September 6, 1944
Carpentras, France

No. 49 (continued)

Dear Folksies,

           Sunday was really funny here.  I thought it was like a carnival even before that, but Sunday was really the payoff.  It seemed as if there were hundreds and hundreds of people out here just milling around all day long — in their Sunday-best.  There was only one case taken to Surgery that day, but what an audience that one case had.  Our new surgery tent has windows in the sides (really fancy) and there were innumerable heads poked close to those windows and also to the doors at either end.  Our mess, too, was crowded outside with French visitors.  They just stood at the doors and gawked at us as we were served and as we ate.  Those who came in a bit late had to wade through a solid block of French people to get within the tent.  We felt like nothing more than a bunch of monkeys! Yes, it was just as if we were animals or freaks in a cage, put there for people to stare at.  It was really so funny that most of us with cameras went out and got pictures of the mob milling around.

            If they had been Italians, I guarantee that they would have been run out of the area in no time.  But these people were so innocently interested, without disturbing anything and asking for nothing.  In fact, most of them brought some fruit or tomatoes in, so there was really nothing we could or would want to do but let them roam around.  Thank goodness, of course, that that mob isn’t out here every day or no one would be able to work, let alone shower or dress.

            I have been greatly reminded of the old French merry-go-round song lately, one of the few that we used to know well by heart, but today was the first time I heard anyone of the French people humming it.

                                                                                        Loads of love,

rene-transparent

.

Watch for the conclusion of this letter
September 7, 1944

René’s caption for this photograph reads: “The 59th was like a circus or a carnival for the people of the nearby town of Carpentras. They did not come empty-handed, however, but had melons, grapes, potatoes, tomatoes, etc. for the patients.”

René’s caption for this photo reads: “Inquisitive to the point of looking thru Surgery window while Wally Green does appendectomy.”

Is this what the inquisitive French people saw when they looked into the Surgery Tent?