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World War, 1939-1945; German language; Spoken French
Davis writes about seeing some old friends in Stastny, receiving a Christmas package from his Aunt Mattie, and the struggles of understanding Flemish when everyone mostly speaks German and French.
Pfc Robert Davis, 18107121
Co.E, Det. I7E3, 3rd ECA
c/o Postmaster, N.Y. N.Y
Mrs. R.L. Davis
Dec. 20, 1944
Somewhere in Belgium
Its good to see some of the old friends again. Spent last night with Stastny, and it was good to see him again. There is another ex-Nebraska boy in his detachment, named Burks; so now there are five of us together.
The cigarette ration is better here; 5 packs a week, instead of 3. Add to this my discovery of three packs in the bottom of my barrocks bag, and it adds up to plenty of smokes for now.
Two days ago I got my x-mas box from Aunt Mattie; a box of four large Unisley soap bars all perfumed etc. It’s a very nice gift. Wrisley’s stuff is good.
Everyone around this place has dogs. Stastny has son in his room, which his detachment has hauled around with them. Harry’s quarters are ideal; two men in a small room, better than college! Life here should be a big improvement as Belgians do most of the work, and they tell me actual detail work for the G.I.’s is only every few weeks.
A strange boy saw your German book, mother, on my bed, and noticing the address, asked if I was from Muskogee. I said yes, and it turned out he was from Eufaula! The closest home yet in the 3rd Regt. His name was Marrison, and he knew Uncle Cay, but not Uncle Ed.
Also, here last night, who should I see but Kenneth Thrig, the Muskogee boy! I’m always bumping into him, tho’ he and I have never been in the same organization. We crossed he Atlantic together, and also from England to France. Had a nice chat.
Last night Stastny and I went to the movies. Not very good, but it kills time. Tonite I’m going out and hit some of the bars in this town, which is of a nice size.
Stastny says the Belgium are very friendly, and so they seem to me. They speak Flemish, which is a language has everyone here tearing their hair. It’s related to German, but is unintelligible to a German speaker, or a French one too, for that matter. Most of us only know German or French, and its quite a pickle. But, most of them also French or German, so there’s really no trouble, except your interesting puzzlement over the gibberish. This morning I got my money changed, and went to a barber. Also this morning I shaved, and took a shower, so I feel very fresh and clean.
There’s a cute little dog around this barrocks- named Jo, who has a wonderful time getting into everybody’s way. Unfortunately for my attention I encouraged it , and its raising ned around my bed now.
I hope to get out and see the town now.
Now I’ll drop John a line.
Lots of love,
P.S. How is sport?