Edward J. Thomas - World War II

Below letter written by Edward J. Thomas

Memphis 15, Tenn
Nov 3, 1944   Friday

Dear Mom, Harry & Izzy:

I want to write a quick letter to tell you that I had my furlough date
changed from the 27th to the 20th of Novanber. This change will enable
me to get home in time for Thanksgiving and also will, permit me to visit
the fur show at Grand Rapids.

Of course, I positively won't want to take my Army shoes along. The
reason is quite obvious. They are almost as big, clumsy, ugly, warped,
and uncomfortable as the Army itself. Therefore, I'll have to ask ou
to send me my newest pair of brown civilian shoes. Send them so that
they will reach me before the 20th. Also throw into the parcel a pair of
garters because I would like to get rid of that sloppy feeling which
drooping socks give me. Getting rid of that sloppy feeling will help me
to forget as much of the Army as possible.

I am going to send my bowling shoes by parcel post on the 19th, the
day before I leave. Also I'll include in the package anything else which
I won't be able to pack into my handbag. I believe if the package is
mailed on the 19th, it will arrive in Detroit on the 21st or 22nd.

would you advise me to take my overcoat along? It's quite hard for
me to decide what to do about it. It is so bulky and inconvenient to
handle and would be too much in the way if I found it too warm to wear.
I don't exactly know the present general weather condition in Detroit
and, therefore, am unable to predict whether it will, be too cold there
about Thanksgiving time. If you think I'll need it in Detroit and Grand
Rapids, I guess I'll send it along by parcel post together with my bowling
shoes. Probably the weather here may decide what I should do about it.
Right now it would be ridiculous to go off the post with my overcoat,
even if I had it slung over my arm. The temperatures here every afternoon
rise to 80°. I couldn't call this Indian summer. It's just pure unadulterated
Detroit summer. The only time the weather reminds me of fall is during the
nights which sometime go dcwn to 40° even though the previous afternoon was 80°.

I was very happy to receive letters from all of you within the past week.
As I wish this letter of mine to go forward immediately, I'll make my individual replies to you as brief as possible.

Izzy, some of your bowling scores seem to be discouraging to you but at
least you had the courage to reveal them to me. That's more courage than I
can muster in connection with my own bowling scores. So far I have bowled
about 20 games in Memphis, and among the very few good games I have had, the highest was 158. The lowest, will remain a secret for the purpose of maintaining military strength. To reveal my Lcwest score would lower my morale and with my morale lowered, the Army naturally would become a little bit weaker. As you probably know, I didn't bowl for about the first three months in Memphis until a group of fellows in my barracks decided to go out each Sunday. I joined them and discovered, perhaps, one of the best bowling alleys in the entire South. The building looks like a Southern plantation mansion with columns in front. It has 24 modern lanes especially designed for league bowling. The sitting arrangement for the players and spectators is almost exactly the same as at the State Fair Bowling Alleys in Detroit. There also is installed something I don't believe I ever saw in Detroit. The table on which the scores are marked has a reflector which can reflect the score upward to a projector. The projector in turn projects the score to a large screen hanging overhead between the starting line and the foul line. The size of the screen is about 4 feet square, large enough for all the spectators to see how each player stands.

Mom, I read those quips by "Bugs" Baer on free lunches. I especially liked
the one about the man who ate up a tower of rye bread and found a friend on
the other side he hadn't seen in 25 years. The subject of free lunches
always makes the past seem like a happy, care-free period which so many of
us yearn for. When I started reading Baer's jokes I said to myself,
"Those good old days, will they ever come back?" But when I reached the
part about the fork and glass jar, those good old days changed like milk
which has stood out in the heat too long. What if I had the opportunity to go
back into the past and smack my lips on a stomach full of free ham sandwiches? I would quickly empty myself as soon as I saw that trouser-wiped fork in the water filled jar. To make it more revolting, Baer says, "Owing to a lack of tides in the glass, there was no surf to sweep away the debris deposited by the fork." Those words are just as good as sticking a finger down your throat.

I am sorry I haven't enough time now to write about the City of Memphis
as I promised. Since my furlough is only a few weeks away, I might as well
postpone telling about it until I reach Detroit.

Harry, I hope you haven't chosen any definite week for your vacation
on the basis that my furlough wou.d begin on the 27th. If you have, I hope
you can change it so that it will coincide with my new furlough date of the
20th. I believe my train will leave Memphis 7 o'clock in the morning on the 20th and the trip will take about 22 hours which will bring me into Detroit about 4 or 5 o'clock in the morning on the 21st. In your letter, you seemed to think I would arrive on the 30th if my furlough began the 27th. That would make the trip 3 or 4 days long. You probably made a mistake by believing the furlough would begin on the 29th instead of the 27th. It will, be fine if your vacation can be arranged so that both of us will, be free at the same time for as many days as possible. I am going to have 10 days plus about 3 days travel time. That means I'll be able to stay in Detroit from Nov 21 to Dec 2.

I believe if I leave Detroit on the evening of Dee 2 I'll be able to
arrive in Memphis sometime on Dec 3 which is the day I may have to report
for duty.

Until I see you all in Detroit,

So Long Eddie

P.S. Here are some good ads to check:

Farms for sale near Detroit, Michigan 1944

Sat. Nov 4 U.S. sighting of a Japanese balloon bomb at San Pedro, California is apparantly the time time this has occurred.

Tue. Nov 7 FDR is elected again for an unprecidented 4th term.

Thur. Nov 16 US and British air support drop close to 3000 in number drop more than 10,000 bombs on the Germans near Aachen.

Mon. Nov 20 Edward J. Thomas begins his furlough leaving Memphis at 7 AM and heading to home in Detroit.

Back in Memphis

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