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World War, 1939-1945; United States--Army; Gypsy music
Davis writes that he has been promoted to buck sergeant, with a pay of 95 dollars. He is going on a 7 day conducted tour of Switzerland- Geneva, Zurich, Berne. He plans to look up Brigit's aunts and uncles while in Berne. He describes how he and Keller threw a party to celebrate their promotion. Davis notes he has started to appreciate "gypsy music".
Sgt. Robert D. Davis, 18107121
8237, CoF, 3rd MGR
c/o Pm. N.Y.
Promotion to Sgt
Mrs. R.L. Davis
7 January 1945
I hope everything is going all right for both of you. The weather has become really brisk for the first time this week end. Even so it is not so cold, about 25 degrees. No permanent snow as yet, but there is a heavy frost each morning.
As you can notice from the letter head or return address, I am now a sergeant, a buck sergeant. I think the pay is about 95 dollars. The Major has also arranged for my furlough orders to Switzerland, and I should leave on the first tour of the year, on the 26th of January. It is a 7 day conducted tour, where one is taken thru’ the big cities, Geneva, Zurich, Berne, etc, and given a pretty good time into the bargain. As I understand it, there is a two-day-stop-over in Berne, and if so, I will try to look up Brigit’s Aunts and Uncles and Cousins.
The week end has been very pleasant. Lt. Glenn came back Saturday night, and I divided my time between him and the Runtes and a party that Keller and I had to give the rest of the men in virtue of our promotion. About midnite Brady and I and out girls went over to Runtes and thence to Sonner’s house where there were about three families enjoying themselves. We had a right nice party until two o’clock in the morning. Got up at noon yesterday, Sunday, and Runte came by and picked up Keller and Brady and I and took us out to Weichering where we ate our fill of fresh fried eggs and country sausage and milk. Came back in the late afternoon, had a very nice couple of hours in our day room listening to Runte play the piano and sing and just talking and having fun. The Runtes we asked to supper with us, fried chicken, following which Runte called up the Heckls, man and wife, and further three gypsy musicians from Budapest who are refugees here. And we really had a fabulous evening.
This was the first time that I have really begun to appreciate gypsy music, as played by the Hungarian gypsies. They play completely from the heart, and it seems as if the music comes out of their fingers into the violin strings. They came at 1030 pm, and played for us until three o’clock this morning. We had a lot of fun dancing and singing etc. Frau Heckl, the Hungarian, would translate for the audience and the musicians. A lovely, haunting kind of music that they have, and they improvise constantly. For instance when they thanked the Herr Oberburgermeister Runte for his kindness to them, they composed it, on the spot, in the form of a very neat arrangement, which one of them sung as he played the violin. (two violinists and one clarinetist who also played the guitar).
We have arranged to have a “paprika evening”, this coming Wednesday. We are goin to give three chickens to Frau Heckl (who can cook, too), who will cook them a la Hungarian. They are called Paprika Chicken, because they are cooked with a lot of pepper. I have eaten one that she cooked, and it was so good I could hardly stop. Then we are going to have the Budapest gypsies again and really have a celebration, this time with dates. We refer to the occasion variously as the Hungarian evening or the paprika evening. I will write you all the details.
P.S. Keller is promoted to staff Sergeant