November 22, 1944

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!

…..Apparently the German accusation that Canadian troops are altogether too familiar with venereal disease isn’t entirely unfounded. Lord Haw Haw must have gotten a line on some inside information (I won’t even guess how he might know) because we’re being warned against a potential epidemic of V.D. when you fellows return home.
…..The good news is that they’re proposing immediate action to provide appropriate clinical care, so somebody out there seems to believe that the war won’t drag on too much longer. The bad news is that they’ll be checking, and any returning soldier who has a ‘social disease’ will be kept in the army until he can’t spread the joy around.
…..So consider this a friendly warning. Oh, I know this can’t possibly be of any concern to you, of course…but you might want to alert your friends to watch their step, because when they’re ready to come home, they’re going to have to check any unwanted ‘baggage’ at the door!

…..About coming home…we’ve been hearing rumours that some of you fellows may get a chance to pick up your Christmas packages in person this year. Any truth in that, do you think? I’d sure like to see you again while I can still remember what you look like. If it’s a lottery, for God’s sake, buy a ticket!

Keeping my fingers crossed,
Kathy the Incurable Optimist


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