March 27, 1944 – 75 years ago in a WW2 M.A.S.H. Unit

March 27, 1944

Dear Therese,

            Yes, my dear, I agree, women are strange creatures! The whole thing was a complete surprise to me, and that, I guess is what made it worse for me. I hadn’t had the slightest inkling of what was coming, until that 21st of December. The whole thing is pretty unexplainable, apparently even for Lois. As she says, “I can’t accurately analyze when or how or why it happened — it just did — and that is about all I know for sure.” Probably the best explanation is that she wasn’t really ready to settle down to sticking to one person alone, particularly in this kind of a set-up where everything is sort of abnormal at best. What I mean is, those who go out with various fellows get to see and do a lot more than those who only go with one, particularly if that one is in our unit where our transportation situation is such that it is practically impossible to get around. All this, undoubtedly, was a factor. That’s about all I’m able to tell you for that’s all I know, myself. I’m sorry I can’t tell you more so that, as you say, you “will understand better,” but it’s impossible for me to explain to you something that I don’t understand either. I’m afraid it will take some higher power than you or I to do the explaining.

            No, she didn’t “meet someone else,” that is, at least not before she told me of her decision. It so happened, however, that the pilot who had flown us around the island some months before, Rudy Engle, had been a patient here at the hospital at the time Lois broke up, and she started going out with him a great deal. The whole thing was such a complete reversal that it was incomprehensible. I had thought at first that she just wanted a “fling” but she herself said that she was going to go out with different people. But then she began to “specialize” with Rudy and suddenly thought she was for the “first time in love” with him. Actually, I’m sure she just doesn’t know her own mind one way or the other. I keep hearing from and writing to her, so at least maybe there is some hope.

                                                                                          Loads of love,

rene-transparent

.

Watch for my next letter
March 29, 1944


In this letter, René tells his friend Therese, whom he visited in New York in 1943 while he was stationed in New Jersey, that when Lois broke up with him in December, the pilot who had flown them around Sicily in October was a patient in their hospital. And when the pilot was discharged from the hospital, Lois “started going out with him a great deal.”
And to answer a question several Dear Folksies readers have posed: Yes, René and Lois were married (back when they were in Virginia), but they had to tell the Army that they were just “engaged” or they would have been separated into different units. So, because their correspondence was subject to Army censorship, they had to use the word “engagement” instead of “marriage” when they wrote home.



March 29, 1944 – 75 years ago in a WW2 M.A.S.H. Unit

March 29, 1944
No. 13

Dear Folksies,          

            Yesterday I took a walk with Jack as ‘twas a beautiful day – wandered down around the water and though it was warm enough, the water did not look very inviting.

             The boys have been petitioning me to take another trip around the island with them, so I believe I will do so at the end of the week — just after pay-day. There’s no use taking a bunch of broke soldiers anywhere!

                                                                                          Loads of love,

rene-transparent

.

Watch for my next letter
March 30, 1944


René took a walk with Jack Dunlap on a beautiful day in Sicily.



March 30, 1944 – 75 years ago in a WW2 M.A.S.H. Unit

March 30, 1944
No. 14

Dear Folksies,          

            I intended to write long ago to warn you of the arrival of my “foot-locker”. I think I told you way back in July that we were no longer allowed to pack them around with us and as a consequence some sold theirs and others of us just stored them with the idea that we possibly might be able to use them later. Then, we later were informed that we could ship them home, so we ordered this done – sort of by remote control. You see, I left my locker in June, ‘twas stored with everyone elses by George and then sometime in November, here, we were given the papers to sign so that they could be shipped. So, while it wasn’t sent until November, I had been widely separated from it since June. A little surprised that they charged so much. Of course, that was extra luggage and not considered as necessary, so, therefore the charge. However, had I realized that it would be that much, I probably would have tried to sell it rather than have it sent.

            I had about forgotten what I had left in the trunk, but am not surprised at anything that was there, for I just left things in it that I didn’t have room to pack along with the “Cohn’s Commandos.”

            It’s almost time for supper, nothing new – will write after I return from the trip.

                                                                                         Loads of love,

rene-transparent

.

Watch for my next letter
April 6, 1944


Last November, René sent his footlocker home -filled with things he didn’t have room for anymore – but forgot to tell his parents to expect it.