Brooklyn in Love and at War

History of World War Two Told Through Letters

What will we say?

It is a rainy April day in New York, one that is apt for reading and writing letters. This letter was written almost the same day Sylvia’s letter in the post “I Was Never Demoralized”: The first two pages of that letter are in Hungarian. Sylvia writes about her relationship with Alex’s parents in it and says that the more pleased they are with Adrienne, the more pleased she is with them.

She also mentions Alex’s father, David, drawing with Adrienne. Years later, Adrienne’s beautiful artwork is featured on the cover of the 2015 “May in Montclair” Calendar of Events, which can be found here:

Adrienne shared with the publisher, “I come from a family of artists. My uncle, Albert Kotin, was a founder of the New York School of Abstract Expressionism along with Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning and Franz Kline. Alexander Calder said ‘As long as there are people such as Al Kotin, there is no danger to art.’ My artistic spirit comes from my family which has always encouraged me to be as creative as I can be.”

What I like most about this letter from Alex is how, for the most part, Alex writes only about what he imagines. He doesn’t write about his day, where he is sitting, what he is doing. He goes over what it will be like to see Sylvia and Adrienne. He plans his leave and talks about everything he does and doesn’t want to do. He wants to go to a camp to relax but he also “would like to be a little at home, fix things up and sort of become part of the home environment.” He wants to kiss Sylvia but he doesn’t want to upset the baby. I especially like how he admits that he spends his time imagining each moment of his reunion with Sylvia. He wonders about where Sylvia will be when he arrives – will she be at home or at the playground? Melancholy accompanies his charm when he writes about his insecurities about fatherhood. The lack of information in this letter, the fact that it has no specific utility, makes it particularly romantic.

apr 30 1945.3-page-0


 At Sea

April 26, 1945

My darling,

We are on the last lap of this trip. Tomorrow we will be again in port and I better write a few lines, knowing how nice it is, getting letters.

We had a very fine trip so far, I hope the voyage back to home is the same. I am raking my mind what to write you about, these days are very uneventful and I am thoroughly void of subjects.

This trip is taking us to a port where we have been before, and that makes it easier, besides there is good mail delivery, so as soon as I get into port there will be some waiting for us.

We are all talking and planning what will we do when we get home.

apr 30 1945.4-page-0

Some of the more imaginative boys are spreading all sorts of rumors and needless to say if we listen to some of them we are heading straight to the nut house.

Of course it all springs out of all our disappointments in the past. So far so good, and unless special orders don’t come up in the meantime, we will be heading for home in another fortnight.

Pleasant thoughts where that is contemplated. I spend many hours thinking of it. What will we say? What and how will be the reception. What will you be doing when I’ll be knocking at our door or will I meet you in the playground? Everything in its most minute detail. I wonder if Cookie will be friendly, and how will she react when I’ll be kissing you. I guess we will have to be careful with her around, otherwise she will resent me, if I take way from her some of the attention you need to give her.

Darling, the prospects for a nice leave are good. I expect to get about 30 days, that is what all the crew are getting, rather I should say, 2 ½ days per month of sea duty.


apr 30 1945.5-page-0That would be fine, because it would give us a little time to plan what we wanted to do.

Thinking about that, I am wondering, for your sake, I’d like to go to a camp or summer resort. At the same time I would resent having to eat at certain times, and getting up at 8AM because breakfast is only served at some fixed hour. Or anything that smells even a little of regimentation. Also I would like to be a little home, fix things up and sort of become part of the home environment. I think you should give a little thought about it. But if you plan anything do it so that it has only a minimum of musts in it.

Our life aboard this ship is as little regimented as possible. But still, we must clean guns, get up at certain times, do our daily routine, stand our watches and so on.

apr 30 1945.6-page-0

Now I am not complaining because compared to Navy ships this is a vacation. But it would be nice to have a few days without any cares and obligations. I imagine it can be done quite easily.Well, we have still a little time to think about it, and I guess you will hit the right ideas.

Darling, I love you with all my heart. Give a kiss for me to the baby and a warm embrace to you.


One comment on “What will we say?

  1. Adrienne
    April 20, 2015

    Molly, this sounds so much like Grandpa! I am so happy you posted this letter. Also, thanks for including the bit about my art! I guess it runs in the family
    from Uncle Al, to me, to you too!

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