November 22, 1944 – Part 1

(Dodging Shells gave you Tommy’s letters to his sister, from the front. Kathy’s letters in response tell of life in wartime Toronto.)

November 22, 1944

Dear Tommy,
…..We’re all concerned over here. Hitler hasn’t been looking well. The armchair diagnosticians have been working overtime:

…..He must have an ear inflammation…
…..No, he looks paralyzed on that side…
…..Maybe he has coronary thrombosis…
…..It could be concussion of the brain…has he taken a fall?
…..His ranting sounds different…has he damaged his vocal cords? All that screaming, you know…
…..Oh, maybe it’s just tension…
…..No…it’s a throat tumour…
…..He seems a little paranoid to me…is he seeing somebody for that?
…..Maybe he’s dead, and that’s just a cleverly made-up double!

…..For what it’s worth, here’s my analysis:
…..He’s mad as a bloody hatter! Hasn’t anyone noticed? I know I’m not on the scene, but sometimes distance lends a certain perspective. And in any case…an earache and a sore throat would be the least of his problems just now, don’t you think? It’s pretty certain that crazy is something he brought to this get-together, and maybe dead would be his best way out at this point.

…..While you’re sitting there, shivering in the snow, it might warm your heart to hear that the German soldiers on the eastern front are being issued paper underwear this season. Their long johns resemble leggings made of two thicknesses of crinkly paper. You know…the stuff bakeries tuck around iced cakes at Christmastime. Now, that’s an idea that could never catch on in peacetime!
…..And they say the Germans are so short of oil that tanks and heavy trucks are being towed from place to place when they’re not in active operation. In the country, they recruit oxen for the purpose and in cities…well, they take a tram!

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About Wendy Bertsch

I’m a Canadian author—a pragmatic optimist with rather eclectic interests and a pervasive sense of humour. Toronto born and bred, I live by the lake with a motley array of dogs and a cat, all but myself being of unknown origin, in a comfortable old house filled with books. Over a thousand books. Books in every nook and cranny. And now, since there can never be too many books, I'm writing more. Once More, From the Beginning highlights the women in the bible. It's about time! And believe me, they see things quite differently. And in Dodging Shells, you'll meet the irrepressible Tommy, as he fights his way through Italy in World War II. You'll love Tommy. I do. Next? Well, that's a secret yet. Stay tuned... I recently initiated the fledgling Ocean Highway Books, providing editing, formatting and cover design services to authors wishing to self-publish.
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