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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
October 1954


October 2, 1954

My dear Mother,

I really did not want to tell you this; but since you are living under enough anxiety, I will relieve you of a small part of it. I do not want a motorcycle, but a small convertible German car which I am in love with.

If you can keep this under your hat, please do so. I wrote Horst about this, but told him not to say peeps. The $500 plus my cycle will be enough for the down payment. And the rest I will send from the States. I only hope now that Horst will vouch for me so that I can get it financed. Are you happy about this?

I sure feel sorry for Hellmut. The news does not upset me, though. I like your mail. I will be the one to take you for rides when I come back if the deal goes through. I sure hope it does. Keep this under your hat so that at least someone will be surprised. I wrote Ernst and asked for the stamps. No answer, though, yet. O.K. that you did not renew the Mirror. I am feeling fine.

Love,
Your son, Peter



October 6, 1954

My dear Parents,

How are you these days? You yourself seem to be all right. Only what concerns your children causes you anxiety. Children are always a lot of fun, but also a lot of trouble. Donít you agree?

I was surely glad to receive a letter from you, Papa, after such a long silence. How about pulling yourself together and writing me once in a while? For me mail is getting scarce these days. There used to be a day when I got a letter almost every day. But those days are over for a while. Iíll be satisfied if you write once in a great while; and Mother writes me about every eight to ten days.

You big philosopher, Papa; in that way you will always be the same. I always get one big letter on a single thought from you, that does not interest me at all, plus two or three sentences of news, which I enjoy very much. I do not like so much bull about philosophy, because with time it rises to you and drives you nuts. Donít you agree? To tell you the truth, that meditation business almost drove me crazy about a year ago. I want none of it anymore. About a week ago I cancelled my membership with S.R.F. (Self Realization Fellowship). I am not going to be persuaded no more to join any of those mystical sects. In our family we are all persuaded too easily. That is a weakness. We do not exactly know what we want, except that we want the good. And that can be a very vague and shifty thing.

The steady and dear correspondence with a certain girl I knew and you knew, too, has been cut short a few days ago. The girl has fallen in love head over foot with someone else. So, another chapter has been closed for now. Well, there are many sweet girls in this world; and I am young, too. As far as marrying goes, I could marry in a few weeks the nicest girl you could think of, but I just have to use my head a bit, too. Donít you think? who knows, maybe I will return to Germany one day and fetch her. But first of all I am anxious to leave Germany and see you again. The second job will be to learn my profession. And only then, if I am smart, will I look for a sweetheart. But before I do look for one, I am going to have a lot of dates.

I am very happy that you sent me the money now, although it has not arrived yet. I am really thrifty now in every way. I wished you would order another camera which I would bring along, and then could buy from you afterwards; because at the moment I have to figure with my money and canít buy anything else for myself.

It looks to me as if Hellmut is going to be a miner for the rest of his life. Come hell or high water now, he has to go through with it. And he will, too. He has a pretty thick skull.

Tomorrow evening a sergeant and myself from the office are invited to a cocktail party by the officer from our office. I put in for an overnight pass, because it promises to be a happy and long affair.

I will certainly be looking forward to come home. It is getting pretty close now. But I wonít make it for Christmas. That is a shame, but canít be helped. You can fix me a Christmas party after I come back. If you want any Christmas calendars then let me know right away. I can send you as many as you like with the necessary cabbage (Peter is hinting for money to buy the calendars).

I am looking forward to a nice invitation from you to 128 N. La Jolla Avenue. because the more eager you are for me to come back, the more eager I am. About a two weeks vacation I will take when I return. And then I will go to work. Later on we will talk about school. Maybe I am smart enough already. As far as philosophy is concerned, I know that I know enough. I want to learn something down to earth. I can go to college in heaven when I get there. I am sure they have schools up there, too. Thanks for all your letters once more, dear Parents. How about writing to 128 N. La Jolla again from now on? The P.O. Box is really not needed anymore

Bye-bye,

Your son Peter



October 8, 1954

My dear Mother,

It is certainly good to have you around. I sure feel that I can talk to you. You see, I get mail seldom these days. My girl wrote me every day; but that is over now. I took that like ďa man of willĒ should. It was a blow, though, since it came wholly unexpected. Dara fell in love overnight with someone else. But I would not run after her. I am young and I am proud, too. It is not difficult to find a girl. It takes time, though, to meet the right one.

Just by coincident, Horst came to Nuremberg. It was very noble of him to vouch for me. Keep all this under your hat, though. This car deal is between you and me for the time being. I figured that I deserved to make myself a present of something real nice for being a soldier for two years and doing a lot of things which were not to my liking. You can be sure that you will also share in the pleasure of that beautiful car. Tell me, are you a bit happy that I do not bring a cycle along? Here is what I want to talk to you very frankly about.

I do not know how much of my money you have put on the bank or if you have put any on the bank. I know you are a good banker; but I also know that I put it to your discretion what you want to do with the money. You may know that after I have paid the 2,000 Marks Papa is sending me, plus my cycle, I will still owe 3,500 Marks. I do not want under any circumstances that you loan me any money from the German account. Taking money from that account hurts Horstís business a lot. But, dear Mother, if there is any more money left on the account which you opened for me, then please send me that money through a money order as soon as you can. I feel that it is wise to erase as much of the loan as I am personally capable of.

On my discharge I will receive $200 and the following two months I will receive $100 each. I will also get $190 to drive from New York to California. But the trip will cost me only $35. So you can see that I have not gone out of my reach very much. And then if I work for five months, I will be sitting pretty. I am quite a sensible guy. If there should only be $100 or maybe $200 left on my account, it would be quite a help. I am eager to show Horst that I can be depended upon 100 %. So you can see how I need you yet for this or that. Especially since I have no sweetheart anymore, you better start fixing my room for my return.

There is another favor I have to ask you. Call up the Motor Vehicle Registration Department and find out what I have to do to get my California plates sent over here. It will be 1955 when I drive my car across the States. The car is a 1954 model, new. It is an Opel Record, convertible with a 40 horsepower engine. That information would be a great help. Maybe it would also be possible to have the car insured from an agency in California. Your services would really be appreciated.

Two years is quite a while to have been away from home. I am looking forward to coming back. My face will show it when you see it. It is hard for me to believe that a big journey will soon be in store for me. It will be a happy day. It will be my Christmas present, although a bit delayed. And the car is a wonderful present for me. Although in a way I am on my own now, home is home. Please, no word of this to Papa.

Your son Peter and a kiss.

Thanks for your last letter. I believe it was from the second of October.



October 9, 1954

Dear Parents,

I am sending you the first prints from my three-day pass to Hindelang, plus a couple of pictures of some friends. Those pictures were taken right after an inspection. As you can see, everything is neat. More explanations will follow personally next year. You can have the negatives if you like after I have prints made for my friends.

I received 208 Marks today, thanks. I guess I will receive it one more time after this. The $500 I have not gotten yet. But hope they will arrive next week. You are swell about sending the money.

Best of luck,

Peter, your son.



October 11, 1954

Dear Mother,

You may enjoy this picture of your son, taken at our enlisted menís club. As you can see, I was in good spirits that evening. I enjoy going over there and have a beer, a hamburger, and a couple of swings. You can see that I donít sit in the barracks all the time but like to go out on dates. This girlís name is Irmgard. I have had many nice dates with her; but she is not the only one. You may also remember that billfold. That is the one Hellmut gave to me about two years ago. A lot of money has passed in and out of it. I think I look pretty good in uniform.

I remember the day I left the house to go down to the induction center, and you were real sad, and you did not even want to come along. Everything looks a bit brighter now. Doesnít it? I believe you are happy now at the turn of events. Anyway, it ill not be very long now, and you will be rushing to the door to see me again. Two years seemed like a long time at first. Didnít it?

I received your two letters from the 4th and 5th of October. I was glad to get some mail. And especially good mail! I guess I will have to put up with another letter from Alice now, even though you know by now what kind of a motorcycle I wanted Ė the newest type with four wheels.

Yesterday I spent a very nice afternoon in Rothenburg on the Tauber. You may have heard of that old historical city? It was about the last trip on the cycle. I am expecting the money any day now. The papers for the car have all been signed. I have the contract in my pocket. The last payment of $90 will be due on the 10th of October. I can pick up the car today already, but wanted to wait for the money. Now I donít feel like waiting anymore. You will be very proud to ride with me in that car.

The two books I have received from you. I gave my friend the book as a token of friendship. You may also know by now that I have cancelled my membership at S.R.F. You still talk about a surprise when I get home. What could it be, I canít imagine? Maybe I have a cozy room waiting for me. Weíll see.

Tomorrow morning at 8 I have to see the major of the detachment. I wonder what he wants? Maybe he wants me to re-up. But nothing doing! For now two years is enough to have been away from California. I want to be my own boss again.

I hope you get that job business straightened out to your satisfaction. Iíllí be taking a job, too, for a few months when I get back. But I know I wonít have trouble finding one.

I wonít encourage or discourage you about buying a coat. But buying womenís clothes is always an unrewarding task. Iíll see if I can get some pictures of what you want.

Best regards to everybody. You can call up Alice and tell her my plans. However, if she is still interested in writing a newsy letter, Iíll enjoy that. You worried in vain again, dear Mother. Poor Mother. But I worry, too. I got a strain of that in my blood, too. And I hate it. I see myself as a fool when I worry. What worrying does to me is cut down my appetite, making me nervous and making me downhearted. Those are things I do not like. Motorcycle riding never worried me. I donít know why. But I always felt very safe on the cycle. Do you know that worrying produces ulcers? Yep, thatís true. So, letís cut it out. Agreed?

So long, Peter



October 12, 1954

My dear Mother,

It is one oíclock now. In a half an hour I will be getting the enclosed car. I will be going over to the Nuremberg Sub-Area Post to get my plates and sign the bill of sale. As far as the ownership title is concerned, I will be complete owner, although I have only paid one-third so far. I am very happy about the whole thing and can hardly wait. I tell you later sometimes why I bought the car.

You asked me a lot of questions in your letters from the sixth and seventh for which I have no time now. To bring the car to the States costs me nothing. So, you can see, there is a benefit in being a GI. The government is very big-hearted.

You probably know by now how I feel about taking more money from Bremen. It hurts the business too much. But the final decision I must leave to you about that. I would, though, prefer to get the dollars. The $200 would really hit the spot.

This morning we had an alert, and so I did not have a chance to see the major. But I know now that he wants to talk to me about re-enlisting. Nothing doing brother! Two years is all I want and all I needed to straighten me out and put a head on my shoulders. No, I wonít be tossed around by any more monkey business like S.R.F. I have a mind to tell them a piece of my mind. They are driving too many people insane. And I meant it. If the army would not have come in-between my thick headed skull, I might be some place else today. Everything is going fine. I am dying to see California again. And I am beginning to cross the days off now. Thatís all. See you later.

Your son, Peter



Garmisch, October 17, 1954

Dear Mother and Papa,

With my new car I took a trip to Garmisch. We are just at the Eibsee Hotel. Just had dinner. The day is wonderful. Going to the ice show and dancing tonight if my buddy can finance it. Tomorrow at 8 AM I am in the office again.

Love, your son, Peter



October 18, 1954

Dear Parents,

I received your letter from the 12th, Mother, and your letter from the 13th Papa. So I see that you canít teach a dog that is old new tricks. Can you, Papa? You again talked yourself out of writing me anything else but philosophy. Well, Iíll have to take you as you are. And Iíll do that rather than not taking you at all.

I am not sure which girl you mean, Mother? The one that is real nice I donít see at all. I am not interested in catching fire shortly before going home. But I know that this girl has a very special place for me in her heart. But circumstances are not favorable to get better acquainted. I am young. And since my special intentions as far as Dara and myself were concerned are annihilated, I will be gong out on dates a while longer yet. And I am still young and have a nice home waiting for me. I canít tell you how much I am looking forward to coming home. Boy oh boy, a TV set, that is great! That was real good news.

I donít remember exactly how often you wrote me. But it does not matter. I used to be getting a letter from Dara every day practically and that used to be the nicest pleasure during the morning. I dropped her completely. I told her that she does not need to write any more at all, that I am not interested. I'll find a girl soon enough if I want to. I could marry tomorrow as far as that is concerned. But I am not in a rush. I am not a bit worried that I wonít find a wife. I can have one on every finger if I only want to. But I shall marry one day. I know that. I like the home too much. The life of a vagabond wonít please me in the long run.

I can tell you now that Dara wanted to get married soon after I was discharged. And I was eager too. She could not wait so long till I returned. I took it graciously; but I also told her a piece of my mind. You know, I am not going to play second fiddle.

I inquired about your coat personally last week; I could not find anything. They told me that the season for those coats is over. But you can get nice pins for $1 a piece.

I certainly will be having steak dinners with you. I am no diet fan. I eat what I just have an appetite for; although I donít have much appetite lately. I am too eager to get back to California. I figure that it will be towards the end of January that I will be in Los Angeles. No, donít bother about sending anything for Christmas. I will either be packing about that time, or I will be on my way. We shall have a Christmas celebration when I get back. Yes, there are TV sets in Germany, but very few. A set costs one thousand Mark. There are not many channels, either.

I had a great weekend in Garmisch. There are beautiful installations for the soldiers. And the scenery is grand. During the afternoon we went rowing. To give the weekend a grand finale, we went to the Cass-Carisa club Ė a wonderful place. I will describe it later on. We saw a two-hour ice show. After the show as over, a beautiful parquet platform slid over the ice where we danced. It was great, great, great. At 2:30 in the morning we began our return trip to Nuremberg. We arrived just in time for breakfast and work. But today I am pooped. I have not had any sleep since the last thirty hours. It is four P.M. now and I will be very happy when I can head for my bed. Although I am very tired now, I donít regret a bit the way I spent the weekend. I am enclosing a few more pictures and some negatives. Two of the prints I gave away. You may enjoy having the developed again. I only have a small picture of the girl I mentioned. Her birthday is towards the beginning of April and her name is Hilde. Thatís all I know just now. She is 21 like myself.

Love, Peter

Dara has a lot of my pictures. But I will be getting them back now.



October 19, 1954

Dear Mother,

I got the letter from the 14th today. Good news indeed. Sure nice of you to help me out. I can naturally swing this thing by myself, otherwise I would not have made the deal. But since you are willing to help me, I will gratefully accept. I have paid 2,800 Marks so far. I still owe 3,400. Thatís the score.

I do not know if I have all the negatives yet. But the ones I have I will send you. I have the negatives just now in the PX to have some more prints made for my friends. I will take them out of the PX as soon as I get paid. Yesterday I had to see the major about re-upping. My answer was a flat ďNOĒ. Iím not interested to stay in the army any longer now. I may have to stay long enough later on and longer than I want to. I believe you have gotten the letter by now where I have answered all the questions in connection with the car? If not, let me know.

How about fixing a welcoming party for me?

I am very happy with the car. It rides so nice, looks so good, is so cheap on gas, and goes fast enough for my needs. Top speed is about 70 miles an hour. I only tried that speed out once on ďThe AutobahnĒ. On long stretches and good roads I drive 50 to 55 miles. And in town I drive real nice too. You will enjoy the car, believe me. I had and am having a lot of good times in the army. And I will never look back at those two years as lost time.

I am writing you during office hours. There is not much work at the moment. Therefore I am goofing off for a while. As far as army language is concerned, I know that up and down and backwards and forwards. Between soldiers I talk like a bum. Maybe I am one? I am going to let you decide that.

If you follow sports at all which I doubt, you may know that I am very happy about UCLA. The football team is rated second in the country. I was thrilled to hear that UCLA beat Stanford by a score of 72 to zero. Thatís just great. I am sorry I will be too late coming back for the football season. Well, next year I will go to the game. I once will have to take you along and eat hot dogs, popcorn and drink Coca-Cola. I love Coca-Cola these days. And Phillip Morris is my favorite brand of cigarettes. I wonder if you can send any cigarettes in that package? I doubt it though. You can tell Alice that I love Phillip Morris. It is her favorite brand. And I love a good Tom Collins, if you have any idea what that is. I will tell you when I get home, if you donít know. A good bottle of German beer hits the spot once in a while. I donít like the American beer.

I would like to get a job in a car repair shop for a few months so I will know enough to do minor repairs on mine. Maybe you can get one lined up for me. I donít intend to go back to school until fall.

So long for today, enjoy your steak dinner. In a few months I will invite you to it.

Your son, Peter



October 21, 1954

Dear Parents,

I received your letter from the 16th of October today, and I thank you very much. About the Opel Ė I have no desire to change my mind. In fact the deal has been closed and cannot be made retroactive. I am now only waiting for the money. Von der Heyde said it should arrive any day now.

I was in Garmisch with the car last weekend, and I was very content with the way the car handled. The car is in my possession already and I have driven it over 1,000 km by now. It is very reasonable on gas. I get a little over 30 miles to the gallon. For the time being a big car would be too expensive for me to keep up. I remember that Hellmut was always filling in gas and spent over $5 on gas a week. The trip to Garmish, which was over 300 miles, cost me two dollars on gas. In the States it would be a little more, because the gas costs here only 16 cents a gallon. And the big cars are only better because you can go faster. A small car can give me the same good service as a big car. That car is a real treasure for me. I bought it new, because I want to take care of it from the beginning. I only hope that the money from Bremen will come soon, although my friends trust me all the way.

There are also two officers in this hospital who have bought themselves the same new car. The Opel factory here is a branch of General Motors back in the States. Donít be concerned about parts for the car. That is all taken care of and all right. There are quite a few Americans who have bought themselves this car. So, please let me be happy with this car, because I have decided on it. Whenever a bigger venture is made, there are naturally always some doubts and questions. And I do understand your thinking. Mother, you may also be again concerned that I can get killed easier in a small car than in a big one. Stop that, Mother, or I will become very angry. You always felt safe when I was driving. Didnít you?

I still see the people I met at the Fasching. In fact, those are the people from whom I bought the car. My friend Heinz I see very seldom these days. He has a lot of work and a lot of disharmony in his family. And his mother watches over him like a little baby. He is a very nice boy. But his mother is awful. He is very sad about the position his family takes about marrying a girl who has less money than they do. He has to break off with a girl because mainly for that reason. Isnít that awful? I just hate those kinds of people. Heíll get over this, though, I hope. He is still young. The family Tratz I see maybe once every six weeks.

Mrs. Schnuphase I see about two times a week. She has been very good to me. She has washed all my clothes since the last nine months. She has knitted me six pairs of wonderful socks and is knitting me six more. And she is doing many other nice things for me. She is having a signet ring made for me which I will get this Saturday. On it will be ďNbg 53-54Ē. She is 100% selfless. And she is very happy that she can do something for me.

My car was just picked up to be serviced. I am having a lighter installed and two ashtrays in the back, and also a hook that you can hang up a coat when you go on trips. If I get some money from you soon, I want to get a Motorola radio from the shopping center. They cost here only $31. I might be able to swing the radio from my next paycheck. You may know that I draw every month about $55 plus your 200 Marks from Bremen. I am getting from Bremen one more check for 200 Marks next month, the last one. I sure wish I could be in the States already. I can hardly wait now. I am very happy that I have such a nice home to come back to. I read the clinical records from the psychiatric section usually. I have observed that most of the soldiers or also civilian dependents go on the rocks because they have come from a broken home and a very unbridled and ill-directed childhood. I am speaking from personal experiences here at the hospital. You cannot leave it up to a child what he should do in his youth. A child must be guided and guided strictly in order to be able to guide his own life in later years. A child is needy of protection; and only a good home is able to offer him this. That is why a good home will decide the outcome of a child.

What Socrates wrote about marriage appeals to me; and I agree with it. That joke was cute with the dust.

I found out the dates of the girl for you. Hilde Margarete Wimmer, born on the 9th of April 1933. The hair is dark blond and she has brown eyes.

You must have received by now the pamphlet on my car. Do you like it?

I enjoyed the letter from Hellmut very much. If he does not come to L.A. when I come back, then I will visit him in Bagby. It will be enticing to work with him for a few months. But I do not want to get stuck there, because I want and need a real profession. I have three years of free education coming my way, and I would be a fool if I donít take advantage of that. Hellmut is working very hard, but I see that he is happy. I am glad that you are helping him out. He has enough willpower to move a mountain.

So long, your son, who is eager to see you as soon as possible.

Love, Peter



October 22, 1954

My dear Mother,

Please do not leave me in such uncertainties about the money. You may still be under the impression that the car has not been bought yet. But the sale has been signed and sealed, and I am driving the car for two weeks already. I am beginning to feel rather uncomfortable because the money from Bremen has not yet arrived, although I am expecting it any day. And I sure hope you have not cancelled the money from Bremen. I would certainly be in a very uncomfortable position then. If you do decide to send me the whole amount, I sure wish it would come soon, so that I know what is what. If you cannot send me the money, then please send me the money that is still left on my account. I would appreciate greatly a very quick service on this matter. You can imagine yourself that I am beginning to feel rather uncomfortable in my present position. I would have sent you a telegram about this but I did not have the money. So you see how I feel.

The Swedish girl I donít remember. Itís been too long that I have been away. And I am not so much up to date on the local gossip anymore. But for that I know enough local gossip around Nuremberg.

The TV is a great addition to our home. We have waited long enough for it, too. Donít you think? We shall go to a movie anyway, though. And after the show we shall go to the soda fountain.

I am looking forward to a good married life. I know that it can be nice. But it gives me an idea how it may be, and it promises to be good. I know the actor who wrote that article. I like him very much. I like him the best. He played the leading male role in ďThe Glenn Miller StoryĒ and a picture called ďShane.Ē

The joke was good. Iíll have to tell you one too. Itís a bit sloppy, though. You will excuse that, my lady. But you may know that those are the most frequent and enjoyable jokes, especially in the army.

An English general had just spent his furlough back home in England. He was returning now by ship to his place of duty in India. Another English celebrity recognized the general on board of the ship. He went over to him and started talking to him. He asked him the usual polite questions. He asked him how he enjoyed his furlough, how his wife and kids were, etc. And then he asked the general, ďNow tell me general, I donít see that your wife is accompanying you to India. Why donít you take her with you?Ē And the general answered, ďI will tell you, my good friend, when I go to a banquet, I donít take my hamburgers along.Ē Catch on? Ha, Ha!

About the insurance I will inform you as soon as I have the necessary information. Schoebels have written to the factory, requesting the agencies in the States that service Opel cars. But I would really not need collision. It will be enough if the car is insured for theft, fire, liability, and property damage. I will let you know as soon as I know on what day I am expecting to arrive in the States, and from that day on you can take out an insurance policy for the car. O.K.?

Good-bye and please clear me up on the financial matter as soon as possible.

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.