July 4, 1943 – 75 years ago in a WW2 M.A.S.H. Unit

July 4, 1943
No. 45

Bizerte, Algeria
(His parents still think he is in Casablanca)

Dear Folksies,    

          Today being the 4th, I can remember “when” — when we were all much younger and everyone participated in the 4th of July games and contests on the lawn of the Feather River Inn — and then in the later years, the more sedate ping-pong tournaments at the Tahoe Tavern and the Bines watching the younger kids with their games. No, we never really became more sedate, but they just wouldn’t let us in the kid’s games anymore.

          I can just picture you today at the Tavern. As it is a weekend, and, despite tire-rationing, the San Francisco crowd has probably taken time off, the golf course is undoubtedly crowded so that this must be your day off from the course. I also have before me a picture of Mom and Dad comfortably reclining on their beds, reading. I sort of hope that what I see in their hands are letters from me, or perhaps from Lois. I’ve been wondering if there are going to be any auto races up there this year, but sort of imagine that the race fans would rather be using gas for things other than racing. Gee, I didn’t know that I could lapse so, and become that reminiscent, but at that it does feel sort of good.

          We have been doing considerable resting, reading and sleeping the last few days. Have greatly enjoyed the book you sent me for Xmas, “This Is My Best”. It really is swell and helps to pass the time away most comfortably.

          Yesterday, a funny coinkidinky, as Marie-Louise would call it, occurred. I was reading Robert Benchley’s “Treasurer’s Report” in that book and when I finished I remarked to the fellow next to me that Benchley really was a screwball. He replied that he certainly was, and then we both suddenly discovered that we had been reading the exact same story in different books – he in one of those Pocket Editions. Strange, eh?

          Yesterday I went with one of the officers who had to visit a nearby town for some materials, and it turned into quite a sight-seeing tour. We got into one spot, however, that felt as if it were the jaws of hell, ‘twas so hot. There was a slight breeze, but it was so hot that it nearly burned the shirts off our backs. It has been hot, here, but when we got back yesterday, we welcomed this heat.

                                                                                                                                                  Loads of love,

rene-transparent

.

Watch for my next message on
July 5

(Click on the image above to enlarge enough to read)

In this article, published in the San Francisco Chronicle on July 4, 1943, Charlotte Bambino eloquently and honestly describes the many challenges she and the other nurses faced.




Charlotte Bambino




René reminisces about happier fourths of July –  when the family celebrated at Feather River or Lake Tahoe. Pictured here (left to right) are René Sr., Alma and Marie-Louise in 1935 at a lake near Feather River.