Thanks for your two letters of July 29 and August 1st. You told me a lot that was of interest to me. Iíll try to get what you asked for. I expect to have off this afternoon, because I worked overtime last week.
For Papa this mountain living will be a great thing. He has always been a nature boy. With me you wonít be able to count on going to the mountains to live. Iíll just use the place there for a working vacation spot. I will go back to school when I return; but only in September. I want to work in a summer camp for the greatest part of the time.
It is perfectly all right with me if you want to sell the house. Papa will want to move to the mountains anyway. And for Sonni and yourself it is silly to have such a big place. Most likely I will be living on my own when I return. You are happy that you can shift for yourself, and I am too. I am young and strong and want to prove myself. You can understand this surely. You will have a big pleasure to see me again. Everyone whom I have lived together with says that I have changed to my advantage.
I have been having a good time lately, a reason for my few messages. Yesterday evening I went to a movie; after that I went swimming with my partner. I got home in the morning. It was wonderful. Tomorrow I drive with a friend to Heidelberg, and also expect to go to Bensheim (Peterís birthplace). Just a weekend pass. So we plan something every week that we enjoy. We always keep busy doing something nice. This afternoon I have off and will go swimming.
About my work for the future I have definite plans. I want to work with kids, teach them how to play, work, be happy and grow up into strong and sensible men and women. I strongly hope to have a job as a counselor this next summer. My time in the army is a good backbone for this work. Maybe I will get connections through the Ephebian Society (an honor society for students who did well in high school).
I have landed in the swimming pool. There is lots of activity here. The water is ???, and the temperature of this sunny day is 27 C (centigrade). Do I have it nice to be outside in the sunny sun! We really have a very progressive and liberal 16th Field Hospital. In an infantry outfit I would be running up and down the hills. There is surely no harm in that, but no particular fun either.
I ran around for close to an hour before I came to the pool trying to hunt up some coins for you, but no luck. I got the knife for you, though. Itís a cute knife. Even for a lady it would be nice. It is about as long as my little finger with a mother of pearl covering. It has two blades and a fingernail file.
Today I got a note that I am receiving Monday again 208.50 Marks. I do not know if something else will come this month for the camera you want me to buy for you. I really would like to make a down payment on the camera you want me to buy. Because then I could take some decent pictures. I really canít say how I stand with the money. So far I have only received 210 Marks a month. That I used to pay for my personal things. So if you still want me to buy the Exacta you have to send me the money. I still owe 100 Marks on my cycle Ė want to buy a camera for myself and a watch. That will come out just even, because I only draw four more paychecks in Germany. Just think of it Ė only four more. I figure that in about four and a half months Iíll be sailing once more across the Atlantic. And if I am sailing across the Pacific one day, but God forbid Ė also there I will get along.
Life is colorful indeed, so many shapes and shades I see now. And some of them are very attractive. Bathing suits are more conservative over here, though. I only paid a quarter though (probably the admission charged to the swimming pool), and for that a beauty show I cannot expect.
Iíll tell you what I did this morning in the office. I wrote an S.O.P. Ė Special Operating Procedure Ė on how to transfer our patients to larger hospitals. I enjoyed doing this. My knowledge of how to make an outline came in handy. Once in a while you need something you learn in school.
I never saw the big tank Ė have been gone too long. (Probably an aquarium).
Yes, about the knife once more. You wanted one for a lady to put on a chain. The one I got you cannot hang up. But since I liked it, I bought it. Someone will by happy about it. You can even save it for me if you canít get rid of it. The knife was 15 Marks. Three bucks will cover it.
Thanks for renewing the Mirror, two more months is about the right time. After I received the last paper, Iíll only have a little over a month left.
My boss in the office is leaving for the States the same time I am.
I would love to hit Paris before I leave. I donít know today if I have the chance. My German friend had to cancel the trip. By train I will not go, by cycle it is too far. Maybe one of my comrades who has a car will go? I can take fifteen more days leave over here. I am thinking about the Alps and Switzerland.
Helga is not a beauty contest winner, but sweet she is Ė a very homey girl. I would have dated her if she would not be my sister.
My friend who sleeps next to me likes the lamp book you sent. It was lying on my night table for two weeks; he got curious and started to read in it in a dull moment.
I am glad Papa gets along with Sonni. I am carved of different wood. I like to have people around me who are not so much occupied with their own self. We just canít work decently if we only get ourselves on our mind. One thing at a time is all I can do. If I dream and philosophize I cannot work.
You really can sell the house and build in the mountains. Now I can get along by myself.
So long Mother and Papa,
Your son, Peter
August 10, 1954
My dear Mother,
Yesterday I received your letter from the 4th of August. As far as I can recall I have not spoken to any of our friends or relatives about Papaís plans of quitting at the Aquarium Stock Company. I hope my memory is correct. I will not mention Papaís plans to anyone.
Mrs. Schnuphase has two old coins which she wants to give me for you.
As you will know by now, the camera has been mailed to you. I put the value of the camera at 200 Marks so you will not have any trouble with duty. I hope you wonít. When I have my orders to return to the States in December, I can take any amount of merchandise along without having to pay duty. Everything which I send now which is worth more than $50 costs duty.
Over the weekend I went to Bensheim and Heidelberg with my friend Dennis. It was a nice but a bit strenuous trip. Tonight I will go to bed early to be on my tiptoes tomorrow again.
Itís a shame that Arthur has such a temper, but that is just one of those things.
With best regards,
August 15, 1954
My dear Mutti,
I received two letters from you last Saturday, yesterday. Your letters of late I enjoy very much. You tell of the news at home. And your attitude towards the changing conditions are definite. You are sure of what your place is in our family. I am also happy that you are taking an encouraging attitude towards my way of life. You are my Mother and it means something to me when you approve. For your sake, too, it was for me a challenge to be a good soldier for two years. I know that it is not simple for a mother not to see her sonís face for two years. But that happens to many parents. Although I have been on my own now for many months, our love is the same, has even grown more understanding. I hope it will always remain this way. I have seen many cases where it has been otherwise.
I am not doing anything to return prior to my regular discharge date. As of October 1954 the possibility to get discharged earlier is not in effect anymore Ė a few more weeks earlier or later makes no difference to me now. The only thing is that I would have enjoyed to be home for Christmas.
Did I tell you that our trip to Heidelberg and Bensheim was wonderful? I love to take little excursions with a friend on my cycle. I wished I had about two months furlough. Then I would travel to almost every country in Europe. Well, the United States is large too, and my life is long.
My friend who sleeps next to me has looked into the book ďLight from many Lamps.Ē He likes it so much that he asked me to get one, may it cost what it wants. Please send me two more books. I have another friend who I would like to give one to.
Yesterday evening I went dancing. It was very nice. One of my friends was along. We often have a good time. Next weekend I plan a weekend trip to a place a little after Bayreuth. I hope the weather is good. There hasnít been a day in the last two weeks where there was not some rain.
Do you think our mine will produce anything this year yet? If anything comes out of it, there is one person here I would like to help. So you can see that money is very often needed for a good cause.
It makes me feel good that you feel happy in my room. I tried to keep it neat. When I return I would like someone to do it for me.
Well, dear Mother, keep up your spirit.
August 23, 1954
My dear Mother,
Thank you for your two letters from the 17th and 18th of August. Circumstances are certainly changing rapidly up and down the ladder. If you do buy a triplex, I hope you do it soon, that you may again have your own place where you feel at ease and happy. A person needs a quiet spot.
I should say Arthur has a big temper, but still he is not a bad fellow. No sooner has he done something, does he regret it. That is the way it goes. We all often act without considering the consequences.
Was I ever your soul-mate? Oh, I donít know. These thoughts have been very far removed from me for many months.
Tell me, are you still attending S.R.F.?(Self Realization Fellowship). I feel no more binding to the group. If you have not cancelled my membership, than I will do it now.
Ruth is a brave girl. As far as spiritual hallucinations are concerned, she is completely over that. What gets her down is the lack of a steady companion, a husband. When she thinks about her loneliness, she gets melancholic, and her physical health suffers from this. Her heart bothers her when she is lonely. She is not optimistic enough to make her happy and strong.
I will be on the boat in December. Nothing will keep me here longer than necessary.
The little dogs are nice, but I donít like Sonjaís looks. I cannot say what I donít like about it.
I was near Hof, Oberfranken, over the weekend. When I came back Horst was waiting for me. I have a busy week coming up. Horst is here; I have to work overtime and prepare for an inspection; an alert is scheduled. If you do not know what an alert is, then ask a GI (GI stands for ďgovernment issueĒ).
Bye-bye my dear Mother
Your son Peter
August 27, 1954
My dear Mother,
Thanks for both letters from the 19th. Am I going to bring my cycle? No! I will buy a new one in the States. I am just crazy about riding a motorcycle. If I get a sidecar with it, I would take my sweetheart for a comfortable ride. I have given several sweethearts a ride on my cycle. Most of them like it a lot.
What a shame with Mary McLind. It was really a blow when I read this about Mary. The world is not ready for such people. A perverted or too idealistic attitude towards love and sex can cause many difficulties in young people.
It was a major problem for me. Itís a good thing that I got the idea out of my head that you have to marry the girl you have a love affair with. Better to sow your wild oats before than after.
This experience must have left a deep wound in Maryís soul. People of her disposition are too easily carried away by emotions which they mistake for the real thing. We all have common sense, and we need to use it if we want to get along. Parents MUST NOT try to make their children overly ambitious. The child will never come to rest and be a serious wreck in no time flat. I am glad you are standing on your own. Be firm and stick to Papa. He needs you, although he wonít show it. Papa will seldom show himself as he feels inside. I have the feeling that a tremendous struggle is on the inside, otherwise he would not change ideas and plans so rapidly.
The most harmful and devitalizing character traits are inferiority complexes. These complexes are all built in our mind. I am happy to know that you are getting rid of them.
As far as writing letters to various people, I would like to say this. I do not know what to write them. Sure, they have been very nice, and I have thanked them for this. I am in no mood to write. This friend of mine I cannot write any more because of his pessimistic attitude towards my mental well being. I need to associate with happy and positive people. That is why it is even a drain on my energy to be together with Ruth. But since she is my sister, the right thing for me to do is to cheer her up.
I am happy to know that you visit Walkups once in a while. Those are some of the people I like and I don know why. Give them my regards.
At least Papa and Hellmut and Arthur have some land if there should be no gold. To own a part of the beautiful earth is a treasure. I love the earth because so many nice things come of it.
My love to my Mother,