my words are worth their weight in gold. Oh, if words have no weight, they are not worth anything. I am just kidding. You are steadily earning your money since almost eight years. That is more than my sister can say. You are so busy working now that you do not have the time to worry about us. That is the way it should be. I can see that you are worrying much less. You can put me into the same category. You see, when you work, you canít worry; and if you worry, you canít work. That is very simple, isnít?
So long Muttchen, (endearing word for mother)
Call me Peter, Pete or Dieter, use your imagination. You have a splendid one. To be on the safe side, you can send Hellmut and Arthur birthday wishes. I am sending you this four-leaf clover. I just found it in my pen. Thatís for a lucky strike.